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The “Liberated Christians” believe that monogamy and sexual repression have no biblical basis.

Photo: xlordashx

Have to admit, I thought polyamory was a San Francisco Bay Area (specifically, Marin County) original.

Ok, ok, I knew it was probably happening in a few other enclaves throughout the world, like Paris, or Salt Lake City.

But whoa, nelly. Newsweek just did a spread on this type of extreme loving. For those who don’t know, polyamory means having a relationship with more than one person at a time.

What differentiates it from Mormonism is the fact that women also have multiple partners, and marriage isn’t necessarily involved. Newsweek also refers to it as “ethical nonmonogamy,” and estimates that the number of polyamorous couples in the US alone is over a half million.

Naturally, this growing movement has brought out commentary from the religious right. But they are taking a bit of a leap, with some leaders believing that if gay marriage becomes legal, polyamory will become “normalized.” Glenn Stanton, the director of family studies for Focus on the Family, had this to say:

This group is really rising up from the underground, emboldened by the success of the gay-marriage movement.

At the same time, some gay-rights activists are distancing themselves from the polyamory movement. Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic recently wrote, “I believe that someone’s sexual orientation is a deeper issue than the number of people they want to express that orientation with.”

Exposing False Traditions

Photo: robad0b

Looks like not all Christians are against this lifestyle choice, though.

In my research, I came across the Liberated Christians site.

Here’s their mission statement:

Promoting positive intimacy and sexuality including responsible nonmonogamy or polyamory as a legitimate CHOICE for Christians and others/Exposing false traditions of sexual repression that have no biblical basis.

They believe that polyamory is simply the expression of the “God-given natural desire to connect emotionally and sexually with more than one person.” They say that cheating, so common in today’s society, comes from our repressed culture and the stigma that comes with expressing our true desires.

So, contrary to what both the religious right and the gay movements proclaim, maybe polyamory is the natural way. Or is it just an excuse to do whatever our heart desires?

Do you think that polyamory can be ethical and spiritual? Share your thoughts below.



About The Author

Christine Garvin

Christine Garvin is a certified Nutrition Educator and holds a MA in Holistic Health Education. She is the founder/editor of Living Holistically...with a sense of humor and co-founder of Confronting Love. When she is not out traveling the world, she is busy writing, doing yoga, and performing hip-hop and bhangra. She also likes to pretend living in her hippie town of Fairfax, CA is like being on vacation.

  • Colin Wright

    As someone who has been in happy monogamous and polyamorous relationships, I’d say that both have something to offer the right people in the right situation. For me, the poly side of things makes more sense if I’m not looking for something super-long-term and happen to stumble across the right people, whereas the monogamous route seems to work better for long-term relationships (and, obviously, relationships with gals who wouldn’t be down to have another gal involved).

    This is just what has worked for me in the past. I say people should be free to do whatever they want to do…one life to live and all that…seems a pity to waste any of it doing something or being stuck in a relationship that isn’t ideal!

  • Turner

    Why oh why did a group of men decide to write the bible?

  • Susan

    Do you realize that there has not been anything “poly” about Mormonism since well before my great-grandparents time?

  • John Kelly

    It doesn’t matter whether you practice monogamy or non-monogamy; if you use other people as nothing but means to an end, you’re behaving unethically. If you treat them with respect, as you yourself would want to be treated, you’re behaving ethically.

    I wouldn’t generalize from “some gay-rights activists” to “the gay movements.” Some — not all — gay rights activists condemn non-monogamy, either because they think it’s wrong, or because they think the same-sex marriage cause benefits from having all gay couples look just like all heterosexual couples (as if that were either possible or desirable).

    The phrase “ethical non-monogamy” reminds me of another that’s been in the news lately, “first openly gay bishop.” Non-monogamy (like gay clergy) is nothing new; what’s new is the “ethical” part.

  • Ryan

    I found that polyamory is really about how much drama do you want in your life. some people thrive on drama and all the boundary setting and constant processing and rules and calendar theatrics that is critical to a successful poly lifestyle. i’ve seen poly relationships work – good for them! but more often than not I’ve observed that it’s one person pushing the poly thing on a skeptical but willing-to-try-it partner.

    I don’t need it, personally: being with one person at a time is hard enough work for me!

  • joshywashington

    whoa! great thread going here!

    Although I am a serial monogamist and don’t really have experience in the other realm, I think judging or labeling other people’s lifestyle choice only speaks to fear.

    Ethical or unethical? Neither, both terms can be divisive, especially in matters of sexuality.

  • Carlo Alcos

    I prefer the the term unmonogamy.

    I couldn’t do it myself, I relate sex with emotions too much. But if you can be that detached, by all means.

    • Cassandra

      Why would you have to be detached? Polyamory focuses on having multiple loving relationships (feelings and sex) and it works for many people. My husband and I have been happily poly for over 8 years now.

  • Bridget

    Life seems to get more complicated the older I get. To each their own but I know I don’t have energy for more than one person at a time!

  • Gaylen Moore

    There is nothing unethical about polyamory. As for spirituality, I would offer this comment: If you think that falling in love is just a more or less random biological expression of hormones, etc. then it would seem that there is nothing much spiritual about love in general, and polyamory would be just more of the same. But if you believe that the powerful feelings we call “love” are, in fact, meaningful on some deeper level – then you should ask: WHY do some people fall in love with certain people, but not other people? I tend to follow C.G. Jung on this: I think that our experiences of strong emotion (love, or any other strong emotion) are signposts to deeper meaning in our lives – perhaps “messages” of a sort from our unconscious (both collective unconscious and personal unconscious). If this is right, then we should pay close attention to our feelings of love and strong attraction. If we already love someone, but then discover that we are falling in love with someone else as well, is there any principle of the universe that says the ONLY the first love is the genuine or true love? Is there any reason to think that our feelings of love for more than one person are somehow less meaningful in the grand scheme of things? I’d say no. Traditional monogamy (whether life-long, or serial) forces us to give up one love in order pursue another. But WHY should we do this? If, in fact, we still love one person, but also love another – why should we think that we must abandon either love? For some people monogamy is best – they are just not emotionally cut-out for polyamory. But for those who are well-suited to polyamory, turning away from it would be a way of turning their back on an opportunity for a deeper spiritual quest. If you check out my web link, you will see that I discuss some of this stuff in my various articles (e.g., “Creative Fidelity”, “The Irony of Monogamy” and “Quantum Sex.”)

  • Sundance

    Social expectations ram a bunch of contradictory ideas down people’s throats e.g. the idea that sex and love aren’t the same thing, but if you have sex with more than one person you can’t be in love with them, or that we can love many people platonically (e.g. friends, siblings), and love is best when your lover is your best friend, but you can’t love more than one person sexually. In reality it should all be personal choice – if some people want to be poly, nobody should tell them it’s unethical. Being ethical is about how you choose to treat the people around you, and if that treatments is based on respect and communication, then the ways you interact with other are unlimited. It’s certainly possible to be unethical in a monogamous relationship. And what’s wrong with doing “whatever your heart desires”? That’s what this site is all about – travelling and exploring and indulging your heart, rather than conforming to the expectation that you should be responsible, get a good job, work hard until retirement, and so on.

    I’ve been in polyamorous relationships for nine years, and I can’t imagine going back to monogamy. It’s just so wonderful to be able to accept your feelings of love and desire for several people, and express those feelings, rather than feel guilty or feel like you have to hide something. And having several partners enhances your appreciation of all your partner’s different strength and weaknesses. It’s not for everyone, but neither is any other lifestyle choice.

  • Kris Butler

    Just another facet of immorality in this society.

    • Cassandra

      You mean like your arrogant and judgmental ways?

  • Rebel

    Reading Robert Wright’s “Moral Animal” gave me a whole new perspective on polygamy… specifically the evolutionary-psychology perspective. Previously I would have just said “It’s wrong!” now I see that (in theory) there can be personal and societal benefits to ethical polyamorous relationships. In any case it might not do any more harm than divorce or cheating.

    Personally I know it’s not for me… forming & maintaining a relationship with one person is enough of a challenge. But I think if it works for you (plural, naturally ;) ) – go for it.

  • quaesto obligato

    That’s true in *this* life. Good Mormons continue to be promised polygamous “celestial marriage” in the next life. This is not much spoken about.

  • thegoldengriff

    You confuse polygamy and Mormonism when you say, “what differentiates it from Mormonism…” There are obvious historical reasons to tie Mormonism with polygamy, but they are not the same thing.

  • Zach

    @Susan, do you realize, that my Dad is a mainline Mormon and is sealed to two women? That means in heaven he already has to wives. Therefore, there is still very much so poly involved in Mormonism.

  • Jessica Burde

    There is nothing in the Gospels or the Torah and Tanakh (Old Testament) that forbid multiple marriages (in fact it is quite common on the Old Testament). I can’t comment on the letters of the Apostles, b/c I got to the part where Paul says that a child molesters *victim* is going to hell, and figured they were all a load of crap anyway.

    in the end it depends on a persons individual spiritual beliefs. I don’t see a problem with it, and I won’t tell you what to believe, if you’ll do the same for me. How’s that sound?

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