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In These Economic Times Should Urban Gay Men Give Polyamory Another Look?

   Thu, April 15, 2010 - 6:07 PM
Polyamory, the act of having more than one romantic partner and or relationship all at once, is beginning to surface from secrecy as more people, particularly gay men, choose this as a lifestyle choice. In modern urban settings gay men who find the quest of meeting a suitable partner or close friends a daunting task, even with the availability of quick "hook ups" via the internet, bars, and clubs, know first hand that the city can at times be a lonely place especially if a person moves to a new urban setting without the benefit of knowing anyone. Perhaps one of the main factors that make this an even more difficult situation is the economics of modern urban life. It is increasingly expensive to live in many American cities. The economic effort it takes to live in a wonderful, beautiful, and cultural American city is sometimes overly expensive due to the ever rising cost of housing ,transportation, and food. In many urban settings this means that folks have to live with roommates and or shared housing accommodations in order to cut costs. This stress, along with work considerations, taps many people out and forces them to make strict choices about how they use their entertainment and recreational dollar.( When I lived in San Francisco, we often noted that most young people who moved to the city were being subsidized by someone because of the great expense.) Now of course this is not any different from what most other folks in or out of urban settings have to deal with, but the challenge here for the young and middle age single gay man is that this reality is not helpful to those who are trying to find a traditional romantic or life partner. In fact this reality often makes it more difficult to spend time with another person long enough to really get to know them. Also for older gay men who find themselves single and socially isolated due to age and economics, it becomes increasingly hard to meet new people and interact within the framework of enjoying the city with other people because of economic tensions that might negatively affect social contact with others who may also be economically challenged and removed from the perspective pool of men one could potentially meet and or date.

Polyamorous households and families can help to remove some of the sting of urban life when gay men of all ages and social economic backgrounds pool their economic and relationship capital together so all involved in the polyamorus relationship can live in a more sane way and better enjoy the advantages of urban culture and have a better opportunity to blossom as individuals in a more secure environment, ideally with other men in more loving relationships who are not strangers. And this relationship choice can take away some of the pain, pressure, and hardship of urban life if a member of the household happens to get sick or loses their job. Of course this is not a new phenomenon. In cities like New York we have seen urban gay blacks and Latins who have come together to form houses famous in the voguing ball cultural scene. In other cities we see gangs coming together giving members a feeling that they are part of a caring family where they had none before. Also in the 1960's the phenomenon of the commune was a popular counter cultural living concept pushed and exploited by the "Hippie Culture" of free love. But perhaps what makes this a little different in the age of the political fireworks of gay marriage is the idea that some gay men are beginning to ask if there is such a thing as a gay culture that makes them dramatically unique and different from their straight counter parts. And in asking this question some gay men are petitioning and asking activist in the gay movement whether it is really worth it to be mainstreamed into society if they indeed have to totally relinquish all that makes them unique as "queer" men. And finally this train of thought leads many of these same gay men to consider creating polyamorous situations that are tailor made to their needs and desires of love and life in the new urban landscape, that many are finding lacking in true fulfillment. To be sure, I have seen and read about many such family situations developing especially in the queer leather and fetish communities. It is of interest to me and other observers to wonder if the future will prompt more progressive thinking gay men to consider moving toward more communal poly lifestyles that could clearly provide a challenge to conventional ways of defining successful loving relationships, and ways of living with others, especially in the current economic climate that often adversely affects the quality of life for so many gay men in American urban settings.

1 Comment

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Fri, April 16, 2010 - 5:53 AM
Yep, this sounds reasonable
As long as everyone in the household understands the rules, sexual or otherwise. It does, however, fly in the face of gay marriage.