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Monday, July 6, 2020

Student discussion on polyamory

Not Yr Ethical Slut was a discussion on polyamory and non-monogamous relationships lead by Western alumna Ro Sigle and student Kyan Oliver Furlong on Friday, May 1.

Polyamory is the state of being in love or romantically involved with more than one person.

Sigle and Furlong opened the discussion up by asking participants what needs, such as emotional support, sexual satisfaction or acceptance, are expected to be met in a monogamous relationship. They then had the group write down the people in their lives that fulfilled those needs.

The exercise showed that these needs were met by many different people and not necessarily just one. The idea that one person must meet all your needs is perpetuated by society but isn’t very realistic, Sigle said.

Jesse Doran, a Western student, said that what is generally considered fulfilling or important in relationships can be very restricting.

“Everyone should feel comfortable expressing themselves how they wish,” Doran said. “Society pushes us into boxes where we don’t feel comfortable with ourselves.”

Sigle said the concept of monogamy is rooted in many problematic parts of society such as white supremacy and classism

“Because monogamy is so rooted in literally everything and because the institutions that support monogamy are so tied to the financial sector and cultural ways of relating to each other, we’re asked to give up parts of ourselves in order to fulfill the myth of monogamy,” Sigle said.

During the discussion, participants were asked to write down things they wished people knew about non-monogamous relationships. Some of things written down were “having several partners doesn’t mean I’m not committed,” “we’re being safe” and “I’m not more in love with certain partners”.

Sigle and Furlong hope that through conversations like this people will think more critically about relationships and why they’re structured the way they are.

“Relationships are life giving. We need each other,” Sigle said. “So if we’re not engaging in collective action for good interpersonal relationships, then we can’t get anywhere.”

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