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  • 10 Tips for High School Graduates

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  • A tale of two lovers (or three, or four):

    --The truth about polyamory

    At 19, Emer O’Toole had a boyfriend and a girlfriend – but no word for the arrangement. Now, like a growing number of people, she does: polyamory. She and her friends reveal what life is like with more than one lover

    Last summer, at a friend’s birthday, a man sat next to me, explained that he’d heard I was polyamorous and asked if we could talk about it. He proceeded to explain that he’s a poly person at heart, but that his partner would never go for it: that’s why he cheated on her. I asked if he’d tried communicating about the kind of relationship he really wanted. No. He couldn’t. His partner was too traditional, too closed-minded. I asked how he’d feel if she became romantically involved with someone else. This was a moot point – she would simply never do that. Oh dear.

    Polyamory is usually described as ethical non-monogamy – that is, non-monogamy with the consent and knowledge of all involved. But, of course, there are infinitesimal interpretations of that. Whose ethics? Which actions need consent? What exactly do we want or need to know?

  • Poly is the New Gay

    Keeping up with social change is exciting, and important. There is a growing awareness of polyamory as a way to form relationships and families, and it is on the frontier of social change in acceptance of relationships. The more aware and accepting of diversity in relationships the more healthy our society is. It is not to be confused with polygamy, which is associated with religious laws that permit multiple wives, and does not have the same emphasis on an individual's autonomy and agency.

    There was a time, not too many decades ago, when homosexuality was classified as a mental illness, to be out was more dangerous than not, and discrimination was both expected and condoned. To acknowledge a same sex relationship was unthinkable. We have come a long way since then, and still have a long way to go.

    I do not wish to diminish or underplay the ongoing challenge presented by homophobia, and the need for equality for same sex relationships in many aspects of law, but same sex attraction is now accepted as mainstream. It is not hard to find scholarly studies of all aspects of same sex relationships, and everyday media mostly treats homosexuality as a normal variation of the human condition. There are public campaigns against homophobia, and quality sexuality education makes no assumptions about sexual orientation and teaches respect for difference.