Tristan Taormino on NPR
Of all the 31 books about polyamory published since the modern poly movement began in the mid-1980s, the one recommended most often these days — at least for people looking to open an existing relationship — is Tristan Taormino's Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships (2008).
Tristan Taormino leads an energetic life as a sex educator, college speaker, author, sex-positive activist, host of the weekly VoiceAmerica radio show Sex Out Loud, and producer of feminist porn.
A number of NPR stations are airing a 10-minute interview with her on the highbrow, big-ideas show To the Best of Our Knowledge. She's one of a series of six guests discussing "After the Romance": what to make of the fact that humans are built in such a way that new-relationship limerence does not last.
You can listen to her 10-minute segment on open relationships, or the entire 53-minute show (she's segment 3), or listen on the radio if your area is on the local broadcast schedule. (First airs March 3, 2013. Produced by Wisconsin Public Radio, distributed by Public Radio International.)
...I think for some people it's simply [that] monogamy doesn't work. I mean monogamy may be this revered and sacred institution, but as a relationship style it's really pretty dismal, and has failed a lot of people. So people are looking for an alternative. And there are people out there who say "I don't want to cheat, I want to be honest about this" — and how can we create a relationship and a set of guidelines that incorporate other partners, and do it in a really responsible way?
...We're brought up to believe [monogamy] is the mature choice, and when you're truly in love with someone you want to be monogamous with them because you don't want anyone else. And that's just not true for people. There are a lot of people out there who believe that you can love you more than one person at a time. And other people who believe you can love someone strongly, commit to them strongly, and still have other sexual partners — and that doesn't infringe on your primary partnership.
...[Jealousy] is part of what you sign up for when you sign up for an open relationship. You're going to have to confront some of your own emotional baggage: around insecurity, fear of abandonment, envy, possessiveness — an open relationship is not a good idea to "fix" a monogamous one. You've got to have a solid foundation before you open up.
The host challenges her with a story of two good friends of his who were excited to announce they were opening their marriage — and within six months one had moved in with a new primary "and now they are getting divorced. Is that a common story?"
It's a common story of serial monogamy, actually.... One of the things that people have to do in open relationships is you really have to manage that new relationship energy. When you first get infatuated, or excited about someone, and everything about them is really amazing, and you're like hey, let me pack up all my belongings and move in with them — there's a time at which you have to take a pause, and say let's not make any abrupt decisions here. Because this little honeymoon phase of feeling high, and in love, or in lust, is going to come to an end. And if you can ride out that wave, then you can make better decisions.
This is just the right basic 10-minute audio snippet for a newbie couple considering opening their relationship or marriage. Save the link for that purpose.