Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Stonehenge, Sex and The Simpsons

The BBC is reporting today that there may be a breakthrough at the Stonehenge dig, one that gives credence to the theory that Stonehenge was a place of healing.

Meanwhile, Venezuala has banned the Simpsons on the grounds that they are inappropriate viewing for children (or simply perhaps, too subversive?). They have replaced it with a much more wholesome and healthy show for children, Baywatch. says this about the show:

To the surprise of no one, Great Britain's Broadcast magazine voted Baywatch as the worst American TV show in history. "The appeal to a certain demographic of a series about a muscular lifeguard and his crew of pneumatic young helpers with raging hormones was enough to sustain this show through 12 years, despite a script of mind-numbing predictability: beachgoer is saved from drowning," Broadcast said in November 2004. Though dumb, the show has been seen by an estimated one billion viewers in 140 countries across the globe.
No wonder they hate us.

This month's issue of the Portland Monthly (seriously?) has a long article on Polyamory in it's April issue. A blogger named Jayne Dough liked it better than I did and she has quoted several excerpts at her blog. I thought that, overall, the writer took the attitude of a tourist. As for me, I have met some of the "Elders" in this scene at various Pagan festivals and events, and they are not people who's word I would take at face value. Nor would I wish to be involved in any circle, family or group in which they played a part. But they are only a small part of this movement. Having lived most of my life in Los Angeles and the Bay Area of California, I have had many chances to view such living arrangements up close because some of my friends and colleagues lived in polyamorous households. Some used this term and some of them did not, but all of them fit the general definition. Polamory (unlike polygamy a patriarchal system which preys on and abuses young women) is an equal arrangement between adult partners. In other words, we gals get to choose new partners as often as the men do. (1) Whether the adults be straight, gay or bi makes no difference and a combination of these folks can sometimes be found in one household.

We did not have the term when I was young, we simply called it the 70's. (2) I've often teased these friends by saying that the polyamorous arrangements I've observed seemed to involve far too much housework and not enough sex. They agree that this can sometimes be the case. The truth is, a lot depends on the household arrangements and the people in it. For example, I knew one household in the Bay Area which was composed of intelligent, well educated, and charming people. They had agreed on intricate timetables that made clear who was sleeping with whom that week but had no understanding of who's turn it was to clean the cat box and who was to cook or buy groceries. As a result, the tensions and resentments in the household were never about jealousy or possessiveness but were instead about finances and family chores. (And this is different from a common marriage how?)

On the other hand, I have seen more mature poly households that were run smoothly and supportively and with a great deal of humor, grace and love. Much depends on the emotional stability of those involved. At it's best, polyamory can be a way for multiple partners to share finances, childcare and love in ways that work well for all concerned. But it does involve a great deal of communication, strong boundaries and, yes, I mean this, commitment. (3) At worst, it is simply a way for one person to sleep around as much as they want without regard to the feelings of their other partner(s). Like all relationships, a poly relationship takes a bit of work (and a lot of attention to safe sex). If all someone wants are simple sexual encounters, then it might be better for them to go clubbing or try a swingers group.


Related Articles:

It's A Mystery: Dysfunctional Behavior and the Pagan Scene

Healthy Pagan Groups and Individuals


(1) If you want to make the dominate culture crazy introduce a way of loving that involves a) happy, healthy sex b) multiple partners and c) has no negative judgements related to whether these partners are gay or straight or bisexual.

(2) My older friends remind me that the 60's generation did this sort of thing all the time. They called it communal living. My younger friends seem to enjoy the same situation, albeit on a much more casual level, one that (being assumed rather than thoughtfully examined and chosen) can cause hurt feelings (and a host of other problems). They simply call it "going to college and hooking up". Of course, having "friends with benefits" fits in there somewhere, as well, but among those I know this is what one usually does between serious relationships, and not during same.

(3) And if you have children, you are going to need some creative legal protection.

Image: Cats at Stonehenge greeting card can be purchased here.

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