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A few thoughts on age and poly.

Hello there, my name's Rick and I'm new to this community. I'm not new to poly, but I haven't participated in the wider poly community before now. Just my luck that this particular LJ community appears to be dead... though the fact that it sees so little activity bears directly on what I wanted to post about.

It appears to me that the majority of the more outspoken members of the poly community, those active here on LJ as well as those visible elsewhere online, tend to be older individuals. I haven't gotten a real sense of exactly how old, though 45+ feels like a good guess. That's not to say that there aren't younger people active in the online poly community, just that by and large older people seem to predominate. (Just so I'm clear, I do not mean to attach value judgments to either "younger" or "older." I know these terms can be sensitive to some, but I promise I'm not trying to denigrate or elevate anyone based on their age.)

I'm curious about this for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that I'm 28 and it seems like an uphill climb to find anyone in my age range and level of life experience. It can be intimidating to try to enter the poly community and feel like the odd one out. Which I guess is one reason people started this community, to make that outreach and sense of being part of a likeminded group easier to find... though that doesn't seem to be working out very well. :)

One hypothesis I have is that people move toward poly after a lot of experience -- you have to learn what works for you through trial and error, and that takes time. Another hypothesis is sociological in nature, namely that people of my generation (and younger) tend to be more sexually conservative because of the AIDS epidemic and the political rise of the religious right. A third (and more hopeful) hypothesis is that poly people my age are out there, but for various reasons don't feel the urge to aggregate into online communities and have brunch meetings about it. Perhaps they don't choose to identify themselves as "poly" or any other label, and choose relationships based simply on what works for them.

If there are any younger poly people still here, what are your thoughts and experiences? Do you find yourself the odd duck out in the wider poly community, or am I mistaken? How do you feel the poly experience is different for you than it would be for, say, a 50 year old? I think that "knowing what you want" is a quality too few younger people possess, which has definitely derailed a couple of my poly relationships in the past. Do you find that younger poly people can struggle with this? Do some young people jump onto poly as a "fad," and abandon it once the work involved becomes clear?

Hopefully one or two of you still read this. I look forward to your thoughts!

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
hollowkatt
Jun. 16th, 2011 03:12 pm (UTC)
just a quickie here, but my wife and I started our poly relationships when we were 26 and 27. We're currently 33, 34. Our gf is 29 and my wifes occasional bf is 33 as well.

Most of our poly friends first identified that they were poly and started working towards that goal in their early 20's.
deep_time
Jun. 16th, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC)
Most poly people I have known personally started in their 20s as well, but that's probably because I've only known fairly young polys.
sherlock913
Jun. 17th, 2011 04:45 am (UTC)
I'm 22 and have been actively poly for a little over 3 years now, so there are definitely young poly people out there. I've met a few poly people my age locally (more than I expected I would, actually), but I think that's mostly because I spend a lot of time with the local under-40 kink group, and there's a lot of overlap there.

A few people who I've come out to as poly have informed me that it's just a phase that I'm going through because I've been with my boyfriend for so long, and that it's natural for me to want to sow my wild oats, as it were, before I settle down and get married. I would imagine older poly people would get a different kind of reaction from their non-poly friends and family.
deep_time
Jun. 17th, 2011 07:36 pm (UTC)
I live in neverending suburbs, so the nearest kink or poly groups are about two hours away. If there are any local polys, they keep themselves camouflaged among all the chain retailers and manicured lawns.

From personal experience I know that some people do indeed go through a poly "phase." They hear about this great way to see lots of people, but lose interest once they start to understand the work involved. But that's a single anecdote, hardly of statistical value
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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polyunder30
poly & poly-curious people in their teens and 20s

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