Polyamorous Willow Smith details her lifestyle on Red Table Talk39; What you

Willow Smith opens up about polyamory to mum Jada Pinkett Smith … Thu, 29 Apr 2021 01:00:00 +0100-Monogamy may not be for everyone. Does that mean people should give polyamory a try? Willow Smith thinks so, and discussed it on "Red Table Talk."

Willow Smith details her lifestyle on ‘Red Table Talk’: What you should know about polyamory

April 28, 2021

On this week's episode of “Red Table Talk,” Willow Smith – daughter of Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith – opened up about being polyamorous.

“It's about being able to have the freedom to create a relationship for yourself,” she said on the show, to the confusion of her grandmother Adrienne Banfield-Norris.

“With polyamory, I think the main foundation is the freedom to be able to create a relationship style that works for you and not just stepping into monogamy because that's what everyone around you says is the right thing to do, ” Willow Smith said. “I was like, how can I structure the way that I approach relationships with that in mind?” 

With the help of a diverse group of polyamorous guests, “Red Table Talk” broke down myths and stigma associated with non-monogamy. We talked to experts to further drill down what it's all about.

“If (people) believe it can only end in unhappiness, well, many unhappy polyamorous people end up in my office, it's true,” said Sheila Addison, a family and marriage therapist, “as do many unhappy monogamous people.” 

In case you missed:Willow Smith has a very open talk with her mom and grandma about polyamory, 'throuples'

What is polyamory? 

Polyamory means “multiple loves” – a word coined in the late 20th century, with Greek and Latin roots.

“It usually describes a particular approach to (consensual non-monogamy) that prioritizes ongoing emotional and sexual connections with multiple partners,” Addison said. It's not to be confused with polygamy, aka “multiple wives” – something typically associated with religious or cultural practices, she said.

In the U.S. it dates back at least to the “Free Love” and transcendentalist movements in the 19th century, though it grew popular with the counterculture and sexual liberation movements of 1960s and early 1970s, according to Adrienne Davis, vice provost of faculty affairs and diversity at Washington University in St. Louis.

“I believe one could say that it is in a third wave today, with many people practicing it, especially on the West Coast and Pacific Northwest,” Davis said. According to a 2016 study that sampled U.S. Census data from single adults, 20% of participants reported engaging in consensual non-monogamy at some point in their lifetime.

Kitchen-table polyamory and more terms explained 

There are many different terms associated with polyamory, including:

  • Consensual or ethical non-monogamy. These terms are synonymous and ways to describe polyamorous relationships. Polyamory is a type of consensual non-monogamy, per Psychology Today
  • Solo polyamory. This is when “polyamorists have multiple relationships but do not become intertwined with the other people,” Davis said. 
  • Kitchen-table polyamory. A family-like bond between partners is encouraged. The web of all these relationships is referred to as a “polycule.”

An example of kitchen-table polyamory is seen in action on “Red Table Talk.” Gabrielle Smith, an ethical non-monogamy educator who practices solo polyamory, appears on the episode with her boyfriend Alex Vicenzi. He is married and also has other romantic partners; Smith is friendly with his wife, and they all spent time together during the holiday season.

And another:Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith talk 'swooning' over women in candid 'Red Table Talk' clip

A brief history on monogamy

The idea of life-long or serial monogamy is embedded in most cultures. Historically, “women are more stigmatized for having multiple sexual partners at the same time, or across their lifespan, than men are,” said Addison.

Monogamy has also been favored for biological reasons, according to Gabrielle Usatynski, a psychotherapist in Colorado.

“Many polyamory advocates propagate the myth that monogamy is a 'mere blip' on the screen of human history which arose recently as a result of industrial capitalism and isolated suburban living,” Usatynski said. “But the truth is that humans have been pair-bonding for hundreds of thousands of years in order to ensure survival.”

Definitely keep an eye out:Sundance: The 6 best movies for representation you haven't heard about yet

Are polyamorous relationships just 'about sex'?

“It still sounds to me like the major motivation is sexual,” Banfield-Norris said during the episode, still trying to learn.

Smith said that's not the case.

“Let's say you're not the kind of person who has wanted to have sex all the time, but your partner is. Are you going to be the person to say just because I don't have these needs you can't have them either?” she said. “I was introduced to it through a non-sexual lens. In my friend group, I am the only polyamorous person and I have the least sex.” 

Some people are in for sex but others are for emotional intimacy or a combination of the two, Davis said.

Addison added: “Some people who are asexual and/or aromantic may identify as polyamorous as well, but their descriptions and boundaries around their relationships are going to be personal and self-defined in those cases.”

Trust is key for polyamorous relationships

“I did things that I said I would never do when I was in my fits of jealousy,” Smith said of her pre-polyamorous life. “That made me realize just how much I need to step back and work on myself.”

Experts agree the one thing that is needed above all else in polyamorous relationships is trust. 

“Trust is paramount,” Davis said. “That rests on setting the norms … and then strong and transparent communication about needs, which may evolve. Talking through jealousy, rather than trying to suppress it, is key.”

Addison said jealousy should not be viewed as an obstacle.

“Stop thinking of jealousy as something to 'combat,' she said. “It's an emotion. Thoughts may not always make sense, but emotions always do. Emotion is the smoke that says there's a fire somewhere.”

Usatynski added: “Telling someone to combat jealousy is a bit like telling them to step out the window and 'combat' the force of gravity.”

Effy Blue, a relationship coach, suggested ways to combat jealousy during the “Red Table Talk” episode:

  • Calm yourself.
  • Figure out what's triggering you.
  • Talk to your partner.
  • Meet needs yourself.
  • Recognize compersion (joy for someone else's joy that doesn't have to do with you) versus jealousy.

Davis said polyamory can be sustainable and has inherit benefits for some people.

“Many people are not emotionally or physically satisfied by one person for their entire lives,” she said. “I cannot think of any non-religious reason why people should be satisfied only one person.”

What if I am still skeptical about polyamory?

That's OK! Just because someone else does it doesn't mean you have to.

Usatynski is a skeptic and thinks most people aren't well-suited for the practice.

“I believe that polyamorists have a lot of ideas about what they think they should be able to do in relationships and what they think of as an 'enlightened' relationships, but that these ideas fly in the face of basic evolutionary and neurobiological science,” she said.

She adds that most people would feel threatened if their long-term partner wanted to be emotionally or sexually intimate with someone else, and that when push comes to shove polyamorous relationships are difficult to maintain – especially when kids and the regular chaos of life are involved.

“Quite frankly, it all falls apart under the stress, demands and responsibilities of modern life,” she added.

Don't scoff at the idea of it completely, though.

“Many purported monogamists would be better served by openly embracing polyamory,” Davis argued. “When we look at the numbers of so-called monogamists who seek additional relationships, it may be the case that monogamy is not the majority orientation we believe it is.”

Jada Pinkett Smith just wants her daughter to love herself.

“As long as you are learning to have the greatest love affair with Willow, I'm OK with whatever you do,” she said on “Red Table Talk.”

Banfield-Norris echoed a similar sentiment: “As I'm sitting here I'm recognizing it's not really all that important for me to understand … it's important that I be able to listen without judgment and let you do your thing.”

قراءة المزيد

Willow Smith details her lifestyle on 'Red Table Talk': What you … Thu, 29 Apr 2021 01:00:00 +0100-Willow Smith said being polyamorous is about "freedom" in a frank Red Table Talk with her mother, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Willow Smith opens up about polyamory to mum Jada Pinkett Smith

April 28, 2021

Jada Pinkett Smith (L) and her daughter, Willow (R), discuss polyamory and if monogamy has become “antiquated” on an episode of Red Table Talk premiering on 28 April 2021. (Facebook/Red Table Talk)

Willow Smith has opened up about being polyamorous, saying she wants the “freedom” to be able to create a “relationship style” that works for her.

Willow, 20, came out on Red Table Talk two years ago, saying she loves “men and women equally” and would “definitely” consider polyamory. The Facebook Watch series features three generations of the Smith family having open conversations about “taboo” subjects. The most recent episode, broadcast on Wednesday (28 April), saw Willow talking openly about her decision to practice polyamory.

Willow said she felt like the “main foundation” of polyamory is the “freedom to be able to create a relationship style that works for you” and not just “stepping into monogamy” because “that’s what everyone around you says is the ‘right thing’ to do”.

“So I was like how can I structure the way that I approach relationships with that in mind,” Willow explained.

She added she discovered the “main reasons” why marriages don’t work and divorces happen is “infidelity”. Willow Smith said she was introduced to polyamory through a “non-sexual” lens.

“In my friend group, I’m the only polyamorous person, and I have the least sex out of all of my friends,” she added.

Jada Pinkett Smith ‘totally gets’ why Willow Smith is polyamorous

Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow’s mum and co-host of the show, said she accepted her daughter when she came out as polyamorous. She acknowledged that there was a “lot of beauty” that “sits outside of the conventional boxes” – like polyamory. Jada said: “When you were like, ‘Hey this is my get down’, I was like I totally get it.

“Wanting to set up your life in a way that you can have what it is that you want, I think anything goes as long as the intentions are clear.”

She added most people are practising monogamy because they “feel like they have no other choice”. Jada argued that monogamy should be presented as a choice – not as the default option.

“That’s the only part about marriage today and monogamy that I think is antiquated, that monogamy has to be your choice,” Jada said. “It can’t be because I’m told I’m supposed to do it this way.”

She added: “That, my dear, is deeply antiquated and no longer works.”

Willow Smith then explained that she can’t see herself getting married because the “history of marriage” irks her – especially its history for women. But, she said, she would see a circumstance where she needed to get married to a partner to further a common goal, using an example of sharing finances. However, Willow said she still believed she would practice polyamory in her future relationships.

قراءة المزيد
– April 29, 2021
Polyamorous Willow Smith details her lifestyle on Red Table Talk39; What you