Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan

December 17, 2014

In hours, Buzzfeed's Ask-a-Poly video shoots past 1 million views.

A three-minute video titled "Ask a Polyamorous Person" went up on Buzzfeed late last night. In the 11 hours since, it has had 837,138 views on Facebook and 227,014 on YouTube. At this rate, it will surpass the daily circulation of the New York Times (1.8 million) by the end of the day. (Update: Not quite; by midnight it was 1.6 million.)

I'm impressed that the four people who Buzzfeed rounded up did such a fine Poly 101. Thank you. (If you're reading this, I'd love your comments on how the video came about!)

The bandwagon is rolling out of control now, but so far it's still heading in a good direction: carrying the basic concepts of modern ethical polyamory, with honest communication and respect and caring among all involved, to a wide audience.

Deep thanks to everyone who worked hard over the years, when the bandwagon was barely moving at all, to point it carefully in this direction in the faith that it might someday take off. You can be proud.


Transcript of the video, courtesy of Aby Miau on Facebook:

Erin Judge:

Erin Judge:
Yes. I'm so exhausted.

Gaby Dunn:
No, you know how hard it is to plan an orgy?

Steve Aleck:
And orgies are not that common - I've been to one, and most of the time I spent there was in the corner eating oreos...

Buzzfeed presents - Ask a polyamorous person about relationships

A polyamorous person is often defined as someone in multiple romantic relationships

We asked fans to send up questions they'd like to ask a polyamorous person

Here are a few of them

Steve Aleck:

Steve Aleck:
By that logic you should only have to have one friend.

Erin Judge:
I have friends who I'm just Facebook friends with, and friends who I would pick up from jail. It's not that one person isn't enough, it's that lots of people fascinate me.

Kate Loree:

Erin Judge:
The difference between poly and cheating is that cheating is a violation of the relationship.

Kate Loree:
Polyamory is all about consensual discussion, being on the same page..

Erin Judge:
..make out with somebody else, that's part of the deal.

Kate Loree:
It's not about betrayal. It couldn't be any [more] different.

Steve Aleck:

Steve Aleck:
You're thinking of polygamy.

Kate Loree:

Kate Loree:
Most definitely that bothers me. Polygamy, for the most part, one - is a legal term, two - is more linked to religion, it's more about the man and some subservient women. Polyamory is egalitarian - everyone has a voice.

Erin Judge:

Steve Aleck:

Erin Judge:
To being honest - you have to talk about what you think, how you feel.

Kate Loree:
Love and compassion comes first.

Kate Loree:

Kate Loree:
I think the question really is, is monogamy normal? We can choose to be monogamous, just like we can choose to be vegetarian, but as Doctor Ryan says.. it doesn't mean the bacon won't still smell good. It's ok to be non-monogamous as long as you do it in an ethical way that doesn't betray anyone.

Kate Loree:

Erin Judge:
In seriousness, jealousy is something we all deal with. We're jealous of people in our industry, sometimes we're jealous of people in our family.. but for some reason we consider sexual jealousy to be this insurmountable problem, and it's not..

Kate Loree:
Another thing that can help with jealousy is meeting any of your partner's potential partners. We blow up in our mind what they're like, we think they're a supermodel, or they're somebody that's out to get us..

Steve Aleck:
I want great experiences for my partner, and if that includes a different lover then I'm ok with that.

Erin Judge:

Erin Judge:
I am a bisexual, plus-sized nightclub entertainer who grew up with two mums in Texas. I find it's best not to worry what other people think.

Gaby Dunn:

Gaby Dunn:
My advice is to be honest, no matter what. Don't pretend to be chill with things you're not chill with just because you want to be "cool" or poly.

Kate Loree:
Reach out to different resources, and just educate yourself. Take your instincts past just what you think is right and really listen to people who have done this for a long time.

Erin Judge:
Figure out who you are, and stay true to it. Don't try to change, and don't try to change other people.


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December 16, 2014

New York Mag’s 35th reason to love New York

“35. Because He and She and He and He and She and He and She and She Can Live in Sin Together in Bushwick”, in the new poly-friendly building designed and rented out by Open Love NY's Leon Fiengold. The place that was all in the news six months ago.

From the magazine's year-end roundup:

Photo: Kava Gorna

Kenneth Play, a Hong Kong–born, Brooklyn-raised 33-year-old personal trainer turned sex educator, is the house manager of the Villa — a three-story, socially networked, sex-positive, poly-supportive, self-selecting community in Bushwick. This is no scrappy “three in a room” flophouse. It’s luxe down to the last detail: slick open-plan kitchen, cowhide rug, marble counters, hot tub.

The building’s owner enlisted poly advocate and “hetero-flexible” real-estate broker Leon Feingold to fill the 15 rooms with a range of sex-positive, poly-supportive 20- and 30-somethings. Christopher Sands, a 34-year-old web developer from West Palm Beach, was a pioneer occupant; he has six dates with six different women lined up for the holidays. A 32-year-old female housemate doesn’t identify as poly but was sold on the idea of a community where sex isn’t seen as taboo. “Nobody resents you if they hear you experiencing pleasure,” she says.

“We geek out over sex in the same way foodies geek out over what they eat,” Kenneth explains, noting that it’s hard to find a roommate in New York who will put up with the noise, traffic, and unpredictability that may accompany a sexually adventurous lifestyle. It’s the anti–“smuggle your boyfriend into the bathroom, eat dinner in bed, angry notes left on empty milk cartons, tiny New York setup.” But that doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all. There are rules, including a ban on passive-aggressive sticky notes. And “Villa on Villa” hookups are discouraged. “It’s like a work environment,” he says. “Don’t sleep with your colleagues. Our personal sex lives are epic enough, anyway.”

Here's the original (Dec. 14, 2014).


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December 15, 2014

New sex- and poly-positive mag sets off media flap in Australia, and other Oz news

"Banned in Boston," in our grandparents' day, was a surefire boost for sales of a book or magazine everywhere else. Something like that just happened in Australia, where a handful of newsdealers refused to carry the new small magazine Archer, "The Australian journal of sexual diversity" — resulting in coverage by from some of the country's largest newspapers. The controversial issue included an excellent long feature on polyamory.

In The Age of Melbourne:

Archer takes aim: The bold new magazine targeting sex and gender in Australia

Amy Middleton, editor of Archer magazine.  (Anu Kumar/Fairfax Media photo)

By Annabel Ross

Sex addiction. Polyamory. Aboriginal and gay. Gender and sex-drive.

These were but a few of the headlines to appear on the front cover of Archer's second issue, but it wasn't the racy subject matter that caused a couple of newsagents stocking the magazine to complain to the editor.

Rather, says Amy Middleton, they were concerned about the cover image, depicting a couple of young men, one shirtless, in an affectionate pose.

"But they were 18," she says. "18-year-old men have sex."

Archer bills itself as "Australia's first journal of sexual diversity." Middleton launched the bi-annual publication in November 2013, with the help of a Pozible campaign that raised $20,000.

She had been working in the fast and furious world of digital publishing for a decade when she decided to buck the online trend and publish her own glossy print magazine. "I thought I'd like to edit a luxe, high-quality, Mag Nation-style publication about sex and gender," she says.

"When I realised that it didn't exist, I decided I was going to do it myself.... The manifesto is that sex is weird for all of us, so we should just all talk about it together."

Here's the whole article (Dec. 14, 2014). It's also in The Brisbane Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, and elsewhere.

And here is Archer's poly article mentioned in the lead: The Joy of Polyamory. It's by Anne Hunter, a longtime activist and a founder of the poly movement in Australia. Excerpts:

The joy of polyamory

By Anne Hunter

...In the beginning, [my husband and I] didn’t have a term for what we were doing — all I knew was that I didn’t want to be monogamous. I wasn’t interested in the forms of non-monogamy I already knew of. I didn’t want to swing: I wasn’t into sex for its own sake. I had no interest in clandestine affairs: I wanted to be honest and open about my intimate liaisons....

Sarah Misfud
So, we made it up as we went along. It was hard work at first. Along with the glorious freedom from traditional monogamy, there was a commensurate effort to sort out what form we wanted our relationships to take. Our perceived notions of ‘how relationships work’ were inadequate for multiple relationships. We grappled with questions such as “What do you need to know before I start something with someone else?” and “What if a new relationship becomes more important to me than my other ones?”

Where were the other people like us? We kept falling in love with people who were fundamentally monogamous, or who only hooked up with us while they were between ‘serious’ relationships, and then dumped us. A lot of people tried out non-monogamy with us and found it wasn’t for them. All of these situations caused us heartache.

When we finally heard the term ‘polyamory’, we knew we’d found our thing. Fundamentally, polyamory is a claim that the heart is capable of loving more than one person deeply and intimately at the same time. In polyamory, everyone is free to choose multiple lovers, partners and intimates if they wish. Poly relationships are often sexual but may not be, and they may shift in and out of being romantic and sexual.

For me, one of the strongest reasons for being polyamorous is freedom; in particular, the freedom to ask myself deeply and honestly, “What do I want?”. For example, I have discovered that I love kissing. I love the sensation and the intimacy. I love the freedom to kiss heaps of luscious people, where everyone is clear that a kiss is just a kiss. Also, I choose to live alone despite having several deep, committed relationships, because I need my own space. These are two needs that wouldn’t have been considered normal or acceptable in my old monogamous circles.

Sarah Mifsud
As I peeled off the expectations of the mainstream, I came to realise that there are several kinds of connections we can experience.... [And] such connections can be experienced with different levels of involvement.... With polyamory, you can negotiate the forms and levels of connection you want to explore in each relationship.

For example, I know people who have kids together, are happily co-habiting, are financially blended and have a good friendship, but who look to have their sexual, emotional and romantic needs met outside of that relationship.

One happy household I know comprises a married couple, the husband’s same-sex partner, and the wife’s other de facto husband who is monogamous to her. All but one have other lovers and partners outside of that household.

I have one life-partner who lives with another partner in another town, but who stays with me about a third of the time; a same-sex intimate who lives nearby; a ‘platonic boyfriend’ (his term) with whom I can hang out and share practical and emotional support; two interstate intimates; and some friends-with-occasional-benefits. I am on snogging terms with a large number of people. I also have heaps of lovely, long-term intimates within cycling distance.

Many of my relationships don’t have a simple label available to them. For example, I have some beloved intimates with whom I will jump into bed, naked, and talk about absolutely anything. The relationship is way past what most people think of as a friend — there’s no sex, so it’s not a lover; we don’t make life decisions together, so it’s not a partner. There is no term that accurately describes our connection.

...In reality, within the constraints of consent, honesty and intimacy, polyamory seems to be infinitely plastic in form....

You also don’t have to break off an existing relationship to start a new one. So much unresolved pain experienced in monogamy is generated by this ‘out with the old, in with the new’ approach. With polyamory, you can allow relationships to change and morph over time. I’m on friendly terms with someone who was my partner for eight years. I’ve had relationships that were exciting sexual and romantic connections in the beginning, which are no longer sexual, but are now deep loving friendships....

Alongside all its benefits, there are plenty of challenges to polyamory, too. It takes a lot of time and energy to maintain several intimate relationships. There is no well-worn societal groove to slip into, and little support for insecurities. I’ve been confronted with many uncomfortable truths about myself and have had to be willing to undergo a lot of personal development. I’m grateful for these challenges, but those 3.00 a.m. deep-and-meaningful conversations can be wearing at times.

My partner had a major issue with jealousy in our early years, which nearly split us up — this is a common stumbling block for poly people. Fortunately, we both had the necessary communication skills to navigate the difficult parts of our path; without those, it would have been even harder.

One of the biggest problems faced by poly people is a lack of understanding and support from the community at large.... If a monogamous relationship breaks up, people never consider monogamy to be ‘the problem’, or take it as proof that monogamy doesn’t work. But they do with polyamory.

...A very common myth is that loving a second person must diminish the love available to the first person.... My lived experience tells me something different: the more honest, vulnerable and deep I am with one person, the more love I experience and have available for others....

Read the whole article (Oct. 27, 2014; June 2014 print issue; issue #2).


While we're at it, here are some other recent items from Australia.

● A radio interview with Anne Hunter and a female poly minister:

Tal, Rachel and Joy interview Anne from PolyVic and Rev. Diane, a minister with MCC who is a polyamorist. They seek to find the answer to questions about polyamory such as what is it and what structure does it take.

Listen here (42 minutes; posted Oct. 19, 2014).

● At the online magazine The Big Smoke, "a platform Australia-wide for voicing a broad range of varied, topical and interesting opinions": Polyamory is not a dirty word by Belinda Marsh (Dec. 27, 2013).

...While this threw Angie initially, when Ray got a message from Liz, his wife, saying she had arrived at her lover’s house, she finally understood. She still found this confronting, but it was also liberating. Hearing that two adults could have an honest and open relationship with such a high level of communication was astounding to her....

● And a sweet new blog from Hobart, Tasmania, which the writer calls the hippie town at the bottom of the bottom of the world. She started The Triad Next Door three months ago. From the intro post:

Our triad consists of one female (me, Emma), and two males (Ashley and Aidan). I am dating Ash and Aidan simultaneously, while the boys have a sort of sibling relationship with each other. Between the three of us we have a lot of different interests, but the main thing we all love is games (video games, board games, card games… you get the idea). I suppose you could call us geeks, which is okay with us!

Despite being the female of the group, I’m sure the boys would agree with me when I say I am the one who wears the pants. Of course, that doesn’t mean I get my way all the time. Just most of the time. I’m a 21 year old university student majoring in painting, and as such I love everything creative.

...A lot of people ask us what our relationship is like, and really the answer is we are your typical dysfunctional family. We do things that normal couples do, only as a three. We go to the movies, bicker over who’s turn it is to take out the garbage, come together in the evenings to share a meal, and of course look after and support one another....



December 12, 2014

"When I Say I Hate Monogamy, What I Really Mean Is..."

This morning comes a reminder that you display poor values and an unevolved mind when you diss people who choose monogamy as their preferred relationship style. The key word, of course, is "choose."

Louisa Leontiades is a prolific writer on life issues, poly, and feminism and is working on a new edition of her memoir The Husband Swap for Thorntree Press. Her newest piece just made it onto HuffPost/ U.K.:

When I Say I Hate Monogamy, What I Really Mean Is...

Actually I've never come right out and said I hate monogamy. But through viral articles like 'My Problem with Monogamy', it's easily inferred.

But monogamy is not something I hate.... I hate that it's more or less an enforced binary structure — to be single and dating, or together and exclusive. I hate that there are plenty of people who don't actively consent to monogamy, who are not happy in monogamy, but through society pressure and lack of information, unwittingly follow the prescribed norm hoping for that elusive happy ever after. I hate that so many monogamous people think I am, and treat me like, a second class citizen just for choosing polyamory. I hate that blinded by their own prejudices, they choose not to educate themselves in alternatives or believe me when I say that monogamy is not for me. That they think they know best for me, or view me as someone to be fixed....

I know several happy couples who are monogamous and are also my very good friends... they treat me with respect. I like them because they discuss with me for hours on end, the complexities of my lifestyle trying to learn what implications my choices might have for them as I learn more about why they choose monogamy. I like them because they teach their kids that freedom, voice and consent is important. I like them because they examine their own motivations for their actions....

When you first enter into the world of polyamory, you meet many people who have thought carefully about issues like gender, break-up, sexuality and conflict.... In general, polyamorous people have been forced to consider these things much more than your average monogamous person because they're questioned about it, time after time....

There are some activists who elevate polyamory by bashing monogamy. I don't like that.

I dislike even more that I've done it myself....

Read on. (Article published December 12, 2014).



December 7, 2014

"The Future of Marriage" and its widening possibilities

HuffPost/ Divorce

Tammy Nelson, author of The New Monogamy, rejoins the ongoing discussion about whether marriage is collapsing or changing or both. She says that people who get married will increasingly assume that they can define marriage their own way, and she starts by describing open marriages and polyamory as options for some.

The Future of Marriage

...In the way we think of and define "marriage," there has never been a more intrinsic and foundational change happening than right now. Our structural definition of the legal, emotional, and sexual act of committed partnership is on the cusp of something totally new.

...Marriage is still defined by being married to one person, unless of course, you are a Mormon. [Actually, in 1890 the mainstream LDS Church shifted its polygamy doctrine from this world into the afterlife]. But you can also stretch the definition to include things like polyamory. Polyamory means "poly, many" and "amorous, love" which translates to being in a relationship where you can love more than one person at the same time.

More polyamorous couples are living in openly agreed-to multiple partner relationships in this country than can fill the island of Manhattan. [That would be more than 1.6 million people; I'd like to know the basis for that estimate.] And that is only the people that openly identify as 'poly.' Some have this arrangement but do not care to call themselves 'poly' or check off the box when researchers come around to ask who the other partner is that's sleeping in the guest room. Although polygamy is not legal in the U.S. (polygamy means to marry more than one person at the same time), polyamory is a lifestyle where couples choose to be in loving and committed relationships with more than one person, sometimes living all together in one home.

The rest of the ways in which she says marriage is changing are

– The acceptance of same-sex marriage

– The awareness that we may not be marrying for a lifetime

– New, less catastrophic alternatives to traditional divorce

– "Marriage no longer being a guarantee of sexual fidelity." (She says "studies show that 45 to 55% of people will stray at some point in their marriage," but in reality, studies of infidelity rates disagree with each other wildly.) "Some partners negotiate a more fluid type of monogamy with outside partners or sexual agreements that do not threaten their emotional monogamy. The integrity of the relationship is maintained through emotional commitment, not sexual exclusivity."

She predicts that in the future, marriage will be definable "by shorter, more renewable contracts, in five year increments, or smaller two year contracts with options to renew." And,

In the future, gay marriage will have been legal for decades. More arrangements between couples will include open marriages with sexual agreements, polyamory will be more common and perhaps even polygamy will be visited in the legal system.

More of us will be bisexual, transexual and even more sexually androgonous than ever before. More babies will be born without clear gender identity and will not have surgery to assign a sex. We will judge less on sexual identity and more on how we treat one another.

More families will live in village-like arrangements where expanded child care covers our offspring's needs and more of us contribute to the workplace based on our skills, interests and aptitudes....

In the future, couples will have monogamy agreements that are defined early in their relationship and revisited often, in open, honest conversations that include their desires and fantasies, and are renewed with new visions of their relationship on a regular basis. Sex will be seen not as a threat to the relationship but as a way to maintain the individual's health and well being, and will not become compulsive or split off outside the marriage, since shame around it will have decreased....

...Couples no longer need to marry to have children, to pass on their property or to have sex. In one hundred years, marriage may not even exist.

But we will always want a primary partner....

Read on (Dec. 4, 2014).

This comes just after a much-talked-about New York Times article, The Divorce Surge Is Over, But the Myth Lives On (Dec. 2). It notes that the divorce rate has been declining for 20 years after never quite reaching the much-talked-about 50% rate. The Week published a criticism of the article: Sorry, New York Times: The state of marriage in America is not good (Dec. 4). It points out that recent improvements in the quality and duration of marriages are limited to the educated middle and upper classes; for others, family stability is getting worse. And the declining divorce rate is offset by the fact that fewer marriages happen at all; marriage-like cohabiting relationships, often now with kids, go through their "divorces" off the books.

Update: New NYT article: The Real Reason Richer People Marry" (Dec. 6)."



December 5, 2014

Nick TV's Degrassi introduces a "polyamory" plotline, sort of.

The teen high-school drama Degrassi, now in its 14th season and highly regarded for its treatment of real issues, just made a thing of introducing the word "polyamory."

Two girls are getting into a romantic relationship; one says she wants to date others, is into polyamory, and "I just don't know if I buy into this heteronormative idea of romantic love." Her budding romance partner stumbles a bit and then agrees that it's okay and says she thinks the same way too. Watch the clip.

But then it turns out the budding romance was faking it. She takes it all back and declares she is "a one-woman woman, it's just who I am." The first then admits that maybe she was faking too because she was scared of getting too close. Those parts are in the full episode at 12:10, 15:00, and 16:55.

The show makes "polyamorous" just seem to mean "dating around."

Says one commenter on the page, "I am polyamorous the way Jack was describing, and this was a terrible introduction to the topic. Jealousy and insecurity win! Ugh."

Says another, "Jack's using desperate hipster excuses as defense mechanisms, to cover up her commitment issues."

Update: This just belongs here (used by permission of Kimchi Cuddles):