I’m going to add my $.02 to Alec’s post and AJ’s follow-up. This started as a simple thread on G+ yesterday, but it brought up some issues that have been circulating for a while. With the caveat that we’re all entitled to our opinions, and I know mine won’t be popular with some, I’m going to state them anyway.
Love isn’t finite. We don’t have a fixed amount of love to share out and if we love too many people, we dilute it. Love is infinite, and the more people we have to love, the more love grows. People don’t love more or less if they have one close family member or a hundred. People don’t love more or less if they have one close friend or a thousand.
So why do so many people presume that loving more than one sexual partner means you must love them less? That the relationship is broken?
If I go out for dinner with a friend from work, my friends I’ve known since school don’t think our friendships have changed. If I go out with my sister, our parents don’t get all up in our business for not spending enough time with them.
Polyamory, open relationships, the occasional threesome or fling within a generally-monogamous pairing, aren’t for everybody. I get that. We’re green-eyed monsters when it comes to sexual love. Our society teaches us that two is the norm, that we should find that special someone, that we’re all halves looking to become whole.
Monogamy is a powerful narrative, reinforced by cultural and legal norms. Being married to more than one person at the same time is a crime, and there aren’t many judgments harsher than that.
I’m not saying monogamy is bad. Yes, we’re funneled into it, but most people want it. And that’s okay. What’s not okay in my book is judging others for making choices you couldn’t imagine making for yourself. Really, what difference is there between saying that you don’t understand same-sex attraction, so it should be banned, and saying you don’t understand polyamory, so it should be banned?
I knew, when I started writing a menage story that some people wouldn’t read it on principle, and that’s fine. This isn’t a bitter author rant. What’s not fine is casting judgment on that sort of romantic arrangement, because yes it’s only fiction — and worse, romance — but you know what, all our stories have some basis in fact. There are real people out there living real lives just like we’re writing, people who can identify with those characters and see their reality reflected back at them. And isn’t that what we read romance for?
Romances are the most enduring of all stories. People can sneer as much as they want, but everybody knows Romeo and Juliet and everybody thinks Henry V is an insufferable snooze-fest, if they’ve even heard of it at all. Romance speaks to the soul in a way no other genre does, and I’ll be damned if I’ll let people sneer at it, or especially at certain types of romance that they consider somehow “less.”
We all have the luxury of reading what we want to read, and living how we want to live. What we don’t have is the right to tell others they’re wrong.