From: Stuart Staniford-Chen (
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 16:54:51 -0600 (MDT)

Maryann Jones  wrote:

> other as siblings.  I think that this discussion is more likely to occur
> among people who are contemplating cohousing or newly living in cohousing
> than it is among people who are longstanding residents of cohousing
> communities.  We are more likely to discuss the fact that, philosophy be
> damned, we need garages.

I have some polyamorous friends who do live in an established cohousing
community (I'm not going to say which one :-).  My impression is that it
causes a certain amount of breathless gossip, but that no-one has a real
problem with it.  I don't believe it's been discussed as a community wide
issue.  (And I agree with the posters who said it's not really the
community's business either way).

> >>> Denise Meier &/or Michael Jacob <dmmj [at]> 10/19/99 
> >>> 12:11PM >>>
> Polyamory sure seems to get people riled up. I doubt that anyone on this
> list would state that they wouldn't want to live in a community that
> encouraged or tolerated same-sex couples, for instance. Yet an
> essentially similar situation (intimate relationships between consenting
> adults) really pushed some buttons here. I know we're getting off topic,
> but I'm curious to know what is so scary about it, if it's someone else
> doing it, and not asking you to...

Here's my take: because polyamory is presently a lot rarer than being gay,
it's still socially acceptable to be prejudiced against it.  People are
naturally prejudiced against anything that is markedly different than the
status quo as they understand it.  Liberals have been forced to carefully
examine their beliefs about gay folk and get over (or at least hide) whatever
prejudice about it they might once have had.  By contrast, it's still
possible to make very negative statements about polyamorous behaviour in
polite company.  I suppose if it becomes more widespread, polyfolk will be
out there challenging such statements, and eventually it won't be acceptable
to display the prejudice.

The changing nature of relationships in society is one of the most
fascinating things about living in this period of history.  Contraceptives
have totally changed the old basis on which relationships were predicated,
and it's still really unclear where it's going to end.  I can't tell if
polyamory is going to be important in the future or not. 


Stuart Staniford-Chen --- President --- Silicon Defense
                   stuart [at]
(707) 822-4588                     (707) 826-7571 (FAX)

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