The Showtime TV show, “Polyamory-Married and Dating” has put one version of polyamory right into America’s living rooms. Although the show has created a lot of buzz – enough that Showtime has reportedly contracted for a second season – a fair amount of that buzz has been controversy within the polyamory community itself. There are concerns about the show’s presentation of the polyamorous lifestyle, its emphasis on explicit (if soft core) sex, the relentless “drama” it seems to portray as being inherent in polyamory, and similar matters.
Like it or not, this “reality” show is shaping public perceptions of polyamory. As activists, we are faced with the question of what we want to do next. Where do we want to take the conversation? What do we want to do about potential fallout? How can we leverage the conversation started by this show into a viable national discussion about relationship choice, the many flavors and styles of non-exclusive relating, the diverse nature of the real world of polyamory, and the relatively drama free existence enjoyed by many practicing polyamory today – at least insofar as their relationships are concerned!
Activists need to develop a broadly coordinated response to the wider public exposure to polyamory and the increased attention this will generate -good and bad. We will examine some steps that the community may take going forward to adapt to the “brave new world” in which the mainstream now has a first hand impression -however imperfect – of “what polyamory is.”