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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!


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.


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

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