Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What is Polyamory? A New Engage Podcast Series on Relationship Diversity

This past summer, Woody Allen released a quirky film about relationships called "Vicky Cristina Barcelona". The movie follows a couple of young American women who become involved in a complicated romantic relationship with the same man. He is an artist who is divorced, but his wife re-emerges, and she proceeds to become involved with him again, along with one of the Americans.

In part of the trailer for the film that you see here, the wife (played by Penelope Cruz) tells one the American girlfriends (Scarlett Johansson) how happy it makes her feel to hear her and her ex-husband making love in the next room. For many viewers, the question is: how could that be? How could she really be happy and not wildly jealous?!

In a series of webisodes, I explore the idea of polyamory (usually translated literally from the Greek and the Latin to be "many loves")--the idea of being involved in more than one romantic, affective, and/or sexual relationship at one time--that might provide answers to those questions. My guest for these webisodes is Christian Matheis, a graduate of OSU's Applied Ethics Master's Program, and who now works as a professional faculty for the Associated Students of OSU.

The first webisode here tries to define polyamory in comparison to traditional ideals of monogamy and distinguishes it from polygamy and polyandry. The second webisode here explains how fairness works in a polyamorous relationship in which there might be three or more partners involved with one another, and how jealousy is dealt with in such a situation.

Look for more webisodes soon, in which Christian and I discuss issue of polyamory and patriarchy, polyamory and queer identity, and the limits of polyamorous life.

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