A term that has gained popularity in the last few years in the Black community is “Polyamory.” Polyamory simply means “many loves.” A polyamorist will have a relationship with one person and at least one other relationship outside of the primary one. To be clear this isn’t the case of someone cheating on a primary mate. All parties involved will know about each other. There has always been a subculture of people practicing polyamory. In recent years there has been many people promoting the idea of polyamory as a solution to relationship issues particularly in the Black community.
To be clear I don’t have any issues with the sexual practices of any consenting adult. Indeed I have an admiration for the honesty tenet of polyamory. Also on a personal level I can’t rule out the possibility of adopting the philosophy. Indirectly many people practice aspects of this philosophy whether they realize it or not. That being said a reality that many polyamorists have to face is that the Black community as a collective is simply not going to adopt the philosophy.
A major obstacle is organized religion. The dominant religious practice in Black America is Christianity. This is followed by Islam and then Judaism. These religions have tenets that govern relationships. Of course people don’t follow these tenets to the letter and quite frankly violate them frequently. Even in that case the followers of these religions aren’t going follow a practice that requires them to be open about their relationship choices.
As an aside, any economic, political, or cultural philosophy has to palatable to the major religions in the Black community in order to have a chance to succeed.
Another big issue aside from religion is that it goes against a man’s nature to share. Of course many men do knowingly share women but if one were to question those men they would say they prefer to have a woman all to themselves. For example, a man may be a side piece to a woman but on some level he might want to be the main man. Often a man may share because of lack of options and not by choice. Some men take what they can get. This leads to another issue.
Something I’ve noticed in polyamorous communities is that women have more power. Indeed, I recall reading something that stated that polyamory is feminist orientated. A major issue is that while a woman may be able to get another lover it might not be the case with the man. For example, a woman may approach her husband about polyamory because she has met a man she wants to get to know better. The husband reluctantly agrees and the wife is off to have her fun. The husband might not be able to do the same thing.
A reality is that it is way easier for a woman to get sex than it is for a man. All a woman really needs to do is suggest sex to a man in one of her circles. Unless the women is extremely ugly and out of shape she can find a man who will get with her. Even when women complain about a shortage of men they are really complaining about the men for whom they have the greatest desires. Many women do have sex with a “friend” just to scratch an itch. This leads to what I believe is the greatest reason why polyamory won’t get big in the Black community. Many Black men don’t want to be the man at home supporting the practice.
Think about something. A man works hard to support the wife financially. He also there for her when she gets sick and he’s simply a rock for her when life happens. Thing about men like this is that in the Black community they are not the most sought after men. So even though the man may agree to polyamory in order to keep the marriage together he cannot easily get another woman. Yet despite being a rock his wife is out having a good time with a man who may not contribute to the household, who may not want to be around for emergencies, and quite frankly will only deal with the woman for sex.
A man who works forty to fifty hours a week to provide and protect isn’t inclined to watch what he considers his reward, sex with HIS wife, have sex with another man. What happens the day the man comes home sick and his wife is out with another man? What happens when he needs to talk to her then because of an emotional issue? Most men aren’t signing up for that.
Now I know some polyamorous men may have several counter arguments to what I’ve written. More power to them. One person making something work doesn’t mean others even want to try. The reality is that polyamory will stay a subculture in the Black community and never go mainstream.