A BBC news article caught my eye today asking the question about whether you can be happy in an open marriage? It was not the article that caught my eye in particular. but more the comments sections and the range of opinions people held. In particular, there is a persistent view that polygamy is just another form of cheating on your spouse.
Polygamy and open relationships are not for everyone and a key part of their success seems, in my opinion, to be based on how honest people are with themselves in the first instance and determining what they are seeking from within and outside of their relationships.
I used to think that I wanted a monogamous relationship and I had a very good one for many years with no temptations to stray outside of our marriage on either side. When that relationship ended I began to explore other forms of relationships and their dynamics. It wasn't until 3 1/2 years ago when I met my current partner, "S", that my perception on monogamy began to change.
Each couple is different and I can only speak for myself and my partners. It is not about having your cake and eating it. For me, it is about full-filling the different areas of my life that I need to have filled in order to be happy. S and I make a very good couple and we compliment each other in many ways. However, as with a lot of couples, there are incompatibilities. I often need and want things he cannot provide and vice versa. For that reason we have other partners in our lives that meet those needs and as a whole it makes all of us much happier than had we either been monogamous or not formed a relationship at all.
All my partners are important. My relationship with one partner does not need to interfere with the relationship I have to another partner. They are separate entities. They do not compete. Much like my friendships, and in many ways my long term friendships are as equally important to me as my partnerships.
So, in answer to the question posed by the article, for me, yes, I am happy in an open relationship and a happier person overall as a result.
I love the British winters, especially when the weather has been clear and frosty as it has over the past few days. 7 years ago, yesterday, was my wedding day. Since divorced and am happily unmarried right now, the reason I chose January to hold the wedding was because it is my favourite season.
This time of winter is often characterised by the clear frosty mornings, where the air is so cold that it burns your throat and lungs as you breathe. Plumes of vapour form as you exhale, where the warm moist air from your lungs hits the cold (a similar effect, in a random tangent here, is observed in the clouds of vapour that condense around boiling liquid nitrogen). I particularly like the light from the low sun, spilling elongated shadows across the frozen earth. It is cleansing, somehow.
Winter is often associated with and used to represent death or lack of hope (as in the case of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe or the 1985 film Legend etc.). The cold and hardship of a winter with limited food resources can kill off many organisms, however, it could be said that heat and droughts in the summer can do the same thing. I can't say that I have ever really considered winter to be time of death, but more often view it as a time of peace and rest, where life pauses in its headlong rush and takes a bit of a breather. It is also a time of year that is essential to many organisms. There are numerous species of plants, including several that are agricultural species, that require a period of cold before they will germinate or flower, a process termed vernalisation.
I find winter starkly beautiful and relish being outside and feeling the contrast of cold air and warm sun on my skin. It is really the perfect British winter weather for being outside, although it does make walking to the bus in the early morning more than a little hazardous!
Pictures were taken while on a walk yesterday morning.
A question posted onto the Islam Question and Answer site asked what the medical benefits of female circumcision were. There has been the usual lengthy debate on Pharyngula that, unfortunately seems to have rather taken things out of context. I can see some validity in taking a black and white stance on this issue, and am strongly against any form of circumcision (without medical reasons or unless the individual is an adult and consents), on a male or female. But there is also no need to misrepresent the argument. It is already wrong, misrepresentation to hammer that point home, while entertaining, is unnecessary and unethical. The points that have individuals riled up are as follows;
"The secretions of the labia minora accumulate in uncircumcised women and turn rancid, so they develop an unpleasant odour which may lead to infections of the vagina or urethra. I have seen many cases of sickness caused by the lack of circumcision.
Circumcision reduces excessive sensitivity of the clitoris which may cause it to increase in size to 3 centimeters when aroused, which is very annoying to the husband, especially at the time of intercourse.
Another benefit of circumcision is that it prevents stimulation of the clitoris which makes it grow large in such a manner that it causes pain.
Circumcision prevents spasms of the clitoris which are a kind of inflammation.
Circumcision reduces excessive sexual desire. "
Obviously this type of reasoning is ridiculous. Washing and proper hygiene corrects the first point, the second two are focusing on reducing a woman's ability to have pleasure in deference to what the husband prefers, the fourth... really? Orgasms are inflammation now? Um, for those who have any doubt, no, clitoral spasms are not due to inflammation. The last point is probably the real reason behind FGM and is supported elsewhere on their site. It limits female sexual desire and this seems to be linked to moral female behaviour (because us women are incapable of having any control over our desires *rolls eyes*).
However, unlike what is claimed on Pharyngula, the removal of the clitoris is not advocated, and this is repeated numerous times in that answer and elsewhere on the same site. I am a scientist. I prefer accuracy over latching onto attention grabbing statements to demonise individuals who, after all, are quite capable of doing it all by themselves. .
There are no medical reasons for female circumcision and to suggest there are is, quite frankly, immoral.
50 women who changed the world, a list of 50 women who have had a significant impact on the world. Some I agree with others I don't. It is interesting that we have to have such a list at all, should it not simply be people who changed the world?
There is, from my perception, a glaring omission from this list. Rosalind Franklin was instrumental to the discovery of DNA structure, her X-ray diffraction images leading to the correct interpretation of the structure, although acknowledgement of this was not made at the time. The discovery of DNA structure has revolutionised biological science and our understanding of how our cells work.
Sexism seem to be the topic of the week again then, hmm? You can see this post from Blag Hag to get the relevant details and links, although essentially the whole blow up is about how different people get different experiences from the same community. Some women have a thoroughly positive experience in skeptical organisations/events etc. while others are put off by the rampant sexism that they perceive.
I am not part of skeptical organisations and certainly this type of heated discussion puts me off from even considering joining. Not because of the sexism. While it is not right and does annoy me when I encounter it, it is also not something that I am going to be particularly put off by, just as I am not put off by the fact most of my family are Christians and I happen to disagree with them. Individuals are individuals and there are plenty of people who demonstrate what I enjoy about skepticism, those will be the ones I associate with, not the people who annoy or insult me. What really bugs me about the whole thing is that each side seems to think they represent the opinions of all women and that they have the right to tell others how they should be behaving. Um, well no, you don't. Neither side has that right and neither side should be speaking for anyone but themselves as individuals.
Why is there such a lack of tolerance for different experiences and perspectives? It is something I have observed numerous times in various situations where there is a polarisation of opinion and subsequent demonisation of those who disagree. It really is not necessary to tear others apart to make your point. I don't know if intolerance in general has increased or decreased. I know it is something I need to work on more in my own life, and after all, as I am the only person I can control acceptance starts at home.
Skeptical kinkster musing on whatever takes my fancy!