Unitarian Universalists For Polyamory Awareness

Polyamory Attitude Survey 2017

This survey was taken at the UUA General Assembly in New Orleans in June of 2017. It was a random convenience sample of people who walked to, or by, the UUPA exhibit booth during exhibit hours. The following is a summary of the information obtained.

Demographics

Total sample: 179 forms were returned. After deleting inconsistent, mostly incomplete or problematic forms, 170 sets of useful data were obtained.

AGE: Based on “Year of Birth”, the mean age was 47.0, the max was 81 and the minimum was 15. Distribution: <21 = 25. 22-35 = 26. 36-50 = 34. 51-65 = 43. > 65 = 35.

Gender Identity: Female 89, Male 57, Binary 16, no answer 8

UU Congregation: No more than 3 from any congregation.

State: California led with 25, Texas had 16, Massachusetts had 12, and Louisiana had 11.

An “Attitude Inventory” was taken based on the following statement.

What follows is a list of attitudes and opinions which people might hold regarding polyamory. Please rate each item on a nine point scale indicating to what degree you agree or disagree with the statement: Please circle your answer after each question using the following scale.

  • 1. Strongly disagree 2. Disagree 3. Somewhat Disagree 4. Mildly Disagree 5. Neutral or don’t know 6. Mildly Agree 7. Somewhat Agree 8. Agree 9. Strongly Agree
  • The mean values for each question follows.

    Section A--Level of Knowledge

    A-1 I don’t know anything about polyamory 3.38

    A-2 I have read and understood the explanation on the previous page. 7.88

    A-3 I feel I know what I need to know to be confident of my opinions and attitudes about polyamory. 6.71

    A-4 I feel I have more to learn before I can form confident opinions and attitudes about polyamory. 4.88

    Section B--General Impressions

    B-1 I consider myself to be polyamorous. 4.22

    B-2 I am living happily in one or more polyamorous relationships. 3.03

    B-3 I consider my relationship values to be exclusively monogamous. 4.60

    B-4 I might seriously consider having a polyamorous relationship if the situation seemed right. 5.94

    B-5 I could never be happy in a polyamorous relationship. 3.33

    B-6 Polyamory is a strange idea. 2.83

    B-7 Polyamory will never be as popular as monogamy. 5.38

    B-8 Polyamory is a mentally unhealthy lifestyle. 2.01

    B-9 Children of polyamorous families are confused. 2.46

    B-10 Children of polyamorous families are unhappy. 2.49

    B-11 Children of polyamorous families benefit from having more than two parents to depend on. 6.50

    Section C--Congregational Environment

    C-1 I know that there are polyamorous people in my congregation. 5.30

    C-2 My congregation would welcome polyamorous people and families like any other members of the congregation. 6.44

    C-3 A polyamorous religious professional would be at an increased risk of clergy sexual misconduct. 2.77

    C-4 The presence of polyamorous people would threaten the stability of monogamous marriages within a congregation. 1.87

    C-5 Polyamory is a willful behavioral and philosophical choice. 6.04

    C-6 Polyamory is more problematic than LGBTQIA. 2.82

    C-7 Clergy of our denomination should be open to performing multi-adult “committment ceremonies.” 7.20

    C-8 Being openly welcoming and supportive of polyamorous persons and families would risk damaging our congregation’s reputation and/or effectiveness in the larger community. 3.32

    C-9 Polyphobia or discrimination against polyamorous persons is contradictory to our denomination’s religious principles. 7.52

    Section D--Policy Opinions

    D-1 Polyamorous persons and families should be welcomed into congregations as one more element of our family diversity. 8.20

    D-2 Polyamorous persons should be encouraged to feel free to be open about their lifestyle within the congregation. 8.16

    D-3 Religious professionals should be educated regarding the special issues of ministry to polyamorous persons and families. 8.13

    D-4 Polyamorous persons should be discouraged from joining and remaining in our congregations. 1.44

    D-5 Polyamorous persons in congregations should be encouraged to keep their lifestyle hidden. 1.71

    D-6 A polyamorous lifestyle or orientation should disqualify a person from serving as a religious professional. 1.72

    Discussion

    A total of 24 people considered themselves polyamorists (B1 = 9). This is 14% of the respondents. In addition, 11 of these were happily living in one or more polyamorous relationships and considered themselves exclusively non-monogamous.

    Eleven admitted knowing nothing about polyamory (A1 = 9) and 5 of those did not feel they needed to know more to form opinions about it.

    Asked if they knew there were polyamorist people in their congregations, 66 people reported a positive answer (C1 = 6 to 9) and 50 answered “did not know”. When asked if polyamorous people would be welcomed in their congregations, 108 gave a positive answer (C2 = 6 to 9). Only 3 people indicated that the presence of poly people would be a threat to monogamous marriage in their congregation (C4 = 9 to 6) but the mean score was higher than expected due to many who said “did not know”.

    Section D on Policy Options was overall consistent with UUA values, with a large percentage indicating 9 on the first three and 1 on the last three. Only 10 people gave an answer greater than 5 to the last question, 6 to question D5 and 3 to D4. These were people who mostly indicated they knew little about poly.

    Overall, this survey indicated people who attend GA are mostly open to polyamory, their congregations are mostly supportive of poly people, and view such support consistent with UU values.

    Problems

    The presence of the option “Neutral or do not know” with a value of 5 biased many mean values. It should have been a separate answer or omitted for many questions. An unusually large number of forms had the top question on each page unanswered, suggesting the use of clip boards may have caused problems.

    Summary report by David Hall