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Is OPP Ever A-OK In Polyamorous Relationships?
As a whole, poly people are not down with OPP. OPP, the acronymized shorthand for “One Penis Policy,” is the slang term that refers to a man who prohibits his cisgendered girlfriend from dating anyone who doesn’t have a vagina. Thus, he is the only penis in this woman's life. Based on the amount of relationships suffering under OPP, being the only guy with a penis in some cis lady’s love life is oh-so validating in a power-trippy kind of way, which is totally uncool/sexist. Nonetheless, many poly people apply this concept to anyone who tries to restrict their partner’s potential dates to a certain gender. As far as most the polyamorous world is concerned, OPP is a toxic cocktail of sexism, entitlement, insecurity, and the abuse of boundaries. Nonetheless, there are still people out there live happily ever after in OPP-described relationships without experiencing any negative effects.
So how can you tell the difference between the 2? Personal satisfaction.
When I noticed an influx of postings that described OPP-style restrictions in a poly group on Facebook, I said something about it. OPP is a red flag for me because most of the people I’ve known in OPP arrangements were far from happy and satisfied with their cumbersome situations. I know way too many people who went along with OPP-like relationship restrictions who were blatantly subjected to sexist double standards while their love lives clearly suffered. Among the many members chiming in, some people came forward and claimed to be in happy OPP relationships. Someone even accused me of having a One Opinion Policy! Needless to say, the poly community has developed justifiable scorn for the inequality of OPP. But it would be condescending to dismiss these positive OPP experiences that did work out just fine as ignorance. The loathing is so intense among free-lovers like myself, we tend to forget that some variations of OPP can work for some people.
At its worst, OPP forcing someone else to conform their non-monogamous love life to another person’s gender-biased insecurities. Most of the time, the gist of these relationships with OPP boiled down to sexism and a lack of ability or desire to manage jealousy. Most of the time, OPP involved my HBB (hot bi babe) friends not being “allowed” to pursue men because it made their male partners feel uncomfortable. Somehow, their boyfriend’s possessiveness didn’t apply to women because, supposedly, we aren’t as “threatening.” As you can see, this thinking becomes problematic beyond belief quite quickly. This possessive dating "policy" tends to stand in cases where the girl dates cisgendered lesbians, but I’ve seen certain OPP-pushers go as far as to exclude even cis lesbians from their partner’s potential dating pool. This way, they can at least have hypothetical sexual access to her girlfriend, even if it’s just in the realm of fantasy or possibility. Because the term and its conditions come loaded with tons of cultural baggage, it’s a stretch for poly people to imagine what OPP looks like at its best.
How can you tell the difference between healthy OPP and the popular-yet-problematic version that the polyamorous community is all too familiar with? As a relationship anarchist, I recognize each relationship on a case-by-case basis along with any patterns that arise when I see them. The devil is in the details.
OPP’s toxic forms always involve dressing up one’s sexist insecurities about non-monogamy as relationship “boundaries” that limit another person’s fulfillment. That way, the OPP-imposing partner can feel like they hav Dedeker Winston totally nailed it when she explained the difference between descriptive “OPP vs. prescriptive OPP.”. According to Winston, “there is a difference between single-gender dating naturally occurring in one’s relationship versus it being laid down as a strict policy or rule within the agreements of the relationship.” The people who claim to be in comfortable OPP relationships don’t feel unfulfilled or limited because their heart enacted OPP, not their lover. Poly people who are happy with OPP have desires that happen to align with the description of OPP and everything is peachy. With that said, these happy OPP-identifying couples also acknowledge that their OPP status will change alongside their romantic/sexual interests. In other words, their version of OPP isn't a policy at all. It's just what they happen to want.
OPP gets ugly when it becomes a rule rather than a preference. As such, it erodes on one’s boundaries and restricts their partner's ability to find true fulfillment in their love life beyond 1 person. Unfortunately, this seems to be the case for most people. If you seriously can’t come to terms with your partner cultivating relationships with other people, then polyamory might not be right for you and that’s absolutely fine. It's fine if a woman is in a relationship with a man and happens to have an exclusive interest in dating women. There's not much of a reason to be concerned if everyone's genuinely happy, fulfilled, and free to do as they please. The same concept applies to everyone else.
#Real #GhiaVitale #PolyamoryProblems #OPP #NonMonogamy #Feminism #Sexism #Entitlement #ChicksRule
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