Challenging „The one true Love“
These are notes from a short presentation which can be found here
The story we are told
Movies, pop music, advertisements, religion, tradition, and other societal influences currently tell us a very specific story about sexual desires and love:
- Too much sex is considered „promiscuous“/“decadent“ (at least for women: Slut vs Stud)
- You are not „whole“: You have to find „the other half“
- Being „destined“ for each other/“love at first sight“
- „Romantic Love“ is something you should strive for
- A lifetime monogamous relationship is one of the most important goals of life
This can lead to
This story can have quite devastating effects on the mental health of many people:
- People are judged if they don't find "the one". Self-doubts.
- Pressure to find „the one“ and to fulfill all their needs (be someone you are not)
- Fear of losing partners, try to „own“ partners, other people become a threat
- Leaving partners for „better partners“
Why are we told this toxic story about love?
Sexual desire is hyped and commercialized. At the same time, love and sex are mostly treated as scarce goods while people are mostly isolated.
The „traditional“ family only became traditional in the middle of the 19th century.
The traditional family with the woman doing reproduction work stabilizes capitalism.
This is a frame from the movie „They live“ in which it becomes apparent to the main character that the message behind the ad is to marry and reproduce as
the rulers know that this will keep people from rebelling against the system and produces the next generation of obedient workers.
The current story about love might stabilize capitalism but...
Tell Different Stories
Once you realize the story we are commonly told about sex, love, and relationships is toxic, it's time to
think about other stories that could be told.
This is an interesting thought experiment about what love is from the musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (based on Plato):
There are concepts like Polyamory and Relationship Anarchy that are well thought through and used in practice.
They can guide you through the endless possibilities of non-toxic and ethical relationships.
What the umbrella terms Polyamory and Relationship Anarchy have in common:
- consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy
- Various Forms: Open Relationships, Circles, Networks, ...
- Love is not a limited resource (only time is)
- The more love you give the more love you have
How does it work? - just like every good relationship should
- Question the norms of what a relationship has to be like and find what works for you
- Honest and open communication (needs, fears, feelings, limits)
- Take responsibility for your needs/feelings (no blaming)
- Empathy and respect for your partners‘ needs and feelings
- Faithfulness (no cheating) with regards to mutual agreements
- Find what works best for you instead of excepting the norm set by society.
- Reduces pressure to have to find "the one". Each relationship has its own value.
- Reduces pressure to fulfill all needs of the other. You can be with someone even if you don‘t fulfill all her needs.
- The "main" relationship (if there is such a relationship) can be inspired by additional relationships.
- Adapts to new needs if partners develop in divergent directions.
Polyamory might not be for everyone but the skills you learn are:
- Question what a relationship is about
- Consensual sex and safer sex
- Be „whole“ without needing „the one“
- Compersion and how to handle jealousy
A newer text about love and relationships.
The Ethical Slut is a great introductory book which is reclaiming „slut“ as a sex-positive term:
There is also a web series inspired by the book: The Ethical Slut Web-Series
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