Straight in a gay world

Imagine living in a parallel universe where everything was exactly the same as the universe we live in except that the socially accepted norm for marriage was homosexuality. Imagine that heterosexual marriage was frowned upon, and that the current civil rights movement involved trying to achieve marriage equality not for homosexuals but for heterosexuals. If you are among the very few who have homosexual tendencies, you might feel comfortable living in such a universe. If you are like the majority of people, though, you’d find that being a straight person living in a gay world would be very uncomfortable.

One could argue that heterosexuality is “normal” and that homosexuality is “abnormal,” since fewer than 10% of people are strictly homosexual and only about one third of people admit to being not exclusively heterosexual. One could argue that society’s preference for heterosexual marriage and its disdain or fear of homosexual marriage merely reflect the natural proclivities of the majority of the population. Equal rights aside, that seems like a perfectly reasonable and perfectly defensible position. The problem comes, however, when we apply the same reasoning to society’s preference for monogamy.

I read a fascinating blog post that stated that according to a recent study published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, over two thirds of females and three fourths of males indicated that they would pursue a clandestine affair if they were assured they would never be discovered. In other words, about two thirds of people are exclusively heterosexual, and about two thirds of people have desires for non-monogamy. Yet society has established different norms for each group. For sexual orientation, society has adopted customs that conform with the majority. For relationship formats, society has adopted customs that only fit with a minority of people’s tendencies.

Polyamory is a better fit for more people than monogamy is. Being romantically attracted to more than one person is “normal” and having only a single life-long love is “abnormal.” As far as polyamory vs monogamy goes, we live in that parallel universe where society has gotten it wrong. We are straight in a gay world.

13 thoughts on “Straight in a gay world”

  1. Have you ever heard of the musical, “Zanna, Don’t!” It’s subtitled “A Musical Fairy Tale” because it’s premise is exactly how you started this post: gay is normal; straight is the minority that’s looked down upon. Things in general are flipped: the chess club is considered sexy, drama is for popular kids, and football is a geeky pasttime. Besides some great peppy music, I think it brilliantly demonstrates how jarring it is to live in a world where you’re in the minority. Unfortunately, it basically preaches to the choir since it’s not found mainstream success.

    Perhaps a poly version needs to be written…

    Musical aside (I’m kind of a musical theater geek), I agree on the analogy of poly people being “gay in a straight world.” I was recently trying to reconstruct the poly mix CD I made years ago to post on my local Poly meetup group. However, I couldn’t remember half the songs (that had taken me a while to compile, especially back then). Even now, some ten years later, I’m still having trouble coming up with songs that aren’t proprietary or “one true love” based.

    1. Thanks for the reference. I hadn’t heard of “Zanna, Don’t!” before; I’ll definitely look it up. It agree it would be fun to compile a playlist of poly-friendly songs. I heard a song by The Byrds recently called “Triad” that kind of blew me away.

  2. Well, you could take the French model as the next step to polyamory becoming mainstream. General acceptance that married people have affairs, and it’s not a big deal to be in more than one relationship. Then moving on to openness – three generation plan?

      1. That does look interesting. From the little I’ve read about it so far, it appears that they are sincere in calling it research, so maybe they’ll be open to anything that allows relationships to continue. I did see the word “non-monogamy” on their graphic, which at least indicates that they are aware of the option.

    1. Yeah. I don’t know that such a model wouldn’t work. I personally tend to favor honesty, but if the French affairs are openly understood to occur and accepted as part of life, then at least it’s not as dishonest as the way affairs tend to work in the United States.

      1. Yes, it’s interesting that they don’t discuss their openly acknowledged clandestine affairs. It does remove the cheating aspect though, which is clearly better than imagining monogamy.

  3. I am a monogamous person even though I am bisexual, I can’t go out with two or more people, I just can’t. People have their relationships, in whatever form they may be.

  4. Just because some people have a hard time being monogamous does NOT mean that polyamory is a better fit. Polyamory is far too much work for most people, methinks. And certain cheaters get off on the hiding and the big concealing.

    1. I’m not sure what you’re saying. If a person can’t be monogamous and polyamory isn’t a better fit for that person, are you suggesting that they just resort to deceit?

That’s my truth. What’s yours?