polyamory: pseudo-revolutionary since at least the 1920s

In my experience, polyamory is a way of being self-absorbed and treating others like objects.  Much like patriarchy, it’s based on the denial and suppression of natural human emotions (attachment and jealousy).  Reading The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations (1979), I was surprised to see how long this sort of bullshit story has been around:

Sex valued purely for its own sake loses all reference to the future and brings no hope of permanent relationships. Sexual liaisons, including marriage, can be terminated at pleasure. This means, as Willard Waller demonstrated a long time ago, that lovers forfeit the right to be jealous or to insist on fidelity as a condition of erotic union. In his sociological satire of the recently divorced, Waller pointed out that the bohemians of the 1920s attempted to avoid emotional commitments while eliciting them from others. Since the bohemian was “not ready to answer with his whole personality for the consequences of the affair, nor to give any assurance of its continuance,” he lost the right to demand such an assurance from others. “To show jealousy,” under these conditions, became “nothing short of a crime…So if one falls in love in Bohemia, he conceals it from his friends as best he can.” In similar studies of the “rating and dating complex” on college campuses, Waller found that students who fell in love invited the ridicule of their peers. Exclusive attachment gave way to an easygoing promiscuity as the normal pattern of sexual relations…

These studies show that the main features of the contemporary sexual scene had already established themselves well before the celebrated “sexual revolution” of the sixties and seventies: casual promiscuity, a wary avoidance of emotional commitments, an attack on jealousy and possessiveness. Recent developments, however, have introduced a new source of tension: the modern woman’s increasingly insistent demand for sexual fulfillment. In the 1920s and 1930s, many women still approached sexual encounters with a hesitance that combined prudery and a realistic fear of consequences. Superficially seductive, they took little pleasure in sex even when they spoke the jargon of sexual liberation and professed to live for pleasure and thrills.

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