Jan. 2017 Update:
In October 2013, I watched this television series and it changed my life. Everything in my life was changing at the time and these two blog posts (combined into one here) capture moments of myself and my opinions at the time that I would do well to never forgot. My thoughts about the show haven’t changed at all, it is a benchmark in my personal friendships when I feel comfortable recommending it. However, my thoughts about the world around me, and appropriation of the world’s behaviors have changed since that time… more accurately they been redeemed. My relationship with Jesus has become personal since that time, I am saved by His grace and as such cannot stand behind the convictions offered in the piece about sexual disposition. I cannot rightly speak of the microcosm represented here without expanding out into the entirety of sexuality saying, that only God’s graces offers sufficient pleasure, only a relationship with Christ can quench the thirst of desire in all things. These people’s lives depicted in the show, just as my life and your own are subject to His will, and God used it to His greater glory… so enjoy:
I have seen tons of TV over the course of my life, and I have seen the evolution of the Reality Genre but I have never seen a show so compelling as Polyamory: Married and Dating.
It is a dressing down of the understanding of marriage and monogamy in the United States. The way we actually think about sex and marriage on cultural level is reflected back on us in the most bizarre way I have ever encountered. It points out the way people can use sex as a weapon within a relationship. I have never seen a show where both sides bully each other with sex before. I have never truly understood why we as a people practice monogamy at all until now.
This sounds a little weird and closed minded I know, stay with me please. I don’t care about anyone’s sexual disposition as long as they practice it safely. They do in fact practice safe sex, and two of them, out of the seven people in the show, have a seemingly healthy and sex positive way of life that they appear to find rewarding. So please stick with me, this isn’t some antisex humbuggery.
Polyamory: Married and Dating is currently in its second session on Showtime. It focuses on two “pods” of romantic partners. The first, a trio in LA that includes: A man, his wife, and their girlfriend. The second is a foursome which are partnered up with each other within group, man to women and designated the title of primary.
The justification engine on the the show is called “Processing”. It is an exercise in circular reasoning. This isn’t casual sex either. The real genius of the show is unveiled in these moments. The people pull the rug out from under each other, capable of accusing each of emotional cheating while simultaneously cheating on each other. It’s hard to state this clearly so I will overstate it. They tell each other all the time, with both words and actions, “Please do not love someone else.” then they go love someone else and then meet up with each to accuse one another of loving someone else.
They have collectively agreed to betray each other actively. They all have these sort sickening smiles on their face, they look like they are about to vomit from making themselves so miserable. Even within the act of thinking only about themselves they fail to make themselves happy. They stop in the middle of sex with each other to argue about who they are sleeping with and where their emotional attention is distributed. It’s selfish and none of them seem to have the presence of mind to see past that selfishness.
It like mainlining emotional drama right into your veins. Everyone should watch this show. It is on Showtime and has tons of softcore action but I would show teenagers this show like an educational program, “Look at how terrible, emotionless and boring your sex life could be.” They live like they are on a date all the time, the tension of adjusting emotionally to a comfortable level romantically never subsides. They trap each other in their own terrible lives and continually betray each other. Polyamory is a show about the devastating psychological effects that sexual fear inflicts on its victims.
I have never had a tv show make a better person through watching it. This group of people make each other so miserable that it teaches it viewers how avoid this unhappiness, which is a real service. The people on the show quiver from fear of each other. The way they touch each other is both clingy and distant at the same time. The economy of their own bodies within the institution of a sexual relationship has driven them insane and their minds are literally regressed to that of 15 year old, a teenager, a child. True love is about self sacrifice and discipline, not emotional terrorism. The friends and coworkers of the people on the show all try to talk them down and help them in even a minor capacity. Their problems are not difficult.
“I am so upset that she/he is sleeping with someone else.” each person groans
“Yes, but aren’t you sleeping with someone else?” The friend replies.
“Well yes, but it’s completely different, we have an emotional connection.” The offending party vomits out. Never in the wrong, never taking responsibility for the cycle of pain they perpetuate, moving for person to person wallowing in their own misery. The lessons we can take away from this show in an effort to understand the selflessness of Love is incredibly valuable.
These people have lost their decision making abilities through using sex as leverage against each other for years. The show makes me grateful for every comfortable interaction i have had with anyone. Thank you people who do not bully each other with body image all the time. The tension of pageantry between them does nothing but create a spiral of emotional issues and judgement. Go watch Polyamory, then tell a friend you are so glad you don’t HAVE to have sex with anyone, because you will mean it in a way you never understood before.
Note! This was the end of the first post. Then a man who identified himself as polyamorous contacted me about judging too harshly, to which I wrote him and asked the about the show specifically, and questions like “Do you experience this in your romantic encounters? I know that do with my interactions of a sexual nature even in a one-on-one setting, the press of emotional greed is a challenge to overcome.” Stuff like that. The conversation was a valuable one indeed and I wished him well in the post below, and still do as a matter fact.
The problem isn’t that people are defined by their sexual identity on Polyamory: Married and Dating. It’s that most of the people stay in relationships out of a sort of emotional greed. They are constantly defining the conditions of their sexuality to each other as a way of separating themselves from another, which is something that we all do subconsciously, but in defining it they break their own rule to not define it. It is the epitome of the human condition, an exercise in not looking a gift horse in the mouth. “Don’t say anything about the Elephant” is being screamed with everyone’s eyes. All of their conversations, like our own, cycle back to the disappointing question, “Why are we not happy?”
They don’t want to have boundaries put on them but THEN they are obliged to create boundaries in an effort to avoid definition by someone they don’t want. Saying who and what they won’t do sexually, is a little like trying to breathe when the point is to drown. We all do this all of the time, and I just never realized how it exhausting it was. The show has people basically acting out sexual capitalism, something I have never witnessed before, so to repurpose a phrase, “It’s like trying to nail jelly to cats.” The effort itself is overwhelming.
As mentioned in the previous post “Processing” in the show, is a way of decompressing their relationships. The problem is when they decompress the relationship they are forced to define it. They use gentle words to create these boundaries, like “comfort” and “play” but they are still rhetoric used in an effort of controlling the conditions in which love and affection are distributed, which again, is something they want to avoid. The show creates a fishbowl, exposing how terrible every person in the world is at truly defining the emotional and romantic connections that we all have with each other in a real way.
The happy people in the show walk a sexual tight-rope that I know personally, I can’t walk because it is too much work. Not that a sexual identity is a wrong one, but the one presented in the show makes me want to just go do something else. Sex is not the only thing in life and to spend all of your time dealing with the drama seems like just spinning in circles. Sex is a part of love but isn’t the whole thing. Most importantly, love is about other people, not yourself. Too many people on the show miss that in a big way
The show hyper exaggerates how much time people spend talking about their sex lives but that’s what catches the trick of it, any time they stop to define it, they have to remember to not define it and tell people to remember to not define their romantic boundaries. They say, “I love you but only in the conditions I love you in right now, if you violate these policies you will damage that love and I will have to decide if I can accept your love again . Please remember to not restrict your love toward me just as I am restricting it to you now.”
You could replace the act of sex with any other part of life, and the show still works. If you do things only for yourself you will be incredibly unhappy.
It blows on the house made of cards that everyone makes with their own lives. When you live for other people, it’s amazing. Remember to love one another and you will be in good shape.
Polyamory: Married and Dating is like watching a really complicated mental tongue twister, it’s super confusing but fun. Get ready to be spun in circles. On top of that the softcore porn stuff gets hilarious as it is so bright, so staged, so clean and frequent that you begin to wish that meetings between people would just end in handshakes.
Special thanks to Psychophancy, for offering additional perspective. Honest dialogue helps everyone involved shape their own lives into the most rewarding experiences possible so thank you.