Like many of my generation and that directly before mine – I just turned 54 – I was all for exploring ‘free love’ in the 80s. I used to be quite depressed and the one thing that seemed to be able to distract me for a while were the many attractive men that Berlin had to offer. When I joined the community of Indian (‘sex’)-guru Osho Rajneesh, the idea of ‘free love’ was elevated to a kind of spiritual practice – I really wanted to go beyond the limiting structures of possessiveness, habit and ‘bourgeois’ attachment and behavior in general.
Lately there has been a wider discussion of the topic of polyamory and polygamy in the mainstream media. Often the articles conclude with seeming relief that we are simply not cut out for monogamous relationships and that the attempt to be monogamous makes love more difficult if not impossible. (“The end of monogamy”, or “The love of the future” are common phrases. There is an article about this on my facebook page and a very frank video right here:
The scientific/ biological arguments brought forth are quite convincing, as soon as psychological aspects get involved, things become more complicated. We are not just animals anymore, Bonobo or otherwise and sometimes it seems that this is being forgotten amongst all the excitement about the latest scientific relevations. I have read two articles written by women in which the author confesses that this kind of sharing of partners would not be an option for her, while still sympathizing with those who choose that path.
I can relate to this. I wonder just how much more attention, energy and psychic creativity would be wound up in my sexual life, were I to have several lovers. A wholesome and enjoyable sexual relationship for me has a lot to do with trust and the ability to deeply let go and both of these qualities take time, intention and awareness to grow.
Even if I used to fancy the idea of free love, the result of trying it was not fulfilling. It seems to me rather that I was chasing a certain self-image, the affirmation of being a woman that can keep attracting men, but fulfillment, even sexual fulfillment, was not at all the result.
Like in so many other things, there are no rules. Just like monogamy can work for some, so might polyamory. But I am left wondering if the whole dramatized discussion ultimately does not play into the hands of patriarchy once again and keeps us preoccupied with arranging and re-arranging one aspect of our lives in search of a fulfillment that might look promising in our imagination until it also turns out to demand as much work as any other that involves people learning to be together.
I would love to hear your comments.