Everybody has a podcast, all right, every celebrity, everybody you knew in college, there are literally hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there and yeah, it's a bit of a mess.
I'm Nick Clock and my new show, Servant of Pod. We'll give you the most interesting and important stories in podcasting. And I'll tell you why you should care to listen to serve in a pod on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcast. I'm John Horn, host of the podcast Hollywood, the sequel. In each episode, we're asking actors, producers and directors to tell us how they'd fix the industry's long standing problems like equity at all levels for people of color.
Here's actor Kerry Washington.
It's not enough to just not be racist. We have to be actively anti-racist. Listen to Hollywood, the sequel on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you get your podcast. Hello, folks, it's Chuck here on a Saturday select episode, this is from April 7th, 2015, and this is a very sexy podcast episode called Polyamory Colen When to Just Won't Do. I think you know where this is headed right now.
Welcome to Stuff You Should Know. A production of pilot radios HowStuffWorks. Hey, and welcome to the podcast, I'm Josh Clark. There's Charles to be Chuck Bright Jerry's over there. And this is stuff you should know. That's right. All of our wives and girlfriends are in the next room. All right. How are you doing? I'm good. I found this topic to be super interesting and I should say up front that are jerkiness that we always include in every podcast almost, um, is not meant to be disrespectful to anyone who is in a polyamorous relationship.
Yeah. And we're not here to, like, just kind of look at your relationship from the outside and poke at it and make fun of it or light of it. If you're enjoying yourself and everybody's on board and no one's being hurt, then we always say to each his own.
That's right. But from the outside, uh, polyamory might seem like a very strange arrangement.
Well, I think to most people, it seems like swinging. That's right. But it's not. No, it is not. A lot of things. It's not cheating. Right. It's not swinging. Right. It's not, um. It's not polygamy. It's not what was the other one? It's not a lot of things, um, it's not dentistry, right?
Well, the point is, is we should it's not promiscuous a..
Right. So what it is actually from and I had no idea.
I think my conception of polyamory was that it was basically kind of swinging and it was based on it was I got the the couple thing. Yeah. But that it was mostly like a swinging kind of thing.
But from research, like I realized I was pretty far off. The polyamory is in a very odd way a form of monogamy, but that it includes more than two people in this monogamous relationship.
Well, not necessarily monogamous either, though, so because there can be arrangements where you're allowed to go out and do what you want, OK, ends with people.
So I ran across something that that's technically considered monogamous, which, as Dan Savage coined it, that sounds like a very new word. It is new. Yeah. I mean, Dan Savage coined it.
Yeah. But which means that I'm probably not going to put too much credence.
But in from what I understand in this, I got this from a polyamory site called more than two more than two. Great site. Franklin Voh is how I'm pronouncing his last name. Vot. Yeah.
And I'm not kidding when I say it's a great site if you are interested in exploring polyamory. Yeah, it's super thorough and very, very helpful. Yeah, I would think. Yeah.
Just by going through it and the impression that I got from him from his that Q at least was that it is a like the people in a polyamorous relationship are committed to one another. Yeah, true. And that like they're rather in the same way that two people, a couple come together to form a monogamous relationship.
Yeah. If you if you take that bubble and add another person or two other people or something like that. But there's still that bubble of monogamy, of commitment, of affection.
That is more close to the the the definition of polyamory. Now, in real life, I'm sure it's different and that there are different aspects to it or whatever. But yeah, hopefully that's what I gathered. But I think polyamorous couples say, why would you even use a word like monogamy when it means Okano? Right. That's probably means more than one committed is the word. I should. Yeah, I think that's that's the trip. And so Dan Savage, come on.
Monogamous. Yeah. Yeah.
Um, I knew more about this, um, just because there was a show I don't know if it was HBO. It's probably Cinemax that followed some polyamorous relationships. And so I knew that it was not just, hey, it's swingin' or hey, I just want an open relationship. It's you know, I'm going to try it. I've got a man and there's a woman and there's another woman. Or in another case it was two couples. They all lived together.
They were all in a committed relationship with one another. But, um, I mean, we'll talk about there is no standard for a polyamorous relationship. It can really be anything you want that works for you. Yeah, sometimes it's bisexual, sometimes it's not. Sometimes, um, the the two, uh, it's really I mean, we could go over a million scenarios really good.
I was starting to break them all down. But it's like you really is whatever you can work out between yourselves is polyamorous.
But the point is, is um to maybe put it on less fine of a point, but to get a little closer potentially to a correct definition, polyamory is not monogamy because there's more than two people. Right. And it's not cheating because all of the people involved are on the on the same page. Yeah.
They signed about what they're doing, what what they're doing with their partners are doing what everybody's doing. Everyone's aware and consenting. That's right. So it's between those two things.
So this is the opposite of the E.S.P podcast where apparently we never even said what Hesp stood for.
Yeah, a couple of people, like we're like, hey, didn't catch your E.S.P stands for Can you tell us? And I'm like, go listen again.
Enough people said it that I was like, oh, uh, extrasensory perception, by the way.
And then we have just now defined polyamory for the last ten minutes. So I think we're covered. I think we finally landed on it, though. Uh, yeah. It's very fascinating, uh, thing. And, um, here's how it works.
Well, I think the let's talk about why people are polyamorous. Right? So people who are polyamorous probably tend to think that monogamy is not for them. And if you're speaking from a like. Evolutionary perspective, the NOGAMI is kind of a puzzlement. Yes, we talk about that. Yeah. So monogamy looking through the lens of natural selection doesn't make sense evolutionarily because it lowers a male's ability to. It lowers his number of opportunities to carry on his genetic line.
And they're for the species. Right. Exactly. Yeah.
And it was long thought by some that, um, it was monogamy came about so males could assist in the raising of the young. Um, but there are some new theories now that make that seem a little less likely or actually a lot less likely and ironically, not ironically.
But coincidentally, they were both published.
They were both published around the same time, these two new theories. Right. They came out at the in enough time to really kind of compete with one another. Yeah.
Because, you know, when you look around the the animal kingdom among non Abian, there are more birds that are supposedly cockroaches that are monogamous. Yeah, but if you if you rule out the birds and the cockroaches. Well, specifically mammals too. Yeah. About five percent of the 4000 mammal species, give or take, only about five percent are monogamous or mate for life.
Right. And so, again, if you are strictly looking at it from the selfish gene theory, like the whole point would be to run around and copulate with as many females as you possibly can so that you can have more and more chances of spreading your genetic line. Yeah, and then, like you said, hens carry on the species. So did not do that to just couple with one other person and have maybe a few kids rather than 30.
Yeah. With a bunch of different males and females. Right. Again, it doesn't really kind of make sense. So they've tried to explain this and there are some theories like you were saying one of them is that if you are. A rival male, one of the things you have to do to get with another female, I think that's what biologists call it, getting with you have to kill her offspring, right?
Because while she's nursing, she can't ovulate and therefore you can't reproduce with her. That's right. But kill her kids. She's going to stop nursing. She'll be sad. But then you guys can have your own offspring.
If you are a male that's staying behind after you reproduce with a female, then you have the chance to defend your offspring from being killed by a rival male. That's a good explanation for monogamy. Yep.
And that was in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. And they found that out by studying behaviors of two hundred and thirty primate species. And they felt so good about it that the guy who ran the study said, this is it.
We now finally know for sure.
But that's not necessarily true because there's another really great theory where they actually published in the journal Science and studied 2500 mammals, which is way more than the other study data, Lucas and Tim and Brock of Cambridge University.
And they said it's really about low density in females. It's that simple, like when there aren't many females.
That's where monogamy happens, right?
When they're spread out because they beat up on each other when they're in the same place. Females. That's right. So they have to spread out geographically. Well, if you're a guy who's just running from female to female, the female, you don't know what she's doing while you're not around. So you don't know whether those kids are yours or not. So the best way to make sure that they're your kids is to hang around and be monogamous. That's right.
So it's really similar to the other theory, the the you're seeing around to defend the kids. Oh, yeah. And this one, it's a little less magnanimous. You're staying around to make sure that the female doesn't run around on you, right? Yeah, but then I saw a third theory that also makes sense, too, and that is that the idea of males staying around to help raise kids was a strategy developed by lesser males in the primate kingdom.
So like the alpha male, the top guys, they're having no trouble. They can go wherever they want. They're getting plenty of action. Right.
But less and less means like, hey, I can care for the kids. Exactly.
And that that's a strategy that caught the attention of females who otherwise wouldn't have mated with these guys because they're less Nessman and instead said, yeah, he's a dork. I can't stand his bow tie and a short sleeve shirt, but he does do a pretty good job with the kids.
So I'm going to be monogamous with this guy. So three pretty good theories to explain monogamy.
None of them hold water for polyamorous now, and everyone under the age of 35 is not looking up.
Who less Nessman is who I was a great reference man.
Thanks. It's popped up. Um, all right. So the benefits, I believe, is what we were talking about before we delved into the theory. And I've always said monogamy to is not a natural thing and that the reward of staying with one person is partly because of that. Yeah. You know, you it's not a natural thing. You sacrifice something in some way by being with someone. But the payoff is rich.
That is wise words, Chuck.
So we'll see if I end up married in twenty five years. I'll confirm all this. Just kidding. Of course it will be. Um, all right. So let's talk about the benefits.
It is not just about, um, having sex with more than one person, though. It's definitely part of it. It is part of it. But it is also about, um, support and a greater you know, it takes a village, they say. So if you have a larger village, then you're going to have more support and care and love. Yeah. And emotional support. All that stuff. Right, exactly.
And it's not a polyamorous relationship or group doesn't necessarily have sex with one another. Everybody, sex is a big component of it. But you also have what are called poly affective relationships. Yeah. We're like let's say you have what you call it a triad. Is that a poly.
A triad is three people. Yeah, right. But that's what polyamorous call it. Yeah. So let's say you have a triad where neither of the of two women and a guy and neither of the women are bisexual, but they're still in a polyamorous relationship. Yeah. They would be poly affective like they have an emotional connection to one another like a couple would, but they're not sexually involved with one another.
Right. They're poly affective. Right.
It's another component of a. Polyamorous relationship, so the whole thing is not just satisfying your every sexual need with a bunch of different people, it's also that I think they believe that you have a lot of different needs that one person can't necessarily satisfy beyond sex as well as cultural interests. It can be pastimes. It can be what have you. And so the idea behind polyamory is you find those people in your life who combined make that single ideal person.
Yeah. Rather than placing all that on one single person, for better or for worse.
Yeah. I looked at an example on the what was it, two for one. No.
Two or more. More than more than two. More than two.
More than one. More than two dotcom as I looked at one, they have a lot of just stories and examples of people like real stories. And this one lady was married to a guy who quite simply was not into a lot of the things she was into. She was big into the theater, I think in museums. Her husband didn't like that. They developed into a polyamorous relationship and she had another man that was really into that stuff in old high school boyfriend, I think.
And he, uh, took up with another woman who had similar interest as him. And they all worked it out. And, you know, people say, well, why don't you just leave the husband then who? You don't have these things in common with and go with the old high school boyfriend. That's a neat story. She was like, well, because he's really needy and my husband isn't. And we have a lot of great stuff.
So it is literally, like you said, satisfying all my needs through multiple people because who can expect one person to be that soulmate that gives you everything you need to be nice. And these suckers who are in monogamous marriages are just sacrificing certain parts of their life, like going to museums or whatever if it was this lady.
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So, Chuck, we were talking about why people do polyamory, right, do polyamory and let's talk about how polyamory actually works.
Yeah, I mean, anyone in a marriage that, you know, things get more complicated as you get older. So I don't mean to talk down to people in their 20s, but relationships get a little more complicated as you get older and you get more responsibilities. So if you're married and you're in your 30s or 40s or 50s, you know it is or any kind of committed relationship, you know, it's logistically tough sometimes.
Well, yeah, because you're like, I want this in this other person you share half of your estate with says, no, I want this or I want to do this or I want to do that or I want to vacation here or there.
Exactly. Just keeping up with schedules. It's all very complicated.
It's all compromise. There's one big compromise and you're compromising between two people's opinions. Imagine just throwing in one extra opinion that differs from the other two that has equal weight.
Exactly. So that's basically what I'm getting at is if you think your marriage is complicated, polyamory can be even more complicated and they admit that it can be more complicated.
But they say that and this is really what I gathered from reading that site and a bunch of articles is that two for one, two for one.
You want to meet a great communicator, go talk to someone in a polyamorous relationship.
So that's one of the chief requirements of polyamory to be able to talk about all this stuff I've seen it put is you have highly evolved communication skills. Yes.
I would not be a good polyamorous. Oh, me either. No, man. Like I would last two days.
I stink. I stink at communicating. I think I'm just doing fine. And it turns out I didn't say that.
Chuck, is this bothering you? No. Yeah, but it's really bothering.
Well, that's another thing to not only do you have to be a great communicator and get your point across and read other people and listen and that kind of thing. But you also have to be honest about your feelings. And one of the things that polyamorous face, just like anybody else, is jealousy. Yeah, we did a pretty good episode on jealousy a while back.
Yeah. Jealousy much was the name of it. Yeah. Yeah. With a question mark. Jealous much. Right.
Um, and so they deal with jealousy and they deal with it apparently. Ideally again this is from more than two dotcom in a way where it would take a pretty intelligent, calm person to approach the feelings of jealousy like this, which is basically deconstructing it. So the guy, more than two dotcom, kind of gave a good example where he was saying you're in a polyamorous relationship and it bugs you when your spouse kisses. There are other spouse in front of you.
And he says the correct thing to do basically here is to stop and say, OK, why does that make me jealous? Right. And if you are honest with yourself, you'll say, well, it makes me jealous because I worry that the other spouse and by the way, in a polyamorous relationship, the plural of spouse is spice. Is it really? Yeah. So if you're married to two people, you have to spice. Yeah. Which is kind of funny.
Sure. You got to spice the love life anyway.
When the other spouse, if you're worried that your spouse is kissing his other spouse, he's going to think that that spouse is a better kisser than you and think well that spouse is if he's better kisser then you he wants to be with him more than me. And if he wants to be with him more than me, then he's going to leave me.
Yeah, I think jealousy is often rooted in your own insecurities. Right. So what this guy was saying is if you spell this out, you realize that there's a lot of hidden assumptions and your jealous feelings and then when you confront them, you will probably discard a lot of them if you find that, no, this is correct. This person really would leave me because that person is a better kisser. Um, then you would ask yourself, do I want to be with somebody who would leave me because somebody else is a better kisser?
Yeah. So if you can approach this kind of stuff in this manner, then maybe you'd be a decent polyamorous.
Yeah, there's a lady name, Terry Connelly, a professor of psychology and women's studies at University of Michigan Wolverines. Yeah. And she's so blue.
She's one of the while, not one of the only people, but there haven't been many studies on polyamory. One reason is because it's underreported in a lot of cases, because people some people may not like to be really out front with it and for good reason, for very good reasons. But she did some studies and polls and things and she found that jealousy is in fact, she said, quote, much higher, end quote, among monogamous pairs than non monogamous ones.
And I think for the reasons you just said. She also found she interviewed 17 hundred individuals, Polly, I'm sorry, monogamous individuals, 150 swinger's, 170 people in an open relationship and 300 polyamorous individuals, and said that polyamorous tended to have equal or higher levels of sexual satisfaction in people, in open relationships, tended to have lower sexual satisfaction than their monogamous peers and polyamorous peers.
So and we should say open is not the same as polyamorous. Now, again, in a polyamorous group, the people in the group form a closed hole. Yeah, in an open relationship, it's like there's two people who are connected, but they're also facing outward and the whole world's up for grabs, basically.
Right in an open relationship, you know.
Right. It's not so polyamorous is not an open relationship. An open relationship is not polyamorous, but a polyamorous relationship could include swinging, from what I understand.
And did you know that swinging apparently started among World War Two Air Force pilots and their families?
You knew that.
Yeah, because you supposedly if your husband died in battle, it was just sort of understood that that woman would then take up with another serviceman, correct? I guess. But with another married serviceman or what? I don't know about that.
Well, apparently, it started out with like they call that wife swapping in World War Two in the Air Force, like specifically the Air Force, not like, oh, American servicemen like the Air Force. So I guess they know who it was.
Um, I think I've told the story about the Atlanta Swingers Club was very close to my phone number going up.
And we used to I was a kid. I had no idea what it meant, of course.
And I used to answer the phone and people be like I was just feeling it would just be like my mom would just remember it was so like troublesome to her.
And she kept the whistle next to the phone and would blow the whistle and do it.
So what do you think about now is the same with the guests?
Yeah, I still remember that. Number two, do you remember your original phone number three eight nine four nine eight one nine one nine. That crazy. Yeah. Um, I'm sorry for anyone who has those numbers today or to the Atlanta Swingers Club, which is still operational, I'm sure.
Yeah. Um, all right. Another thing we need to talk about are sties sexually transmitted infection? You would think that it would be higher in a polyamorous relationship. Uh, and they don't have statistics that may or may not be the case, but what they are adamant about is lots of testing and lots of access to those results and being super open about those results, um, apparently much more so than people in monogamous relationships like new new relationships. They found that people in new monogamous relationships are often very shy about talking about their sexual history and potential infections and things, whereas they're really up front about it in polyamory.
Yeah. And they kind of have to be and they kind of just make it a normal open thing. But that's part of their open, honest communication. That's that's kind of a hallmark of polyamory.
Yeah. And even it has a practical application you're defending against STIs. Yeah, they did.
There was one study in twenty twelve in the Journal of Sexual Medicine that found that, um, unfaithful like cheaters, uh, not like, uh, like a cheater.
You're in a monogamous relationship and you're. Oh yeah. They're much more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior and to keep it a secret than someone in a polyamorous relationship, because you go off and you cheat and you keep quiet and you do something super risky, you know, hook up with someone randomly that you don't know. And that's just that's kind of like the opposite of polyamory from what it sounds like. Right.
With polyamory, it's like, OK, it's it's time for your weekly STD test. Right. I want to see the paper.
And we're not hooking up with some random person there. If there are one thing that there's a lot of in a polyamorous relationship are rules.
Yeah. If you haven't picked up on that yet. Yeah. You got to have the ground rules laid down. How much time are you going to spend with this person versus that person all the way down to rules in the bedroom. It sounds a little gross, but fluid swapping, well, it's a big deal.
So there's the thing one of the ways they protect against STDs is, well, let's talk about some of the arrangements, OK? All right. Because I think we need to because these different rules that we're talking about here will apply differently to different types of relationships. So obviously, there's a triad. You can also have a quad. I can imagine that you could go up to six, eight, whatever.
The point is, is when you have a group that are equal.
To one another, where everybody's equal to one another. Yeah, that's one that's one form of the polyamorous relationship, right? Yep. There's another form that's hierarchical. Right. Which is based on a core couple that are mammaries.
Yeah. They would be the primary and then say each of them has a significant other. Yeah. Like a boyfriend or girlfriend. Those would be the secondaries. And then maybe they have another person that they're, they're close to. They see once in a while, maybe they live out of town, something like that. That would be potentially a tertiary relationship.
Right. Like he break the twister game out and they show up. Right.
So the the the difference between the two is with the hierarchical relationship or the hierarchical format, the the person that your spouse, the the core group, the core couple people.
Yeah. They're the ones who are going to get the most time, the most attention. They're going to have more power to say veto the others. Yeah. Veto is a big deal.
Yeah. In a in the other relationship that forms they could try it or quader six people or something like that or everybody is equally weighted.
That's that, that you wouldn't have like there's no hierarchical structure of that.
Yeah. And it depends on how you want to structure things. They're both completely valid as polyamorous relationships. It's just, you know, up to you basically.
And so you said the veto power is a big deal. Yeah, I think it's always to be honored. Right.
So with if somebody is is meeting somebody new and wants to date them, they basically have to go to the rest of the group that they're committed to in a committed relationship with and say, I've got this person, I'd like to bring them into the group. I don't know this, but I can imagine that is a huge thing. Sure.
Especially in a long established polyamorous relationship. Yeah. You know, like bringing a new person in.
I'll but that would be a really big deal, I could imagine being that dude and showing up. Right. It's like the worst job interview of all time, especially if you don't know what's going on.
Oh yeah. Plus in the hierarchical structure then I can imagine the veto power probably just rests with the two core people, maybe slightly in secondary people. Right? Probably not at all in the tertiary people. Yeah, they're just there for Twister.
But with the um, the stye thing, if you are what's called body fluid monogamists. Yeah.
Which I was kind of joking about that it sounds gross. It's really not at all. That's basically saying that we can have sex with each other without condoms.
And I'm sorry.
I'm saying you and me, I thought you were talking to me. Right. But maybe the secondary and I have to wear condoms and we don't exchange those fluids so intimately and freely.
Or if you're in a group. Yeah. Like everybody in the group might be body fluid, monogamous. But if they are agreed that they can go outside of the group, they would not be.
Or if it's a hierarchical structure, yeah, that primary couple would just be body fluid, monogamous, and everybody else would be right. Then you'd have to wear a condom or something.
Yeah. Or it may not even involve sex. Maybe you're your secondaries or you go on dates with and you can, you know, go to first and second base and that's where it ends. Like it's really all about the the people in the relationship working out what works best for them. Right. All right. So let's take a break here and, uh, talk more about the polyamory right after this.
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OK, Chuck, we're back to one of the things that I found interesting about polyamory was that they had to coin some terms because they were really breaking new ground here in trying things with really, you know, there's a whole glossary at two or more.
Spice is the plural of spouse. Yeah. And then there's a word called Persian that's very much associated with polyamory. And it is basically the mirror image of jealousy.
Yeah, it's being super happy that your primary has found someone else that they really love and are satisfied with.
Yeah, and not just your primary, anybody your exact polyamorous relationship with. Yeah. That they've found happiness with somebody else. You're happy for them because of that. Right.
So, yeah, that's not a normal thing for most people, especially people in traditional monogamous relationships. Yeah. So polyamorous people kind of I guess, stumbled upon this thing and had to come up with a name for it and they call it conversion.
Yeah. And if, you know, if you think to yourself as a monogamous person, what you know, this person goes off, your wife all of a sudden is sleeping with another man. What's to keep her from really falling in love with him to the extent that she no longer wants to be with you? Of course that can happen, but that can happen in your regular marriage as well. And if. The only thing that's binding your marriage is that, um.
You've got bigger problems in your marriage. The only thing binding you to that marriage is like the marital contract that you feel like you have to stay, you know, true to. Right. You know, like in a regular marriage, you should want to be with your husband, your wife. Like, it didn't matter what the piece of paper says.
Right. I would guess. And again, I don't know. I would guess that polyamorous have some sort of structure or mechanism to deal with that. Like if especially if there is a if that happens where somebody starts out as a married couple, but then they include a third person and become a triad if one of them really starts to fall for the other one. But that doesn't mean that the initial couples going to break up, that couple's going to split off.
That's not polyamory and it's not how it works. So I wonder what kind of mechanism they have to deal with checks and balances.
Yeah, yeah. There's got to be something they did do. There was one study in the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality in 2005 that said polyamorous couples who had been together more than 10 years listed love and connection as the most important factors in their longevity. And monogamous couples listed religion and family as the most important reasons. Yeah, and that's what I was sort of clumsily trying to say. The only thing keeping you together is the fact that your husband or wife hasn't slept with someone else.
Are your parents are going to be disappointed? Yeah, it's I mean, those aren't reasons to stay married.
You know, so we already touched on also the idea that if you are in a polyamorous relationship, you you know, you might not share a lot of interests with your primary, but you've got the ones that your primary is not interested in. You get to share with your secondary or tertiary or whatever. Right.
So just having more people to spend life with, that's another benefit of it. There's a lot of drawbacks to being in a polyamorous relationship that I think any polyamorous too readily admit as well.
Sure. Just being in a quote, fringe sexual sexuality. I think living your romantic and reproductive life, as we'll talk about a minute, in complete contrast to societal values, is that's got to be tough.
Yeah. And, you know, over the years, acceptance of this has been zilch to say.
You'd better be saying peaked now, zilch to confusion to these days a little more open minded about things. I did see one poll here from, uh, I think it was in April of this year, actually, where they polled about thirteen hundred heterosexuals and how willing they would be on a scale of one to seven to commit non monogamous acts like adding a third party to the relationship. And depending on the scenario, 16 percent of women and 31 percent of men chose four or higher on that scale.
When asked if they'd be willing to pursue like try something like that out, basically. So it's I wonder what I heard before. I don't know, lower.
Did you did you say before that there was this 2002 survey that found that the predicted as much as 10 percent.
Yeah. That people that's high compared to other studies I've seen. Yeah. I saw like at the most maybe four percent. Yeah.
I can't imagine 10 percent. There's just no way. Because I mean I'm pretty hip, you know. I know it's going on. Yeah.
And I would just be blown away if it turned out that one in ten people were in a polyamorous relationship and just managed to keep it secret that much.
Yeah. Secrecy is a big part of this.
And that's not to say that shame is a part of a polyamorous relationship, but secrecy is just out of necessity, a a pretty big aspect of polyamorous relationships, mainly because, like we said, it's in stark contrast to social values. And if you got a kid, you're at risk of having your kid taken away.
Yeah. Plus, I mean, you'd spend half your life explaining this to everybody, right? You know, there was the one case and and I couldn't find up any follow up about this young woman. But April, what's your last name?
Deville. Beth. Yeah, she was on the MTV show in the late 90s and had a child and had two men in her life. A triad. Yeah. And everyone was happy. The kid was healthy and happy and everything was great. And the grandmother sued for custody and won it. Yeah. Because the court basically made a moral judgment, said this is a depraved lifestyle. Yeah.
And this is in spite of the fact that the court sent its own shrinks to go evaluate the home and the family and didn't find that the kids were any in anything but a loving, supporting home. Yeah, and we're happy and healthy. Still, it didn't matter because it was she was living a depraved life. So she lost her kid, I can imagine that in almost any state in the Union, you would be at great risk of losing your kid if you came out as a polyamorous family.
Yeah, probably. It's one thing, I think as far as society goes to be like, OK, you guys just go do your own thing. Whatever floats your boat, that's fine. Keep it out of our faces. Keep your your little polyamorous lifestyle quiet. But if it turns out there's kids that are being brought into that, like either they already existed or you're having kids with multiple partners in this polyamorous relationship. Right. I think society's threshold for understanding and looking the other way really reaches an end.
Yeah. For better or for worse. Right? Yeah. So I think there is a real threat and there's there's a real threat still in part because there's very little scholarship on the impact that a polyamorous upbringing has on children. Yeah, they don't know. No, no one knows. Polyamorous will say, look dude, you have no idea how much our child is loved. Right? My wife loves our kid. I love our kid. Our wife loves our kid.
So not only does our kid get to, like, be raised by two loving parents, our kid gets to be raised by three loving parents. Equally, there's more of a division of labor.
It's just the kids. Great. And on the other side, you'll find blog posts by people who are authorities on the other side saying, you know, there's just no way because you're at risk of a divorce, but it's a non-traditional divorce. Whereas under normal divorce, we have a social structure to support kids who are going through that. With this, it's like that doesn't make any sense. And the kids are going to be have all sorts of issues.
And then if you don't tell your kid why you're raising them when they get to college and figure out what was going on, they're not going to trust you any longer. Yeah, like but none of this almost none of it is based on studies. Right. It's all just moral judgments one way or the other.
Yeah, I think it's pretty funny. I bet the same people that don't think a child should be raised by a single parent also probably think three or more.
They're like just two. Yes. Yeah.
Not one. Not three or four or five.
Two is perfect. Yeah. Uh, so who are polyamorous? Elizabeth Chef is a sociologist who's done a lot of interviewing and she finds generally they are in their 30s, 40s and 50s, generally white and liberal and educated, many of them highly educated, master's degrees to the tune of like 40 percent compared to eight percent, 40 percent master's degrees. Yeah, that's what I saw. Wow. Compared to eight percent in the general population. And she said rarely are they religious, but when they do, it's usually paganism or Unitarian Universalism apparently has a lot of overlap with the BDM and cosplay communities.
And here's another term, hunting the unicorn. Did you come across that?
No, I didn't. I'm disappointed in myself. That is, she said that a lot of couples are introduced or interested in polyamory by start looking for a woman. Bisexual men to enter their relationship. So I want to triad, I want two women, the woman's like I would like a woman as well. And so let's go out and find that that's called hunting the unicorn.
What else? Oh, I got nothing else. I mean, I did look up a little bit of the history of this kind of thing, and it's there was. Have you ever heard of the Oneida Commune? Yeah, I think we touched upon that. Communism. Oh, really, I think so. Well, they were sounds like a cult, but it's super interesting because it was in the 1940s in upstate New York and Oneida, New York, where you usually don't in the 1940s hear about things like free sex and polyamory.
But that's exactly what was going on there. A lawyer named John Humphrey Noise, uh, basically started a free love commune and the eighteen forties in New York. And by some accounts, it was a very feminist group because women were encouraged to only have sex when they wanted to, which, you know, 1940s. That wasn't the norm. Um, but it was also, as it turned out, not so great in many ways because they, like, had sex with teenagers.
And the more I read about it, at first it sounded like this commune. And then 10 minutes later, I was like, no, this was a cult.
Gotcha. And it had religious undertones. And the weirdest thing out of all is Oneida's silverware. That is still popular today. It was formed from that commune.
Yeah, I remember hearing it is like some sort of cautionary tale or whatever.
Yeah. And there was only like 300 of them. But apparently they I think it was all about having lots of kids to keep that commune going was the main reason. Yeah, but they did not encourage monogamy at all. They they shunned it. Yeah. If you were like really rooting down with one person, they were like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, you can't do that. Go off and have sex with someone else.
Right, right now. Get your priorities in order. Basically get your head together. Yeah, I'm sure there's a documentary on that clan there being. Sure.
If you want to know more about polyamory and other alternative lifestyles, you can search those in the search bar at HowStuffWorks dot com. And since I said search bar, it's time for listener mail.
Here's more on T. Hey, guys, listen to T. And a massive tea connoisseur for the last seven years was really impressed. I expected to listen and pick out a bunch of little mistakes, but I was pleasantly surprised. However, you guys did leave out.
But I can't wait to see you read them on this one. No, I don't think so, Aaron. Sounds like a nice dude.
You left out one major category of tea, though, and it's spelled p you irh puer is what I'm going to say.
He said it's probably the most unique tea out of the six types tome to the Yunnan province of China and the only tea to be fermented, not oxidized. What this means is that there is, and I know that's wrong, is able to be aged for years and years and taste better as ages, just like wine and some pear on the market that several decades old goes for thousands of dollars per disk disk. Yes, this traditionally paper is stone pressed into a disk form called a Being Chaar, and it's sold in that disk form and it has a forest floor flavor and is bruited about two hundred and five to two hundred and ten degrees Fahrenheit.
I got to try that stuff. Yeah, it sounds good. He said I could go on and on, but that's just a great job overall. Guys, I know it's tough to fit it all. One episode TI could easily be its own college class with all the cultural history behind it.
Take care. And that is from Aaron Krauss, who's developer at the Society Dog. That is his associate, a dog.
Thanks a lot, Aaron. And your cohorts that the society sounds neat. It sounds like the one need a.
Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Like, OK, if you want to get in touch with us, you can see what can you do? Check. Tweet to us. Yeah. That's why ask podcast. You can join us on Facebook dot com slash stuff. You should know you can send us an email to stuff podcast at HowStuffWorks dot com and as always, join us at our home on the web stuff you should know Dotcom. Stuff you should know is a production of radios HowStuffWorks for more podcasts, my radio is the radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.
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