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Marks: How to be a moral slut



Polyamory is becoming an increasingly prevalent form of relationship in our society. However, there is a significant stigma around polyamorous relationships. The purpose of this column is to debunk some common myths about polyamory and explain how a healthy polyamorous relationship works.

Polyamory is the practice of being involved with multiple people simultaneously. It breaks free of the social norm of only being in a relationship with one person at a time. There is no one way to be polyamorous just like any monogamous relationship, it varies in practice.

One way that people practice polyamory is with an open relationship. In an open relationship, a person might have one primary partner. This aspect of the relationship mimics monogamy in the sense that the involved peoples’ primary partner is each other. However, they may decide to also sleep with, date or otherwise be involved with other people. This is the basis of polyamory.

Even if you are involved in a polyamorous relationship, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are polyamorous yourself. In some cases one of the partners is polyamorous, while the other is committed to only their partner. This situation can be more difficult to juggle, because the monogamous person feels like they aren’t getting enough of their partner’s attention.

An important aspect of polyamory and any relationship, really is to consider communication. Open, honest communication about what is going on in each of your lives is the best way to go about a polyamorous relationship. Specifically, who you are dating, sleeping with, etc. However, sometimes a “need to know” basis can work in cases where partners don’t want to know details of each others’ other relationships.

What some people don’t realize about polyamorous relationships is that it’s still possible to cheat. Lying in any sort of relationship is often inappropriate, but in a polyamorous relationship it is often an indicator of cheating i.e. hiding other relationships or sexual partners from your partner.

Polyamory revolutionizes society’s idea of how things “should be”: the monogamous white heterosexual couple that gets married, has a couple of kids and leads a life in consensus with the “American Dream.” Polyamory is considered bad and immoral because of how we expect relationships should be one man and one woman fully committed to each other. However, polyamory can teach us many things about relationships: how to communicate better, how to prioritize your time and how to express yourself to the people you love and care about.

These are not the only beneficial things to people who choose to practice polyamory. An interesting correlation in polyamory is that studies have shown that people who practice polyamory are more well-educated than the general public. In addition, a study conducted among 200 polyamorous people found that nonmonogamous people’s jealousy experiences were equally about emotional and sexual infidelity. This is not the case among straight monogamous relationships, where men are more likely to be jealous about sexual infidelity, while women are more likely to be jealous about emotional infidelity.

Another point to bring up about nonmonogamy is that it often leads to safer sex. Because people in polyamorous relationships often have multiple partners, they practice safe sex in order to prevent the spread of STIs.

For some people, monogamy just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes, people aren’t ready for the kind of commitment that monogamy can imply. Others just want to live their lives free of obligation. Regardless of the reason, not wanting to be monogamous doesn’t make you a bad or immoral person. It is perfectly natural to be attracted to multiple people at a time in any sense, be it romantic or sexual.

There are no agreed upon or universal rules for how polyamory functions. It’s different for everybody. The examples mentioned above are just a few of the ways I’ve participated in polyamorous relationships, but by no means are the be all end all for how every polyamorous relationship should be.


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Jadyn Marks

Jadyn Marks

Jadyn graduated from the University of Oregon in 2018 with a B.S. in political science and a minor in legal studies. She formerly worked as the opinion desk's associate editor. Prior to that, she had worked as a copy editor, news reporter, outreach director, and opinion writer.