In July, 2009, Newsweek ran a feature article on “relationships with multiple, mutually consenting partners,” entitled, “Polyamory: The Next Sexual Revolution.” Last week, Showtime launched a reality TV show called “Polyamory: Married and Dating.” To quote from Newsweek’s 2009 article, it’s “enough to make any monogamist’s head spin.” And all this, of course, is being touted as a great thing, a celebration of love and freedom, a deliverance from the monotony and constraints of monogamy.
The Showtime promo pulls no punches and makes no excuses:
Narrator: The polyamorous lifestyle may shock some. But with American divorce rates hovering around 50 percent, these families are on the front line of a growing revolution in the traditional monogamous relationship.
Michael: I want people to know it’s okay to live a life this way, it can be good. Because it is. It’s beautiful. We love it.
Jennifer: I want people to know that monogamy isn’t the only way.
Vanessa: If it were socially acceptable, I think there would be way more poly people.
Tahl: It feels like how we really should all be living.
Natalia Garcia, director: I really believe that a lot of people are going to watch this show and their jaws are going to drop. And they’re also probably going to wonder, Am I poly?
Narrator: Follow two not-so-typical families –
Kamala: Mommy and Daddy are going to ask Jen and Tahl to come and live with us. How would you like that?
Kid: Yeah. I like ‘em.
Narrator: – that are changing the way America thinks about love.
Yes, it’s all about who we love, a statement we’ve heard before – repeatedly – in another context. Perhaps President Obama needs to allow his views on marriage to “evolve” just a little bit more? After all, don’t all Americans have the “right” to be with the person (or persons) they love?
According to the official blurb, “This provocative reality series takes an inside look at polyamory: non-monogamous, committed relationships that involve more than two people. Lindsey and Anthony are married, but live in a triad (three-way relationship) with their girlfriend, Vanessa. Husband and wife Michael and Kamala have many lovers, including couple Jen and Tahl.”
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.