Polyamory, Power Structures, and Gender

Apr 27 | By Chris

Gender roles and power structures have been hot button issues for a few decades as the world has been shifting away from being primarily a patriarchy. These topics can trigger charged emotional responses from people that cannot comprehend a world less focused on gender and male dominance. Progress never lacks opposition. It can be difficult to justify some of the results of more gender role fluidity and fewer ‘nuclear families.’ Seeing a friend transition to another gender can feel uneasy, even deceitful to some. How can they be certain they won’t regret it? If nothing else, knowing how they may be treated by the world can be heartbreaking. Kids being raised with no male, or no female, parental influence do frequently experience developmental difficulties. 

These things may never have any simple answers. As gender and patriarchy have evolved and weakened in importance, polyamory and polygamy have been gaining traction, and in these lifestyles we may find a lot of answers.


Think about what an intimate relationship really is. At the core it is simply people that care deeply for each other and have agreed to share life in some way. Sex is a nice bonus, but doesn’t always need to be a major factor in maintaining a healthy companionship. In fact, as we get older, sex becomes less important in life overall. At least for most people. Labels like girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, and wife are labels that can be used to make it easy for others to comprehend your relationship. However, none of these labels are absolutely necessary to define the nature of any of your life partnerships. If you really think about it, everyone is already polyamorous. The term has nothing to do with your chosen sex partners. We are moving into an era in which people are being allowed to take more control over the ways they choose to live and express their love.


Consider a woman that wants to become a sister wife. She may be sexually attracted to men and women, or only men, and she may even prefer male leadership in a family either way. As she seeks the polygamous family that’s right for her she has a responsibility to express her real desires and intentions to candidates. A feminist that enjoys sexual intimacy with women, but doesn’t consider herself a lesbian, shouldn’t get involved with a polygamous family that won’t allow for sex among the sister wives and views the husband as the central authority. Before making judgments about any of these people, remind yourself that there is absolutely nothing inherently wrong with any of them. They can only be wrong if they are not living honestly and assuring the relationships they maintain contribute to the happiness of everyone involved. The poly movement is not about discrediting the value of tradition, it’s about ensuring people are free to choose the right things for themselves. In fact, polygamy itself suggests a more traditional commitment element within relationships.


Polyamory is more open to interpretation than polygamy. It opens the door for people to explore the relationships that really make them tick. 

It lets them choose the power structures in their relationships and frees them to explore intimacy with anyone they choose, regardless of gender. Obviously, a person’s sexuality will have a major influence on the partners with whom they choose to explore these things. However, as relationships evolve to reflect real human yearnings it’s likely some our intimate relationships won’t involve sex at all. On the other hand, it’s also likely people will eventually not be so stubborn about their sexual orientation. Poly ‘families’ of all sexual orientations sharing life and love shows a lot of promise in resolving many problems couples and individuals face today.


When a group of people decide to form a loving bond they are also committing to building each other up in life. If there are kids involved they’ll have multiple adult influences helping them through the maze of childhood and adolescence. Gender roles and positions of authority can be adjustable according to abilities and needs within the group. It could almost be viewed as a commune-like structure where everyone is contributing to the best of their evolving abilities. Multiple lines of income will keep the family from falling behind as many couples and individuals do today. The unconditional love and support from multiple sources can keep mental health in check. Letting each partner lead with the things they are best equipped to handle will help avoid so many of the downfalls it’s easy to encounter in life. Naturally, having five people on your team will be better than only two.


Not all of these possibilities work for everyone, and that’s okay. Some people will never have a sexual interest in someone of the same sex or opposite sex. Many very traditional polygamists will always want a male lead family and sister wives that will only be involved with him as their husband. Some people will never be able to handle someone that transitions from one gender to another. Not evolving with the world around you doesn’t inherently make you wrong or bad. The way you respond determines that. Especially within the poly community, it’s vitally important that we respect every relationship we encounter. Their reasons to be together have nothing to do with you.


If a friend expresses an interest in someone or something you’re not familiar with, support them. It’s better to listen, accept, and be available if anything goes wrong than to try and enforce your views on anyone. If a buddy mentions he joined a polygamy dating site, talk to him openly about it. If a friend expresses discomfort with their birth gender, help them sort through those feelings and make the healthiest decision. If your lifelong girlfriend decides to explore polygamy and what it means to be a sister wife, hold her hand for the journey. 

Allowing people to form the bonds and love lives they truly desire isn’t hurting anyone. It’s helping. If you can’t help them find their true loves, at least don’t stand in their way.









Published By: Christopher Alesich 

Matchmakers, Inc: Sisterwives.com


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