Beyond MonogamyPolyamory and the Future of Polyqueer Sexualities

Beyond MonogamyPolyamory and the Future of Polyqueer Sexualities

Mimi Schippers

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9781479801596

Publisher: NYU Press


This book brings together empirical work on polyamory on the one hand and feminist, queer, and critical race theory on the other fill a theoretical gap in understanding the role of monogamy in legitimating and perpetuating relations of social and cultural inequality. The two central theoretical goals in the book are to (1) begin unpacking the links between compulsory and institutionalized monogamy and heteromasculine privilege and dominance as it intersects with race and sexuality, and (2) develop a theoretical framework for identifying and cultivating what the author calls polyqueer sexualities—sexual and relationship intimacies that include more than two people and that, through plurality, open up possibilities to “undo” race and gender hierarchies in ways that would not otherwise arise within the context of dyadic sex or monogamy. Given the role of compulsory monogamy in legitimating and perpetuating race, gender, and sexual inequalities, the author argues that polyqueer challenges to mononormativity can, if done collectively, undo at least part of those systems of domination within the context of intimate relationships both in terms of their symbolic meaning and their embodied practice. The author does so by exploring narratives of cheating, constructions of the “Down Low,” and erotic threesomes, as well as her own experiences of polyamory.