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



January 16, 2022

Solopoly stories in the media this week, how to tell your own story and get paid, and more.


Fifteen years ago I was saying that this consensual multi-relationship thing really turns heads, and that media were beginning to wake up to the fact. Well yup. Here it is 2022 and they can't get enough. 

●  A Gen-Z targeted site called Screenshot ("New conversations for and from the new generation. ... learn what we can do for your brand") spotlights a rising music/TV personality and influencer: How Willow Smith’s solo polyamory may have paved gen Z’s way into ‘relationship anarchy’ (Jan. 11)


Willow Smith / Instagram
By Svetlana Onye

Through solo polyamory—that is, having multiple intimate relationships while maintaining an independent single freedom—women are experiencing a self-love like no other. ...

Willow Smith, pop punk singer and black alt-girl icon, has openly talked about belonging to the polyamorous community while routinely sharing Instagram posts on what polyamory is all about. More and more women seem to be defying the status-quo of what a relationship should look like, and as ‘relationship anarchy’—don’t worry, I’ll explain soon enough—becomes a more common reality for the younger generation, it seems that it’s time to seek relationships that work for you.

...The singer appears to have never shied away from the topic and shares daily posts about solo polyamory in particular and what loving multiple partners entails. With a follower count of 9.7 million fans, it’s clear that the youngest Smith wants to educate people on a mode of loving that is often stigmatised.... One of those followers who Smith successfully educated was myself. 

...It is unsurprising why this particular style of polyamory has become increasingly popular among women, specifically women of colour (WOC). Self-titled ‘Sex Positive Asian Auntie’ Jayda Shuavarnnasri, a sexuality and relationship educator, shared similar sentiments on her own platform, telling her followers that being solo poly meant that she is “experiencing myself, centring myself and choosing myself every day.” ...

...What we are seeing with the younger generation today are rapidly evolving ideas of relationships. From platonic partnering to solo polyamory, relationship anarchy is truly in action as many continue to redefine the boundaries of friendships or the openness of love.



●  Have you, a non-famous non-influencer, thought of telling the world your poly story and maybe getting paid a bit? Lots of outlets are probably interested. Online magazines in particular are always hungry for content. Find a few that look promising, write and ask.

For instance, Jessica Renaglia just got her first-person story published in Australia's MamaMia ("a women’s media company to make the world a better place for women and girls"):  'I have a loving male partner and a girlfriend. This is how we make it work.'  (Jan. 11). Frankly, it reads to me like she just narrated it into her phone and did some cleanup. But it definitely got her story across to readers.

MamaMia pays for original short pieces like this, as told at the bottom of their submissions page. According to the crowdsourced WhoPaysWriters.comMamaMia was paying $0.07 per word as of 2019. Not much, but not bad for something you can write off the top of your head.

Update: And, one thing can lead to another. That little piece got her profiled on the site of Australia's 7News, the country's most-watched TV news service: Inside a polyamorous relationship, by Australian woman who dates boyfriend and girlfriend at same time (Jan. 18). If she wasn't an influencer before, she is now.


●  Or you can interview other people about their stories. Zachary Zane, a successful freelance writer on queer and poly relationship topics, just placed this piece in the mass-circulation Men's Health (or at least its website): Here's How Solo Poly Compares to Other Kinds of Polyamory (Jan. 12). WhoPaysWriters.com indicates that as of a few years ago, Men's Health was paying 25 to 50 cents a word.


...“Solo poly is a relationship type where a person chooses not to have any primary partners—more specifically, partners that we get on the relationship escalator with,” explains Zhana Vrangalova, PhD.... Solo poly people have no desire to “live together with a partner, get married, have kids, join finances....”

...It's also different from "dating around" the way a non-poly person might. When someone is simply "dating around," they typically have a string of connections until they find the "one" and proceed to settle down with them. A solo poly person has no desire to settle down with one (or multiple people) anytime soon.

...We spoke to four people who proudly identify as a solo polyamorist: Jack, 34; Collin, 39; Phoenix, 33; Carlos, 26. Here’s what they had to say. ... 


And on it goes for another 1,000 words, question by question, with good, articulate interviewees providing most of the content.



Dainis Graveris

●  Similarly, in the Philadelphia Weekly Dr. Timaree Schmidt just interviewed several local CNM-ers. One of them describes a spectrum of metamour-relations terms that's gaining traction, in addition to the well-known "kitchen table" and "parallel." The two new ones seem to have originated with the Multiamory podcasters.

The article: Multiple Ways To Have Multiple Partners (Jan. 13). She's interviewing Shay Au Lait, "a Philly burlesque producer and theatre artist" who provides these descriptors, with links:


  • Parallel Poly– all the partners acknowledge each other’s existence but live entirely separate lives.
  • Garden party poly– partners are able to engage in friendly interactions at social functions or on social media, but don’t share a great deal directly.
  • Kitchen table poly– named after the idea that all one’s partners would be able to comfortably sit around the kitchen table; the assumption that metamours would be friends with each other.
  • Lapsitting poly– a more engaged version of kitchen table poly, where metamours in a polycule develop entanglements and relationships of their own.


But I prefer "Snuggle Pile Poly" to "Lapsitting." I find sitting in laps uncomfortable and awkward for both parties, but I was meant like a puppydog for friends-and-lovers snuggles.


●  It's hard to get a random sample of the multi-relationship experiences that people in the broader world have had, outside the streetlight glow of the self-identified poly movement with its collective culture (however diffuse) of shared experience and wisdom, values, advice and best practices.



We asked the members of the BuzzFeed Community to share their stories and advice about their experience being in a three-person relationship (aka a throuple). Here are some of their most engaging and insightful replies. ...


The 15 experiences are rather more bad than good; a number of the people blundered into avoidable known messes. There's a need for wisdom-sharing before people do this! Those of you who can educate, please keep it up.

Note: Buzzfeed asks for more group-relationship stories at the end of the link above.


●  Meanwhile, jumping way up the media scale, the New York Times "Social Q's" columnist, Philip Galanes, gives well-meaning advice to the upset mom of a poly daughter: My Daughter’s Married Boyfriend Shouldn’t Join Us on Vacation, Right? (Jan. 13). Galanes sounds all poly-positive and everything, but I see an elephant in the room trumpeting for attention.


My 30-year-old daughter is in a polyamorous relationship with a married man. She brought him home for the holidays, and while he was charming, I felt uncomfortable. (This may have been triggered by my husband’s infidelity that led to our divorce.) Now, my daughter tells me she would like to bring this man on our family trip to Greece this year. It may be petty, but I don’t want to foot the bill for another woman’s husband. And I don’t see any way this relationship can lead to my daughter’s happiness. ... 

MOM

...Let’s put aside the trip to Greece and the specter of your cheating ex. Unlike him, people in polyamorous arrangements usually set ground rules with their partners for opening their relationship to others. (No one is cheating!) Try to understand, as best you can, what your daughter likes about this arrangement and how it satisfies her.

As a show of respect, read up on polyamory before you broach the subject with her. Then ask questions. I am not suggesting that you set aside all of your concerns — only that you try to respect your adult daughter’s decisions. ...


All well and good, but the gaping black hole in this picture to me is the boyfriend's invisible wife. "No one is cheating!" writes Galanes. Well then, the daughter could just call the wife and ask "Here, I'll hand the phone to my mom and you can clear it up for her." But if daughter asks the guy "Let's call [wife] so she can explain to Mom" and he stalls and fidgets and sweats, well...

Science says there are 43.7 gazillion guys these days whose idea of "poly" is "My wife and I are in a poly relationship but she mustn't find out."

Trust but verify. Does the daughter even know?


●  On a happier note regarding poly inter-relations, Metamour Day is coming up!  Metamour Day ("celebrating polyamory's most distinctive relationship") is February 28th, Valentine's Day times two. This year the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) is taking the lead to make it a Thing across social media on the big day. And, artists and graphic designers, they are calling you:

The Facebook link to share.

My own post for Metamour Day last year. Let's get some fresh art.

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January 8, 2022

Mass. Attorney General approves town's polyamorous domestic partnership law


Arlington, MA, Town Hall


I was kind of biting my nails on this. Last April the town of Arlington, Massachusetts (near me) approved a bylaw allowing for multiple people to have an official domestic partnership. Arlington was the third municipality in Massachusetts to do this. The measure, proposed by a local polyfamily member, passed by a lopsided vote of 192-37 in Arlington's huge Representative Town Meeting (it's a New England thing). But there was a technicality. Because Arlington is a town rather than a city, this was a bylaw rather than a city ordinance, so it had to be approved by the state attorney general's office as not conflicting with state law.

Proponents assumed this would be no problem, since the measure was worded to avoid any possible conflict with the state law against bigamy.

Well...

Attorney General Maura Healey — the leading Democratic prospect for this year's race for governor — had 90 days to rule. The deadline came and went. Her office got an extension, and that deadline came and went. A conservative publication, the New Boston Post, took a close interest in this development, unlike any other media. Uh-oh....

Now, phew. Healey's office has approved it and Arlington's bylaw is official. As reported in Mass Lawyer's Weekly, AG upholds town’s recognition of ‘polyamorous’ relationships (Jan. 6):


The AG’s Office concluded in a Dec. 23 letter decision that the town’s bylaw withstood statutory review because it did not refer to, or result in, a redefinition of [state laws against multiple concurrent marriages.]



------------------------------

On other topics,

●  At the grassroots level, the polyamory movement seems on fine track for our long-term future. Since at least 2008 I've worried that as the poly bandwagon got rolling faster than its early builders and rear-bumper-pushers could keep up with, it might go bounding downhill in mass culture and veer into scuzzy ethics or some other disastrous direction, and wreck itself in a ditch. As I saw happen to various 1960s movements. But that hasn't occurred.

Heartening proof is up in a fast-growing reddit thread. Reddit/r/polyamory has grown to 239,000 members (there were 300 when I joined), and like the rest of reddit it's an enormous, random mob. A newcomer just asked the masses, "What are some good practice and basic ethics of polyamory that ‘newbies’ may not know?" That was just hours ago as I write. Already more than 160 comments are up, and ya know? With only rare exceptions they are excellent, principled, full of wise advice and personal experience, and spot-on regarding at least a dozen of healthy polyamory's essential concepts. And on reddit!

I hope the thread doesn't turn south now that I've jinxed it. But yeah, those of you who have been building and shaping this movement in good ways all these years can be damn proud of the job you seem to have successfully done. A few things are actually going right in the world. 


●  From sociologist Elisabeth Sheff comes How to Talk to Children about Polyamory, Part 2: "Tips on discussing consensual nonmonogamy with your children" (January 2). This the second of a planned 4-part series.


The first blog in this series addressed the conditions that influence parents to come out to their children as polyamorous, or not. This second in the series offers tips to parents who have decided to come out to their kids, and the third [will provide] guidance about how to manage information about CNM in children’s lives. The series closes with a fourth about how parents in CNM relationships can support their child/ren’s social health.

------------------------------

You may want to tell your child about your polyamorous relationship, especially if you have decided that: your child is old enough to understand; your partner is relevant to your child’s life, and; your family is safe enough that it will not be imperiled if your child mentions your polyamorous relationship to your boss, friend, or father-in-law. If your child asks questions about your relationship, that indicates that they are old enough to understand at least a simple answer.

Many polyamorous parents in my Longitudinal Polyamorous Family Study (LPFS) reported that they waited for their children to ask questions about their relationships, and then answered kids’ questions with honest, age-appropriate information. Others felt that it was important to bring up their polyamorous relationships with one or all of their children because the kids might have noticed and the parents did not want the kids to think there was a secret that they had to keep from the other parent. Still other parents in the LPFS got outed to their children and/or other people by circumstances or other's intent.

No matter how you choose to inform the kids or they find out, there are a few suggestions from the LPFS that could offer some guidance on talking to kids about polyamory. These include being age appropriate, askable, matter of fact, and honest, plus a few tips on what to say. ...

Be Age Appropriate....

Be Askable....

...While some families have secrets they are not allowed to talk about, the families in the LPFS generally allowed their kids to ask any question, about anything that occurred to them. Sometimes the adults would say that was a private thing or they would talk about it later, but the kids never got in trouble for asking about anything. This set the stage for the kids to ask their parents questions about what was happening in the family.

Be Matter of Fact....

Be Honest

Honesty is a hallmark of polyamorous relationships, and parents in the LPFS reported that it trickled down from their interactions with their romantic and polyaffective partners to influence their parenting. Parents told their kids the truth, and the kids appreciated it and often responded in kind. This was true of discussing polyamory as well. When children would ask their parents who are these other people, parents would explain honestly in a way that made sense to the kids at that age. Overall this method had the best results, as a couple of the kids in the LPFS reported that they did not get enough information from their parents (for good reason in each case) and were left in uncomfortable confusion for a while until they figured it out themselves.

What to Say?...

In addition to being honest and age appropriate, polyamorous parents and their children in the LPFS both reported that less is more. ...


Read the whole thing.

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December 23, 2021

Good polyamory in a TV series, Kwanzaa in a poly home, finding family, a holiday podcast marathon, and more


Happy holidays, dear people! In recent polyamory news,

● Teen Vogue comes through for us again, this time regarding one of the better plotlines on TV: The “Gossip Girl” Approach to Polyamory Is a Refreshing Step Forward (Dec. 9). Excerpts:


The relationship between Audrey, Aki, and Max is nuanced and evolving.

Evan Mock, Thomas Doherty, and Emily Alyn Lind embrace in Gossip Girl.

By Elly Belle

Polyamory is a complex relationship style that can be practiced many different ways to suit people’s needs and lifestyles, but thanks to poorly written plotlines in television and movies, it often gets a bad reputation.

Those who practice polyamory in our own lives have often begrudged shows and movies for representing non-monogamy explicitly as a sexual kink, or as something to try when you wish to “fix” your relationship. ...

While it will look different for each person who practices it, polyamory has almost exclusively been portrayed in media in a very limited way, showing disastrous throuple experiments and people with poor communication skills lying to each other or betraying one another. But that’s not actually polyamory, or at least not polyamory done intentionally. The new Gossip Girl takes a different approach with the evolving, dynamic relationship between Audrey (Emily Alyn Lind), Aki (Evan Mock), and Max (Thomas Doherty).

In the show, Audrey and Aki are a longtime couple. We meet them when Aki is only beginning to understand that he is bisexual; enter Max, a pansexual alpha type who is confident and sexually experienced... though, like many of us, reluctant to explore an actual relationship for fear of getting hurt. ...He’s emotionally intuitive and honest enough to be able to admit this, and communicates his feelings to Audrey and Aki. ... The show allows the characters to be vulnerable enough to ask for what they truly want and need. And the final episodes of the first season pleasantly prove my initial worries wrong....

...As sexually charged as Gossip Girl is even in the reboot, it still moves the needle of polyamorous representation towards one that shows the relationship style is not about sex but about powerful emotional connections. ...

Gabrielle Alexa Noel, a 29-year-old polyamorous woman, tells Teen Vogue “I am rarely, if ever, impressed by polyamory representation because it always ends up being used to uplift monogamy in the finale (like in The L Word reboot)” ...

The Gossip Girl reboot shows us what’s possible if we continue to speak up.... It shows that love triangles don’t have to be triangles, and no one has to “lose.” Connections that people feel don’t have to be purely sexual, but are often about deep emotional bonds. And last but certainly not least, it makes room for the truth that many of us live out in our lives each day: it’s absolutely possible to love multiple people at once without diminishing any of the relationships you hold. In fact, allowing yourself to ethically and honestly love and be with multiple people at once can and does strengthen your relationships — if you put the work in, and show up vulnerably, again and again, and again.



● In Newsweek comes a "My Turn" first-person story about a typical opening-up: My Partner and I Became Polyamorous After 8 Years Together (Dec. 19). Remember, a majority of adults in the whole Western world are coupled, so most people entering polyamory will be couples opening up. Help them get it right with good advice rather than just dissing them, please.


By Dana Hobson | As told to Jenny Haward

...Then, around eight years into our relationship, Daniel started asking more questions about why I believed we should be able to love other people as well as each other. He ended up really liking what I was picturing for our future.... I hadn't read about polyamory, it was just what made sense to me, and it started to make sense to him.

Daniel and I started exploring non-monogamy together in 2015, but it happened very slowly. For example, we agreed that if I met someone on a girl's trip to Vegas, I was allowed to do what I wanted. And I did kiss someone. That was as far as I wanted to go. It was fun telling Daniel about it and it didn't hurt our relationship. After that, little things would occur. We've had some level of relationship with at least three close friends and that's because I feel that friendships can go in that direction. ...

There are various different versions of non-monogamy and the ones I feel people are most aware of are swingers or open relationships where the agreement is centered around allowing sex with people outside the relationship. For us, polyamory is focused on falling in love with other people. It might end in sex or sex might become a big part, but it's more about caring, loving and being in a committed second or third relationship.

Something I have never liked about monogamous relationships is that when people find their "person" they don't seem to explore as much anymore. There are couples out there who are monogamous and still go out and socialise, but when I talk to them, it feels a little like a wall is up. ... It feels like a fear; that people are afraid of connecting with a new person because there may be a spark. That's sad to me, I feel like sparks are the best part of life.

Most people think Daniel and I are having lots of sex with other people, which is funny because we are both very slow moving when it comes to that. You could call it being demisexual; above all we're both attracted to people's personality, intelligence and the way they care about others.

...Daniel and I started out with a hierarchy; we were the primary relationship and any other person was secondary. Then I met a guy I wanted to be with and when we started a relationship, it was uncomfortable to call him my "secondary" partner. It took Daniel and I a while to figure out that a hierarchy didn't feel right. We didn't like making anyone feel that they weren't equal to us.

...Daniel and I started reading books about polyamory. That's when we started to understand why we felt the hierarchical scenario was wrong for us. It took us educating ourselves that way to realize, rather than doing something and seeing if it worked.

We have decided to be relatively autonomous but ultimately, we are looking for "kitchen table polyamory" which is where you're friends with your metamours—your partner's partners. We've been in a wide range of situations, but for the most part we've all been friends.

...We're also in a band together, Dana and The Wolf. ... He wrote an entire album about my relationship with my ex; about my polyamorous experience with another guy. It was beautiful. When he showed me each song, one by one, I couldn't believe that he was able to capture what I felt inside and hadn't been able to put into words.

I understand how people may see polyamory as an orientation, but I don't necessarily think that's it. It is a belief to me.

Dana Hobson is a musician living in LA with her partner, Daniel Wolf. You can follow them  @danaandthewolf or find out more at danaandthewolf.com.



● The Sunday Times in London ran a "Special Report" titled The rise of polyamory: sex parties, throuples and open relationships ("The pandemic has aroused a wave of sexual exploration"; Dec. 19). The story then appeared the next day in the Daily Mail under the title Kate Middleton's school friend behind sex club Killing Kittens says business has boomed because people want a distraction from pandemic gloom and more women than ever are seeking out threesomes (Dec. 20).

Turns out the story is not about polyamory (a Times headline writer apparently added it as an SEO word), but about a flood of newly adventurous people who seem to imagine they're living post-pandemic. Interesting bit:


[Kate Lister, author of The Curious History of Sex,] explained that people are turning to sex to celebrate life after experiencing a drop of libido due to Covid-19. 

She said that historically, the aftermaths of traumatic events such as the two World Wars, the Spanish flu and the Black Death have led to bouts of sexual Carpe Diem.

...As examples, she revealed that more soldiers caught venereal diseases during the first World War than any other ailment apart from the Spanish flu, and that religious [writers] denounced mass orgies and public sex happening during the plague in the Middle Ages.   


 
● In the Salt Lake Tribune, Utahns share why they have chosen polyamory over monogamy (Dec. 23)


Salt Lake Community College filmmaker explores people who have more than one partner.
Emery, Ben Gallegos, Allie Bullock, and Sabrina Gallegos



By Matt Didisheim

This story is jointly published by nonprofits Amplify Utah and The Salt Lake Tribune, in collaboration with Salt Lake Community College, to elevate diverse perspectives in local media through student journalism.

Sabrina and Ben Gallegos had been married for a year when they met Allie Bullock in July 2014. The women were co-workers and became friends, so when Bullock and her boyfriend broke up, the Gallegoses offered her a place to stay while she sorted things out.

The three grew close, and over a period of about seven months, the Gallegoses both decided they wanted Bullock to be more than a friend. As Utahns, their polyamorous “throuple” has been mistaken for polygamy on more than one occasion, but they are part of a growing number of Americans who practice this relationship style.

“I started to see this relationship blossom between the two of them,” Ben Gallegos said. “It was a deep friendship, it was a different kind of connection. I couldn’t help but admire [it], and seeing Sabrina fall in love with Allie, I kind of started to fall in love with Allie through her eyes.”

The concept of a relationship like this was new to him.

“I had no idea that ‘polyamory’ was even a term,” he said. “Looking stuff up online, there’s other people like us, there’s a whole community.”...

...Amy Peterson, a film major at Salt Lake Community College, made a documentary about polyamory this fall called “Love One Another: Polyamory in Utah.”

In her film, Utahns — including the Gallegoses and Bullock — share what polyamory can look like and how they believe it has helped them have healthier, more fulfilling relationships. ...

...Not long into their throuple relationship, Sabrina Gallegos gave birth to a daughter, Emery, in 2015. The new baby helped some family members to overcome their initial problems with their relationship.

“It’s just taken [them] a lot of time, a lot of years, a lot of interactions, a lot of opportunities ... to see our daughter and appreciate the young lady that she’s becoming,” Ben Gallegos said. “The person that [Emery] is today, [Allie] is one-third equally responsible for everything that that little girl is. ...Sshe’s just always had three parents.”

For Berk Forbes and Daley Yoshimura, both in their 30s and living in Salt Lake City, polyamory has been a deliberate lifestyle. They live together and have been together romantically since 2019, but they are non-hierarchical and do not call each other their primary partner. For them, the appeal of polyamory is the freedom to love and experience others outside the traditional boundaries of monogamy.

“Daley and I get to come together and be like, OK, this is what we want our relationship to be,’” Forbes said. ...

...For Peterson, whose film attempts to demystify polyamory and who identifies as polyamorous herself, it’s just as important that people understand what it is as what it is not. ... “It’s not something that’s trying to tear society apart,” she said. “So much of [polyamory] is about community and supporting one another. It’s about having this network of care and love and the capacity and the availability to love people. From a polyamorous standpoint, there is no limit to the amount of love that we can give.”


Read the whole thing. It's long. With a video.


●  Beyond the English-speaking world there's way too much happening for me to try to keep up. Just so we don't forget, here a sample: a 46-minute (!) TV interview from Argentina, Poliamor en Mendoza: "La trieja mendocina conformada por Nazareno Fernandez, Eliana Cuchietti y Maira Fernandez ha causado un revuelo inesperado a nivel nacional. Visitaron el estudio de No Culpes a la Noche para hablar de este tema sin tabúes. Recibieron también al sexólogo Germán Gregorio Morasutti."


Also while we're there, on El Nueve Argentina is Fuego Amigo: ¿Se puede querer a más de una persona? – Parte  1

 
 And Parte 2:
 


●  As we hunker down toward the holidays, How I Celebrated My First Polyamorous Kwanzaa (Your Tango, Dec. 22)


By Chanize Thorpe

When I joined my boyfriend and his wife to become part of their polyamorous family, I was delighted to be invited to celebrate Kwanzaa in their home with their children, friends, and family.

The experience was both educational and heart-warming.

I met the male hinge of what was to become a relationship with his common-law wife during a business trip to the West Coast. ... He told me he had a partner at home, and wanted to know me better and perhaps introduce me to her. I was taken aback at his honesty about practicing what he described as ethical non-monogamy.

...A few months from that first trip I was deeply in love with this couple. I’d already traveled back to their city and met most of their six combined children. It was during that visit that I was invited to come back in December to celebrate Kwanzaa. 

I was to join my couple, their family, and various friends, some of whom were also part of the polyamorous lovestyle, to officially welcome me as a “mama” in their home. I was honored to be asked to participate, but I had a few reservations. 

Unfortunately, the only real background knowledge I had about Kwanzaa was a few mentions here and there. ...

What I now know is that Kwanzaa is a week-long African-American holiday that begins on December 26th and lasts until January 1st.

Kwanzaa was created in the 1960s in America for Black and African-American people to pay homage to their African ancestors, values, and harvest festivals held across the continent.

Ungvar / Shutterstock
...On the first day of Kwanzaa, called Umoja (unity), we all gathered in the small living room. Each day, when everyone is gathered, someone greets the guests with the Swahili question “Habari gani?” meaning “What’s the news?” and all would answer aloud the day’s Kwanzaa principles.

For example,  “Nia,” the fifth day, signifies “purpose'' and happens to be the name of my partner’s daughter. The first of seven-colored candles (black, red, and green) called Mishumaa Saba, is placed in a holder called a kinara and then lit. ... We all talked about how we’d incorporated the principle in our lives. Then, one of the elder sons played the bongos with a riveting rhythm I felt through my soul. ...

...I came back with a new perspective about how I wanted to live my life. ... It’s finding family where you least expect it, learning there are many ways to love, and becoming open to continuing my education on the many lifestyles and traditions celebrated around the world.



●  And Poly Philia (Leanne Yau) writes us,


Happy Polydays -- podcast project

Over the last two weeks, I've been running a podcast project called the Happy Polydays series. For 14 days I spoke with a different non-monogamous public figure every day, and we had a lot of really interesting conversations and polyamory and race, religion, anticapitalism, cults, compersion, toxic masculinity, kink, relationship anarchy, and abuse. I covered some controversial and hard-hitting topics that the polyamorous community doesn't talk about often enough, so a boost would be great!

I'm still uncertain if this will be a festive event I'll bring back next year, but at any rate, Season 1 is complete so here it is. 

My favourites: episode 13 (from a closed cult to open love), episode 14 (polyamory and blackness), and episode 7 (queering compersion).

Links to all the episodes: https://anchor.fm/polyphiliablog

Transcripts (most of them are still being transcribed, but I really encourage you to read the one for Episode 13 on cults): https://www.polyphilia.blog/podcast

Video versions-- 

Leanne @polyphiliablog


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December 18, 2021

A "Metamours 101" in Cosmopolitan, Forbes opens the door on Feeld, and more polyamory in the news


Cafe Press

Welcome back for another roundup of polyamory in the news.

●  Cosmopolitan continues on its roll with a "Metamours 101" piece: Metamours: Everything to Know About Your Lover's Lover (Dec. 14)


By Ali Wunderman

...In ethical non-monogamy, however, having metamours is part of the goal. Multiple people come with the territory, and they too may bring even more people into the mix....

There is a misunderstanding that your partner’s lover must share an intimate relationship with you too. But a metamour is first and foremost your partner’s partner, not yours. It’s true that sometimes the relationship can evolve to bring you all together, but that happens circumstantially. In fact, it’s a red flag if the central partner tries to force a friendship or romantic connection between their lovers where one would not exist naturally. ... Whatever connection you end up forming with a metamour should be on your terms. But when your shared characteristic with a metamour is loving the same person, it can actually be really easy to get along. ...

Writing professor Patricia Fancher, author of this essay on building a queer, polyamorous family, says she got along so well with her husband’s girlfriend—her metamour—that the girlfriend became more like her husband’s metamour instead. “We just liked each other so much that the relationship shifted,” she says.

...It’s worth examining your motivation in making [metamour-closeness decisions] either way: Is avoiding meeting them a way to pretend they don’t exist? Is getting together for coffee at the beginning of the relationship a way to exert control? Do you subconsciously want to ensure your partner’s connection with them involves you on some level?

...If this relationship construct is by design based on the wholehearted consent of yourself and your partner(s), then there is nothing to fear. ...





●  Yet more from Cosmopolitan: 8 Open Relationship Questions, Answered by Someone Actually In One (Nov. 30), also by Ali Wunderman.


I first dipped my toe into the world beyond monogamy by opening my relationship with my husband more than a decade ago. Since then, I’ve been asked a million and one questions. ...


They're very basic and handled reasonably okay, such as this one:


What happens when you catch feelings?

[Many] couples design an open relationship with the agreement that no new romantic bonds will be formed. But, humans gonna human, and catching feelings can be inevitable. “It’s important to understand your biology when exploring sexually,” says Saynt. “When you meet someone new and form a connection you may experience a spark. This ‘new love energy’ may feel like something more than intended as your brain pushes serotonin and oxytocin into your body, creating a high we may not always feel with our core partner.”

Also known as ‘new relationship energy,’ it can be intoxicating, but it is also avoidable. ... However, if it is something you are struggling with and you are navigating a monogamish relationship, you may need to discuss the options of polyamory with your partner.”...



●  Right next to Cosmo at your grocery-store checkout is Men's Health. Both are published by Hearst, have huge circulations, and are more alike than their gender split suggests. Appeared on the Men's Health site the same day as the Cosmo story above was 20 Questions With Open Relationships Sex Therapist Dulcinea Alex Pitagora (Nov 30). It's longer and presents better answers, IMO. 


By Sophie Saint Thomas

...Q: How did you become interested in ENM enough to make it your specialty?

Dulcinea Pitagora

Pitagora: I focus on working with the communities I’m personally connected to and identify with, which also happen to be among the most underserved and misunderstood groups. As a polyamorous person, my own life experience provided a foundation for and dovetails with the specialized training I received in clinical sexology.


...Q: What are the most common misconceptions about ENM?

Pitagora: The most common things I hear are that:

  – ENM people have extremely high libidos.
  – They are at higher risk for STIs and get them more frequently.
  – They're just experimenting until they find "the right person to settle down with."

None of these misconceptions are based on anything related to common practice or scientific data. ...


...Q: What are the biggest misconceptions about polyamory in particular?

Pitagora: The misconceptions I often hear about polyamory are:

  – Polyamorous relationships are harder than other relationships.
  – They’re expensive and only for people with money. [??  We're talking about life relationships, not dinner-and-a-movie.  –Ed.]
  – That it’s not possible to have deep connections and love feelings for multiple people.

The truth is that no one relationship structure is harder than any other, and all relationships take communication and work to be sustainable, satisfying, and enjoyable. The only thing finite is time... and spending time together doesn’t have to cost anything.

...Q: Are there some people who truly are monogamous and not built for ENM?

Pitagora: Definitely, though I believe this is always a combination of nature and nurture.... 


Or as I've heard that expressed, "It can be very difficult to tell hard wiring from installed wiring." But the difference doesn't matter in respecting someone's preference. Read on.


●  More in the Poly 101 department: From PsychCentral, Throuple, Quad, and Vee: All About Polyamorous Relationships (Nov. 23), with much about the definitions of words.


●  Speaking of words, poliamor is making news across the Spanish-speaking world this week for its entry into the Royal Spanish Academy's quasi-official Diccionario de la Lengua Española (Dictionary of the Spanish Language). It's defined there as a "relación erótica y estable entre varias personas con el consentimiento de todas ellas."

This parallels the news wave in 2006 when polyamory entered the Oxford English Dictionary, the closest thing that English has to a final authority. An article in Spain's El País: Bitcóin... poliamor, transgénero y quinoa, nuevas palabras en el diccionario de la RAE (Dec. 16).  An article in English: The new words of the RAE Dictionary: polyamory, transgender, quinoa, bitcoin. Interesting that of the 3,836 new terms that were introduced, poliamor is one of the few making the news. 


●  Of all the attempts to create the go-to polyamory-specific dating site since PolyMatchMaker launched in 2001, Feeld has come closest to capturing the market. Its founders and owners are, by all accounts, good-hearted believers in the concept, unlike some dating-industry businesses that spotted a trend, tried, and failed because they didn't get it.

So the business magazine Forbes takes a look at Feeld and its workplace culture: Ethical Non-Monogamy— Exploration Of All Types Of Relationships—Dating App Will Pay Employees An $80,000 Salary (Nov. 26)


By Jack Kelly

In a heartwarming wholesome holiday season story, Feeld—the world’s most progressive dating app with over 20 sexuality and gender options—will offer all its workers a baseline salary of $80,000.  

The platform is built for the sexually curious. The unique site champions ethical non-monogamy and the openness to explore non-mainstream types of relationships. You can seek out members of the site who are into threesomes, domination and submission, quirky kinks, polyamorous relationships, bi-curious, swingers and anything else you might be interested in. It's a smorgasbord for sexual exploration.

Feeld was founded in 2014 by a couple, who like other startup founders, sought to find a solution to a problem. Bulgarian-born software designer Dimo Trifonov, founder of Feeld and Ana Kirova, who is now the CEO of Feeld, had been in a relationship for a couple of years. Ana realized that she had feelings for another woman. She shared this with her partner, and he was understanding. 

This gave birth to the idea of creating a space in which people could be open to sharing their sexual interests and finding like-minded people. Feeld’s mission is to normalize a wide array of sexual desires. ...
  
Kirova’s action [in setting high baseline salaries] is a masterclass in showing appreciation and respect for her workers. It's also a smart recruitment and retention tool for this currently tight job market, characterized by a Great Resignation and all out war-for-talent.

Kirova initiated other important changes including forming a “leadership team of 60% female-identifying members, over 50% female-identifying newly hired engineers,” ... Her management style includes offering ‘transparency’ so that everyone knows what is going on at the company and feels like an integral part of the team. ...



●  Advice columnist Dear Prudence at Slate turns this one over to readers: Help! My Girlfriend and I Can’t Do Anything Together Without Our Partner Getting Jealous. (Nov. 26, paywalled)


I live with my longtime girlfriend, “April.” About a year ago we started seeing someone together, who I’ll call “Jamie.” We had many wonderful months as a triad, until last summer when Jamie had to move back in with their family in another city due to financial matters. We have been long-distance since then, with Jamie promising to move back to our town this summer.

A major problem right now is that Jamie is very jealous of seemingly everything April and I do together. They’re jealous if we get takeout, go on a hike, hang out with friends, or just spend the evening watching TV. While I fully understand their jealousy ... it feels like everything we tell Jamie upsets them, and if we don’t tell them what we’ve been up to, Jamie is still upset because we aren’t sharing about our day with them!

We talk to Jamie about it and are very sympathetic. ...



●  Marty Klein, sex therapist, researcher and author, may have done as much as anyone to advance sex positivity as a concept after Wilhelm Reich invented the term in the early-mid 20th century. Klein himself got going almost 50 years ago. I didn't know he was still practicing and preaching, until up popped this piece he just wrote: Mistakes When Pursuing Poly & Non-Monogamy (Nov. 20).


...Here are some of the fundamental mistakes my patients have recently made in choosing or implementing poly. While there’s nothing wrong with non-monogamy, each vignette provides a cautionary tale. ...

...In fact, an increasing number of my patients turn to non-monogamy as a way of fixing broken relationships. This is a strategy that almost never succeeds: “Our relationship doesn’t work? Let’s add more people!”

[Also common:]

Grandfathering in an affair...

Imposing [poly] on a partner...

Doing it without clarifying the rules...

Underestimating the maintenance that non-monogamy requires...



●  One small step for legal recognition. Remember the sad court case in New Zealand of a 15-year triad who broke up while owning a home and farm? A family-court judge threw up her hands and said she couldn't adjudicate property distribution among them because three wasn't a family relationship under the law.

An appeals court has overruled her, saying that just because they were three doesn't mean it wasn't indeed a family relationship, and the court ordered her to go back and adjudicate it as such. Family Court will hear case of farm owners who were in three-way relationship (Dec. 3).


● Lastly, researchers at Canada's Simon Fraser University have put out a call for interview subjects involved in consensual non-monogamy. They'll pay for your time:




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November 24, 2021

An alignment of polyamory and queer in recent media


A bunch of the polyamory in the media this week involved parallels between the poly world and LGBTQIA+ queerdom.

Polyfolks as such don't qualify as queer in my own opinion (others disagree), first because so many are sexually and romantically straight. And secondly, while most LGBT+ people feel born this way, quite a few polyfolks feel the relationship style was their choice after they realized it was possible (see big discussion happening on reddit). So if you want to get word-ish, call our relationships "weird," not "queer." 

But there sure is a lot of overlap! And not just because self-identified bisexuals are many times more abundant in the poly world than in the general population. We face similar sex-negative stigma and discrimination as queer folx; we are always weighing and discussing whether to be closeted, out-and-proud, or sort of out here and there; and in similar ways we seek to find each other, create community, and declare and defend ourselves to the world.   

So it's only natural that the weekly magazine OutFront ("The queer stories you want. The media you trust.") would publish this manifesto: The Polyamorous Community and the Fight for Acceptance (Nov. 16).

It's only four paragraphs long and dwells on legalizing group marriage (something that, according to surveys, much of the poly world supports in principle but not very many want for themselves).

Here's much of it:



  
By Vienna Austin

...When the historical and current oppression of the LGBTQ community is discussed, one specific group’s oppression, one that exists very prevalently in the broader queer community today, is often left out. This group is the polyamorous community.

Despite significant progress for the queer community, the marriage of polyamorous relationships, polygamy, is criminalized in much of the world, including the United States. Polyamorous people, a community defined by their compatibility with a mode of romantic and sexual relationship organization that includes more than two individuals, can face anywhere from a felony charge to a misdemeanor charge for marriage, depending on the state.

...Though acceptance is growing of this community, it is still extremely low. According to Gallup polls, the percentage of Americans who see polygamy as morally acceptable went from 7 percent in 2003 to 20 percent in 2020. This is drastically lower than the 72 percent who believe that homosexuality should be socially accepted, according to the Pew Research Center. ...

...With queer issues being increasingly prevalent in the public consciousness, it is time for our societies to acknowledge and to fight the oppression of the polyamorous community.




● If you're going to be out and proud on social media you may get some shit, but social is full of the out and proud anyway. This FFM triad posts videos about their life as @3. Mountains. They have 240,000 followers on TikTok alone. Daily Motion just published a 6-minute vid of theirs: We Got Hate Mail for Being Poly / Love Don't Judge (Nov. 15). The video comes from last year when they got themselves featured in the British tabloids.

From the Daily Motion story that goes with it:

 


A POLYAMOROUS THROUPLE have spoken of the backlash they've received for their relationship -- including anonymous hate letters sent to their places of work.

Maggie, 27, and Cody, 31, first met on Tinder in 2016 and got together almost immediately. Realising they were both interested in polyamory, they downloaded a dating app for non-monogamous people, hoping to find someone to have a fling with. Meanwhile, Janie, 26, had recently discovered she was bisexual and downloaded the same app in search of some fun. She soon matched with Cody and Maggie -- and the rest is history. She joked: "We were supposed to just have a casual threesome -- but then I never left."


So who sent hate mail to their employers? An offended Christian? Nope. It was a fellow queer person apparently; they denounced one of the women as not being truly queer. We've seen the three laughing about this before (see bottom of the link). So, do we really live in a world now where being insufficiently queer is supposed to get you in trouble with your boss?


●  Are asexuals queer? Whatever your answer to that, aces, like mainstream queers, often find a safe, comfortable home in polyland. In the polyamory subculture, where sex is at least theoretically an abundant rather than a scarce resource, there's less pressure on an ace person to make an intimate relationship sexual. In this way the deep platonic romance is finding, in polyland, a niche of cultural space that it hasn't had for a century. As a friend of mine in a long-term triad says, "Some people get into polyamory to have more sex. Some people get into polyamory to have less sex." Including less pressure for sex in a serious soul- and life-connection.

Canada's gay magazine Xtra just featured a horny young letter writer who hadn't thought to ask their ace love interest about the poly possibility: Should I start dating someone who is asexual even though I want to lose my virginity? (Nov. 16). Columnist Kai Cheng Thom points out,


You mention in your letter, Frustrated, that you’re not all that comfortable with the idea of an open relationship [with the ace person who could be fine with one]. You might want to consider: Why not? ...You definitely don’t have to be in an open or polyamorous relationship if it’s not right for you. But it may be helpful to consider all the options fully before dismissing them off hand. ...



●  Are Monogamous Relationships Dying Out in Favor of a New Way to Date?  So asks a headline writer at AskMen magazine ("become a better man"). The answer is no, BTW — but the headline introduces a long, pretty good Poly/CNM 101 in which we get this:


...At the same time, non-monogamy works sort of like queerness — that flexibility means it’s possible to feel at home engaging in one version of the practice that works best for you rather than trying to be in lockstep with everyone else. Also like queerness, ethical non-monogamy has spawned a host of terms describing these specific forms. ...


Again: I predict that 20 years from now when polyamory is thoroughly known, largely unstigmatized, and available in people's social circles nearly everywhere, monogamy will still be the commonest relationship style at the 80%-plus level. Just because it is the structurally simplest.1 I'll bet you a beer on that, payable in 2041.2 


●  In the polyamory world as in queerdom, it's common to remain on friendly terms with your exes, though sometimes, of course, that's impossible or just wrong; an abuser should be cut out of your life. But the poly ethic that exes can be genuine lifelong friends has been gaining more foothold in mainstream society, as in this Atlantic interview: What It’s Like to Truly Be Friends With Your Ex (online Nov. 12). It's from an Atlantic series called "The Friendship Files," in which close friends are interviewed together.

In this case it's three friends: Julie, Matt, and Read. The story proceeds far along through normalcy, then takes a turn. 



Wenjia Tang
















“We can’t always neatly break things into ‘friends’ or ‘more than friends.’ There’s different kinds of love.”

...Julie: When we moved to Charlotte we got into contra dancing. Matt introduced me to it. The Charlotte contra-dance community was the best. I define community around them. Everyone takes care of each other, when you’re not asked to. Even after moving back to Denver again later, they still feel like family.

Our first polyamorous relationship came from contra dancing, but ultimately she got accepted to a college out of state, and she moved away. We were grateful, because we could feel that it needed to end, but we were able to all stay friends.

Matt: In 2013, we moved from Charlotte back to Denver [again]. We ended up buying a house, which is where Julie is interviewing from right now. Then things got really hard.

Julie: We tried to get into contra dancing in Denver, met another woman through that, and tried a second polyamorous relationship. That lasted through our breakup, and she was really great in supporting both of us.

Read: Multiple lovers, without jealousy.

Julie: [The second woman] was okay with getting into the more romantic side of the relationship. That was the first time I really was able to explore my feelings about women. That, and the need to explore spirituality in a way that Matt didn’t, were probably the two biggest reasons that I needed to leave the relationship. It took me six months to figure my thoughts out, and Matt was the most patient, wonderful partner throughout that.

He was asking a lot, “What can I do better? What have I done?” It sounds so cliché, but, really, it’s not you. It’s me. I need to figure myself out.

Matt: Which is fair. We had been together for 12 years and married for nine. Initially, it was really hard. I remember very distinctly that when Julie felt comfortable enough to open up and to ask for what she wanted, she sat down in the backyard and was sobbing.

[Interviewer]: Was the divorce process contentious or fairly amicable?

Julie: It was very amicable. It was kind of funny. When I went to the court to do the divorce, they expected me to have a lawyer and go through other people to send Matt the document. I was like “No, he’ll sign it, it’s not going to be a problem.”

[Interviewer]: So you didn’t use lawyers?

Julie: No.

Read: The DIY divorce.

Julie: In polyamory, there’s a term, compersion, that pretty much means unconditional love. If you want to be with somebody else and that makes you happy, then that makes me happy. "Allowing" is a funny word, but him allowing me to leave because he wanted me to be happy, and that would make him happy, even though being together would be better in his mind, is compersion. It’s a perfect example.

...[Interviewer]: It sounds like your post-marriage friendship has just recently started to blossom. How has it felt getting back into a deeper friendship recently?

Julie: I am extremely grateful for my wife, who is absolutely not the jealous type. Each of us has experience in polyamory and open relationships, so we don’t have to explain ourselves to each other. She is so okay with me being friends with Matt.

Julie and Matt at their wedding

Matt: I invited Julie and Mythica to come to my birthday party this year. One of my friends afterward was talking to me, and I was like, “You got to meet my ex-wife, Julie, right?” They were like, “Oh, yeah, Julie was so proud that she knew all these things about you.” We were together for 12 years—of course we know each other so deeply.

Julie: I didn’t even realize the extent of our spiritual connection until he moved back to Denver and I could feel his distress. I was texting with him every morning as we were both getting ready for work.

Matt: We still text each other “three things that you’re grateful for today.”

...There are a lot of different flavors of friendship. We can’t always neatly break things into “friends” or “more than friends.” There’s different kinds of love, and there’s different kinds of relationships that you can have with people.

If Julie needed anything, I would do everything I could to make that happen. Even when we were going through the divorce, it was like, What can I do to make this easier? I would say that Julie and I are more than friends. At this point, I categorize Julie as my sister. It’s deeper than friendship, but it’s not romantic, and it’s certainly not sexual.

Julie: My wife and I have this phrase: “Earth words suck.” There just sometimes aren’t the right words to describe the many different kinds of friendship out there.


Those are excerpts. Read the whole thing.

-------------------------------------


Elsewhere in the last few days:

● In up to 200 newspapers, advice columnist Amy Dickinson — once a dismissive poly skeptic, in recent years more receptive to what we've been telling her — fields a direct poly-mono question and gives a direct answer. Sadly, I have to agree with her. Relationship’s in trouble if values don’t align (week of Nov. 17)


Dear Amy: My boyfriend and I have been together for a year and a half, and for the most part it has been amazing!

This is the best relationship I’ve ever had.

We’re very much in love. We have talked about marriage and one day starting our own family (he has three children, I have none).

The problem is that recently, my perspective regarding things I’ve believed all of my life has shifted. ... I no longer feel that monogamy is right for me.

...I revealed my feelings to my boyfriend during the summer and suggested an open relationship. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.... I told him I didn’t see any other way our relationship could work. It all seemed fine until he learned that I had actually slept with someone else (actually, multiple people).

It is obvious that he is hurt, even though I’ve tried to explain to him how my sexual desires for other people don’t reflect my love for him.

He says he’s fine with my choice, but he is visibly upset.

It hurts me to see him hurt, which is not fun.

I’ve started counseling and I’m trying to be patient to see if he can really do this, but is it right to keep this going, knowing that I have no intention on being monogamous, and knowing how much that hurts him?

– Open and Lost in the South

Dear Open: Let’s assume that your take on this is correct, in that your polyamorous lifestyle is devastating to your boyfriend.

Loving relationships are supposed to exist along a basically balanced axis. Partners don’t always get what they want when they want it, but ideally, they will share core values. A core value is a behavior or belief that you place at the center of your life.

Monogamy is a core value.

Polyamory is, too.

These two values are in direct conflict.

Is it fair for you to continue in a relationship where your choices hurt and diminish someone who loves you? Are you being loving and kind toward your partner?

The answer is: no.


But I point out that as always with humans, exceptions happen. Occasionally the mono person in a poly-mono couple becomes fine with it. You do meet contented poly-mono couples like this from time to time. And sometimes the poly person simply makes a choice to forego other people, for life. Possibly they even stick to that, though it sounds like the letter writer tried and failed.

  
●  Finally, a snippet in the Guardian that indicates how widely we are now assumed to be known: Why we should resist the urge to reinvent ourselves after so long in lockdown (Nov. 12)


We want to slip the net and open a cheese shop, or join a polyamorous collective, or throw all our money at bitcoin – but should we?

Making big decisions in the wake of trauma is not always a mistake … but in many cases it is. ...



------------------------------------------

1.   Even in poly-rich areas, you find more vees than full triads, more triads than quads, more quads than quints, and polyfamilies of six haven't even earned a special name yet. The pattern is clear: The more complex the structure, the less often it "occurs in nature." Extrapolate this trend the other way, and the couple of two will remain the most common structure of all even in a totally poly-friendly world.

The exception to this rule is the extended poly network. Network poly seems to be the commonest form today, at least in densely populated areas like mine. A large network can absorb and damp out perturbations among its links, to continue on through internal breakups, re-formations, new additions, and dropouts. A poly network is an intimate community. But within a network you almost always see, again, tighter sub-units forming: primary-ish couples, triads and quads, in that same decreasing order of abundance.

2.  Unless by 2041 we're climate refugees in a homeless camp, or fascism refugees in Norway — where, BTW, they've already asked for fleeing Americans to please come settle, especially if you've got a thing for the shipping and fishing industries. Apparently native Norwegians know enough about those to avoid them. Norway and its neighbors did recently make news as the best countries in the world in which to raise a child.

 
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