Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

July 26, 2010

"Strange Sex" freak show portrays polys beautifully

TLC (formerly The Learning Channel)

"Jaiya, Jon, and Ian have lived polyamorously for two years. But when Jaiya has Ian's baby, can they raise a baby together?"

That was the teaser for a 14-minute segment on TLC's new "Strange Sex" series last night (July 25, 2010). The series is a freak show; other scheduled topics include orgasms during childbirth, balloon fetishes, and "can doctors help a young mother who can't stop herself from urinating on her husband during intercourse?"

Nevertheless, the "Two Boyfriends and a Baby" segment was the very picture of a respectful, insightful, beautiful poly documentary.

I watched it. Jaiya and Jon met during their Tantra-teacher training and agreed to an open relationship when they got together. After a few years, they welcomed in Ian. For the last two years they've all lived together in a gorgeous California house and are raising Jaiya and Ian's year-old baby. Jaiya really wanted a baby, Jon had cold feet, so she had it with Ian. There's a hint that this situation was difficult at the time, but what we mostly see is the two men assisting in the home birth and the three of them now playing with the happy, crawly kid on the rug. Jaiya explains the easier-than-usual child care schedule with three parents. "The love is just exponential," says Ian. "It's just — wow."

The scene often cuts to a sensible, well-informed psychologist who explains that polyamory is a unique form of non-monogamy because it is based on honesty, love, and serious relationships. She describes the requirements that it places on everyone for even better communication than in good couple relationships, and some of its difficulties and benefits.

Says Ian: "None of us had a model for this growing up. It's working. But why is it working?"

Jaiya is gorgeous and articulate, a natural TV star. The men are strong, good looking, middle- and late-middle-aged professionals; you might peg Ian as a college teacher and Jon as a company president who spends a lot of time in the gym. Where did TLC find them? Do any readers here know the backstory?

The segment will surely show up in reruns (check the Strange Sex schedule; look for "Two Boyfriends and a Baby"). It's not yet free online.


A writer for Chicago Now (owned by the Chicago Tribune) got to preview the show and wrote,

[Jaiya and Jon are] a couple that met and immediately felt an instant connection to each other, forging a seemingly normal relationship. However, the twist here? Jaiya expresses to her partner that she is polyamorous and believes in multiple -- yet committed -- relationships.

A few years later, enter Ian, the man that will soon become the third point in this love triangle. And, as we come to learn, each man has his own sexual relationship with Jaiya. They live under one roof and we get a picture that they function as normally as they can. It's, as the show points out, a very specific lifestyle, that requires willing and trusting parties all around.

Truth is, this story really piqued my interest. I'm extremely conventional in my approach, so this was a tricky one to digest. I mean, it's not like casually dating a few different people. It's taking a committed relationship and saying that it's OK to have that same connection and emotional involvement with someone else. That's one I couldn't even imagine!

...After getting this little taste, I can honestly say two things: (1) The [Strange Sex] show, despite telling unusual sexual stories, definitely aims to establish a sense of normalcy to an otherwise hard-to-understand situations and (2) it offers a great deal of education about human sexuality.

Update, November 2010: Jaiya gives an interview on how her poly household handles money and financial issues: Polyamory And Money – Miss Jaiya Explains, in Out of the Storm News ("a new web publication of the Heartland Institute’s Center on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate"), November 17, 2010.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the show was really positive. They seemed like a loving and happy family.

July 26, 2010 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goddam, I hope I have a body like Jon's when I'm 55!

July 26, 2010 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, so having natural childbirth is freaky, but living in sin is not???

July 26, 2010 3:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's not living in sin. Sorry. Get over yourself.

July 26, 2010 5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was funny at the end when Ian dressed up like seven different kinds of hipster to go out on the town and look for more sexual partners ("it works because between Jon and I, I'm the Alpha." This, right after his new baby was born. These people have no idea what maroons they are that's where high comedy begins.

July 26, 2010 10:56 PM  
Blogger Natja's Natterings said...

Interesting, are you sure it was Maroon and not burgundy?

Do you understand the concept of Poly at all? The baby has 3 parents my dear, not two, it really doesn't matter if one wishes to go off out on the town, what does he need to be? Chained to the cradle?

The only comedy is clueless responses on the interweb methinks...


N - several shades of Scarlet

July 27, 2010 2:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had no idea this was coming on and I was really, really pleasantly surprised by its appearance and even delighted by the segment. Poly was presented in a calm, reasonable, and mature manner. This was a refreshing look at how our society can be changing. Well done, TLC!
-Angela in Boston

July 27, 2010 3:46 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Jaiya is a lovely and verrrry sexy woman. She didn't kick John to the curb when she met and fell for Ian. She is committed to them both. If they are all happy with this kind of relationship, great, but personally... I think a relationship with ONE man is difficult enough. I couldn't imagine juggling two like that. Good luck to you all.

July 27, 2010 8:08 PM  
Anonymous SarahK said...

As someone attempting this from a slightly different angle, I'd love to get in touch with them, or any other triad with children. Anyone know how this might be possible?

July 28, 2010 11:54 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

> I'd love to get in touch with them,
> or any other triad with children.

Jaiya is on Facebook. Two long-term triads with children are in Family Tree here in the Boston area; you can call the contact number at the website,
and ask to pass a message.

Alan M.

July 28, 2010 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the women in a FMM triad with 2 toddlers I find it easier to take care of the kids with 2 other parents in the house. My kids never had gone to daycare and I am often asked by grandmothers and other family if they can take the kids for the day. There is a lot more time for myself and I can find time to take extra courses,cooking and baking or spending time with the kids.
The only danger the kids are in is being spoiled to much.
3 grandmother, 2 grandfathers, 2 great grandmothers and a great grandfather,Uncles,Aunts, a large extend family, 3 cats and a dog. I only buy one new toy on there birthday and one at Christmas cause they get so many toys I lose track of them all. I have to make a list of things they don't have at Christmas for family. They get so much attention I get asked questions when no one is over visiting or they are not out with family.

August 02, 2010 12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The baby has 3 parents my dear, not two..."
If, but I think more likely, when there is a custody battle, the mother will have precedent over the father and Jon, well Jon is 'who' again.
The 'number one' in this poly is Jaiya, two is Jon and three is Ian.
And Ian seems the less committed of the three.
The segment was evolutionary psychology and being human collides with pretentious spirituality. Now if Jaiya picked another older guy that wasn't 'alpha' I'd be less critical.
I'm glad Jon- decided- not to let Jaiya's decision to have a baby with 'another man' cause him too much discord.
Ian didn't seem bright enough to ever be Jaiya's number one and I don't think he'll be content being number three... but of course, it really isn't that way LOL
At least be honest and admit, there is more of a commitment between two.

April 04, 2011 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i didn't think it was all that positive...a lot of the random transition scenes seemed to portray the parents in a comical (at, not with) light... even if there were positive things said, i think it was meant to be consumed as humor, Othering poly folk...

May 28, 2011 3:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can tell that not all is right with this situation when you view the episode. The older guy, "Jon" is stuck raising the kid and sticks around with Jaiya because he is in love with Jaiya. Ian - the younger guy who is the biological father of the kid is out and and about dating. Jaiya doesn't want to choose between the two men because she needs them both. One wonders if she can make it on her own financially. The whole situation is more about a financial situation than real love.

December 02, 2011 6:24 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

> You can tell that not all is right with this situation...

Yes. And because of that I've wondered how wise it is for them to put themselves out there so publicly (in, for instance, Details magazine and on the Anderson Cooper Show in 2011).

But on thinking about it more... The fact is, EVERY life-committed couple/family comes together, and stays together, from a mixture of real-world motivations, not just pure abstract love. Help in caring for and raising the kid? Good housing? Pooling income with a partner who maybe earns more than you? Welcome to everyday marraige.

Successful poly, like successful monogamous marriage, is about what works well for the people involved -- with all their complex, real-world motivations and limitations. Any good minister or marriage counselor can tell about this.

Alan M.

December 03, 2011 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched this episode for the second time last night. The first time I watched it, I came away with a very specific feeling about the whole family situation. My second viewing only solidified it. You can tell very clearly at all times by Jon's body language that he is completely miserable in that situation. He feels trapped, and alludes in one cut scene to the fact that he's not really had a lot of luck with women. Jaiya is extremely dominant in the situation and doesn't seem altogether concerned with the needs of the other two. Ian is definitely the alpha among the guys. I don't know, is this really more complicated than a society standard one man, one woman situation? I've seen basically the same thing in my real world experiences with polyamory. One person is not cool with it, but hasn't the backbone to speak up, then one day the whole thing collapses because that submissive person lashes out. Who knows. Maybe polyamory can work, but I would hope that this episode is not looked upon as an example of 'as good as it gets'.

November 14, 2012 12:23 PM  

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