On November 7, 2014, John D. posted a comment in response to one of my Psychology Today blogs, “Does Polyamory Work?.”
In his comment, John D. assumes that polyamory is obviously pathological and an excuse for inhumane and slavish behavior. This response, just one of the many, many like it that I have received over the years, has at its core the certainty that polyamory (or kink, or feminism, or ______(fill in the blank) is debased beyond redemption. Thus far I have taken these folks seriously and provided the evidence they demanded, attempting to engage them in reasoned dialogue. While occasionally this works, far more often they either disappear or snark. My patience with their foolishness is wearing thin, and I am beginning to question my accommodating strategy.
How do you all respond to people who make comments? How seriously do you take them? What do you think of my response to John D?
John D. writes:
” for some people it is critical to their emotional wellbeing and mental health.”
With all due respect…
Show me one, single, solitary piece of documented, researched, peer-reviewed scientific literature to back this statement up and you might have an argument to make.
Otherwise, you’re scraping mightily in the dirt for some reason – ANY reason – to want to copulate with anyone and anything you feel like, without having to consider what it might actually say about you as a human being. Assuming of course that you do, in fact, like to consider yourself a human being and not simply a biological machine that is a slave (a brainwashed slave, no less) to hormones and physiological responses.
I see your call of “Bullshit” and raise you 18 peer-reviewed book chapters and journal articles ranging from the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography in 2005 to the most-viewed article of 2013 at the Journal of Law and Social Deviance (with Mark Goldfeder). My new book, The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple Partner Relationships and Families (Rowman and Littlefield, 2014) reports on the findings from my longitudinal (15 years) ethnographic study of polyamorous families with children. Google me, or check out my publications on this site.
If you are truly interested in the evidence, you can read not only my publications, but those of Meg Barker, Curtis Bergstrand, Elaine Cook, Kathy Labriola, Robert Goss, Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli, Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, Robert Francouer, Christian Klesse, Kirsten McLean, Marcia Munsun, Nathan Rambukkama, Melita Noel, Natalie Perry, Roger Rubin, Paula Rust, Anita Wagner, and Katherine Frank — to name a few. Alternately, if you are primarily interested in “scraping mightily in the dirt for some reason – ANY reason – to want to” make unfounded and biased assumptions “without having to consider what it might actually say about you as a human being” then by all means continue to think as you do and ignore the research evidence.
With all due respect,
Elisabeth Sheff, PhD, CSE, CASA