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Monday, May 16, 2022

Relationship Anarchy: Validating Intentional and Pleasurable Relationships

<span class="photocreditinline"><a href="https://middleburycampus.com/staff_profile/sarah-fagan/">Sarah Fagan</a></span>

I know that I talk all about sex, dating and relationships, but I’ll be honest… a lot of relationship standards confuse the shit out of me. There are too many specific ways for how my partner and I are “supposed to” exist. At the beginning of our relationship, I often found myself questioning if I was doing something because I wanted to or because I was expected to. I’m grateful that my partner and I have such good communication and are both willing to play with our relationship to figure out what works. After workshopping our relationship dynamic, we stumbled into the magical world of Relationship Anarchy (RA).

Here’s a bit of what RA means to me:

I co-create relationships on a foundation of consent, honesty, trust and clear communication; I honor boundaries and respect the full autonomy of all individuals involved; I believe that love is infinite and I may love as many people as I choose — loving someone does not diminish my capacity to love someone else; I favor commitments that honor our individual and collective needs and capacities; I believe that physical intimacy does not dictate who my important people are; I believe that all relationships should ultimately be pleasurable to all involved.

It is key to note that relationship anarchy is not a dating style; but rather applies to all relationships, platonic and non-platonic. Many relationship constructions place romantic and/or sexual relationship(s) on a higher pedestal than platonic relationship(s); RA fully rejects this hierachy. I do not value my relationship with my partner over my relationship with my best friend.

Let me give you some examples of RA at work:

You and your bestie have a deep connection. People always ask if you two are together, and you’re not. You have plans to live together after graduation and affectionately refer to the other as your “platonic soulmate.” If you haven’t heard it before: your relationship is completely valid as is. If you want to be domestic partners and not be romantic partners, that’s totally OK. Co-create a relationship that meets your collective individual needs.

You and a friend want to start exploring kink together and aren’t interested in anything romantic or sexual. You are both nervous because you’ve been told that physical intimacy brings people into the realm of the non-platonic, and you want your relationship to continue to be non-sexual and non-romatic; you just want to have fun. With relationship anarchy, you have the freedom to pursue dynamics that meet individual and collective needs and desires. Be friendly, kinky and not at all sexual or romantic (as you both want/ don’t want to be). Have the freedom to explore what works for all involved!

You and your partner are romantically and sexually involved and have both decided that you are better partners when you sleep in your own beds at night. Even if you idealized sleeping in the same bed as your future significant other growing up, you both respect each other enough to make a mutually beneficial decision, even though it may go against a previous idea of what your future relationship would be like. That’s so rad.

I know that this all seems like a lot. After all, we are trying to change fundamental ideas about relationships so they better serve the individuals in relation. RA provides the freedom to co-create partnerships that align with needs and a language to help communicate these relationship ideals. Ultimately, relationship anarchy validates intentional relationship structures that foster pleasurable ways of existence.

Learn more below.

Read The Short Instructional Manifesto for Relationship Anarchy By Andie Nordgren

What is RA? – Relationship Anarchy From Relationship-Anarchy.com

What is Relationship Anarchy? By Amelia Lichtenberg


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