We are talking about a piece on the poly lifestyle on “The Project” on TV; on Channel 10 for Melbourne viewers. The show first went to air at 6:30PM on the 26th of May, 2015, to be exact; though there was a replay later on in the evening. You can view the poly segment itself, on the podcast page of The Project section of the Ten website.
Polyamory doesn't get much publicity on mainstream media, and it was good to see that this segment showed polyamory in what some of us thought was quite a positive light.
Polyamory has been around for a very long time. In Australia, Carl Turney was probably the most interviewed spokesman for polyamory during the early 1990's. He had quite a few interviews in the mainstream media across the nation in that era. In those days, the reportage tried to sensationalize polyamory by drawing attention to the sexual aspects of the lifestyle. This, despite Carl's best attempts to steer all the interviews in a less salacious direction.
These days, sex and sexual infidelity is not such a big deal. Is it any wonder? The lid really has come off. Sex is a common media theme in many walks of life.
Thankfully, the Australian public was spared the bitchy comments and lewd innuendos from the panel after this particular segment; something that would undoubtedly have happened even a few years ago.
A few of us had an informal chat after the show, too; If there was a theme in what we had to say, it was the fact that polyamory can be so much more than sexual relations with more than one other person. The essence of the lifestyle lies in the fact that relationships can become more dynamic and rich between all parties in a polyamorous situation.
Clearly, in the show, and in the experience of those of us who have been in the polyamory lifestyle, sex did play a vital role in the initial stages of relationships in the beginning. But life moves on, things change, people change, and the sexual exuberance of a new relationship can give way to much more deep and subtle nuances.
During the show, the panel expressed appreciation for the bravery of the people who had enough guts to appear on the show and tell it like it is. Anne Hunter, of PolyVic, was there to demonstrate that polyamory can be a situation that can benefit women in particular. Anne is a person of high integrity; so anybody who knows Anne well would also know she wouldn't stay in a situation that was at all not to her liking. Intelligent, highly motivated women can get what they want in polyamory.
So we deeply thank Anne for her personal honesty. That goes for all the other people who appeared on the show to make it a great window into the real lifestyles of some of the polyamory community. Given that it was a short segment, it was a reasonably fair treatment; but by no means was it a comprehensive overview of the topic.
If you go to the literature, you will see the reason why: polyamory has the potential for a lot of flexibility and variation. More than any other lifestyle, polyamory can be tailored by the participants to fit their own unique situation. Yes, it is possible to cater to the individual needs of each and every person. This includes the parenting needs of children. As always, children don't have the same power to make decisions that adults do, but we would argue that the needs of children for adult support and interaction are better catered for in a polyamory situation. There are just more face-to-face time and greater availability of role models, for a start.
Julia Zemira took the opportunity to do a bit of self promoting for an SBS documentary on Sex that she made a few years ago. Julia made the point that there was a lot of talk about jealousy in the polyamory segment that she made, and bemoaned the fact that the people she interviewed seemed to be from situations where there was one man with two or more women.
A message for Julia: Polyamorous women with more than one lover are out there. In fact, some women have more than two lovers. You'd better believe it. In any case, it's not clear as to who is getting the most benefits in any situation with more than two people. There is such a thing as bisexuality. There's also celibacy and sexual disinterest, temporary and not so temporary. All these variations, and more, can fit in a polyamorous situation. Since your media track record is about sex, Julia, the potential complexities should set you thinking.
As to why more polyamorous women with more than one lover don't come forward. Why would they? When it comes to violent retribution against someone who chooses to step outside a marriage, there are no prizes for guessing which sex scores the most hits...and, yes, we do mean that literally!
As well, our society is still noticeably more supportive of the “studs” who have multiple lovers, and damning of the “sluts” who do the very same thing.
It's pretty clear that the polyamory community in general prefer their lifestyle above all others. For most of us who have experienced it, the benefits are a no-brainer. We only wish that other people, particularly women, could be safe and free to do what they want with their lives without pressure. In particular, we wish women freedom from the threat of violence from (former) partners, and equal congratulations from a less sexist society.
Polyamory is not a panacea for broken marriages, abusive relationships, or cultural limitations by gender. Polyamory, however, can be an oasis for those who have what it takes to step up to the role. You never know, it might bring you exactly what your heart desires.
We look forward to an increased interest from the media in polyamory. But more important, we will try to promote the interests of people interested in polyamory in whatever way we can.