Polyamory and Science TOGETHER? Wait… What?

1- PolyScienceWelcome to the inaugural post. This is our first date and I would like to spend it delving a little deeper into what we hope to accomplish here, and how we hope to accomplish it. I know, it’s not the most exciting first date, but really it’s no worse than sitting next to each other in a crowded theater watching the millionth installment of the American Pie franchise.

 

In a lot of ways, polyamory is fundamentally the same as any other type of intimate relationship configuration. Sure, there are unique attributes to being polyamorous (free childcare, anyone?), but for the most part dating and loving are fairly static processes regardless your relationship lifestyle. Even though there might be more opportunities to date as a poly person, the actual process of going on a date, learning new things about new people, and potentially falling in love is similar to any other person (poly, monogamous, or otherwise). Polyamorous folks experience most of the same highs and lows that monogamous folks experience. We experience the same jealousy, disappointment, excitement, and arousal (yes, arousal). Being polyamorous doesn’t mean you won’t face conflicts in your relationships or lose sleep over the incredible excitement of new love.

 

That being said (er, written), most advice and information aimed at the dating/relationship world is easily applicable to the polyamorous community. In many ways, us polys are not so different than the monos. In fact, on the very same night a few years ago, my date and my monogamous friend’s date pulled the same “I’ll call you in three days-but if I don’t it’s not you-but it might be you-but it might not-but I might call you in one day, not because I’m clingy but because I have some free time” stunt. At this point, you might be asking what’s your damn point? Fair enough.

 

The point here is to have a healthy mixture of anecdotal events about living life, making connections, falling and staying in love, and handling relationships in a healthy way, straight from the lives of poly individuals, to provide context for otherwise complex technical reading material about statistical analyses (although, some people are way into this kind of thing). With a background in psychology and philosophy, and a specialty of relationship and sex research, I want to help provide a resource where poly folks can utilize (relatively) unbiased information about relationships to help navigate the often-complicated life of polyamory. Most of the content here will be a compilation of diverse experiences (both our own and those of other contributors), with a whisper of knowledge gleaned from the research world.

 

There is not much research out there in respect to polyamory specifically. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely some, and what does exist is both fascinating and well done, but there still tends to be a lack thereof in the research community. I myself am a budding researcher of polyamory, and I know a few other brilliant researchers who have dedicated some or all of their career to researching polyamory and non-monogamy. Wherever I can get away with it I’ll provide this information, but keep in mind that most of the research done in relationships and sexuality has been aimed at the hetero-mono-normative community. Just as a small disclaimer.

 

We will aim for one original post each Saturday, as well as one “Ask Poly Chick/Dude” Q&A post every Tuesday (alternating). If for some reason there is a gap between posts that is longer than this, it’s probably because we don’t have new material, we are too swamped with less interesting things, or we have come down with a disabling illness, like Hemorrhagic Smallpox (in which case, we have bigger problems). There might also be more frequent posts sometimes as we see fit.

 

So then, we look forward to sharing this journey with all of you as we work together to understand the intricate world of love, life, and polyamory!

 

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11 Comments

  1. Doug Barrett
    Mar 22, 2013

    Thank you for being the first that I know of to balance the value of personal stories with that of dispassionate research on poly relationships. The two strike me as analogous to the left and right eye on polyamory; without equal sense acquired from both at once, no depth perception can be had.

    • admin
      Mar 22, 2013

      Yes, we agree completely. To truly understand anything you need a variety of perspectives for a well-rounded explanation. Thank you for the support!

  2. Joshy Stanton
    Mar 22, 2013

    As well I have been looking at personality types in the poly relationship and astrology. Any input would be great

  3. Matt Luders
    Mar 23, 2013

    Congratulations on your new blog! It looks great! I’m looking forward to reading your posts and learning more about the science of relationships. With a U.S. divorce rate in the 40-50% range (and many of those who remain married far from happy), I think we need all the help we can get understanding and improving our relationships. Especially since research has clearly shown that the quality of one’s relationships has a huge effect on one’s level of happiness. I wish you all the best as you carry out your important mission!

    • admin
      Mar 23, 2013

      Thank you so much! We are very excited as well! You’re absolutely right, the divorce rates and mass discontent we see in relationships are clear indicators that there needs to be a deeper understanding of the processes behind human interactions so as to improve how people conduct themselves in intimate situations. Relational quality has a direct positive correlation with subjective well-being in most cases; soon we will have data on those variables within the context of polyamory as well. Stay tuned for that. ;-)

  4. Broadminded
    Mar 24, 2013

    I’m also excited to hear about any scientific inquiry into the new (or not so new) phenomenon of polyamory. It seems to me like the psychological explanations are not so strange as many would think. Hopefully some light can be shed!

  5. Jessica Squires
    Mar 27, 2013

    I think this website is great! I am actually doing my lit review and research proposal for my research methods class on polyamory and open marriage lifestyles and the benefits they have compared to “traditional” marriages. I have found a lot of peer reviewed articles from sex research journals that all support the idea that its more natural and successful way of life. It was funny though, i told my professor my topic and she said, ” well thats interesting but who would ever admit to being a part of an open marriage?” I replied, its actually a growing population and they are not ashamed of it at all.” This conversation made me realize the importance of education and enlightening the general population about polyamory and the fact that there is nothing wrong with it, its not a dirty little secret, in fact its quite the opposite of wrong.

    • admin
      Mar 27, 2013

      Thank you Jessica! We are pleased to hear that you’re taking a look at polyamory in your studies. We need more people doing this. It’s very unfortunate that your professor reacted the way they did, but it sounds like you handled it very well and hopefully opened up some minds in the process. In the not-too-distant future I’ll be coming out with some data from a study I recently did with some colleagues that will highlight many of those benefits. Feel free to tell your professor that we just finished up a large scale quantitative study on polyamory that yielded more than 6,000 participants in less than 2 months. ;-) Keep up the good work!

  6. Thanks for some other informative site. The place else could I get that kind of information written in such an ideal method?
    I have a undertaking that I’m just now operating on, and I’ve
    been at the look out for such info.

  7. Keith
    Apr 20, 2013

    Hello there! This post couldn’t be written much better! Reading through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He continually kept preaching about this. I will send this information to him. Pretty sure he will have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

    • admin
      Apr 28, 2013

      Thank you so much, Keith! We hope your roommate appreciates the site as much as you do! Let us know if there’s anything specific you’d like to see. :-)

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