June 12th, 2006
It seems like no edition of the Independent on Sunday is complete without some misguided sex-related feature.
Last week they incorrectly claimed we’re a nation of sex addicts, this weekend they were still on a roll with a feature discussing the most ‘modern’ of relationships – polyamory, swinging and open relationships.
I’d had an inkling they were planning such a feature since they’d emailed me in the week about this ‘new trend’ and also for statistics to show polyamory was on the increase. I’d referred them to other researchers working in this area, but had a sneaking suspicion they were basing their story on a television show.
Because there isn’t really a massive change in sexual habits. Whilst some people are involved in swinging or open relationships it’s not the majority of couples. That’s not a criticism of either practice, just a reflection of modern relationships.
So what had set the Indy off on its latest sex quest? As predicted it was a television show for Channel 5 called ‘Big Love’ about a man who is married to three women.
This was the basis of the ‘new trend’ they pegged their story to.
Which is an ongoing problem with the press. Whilst Sex and the City was on every week I could guarantee a journalist would ring about a ‘new trend’ they’d been commissioned to write about, which was really only what they’d seen the character Samantha, Miranda, Charlotte or Carrie do the night before. No amount of persuasion could talk them out of programmes plots were ideas for stories, not something women all over the world were suddenly embarking on.
Sadly not only had the Indy got it wrong about their latest sex fad, they’d also managed a rather patronising view on alternative relationships muddling polyamory, swinging and open relationships as similar sexual lifestyles. Where they had a chance to celebrate diversity in relationships, they managed to reinforce stereotypes.
They weren’t alone though. Today I had a call based on the Indy feature and television show from a women’s magazine who now also wanted details of this ‘modern’ take on sex – and tips for how polyamory could spice up your sex life.Tweet