From Monogamy to Polyamory

From Monogamy to Polyamory

What I appreciate about polyamory the most is its flexibility and its emphasis on communication, understanding, honesty, and emotional intelligence. You make your own rules. You stick to them, but you may change them as you need or as your circumstances evolve. You talk about everything with your partner(s).

Nowadays I like entering new relationships that are already open because I learned how to orient myself in an open/poly environment, I know what to expect, and I understand jealousy. However I believe there is something really interesting about starting out in a monogamous relationship and opening it up after a while.

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Robert Heinlein - Novelist, Philosopher, #Jungler

Robert Heinlein - Novelist, Philosopher, #Jungler

Robert Heinlein was a best-selling novelist, prolific science fiction writer, and philosopher who lived 1907-1988. "Heinlein's critics cut across all ends of the political spectrum, as do his fans." He was an author who probed ranging issues such as sex, race, politics, and individualism. He was a fallibilist whose views evolved throughout his lifetime, earning him both praise and criticism.

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Love People, Not Pleasure– Or Love Both

Love People, Not Pleasure– Or Love Both

I am in some ways a cynical writer, and like to think I am writing to an intelligent, skeptical audience.

Here is a New York Times article a friend of mine sent me as reading for an ongoing conversation between us.

Here it is, it's amazing: Love People, Not Pleasure.

The article discusses Abd al-Rahman, an absolute ruler who lived in complete luxury. After a long life, he said he had counted his only genuinely happy days, which amounted to 14. This is a man who miserably sleepwalked through life, loving things and using people.

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Evil Jealousy

Nightmare-In-The-Night-Skies

Jules Hamilton: Jealousy can be evil. Question: What is evil?

JH: Evil is immoral.

Q: What is immoral?

JH: I'll define something that is moral, is something that maximizes the wellbeing of concious creatures. Immoral does not.

Q: Do you ever feel jealousy?

JH: I have mostly unlearned jealousy, but I feel moments of something that could be called jealousy. At this point in my life, any momentary pang of jealousy I feel is very mitigated. I am familiar with the emotion when I sense it, and it doesn't overwhelm me. I don't direct any disdain towards others. Instead, I reflect upon myself to consider what the feeling was trying to tell me.

Q: Does that mean you are evil?

JH: No.

Q: Why?

JH: Because I believe my conscious effort for emotional intelligence has made me happier and better at spreading happiness as a result. That is moral, as I said, I believe something that maximizes the wellbeing of concious creatures is moral. Something that is moral is not evil.

Q: Do you maximize the wellbeing of concious creatures?

JH: In some sense, no. I try to do my best. There is always room for improvement, which I strive for. In another sense, yes. I "maximize" wellbeing by exercising control over myself and trying to have positive associations with the hormone oxytocin as much as possible.

Q: Does that mean you think people who feel unmitigated jealousy are evil?

JH: No. First of all, evil is acknowledgeably a very harsh word and I don't use it lightly. I would describe the unmitigated emotion as evil, but not the person. My reasoning is because unmitigated jealousy decreases the well being of concious creatures.

Q: What is jealousy?

JH: Jealousy is an emotional state.

Q: What characterizes jealousy?

JH: The hormone oxytocin. What's interesting is that the hormone oxytocin affects behaviors such as trust, empathy, and altruism. It also affects opposite emotions like jealousy and gloating. In ScienceDaily Simone Shamay-Tsoory said "Oxytocin seems to be an overall trigger for social sentiments: when the person's association is positive, oxytocin bolsters pro-social behaviors; when the association is negative, the hormone increases negative sentiments."

Q: If you believe in free will, and you believe a person has relative control over his associations, would you call a person who allows himself to have negative associations (or negative sentiments) with oxytocin evil?

JH: It entirely depends on why one is allowing oneself to have negative associations with the hormone.

Q: Can you imagine a scenario when you would call a person evil for feeling jealousy?

JH: I can not imagine a scenario when I would call a person evil for just feeling the emotion jealousy. I believe one should not judge people by their intentions, but judge them by their actions. For example, if someone allowed jealousy to overwhelm them to commit a crime of passion (murder), then I would call that person's actions evil. I would judge them for that.

Q: Would you call them evil?

JH: Without any other knowledge about a specific person who murdered, I would call them evil, provisionally.

Q: So what have you told us?

JH: I have told you what I think. I think jealousy is an ugly emotion that people can mostly unlearn if they exercise emotional intelligence. I think people should if they want to be happy and spread happiness.

#Junglers Don't Slut Shame

Aporia refers to an emotional reaction to an unresolveable internal conflict. It's like one moment you see the world one way, and then suddenly you can't anymore. It can happen if you suddenly doubt something you once believed certain. I have felt aporia several times in my life, at once it was scary, but now I don't fear it. It feels like your world (or your mind) is collapsing. It's like being washed in uncertainty and doubt. It's kind of scary at first, so a lot of people choose to emotionally shut down at the onset of its sensed approach, others see an idea is interesting when you are afraid of taking it to its logical conclusion. The fear of uncertainty doesn't last long, especially if you are certain that you are uncertain. Each time I have felt aporia has made me stronger and more secure with residual good feelings. I am more interested in being right, so I am not afraid of being wrong–that is why I welcome aporia.

There is fading stigma against being sexual. But why is there any stigma against being sexual in the first place? Besides cultural guilt, I think a lot of it stems from jealousy and fear. It's an "I'm not doing that, so you shouldn't be doing it either!" attitude. Or "we must be careful to preserve our customs and traditions!" No need to be sentimental, traditions are merely repetitions masquerading around as truth. Currently, a lot of people go through romantic life believing their purpose is to find "the one." In this landscape, hypersexual people are seen as a threat, because they create increased competition for potential exclusive partners. Hypersexual people can also seem like lures who cause otherwise would-be exclusive partners to stray. So in the past, promiscuous people (primarily women) have been shunned, shamed, and a little feared.

In the article, referred to in the image above, Rashida Jones got flak for telling pop stars to stop acting like whores, suggesting that she absurdly thinks selling sex is immoral. It was negatively interpreted as a reprehensible form of slut shaming.

What is the message pop culture is communicating regarding sex? Paris Hilton's, Kim Kardashian's, and Farrah Abraham's sex tapes have all resulted positively for the women. I would even go so far to say it empowered and helped them grow.

With google search engines and gmail, data mining on our iPhones, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram– avoiding leaving a digital footprint is impossible. We have accepted it as part of life. Furthermore, people use Snapchat to sext, people use their iPhones to make amateur porn, and we are becoming more indifferent to the possibility of ourselves exposed on the internet. I think this will result in more forms of behavior to become acceptable. These are new customs, old ones are leaving. Things change, nothing is constant, and it's not actually scary or weird, it's quite natural and normal. Kids these days have been inundated with these cultural messages and sexual images, and they see no ethical (or practical) dilemma with being open or sexual. In fact, they probably see that being open and sexual leads to comfort, opportunity, and personal growth.

Belle Knox is a famous porn star who is a student at Duke University, one of the most elite colleges in the world. When she was first outed as a porn star she encountered a harsh barrage of criticism and hazing, however the well-spoken performer (she obviously reads books) flipped the table on her critics. The internet community rallied to her corner when she defended herself in an article on XOJANE. Duke supported her position, and now she's a major celebrity with a skyrocketing career. There is no shame in that. She's even about to host a reality show called The Sex Factor.

On the other hand, being open and sexual does make you vulnerable. Being open with others ensures you will occasionally be ostracized or criticized, and maybe even hurt, but that isn't the end of the world. These moments can be positive stressors that make us grow and self-reflect, as we should continue to do throughout our lives. If you've ever had your feelings hurt, or felt let down, don't close up! You could forget how to feel and how to attract the compassion you need and want. You can just as easily experience post-traumatic growth as you can experience post-traumatic stress, it's all about how you think. If you learn to be comfortable being vulnerable, you will find power in vulnerability.

Slut-shaming obviously still exists and sometimes it's covert. For example, a lot of bachelor men perpetuate this problem by being jerks who objectify women for selfish enjoyment, unfulfilling women before shunning them. This is a strange emotional punishment for both parties, and as a result I think it contributes to people feeling more lonely than they should. It doesn't hurt to be nice (and it's actually in one's best interest!). For men, I recommend reading She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Womana dose of The Athena Doctrine: How Women (And the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule The Future, and The Moral Animal.

Here is a great article by Olga Khazan in The Atlantic, called "There's No Such Thing as a Slut." In the article, Khazan references a study on "sluttiness":

"... despite the pervasiveness of slut-shaming, there was no cogent definition of sluttiness, or of girls who were slutty, or even evidence that the supposedly slutty behavior had transpired. In the study, she notes that though 'women were convinced that sluts exist' and worked to avoid the label, some of their descriptions of sluttiness were so imprecise ('had sex with a guy in front of everybody') they they seemed to be referring to some sort of apocrypha–'a mythical slut.'"

"'The term is so vague and slippery that no one knows what a slut was or no one knows what you have to do to be that,' she told me. 'It circulated around, though, so everyone could worry about it being attached to them.'"

"Perhaps no recent example of slut-shaming is as horrifying as the shooting in Santa Barbara last week. Before killing seven people in his rampage, Elliot Rodger vowed to 'slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up blonde slut'— all while complaining that those very same 'sluts' refused to sleep with him... the shooting highlighted that 'slut' is simply a misogynistic catch-all, a verbal utility knife that young people use to control women and create hierarchies. There may be no real sluts, in other words, but there are real and devastating consequences to slut-shaming."

I think the negative emotional connotation attached to the word slut mostly implies people feel like it is immoral. I define a slut as someone who is promiscuous– and I don't think that is immoral or reason to feel shame. The Ethical Slut written in 2009 is a great book that proudly attempts to reclaim the word slut in a positive light.

Our culture cues indicate that we are moving in a more sexual direction. Lars Von Trier's recent movie Nymphomaniac deals with explicit sexuality. And he wasn't even the first, there was a film in 2003 at the Cannes Film Festival with Chloe Sevigny (Brown Bunny) where she gave fellatio on screen. A peak in the new high fashion sensation TVTOR MAGAZINE further hints that porn and high art are merging.

So what is going too far? I don't know, but I don't think it is for us to tell. I think people should be free to express themselves, and I think hypersexualization is a cathartic therapy curing us of embedded cultural guilt and shame associated with sex.

The anti-slut shaming movement is here. This is great news for everybody and Tinder has arrived just in time (Jana and I have even produced two of their videos, see if you can spot us in them)! It's the 21st century, and I think it's time we grow up. There should not be sexual double standards between men and women. Instead, we should continue to strive to learn how to love better.

So go be a slut. Or don't. It's your choice. Whatever you do– don't be a bigot. Feel good. Be free.