PolyLiving- Discussing Polyamory and the Poly Life

Brutal Realities => Ethical Scenarios => Topic started by: Administrator on July 13, 2013, 12:56:28 AM

Title: Our Bed
Post by: Administrator on July 13, 2013, 12:56:28 AM
Fred and Ann, primary partners, share a home, room and a bed together.  They are polyamorous, and both have secondary partners that do not live with them.  Ann does not want another person other than the two of them to sleep and have sex together in their shared bed because she feels that this is "their" intimate place just for the two of them, and she has issues laying in a bed that has other people's secretions in it.  Fred does not completely  with Ann's boundary here, but he agrees to it.  The two of them them discuss ideas for a compromise.

Is it fair for Ann to expect this of Fred?  Explain.
Title: Re: Our Bed
Post by: Natja on July 13, 2013, 02:13:10 PM
It's fair enough, she has an 'ick' factor thing going on.  I assume it is a boundary she extends to herself also as in, she is not inviting her partner into the bed either.  I don't have a problem with that as long as their partners are ok  with it. 
It's also fine for Fred to have his own opinion, couples don't always have to agree on everything but I don't see why this would be an issue with their sort of Polyamory?
Title: Re: Our Bed
Post by: Administrator on July 14, 2013, 07:57:53 PM
Yes, in this scenario she extends the boundary to herself as well. No other partners in their shared bed.  She also does not like feeling displaced from her room while others would be using it. 

However, what would you think should happen if none of the other partners agreed with her request?  Would it be fair or right of Fred to insist that others be allowed to have sex and sleep in their bed that they co-own? 
Title: Re: Our Bed
Post by: Natja on July 15, 2013, 02:57:06 AM
Yes, in this scenario she extends the boundary to herself as well. No other partners in their shared bed.  She also does not like feeling displaced from her room while others would be using it. 

Well I don't blame her, it is a horrible thing and one which I have publicly questioned myself.  I don't think personal space should be under estimated.  It is something, I have realised I need and I don't like the idea of my bedroom being a social space.  Therefore the idea of being displaced for it so others can get their groove on, would vex me no end. 

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However, what would you think should happen if none of the other partners agreed with her request?  Would it be fair or right of Fred to insist that others be allowed to have sex and sleep in their bed that they co-own?

No, not at all, it has nothing to do with ownership, it is just a space that is marked out by her as personal space for her and she has the right to protect that.  If they don't have the extra space, it's unfortunate, but no one should feel bullied on this issue.
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Title: Re: Our Bed
Post by: Deorccwen on July 21, 2013, 09:24:23 AM
Again, I agree with Natja.

Personally, I think that, unless all of the people who use the bed are sexual partners, then it should be *expected*, as a basic courtesy, that sheets, blankets, quilts should be replaced with fresh ones after sex, and before a non-partner of the previous users gets into the bed.

Given that Ann also does not want people she is not in a relationship with in her bed, then I think Fred and his other partners simply have to accept that.  However, to be fair, she should also volunteer not to bring her personal partners into her (and Fred's) bed.

Since the bed and space does not belong to any of the secondary partners, they will simply have to accept Ann's veto on this.  They have no say in the matter, any more than Ann should be able to demand to have sex in their bed, whether she is their partner or not.  Alternate arrangements will simply have to be made. 
Title: Re: Our Bed
Post by: River_Fox on July 21, 2013, 03:54:01 PM
Hello, all. I just joined this site specifically to respond to this question. The original question was, "Is it fair for Ann to expect this of Fred?"

I say, "fair" is a concept that almost never has an objective meaning. "Equal" can be defined as sharply as you're able to measure, but not "fair." "Fair" can only be defined when two or more people are in exactly equal circumstances (including their needs and wants), or when a decision process can be employed that will leave all parties satisfied. The classic "I cut, you choose" is a simple example of this.

Let me establish by example some of the obstacles to defining fairness in general cases.


Is it fair for Fred to declare that his and Ann's common asset will be used in a new way, if he grants Ann the right to use it the same way?

Is it fair for Ann to declare that Fred shall not use it in a certain way, if she agrees to also not use it in that way?

Neither one is intrinsically fair.

Maybe Ann and Fred can come up with a fair *process* to arrive at a decision, but when there's  just a single binary choice to be made, it's hard to imagine. Some creativity will be needed.
Title: Re: Our Bed
Post by: Bud on July 21, 2013, 05:08:37 PM
Welcome River_Fox,

Thank you for your insightful post; it really made me see things from another perspective.  I agree about measuring fairness, or the inability to do so objectively.  Sometimes a single word or phrase can make all the difference in how we view a situation.  Thank you for your post and hope to have you involved in more of the intellectual discourse here on the forums.

Best Wishes,

Bud
Title: Re: Our Bed
Post by: Deorccwen on July 21, 2013, 05:13:34 PM
Thank you for your contribution, River Fox.

I understand your point, and in a rigidly logical world, it is a good one.  It has certainly given me something to think about.

The problem here is, I guess, not so much what is fair as what is reasonable to expect while maintaining the existing relationships, and I think that this is the question that those of us who posted have actually been answering.  We assume that the goal is to maintain the relationship between Fred and Ann in the happiest possible state, and also their relationships with their other partners in their happiest possible state.

One's bed is one's deeply intimate property and territory - domain, if you like.  It is a deeply visceral thing.  Even a dog dislikes to share its bed, and will only do so with those it is deeply attached to - or those it is submissive to, when it is forced against its will.  We are talking about something that goes so deep in the psyche that it is probably pre-dates homo sapiens.

Fred can certainly continue to bring his other partner/s into his and Ann's mutual bed.  But the chances are that his relationship with Ann will not survive such a complete lack of consideration for her feelings.  It may stagger on for a little while longer, but that relationship would be doomed. 

The only way we can get away with treating our partners that way is in a world where divorce, or leaving home, is simply not permitted once vows are exchanged.  And even then, the heart will have been ripped out of the relationship.  Ann would no longer trust Fred to treat her well, so she would no longer be as giving as she was before, and so both of their happiness in their relationship would be compromised.  Not to mention that it would be completely unethical to treat another human being that way simply because they could not leave you.  In such a restrictive situation, it behoves each partner in the relationship to be particularly and especially careful to consider the needs and wishes of the others.
Title: Re: Our Bed
Post by: Administrator on July 30, 2013, 08:21:58 PM
Thanks for all of the responses so far.  I've enjoyed reading them.  I agree that if Ann expects Fred not to bring other lovers in to their shared bed, then she should not bring other lovers in there as well.  I also agree that our bed and bedrooms are our private spaces, so we have the right to have our spaces.  I also believe that if Fred plans to keep his relationship with Ann that he needs to be considerate of her feelings regarding her space.