If Dr. Helen Fisher calls herself an anthropologist, she ought to get her
head out of her theories and look at realities happening around her.
Polyamory is contrary to the human brain? Then why do so many of us feel
it’s the most natural way to be? Why is compersion built into human nature
too, not just jealousy? Why does poly work for so many of us happily year
after year, decade after decade?
Anthropologists used to talk that way about gays too.
I am happy that polyamoury is beginning to get more mainstream attention,
but I was more than slightly annoyed with this piece. I did not like the
obviously biased “expert”, and I think that they should have included the
opinions of other experts as well. And as for it “not working”, I know
plenty of people in long-term, successful polyamourous relationships.
Do humans feel jealousy? Of course. So, you discuiss it, and figure out how
to go about fixing the underlying issues. Being poly is all about
communicating with your partners.
I genuinely wish they had spent some time talking to Dr. Dossie Easton, who
backs up her theories with extensive research as well as personal
life-experience. It’s fairly obvious from her comments that Dr. Fisher has
an axe to grind, i.e. supporting monogamy as the normative option in
relationships. I would love to ask Dr. Fisher just one question: If
monogamy is so hard-wired and polyamory isn’t, why do so many partners
either cheat, divorce, or both? What’s better in Dr. Fisher’s view:
Cheating, or an honest open marriage?
Great to see this as someone in a 9-year long stable MMF triad
relationship. Glad poly is getting positive attention for once.
This video shows one of the great problems with major media–that they feel
obliged to present a dissenting view even if the dissenter has no basis for
their beliefs and no legitimacy in the field in which they are offering an
opinion. As an anthropologist, Dr. Fisher is no more an expert on modern
polyamorous relationships than she is on nuclear physics.
She is certainly entitled to her non-expert opinion, but the points she was
making weren’t even true within her own field. The vast majority of
cultures throughout history have been non-monogamous. There is no
biological basis for monogamy in general–there are *very* few species that
are sexually monogamous. Even those that in the past were thought to be
monogamous, such as swans, turn out to be *socially* monogamous, but not
sexually exclusive. 30-40% of baby swans are *not* the genetic children of
the mother swan’s partner, and other allegedly monogamous species are
pretty much the same.
And the idea that jealousy disproves polyamory is like saying the fact that
anger exists proves that love cannot happen. Some people are jealous;
others (including myself) don’t really experience jealousy. And even those
who do experience jealousy often find that the communication level that is
common to poly relationships reduces the intensity of the jealousy to the
level of a minor annoyance, if it is there at all.
Many polyamorous people experience “compersion”, which is a feeling of
delight at a partner’s joy in being with another lover. Even more, the
camaraderie I experience with my lover’s lovers is often intense and
precious. Creating a new love relationship often just means more love and
connection for all concerned.
So polyamory is certainly not for everyone; but I know many dozens, perhaps
hundreds, of poly relationships that have lasted decades, and show every
sign of continuing.
The ‘expert’ talks as if she’s never even *heard* of the Coolidge Effect.
These are not true engineers, the real hard core engineers changing the
world are busy working their brains out instead of chasing after some
carnal fantasy….I know because I work with many of them.
She’s pretty brave to come out to the world like that, honestly; there are
plenty of poly people who have been discriminated against because of being
And BTW: Dr. Fisher should do some more studying, because we aren’t
genetically predisposed to couple up. Further, from the standpoint of
natural selection, the more adults helping guard the children, the better,
And while 5% sounds like a small number, given the population of this
country, that means SIX million people may be polyamorous. And when you
add to that the number that are cheating, and the number who get divorced
for various reasons that could possibly be addressed by an open
Instead of becoming gay and lesbian at the same time and trying to bend
people’s social values and proving how cool you guys are… why don’t you
invest your time and effort into solving global issues such as poverty,
famine, global warming etc. What a bunch of jackasses!!
You must be logged in to post a comment.