Polyamory? “Don’t call it open couple”, the Ayzad interview
This interview was originally published by MySecretCase
It is incredible how certain topics only come up during dinner. Bowels dysfunctions, if you are unlucky. Or polygamy and “braingasms” if you are very very lucky. Indeed, talking with Ayzad, personal coach and leading Italian expert on unusual sexualities, is a rare treat. His disarming politeness wins over the skepticism of those who, no matter their openmindedness, raise an eyebrow when confronted with the concept of a love where everything is possible. Listening to him you do wonder whether everything you believed so far might not be true, right and definitive, and you return home a bit shaken. Then you maybe go back to your everyday life or find your positions strenghtened, but the seed of doubt remains. And so does the richness of a refined exchange lacking any dogma. Like exclusive love, for example. We asked him about his take on polyamory, and the answers were enlightening.
What is the difference between being pansexual and polyamorous?
Pansexuality – that is the willingness to consider every sort of sexual partners – is an orientation, or in short a matter of preferences about who you sleep with; polyamory is a relationship form, meaning the way you relate with your partners independently of their characteristics.
Is polyamory the same of an open couple?
You touched a very sore point there. I took part to various “poly” events and met a sizeable number of people who define themselves as “polyamorous”, and I ended up thinking that by and large they interpreted the term as «I have sex with and frequent several partners without hiding this to anyone». Which is a pretty nice approach, but which is realistically called ‘fucking around’. Mutual honesty and an ethical approach sure are important factors, yet I believe that the difference between polyamory and swinging, open couples, fuckbuddies and the such lies in the solidity of the relation itself: living together, having common long term projects or being ready to assist each other in case of uncomfortable accidents.
Are poly dynamics the same of traditional couples, just “multiplied”?
There is no standard followed by everyone. The one common element maybe is actually not following one of the most traditional dynamics: having secret lovers, which according to some statistics is customary for over 70% of “normal” couples instead.
How do you sexually organize? Can it happen that the guy wants to make love with only one girl and not the other? And how does the latter reacts?
Your question reveals an understandably typical approach deriving from a whole slew of social norms: the male as the leader of the pack, the he-her-the other triangle… The truth is that they might well be two men and a woman, or two women and a nonsurgical M2F trans person and an asexual man…
In any case, even with a “simple” composition like the one you indicated, you almost immediately discover that giving exactly the same attentions to two partners is impossible: the wish for equality is commendable, but not realistic due to purely practical issues: always having sex as a threesome, for example, is difficult. This is not a matter of belief in abominable concepts such as ‘primary relation’ and ‘secondary relation’, but simply to accept one’s human limits and understand that every time countless variables may temporarily create moments of higher intimacy or attunement between two components and not others. The important thing is not to let this become a habit, or someone will end up excluded and disappointed.
Both in the bed and outside, I have seen that the one thing almost every happy polyrelations have in common is a basic approach in which each component is equally in love with all the others, plus everyone is in love as a collective unit. Therefore, to see it mathematically, in the case you proposed the relationship wouldn’t be just one but the sum of ((A+B)+(A+C)+(B+C)). This also helps understanding why “true” polyamory is so rare, and why so many polyrelations are dysfunctional.
Why should a polyamorous person manage two or more relationships at the same time, giving all of them the same attention?
Loving two or more persons is absolutely natural, especially if they have different yet similarly attractive characteristics. The easiest example you can think of is a bisexual person with a male partner and a female one, but I am also referring to personality and more.
Just think of how fewer problems there would be if so many people would stop believing in the kind of soap opera logic according to which loving somebody different from their life partner is ground for making a scene, divorce and maybe suicide. Or that other Old Testament fiction, where ‘coveting your neighbour’s wife’ zaps you right to hell. Real life is a whole different beast – I even know of people who “covet the neighbour’s husband”, go figure! Weird times indeed…
But seriously, from a practical point of view a serious three-ways relation (or more) means getting twice the love, twice the help in everyday’s chores, twice the moral support and so on. And if you are a real materialist, the financial advantages aren’t bad either, since the expenses are divided between more persons.
Is polyamory innate, or does it happen just in some phases of your life and not in others?
Among human beings, it is biologically instinctual: just think of the classic trick question «Do you love Dad or Mom better?», to which no sane person with half-decent parents can ever answer. This however doesn’t mean that polyamory should be a goal or be considered a “better” way of relating to others. It is simply one among many possibilities offered by life, and it can be serenely explored, evaluated and chosen or not.
How to manage jealousy?
In a very simple way: in case of jealousy where having a polyamorous relationship makes the other involved people happy, you say goodbye to the jealous person and you wish them lots of happiness in a more traditional relation. Making that person needlessly suffer wouldn’t be right, nor it would to force the others to give up something important to them, is all. Instead, a much more concrete issue with polyamorous stories is the natural tendence to seek for allies in case of difficulty. This makes easy when A has a problem with B to more or less consciously seek C’s suppport “against” poor B – who maybe is an asshole, but gets surrounded nonetheless and, even more importantly, primed to counter-manipulate C against A in the future. To realize how toxic this kind of dynamic can be is key even for a traditional couple (where friends and relatives are used as pawns, for example), but becomes even more urgent with polyrelationships.
Are women and men similarly polyamorous, both in terms of numbers and quality?
It is not a gender matter as much as one of relational maturity. In absence of reliable research data, I’d say that the numbers are more or less the same among those into polyamory. Due to social culture priming, however, the fantasy of having a harem full of partners is more frequent among males – at least until they actually try, and they realize how exausting that can be!
Does the relation only works if living as one family, or even if one element entertains a relation with two others who are not in love between them?
My personal belief is that, if you want to go beyond occasional erotic play, the foundation can only be a true and very deep love between everyone involved.
This is of course just a general view: polyamory and other forms of alternative sexuality could be discussed for days without ever getting to the heart of it. However, if you are curious about them the free downloadable previews of Ayzad’s books will open a world for you. Step into his website and you’ll never get out of it, you have MySecretCase’s word!