This is my monthly column about our life, life in a triad in general, or whatever rants & raves I feel like talking about at the time.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

It's all about the family

When people hear the word polyamory, for some reason their mind heads straight for the bedroom. They immediately begin concocting full color images in their mind involving two, three, four or more people writhing around naked in some wild sex orgy. Honestly I have no idea where this mindset comes from, because just about every polyamorous person I know will tell you that this just isn't true. In fact, I dare say that there might even be less sex involved in most poly relationships as compared to your average monogamous coupling. Less sex? "How can that be?" you ask. It's really pretty simple. Take my family, for instance. My family is a male - female - male triad with our Wife as the central point of the V. Now, it shouldn't take too much thought on your part to figure out exactly why that might lead to less sex instead of more. Myself and my co-husband aren't sexually involved, therefore we each have sexual relations with our Wife and her alone. Given the fact that we all three work full time jobs and there's a seven year old in the house, day to day life just doesn't afford us all the luxury of rampant sexual relations. Of course we have a happy, healthy sex life, that goes without saying. The sex, however, just isn't the sole reason for our polyamorous union. I'd even go so far as to say that, sex aside, we probably see each other far less as couples then your average monogamous family would. We have three different work schedules to juggle, and there's that seven year old I mentioned. Making sure that someone is always home to see him on and off the school bus causes schedule conflicts at times. He's the number one priority, not sex (despite what some people would believe). Our lives as a family unit far outweigh our wanton desires to head for the bedroom at the drop of a hat.

Even folks living in different relationship configurations don't necessarily have more sex as part of their daily relationships. The more adults you add into a family, the greater likelihood of there being more children. More children leads to more extracurricular activities, more juggling of schedules, more responsibilites that need to be "farmed" out to one person or another. As Cunning Minx, host and creator of the Polyamory Weekly podcast, is famous for saying; "It's not all about the sex". Nope, not even by a long shot. So why would anyone ever put themselves into this type of relationship? I won't presume to speak for anyone else, because without asking them directly I simply can't know what their motivations for exploring polyamory might have been. What I can do, however, is speak to my own life and a few questions that some folks might like to have answered. Did I enter into this relationship because my hormones were raging and I was lusting after sexual gratification? Did I somehow think that entering into a polyfidelitous triad would present untold physical satisfaction that I had been unable to achieve in my life previously? Did I put myself into this type of relationship for the sole purpose of sleeping with as many people as possible? The answer to all of these questions is a definite no. So why, exactly, did I put myself into this type of relationship configuration if it wasn't in hopes of getting my hands on the golden ring of sexual gratification? The first, and most important reason, is love.

The simple truth of the matter is that I found myself in love with a woman who just so happened to be married to another man. I could very well have just accepted the fact that this is the way it was and moved on. I could have simply disqualified this woman as a possible life partner due to the single fact that she already had a spouse. Why didn't I, you ask? Quite frankly I had met her Husband and I liked him. We got along great (and still do) and it felt like we had known each other for much longer then we had. The more time that the three of us spent together, the more right it felt. So to revisit part two of the question already asked of me, why, exactly, did I put myself into this type of relationship configuration if it wasn't in hopes of getting my hands on the golden ring of sexual gratification? The second answer to this question, while perfectly rational to me, might not make sense to folks living in a monogamous relationship.

It's all about the family.

The fact that we can choose our own family is one of the greatest benefits that polyamory affords us. To be able to surround yourselves with people you want to be around. To be able to choose who you develop the "ties that bind" with. To be able to look at the people who share your life with and know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that these people will always be there for you when you need them. My family, my chosen family, share the strongest bond of any family I know (personally). We share all of the qualities that one would find in any biological family. We share open, honest communication. We know that we can speak our minds, our opinions, our deepest secrets, without fear of judgement. We know that, at any time, any one of us can go to one of the other members of the family and communicate. Not just speak, because anyone can speak to another person. We can communicate on a much deeper level. We can talk and know that the person we're speaking to is not only listening but hearing what we're saying. Hearing what someone is saying is far more important than simply listening to them. Even more important than hearing what someone is saying is empathizing with their feelings.

Recently our family encountered a pretty rough spot involving our finances. I suddenly found myself with a huge financial obligation from my past dumped into my lap. This isn't something that can simply be ignored, nor is it something that will go away anytime soon. So, how did my family handle this particular situation? We sat down, as a unit, and we talked about it. After I had informed them of the situation, the reaction I got was far above anything I had imagined. Instead of them saying "This is your problem, deal with it", they immediately began shuffling finances around and seeing exactly where we, as a family, could cut the budget to make this happen. In the end, after the discussion was over, the Wife looked at me and said something that put a lump in my throat. She said "Everything's going to be okay, you know why? Because we're all together." That, for me, pretty much sums up why I'm polyamorous. Even more so, it's exactly why these people are my chosen family.

In the poly community, though, family goes so much further than the people we live with every day. I have a small but very intimate family through this website. We're a community, and without family there can never be a community. Most of these people I'll be meeting for the first time next month at Stew & Brew, but that doesn't lessen their importance to me any. That doesn't change the fact that I consider these people family, and it doesn't change the fact that I'd do anything in my power to help these people if need be. I know that this online family I've surrounded myself with isn't anything specific to polyamory, but it's just another extension of my chosen family. That's exactly what choose means. Everyone deserves the right to choose who is part of their family. Everyone deserves to choose who they trust, who they love, who they wish to share their life with. Polyamory affords everyone those same rights, but with fewer limitations than are imposed upon people searching for their "one true love" to complete them.

Yes, I'm polyamorous, and I'm proud of the life I have. I love my Wife, and I love my family just as much. I consider myself to be a happy, well-adjusted person. I'll be the first to admit that I love sex, but the fact that I'm poly doesn't make me some type of deviant. Humans are sexual creatures by nature, that's a known fact. Given this obvious fact, I think that it's important for society to know that we're not a bunch of deviant, sex-crazed people. We're no different from monogamous families in that regard. We live, we love, we cry, we celebrate the joys of life.

I don't go around asking my monogamous friends what goes on behind their bedroom door, and I'd appreciate being treated with that same level of respect. Sure we have sex, but that's just a small part of our life, just as it is yours. For most of us, it's all about the family.

~ Chias, May 27, 2006


folks have read this article.