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

February 23, 2021

Action call: Did you grow up in a polyam family? Ask Amy wants to hear your experience.

Two weeks ago in newspapers all over, the advice columnist Ask Amy (Amy Dickinson) advised an aghast mom to accept her adult son's polycule into the family, as he requested.

Amy used to be actively hostile and dismissive toward polyamory and people who defend it. In recent years she has moderated though remains somewhat skeptical.

At the bottom of her column now out she writes,

I don’t believe that polyamory is the gateway to happiness, but that same caution would also apply to many conventional marriages.

I’d love to hear from people who grew up in polyamorous households.

...Email to askamy@amydickinson.com , or by mail to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

If that's you, please tell her how your family worked out for you; she seems to be still forming her opinions. She will surely hear from many children of ordinary cheaters and secret affair-havers who are not us. If you grew up in an openly polyamorous family with good values, she needs to hear your voice.

A couple of sentences will get your message across, but I'm sure any length will be welcome. The address is above.

Forward this to anyone you know for whom it is relevant. 

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February 18, 2021

Exciting poly-rights law project coming, seeks your stories for media push

This announcement and call for volunteers comes from alternative-family activist and attorney Diana Adams of the Chosen Family Law Center.

Poly in Public: A Media Training for
People with Stories of Discrimination

Founded by Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic and the Chosen Family Law Center, the Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition is made up of long-time advocates for the rights of polyamorous communities who are supporting the passage of laws in various states to recognize polyamorous families.

We are seeking polyamorous people to speak to news and media publications about their personal experiences to fight for change. 

Particularly, we are looking for people who can share stories about:

·  Health insurance coverage & health care access- inability to cover more than one partner 
·  Housing discrimination 
·  Hospital visitation issues with more than one partner 
·  Employment discrimination 
·  Child custody challenges 
·  Any other challenges with lack of recognition of more than one partnership

Join us for a free workshop Friday February 26th from 12:00 - 1:30 pm EST, where you can learn more about our work and have help thinking through how and if you want to share your story. It's most helpful to hear stories from people who would be comfortable sharing their names and faces if possible, but we are also open to hearing from those who wish to remain anonymous. Here's a helpful article by Executive Director of Chosen Family Law Center Diana Adams on how to decide whether it's safe for you to come out publicly as poly.

If have a story to share and/or want to RSVP to learn more, please email contact@chosenfamilylawcenter.org with 'Poly Media' in the subject line. 

Diana Adams, Esq., Executive Director
Chosen Family Law Center, Inc.

This is going to be a big deal. Expect to hear a lot more about it in months to come.

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February 13, 2021

The QAnon Member of Congress and the "polyamorous tantric sex guru"

Newly elected Congresswomen Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) and her husband Perry Greene

See new updates at end.

Hot on the web today are headlines about the newly elected Republican QAnon congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, she of the Jewish space lasers setting California wildfires, hitting us in the eye with this: "Greene 'openly cheated' on her husband of 25 years with a polyamorous tantric sex guru".

Once again not the representation for poly we might have wanted, but there it is. The story broke in the scandal-sheet Daily Mail and is now delighting much of the internet.

The stuff happened about a decade ago after the family-values militant had become a baptized evangelical, but before QAnon, Trump, and maybe the rest of her current politics. The gym hunks in the story declined to comment but did not deny it.

Gotta like the attitude of the self-identified poly guy, though! This picture of Craig Ivey is making the rounds:

Maybe second thoughts about the representation after all?    

...Then after ending her affair with him, the mom-of-three moved on to a gym manager behind her husband's back.

...Craig Ivey, the tantric sex practitioner, said: 'I will not respond to anything about this,' while the other man, Justin Tway, said: 'I have no interest in talking about anything to do with that woman. Everything with her comes to no good.'

...On Instagram, Ivey calls himself The Tantric Warrior, describing himself as 'Living a warrior lifestyle while finding tantric love'. He also participates in reenactments of medieval battles and teaches sword fighting. 

Since his affair with Taylor Greene, Ivey, 42, has moved to Washington State. ... He has now set up a gladiator bootcamp called The Ludus.

...Ivey is currently living in a trailer in Renton, Washington, but along with a girlfriend and another couple, he has bought a house in Buckley, an hour south of Seattle, which he says he wants to turn into a polyamorous commune.  


Updates: From Uproxx, Feb. 17:

Due to his newfound notoriety, [Ivey] has started an OnlyFans page, and he’s actually calling himself “The Polyamorous Tantric Sex Guru” while claiming to live a life filled with “adventure, magic, nature, dance, armored combat, creativity, sensuality, experiences, seeking knowledge, movement, gleaning wisdom, teaching, stoicism, fun, playfulness, and most importantly love for all creatures and human beings.”

..The Daily Mail reveals from Ivey’s various social media posts that he remembers Greene as “a kind spirit that wanted to help people through building community and reaching health goals.” The two never discussed politics, though, and he’s now sad at what he’s seeing from her.

“It does sadden me to see the type of person she has chosen to become,” Ivey relayed. “I feel like I knew her at her best and unfortunately she has drifted far from that life. I still wish her the best.”

From Meaww, Feb. 17:

He has shared, “Am I a Tantric Sex guru? Fuck no. I found Tantra about 4 years ago. My beautiful and Amazing friend invited me to do a 4 day Tantra Festival in Oregon.” He continues, “Tantra is one of those things that forces you to face a level of intimacy that is hard to imagine, especially with yourself, Tantra is mostly known for its sexual sie but that is just a small piece. It teaches you to be truthful with yourself and not be afraid of being your best human.”

He also identifies himself as “poly”. Ivey noted, “After years of serial  monogamy, I realized that it wasn’t working for me and I started looking at other ways to being in relationships. Poly fit.”

See his full statement about his discovery of polyamory, learning how to do it well for all concerned, his regret of where Taylor Greene's head has gone, and where he's at today. Two panels from it:

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February 11, 2021

Polyamory and CNM are centered in two four new films, one now on TV

At the 2021 Sundance film festival, which took place online two weeks ago, at least two new independent movies premiered that revolve around polyam and open relationships.

One of them, There Is No "I" in Threesome, first airs tonight on HBO Max. Sadly, early reports sound like it's nothing to get excited about.

This is a 1½ hour documentary about an engaged couple who temporarily opened their relationship, apparently for a poor reason, and then found themselves in too deep. From what I've read their emotional intelligence seems cringingly below par.

Note: The guy in the couple is a film director and his fiancée is an actress. They self-documented their entire "monogam-ish" project from the start and sold it to HBO. Not the best motivation for opening one's relationship, IMO, and not exactly respectful of whatever other parties might get involved with them.

Except that the main other party who showed up was also a director by trade, so maybe they were all in on it from the start.

In today's New York Times: 

A director and his fiancée chronicle their yearlong open relationship in this documentary that offers a clever examination of perspective.

By Natalia Winkelman

...The director Jan Oliver Lucks, who goes by Ollie, and his fiancée Zoe are taking the plunge into an open relationship. Living on opposite sides of New Zealand, the long-distance duo are free to date and sleep with other people for a year leading up to their wedding. Using iPhones, they will each record the experience: Ollie hopes the documentary will make them poster children for an enriching alternative to monogamy.

Ollie and Zoe prove a sweet match, but as they coo and cuddle, they can be difficult to root for. Both are attention-seeking and excessively admiring of their project, and the home video of their hangouts tends toward indulgence. They may aim to present polyamory as tenable and fulfilling, but it comes off more as a risky experiment — particularly once Zoe’s fling with a theater director named Tom develops into a serious romance that strains her bond with Ollie.

But as our central couple’s connection falters, the documentary evolves into an astute examination of perspective. ... As the film’s director and narrator, Ollie controls the story, and he uses this role to showcase his jealousy and his hurt. His cleverness culminates in the documentary’s startling final act, where Ollie shows how the artifice of filmmaking can mirror the lies we tell ourselves about love.

Two-minute trailer:

Says a reviewer in The Daily Beast who's hostile to the whole idea: They Decided to Have Sex With Other People. Disaster Ensued. (Jan. 31):

By Nick Schager

...Through intimate home movie footage of their life together and apart, all of it shot on iPhones for maximum confessional intimacy, it details the ups and downs of their attempt to remain true to one another while also allowing space in their bed for others. ... Yet by its conclusion, what it ultimately turns out to be is something knottier, and more intriguing: a warts-and-all portrait of personal and creative arrogance and narcissism, and the damage invariably wrought by such qualities.

[It] begins with Ollie and Zoe at the top of a towering indoor high dive, where they disrobe, strap on GoPros, and prepare to leap. As this sight suggests, their film is a venture of total exposure, just as their impending jump to the pool below is meant to speak to their joint leap into a polyamorous unknown. That Zoe doesn’t join Ollie in taking that plunge, then, proves an immediate tip-off to the trouble ahead. ...

A writer for MSN Entertainment has a more sympathetic take: Engaged Couple Gets Experimental in Clever Documentary (Jan. 31)

By Elizabeth Weitzman

...The likeably awkward Ollie feels that he missed out sexually during his 20s, and he sees the next 12 months as his last chance to explore before committing to one person forever. Zoe, a beguiling extrovert, is game. So they establish a "monogam-ish manifesto" and set out to "make the most of our bodies while they're still stretchy."

[However,] Ollie and Zoe eventually discover what his mother could have told them from the start: The path they've planned is more complex than they expected.

"Being polyamorous means choosing to reject monotony," Ollie explains to the audience. "That means we have to negotiate jealousy instead. Which is just an emotion you can train yourself to overcome. Right?"

Actually, he's not entirely wrong. There is jealousy, and it is overcome. ... But much to both Ollie and Zoe's surprise, love proves more cumbersome than envy. Even as Ollie works hard to keep boundaries around his relationship with Siobhan, Zoe finds herself drawn more and more deeply to Tom, another director.

And it is here that we have to note... the couple we're so invested in is, indeed, keeping secrets. And not from each other, but from us, the audience. ... When it turns out that we're being misled in a very significant way, some viewers may feel genuinely betrayed.

UPDATE:  On Cosmopolitan's site, Gabrielle Smith does a thorough takedown of so many things wrong with this film: 9 Reasons HBO Max's New Documentary "There's No 'I' in Threesome" Made Me Want to Literally Scream (Feb. 15). Pass that on. Link to it in comments you post about the film or in others' comments you see. 

SPOILER: (Last chance to cover your eyes.) That ending that may leave viewers feeling "genuinely betrayed" is an admission that this "documentary" is fake. The woman is not Zoe but an actress hired later to play her. The real Zoe broke up with him along the way and took her half of the footage with her. Story in The Guardian.  


Also premiering at Sundance was a not-cringy-sounding film that might be a better watch: Ma Belle, My Beauty"A surprise reunion in the South of France reignites passions and jealousies between two women who were formerly polyamorous lovers."

 In Seattle's alt-weekly The Stranger, Ma Belle, My Beauty Is the Queer, Poly Escape We Needed  (Jan. 31)

By Jasmyne Keimig

First-time writer-director Marion Hill's sun-dappled feature Ma Belle, My Beauty is a fun and engaging study of queer relationships, polyamory, and how fucking SICK slurping wine in the French countryside can look.

The film opens with Fred and Bertie (Lucien Guignard and Idella Johnson), two recently married musicians who live in Fred's parents' beautiful farmhouse in the south of France. A depressed Bertie feels like a stranger in a strange land, hardly finding the will to sing despite her upcoming tour. In an attempt to raise her spirits, Fred invites their ex-lover from their life in New Orleans, Lane (Hannah Pepper-Cunningham), to the property as a surprise. Sensuous parties, heartbreak revisited, strained silences, soaring music, and really hot sex ensue.

[Director] Hill does well because Ma Belle, My Beauty does not attempt to be the tentpole film for queer, polyamorous storylines. While fundamental to the plot, the film treats their threeway relationship as means to explore the threads that bind the characters together rather than a starter guide for the poly-curious monogamous crowd. It deftly explores jealousy, but never between Bertie, Lane, and Fred, who all have an easiness and respect for each other that feels refreshing. ...

In Hollywood Reporter: 'Ma Belle, My Beauty': Film Review (Feb. 8)

By Boyd van Hoeij

...Stories about three-way relationships... often lure viewers into their web with the promise of liberating or kinky goings-on before things fall apart and a much more conventional sense of morality rears its ugly head.

It is thus refreshing to see a film... which tries to grapple with the realities of a polyamorous relationship without selling the threesome’s arrangement as something beguilingly unconventional that’s only fun to watch when other people do it. It’s a shame then, that easy access to the material’s profound emotional authenticity is sometimes hampered by writer-director-editor Marion Hill’s storytelling inexperience. ...

[Bertie is] an increasingly isolated African-American woman adrift amid gorgeous foreign surroundings. Then fellow New Orleans gal Lane (Hannah Pepper) suddenly shows up out of nowhere with her rucksack and a smile. It takes a while to work out that Fred has asked the woman Bertie had a relationship with at the same time as Fred did when they all lived in the States to come and visit them to ... help chase away Bertie’s blues. ...Hill, credited not only as the sole screenwriter but also as her own editor, often seems too close to the material to facilitate audience understanding. ...

...The actors have an easy energy with one another that honors their character’s complicated past and the details of their relationships are revealed with a nice subtlety. The movie works best when the film’s central women are playing power games with one another — each trying to win the desire of the other while pretending they couldn’t care less. All the while Fred is just sort of floating around totally confused with what his wife wants or how they can proceed with their life. Again, this is not about him. Even if they are in his parents’ house.

...Noa’s arrival does shake up Lane and Bertie’s relationship adding a fourth to the already complicated three. It’s here the film shows the endless possibilities of a cinema truly open to polyamory. Love triangles — love quadrangles — are so much more delicious when multiple people can be involved. Yes, we need more bisexual and polyamorous representation for political reasons, but we also need it for better stories!

This is very clearly a movie made by a queer person. That’s evident in the relationship dynamics and the costuming, the casting and the gaze. Look, when a character takes a strap-on out of her backpack in the middle of a sex scene you know you’re in good hands. It’s that authenticity that elevates the film.

Authentic stories about polyamorous relationships are still all too rare, especially ones that prioritize the experiences of queer women and non-binary people, especially ones with a queer Black woman protagonist. So while the film is not without its flaws and missteps, it’s hard not to be grateful to enter its world of sex and feelings and food and nature. ... And it looks way more fun in the south of France!

from Variety Feb. 18:

Good Deed Entertainment has nabbed North American rights to “Ma Belle, My Beauty,” a queer polyamorous love story....

The film ... won the Audience Award in the NEXT category at the festival. It will next screen at the South by Southwest Film Festival in the “Festival Favorites” section.

...“Our entire team has fallen for this film, its characters, and its grounded, refreshing portrait of relationships and romance,” Good Deed Entertainment CEO Scott Donley said. “We are honored to help bring Marion’s film to audiences this year.” 


UPDATE LATER: And here's a third film in this new genre also reviewed briefly in today's  New York Times:

 ‘Show Me What You Got’ Review: Modern Love in Black and White. (Feb. 11). The movie has been circulating in indie backwaters for more than a year; its official opening night is tomorrow, February 12.

The film follows three wayward souls who meet and enter a polyamorous relationship in Los Angeles.

By Lovia Gyarkye

“Show Me What You Got” revels in the erotic: fiery kisses, entangled limbs, endless caressing. But the film, which follows three wayward souls in Los Angeles who meet and enter a polyamorous relationship, struggles when it comes to making viewers care about more than just sex.

After attending a string of terrible business meetings on behalf of his father, an Italian soap opera star, Marcello (Mattia Minasi) meets Nassim (Neyssan Falahi), a struggling actor and semiprofessional fighter, on the beach. ... Two become three when the pair meet Christine (Cristina Rambaldi), an artist grieving her grandfather, at the coffee shop where she works. The three eventually fall in love, and Svetlana Cvetko, the director and cinematographer, renders their courtship beautifully. They meditate on their fears at Christine’s art show, laugh at the beach and talk dreams over eggs and toast.

Billed as an ode to Francois Truffaut’s “Jules and Jim,” “Show Me What You Got” embraces the experimentalism of the French New Wave, but leaves much to be desired when it comes to exploring the inner lives of Marcello, Nassim and Christine. The three millennials remain sketches, as if the fact that they are in a throuple relieves the screenplay of character development. Attempts to weave their stories together, either explicitly through the narrator’s exposition or more subtly through the cinematography, don’t always work. As a result, while aspects of the characters’ relationship are gorgeously captured, the moments that test their bond feel forced.

Not rated. In English, Italian and French, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes. Watch through virtual cinemas.

It also got a review in the Los Angeles Times (Feb. 12): A polyamorous relationship is laid bare in 'Show Me What You Got'.

...But the film’s higher aims never take hold. The breeziness feels at odds with implied gravitas. An omniscient narrator tells us what each character is feeling, negating any subtext. What’s presented as a pure form of love too often feels like handsome strangers taking an erotic tumble in a fragrance ad. Cvetko’s black-and-white photography, though gorgeous, reinforces that sense through a boilerplate view of L.A. — Hollywood, beach, downtown, desert. ...




Diana Adams posts,

Trust me, watch Lust Life Love[when/where available; add it to your imdb watchlist --Ed.]. 

It's a romantic drama about a bisexual polyamorous woman falling in love with a monogamous man, set in 2010s NY polyamory scene. It skillfully explains a lot of polyamory concepts (like compersion, and what negotiating agreements looks like), while giving one of the best portrayals of the joys and pains of polyamory I've ever seen. It doesn't try to advocate that its painless or that its ill-fated -- it just shares a realistic depiction of a challenging romance.

It was also totally surreal for me to watch this and be surprised to see a scene at the party I co-hosted and co-founded in 2007,  the original Poly Cocktails at Madame X; 14 years ago to the day of our first Poly Cocktails on Vday 2007 in NYC.  I watched this alone in a pandemic in Germany and it felt like I was watching a history of a magical time in history that I was part of and is now passed. Sigh. I miss you all so much. Made me so nostalgic.



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February 9, 2021

In newspapers all over, Ask Amy advises aghast mom to accept the family polycule

I haven't posted much lately because I've been deep in a huge book-editing job that's past deadline. But two recent items:


●  Be heard on DC's poly rights initiative.  Last week I posted about Chris Smith and Ben Schenker's legislation proposed to the Washington, DC, City Council to expand domestic partnership and anti-discrimination laws to include multi-partnered relationships. Their proposal is called the Right to Family Amendment Act of 2021.

Chris posts the positive reply he received from an office of the DC city government — inviting anyone with something to say about this to submit testimony, in person or in writing, at a committee hearing to take place on March 5:

Today I received this from the DC Government:

“Thanks to you and Benjamin for this thoughtful proposal. I am a new staffer for the Committee on Government Operations and Facilities, which Councilmember White chairs and which assumed responsibility for overseeing the Office of Human Rights earlier this year. ... We will review the issues you raised below with the Councilmember as we consider ways to strengthen the DCHRA. 

“In the meantime, the Council’s annual Performance Oversight cycle is underway, and the Committee will hold a hearing with representatives of agencies including OHR on Friday, March 5.  If you are interested in raising awareness of these issues at that hearing, please find participation instructions for the Committee on page 10 of the attached notice.”...

Read Chris's whole postincluding how to submit written material, testify live, and view the hearing. He says, "If you are a clinician, lawyer, or academic that specializes in relationship structure and/or a DC resident, please submit a testimony, sign up to testify live and/or post on social media, and encourage others to watch, submit and testify.

"Spread the word, flood social and regular media and let’s change the world."

Also, Heath Schechinger comments, 

DC is not alone. Organizers in other cities across the US are preparing to do this same. Somerville [Mass.] already passed a multi-partner domestic partnership ordinance, Cambridge is next. CNM anti-discrimination is gaining momentum.

●  "Ask Amy" is treating us better.  Amy Dickinson, one of America's most-read newspaper advice columnists, had a burr under her saddle against polyamory and open relationships for many years. She has tangled with many of you who've written asking her to take polyamorous relationships seriously, and she once snipped at my "little newsletter," meaning this blog (yay recognition!). In more recent times, though, she's finally been getting the message that poly people are for real.

In newspapers today across the country, Amy fields a letter from an elderly parent who's aghast at her son and daughter-in-law coming out to her about being poly and asking that their other partners be accepted by the family: Ask Amy: Polyamory creates an extra family challenge (Feb. 9).

Amy turns over almost her whole reply to the capable hands of Elisabeth Sheff:

Dear Amy: My son and his wife have been married for almost 10 years. Recently, his wife explained to me that they are polyamorous. I did not really know what this was. She explained it and said that she wants to be honest with everyone.

I was in total shock. ... I love them both. I want them to be happy. They were married in her church, and I do not understand this.

I want to be a part of their lives, but I do not know that I can cope with them bringing other intimate partners to our family gatherings, which is one of the things she says she would like to do.

I don't know anyone who has experienced this. How can I keep my relationship with my son? My daughter-in-law wants open and honest acceptance. She says they have the right to live their lives the way they want to. But do I have any rights to what I am feeling about all of this?

I am in shock and trying to process this. ...

— Confused Mom

Amy Dickinson
Confused Mom: A polyamorous relationship is one that has more than two partners, where, for instance, a couple will bring another adult into their intimate life as a partner.

I shared your question with sociologist Elisabeth Sheff, author of “When Someone You Love is Polyamorous” (2016, Thorntree Press). Sheff and I agree that you deserve lots of credit for your kindness to your son and willingness to accept his family.

Her response: “This is a great first reaction if you want to maintain positive relationships with sex and gender minority family members. Acceptance doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and I suggest that you all take smaller steps of getting to know each other at first. For instance, instead of meeting for the first time at Grandma’s 90th birthday or Passover dinner, meet the son, daughter-in-law and their partners on Zoom for a chat, in the park for a walk, on the porch for cup of coffee, or eventually a restaurant for a regular dinner a couple of times. This allows you to establish a connection, chat with less pressure and talk about boundaries before plunging into a big family gathering, which is already kind of stressful, even if it is fun.

“At the same time, educate yourself on consensual nonmonogamy by reading and asking your son and his wife questions about their lives. There are hundreds of websites and social media pages devoted to polyamory and even more for other forms of CNM (consensual nonmonogamy).

“Finally, give yourself some credit for trying to understand, as well as some patience if it takes you, and them, a little while to adjust to this new family style.”


BTW, about that book When Someone You Love Is Polyamorous. Sheff wrote it for parents and other birth family members of newly out polyfolks, just like PFLAG has literature for the families of people who've come out as L, G, B, or T.  It's small (41 pages), cheap ($6.99), and highly recommended.  

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February 3, 2021

Psychologists upgrade national consensual non-monogamy task force. And a push starts for polyfamily rights in DC.

Two events are in the news today for the growing recognition of polyamory and other forms of consensual non-monogamy. 

●  After two years, the American Psychological Association, the heavyweight professional organization of the nation's clinical and research psychologists, has upgraded its preliminary Task Force on Consensual Non-Monogamy (CNM) to become a permanent committee within its Division 44, Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity. The committee's co-chairs Heath Schechinger and Amy Moors write,

With this historic vote, CNM now has perpetual representation and voting rights within Division 44, which is part of the largest national association for psychological research and practice. This puts in place an infrastructure within the American Psychological Association (APA) to provide research, education, and resources about CNM to psychologists and the public. Becoming a Committee reflects the steps previously made by Division 44 to be inclusive of the lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities and signals the direction CNM is heading. Moreover, Committee status highlights the broader societal acceptance and integration of CNM into LGBTQ spaces both academic and community that we are witnessing across the globe. The reverberations of this decision will echo for years to come as it is the first time a national scientific association has committed to formally recognize and support consensual multi-partner families and relationships.

In case you don't think this is a big deal, take a look at what they're doing:

Over the past three years our team has been busy working on our 12 Strategic Initiatives. A few of our highlights include writing white papers that led Psychology Today and APA Psychologist Locator to add search terms for CNM and kink on their therapist directories. We also drafted a new guideline addressing CNM within the APA's guidelines for psychological practice with LGB clients. Our team partnered with Archives for Sexual Behavior to create a Special Issues dedicated exclusively to CNM scholarship that generated nearly 70 proposals. Our team also created an open-access resource hub to summarize and index CNM research. We have four resources that are in the final stages of approval including brochures for mental and medical health professionals, a fact sheet on CNM, and suggestions inclusively assessing relationship diversity on demographic forms. Stay tuned for more on this soon.

Take a look at those 12 Strategic Initiatives in particular. 

Here's the full statement with more information.

●  Meanwhile, longtime Black polyam activist Chris Smith puts out this notice:

Ben Schenker and I have submitted legislation to the council of the District of Columbia petitioning for the expansion of domestic partnership and anti-discrimination laws to include multi-partnered relationships. The legislation is called the Right to Family Amendment Act of 2021.

(1) If you live in the District of Columbia please write emails to your councilmember supporting this initiative; write emails, editorials and articles to the Washington Post and other media outlets, and of course, blow the internet and social media up.
(2) If you live outside the District and want to support, shout this out in the media, social media, and everywhere.

(3) If you are an academic, clinical, and/or legal professional who has experience with consensual non-monogamy/multi-partner research, law, and/or clinical work, please send affidavits of support to the DC councilmembers.

The justice we seek is the justice deserved. Thank you for the support. Let us change the world one day at a time.

Here is their proposal to the DC Council as images of its pages: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5Or download it as a single PDF file (from the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association's announcement of Chris and Ben's call).  

This act would be much more comprehensive and complete than the famous domestic-partnership expansion in Somerville, Massachusetts, last summer and the similar ordinance that's still pending in adjoining Cambridge, Mass.


Update next day: Chris posts the positive reply he quickly got from an office of the DC city government. It invites anyone with something to say about this to submit testimony, in person or in writing, at a committee hearing on March 5:

Today I received this from the DC Government:

“Thanks to you and Benjamin for this thoughtful proposal. I am a new staffer for the Committee on Government Operations and Facilities, which Councilmember White chairs and which assumed responsibility for overseeing the Office of Human Rights earlier this year. ... We will review the issues you raised below with the Councilmember as we consider ways to strengthen the DCHRA. 
In the meantime, the Council’s annual Performance Oversight cycle is underway, and the Committee will hold a hearing with representatives of agencies including OHR on Friday, March 5.  If you are interested in raising awareness of these issues at that hearing, please find participation instructions for the Committee on page 10 of the attached notice.”...

Read Chris's whole post, including how to submit written testimony, testify live, and view the hearing. He says, "If you are a clinician, lawyer, or academic that specializes in relationship structure and/or DC resident, please submit a testimony, sign up to testify live and/or post on social media, and encourage others to watch, submit and testify.

"Spread the word, flood social and regular media and let’s change the world."

And Heath Schechinger comments, 

DC is not alone. Organizers in other cities across the US are preparing to do this same. Somerville already passed a multi-partner domestic partnership ordinance, Cambridge is next. CNM anti-discrimination is gaining momentum.

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January 16, 2021

Ashli Babbitt, dead Capitol rioter, in the news as part of a living-together throuple

Not the kind of polyamory in the news we wanted or expected, but here it is.

ABC News/ Victor J. Blue/ Bloomberg/ Getty
On 1/6, hundreds of insurrectionists broke into the US Capitol building, some chanting "Hang Mike Pence," some shouting to find and kill members of Congress, and some carrying weapons and zip-tie handcuffs. One swarm smashed through the glass of a locked and barricaded door to the House Speaker's Gallery, which opens onto the House Chamber, while Congress members and staff in the chamber cowered behind shelter. A Capitol policemen just inside the door trained his pistol on the breach. Ashli Babbitt, wearing a Trump cape, tried to clamber through with the shouting mob pressing behind. The policeman shot her. She later died. No more tried to come through the broken door.

Babbitt was an Air Force veteran from San Diego and a passionate QAnon cultist. She was married to Aaron Babbitt, a former Marine.

And it's now in the news that they lived in a polyamorous triad with their younger mutual partner, Kayla Joyce.

DailyMail.com can reveal that Ashli and her ex-Marine husband Aaron were in a three-way relationship with a 29-year-old bartender.

Ashli's brother confirmed that their girlfriend Kayla Joyce lived with the married couple in San Diego. Kayla is sticking by Aaron's side and consoling him as he mourns his wife's death.

...Kayla Joyce lived with the married couple in San Diego, and is sticking by her widower boyfriend, Ashli's brother told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview. ...

The 35-year-old former military officer and her husband met Kayla about a year ago, and decided to welcome her into their open marriage – which was itself only a few months old. ...

Ashli and Aaron, who served as a Marine from 2000 to 2005, married in 2019 and met their girlfriend less than a year into their marriage ... while she worked at one of their local drinking haunts, Ocean Beach Brewery. ...

The three lived together and took selfies together. Story in the New York Post, which often picks up Daily Mail stories (Jan. 14). Also in the Toronto Sun and elsewhere.

This part of the Ashli Babbitt story was actually broken by New York magazine on January 11, as a minor mention in its profile of Babbitt: Who Dies for Donald Trump? It quotes their triad partner Kayla Joyce, who does not sound like she sympathized:

“I blame Trump. How could you not? I mean he is their figure, their president,” Joyce said. “Why else would they do that unless their leader tells them to do that? ... If I could get into her head and pick her brain, I would.” 

For the polyam community, one more way that 1/6 will live in infamy.


Some grim humor about this from Poly Philia on their Facebook page. That's Babbitt at lower left:

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December 26, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup: "Everything You Need to Know About Polyamory," and how the public education machine is running by itself

Dainis Graveris / Unsplash

The pandemic flies further out of control. Millions face eviction. US deaths to pass 400,000 around MLK Day. Administration flings chaos and sabotage. Pentagon brass meet to discuss how to deal with an autogolpe attempt, a possibility brand new in all of American history.

So there's a bit less news-media attention these days to light topics like new relationship models and stuff.

Here are just two items plucked from the stream this week, from outside the news parts of the media. Both are fine Polyamory 101s, especially the first. They're reminders of how media of all kinds are now churning out, on their own, abundant basic intros and profiles of the kind that just a decade ago poly education and awareness activists struggled mightily to drag into existence, one by obscure one.

I'm talking about some of you, dear readers. You've done such tireless work — dealing with journalists, submitting to interviews, helping them get it right, correcting their misconceptions — that now the media can just copy each other and usually get it right. Your early efforts built this positive-feedback cycle that's running fast today, faster than anything we could do.

Which is not to say we shouldn't get on their cases when they bumble it.

●  Everything You Need to Know About Polyamorous Relationships is from InStyle, a leading international fashion magazine, circulation 1.7 million, where a one-page ad in the print edition costs $234,000. So if this piece appears in 1 or 2 pages of print as well as online, the market says that's worth about a quarter million to a half million dollars in publicity value.

As far as I know, that alone would be more than the actual money that polyamory education and awareness efforts have raised and spent in the movement's entire 30-plus year history.

And it's darn good, even with over-claiming headline.

Everything You Need to Know About Polyamorous Relationships

Including the most common myths about polyamory and best practices for entering into a polyamorous agreement

By Maressa Brown | Dec 25, 2020

If you’ve spent even a few minutes on a dating app these days, chances are you’ve encountered profiles that disclose some form of consensual non-monogamy. ...

“Polyamory is a form of consensual non-monogamy that emphasizes emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy to whatever desired degree in an ongoing way among multiple partners,” explains Elisabeth A. Sheff Ph.D., CSE, author of The Polyamorists Next Door, who explains that often the goal for polyamorous people is to have long-term, emotionally intimate relationships with multiple people.

People in polyamorous relationships are open to bonding intimately — be that sexually and/or romantically — with multiple people.... [Says] Casey Tanner, certified sex therapist and expert for LELO who works with many polyamorous couples, “Successful polyamory is guided by explicit consent to what kind of romantic and/or sexual relationships are explored outside of the relationship at hand. These agreements exist to keep each member of the relationship physically, emotionally, and sexually safe such that partners can truly lean into experiences within those boundaries.”

Unlike an open relationship — in which committed partners might agree to green light dating, sex, or other types of bonding outside of their relationship — a polyamorous relationship is marked by more relational commitment, says Shannon Chavez, Psy.D., a psychologist and sex therapist in Los Angeles. “There can be different levels of commitments and different levels of intimacy,” she notes. For instance, some relationships might be based strictly on sex while others are based on an emotional connection or both physical and emotional intimacy.

It also bears noting that many polyamorous people find support from building a sense of community with other polyam people, either online or locally. “It is much more than who you are having sex with or having another relationship,” says Chavez. “The lifestyle is an important part of polyamory.” ...

Next  follow descriptions of common polyam relationship structures, from open couples to network polycules to unofficial group marriages to solo polys. Then,

Although awareness about polyamorous relationships is growing, plenty of misconceptions abound. A few of the most common myths, busted:

...There’s always one primary couple. ...

Polyamorous people have wild sex lives. ...

Practicing polyamory will save a monogamous relationship. ...

Polyamorous people are “greedy” and “boundaryless.” ...

There is only one way to be polyamorous. ..

Just like other marginalized groups, people misunderstand the polyamorous community to be homogenous, or one-size-fits-all, says Tanner. “When people picture a polyam person, they might think of a youthful, queer artist type with no kids and no mortgage,” she says. “In reality, polyamory occurs throughout the lifespan and includes people of all professions, family constellations, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.

...Some people come to polyamory after having been in monogamous relationships in the past and finding that they were not getting their needs met, says Chavez.

But that’s far from the only path to practicing what Chavez calls a relationship orientation. People are realizing that they knew from the beginning of their relationships that they could — and would prefer to — be in love with more than one partner at a time....

Either way, polyamorous people realize that they are someone who could love multiple people and enjoy multiple relationships...


If you’re just beginning to practice polyamory, Tanner recommends making the following moves:

Address transparency.  Answer questions like what do you want to know about the other’s outside relationships, and how much detail do you want to provide/be provided with?

Discuss frequency. Talk about the frequency with which you’d like to engage in other relationships and the ways in which you’ll continue to be intentional with bringing energy to the relationship at hand.

Talk about “coming out.” Decide which people in your life you feel comfortable “coming out” to about polyamory, and make sure you’re on the same page. ...

BTW, two years ago InStyle ran 6 Habits to Steal from Couples in Open Relationships (Aug. 15, 2018). These were,

1) Practice total honesty. ...

2) Conduct regular relationship evaluations. ...

3) Set clear rules and boundaries. ...

4) Talk through jealousy. ...

5) Don't rely on one another for everything. ...

6) Be vigilant about safe sex. ...

●  In a less heavyweight corner of the media, The Benefits Of Polyamory appeared a couple days ago on Vocal, a large and successful platisher site.1 Despite the optimistic headline, this one takes a dimmer view of what fraction of people are right for the poly life.  

Dainis Graveris / Unsplash

By Ossiana M. Tepfenhart

...Things started to change around the time I was in high school.

I, along with many others, started to hear about relationships with more than one person. ... I quickly learned about polyamory and realized that I'm not entirely monogamous by nature.

Dainis Graveris / Unsplash
Poly relationships can take a wide range of different appearances...

When Does Polyamory Work?

From what I've seen, poly relationships only work for a very select few people. They work for people who are not monogamous by nature, have the ability to be radically honest with their partners, and have a high level of emotional maturity.

Most people cannot be good poly partners, simply because the tendency towards being jealous or envious can make insecurity too much of an issue. With that said, if you're confident and open, it's possible to make things work out well.

Why Do People Choose To Be In Poly Relationships?

...The Extra Love ...

The Variety-Filled Sex ...

More Resources ...

Why Polyamory Is Not For Everyone, But Should Still Be Accepted....

ANNOUNCEMENT:   Love Is Polytical, a two-day online conference January 2-3, is planned by Karada House, "a queer collaborative art space that explores the boundaries of art, the body and creativity" in Berlin, Germany. The working language is English. Workshops include Relationship Tools: Needs, Wants and the Relationship Anarchist; Kinky, Poly and Asexual; Psyche of Polyamory, Intersectional Non-Monogamy, Queering Polyamorous Parenthood, We Do Not Live Single-Issue Lives, and more. (I don't know anything about this group; just posting their announcement.) 

Have an announcement that belongs here? Write me at alan7388 (at) gmail.com.


1.  A platisher (publishing platform) is a for-profit, magazine-like site where writers send in content about anything, staff screen for quality, their pick of the best gets publicly featured by category, and the creator gets some pay based on reads. Much of the rest also goes online but, without being featured, stays mostly unseen as if on private blogs.

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