Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (UNL) Conference System, 1st Non-Monogamies and Contemporary Intimacies Conference

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Polyamory, Swinging, and New Forms of Family: Transgressive Subjectivities, Bonds of Love, Care, and Desire
Maria Silvério, Justyna Sempruch, Joanna Iwanowska, Alejandro Cervantes-Carson

##manager.scheduler.building##: B Tower
##manager.scheduler.room##: T09
Date: 2015-09-25 02:30 PM – 04:00 PM
Last modified: 2015-08-07


This interdisciplinary panel brings into discussion alternative conjugal models, such as polyamory, swinging, and other ‘transgressions’ of monogamy: betrayal, ambiguity, jealousy, and fear. It is composed of four presentations that combine empirical work with theoretical analysis across philosophy, anthropology, and sociology.


1. Goodbye for Now, my Love: Betrayal as a Spontaneous Trace of Transgression and a Strategic Subversion of The Nuclear Bond


This paper derives from the narrative analysis of instant messaging samples, collected from individuals in monogamous love bonds (2011-14) as part of a larger qualitative research on the changing family structure across Europe. Relying on psychoanalytical and socio-political insights, it traces interactions between individuals on the subject of intimacy, (un)/happiness, and desire, and how they are inevitably entangled with the notion of betrayal. Anecdotally understood as a ‘treacherous’ act of transgression beyond monogamous structure, betrayal is posited here as a subversive principle of attraction that underscores the very concept of bonding, and, by such definition, its precarious and permeable structure.


2. Metamour Connections as the Underpinning of the Fabric of Polyamory: Further Exploration of the Development of Metamour Proximity


This paper explores the development of metamour proximity and the importance of metamour connections (the non-romantic and non-sexual bonds between persons x and z who are both attracted to person y) within the polyamorous network. It argues that even though a polyamorous attitude to forming relationships is commonly associated with the openness to a multiplicity of romantic and potentially sexual connections, there is a less visible but necessary element to what a polyamorous attitude is, namely the openness to a multiplicity of metamour connections. The necessity of this element follows from two pillars of polyamory – consensuality and knowledge.


3. Swinging as a Challenge to Hetero-mono-normativity? Ethnographic Questions and Answers


Swinging is considered a lifestyle choice enabling satisfaction of sexual desire and fantasies. Place of love and affection is at home. Despite its emphasis on sex, if we compare swinging with other types of non-monogamous relationships, swinging does not entirely abandon the ideal of romantic love. This paper infers that swinging forms an intermediate conjugal model that attempts to find a balance between traditional and contemporary values of relationship, sexuality, and love. It discusses how swinging challenges (or not) the hetero-mono-normativity and how gender identities are reproduced, re-signified or denied. The analysis is based on ethnographic research.


4. Polyamory and Swinging as Moral Communities: Boundaries and Belonging


In this paper, I will explore the formation process of the polyamorous and swinging persona and of the constitution of their communities. While acknowledging important differences between these two, I argue that taking them as moral communities reveals important similarities in regard to the definitions of the boundaries of selfhood and belonging. Furthermore, I will argue that while still being important models and experiences that foster transgressive subjectivities and challenge heteronormative monogamy as a hegemonic model for love and sexual practice, they compromise transformative capacities by morally overloading their conditions for being and belonging.