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



August 13, 2022

Five new polyamory books, normalization rushes on, and other poly in the news.

More than 62 nonfiction books about polyamory have been published since Ryam Nearing, co-founder of Loving More magazine and the modern poly movement, brought out the first edition of her Polyfidelity Primer in 1984. (The word "polyamory" had not yet been invented.) Only five more books appeared in the next 15 years, then the numbers began to pick up — slowly at first, and now so fast I can't keep track.

I maintained a guide to all these books, with descriptions, until June 2015 when the tally stood at 42 and the job got too big. Here's the guide as it stood then. Here are 11 posts I've made since then about 17 more polyam/CNM books: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

Now five new ones are out or soon will be:

●  The Anxious Person’s Guide to Non-Monogamy by Lola Phoenix, a well-known non-monogamy advice columnist and podcaster. This'll be an important one.

When I first found out about poly, I decided this thing was only for low-problem people with super-together heads. Then I saw real-world people with all the normal problems and wounds and neuroses  making it work too, though maybe with special struggles and attention to issues along the way.

Lola Phoenix, and many others, feel that such understandings haven't shown up properly in many poly guidebooks. So Phoenix has just published an explicitly trauma-informed guide to poly and CNM. It's an eye-opener, and you'll realize that it's about time.

From their introduction:


I came to non-monogamy by way of sex-positive communities when I was trying to reconnect with my body and sexuality after finally really coming to terms with the sexual abuse I'd been through as a child. A lot of what sex-positive communities did was encouraging questioning things society had taught me.

...The first couple of times the [standard poly] advice I gathered didn't work, I thought it was my fault. So much of what I learned was encouraging distrust of my own judgment, a reinforcement of the same denial I had of my emotions my entire life....

It's no surprise then that my first experiences with polyamory were extremely sketchy, and I only managed to escape them by reading literature about abusive relationships and abusive patterns. I wouldn't until much later learn that my negative emotions weren't inherently a sign of my own insecurity. I grew frustrated with problems I and others had that I saw constantly crop up that weren't really talked about. I felt that so much of the polyamory advice offered me either didn't address mental health or just didn't work for someone who had the anxiety or the experiences I had growing up. So I did what I usually do when I have thoughts: I wrote them down.

...I found out I wasn't the only one....


Read the whole introduction at the "Look Inside" box on the book's Amazon page. Also there is the table of contents.

From the foreword by Kathy Slaughter, LCSW: 


Years ago, as I began my journey into polyamory and working with polyamorous clients, I found most of the 'starter' books available inadequate. [The missing perspective] was an understanding of trauma, queer identities, and disability. Developmental trauma — being abused as a child — was my first professional specialty. 

...Now, after years of working with polyamorous clients, I've noticed that jumping into a non-monogamous relationship style can bring old pain and anxiety screaming to the surface. Often my clients worry that they're not 'cut out' for polyamory because their emotional reactions are so intense. And when I looked at the available resources for support, I understood where this fear came from. ...


Again, read on at the Amazon look-inside box.

In short: This is a needed book and a sign of our movement's growing maturity.


●  The Polyamory Workbook: An Interactive Guide to Setting Boundaries, Communicating Your Needs, and Building Secure, Healthy Open Relationships, by Sara Youngblood Gregory. The official publication date is November 8 but it may be available earlier. From the publisher's description:


Successfully navigate nonmonogamous relationships with this practical workbook filled with activities, journal prompts, interviews, and more activities.... Helps you determine what you really want when it comes to your life, your relationships, and the community you build — and how to get it.

...The Polyamory Workbook draws key information from real polyamorous people and relationship experts to help you expand your emotional and relational toolbox, better preparing you for the dive into nonmonogamy. This workbook focuses on the foundational knowledge everyone interested in or already practicing polyamory should know, including:
–  Types of nonmonogamy
–  Communication styles
–  Boundary setting
–  Consent
–  Metamours and jealousy
–  Pitfalls and red flags
–  Breakups
–  And more!

Compare with Kate Kincaid's similar recent workbook, Polyamory Journal:  Prompts and Practices for Navigating Non-Monogamy


● Another workbook: Based on the continuing success of her 2020 book Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy, Jessica Fern will soon come out with The Polysecure Workbook: Healing Your Attachment and Creating Security in Loving RelationshipsPublication date November 25, but you can preorder now. Publisher's blurb:


The Polysecure Workbook encourages examination of any attachment challenges you may have experienced in your opening up process and offers insights into how to build secure relationships. Through practical exercises, you will explore your own attachment history, examine your reasons for practicing nonmonogamy and the different styles of nonmonogamy that you relate to, and consider whether you rely on relationship structure for your attachment security. The Polysecure Workbook provides the tools needed to navigate the complexities of multiple loving relationships and to build personal security.

Thanks to Tracie Winslow for the tip.


●  Mono in a Poly World: What to Do When Your Partner Is Polyamorous and You Aren't, by Tazmyn Ozga. A small book, 60 pages. From the introduction:  


In 2014, after 25 years of marriage, my husband told me he was polyamorous and needed to be able to explore and live this part of himself, as a man free to have multiple intimate relationships. ... This new chapter in our relationship was a sometimes traumatic, sometimes exciting time for us. ...

We had a whole life together — three young-adult kids, a home, our long history. While we had our share of struggles and rough spots. for the most part we were friends and lovers who got along well. Could we stay together and make this work?

The last five-plus years were our grand experiment in seeing if we could make our mono-poly relationship work for both of us. Our path was a winding one, with lots of talking, therapy, trying different things, wrong turns, feelings, learning and discerning. It hasn't been easy.

...We monogamous folks with poly partners have our own perspectives, challenges, and issues to deal with, This book is for us. ... 



●  And a fifth: Kathy Labriola's Polyamorous Elders: Aging in Open Relationships is due to be published December 15 by the academic publisher Rowman & Littlefield:


This book explores the unique group of elders, age 55 and older, who practice some form of consensual non-monogamy. It covers both the joys and challenges of multiple relationships for elders. Poly elders have the complexities of juggling multiple relationships, as well as managing all the issues of aging: managing medical conditions and disabilities (their own and/or their partners’), caregiving responsibilities for aging relatives, grieving the deaths of parents, siblings, and partners, retiring from careers and starting new lives, and/or moving into some form of senior living. 


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In other news, a roundup of stuff:


●  More signs of mainstreaming. In Bloomberg BusinessWeek, What Nonmonogamy Can Teach Moonlighters and Job Jugglers  (July 28). "Handling multiple bosses isn’t that different from managing multiple lovers."

For example,


...A key tenet of polyamory is compersion—the ability to find joy in your partners’ happiness, even if they’re finding happiness with other people. This can be tough for rookie polyamorists, who learn that when romantic partners lash out about other activities, it’s often because they’re not getting enough attention of one kind or another. The same dynamic happens in the workplace: Bosses who are anxious about underperforming employees will inevitably start blaming [their] other jobs. ...



●  In the family-friendly Health Digest, What Is A Polyamorous Relationship And Is It Right For You? (Aug. 2)


Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

By Niko Vercelletto

...One form of consensual non-monogamy is a polyamorous relationship. This type of relationship can be defined as a person, or people, who are in committed relationships with multiple people at the same time, with the consent of all parties.... Polyamory has seemingly gained interest in the last few years, and you may be wondering if opening up a future or current relationship is right for you.

In some ways, polyamorous relationships may seem a lot like monogamous ones in that they require strong conflict resolution skills and good communication. And every relationship is built on a good foundation, including polyamorous relationships, according to Psychology Today. But what are some key differences between the two?

For starters, polyamorous relationships involve defining your own relationship rules and understanding the boundaries and limits of you and your partner. Asking yourself and your partner some important questions from the get-go could help define relationship terms. ...

...A 2018 study published in the journal Psychology showed that there was no difference in satisfaction, both relational or sexual, between monogamous and polyamorous relationships. However, the level of satisfaction does depend on how well all parties communicate about boundaries and needs before and during the relationships.

Polyamorous relationships are most successful when people can satisfy and fulfill each of their relationship partners equally, both emotionally and sexually, according to Psychology Today. Additionally, there are certain personality traits that may be better suited for polyamorous relationships, like extroversion, agreeableness, and low levels of jealousy and neuroticism.

If that all sounds far out of your comfort zone, don't be afraid to stick with monogamy, particularly if you become easily jealous, anxious, or need clear and consistent boundaries from a single partner....

Lastly, you don't want to start a polyamorous relationship for the wrong reasons. ...



●  Another. Erez Benari writes, "Voice actor Justin Rupple came on America's Got Talent recently (season 17, ep 4) and presented his wife AND his girlfriend, and even said the P word to wild applause! Howie Mandell said, 'I wanna give you the golden buzzer right now.' 

"Oh, he's also got a solid 330k followers on TikTok."

More about this from Meeaww (June 21):


...Justin Rupple's 'throuple' marriage

Aside from his steadily growing career in showbiz, Rupple's "throuple" relationship is also making headlines. Rupple and his wife, Katy Rupple, are in a polyamorous relationship with Claire Thornhill. Rupple met his wife, Katy, in 2006 while performing at one of his comedy shows. The couple started dating and got married in 2013. A few years after their marriage, Katie expressed an interest in exploring her bisexual side. After a lot of discussions, the couple approached Rupple's college friend Claire. In an interview with The Mirror, Claire shared, "At first, it was a surprise as I had never been approached like this before." Despite this, the surprise was welcomed "as I had always had feelings for both men and women."

...The 'throuple' claims that they are happy together. They credited teamwork and communication, as well as sharing goals, personality traits, and hobbies.... Claire explained, "As humans, we're capable of loving multiple people completely without diminishing the love we have for any one individual, and we're extremely lucky to have found each other. We are proud of our partnership and want others to know that you don't have to feel shame for simply loving people."

You can catch more of the trio's adventures and relationship milestones on their Instagram page The Thrupples.



●  Nice little Poly 101 on, of all places, Marriage.com, a platisher that bills itself as "The World's Best Marriage Resource: Building healthy, happy marriages and relationships." Differences: Ethical Non-Monogamy, Polyamory, Open Relationships (Aug. 1). The piece is very basic but mostly on-target as far as it goes.





 By Anne Duvaux

...Are you perhaps curious about the way society’s views seem to be changing? We all know relationships take work but perhaps we can help ourselves in how we structure them? 

Moreover, maybe we can learn something by understanding more about non-monogamous vs. polyamorous relationships?...



She found this nearly half-century-old quote, new to me:


In the timeless book The Road Less Traveled [1978], the psychiatrist M Scott Peck states in a footnote that all his years of couples-work led him to the “stark conclusion that open marriage is the only kind of mature marriage that is healthy”.


Most of us would disagree strongly with that, but I can see how Peck got there.


Dr. Peck goes on to imply that a monogamous marriage often leads to destroyed mental health and lack of growth. Does that mean that a polyamorous relationship is automatically ethical? 

On the contrary, it means that due to their nature, these types of relationships contribute to growth. This involves effort from all parties.


Which is indeed necessary for any long-term partnership.


● Newsweek puts up another 101, Mistakes To Avoid in an Open Relationship, From Couples Who've Been There (July 28). 


...These include:

  • Failing to communicate
  • Being inconsiderate of your partner's feelings
  • Expecting too much
  • Not setting boundaries
  • Failing to keep jealousy in check
  • Choosing the wrong people.



Tyler, Sam, Angel

●  The British tabloids continue their flood of (obviously profitable) happy polyfamily stories. Latest example: Polyamorous couple who asked their girlfriend to serve as their BRIDESMAID open up about the ups and downs of life in a throuple -- from dealing with jealousy over sex to handling outrage from family (Daily Mail August 10, and elsewhere). They're an MFF equilateral triad in Memphis. It wasn't easy for them to get the relationship fully worked out, and some of their family boycotted the wedding of two of them, but the story makes it sound like a happily-ever-after. With a video and many pics. Follow them on TikTok as @dailythrouple.

Once again: You wonder how the tabs get dozens and dozens of polyfamilies to share their lives in these rags? They pay you. These story packages — text, photos, sometimes videos — are created by tabloid-content companies including MDW Features, Barcroft Media, HotSpot Media, and Triangle News. The companies are based in the UK, but most of their featured polyfamilies have been in the US.

Want to see if they're interested in you and yours? Well....

Don't accept their first offer; it may be a lowball. And I'm told this is not the easy money you may imagine; expect to put in a fair amount of time, energy, and perhaps stress. They may give you editorial control over how you're portrayed if you ask for it, so put that in the contract: require the right to review and remove anything in the final product. Even so, as with any media, say or show nothing that you don't want used. During the interview and photo shoots, be prepared to confer and refuse any requests that you feel are off (trick questions, sketchy photo setups), and to resist any amount of cajoling, which they are experts at. If you're ready to walk away from the deal, especially after they've committed resources to show up, you hold the upper hand. Remember, the tabloids are not journalism.


●  Are you a woman, transfem, or nonbinary? Buzzfeed News wants your poly story. "We're looking to speak with women and transfeminine or nonbinary people for an upcoming BuzzFeed News story" to be titled "Why Women Are Deciding To Become Nonmonogamous." I expect short items are what they want.


As Jessica Fern, psychotherapist and author of Polysecure, has pointed out, it’s often women who initiate nonmonogamy.

If you’re a woman, transfeminine, or nonbinary person in a nonmonogamous relationship, BuzzFeed News wants to hear from you. We may reach out to you for an upcoming story.


They ask you to fill out a form. I doubt they pay sources; even Buzzfeed has standards.

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

Looking wider, the struggle deepens. 

Why, some of you ask, have I been ending posts to this polyamory news site with the Ukraine war? With links like this one?

Because in my life I've seen many socially progressive movements become irrelevant and die out by failing to scan the wider world accurately and understand their position in it strategically.

We polyamorous people are a small, weird minority of social-rule breakers. Some people feel we're a threat to society — because by living successfully outside of their worldview, we expose its incompleteness. Our freedom to choose our relationship structures, and to speak up for ourselves about the truth of ourselves, is just one way we depend on a free and pluralistic society that respects people's dignity to create their own lives, to access facts, and to speak of what they know.

Such a society is only possible where people have the power to govern themselves, combined with legal structures that are at least supposed to guarantee the rights of all.

People, communities, and societies that create their own lives, and who insist on the democratic structures and legal protections that enable them to do so safely, infuriate and terrify the authoritarians who are growing in power around the world and in our own United States.

Such rulers and would-be rulers seek to stamp out other people's freedom to choose their lives — by intimidation, repressive laws, inflammatory disinformation and public incitement, or, eventually, artillery.

For what it's worth, this site has received more pagereads from Ukraine over the years (56,400) than from any other country in Eastern Europe.

For now, you can donate to Ukraine relief through this list of organizations vetted by the Washington Post, or many others. We're giving to a big one, Razom, and to a little one, Pizza for Ukraine in Kharkiv, a project of an old friend of my wife Sparkle Moose.

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

But that is only the start. For those of us born since World War II, this is the most consequential war of our lifetimes.

(See also, among others, Tom Friedman's I Thought Putin Invaded Only Ukraine. I Was Wrong.)

The coming times are going to require hard things of us. We don't get to choose the time and place in history we find ourselves born into. We do get to choose how we respond to it. Buck up and be ready.

Need a little help bucking up? Play this. Loud.

More, you want? Just some guys near Kharkiv (our Pizza for Ukraine town) helping to hold onto a free and open society, a shrinking thing in the world. The tossed grenade seems to have saved them. Maybe your granddad did this across a trench from Hitler's troops, for you, and for us — because a world fascist movement was successfully defeated that time, opening the way for the rest of the 2oth century. Although the outcome didn't look good for a couple of years there.

Bravery takes other forms. For instance. Or cartoon animator Oleg Kuvaev. His Masyanya was a popular family webseries in Russia for years, South Park style, and made it onto TV. Then, after the start of the war, he put out Episode 160. The raucous, oval-headed mom ditches the no-politics rule, and toward the end she barges in on Putin and presents him a blistering lecture and a hara-kiri sword to solve his problems. No spoilers what comes next. English subtitles. Kuvaev got out of Russia in time, the series remains up via overseas backups, and Russian authorities have implied they will hunt down the backups and wipe them.




Remember, these people say they're doing it for us too. They are correct.  The global struggle between a free, open future and a fearful revival of the dark past that's shaping up, including in our own country, is still in its early stages. The situation is going to get worse before it gets better. The outcome is again uncertain, and it will determine the 21st century and the handling of all its other problems.

We'll have a better idea after the election. Whatever else you do, vote.

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

PS: Ukraine should not be idealized as the paragon of an open democratic society. For instance, see If Ukraine Wants To Stand for Liberty and Democracy, It Should Rethink Some of Its Wartime Policies (Reason, July 19). But they're working at it. Social attitudes tend traditional, but they not bitter like in the US; the ideal of European civil society is widely treasured, and social progressivism has room to thrive. Some 40,000 women reportedly volunteer in combat roles, and LGBT folx in the armed forces openly display symbols of LGBT pride. (Whereas in Russia, it's a criminal offense for even a civilian to wear a rainbow pin.) Writes kos in the big lefty news site Daily Kos (July 29),


I find [this] particularly salient given American conservative hostility toward women serving in our military. People like Ted Cruz praising the supposed manliness of the Russian army, while claiming ours is weak because of “woke culture.” Ukraine puts that bullshit to bed, not just with the women serving in its ranks, but with gay soldiers very publicly sewing unicorn patches on their uniforms to denote their pride.


He retweets a meme from a military blogger commenting on the plight of the abused gay Russian draftee:



To hell with any conservatives who impugn anyone’s service as somehow less effective or honorable than white straight men. 



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July 13, 2022

In The New Yorker: A smash-hit dating app "for a new type of human," meaning us. Chosen family explored. And other polyamory in the news.





●  For a lifetime The New Yorker has cultivated its reputation as the acme of long-form journalism. Just out in its "Annals of Inquiry" department is A Hookup App for the Emotionally Mature (online July 11). It's by staff writer Emily Witt, author of Future Sex (2016).

The article is a personal deep dive into Feeld and its user community. Feeld has emerged as the go-to dating app for polyamory, CNM, and many other varieties of, it says on its site, "responsible open-mindedness." (Though #open is running to catch up.)

This comes after at least 20 years of poly dating sites that never reached critical mass and/or suffered from usability problems. There also were, and are, poly-specific ways to use mainstream apps for those who know the methods or install the plug-in; OKCupid long held that title. 

Those seem old after this article. It's New Yorker-style long, 6,600 words. Excerpts:


Modern romance can feel cold and alienating. Feeld, by encouraging open-mindedness and respect, suggests a way forward.

The New Yorker is also known for its graphics. Look closely, then more closely.
Illustration by Benedikt Luft
.

By Emily Witt

In the late summer of 2020, when much of normal social life was suspended, a relationship that I had been in for several years abruptly collapsed. I was thirty-nine and scared by the idea that I would not be reproducing the kind of heteronormative nuclear family I had grown up in. ... This is when I downloaded a dating app called Feeld.

Feeld describes itself as a technology for “open-minded singles and couples who want to explore their sexuality.” ... Feeld was started in London and today is available in more than a hundred countries. You can join linked with a partner or as a single person, and choose from among twenty different categories of gender and sexuality. The app is popular with nonbinary and trans people, married couples trying to spice up their sex lives, hard-core B.D.S.M. enthusiasts, and “digisexuals,” who prefer their erotic contact with others mediated by a screen. It is a place to be yourself.... In a setting sometimes described as “non-normative,” there are asexuals, cuckold fantasists, kitchen-table polyamorists, eco-sexuals, and collectives of men offering group sex to single women. ... Using Feeld, I often think of a line I read in Jeremy Atherton Lin’s book-length monograph “Gay Bar,” about the nature of queer spaces in night life: “Inclusivity might not mean everybody,” Lin writes. “It could indicate the rest of us.”

...Thirty-five per cent of users are part of a couple. ... I describe it to my friends as “the grownup hookup app.” By “grownup,” I mean not only that its users are above a certain age but also that they favor a kind of maturity and decorum; by “hookup,” I mean that the app facilitates not romance but sex, broadly defined. It is not the place to find your “down-to-earth, no-drama girlfriend” or your “partner in crime.” Love languages, attachment styles, tacos, and other clichés of Internet dating surface only rarely. Data points such as diplomas and fancy jobs do not confer status. Instead, the aim of self-representation on Feeld is to describe a sexual desire in language that won’t repel the kind of person you would like to meet, a skill that in a sexually immature culture turns out to be something of an art. ...

...The most commonly expressed desires are “ethical nonmonogamy,” “couples,” “sexting,” and “casual dating.” The interests are more prosaic: “Malbec,” “glamping.”

...Feeld was the first app I’d used that expressly differentiated the search for erotic friendship from the search for romantic partnership. It was also unique in that it did not advertise this search in the language and imagery of cis-male fantasies of no-strings-attached sex. Its culture indicated some understanding of the precautions and reassurances that the rest of us might need.

...[My] first date that worked out was with a couple in Bed-Stuy. ... In my memory of their faceless photo they stood in tasteful wool coats in front of a backdrop of snow. After they sent me pictures of their faces, we met in Fort Greene Park, and then I went to their brownstone apartment, which had crown moldings, vinyl records, and plants. The formulaic Brooklyn décor was comforting. I’d moved out of my apartment in a state of duress, with no time to find a new place. Most of my belongings were in a storage unit in Queens, and the rest were stuffed into the trunk of my dad’s Toyota Corolla. Meeting up with the couple was a way of pretending that everything would be fine. They made a vegetarian dinner for me and served orange wine; their linen sheets were freshly laundered. It was nice, but I was lying to them, cosplaying a sexual optimist instead of being a person with no idea how to start over.

...“Feeld is for a new type of human,” Dimo Trifonov, the app’s founder, once wrote. “A human belonging to a new world, one of creativity, openness, respect and exploration.” This was one way to make my unwanted future tolerable, to at least make it interesting for myself: to pretend that there was such a possibility as a new kind of person in a new kind of world.


Feeld began in 2014 as poly-specific, or actually threesome-specific, under the name Thrinder. But after Tinder sued for trade-name infringement, the re-brand to Feeld


gave the startup a chance to reassess its purpose. Feeld arrived at a time when the trans-rights movement was changing ideas about gender; mainstream sexual culture was shifting, too, with the language and etiquette of polyamory and nonmonogamy becoming more commonplace. 

...Half of Feeld’s users identify as something other than heterosexual, so the company tries to be as responsive as possible to variations in language. It allows users to change their gender selection on their profile up to three times, and their sexuality as many times as they want. Other revisions have come in response to safety, such as requiring that both members of a couple have individual profiles. On the company’s blog and in a literary journal it publishes, Mal, sexual trends are discussed and explored; an issue from 2020 was devoted to sex negativity, with essays about the incel phenomenon and “heterofatalism.”

...Feeld is now a fully remote company with sixty team members, and it tries to be as progressive in its corporate culture as it is in its product. Nearly half of the leadership team identifies as female, and salaries are transparent, with a floor of eighty thousand dollars a year. Under Kirova’s guidance, the app has seen immense growth, in part because of the strategy she deployed to get through the pandemic. ...

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

“Ethical nonmonogamy,” often abbreviated as E.N.M. and one of the most popular “desires” on Feeld, is a term influenced by a canonical self-help guide to open relationships, “The Ethical Slut,” written by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy and first published in 1997. “G.G.G.,” another popular tag—which stands for “good, giving, and game”—is a phrase popularized by Dan Savage, an alt-weekly-newspaper sex columnist turned podcaster. Ten years ago, these terms might have indicated a person who had undertaken some kind of sexual study of themselves, but today they have become the clichés of open relationships. ...

Kirova suggested that the typical Feeld user represents not a demographic so much as a “mind-set.” The company has noticed that its users tend to change their conduct as they become more comfortable with the app, and with the way people on it express themselves. This kind of adjustment is also probably driven by conversation. My friend Anna recalled an instance in which a guy wouldn’t lay off after she’d decided that she didn’t want to meet him. “He was, like, ‘Why don’t you block me?’ ” she said. “I said, ‘Because I want you to make the decision to not bother me.’ He said, ‘If I can’t write you, it’s the same thing.’ I’m, like, ‘No, it’s not the same thing, because I’m giving you the possibility to just do the right thing.’ ”

If Twitter-style scolding is your fetish, there’s a lot of it on Feeld, but it’s also a real-time working out of gender expression and sexual identity before a knowing audience. ...

Feeld is popular in cities that have nurtured subcultures with ethics of anti-harassment and respect, places where parties often post their philosophies of inclusion and consent on event listings. ... Taking cues from the policies of queer spaces would make good business sense. A publicist for the company told me that in New York the users who make the most connections and stay active and engaged for the longest time are nonbinary people, a group whose numbers on the app grew more than two hundred and forty per cent between January, 2021, and January, 2022.

...Charles Fulford, Feeld’s chief creative officer, said that the future of the app will have less to do with the notion of “dating” than with creating a safe space for people to explore undeclared or unquestioned aspects of their identities. “We believe this dynamism and fluidity is preternaturally human,” Fulford wrote me, in an e-mail, “much like the eroding taboo we see around psychedelic drugs going from perceived weirdos on the fringe to mainstream medicine and pop-culture acceptance. We want to help people navigate this change and push forward this next age of how we view identity, sexuality and relationships.”

...The men I met surprised me: something about the dynamic of mutual understanding that separated sex from romance made them more open, or maybe it was just my no-entitlement policy paying off. When I visited their houses, they would serve fresh fruit, they would make tea, they would lend me books, they would tell me about their childhoods, they would respond immediately to text messages. In long conversations about relationships, they would express vulnerability and talk about their insecurities and regrets. They were open about their health and their S.T.I. status. They were effusive in their enthusiasm and their gratitude. It was so different from the dynamic of scarcity and coldness that I was used to in casual dating. ...


It's a delightfully insightful read from start to finish. Here's the whole thing.


●  Chosen family. Elsewhere in top-flight media, the New York Times' widely read daily newsletter "The Morning" picked a non-newsmaking topic for its leadoff piece on July 4th: "Good morning. A chosen family can offer love and support that aren’t defined by biological kinship." It links to a pride-week feature article that ran in the Times, The Joy in Finding Your Chosen Family (June 25). "For L.G.B.T.Q. people, the bonds between friends can be liberating and transformative. Five of these close-knit communities tell their stories."

No mention of whether poly relationships help to bond these groups. It doesn't seem to matter. Excerpts from the newsletter:


By Melissa Kirsch

All in the Family

Today, as we observe the Fourth of July holiday in the U.S., I’m thinking about the permutations of family, the people we invite to the cookout, the ones we’ll be watching the fireworks with. ...

Allie Sullberg

Last week marked the conclusion of Pride Month in the United States. Pride is broadly a celebration of L.G.B.T.Q. rights, but for many members of queer communities, it’s also a celebration of their chosen family.

Chosen families are created outside the structures of (and often in place of) the traditional nuclear family. In the case of the Bickersons, a group of about 10 to 20 queer women, most of whom live near Asheville, N.C., this means raucous Thanksgivings, fishing trips and three-day birthday celebrations. It’s also meant working on one another’s homes, helping each other get sober and providing love and support when one of the group is ill.

“We didn’t have to censor,” one member of the Bickersons, Lenny Lasater, told The Times. “We were real, we were honest, and we could expect to be met with compassion and understanding.”

When a family of origin is absent or unsupportive, a chosen family is essential. And even if your biological family is intact, cultivating close, supportive relationships with neighbors, friends and colleagues can provide welcome kinship. ... Once you’ve known the rewards of that sort of unexpected intimacy, it seems silly that any chosen family should be temporary. ... 

The beauty of the chosen family is that you opt into it. There’s freedom in that, an opportunity to cocreate a community that suits your values. Take the Old Gays, a group of “grandfluencers” who live in a house together in the California desert and create videos for their 7.6 million TikTok followers. ...

...Do you have a chosen family? Tell me about it. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday.

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For more    
     Listen to Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris discuss queer chosen families in pop culture on the “Still Processing” podcast.
     “We don’t need to be related to relate,” sings Rina Sawayama in “Chosen Family.”
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●  And more chosen family. From Argentina, Child of polyamorous family may have 2 dads and 1 mom, Buenos Aires judge rules (Merco Press, July 13)



' “Paternity and maternity should not [merely] be objective and static concepts, where the affective component is legally irrelevant,” the judge argued.'

Judge Myriam Cataldi... authorized that a baby conceived through assisted fertilization be registered under “the right to non-discrimination on the grounds of triple filiation or filial registry polyamory”, since “it was procreated in a laboratory by joining the gamete of one of the men and the one of the women”.

...Despite opposition from the Civil Registry and the Public Ministry, the judge decreed the last paragraph of Article 558 of the Civil Code was unconstitutional and granted the petition filed before her.

“It is not taking away the value of the genetic load of each one, but displacing the importance of the relationships that before were given only by blood ties, towards the heart of love and solidarity. The Court has pointed out that the American Convention does not establish a closed concept of family, nor does it protect only one particular model of the family,” the judge said. ...


Added August 2: Similarly, this just in from the Vallarta Daily in Mexico: Polyamory: Judge in Mexico Grants Marriage Certificate for Man to Marry Two Women (July 25). A judge in the state of Puebla ruled that polyamory is a valid relationship style.  


●  And more: For Pride Month, H&M Clothing Stores went beyond the usual Pride symbology to focus on chosen family in a style-setting publicity campaign. H&M is a Swedish "fast fashion" clothing company with over 5,000 stores under various brands worldwide, including hundreds in the US. Its promo campaign My Chosen Family spotlights three queer polyfamilies, with high-style photography and long interviews. From the transcript:


A chosen family is made up of people who have intentionally chosen to support and love one another. It’s about being there no matter what and celebrating who you are, no matter who you love. Meet the LGBTQIA+ families who choose each other.


The Dreamers [above]

...This family of activists, writers and creators are tied together by their hopes and dreams for tomorrow. ...

The Angels

...The Angels fell instantly in love on the dance floor over ten years ago. They have texted each other daily ever since....

Lola & Los Javis [below]

After being lovers for a decade, directors Javier and Javier — also known as Los Javis — met Lola while filming a TV series. Now, the three of them are a family. ...



Go watch. Thanx to Bitsy P. for the tip.
   
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●  Elsewhere overseas: In the English edition of El País, one of Spain's two leading daily newspapers: Dismantling the stigma of non-monogamous relationships. (July 2). (En Español: Desmontando el estigma de las relaciones no monógamas: ni capricho ni vicio, June 28). It's long.


When she was eight, Sandra Bravo wrote a letter addressed to the Virgin Mary in her diary. In it she asked her to make a boy from school her future husband and father of her children, promising in exchange to be chaste and pure until marriage. She did not keep that promise and, in time, she forgot about it. Thirty years later, she found the diary and was shocked by what she had written. “...when I had no idea what love, sexuality, or even virginity was?” she wonders. ... “This story of romantic and heterosexual love is everywhere and we internalize it through culture....”


Sandra Bravo in Barcelona's Plaça del Diamant. (El País / Carles Ribas)

That letter to the Virgin was the departure point for Bravo’s book, I Don’t Know How to Explain All This to My Mother: Polyamory, Sex and Feminism. Through her Instagram account Let’s Talk about Polyamory, the Spanish journalist talks in the book about her experience as a bisexual woman in polyamorous relationships. ...

In her hometown in Alicante, in the Spanish region of Valencia, which she left at 17, Bravo’s neighbors have been scandalized by her book. ...

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...When Davinia Velázquez received the invitation to her brother’s wedding, she was a little non-plussed. ...“I wanted to go with my three partners,” explains the 38-year-old from Barcelona. So, she picked up the phone, explained to her brother how she felt and now, having made a few adjustments to the seating arrangements, the four of them will go. “The truth is that I am very grateful for the gesture and effort,” she says.... 

...Throughout history, there have always been relationships that have gone beyond the boundaries of what is considered socially acceptable, but rarely have they been openly acknowledged. This has been changing as a new generation claims their right to love differently and create bonds that defy the norm. 

...All those EL PAÍS spoke to point out that often the most difficult thing to manage in a non-monogamous relationship is the reactions from a more conventional mindset, rather than the internal dynamics. ...



●  More overseas: in Israel, a long feature on the rise of CNM appeared in the magazine section of ynetnews: Sometimes it's good and sometimes bad in non- monogamic relationships (July 9). (The English sounds like a machine translation.)


By Mor Shimoni

They use contracts and agreements, may need guidance and are generally middle class; experts explain how to conduct non-monogamic relationships in Israel and outline the various options. Will open marriages become more socially acceptable?

Racheli Tal

“Infidelity is so rampant that in practice people aren’t monogamous”. In this single sentence, Racheli Tal, social worker and director and partner at the Center for Alternative Sexuality and Sexuality and Gender Studies lecturer at Ben Gurion University, dissipates the notion that most couples still conduct “regular” monogamous relationships.

Monogamy isn’t going anywhere though. Even Tal agrees, but explains that a plethora of further options have blossomed – a whole world of a-monogamy, and no, not just for hippie-types. ...



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And the wider picture. Shit will get real. 

We polyamorous people are a small, weird minority of social-rule breakers. Some people feel we're a threat to society — because by living successfully outside of their worldview, we expose its incompleteness. Our freedom to choose our relationship structures, and to speak up for ourselves about the truth of ourselves, is just one way we depend on a free and pluralistic society that respects people's dignity to create their own lives, to access facts, and to speak of what they know.

Such a society is only possible where people have the power to govern themselves, combined with legal structures that are at least supposed to protect the rights of all.

People, communities, and cultures that create their own lives, and who insist on the democratic structures and legal protections that enable them to do so safely, infuriate and terrify the authoritarians who are growing in power around the world and in our own United States.

Such rulers and would-be rulers seek to stamp out other people's freedom to choose their lives — by intimidation, repressive laws, inflammatory disinformation and public incitement, or, eventually, artillery.

For what it's worth, this site has received more pagereads from Ukraine over the years (56,400) than from any other country in Eastern Europe.

For now, you can donate to Ukrainian relief through this list of organizations vetted by the Washington Post, or many others. (Avoid scams.)

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But that is only the start. For those of us born since World War II, this is the most consequential war of our lifetimes.

(See also, among others, Tom Friedman's I Thought Putin Invaded Only Ukraine. I Was Wrong.)

The coming times are going to require hard things of us. We don't get to choose the time and place in history we are born into. We do get to choose how we respond to it. Buck up and be ready.

Need a little help bucking up? Play this. Loud. Another version. Another.

More, you want? Just some guys near Kharkiv the other day helping to hold onto a free and open society, a shrinking thing in the world. Maybe your granddad did this across a trench from Hitler's troops. For you, and for us — because a world fascist upsurge that time was successfully defeated, though the outcome didn't look good for a couple of years there.

Bravery takes other forms. For instanceAnd this. Or cartoon animator Oleg Kuvaev. His Masyanya was a popular family webseries in Russia for years, South Park style, and made it onto TV. Then, after the start of the war, he put out Episode 160. The raucous, oval-headed mom ditches the no-politics rule, and toward the end she barges in on Putin and presents him a blistering lecture and a hara-kiri sword to solve his problems. No spoilers what comes next. English subtitles. Kuvaev is out of Russia (don't drink any polonium tea, guy), the series remains up via overseas backups, and Russian authorities have implied they will hunt down the backups and wipe them.




Remember, these people say they're doing it for us too. They are correct. The situation is going to get worse before it gets better. The global fight between a free, open future and a fearful revival of the dark past shaping up, including in our own country, is still in its early stages (start at the 3rd paragraph there).  There is such a thing as a "formerly developed country," and we know how it happens. The outcome is again uncertain, and it will determine the 21st century and the handling of all its other problems.

We'll have a better idea after the election. Whatever else you do, vote.

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PS: Ukraine should not be idealized as the paragon of a free and open democratic society. For instance, see If Ukraine Wants To Stand for Liberty and Democracy, It Should Rethink Some of Its Wartime Policies (Reason, July 19). And social attitudes tend to be very traditional, though not bitter like in the US. But there is lots of room for social progressivism to thrive. The army reportedly includes 40,000 women volunteers as equals in combat roles, and LGBT folks serve openly displaying LGBT pride. (Whereas wearing so much as a rainbow pin in Russia can get anyone a prison sentence.) Writes kos in the enormous lefty news site Daily Kos (July 29),


I find [this] particularly salient given American conservative hostility toward women serving in our military. People like Ted Cruz praising the supposed manliness of the Russian army, while claiming ours is weak because of “woke culture.” Ukraine puts that bullshit to bed, not just with the women serving in its ranks, but with gay soldiers very publicly sewing unicorn patches on their uniforms to denote their pride.


He retweets a meme from a military blogger, commenting on the plight of the abused young Russian draftee:



To hell with any conservatives who impugn anyone’s service as somehow less effective or honorable than white straight men. 


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