What is considered a fraud in polyamory

This is how the polyamores live and love

Polyamores love not just one person, they love several, and they do so openly. The lack of time is particularly challenging; it is extremely important to talk to each other a lot - this is the conclusion of a research project at the University of Vienna.

No secrets: this is one of the most important parts of polyamorous relationships. While serial monogamy, currently the most widespread form of relationship in our latitudes, tends to “cheat” and “cheat”, the polyamores play with open cards. You live several love and sex relationships at the same time, and as transparently as possible.

According to estimates from the Anglo-American region, five percent of people consider themselves polyamorous. However, only a tenth of them actually live that way, and a much smaller proportion publicly acknowledge it. Applied to Austria, these figures mean that 350,000 of the adults in this country are actually polyamorous, but only a few thousand admit to it.

Across all stages of life

The social scientist Stefan Ossmann from the University of Vienna has examined how polyamorous people live. As part of a three-year project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, he interviewed 33 “Polys” in detail. First and perhaps most important finding: "The or the There is no poly. "

On June 7th, the symposium “Polyamory in Media, Social and Identity Perspective” took place at the University of Vienna.

In his interview group there were almost as many women as men, purely heterosexuals, queer and bisexuals, more highly and less educated, as well as younger and older. Polyamory goes across all stages of life, according to Ossmann. “There are childless people, but some already have grandchildren. They say: Before we go to the old people's home alone, we can run a farm together and show our love there. "

In general, Osmann got to know two types of polyamorous. It has always been the first; when they have found themselves in monogamous relationships, they feel oppressed and virtually unable to live out their true nature. The second decide willingly and in consensus with their partner to have lots of love - a decision that can be reversed at a later stage in life, for example when children come into play.

Stefan Ossmann

Keyword cloud: The most frequently used words in connection with "polyamory" in German-language newspapers

"Attention is the scarce resource"

In contrast to the “free love” of the 1968 movement, sexuality is no longer of central importance in the Polys, the focus is on the idea of ​​love. "It's not primarily about sex, but also about physicality," says Ossmann. There are older practitioners who can no longer have sex in the technical sense, but who do not want to forego physical exchange; and also polys with an experience of abuse that can only be physically opened again through emotional ties.

To understand polyamory as an opportunity for more and faster sex is in any case a misunderstanding. “There is a lot of responsibility involved,” says Ossmann. "The scarce resource is not love, there is enough of it, but attention to all those involved." Therefore, good communication is at the top of the list of necessary properties for successful polyamory. Polyamores have to talk and explain a lot - also and especially to avoid jealousy, from which they too are not immune.

Togetherness is also consciously lived in multiple relationships, says Ossmann. “Some have developed proper rituals to maintain two-person constellations. For example, they only go to the football match at the Vienna Sports Club with a certain person because they met there, and not with others. "

Stefan Ossmann

Far from the mainstream

That may not come as a surprise; What the social scientist did not expect were the results of his interviews with regard to legal aspects. Questions such as marriage, having children, co-insurance and inheritance law were and are at the center of the recognition struggles of homosexuals and other minorities. “The Polys also said in the interviews that these are important topics. But they tend to see them as important for others - and not for themselves. ”They are not yet able to claim such legal claims.

One reason for this could be that polyamory as a self-image has not been around for that long. “The term only appeared in the German-speaking area in 2007,” says Ossmann. There is simply not yet a generation that thinks about inheritance law. But that could change in the future - and then the legislators could also be asked, says the social scientist. The practice is still far removed from the mainstream - which, according to Ossmann, is not least due to a lack of testimonials. While there are icons in the homosexual and trans movement who have helped others with their outing, there are none among the polyamores - not yet.

Networks more stable than two-way relationships

How well does the relationship model fit our time? The social scientist answers ambivalent: “On the one hand it has the nice aspect of being able to love several people and share the fridge, but it is also criticized as a neoliberal system.” The underlying thesis: The present is shaped by crises of all kinds, precarious jobs and project-oriented work.

Networks could help better against the uncertainty behind this than two-way relationships that are always at risk of breaking. A network remains in place even if a node breaks away. Just as the extended family once offered protection from social upheavals and upheavals, polyamore nets could also offer security in uncertain times.

Lukas Wieselberg, science.ORF.at

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