By Mystic Life
I recall watching “The Nature of Sex” on PBS years ago, and feeling fascinated by the segment on bonobos. Since then I have learned much more about this gentle primate, and like many other polyamorous people, have come to see them as role models because they have so much to teach us about peace. Bonobos, importantly, are the only nonviolent primate.
Because we are socialized to see ourselves as inherently superior to all animals, it may be difficult for many to see another species as a teacher. However, with an ever-increasing “violence fatigue” throughout our culture, we can benefit from examining why bonobos are able to live in harmony with each other, and begin to question our traditional beliefs about sexuality and love.
One of the reasons bonobos have become popular in the poly community is that they are frequently sexual with each other, and use their sexuality to “keep the peace.” Additionally, they are very close to humans genetically, and can be utilized to understand our own behavior if we were free of the heavy influence of our socialization.
Since the era during which monogamy was first taught to be morally superior behavior, human on human violence has increased exponentially. When we suppress our complex sexual desires, and expect others to do the same, an egoistic belief in the right to control others arises. Instead of seeing others as a potential source of community, love and pleasure, they are viewed as a threat to our “limited resources.” When sexuality is viewed as scarce, violence against others through domestic abuse, acts of revenge, and protecting one’s “sexual property,” become all too common.
A form of psychological aggression that is common in the monogamous mainstream is the act of having a secret affair. Deceiving your partner, putting them at greater risk of S.T.D.s, and taking away their freedom to decide whether they’d still want to be in a relationship with you are part of the grand compromise of trying to be monogamous if you’re not. Overcoming the lopsided cultural preference for dishonesty over truth will most likely take either a great deal of time or a quantum leap in human consciousness. As of today there are 26,550 members at PolyMatchmaker.com, a polyamory focused dating site, and 17,950,000 members at AshleyMadison.com where the slogan is, “Life is short. Have an affair.” How can we envision a conscious world if millions of people are not even truly known by the person who is their supposed primary source of love? The keys to overcoming such deceptive behavior are to stop embracing the hypocrisy of trying to have more than one lover while not allowing your “partner” the same freedom, and learning to deal directly with the core insecurities that lead to jealousy.
Polyamorous relationships offer many opportunities for transparent, peaceful communication. Polyamory does not require the lack of jealousy, but a willingness to take responsibility for one’s feelings without aggression, threats or abandonment. Marshall Rosenberg developed the concept of Nonviolent Communication which I believe is useful in all of our relationships. It focuses upon getting away from blaming and shaming someone for their behavior, and, instead, vulnerably expressing how you feel, and what you would like to ask for from the other person. In a world where we are taught we have a “right” to jealousy, it can take some effort and commitment to change our thinking. It’s useful to realize that at the very core of our jealousy is a fear of abandonment, and a fear of scarcity. However, if we choose to develop a “bonobo-esque” lifestyle where everyone can be sexually satiated, then abundance replaces the norm of “not enough to go around.” Satiation leads to a more peaceful world since nobody is likely to pull out a gun during the healing release of an orgasm.
One of the greatest requirements to transitioning into a more peaceful existence is redefining the “rules” of sex. Sex has been traditionally defined as part of a spoken or implied “contract” in which two people have a right to the exclusivity of the other’s body…and also have a right to be angry if that contract is broken. The high prevalence of infidelity and divorce clearly demonstrates that such contracts are not working for everyone. If you wish to try a new approach to loving, polyamory offers a transformative journey. If you decide to take a poly path, you must be willing to go into the depth of your unconscious fears, and confront all of the dark corners of your ego. You must be willing to learn to love yourself so deeply that it ultimately doesn’t matter what those you love choose to do. True polyamory is not about becoming dependent upon more than one person. It’s about becoming so solid in your wholeness that you lose the need for control. Once you lose the desire for influencing others towards the goal of appeasing your ego, there is no need for aggression or mind games. When intimate relationships are no longer your core sense of identity, but an enhancement to your pre-existing completeness, a subtle ongoing fear of loss is replaced with an unwavering feeling of peace.