On Harvey Weinstein

I have a feeling that this Harvey Weinstein story is going to be huge. It’s not that he was a sleazy Hollywood producer with a well-worn casting casting couch; that sort of stuff has been going on for ages. Nor is it that lots of people around him knew it was going on but covered it up; that too has been going on for ages. It’s more to do with who covered it up.

Since as far back as I can remember, Hollywood in general, and particularly famous actors and actresses, have been fully supportive of liberal, progressive politics and openly hostile to Republicans and conservatism. They worshipped at the feet of Barack Obama and went into meltdown over the election of Donald Trump. They have portrayed themselves as the moral arbiters of the nation, leading the way into a progressive new world by adopting every trendy cause going: Leonardo DiCaprio on global warming, Mark Ruffalo on fracking, Shia LeBeouf on anti-Trump, God knows how many actresses turning up in support of Planned Parenthood and other feminist-driven organisations. This culminated with Meryl Streep’s excruciating Oscar speech in which she positioned Hollywood celebrities like her as the shining beacons of hope in a country which would otherwise be nothing but ignorant white men watching football.

The Democrats, of course, have welcomed this unquestioning support for years, happy to hob-nob with Hollywood stars at swanky parties in New York and LA and receive millions in campaign donations along the way. Hollywood, Democrats, and liberal politics have become so intertwined it is almost impossible to separate the two. Also entangled in the whole lot is the media, which is largely the publicity arm of the Democratic party, and hence also firmly in bed with the Hollywood moguls. When Trump ran for president, everyone on the left – Democrats, the media, and Hollywood stars – lined up to condemn his misogyny and ill-treatment of women when the Access Hollywood tape (several years old) was mysteriously leaked at a crucial point in his campaign. This triggered the feminist-driven anti-Trump movement which after his election organised huge protest marches in support of women’s rights which they claimed were being eradicated under an administration which wasn’t even a week old. Several prominent Hollywood celebrities spoke at these highly-political marches, more attended, and the media gave them fawning coverage.

Now it appears that these same people have not only been close friends with a serial sexual predator, but they have been actively covering up his activities for years. The dyke was breached when Ashley Judd spoke to the New York Times about Weinstein’s behaviour towards her early in her career. Ironically, Judd subjected the masses to an unhinged political rant at the Washington Women’s March last January; one wonders why she chose to attack Trump – who she’s probably never met – than lodge a complaint about the man who actually abused her. I’ll get to the answer later.

Since then, the floodgates have opened. Several more prominent actresses have come forward with tales of abuse at the hands of Weinstein and with it dozens of pictures of actors, celebrities, and Democrat politicians cosying up to him while showering him with accolades. This would be less damaging were everyone in the dark as to what he was up to, but evidence is pouring in that his demands for sexual favours from young women was Hollywood’s worst kept secret. It was so widely known that Seth MacFarlane even joked about it at the 2013 Oscars, and everyone laughed.

It’s hardly surprising that few of these young women came forward to report him, and tempting though it is to point out that Judd only went to the papers once her career was over and her money earned, it is unfair. Yesterday an audio recording emerged of an encounter between actress/model Ambra Gutierrez and Weinstein. The conversation was recorded as part of an NYPD sting operation into Weinstein’s behaviour, and Gutierrez – who had been groped by Weinstein the day before – made the recording on their behalf. Weinstein admits on tape to inappropriate behaviour the day before, but the New York District Attorney – one Cyrus Vance Jr – decided to quash the case. If police recordings weren’t enough to bring about meaningful intervention into Weinstein’s behaviour, the mere word of a young woman wasn’t going to. As a measure of Weinstein’s clout, I read an anecdote on Twitter last week regarding an incident that took place at a very public event in New York. Some reporter had upset Weinstein and he grabbed him around the neck and basically threw him down some steps. Despite the dozens of photographers and cameramen around, not a single shot of the incident was published: nobody would dare.

Of course, covering up is one thing, actively defending the guy another. According to today’s Independent:

It’s been alleged by The Wrap founder Sharon Waxman that she investigated the accusations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein 13 years ago while reporting for The New York Times in 2004.

She claims this piece was cut from the paper due to both The Weinstein Company’s presence as an advertiser and alleged meddling by major Hollywood players including Matt Damon and Russell Crowe.

We also have this report from the New York Times which really doesn’t make Brad Pitt look too good after his then-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow was propositioned by Weinstein:

She refused his advances, she said, and confided in Brad Pitt, her boyfriend at the time. Mr. Pitt confronted Mr. Weinstein, and soon after, the producer warned her not to tell anyone else about his come-on. “I thought he was going to fire me,” she said.

So Pitt knew about Weinstein since the time of this incident, which would have been around 1994, and said nothing. However, skeptics might point out that Paltrow wasn’t so traumatised that she couldn’t work with Weinstein afterwards in her defining role in Shakespeare in Love. Also in the NYT piece comes news that Weinstein also made unwanted advances on Angelina Jolie.

Okay, here’s the thing: I can understand why a young, unknown actress might not speak up about Weinstein, but Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow? Why are they only coming public with it now? Jolie has been one of the most powerful people in Hollywood for years, and Paltrow has been famous enough to brush off Weinstein for at least as long. Why did they not speak up sooner? And while we’re on the subject, why  haven’t these right-on Hollywood men responded to the Guardian‘s request for a comment:

The Guardian contacted more than 20 male actors and directors who have worked with the movie mogul over the years, some of whom have projects with Weinstein. All declined to comment or did not respond to inquiries about the accusations that the producer sexually harassed women over a period of nearly three decades.

The list of industry figures thus far remaining silent includes a number of male directors, such as the Oscar-nominated Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, the Hateful Eight) and David O Russell (Silver Linings Playbook, The Fighter, Flirting With Disaster), who have both made numerous movies with Weinstein.

The liberal film-maker Michael Moore, currently working with Weinstein on a documentary about Donald Trump, also did not respond to a request for comment.

Here’s why. Firstly, nobody gives a shit about one another in these circles. Actors and actresses by nature are narcissistic, selfish assholes and would happily stab one another in the back to get ahead. Ditto Democrats and most of the media. That vicious, vindictive, nastiness that is ever-present among public figures who champion liberal politics – particularly celebrities – doesn’t simply disappear once they’re around friends. They don’t have any friends, just people they can use for now. I see Weinstein’s wife has just decided to leave him, as if she had no idea what he was like before. The directors of his company have fired him only because the public found out about his behaviour, not because they did. Paltrow and Jolie and all the other long-term, highly-protected A-listers are speaking out because as of this week it became the smart thing to do reputation and career-wise. Before that, they were happy to stay silent as women were abused and propositioned just as they had been when younger. So much for female solidarity.

The second reason is politics. For all the talk about Republican and right-wing misogyny, nine times out of ten any public figure caught abusing women in America will be a Democrat or one of their chief supporters. The notable exception is Donald Trump, but sharp-eyed observers will point out that he was a big pal of the Democrats throughout the entire period any bad behaviour was alleged to have taken place (and I wrote about his supposedly excusing sexual assault here). Only once he turned Republican did his misogyny become an issue. One thing this unfolding story about Weinstein will prove once and for all is that Democrats, liberals and their media lackeys will ignore, accept, and defend all manner of disgusting, sexually-abusive behaviour from men provided their politics conform with theirs. We could mention Roman Polanski, or Antony Weiner, or Bill Clinton; provided they are on the liberal, Democrat side of politics, anything is acceptable. But if you’re a Republican and you say you wouldn’t have dinner alone with a woman who wasn’t your wife, the liberal establishment goes into hysterics about misogyny and marches in protest, accusing you of “attacking women”.

I don’t know why Judd finally broke ranks and spoke to the NYT, but now the cat is out of the bag even his politics can’t save him (although some are trying, and others are rapidly backtracking). The liberal mouthpieces have now smelled blood in the water, a chance to take down an old, white guy, polish their third-wave feminist credentials, and push the narrative than women everywhere are subject daily to horrific sexual exploitation by male bosses. Presumably they think nobody will notice they covered it up for years purely because he helped their careers and espoused the right politics.

Commenter Phil B asked me yesterday why I continued to fisk the nonsense that Laurie Penny writes, and this is my answer. In yesterday’s post I commented on how she is happy to remain friends with somebody with a history of sexually assaulting women because she approves of his politics. In the post the day before I recalled how she allowed her rapist to get close to her because “he was a fun-loving, left-leaning chap who was friends with a number of strong, feminist women” she admired. Yet Laurie has decided that it is ordinary, decent, conservative men that are the problem – just as Hollywood celebrities, Democrats, and liberals say it is.

This Harvey Weinstein story is not just about Hollywood, it goes to the very heart of left-liberal politics from the top to the very bottom, and you can be sure he’s not the only one behaving like this. Other names will come out in due course, all with a similar history. This is why I think it will be too big to shove under the carpet.

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California’s HIV Laws

I think by now everyone knows Californians are batshit insane, but this still surprised me:

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Friday that lowers from a felony to a misdemeanor the crime of knowingly exposing a sexual partner to HIV without disclosing the infection.

“Today California took a major step toward treating HIV as a public health issue, instead of treating people living with HIV as criminals,” Wiener said in a statement. “HIV should be treated like all other serious infectious diseases, and that’s what SB 239 does.”

Supporters of the change said the current law requires an intent to transmit HIV to justify a felony, but others noted cases have been prosecuted where there was no physical contact, so there was an argument intent was lacking.

I think what makes HIV different is that it is one of a very few transmittable diseases which is absolutely incurable and results in the death of the recipient in every instance (yes, the anti-retroviral drugs prolong life almost indefinitely nowadays, but without these death is 100% certain; nobody has so far proved immune or recovered on their own).

HIV has been the only communicable disease for which exposure is a felony under California law. The current law, Wiener argued, may convince people not to be tested for HIV, because without a test they cannot be charged with a felony if they expose a partner to the infection.

This says something about the assumed morality of Californians: they would prefer to infect a partner with a deadly, incurable disease than risk being charged with a felony. And the idea that requiring carriers of this deadly, incurable disease to disclose their condition to partners is “treating them like criminals” is a rather interesting interpretation. Presumably the rights of Californians to not be infected with HIV by irresponsible, immoral partners are subordinate to the feelings of those carrying the disease.

The measure also applies to those who give blood without telling the blood bank that they are HIV-positive.

This is stupid, but probably not as serious as it sounds. I have been told that blood banks screen for HIV in batches, meaning people’s blood is combined and the whole lot tested. If it comes up positive they have to bin the whole batch, which would mean the clean blood mixed up in it is wasted. It’s unlikely HIV-infected blood will get through these days: while false positives are common in HIV testing, I understand false negatives are unheard of. Still, that this law is necessary shows there are people out there willing to give blood while knowingly infected with HIV who have a problem disclosing it.

California, eh?

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Puffing Up Polyamory

A mate who may be vying for a coveted Research Assistant’s position on this blog forwards me this article from Men’s Health:

More Americans are showing interest in polyamory, or relationships where you have more than one romantic or sexual partner, according to a new study published in The Journal of Sex Research.

For the study, Amy Moors, Ph.D., director of social science research and evaluation for the College of Engineering at Purdue University, looked at data gathered from Google Trends between January 2006 and December 2015.

Moors analyzed the search volume for the terms “polyamory,” “open relationships,” and “swingers,” comparing them to control keywords like “Facebook” and “quotes.” She discovered that searches for “polyamory” and “open relationships” increased over time, while searches for “swingers”—a more old-fashioned term—decreased over time.

Personally I don’t think this means much, but it’s definitely a term that’s entering the general lexicon. This should be good for my book sales.

Moors says that while it’s not possible to know why exactly people are searching for these terms, it’s clear that an increasing number of people are thinking about non-monogamy and looking for information about it.

My guess is people are finding the term cropping up in online dating profiles, or meeting mentally ill people from Brooklyn who’ve never known anything else.

Unsurprisingly, part of the reason for an increased interest in open relationships is due to their appearance on TV. “Several of the large spikes in internet searches related to polyamory and open relationships are tied to popular TV shows and press,” she says.

Well, yes. TV shows exist in part to push an agenda set by the sort of liberal arts graduates who go into media, and polyamory is but the latest fad being promoted. Just as Sex and the City convinced a generation of women they could slut it up around New York until their mid-30s before settling down with a multi-millionaire playboy, no doubt these new shows will convince some that having meaningless sex with a succession of low-grade partners is a viable lifestyle choice.

Though, she says, it’s hard to say whether people are Googling this info because they’re just curious about what they’re seeing on the small screen or they’re actually interested in trying it themselves, the topic is definitely on the public’s mind.

It’s on the public’s mind because TV shows, magazines, and newspapers won’t stop promoting it.

Moors adds that non-monogamous relationships are widely misunderstood and stigmatized.

So will Moors add some clarity or muddy the waters? What do you think?

“There isn’t scientific evidence to suggest that humans are unable to love and/or engage in sex with more than one person,” she says.

That’s a handy strawman, isn’t it? Nobody is saying humans can’t love or have sex with multiple partners, but a quick survey of several billion people and a couple thousand years of human development would suggest that if you’re interested in a stable, functioning, relationship which benefits both the individuals, society, and any children then monogamy is probably the way to go. Sure, some people might be able to watch their partner go off with someone else and have sex and not bat an eyelid, but let’s not pretend this is common. She might as well say there is no scientific evidence for jealousy and insecurity.

“In fact, some of my recent work compared relationship quality based on trust, satisfaction, passionate love among people engaged in consensually non-monogamous, and monogamous relationships and found no differences.”

And how did you measure “relationship quality”? Did you look at longevity? Did you look at how many people, when ending a polyamorous relationship, quit the practice altogether and return to monogamy versus those going in the other direction?

“I anticipate that consensually non-monogamous relationships will become more mainstream,” Moors says.

I don’t know about that, but I am quite confident the propaganda won’t ease up.

Even polyamorists aren’t convinced by the practice. Consider this article I stumbled across this morning:

I just realized that I’ve had 5 different relationships which ended because the other person wanted to monogamous.

This implies they were already in a polyamorous relationship, but one of them wanted monogamy.

Two of them, (or more?), I also know they wanted to have kids. It makes me wonder if there’s a link between monogamy and plans for children.

This kid is nothing if not sharp!

I wonder if people that plan to procreate are more interested in monogamy because they’re looking for a partner that will be looking inwards towards their family. Their only priorities will be their children and partner, and not be distracted by other love affairs.

Who knew, eh?

Reading between the lines, this second article sounds as though it’s written by a man who likes shagging around with women who are dabbling in polyamory (probably due to low self-esteem, daddy issues, or personality disorders) but really want to settle down with a loving partner and have kids. The first article, like so many others, is fundamentally dishonest in refusing to address the obvious difficulties polyamorous relationships create, especially for those who want to have children.

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More on Polyamory and Children

I felt a little guilty going off on holiday and not keeping you up to date on the important topic of polyamory and kids, but today I make it up to you.

Article the first:

Growing up, I know who my parents friends were. I even knew they had different kinds of friends. There were the friends who were my friend’s parents. My parents got together and hung out with them once a month, but the connection didn’t last when I moved to a different school. There were my father’s friends from work, the people he enjoyed spending time with but also had to stay professional with, so we kids were largely “out of sight, out of mind” when they came over. There were mom’s special friends from way back. We kids actually knew them by their first names. They would come over and drink tea and we had to play with their kids whether we liked them or not.

Were any of these friends shagging either or both of your parents? I ask mainly to understand how you’ve turned out.

So let’s pretend you make a new friend at work, you invite your friend over to hang out and watch a movie sometime. What do you say to your kids? Probably something like, “Hey kids my new friend So-and-so is coming over tonight. Be polite, make sure the place isn’t an utter disaster and try not to interrupt too often, okay?”

Your kids are aware of this friend, but probably don’t pay much attention.

Mark my words, they’d pay attention if he was spending the night in your bedroom while daddy mysteriously cleared off for the night.

There is no reason for your kids to know the details of your relationship—anymore than I knew just what my mother talked about with her friends when they came to visit.

Kids are incredibly perceptive, and will immediately pick up on something that is out of the ordinary, and if mummy has two lovers they will probably be extremely confused. The idea that kids won’t notice, or will not be affected by this, is rather fanciful.

As a ittle kid, I didn’t want to know anyway. It was grown up stuff, and probably boring. *yuck face* As a teenager, I had my own stuff that I cared about a lot more than making nice with my parents friends.

That may be because your parents had friends, not fuck-buddies.

Like any other friend, it slowly becomes normal for your poly partner to be around a bit more, participating in your family’s public life. Maybe you meet up to watch a parade and your partner offers to buy flags or something for the kids. Small things, small steps.

Because that’s not creepy.

First rule of kids: if you don’t treat it like a big deal, they’ll assume it isn’t a big deal.

Divorces, abandonment, neglect, domestic violence: if you downplay these, so will the kids. Why didn’t anyone else think of this?

Second rule of kids: if it’s not going to have a direct impact on their life, they probably won’t care.

There’s an awful lot riding on that “if”.

So introduce your partner early, as just another friend.

Only it is going to become painfully obvious to the kids that this man is not just another friend. Probably around the time they see him emerging from your bedroom, tackle out, looking for the bathroom.

Parents having relationships with other adults is a normal part of life for most kids. Do your kids really care that your relationship with your cousin is different from your relationship with your friend is different from your relationship with your poly partner?

Very much so. Kids can spot the various levels of intimacy and affection between their parents and their friends a mile off.

Not unless and until those relationships start to impact them.

Which they inevitably will.

For children it’s “grown up stuff, yuck!” and for teenagers it’s “Old folks are so out off touch.” In either case, it’s no big deal.

It’s no big deal because they understand, even subconsciously, that sexual relations in a monogamous relationship are normal. Once you start adding additional partners they’ll know immediately something unusual is going on and they’ll be confused as hell. You only need to look at the impact a parent having an affair has on the family and children.

Article the second:

Children who are born into a polyamorous relationship do not need anyone to explain their parents’ relationships, any more than children born into a monogamous relationship. Because they grow up with it, they understand it. It’s normal to them.

Right up until they encounter the real world outside the front door, and then they’ll be utterly confused.

Children whose parent(s) become polyamorous after the children are born may have difficulty understanding change in their parents’ relationships.

But we’ll do it anyway. Fuck the kids.

If you choose to be open about your lifestyle choices, it’s important to present them in a way that leaves your children secure in knowing that their family will not be hurt by the changes you are making.

Give them false assurances, in other words.

For some children, and some relationships, you won’t need to discuss anything. Just say at dinner ‘Mommy’s going out on a date, so I’m putting you to bed tonight.’

Because this won’t induce confusion and abandonment issues.

This goes equally for single parents with several polyam relationships and families with a parent and step parent. ‘Boyfriend will be baby-sitting while Mommy goes on a date with Girlfriend’ works just as well as ‘Daddy/Mommy/Step-Parent is putting you kids to bed tonight’.

Leaving a kid in the hands of a boyfriend while mommy goes on a date with a girlfriend. What could possibly go wrong?

If the kids ask questions, answer them without long explanations. Best advice I ever got about explaining things to little kids – answer the exact question they ask in the simplest terms possible, and then shut up.

Mom’s a slut? Mom cares only about herself?

If they want more information, they’ll keep asking.

Why, it’s almost as if the kids have serious trouble getting their heads around your sleeping arrangements, isn’t it?

Older children and teenagers will definitely be fully aware of the social norms against polyamory.

,,,

Depending on the child the reaction can range from ‘You’re talking about polyamory? That’s cool,’ to ‘ok, whatever,’ to ‘OMG HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO ME!!!!’ (Yes, at this age it is all about them.)

Seriously? From what I’ve read so far, it seems to be all about you.

Expect it and accept it. I honestly don’t see much difference between this and the way many adults act, but people seem to think it’s a big deal that teenagers do this. Meh.)

My teenage daughter’s life has just been turned upside down by the news I’m shagging other men in an open relationship. Meh.

Answer any questions, be clear that it is your lives and your choice, but that you respect them enough to tell them yourselves about this decision.

Did I really just read that?

The most important thing about discussing it this way is it lets them know the floor is open. Whatever their reaction, they know that you are okay with them knowing about your relationships, and are willing to discuss it with them.

In general, as long as they see that their lives and their relationships with you aren’t changing in a massive way, older children and teenagers will move on to something else to be worked up and angry about eventually, no matter how badly they react.

But what if it is affecting them and your relationship with them is changing (e.g. by some weirdo who buys them flags putting them to bed instead of you)? What if they beg you to stop, and tell you your sexual preferences have utterly destroyed the structure of their lives? What then?

At no point in this entire damned article does this woman consider quitting the practice and putting her kids first, even if they are suffering terribly.

As self-centered as they are, kids are very attuned to anything that threatens their lives and families.

You think?!

You having other relationships will be seen as a threat, simply because they have been taught that this is a betrayal of their other parent, and may lead to divorce.

Toddlers have been taught this, have they? They’re aware of what divorce is, and its consequences? Or perhaps several thousand years of human development has left kids with an innate ability to know a fucked-up situation when they see one?

Next time you read an article trying to convince you that polyamorists are perfectly normal people unfairly judged by the rest of society, remember this post, won’t you?

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Polyamory and Children

If ever I were to defend polyamory it would be on the grounds that consenting adults should be allowed to sleep with whomever they please. Throw kids into the mix, however:

In theory, I should be writing another post on pregnancy. If I tried in this exhausted state, what would come out is my own emotions and reactions to my experiences of pregnancy in polyamorous relationships, not all of which were good. I guess if I were to sum up the badness it would be: it was difficult and hurtful for a woman who was supposed to be part of a quad with me, to want me to have nothing to do with her pregnancy, and then want to be heavily involved in my own pregnancy later that same year. Of course, that whole relationship was a disaster. None of us handled the situation well, and a lot of people were very hurt before it ended.

Imagine my surprise.

Probably the one who was hurt the most was my husband, who left the relationship, left behind me, his brother, and the two children of his heart who he now never sees, living half way across the country. Thankfully, and due to a series of very messed up circumstances, involving extended family, Division of Youth and Family Services, and a messed up legal system, the children had been living with my parents and had barely seen him for a year, as well as being young enough that now, three years later, they barely remember him, so they weren’t nearly as hurt as they could have been by his leaving. Though, sometimes, a few times a year maybe, my daughter asks for him.

This did not come out of a clear blue sky: it is a direct consquence of involving children in a polyamorous lifestyle. How do you think these kids are going to turn out?

And I suppose if this post has a point, that should be it. There are no legal ties to the children of our poly partners. And if things end, it can be so easy to walk away, so much less hurtful to leave them behind rather then see them constantly and be reminded of what we lost.

Well, yes. If the descriptions of polyamorous relationships are anything to go by, being able to just walk out the door with no responsibility is one of the primary attractions of the lifestyle. What you are describing is a feature, not a bug.

But if we chose to bring children into a polyam relationship, whether we are the biological parents or not, we have a responsibility to them.

If that were true you’d be keeping children well out of it. Instead, you choose to satisfy your own lifestyle desires first and try to shoehorn the kids in around them.

I hear it said so often in polyam forums that a relationship that ends is not a failure if it simply ran its course and everyone moved on . . . but, when you bring children in, whether they are born into the relationship, or brought in from previous relationships, we owe it to them not to let the end of a relationship with our partners, take us away from the children who also have a relationship with us.

So what’s the priority here? Your sex life or the wellbeing of the children? If the latter, why bring them into the lifestyle at all?

There is a little girl who called me her parent, and whose face lights up whenever she sees me, who is not allowed to spend time with me.

/facepalm

There are two children sleeping upstairs who have a father they will probably never see again.

/bangs head on desk

This is wrong, and I cannot change it. But I can hope and pray that those of you who read this, will do everything in your power to make sure these things never happen to the children in your life.

Because our children deserve better than this.

Yes, they do. So quit the polyamory, find a proper partner, and build a normal, stable environment to raise them in.

The more I read about polyamorous relationships the more I realise they are underpinned by a staggering degree of selfishness on the part of everyone involved. Except the kids, of course; they have no choice in it.

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Polyamory and Mental Illness

Via Twitter, I found this advice on talking about mental problems when in a polyamorous relationship:

If your partner is constantly battling suicidal thoughts and you want to talk about how they never do their share of the dishes, stop. Is it fair that you are doing most of the dishes? No. But they are literally fighting for their life and asking them to take energy away from that battle to hash out a schedule for the dishes isn’t fair to them either.

Being in a relationship with someone who is severally mentally ill (or physically ill, or sometimes just dealing with life shitting on them) means prioritizing. Yes, it is annoying as fuck that you are doing all the dishes. But who does the dishes is not as important as keeping everyone alive and healthy. Before you can fix the dishes problem, your partner needs to heal. That, as I have said elsewhere, takes time.

As is so often the case with stories related to polyamory, the example could easily apply to a monogamous relationship. This is probably deliberate, because it deflects attention from the serious issues that are unique to polyamory. Were the example to be specific to polyamory, it might read:

If your partner is constantly battling suicidal thoughts and you want to talk about how you want to sleep with your other lovers more often, stop. Is it fair that you can’t sleep with your other partners? No. But they are literally fighting for their life and asking them to take energy away from that battle to hash out a schedule for sex isn’t fair to them either.

Being in a relationship with someone who is severally mentally ill (or physically ill, or sometimes just dealing with life shitting on them) means prioritizing. Yes, it is annoying as fuck that you can’t be with your other lovers as often as you like. But having sex is not as important as keeping everyone alive and healthy. Before you can fix the sex problem, your partner needs to heal.

Putting it like that raises the obvious question: should someone who is mentally ill be in a polyamorous relationship in the first place, given the additional stresses and burdens such an arrangement inevitably brings?

Or is being mentally ill a requirement?

This post is part of the Polyamory and Mental Illness blog series.

One would almost think the two to go hand-in-hand.

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Men might want older women, but not for these reasons

Via a polyamorous community on Twitter I found this article on why younger men love older women. Now before I begin, there’s nothing wrong with a guy dating a woman a few years older than him and the older he gets, the less odd this becomes, i.e. a 40 year old dating a 43 year old is a bit different from a 16 year old dating a 19 year old. And while I really don’t care if Macron marries someone his mother’s age, let’s not pretend it’s very common. Here goes:

Confidence: The most appealing trait in anyone is self-confidence. Many older women have developed their own sense of style, and after years of growth both mentally and physically they’re comfortable in their own skin.

Firstly, this isn’t true. There are plenty of middle-aged women out there who are emotional wrecks, endlessly seeking validation in one form or another. Secondly, of those that are confident, many express it by being a complete ball-breaking bitch. Hardly what men are looking for, is it?

Frequently she’s financially independent and streetwise.

Women who date much younger men are streetwise, eh? And often they’re financially independent because they’ve cleaned out some poor sod in a divorce.

Younger men want to be with her because of the positive energy she emits.

Unlike twenty-two year old women who are just down on everything, I suppose.

Her self-assurance will have a reciprocal effect on the man too. He’ll gain maturity by being in the relationship. This will help build his character and make him feel good about himself.

It sounds as though sonny-boy is missing his mother.

Knowledge about sex and life. Older women have years of sexual experience with men of all ages. She’s had a lot of practice whether it was with multiple partners or one man. Being with a woman who can teach the younger guy a few new tricks is extremely alluring, especially to those who haven’t had many partners or experiences.

Sorry, is he after a girlfriend or a whore for the night? It is a myth that men are impressed by women who are filthy in bed in the early stages of a relationship. Contrary to the opinions of the buffoon writing this piece, having had “practice with multiple partners” is generally not considered an attractive quality in a woman. What men want is a woman who has some experience, but wants to learn more – with him. If a man can find a woman who is fairly innocent and train her up to be a rampaging slut in the bedroom but only with him – that’s marriage material.

The older woman knows her own body and what turns her on. She has the owner’s manual and shares it willingly with her partners. She’s self-aware and knows what she wants in and out of the bedroom.

Because mutual sexual explorations are so boring, aren’t they? Better to find a woman who knows exactly what she wants – and doesn’t want to do.

No game playing. Older women are done playing games. They are straight shooters and will be honest about what they want in the relationship and what they won’t accept.

Which is why they’re still single and trawling the internet for younger men.

 They will demand respect from the younger man because they respect themselves.

Nothing says a woman respects herself more than demanding respect from a lover half her age.

Typically the younger guy won’t need to worry about pregnancy prevention since the older woman will be equally concerned having already had her own children.

Leaving aside that she’s also probably incapable now anyway, I find that she has children of her own amusing. I wonder what they think of ma’s new boyfriend?

Communication. A younger less experienced woman may worry that if she shares her desires, she may lose the man. She may be embarrassed to tell a guy what turns her on sexually.

Most guys have a lot of fun finding this out rather than waiting to be told.

The older woman won’t shy away from offering advice on personal hygiene. She’ll encourage him to dress like a man – not a boy. This will spill over into other areas of his life, as he gets encouragement from people about his “new look.”

Handy for those men who are used to their mothers dressing them, I suppose.

The younger man can be free to be himself with an older woman. He won’t need to impress her with a fake bravado the way he might think a younger woman would expect. He’s with the older woman for companionship and sex without worrying that she wants something more – like marriage.

Oh yeah? What’s the woman’s view on this?

He feels nurtured and cared for by her, and doesn’t feel the demands of taking care of the younger more “needy” girl.

Some Oedipus stuff going on here, isn’t there?

He can be with her when he wants and their aren’t any obligations other than to have fun. Once the relationship is over, the resulting friendship may continue to last throughout their lifetimes.

Oh, I bet Mrs Robinson just loves that! “Sorry love, I’m here just to have fun (and for you to do my laundry), but we can be friends when it’s over!” A minute ago we were told she respects herself.

The younger guy may receive a great ego boost knowing that a hot older woman finds him desirable.

As a substitute for hot young women finding him desirable? Erm, no.

The older woman will come to expect a certain amount of emotional maturity, which if achieved, will have a great effect on the younger man’s confidence with all women.

I doubt it: he’s spent the whole time being spoon-fed in the bedroom and told how to dress.

His friends may originally question the relationship but ultimately envy him.

This may be true, but is dependent on his sharing the sex stories and the arrangement being very short-lived. Meaning a month, tops.

Some guys may end up finding their life partner in the older woman, whereas others may move on to be with women their own age or younger.

Leaving the older woman to die alone with her cats. Funny that these financially secure, confident, worldly-wise older women won’t be able to see a flaky younger man coming, isn’t it?

Naturally, this was written by an older woman, one who clearly hasn’t got a clue about men. In her defence she is a widow, so didn’t choose to be in this situation.

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Polyamory and Children

Apparently – and this comes as a complete surprise to me – polyamorists have difficulty convincing other people their arrangement brings about an environment suitable for children. One Gracie X laments thusly:

Six years ago when my husband and new boyfriend all decided to cohabitate under the same roof– I felt pretty smug. I had created a situation where I got to have my husband of 20 years and a new lover as well. We converted our single-family home into a duplex. My husband and his new girlfriend moved into one side of the house, while I lived on the other side with my new man, Oz.

Sounds idyllic. Who’s in charge of the laundry?

But not everyone was thrilled for us. When Oz, told his ex-wife he was giving up his apartment permanently to move in with me, she slapped him with a custody suit. She was determined that their two children would never live in my home. She accused us of all kinds of perversities and insisted the household was unsafe for their children. During the hearings, we were basically investigated for being polyamorous. Thus began my painful education into the fears and bigotry surrounding my alternative chosen family.

Well, yes. Whereas this lady might have been okay with her kids spending time with their father and his new girlfriend, putting them under the same roof as another two adults about which she knows nothing and have no connection to the children whatsoever is a different question altogether. I have a friend who is a single mother, and she would never leave her kid alone with one of her boyfriends, and when the father moved another woman in with him, my friend insisted on meeting her just to get a feel for the sort of woman her daughter would be spending time with. All was fine, but she checked anyway. Sensible woman, my friend.

But even after Oz’s children moved in, we all felt vulnerable. Until there are laws that protect polyamorous people, swingers and those with any openness in their marriage—we are unprotected from people who would use our sexuality to attack us.

They probably couldn’t care less what you do sans enfants, but when kids are involved it becomes another matter entirely. That’s not to say that no polyamorous people should be allowed to have kids, but they ought to expect additional scrutiny of their child-raising environment. That this came as a surprise to Gracie X speaks volumes.

Your sexuality does not determine your effectiveness and goodness as a parent. One mistake we made was trying to justify and explain our lifestyle to the courts. In hindsight this further put our sexuality on display. Better to do just the opposite. Focus on your excellent parenting skills.

Shift the focus off the sexuality, she says. Okay, but:

Utilize local LGBT organizations for legal strategy. Gay rights activist groups have already dealt with the kind of situations and bigotry that you may be confronted with in court.

In other words, make your sexuality an issue. And that’s the problem: polyamory is about sex, despite what its practitioners say. I think these days most people would concede that being gay or lesbian is not a choice, much less a lifestyle choice, but polyamory – which is basically a term to describe how people’s sex lives are organised – can’t possibly be described as a natural condition over which the participants have no control. I hesitate to call it a lifestyle choice because, from what I’ve seen and what others have told me, it is more of a coping mechanism. The reason why people concentrate so much on the sex part of polyamory is because that pretty much defines it: leave the sex out and you have the guts of what most functioning adults enjoy anyway.

Get letters of recommendation from teachers’, friends, co-workers, anyone who has witnessed your parenting and can accurately describe your parental strengths.

I wonder what percentage of polyamorists could get these?

When I look back at this time it was one of the most stressful of my life. I was on edge for the entire two years that we were embroiled with the courts and their appointed evaluator. Reach out to your support network, find ways to calm yourself down and deal with your stress. It’s extremely challenging to deal with the courts and even more so with the potential of losing your children– my heart goes out to anyone going through it.

Makes you wonder if the kids were considered at all, doesn’t it? All of this stress could have been avoided by not getting into a cohabiting polyamorous arrangement. I’d love to see how they turn out.

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The Benefits of Polyamory

Last month the Metro carried an article on polyamory in which they asked the question:

What are the benefits of a poly relationship?

The answer:

You can experience a unique and lasting love with more than one person, which opens you up to lots of different experiences with multiple people.

You can do this without having sex, unless those “different experiences” are having sex.

If you’re feeling down, or need support, you’ll have more than one loving partner to turn to – which will add increased comfort and reassurance.

When in need of support, is it really necessary that it comes from more than one person you’re having sex with?

It’s also a good setup for those who like to get creative in bed – with everyone being into different things in the bedroom, a person who wants to try lots of things can get experimental with more than one person, and learn things from multiple lovers.

Ah, it’s mainly about sex, then. I’ve noticed this before.

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Another attempt at normalising polyamory

Via TJ in the comments, the mainstream media has another go at normalising polyamorous relationships. This time it’s the BBC:

Prof Aviram said she found little appetite for marriage among polyamorous groups when she first started her research in 2004 but she began to see a change around 2012.

Prof Aviram believes changing attitudes may be due to wider acceptance of same-sex marriage around the world, making way for new taboos to be broken.

“Perhaps in the 1970s, same-sex marriage was as unimaginable as group marriage is today,” she says.

When same-sex marriages were legalised, some folks warned that it would put the institute of marriage on a slippery slope to mockery and obsolescence. Reading this, they may have been onto something. Of course, for many people this was the whole point.

[28-year-old DeAnna Rivas] suggested to her husband, Manny, that they start experimenting with another woman in 2014.

After the birth of their second child, DeAnna was struggling with depression and felt she could not get enough emotional support from her husband alone.

“I was so unhappy I couldn’t express my feelings to him. I had another part of me that was missing.

“When we met Melissa it just felt right.”

DeAnna, an art teacher, now lives with both Manny and 20-year-old Melissa James; they share incomes, childcare and household duties, and a bed.

So at twenty years old this Melissa is apparently mature enough to decide getting into a polyamorous relationship with a married couple with kids is the right thing to do. Here’s my prediction. Within a few years Melissa will be out of the relationship and will either:

1. Angrily defend her past choices, screaming abuse at anyone who questions them backed by a veritable phalanx of middle-aged feminists with green hair and neck tattoos. She’ll double down on the stupidity and learn nothing.

2. Write this off as youthful naivety, deal with it, bury it, and move on. With luck, she’ll go on to lead a normal life.

Manny, 30, says some people are upset by the relationship – a previous employer even threatened to sack him as a result – but others are intrigued.

Can we hear from Melissa’s father, please? Or did he walk out when she was 12, which would explain everything.

If things are going to change, there need to be more role models to show people that polyamorous relationships can last long term, she adds.

Manny Rivas says he “would love for us to be able to get legally married and show people there’s nothing wrong with it, show people you can make it work.

Getting married would show us only that the legal system in the US can be manipulated in the interests of social engineering. What would show people polyamorous relationships can work is an interview with three partners who’ve made it work over three decades and whose grown-up children are normal and speak of a happy, stable childhood.

Oddly, these media puff-pieces praising polyamory are remarkably short on such examples.

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