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What Is Polyamory Really All About?

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What Is Polyamory Really All About?

Fighting, rather than surrendering to love, is ultimately a losing battle.

My position on polyamory has always been pro-choice rather than anti-monogamy, but after thirty years as a participant-observer in this strange new world it’s more the case than ever that I really have no position on whether people should be monogamous or not. The truth is that it’s extremely rare to find anyone who has only one sexual partner for their entire life. In fact, it’s unusual to find anyone who has only one “significant other” throughout their life.

So the question is not so much whether to love more than one, but whether it works better to have multiple partners sequentially or at the same time. There are definitely some people who are far better off taking it one at a time, and there are some situations which call out for other possibilities. I’m continually amazed both by the ingenuity, courage, and vulnerability of people who have made their own bodies and hearts the center for an inquiry into the true nature of love and by the persistent self-deception, lack of integrity, and callousness others justify by calling what they are doing polyamory.

While many people define polyamory as the practice of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with everyone’s full knowledge and consent, I see it differently. To me polyamory is a philosophy of loving that asks us to surrender to love. Polyamory leads us to ask, “What is the most loving and authentic way I can be present with these people and with myself at this time?”

The answer to this question may not always be obvious, and it may change over time, but the asking of it, and the willingness to consider answers we may not want to hear, is the whole point of polyamory. Most of us would rather surrender to our cultural conditioning, to our emotional discomfort, peer pressure, social censure, lust, convenience, or a partner’s demands than to the unvarnished truth about what would contribute the most to the well being of everyone involved.

In my book Polyamory in the 21st Century: Love and Intimacy with Multiple Partners
I give many examples of people who give different reasons for why they are choosing polyamory. They are surprisingly varied and range from a desire for personal or spiritual growth, an effort to overcome childhood wounds, coping with personality issues, stabilizing or spicing up a relationship, religious or political beliefs, sexual variety, sexual addiction, or simply falling in love. Many of these same reasons are given by other people to explain why they are choosing monogamy.

Perhaps, we only come up with these reasons afterwards to explain the behaviors we notice ourselves engaging in. One thing is certain. Love is a force of nature, and sooner or later, nature will have her way with us. Fighting, rather than surrendering to love, is ultimately a losing battle.

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Deborah Taj Anapol, Ph.D., asks us to examine our conditioning and assumptions about the nature of Love and the right use of sexual energy. What is love? What is sex? How do they relate to spirit? How do they express through human bodies, hearts, and minds? What would mastery of love and sex mean for our intimate relationships? There is not one ”right” way to structure a relationship. It’s about allowing love to flow with full awareness, integrity, and authenticity. Deborah Anapol, Ph.D. is a writer, seminar leader, and relationship coach who has specialized in working with partners and singles exploring the integration of love, sexuality, and spirituality for nearly three decades. Dr. Anapol is a dynamic and entertaining speaker who has appeared on radio and television programs all across the USA and Canada and leads workshops internationally. She has raised two daughters and has two grandchildren. Visit her in cyberspace at www.lovewithoutlimits.com. Dr. Anapol attended Barnard College, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California at Berkeley and received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Anapol is the author of The Seven Natural Laws of Love, Polyamory in the 21st Century (2010), Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits (1997), Compersion: Using Jealousy as a Path to Unconditional Love (ebook, 2006), and cofounder of Loving More Magazine. She is the producer of the video, Pelvic Heart Integration, documenting the work of Dr. Jack Painter. Dr.Anapol is presently based in California and Hawaii.

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