So I just finished reading this entry on Pygar's blog. Before anyone reads this I suggest they go read that post and the article linked to in it.
I started writing a comment but it grew long-winded since polyamory is a subject very close to my heart, being that I am poly myself.
In direct answer to the questions asked I would say this: Yes, I have had failed poly relationships, mostly because of self-centrism (I'll talk about that in this blog post); I think the article is interesting and should be read by more people, because it smacks of truth and from a biological standpoint it is highly accurate; I believe polyamory is most natural but being repressed; and finally, in my experience gender is not as much of an issue as sexuality. Most heterosexual people I have met have been the least open to polyamorous relationships, with bisexual and pansexual people being the most open.
Being pansexual myself probably lends itself to partly of why I am so polyamorous.
Let me explain that. For those who don't know, pansexuality is basically saying fuckitall to gender. That isn't saying pansexuals can't have a preference (mine runs towards femininity, be it male, female, trans, queer, or whatever), but gender is like hair colour to us. I don't care if you're a brunette or a redhead or have vividly purple hair, in fact in the latter case I'd probably just ask where you got it done. The same goes with gender. I personally feel like limiting myself to a specific set of genders is limiting who I can love. And loving someone is the most wonderful feeling on earth, so why on earth would I place a limit on who I can love?
The same goes with my polyamory. I love to love. I feel like I have so much love to give to other people that it seems unfair to both myself and anyone who cares for me to limit myself. Some people would say it's selfishness but I say it's the opposite - there is no double standard here. I have three people I romantically love aside from my kitten and they are all more tied to other people than myself. Good for them. I want their happiness with whomever they choose, even or especially if it isn't me.
If my kitten ever found a playmate she wanted, found someone she loved and wanted to get into a relationship with, I would encourage it. (In fact I have done this before.) I want her to be happy and if limiting herself to only me means she is less happy then I refuse to do that to her. Maxiekitten is my biggest love and the most important to me, but all of my others are very, very important to me as well and I love them all equally. The only reason I love them less is because they in turn love me less than who they are also with. It levels and equals out.
Now, the part of my post that is more in line with Pygar's question of whether monogamy or polyamory was more natural. I think it sort of differs. Certainly among animals monogamy is less natural. But humans have slowly developed a culture where monogamy is prevalent.
But it wasn't always so. Monogamy is a pretty recent thing, historically speaking, and if you want to disagree just read the damn bible of all things. Polygamy's everywhere in the old testament, and was widely accepted as how things were done. I think the world's culture moving to being more self-centric (everything is all about "me", "me", "me" - "my" wants, "my" needs, "my" desires, making sure "I" get fulfilled firstly and more importantly to anything else) is what makes polyamory harder.
It's becoming about not wanting to share. I am poly. I am also in a somewhat monogamous relationship because my love is not poly, not completely so anyways. There are people in my life that I have had for longer than her, and she is perfectly accepting of them and understanding, so long as I don't shove it in her face. She is also open to the idea of having a playmate, but scared of fully sharing me. I am not looking for anyone else, firstly because I respect her fears and second because, honestly, I am the luckiest person on earth to have so much love in my life, it would be selfish to ask for even more and I am content with what I have.
It's like we feel that sharing leads to losing, somehow. Personally I think it's the opposite. As I stated before, I am polyamorous partly because I am a giving person. I have all this love inside of me, how could I be so selfish as to focus it on one person and one person alone? How could I be so selfish as to expect the people I love more than anything to selfishly focus only on me and not find more and more happiness? If my kitten ever found someone she loved and wanted me to share her with, I would gladly accept it, as I said before. I would encourage it. Because it is selfish of me to do otherwise.
And yes, by doing so I risk becoming less important to her, but you know what?
It's more important to me that she be as happy as she can possibly be, than it is that I be the most important person in her life. Because to me, that is what love is about. Wanting someone to be happy and to make them happy more than you want anything else.
And I think that monogamy stands in the way of that because of how we see it as a society as the be-all and end-all of relationships. I do NOT think monogamy is wrong. I think monogamy is perfectly and exactly what some people need to be happy. I do however think that how society views it in general is detrimental to the happiness of every person who could possibly be poly and is being held back because it's "unacceptable".
The biggest hindrance to relationships of any kind is dishonesty, and I think that dishonesty to oneself is even worse than dishonesty to one's partner(s). And with how we view monogamy it is very hard for poly people to be honest with themselves about their leanings, which leads to cheating, lacking communication, and broken hearts.
Okay I should probably shut up now before I go on another rant, hahaha. Pygar, I want to thank you for such a great post and great questions to answer, it really inspired me.