"El poliamor, uno para todos, y todos para uno" (with translation)
Público, a new daily newspaper in Spain with a left/progressive orientation, has just presented a first-rate introduction to polyamory and its enthusiastic advocates in Spain. Juliette Siegfried of Barcelona, whose triad is is profiled in the article, is known on English-language poly discussion sites as Ktylove. Here is her translation of the article:
Polyamory: One for all and all for one
by ANTONIO GONZÁLEZ — Madrid — Dec. 26, 2007
A new emotional concept suggests the possibility of romantic, long term, honest relationships with various people, but without getting married.
Roland has been married to Juliette for more than 10 years. At the same time, he has maintained a romantic — and sexual — relationship for some months with Laurel, with the complete knowledge and approval of his wife, who gets along very well with her husband’s new girlfriend.
Both women can also have other relationships and Roland, apparently, doesn’t mind. No one would say that American Juliette Siegfried, 40, Britisher Roland Combes of the same age, and American Laurel Avery, 32, form a typical family (as they themselves affirm), but instead they are an ideal example of polyamory.
This concept, born in California in the 1960’s, describes an emotional relationship between various people, and is based on honesty and mutual sincerity, and in which jealousy, they say, has no place. Polyamorists are clear that their relationships are not merely sexual, as happens with swingers (partner-swapping), but instead involves relationships with an emotional connection.
The three have decided to go public in Público to help make this lifestyle known, which is quite the minority in Spain, where those confirmed to be polyamorous number around 500 but are expanding.
Juliette, who runs an internet polyamory group, has lived in Spain with her husband for almost five years, and she proudly confirms that in Barcelona, where they have lived since June, more and more people attend the monthly group meetings. However, Roland sees Spaniards as reticent about this new lifestyle and notes that “For many, the main obstacle is jealousy.”
Roland says that there is no “approval process” for someone to enter into a polyamorous relationship with them. “If Juliette falls in love with someone, that person will usually begin coming to our meetings or going out to eat with us. I will never say to my wife “I don’t like him,” because we have a natural confidence that we’re not going to choose inappropriate people or people that will be very bad for us,” Roland explains.
For Juliette it’s essential that there are no secrets, although she notes that in her case, she doesn’t want to know every detail of every encounter. Other polyamorists are interested in that kind of detail, and there is no standard model of a polyamorous relationship. Along the same lines, there are groups in which all the members are sexually involved with each other, particularly if there are bisexuals, and other groups in which all members are not physically involved, as in the case of Juliette and Laurel.
Juliette says that “There are no limits” to the number of people in a polyamorous relationship, but that it is impossible “to have time for many people,” particularly, notes Roland, “if you want to have a stable, loving, quality relationship.” “The fundamental concept is honestly, and the rest is very open,” says Roland, and he concludes by saying that he believes the government should support this type of union.
Along with the emotional aspects, polyamorists have to confront the consequences in terms of daily life and sexual health, of having multiple partners at the same time. Polyamorists maintain that the risk of suffering a sexually transmitted disease may be less than that of a monogamous couple, since, in their case, they have more frequent STD tests. In addition, all the partners know about the other partners, which doesn’t usually happen in traditional relationships.
“We are tested regularly, much more often than monogamous people,” says Laurel, who believes that in Spain, many women are not surprised about the possibility that their partners are being unfaithful. In any case, Juliette says that it’s “fundamental” to always use condoms or appropriate barriers with partners outside the primary couple, to avoid problems. Her husband Roland affirms “honesty protects us better than the hidden sex experienced in many monogamous relationships.”
In terms of children, Roland, Juliette and Laurel don’t have any, although they know polyamorous families that do. “We love the idea of raising children in households of more than two adults, in fact we don’t want to do it with only two, because it’s too much work. Family groups with children do very well,” says Juliette.
The Battle Against Prejudice
The majority of Spanish polyamorists only fully share and develop their way of life among those who think similarly. They keep it secret from their families and work environments, for fear of the possible consequences.
“There is a lot of sexual hypocrisy. If you know it will upset your parents or that they’ll criticize you at work, you keep quiet. We’re not trying to upset anyone or damage our professional credibility,” explains Ana (a false name), a 42-year-old physician from Madrid, who believes that there are “many more polyamorists than it seems.”
Ana has been married for 21 years to Juan, a 40-year-old graphic designer who also did not want to share his real identity, and who confirms that in the majority of monogamous couples, “they lie; they don’t tell the other what they are doing.”
For her part, Patricia, a 25-year-old bisexual sociologist who also prefers to give a false name, believes that all structures can be valid in polyamory. “There are trios, quads, and all can be involved with each other. However there are other groups that are more like a network based on one primary couple,” she explains.
Juan wants to be clear that polyamory is not some sort of sect, particularly since “there are no fixed norms” other than “honesty above all.” Regardless, he says, “jealousy can arise, but this also happens with monogamous couples.”
“Love without Limits”
For model Lilian Kimberly Jeronimo, from the Canary Islands, who has no problem revealing her identity for the cause, polyamory is “love without limits.” Lilian has a primary partner, with whom she has a 4-year relationship, and a secondary partner, a monogamous man with whom she’s been for a year, since they began living polyamorously.
At the same time, she has relationships with two special friends, with whom she maintains a friendship that is “deep and sincere, and can go beyond friendship.” Her dream is to build a “polyamorous family in the future,” and she doesn’t rule out having children.
Lilian Kimberly, who is also an animal rights activist, believes that polyamory in Spain could develop similarly to the gay movement, and she is willing to fight for it. The model, who recognizes that before becoming polyamorous she was “rather possessive,” concludes that when there is excellent communication between partners, jealousy disappears.
See the original article. Spanish speakers, join in the comments there!
Juliette in the article invites people to check out her Spanish-language polyamory site:
A few years ago I started a Yahoogroup in Spanish [Poliamor]. It has grown to include a couple hundred members, although not all in Spain — Central and South America are represented as well.
It's gone well enough that I am working on a new website in Spanish: www.poliamor.net. There is currently a HUGE demand for information in Spain, so I'm hoping it will be a valuable resource to offer.
She asks for volunteers to help with the sites.
There's also an active Spanish-language Yahoo group Poliamor en Mexico.
PORTUGAL / BRAZIL
Following Ktylove's example, antidote73 posted:
I would like to leave here some links and info pertinent for all poly-people or poly-interested living in Portugal or in portuguese speaking countries or who would like to share and discuss in portuguese:
Poliamor (http://www.poliamor.pt.to/): main portal, in portuguese, spanish and english, redirects to all other information resources.
Poly Portugal Yahoo group.
We are trying now to make a very concentrated effort to bring most of the polyamorous people living currently in Portugal in the mailing list so that organisation and information of parties, discussions, meetings, dinners gets easier and more convenient.