New Blogpost on Emotional Intimacy and Polyamory

You can find my newest blog on the Psychology Today website.

Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, PhD, CASA, CSE

One of a handful of global experts on polyamory and the foremost international expert on children in polyamorous families, Dr. Elisabeth Sheff has studied gender and
families of sexual minorities for the last 16 years. Sheff’s television appearances include CNN, and the National Geographic, and she has given more than 20 radio, podcast, print, and television interviews with sources from Radio Slovenia to National Public Radio, the Sunday London Times to the Boston Globe and Newsweek. By emphasizing research methodology and findings in her discussions, Dr. Sheff presents the kind of public intellectualism that encourages audience members to think critically regarding gender, sexualities, and families.

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  1. Dear Dr Elizabeth Sheff,
    I really appreciate your comments and follow them at least once a week as a phd. student in cultural sociology. However, talking of such realities in my society is sort of forbidden even in academic spheres. How do you think we can overcome this problem?
    Best Regards,

    1. Hello Bita,
      Which society do you mean? In terms of a negative reaction to polyamory, it could be so many that it is hard for me to guess. Without more information it is hard for me to say how to overcome it.

      In the mean time, I sympathize with you. Many areas of the world have restrictions on sexuality, especially women’s sexuality. These are often based in religious notions of purity that are common to most major religions – Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism among them.
      In most of these societies until quite recently wealth was transferred from father to son, so controlling women’s reproduction was crucial to men’s ability to give their money to their own son, and not someone else’s. Add to that the many double standards that allow men far more latitude than women and the numerous religious doctrines that say men are supposed to be in charge, and the idea of non-monogamous women can be especially threatening. Cross-culturally, historically, and currently, men of distinction have routinely been allowed multiple wives: Polygyny (one man with multiple wives) is more common in the totality of human history than is monogamy.

      Polyandry (on woman with multiple husbands), on the other hand, is incredibly rare and circumstantial in that it tends to occur in more geographically isolated societies.

      Polyamory, with it acceptance of women’s multiple partners, is so challenging because it goes against not only monogamous culture, but polygynous culture as well. It is not at all surprising that talking about it makes people uncomfortable.
      I wish you the best of luck in your studies!


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