Thursday, April 16, 2009

[Op-ed] Are Bisexuals the glue that holds Poly together?

Are Bisexuals the glue that holds Poly together?I have been having this conversation with some folk about polyamory and bisexuality. The short story is that there was a question as to whether it was rare to see relationships of two men and one woman, and why that is the case?

While there were many responses to that question the observation was made that in a situation like that where there was two men and one woman, it would be easier for the group to be str8 because of the fact that one woman can easily handle two men. But in the reverse situation where there were two women and one man, it would be advantageous for the women if they were bisexual since the man will probably be incapacitated at some point leaving both women longing for more. At this point in the conversation, someone made the comment that while bisexuals aren't necessary to whole poly relationships together, they certainly do help. That got me to thinking.

In most poly situations I know of, the folk ARE bisexual . . . . but that may be because I am bi and therefore have a natural affinity for bi community. Perhaps the majority of poly folk aren't bisexual, I don't know. That's why I am posing this question.

Are Bisexuals the connection that makes triads, and quads, so common? Not to say that we are needed for poly relationships, but if you remove the bisexuals from the equation . . . . would the numbers of poly community be drastically reduced or just unnoticeably reduced?

Groove Thang

8 comments:

  1. I think the numbers would be drastically reduced for triads and quads but not for people who are poly who just go with multiple partners while their romantic partners know about it. Those people may very well be any orientation.

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  2. where there was two men and one woman, it would be easier for the group to be str8 because of the fact that one woman can easily handle two men. […] where there were two women and one man, it would be advantageous for the women if they were bisexual since the man will probably be incapacitated at some point leaving both women longing for more.I'm sorry. *WHAT?*

    I know this post is supposed to be about polyamory and the numbers of bi people in such relationships, but this middle paragraph smacks of male bisexual erasure more than anything else.

    The notion that bisexual men are somehow less of value for any reason than bisexual women are, especially due to physical anatomy, is ridiculous, and insulting.

    I'm a man, and I've been with another man and a woman as well as with two women and I can tell you that there isn't an anatomical reason why sex with one pairing would be any better or worse with the other. It has nothing to do with the number of holes available. I mean…fuck, did I really just read this on the Bi Net USA blog?

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  3. Maymay I felt the same way: "[D]id I really just read this . . . "?

    My bias: I am a bisexual man in a polyamorous relationship. My primary partner is a woman (also bisexual) and at the moment the vast majority of my secondary partners are women. The fact that we are bisexual does not lead me to agree with the premise of the post. From my personal experience, the post just does not conform to the reality of sexual desire and its intensely subjective nature.

    Here is a quote from my primary partner that sums up how 'incapacitated' am after being with another woman: "One of my favorite things about seeing you after a date is that I know without a date I am going to get FUCKED." Not bragging, just letting you know that for some of us the more we get the more we get.

    But my largest concern here is that the comment smacks of just the sort of so-called 'biological basis' of gender roles that has contributed to the marginalization of polyamory, bisexuality and any other sexual expression outside of the oh-so-small heteronormative box. Increasing awareness of the various sexual lives we choose/need to live is immensely important. However, spouting such narrow viewpoints derived from simple conjecture is not a furtherance of this goal. If we want to push back against the heteronormative values that work against this awareness, then it behooves use to step out of that box not back in.

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  4. Excuse my typos! Rants can make you overlook those sort of things. Insert "without a doubt" for "without a date." I would hate to misquote my partner.

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  5. My impression, and that of other people I've talked to who know the poly community well, is that triads with two men are about as common as triads with two women.

    alan7388

    -----------------------------------
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    http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/
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  6. Okay, I've just posted some numbers on bi polys and on poly bis, as best as I could find them:

    http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/2009/04/are-bisexuals-glue-that-holds-poly.html

    --Alan M.

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  7. Thanks for the post on the other blogs, alan!

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  8. In my experience about half the poly people I know are bi, and about half the bi folk are poly. Of course, I'm a bi/poly person living in the SF Bay Area, the epicenter of bi and poly community, so my experience isn't necessarily representative. I'd say that bisexuality works well with multi-partner multi-directional relationships, but isn't a requirement for them to function well sexually all around. There's an infinite number of things a motivated individual can do to please two partners (let's not forget that you can have a bi male or female in a triad with a gay or lesbian partner), and not everyone has to be actively involved at all times. Indeed, there are multi-partner relationships where individuals participate one on one completely separately or are bonded emotionally but not sexually. That's not to say that there aren't challenges: effectively splitting your attention between two partners simultaneously is difficult. I do think that people's intrinsic bisexuality is more likely to manifest in these situations, to one degree or another. Hormones and pheromones can overcome a lot of inhibitions.

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