Toronto poly personality profiled in the news
An online city magazine run by the mainstream Toronto Star interviews members of a prominent local poly household. The wife runs the non-monogamy blog Not Your Mother's Playground; maybe you've seen it.
The swing of it
How do you open your marriage to multi-partner loving? Our Sex Detective investigates.
By David Paterson
Here’s a dilemma. Imagine you came home one day to find that your partner had gotten busy with someone else and left two used wine glasses on the kitchen table. Which would you feel is the greater marital crime: (a) the infidelity or (b) the dereliction of dishwasher duties?
I’d probably choose infidelity.... But for Samantha Fraser, an event planner and videogame development professor at George Brown, the answer is clear: Her husband’s extramarital activities aren’t a problem, but failing to clean up afterwards is a serious offence.
Fraser and her husband are non-monogamists, which means they each meet, date and have sex with a whole bunch of other people. Non-monogamists (a term that includes everyone from swingers to people in open relationships to polyamorists, who have multiple steady partners on the go) reject traditional notions of marriage and cheating, instead believing that, when it comes to sex and love, more is merrier.
Since nobody keeps count of these things, it’s almost impossible to say how many people are into non-monogamy, but the recently founded Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association estimates there could be “tens of thousands” across the country. In Toronto, Fraser says the scene is far more active now than it was when she and her husband first opened up their marriage five years ago. There’s even a Toronto polyamory Meetup group, which currently has 252 members.
In explaining their relationships, non-monogamous people often invoke the idea of friendship groups. They say that, just as you wouldn’t expect your hockey-loving drinking buddies to go watch The Nutcracker with you....
But before you run off to energize your marriage with a spot of group loving, be warned that this is a complicated business. So complicated, in fact, that Fraser — who writes about her experiences on her blog, Not Your Mother’s Playground — runs Non-Monogamy 101 workshops at several sex stores. In her sessions, she rolls out flip charts bearing headings like “Organization,” “Rules” and — my personal favourite — “Logistics.” It’s a far cry from the sexual free-for-all I’d been expecting.
Basic competencies for a fledgling non-monogamist include the diary-management skills of a secretary, an Oprah-like willingness to discuss emotions and a fanatical attention to practical details — like cleaning up afterwards. Citing her partner’s wine glass transgression, Fraser says, “This is the stuff that can really trip you up.... And, of course, it’s not just the glassware and bedsheets you have to keep clean: The one thing you have to be faithful to is safer sex.
... [J. P.] Robichaud stresses that the hard part isn’t the practicalities, it’s getting caught in the emotional crossfire of different partners’ needs. “You need to be a remarkable communicator,” he says. “You need to be very articulate about what you’re feeling, both in the moment and afterwards.” Talking to Robichaud is like being lectured in ethics, as he stresses that a good non-monogamist is one who is open and honest....
To be honest, this is such a complicated business that I think I need to go for a lie down now. If anyone wants to join me....
Read the whole article (Dec. 19, 2011).
The Grid must have a big readership, judging by the number of comments already. Go join in.
Samantha reacts to the article and its fallout (including the wine glass part) here. She says,
I would make a terrible happy poster child because I don’t just talk about the good on this site (and at my workshops), I also talk about the bad, and the ugly. Maybe I need to talk more about the good, which is a fair point. It’s always so much easier to talk about something challenging that we learned from instead of something easy that we just breezed right through. However in the interest of clarity, I will list a few points here that maybe I haven’t said in some time....
...and goes into a bunch of crucial items for new readers that didn't make it into the article.