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



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

Stocksy
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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December 18, 2020

Giving the Gift of Sex Positivity: 10 organizations



It was a thin week for polyamory in the media. So here, for this season of charity, is a donation appeal that Elizabeth Sheff posted on her site: Giving the Gift of Sex Positivity, Ten non-profit organizations advocating and researching diverse relationships. (Update: Link now working.)

Small organizations like these are almost always short of money, and your gift can go a long way.

Even if you don't chip in a bit, most readers here would probably want to know about these groups. Sheff gives a paragraph-length description of each.

Please be safe this holiday season  so your friends and family will be around next year to celebrate in person.

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December 11, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup: Breaking the unicorn stereotype, facing down reality TV, Western polyam in Asia, happy polydays, and more




It's Friday Polyamory News Roundup time for December 11, 2020! I skipped last week, so we've got a lot.

●  The wedding-industrial complex, that 600-pound money-sucking gorilla that too many about-to-be-weds and their families fail to chase away, seems to be picking up on our ideas. But boy can it fumble them. Brides magazine ran a reasonably decent article in September, How To Know if an Open Marriage Is Right for YouThat must have done well for them, because now they're back with What Is Polyamory and Why Is it Having a Moment? by a different author (Dec. 7). Nearly every paragraph in this one is either wrong or just eye-rollingly misguided.


Stocksy

By Anka Radakovich

Polyamorous marriage is having a moment. The spike in this alternative marriage arrangement is happening with young, married couples who have been married for a few years, yet long for “something more.” ... 

“Consensual Polyamory and open relationships are booming as the Covid pandemic has put a strain on many traditional relationships,” says Sexologist Dr. Ava Cadell.


That's odd, everyone I know tells of Covid putting a lid on their lives. Cadell goes on:


“Divorce has spiked and even newlyweds are calling it quits, but an alternative to separation and divorce is adding new relationship energy,” she says. “The benefits of adding one or more partners for a couple include avoiding cheating, getting additional attention, satisfying a natural curiosity, exploring bisexuality, and learning to love in new ways.” 

...[The Ashley Madison cheating site] recently published a study called “Love Beyond Lockdown: A Report on Navigating Marriage and Infidelity Through A Pandemic And A New Normal.”...  “Lack of sexual initiation is the primary complaint of married people during lockdown,” the study found. Seventy five percent of cheaters don’t look to their partner in times of uncertainty and stress, so they go outside the marriage. The pandemic has not decreased the desire or ability to cheat, in fact it has fueled it.

...The downside of all of this is jealousy. ... But the hippies [in the 1970s Kerista commune] figured this poly dilemma out by using the concept of “Compersion,” which is a “feeling of pleasure or deep emotion arising from your partner being with another partner. Often referred to as the opposite of jealousy.


Simple, huh?


...“When the pandemic is lifted we may see that some marriages didn’t make it,” says Dr. [Tammy] Nelson. “...One thing that the pandemic has taught couples was to be more honest with each other about their needs and desires. ... Couples may occasionally need to find an outside relationship to fill in the gaps,” says Dr. Nelson.


Got a gap? Find a body to patch it with!

Will somebody please pitch a decent article on polyam to Brides? It looks like they're in the market. 


●  Speaking of toxic couple-centrism, Elisabeth Sheff, longtime researcher on the sociology of polyamory, has posted a research-based series of items about unicorn relationships and their problems — and sometimes their surprising successes for everyone involved — on her Psychology Today blog The Polyamorists Next Door. The latest in this series is Unicorns in Their Own Words (Nov. 29). She finds that, as usual, stereotypes capture only some of the people being stereotyped.
Pixabay, bouette782
Pixabay, bouette782


My findings indicate that [unicorns'] experiences in consensual non-monogamy (CNM) are incredibly diverse and range from hideously exploitative to joyously liberating.


She also writes,


The previous two blog posts in this unicorn series covered the reasons why it is so hard for couples to date and provided some tips on how couples can improve their dating lives — both of which got a big reaction from some readers.


She's being diplomatic. As we all know after this happy, rationality-filled year 2020, humans will often fly into a fury when informed that research finds that some people in a stereotyped group don't fit the stereotype.


Both folks who say that polyamory is evil and those who say that unicorn hunting is evil are basing their responses on their individual experiences. This is not to say that those experiences are wrong, invalid, or false. Those experiences are real and legitimate — and they are not the only experiences. ... Research with humans involves sampling as broad a range of people as possible, including non-monogamists who identify as something else than polyamorous or manage their polyamorous relationships differently than the group that opposes unicorn hunting on principle.



●  Dunno about you, but I could use some holiday cheer.  

–  The MFM polyfamily raising a toddler who run the RealPolylife site have put together an Instagram-of-the-day series — 31 of them for the 31 days of December — of many different people's polyam Instagrams. It feels like those childhood Advent calendars for the Christmas season, where you open a little paper door onto a scene for each date in December leading up to the biggie. We're a third of the way through the month, but you're welcome to start at the beginning. #HappyPolydays: A Group of polyamourous people raising awareness in the month of December

–  Kimchi Cuddles offers a free print-it-yourself holiday card. Open the jpg file there for the card. For best results print it on card stock, cut and fold.


–  In past years I've run big roundups of holiday-season tales, tips, and advice. Start here. More.


●  Other topics: On the Black women writer's site Zora (53,000 followers) hosted by Medium, Gabrielle Smith refuses to be shamed for her poly relationships across racial lines: My Dating Life Does Not Determine My Blackness (Dec 7)


This past August, I started making resources on Instagram for folks interested in practicing ethical non-monogamy (ENM). The face of polyamory and ENM is overwhelmingly White and typically displays structures that replicate monogamy or coupledom. In this, I wasn’t really represented as a queer Black person who practices solo polyamory (meaning I am essentially my own primary partner). So I began working on ways to expand that. I’ve cultivated a humble following, but with that, naturally, comes the trolls....



●  In Men's Health, from prolific bi & poly writer Zachary Zane, I'm in a Loving, Committed Relationship. I'm Also Polyamorous (Dec. 9). "My monogamous friends don't get it, so allow me to explain." 


Last week, the person I’ve been dating for the past four months and I had The Talk™ (you know the one: “So what are we?”) and arrived at "partners." Official romantic partners! This may not seem like that big of a deal because I'm polyamorous, but it was still a huge moment for me. It signaled to the person I was dating that I'm in this for the long-haul. This isn't just a COVID cuff or whatnot.

I was excited, so I told my friends and family. They were happy for me but also slightly confused. In fact, I had a friend ask me, “Is there really any difference between what you were doing and what you’re doing now, since you’re polyamorous? You can still date and sleep with other people.”

...In a poly relationship, as with a monogamous relationship, commitment means you will be there for that person. You'll support them. You'll take care of them. You’ll love them. 

We also have rules, and agreeing and abiding to these rules is the poly form of commitment. ... 



●  Our ideas are increasingly getting around. Far around. What non-Western country has most picked up on the current Western movement for gender-equal, consent-based polyamory?

I might guess India, but that's only from English-language news feeds. India, of course, is a former English colony, and in a country of 427 languages English is second only to Hindi if you include people's second and third languages. That still amounts to only about 11% of the population. Does anyone have better information on the globalization, or not, of Western-flavored polyam?

A new article in the Deccan Herald prompts this small, very fragmentary data dump from India's English-language media:
 
In Bengaluru, many couples are exploring polyamory

Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/metrolife/metrolife-your-bond-with-bengaluru/in-bengaluru-many-couples-are-exploring-polyamory-920842.html
In Bengaluru, many couples are exploring polyamory, Theres Sudeep, Deccan Herald, Nov. 28, 2020. “It’s like having a network of friends versus just one friend” [Treesa explains]. “You have different people who you can relate to and share different facets of your personality with and it’s the same for your partner.”

Polyamory is a reality in Kolkata!, Zinia Sen & Shamayita Chakraborty, Times of India, Feb. 13, 2019. ''The word has been around on the internet for a dozen years now. But that three or more people can live happily ever after is still a thought that makes our society cringe collectively"

Is polyamory finally ready to become an open secret in India?, Jayanthi Madhukar, The Hindu, Dec. 9, 2017. "Polyamory is about equity and egality: any person in a relationship has the same rights, no matter their gender, sexual orientation or age."

When three is not a crowd, Tariq Engineer, Mumbai Mirror, June 3, 2017. "Polyamory warrants full disclosure, honest communication and self-awareness. Here’s understanding what it is all about."

Dos and don’ts of polyamorous relationships, Bhakti Paun Sharma, The Health Site, Jan 20, 2017. Article on a large, mainstream medical news site for the public, with the graphic at right.

Polyamory isn't 'sleeping around', monogamy isn't natural: Meet Indians who are 'poly', Sowmya Rajendran, The News Minute, July 20, 2017. "Outliers to the 'system' do exist, even if they may not be in a position to proclaim their decisions and choices to everyone. One such group is those who practise polyamory, which is engaging in multiple intimate relationships with the consent of all the partners involved." 

Too many chefs don’t spoil the broth: Polyamory 101, Omaiha Walajahi, December 2020, on a psychological counseling website in Hyderabad. "This very idea [of only one possible True Love] is being questioned by a lot of people since time immemorial. Why do we have to contain love in these societal boxes? And who says we can’t love more than one person? People have been asking these questions and stepping away from the monogamous style of living."

More of my posts referencing India (including this one; scroll down).


●  Elsewhere in Asia,

–  Rice in Singapore bills itself as "Asia, Unfiltered. Rice is Asia’s alternative voice. From sex workers to politicians, contemporary art to street food, we bring fresh perspectives and bold commentary on everyday life in Asia." It just posted a long profile of a free-spirited Singaporean polyam lady, Janice Leong, and her tale of how she got where she is today: On Honesty and Uncertainty: What A Polyamorist Has To Teach Us About Relationships (Dec. 4) 

–  VOI in Indonesia is running many stories, each in Indonesian, English, Chinese, and Japanese, about US and British polyfamilies picked up from the British tabloids. For instance, A Polyamorous Husband And Wife Fall In Love With The Same Woman On Tinder (Dec. 3). See the bottom of that for links to a half dozen more. Say what you will about the tabs, they have reach.

–  Also in IndonesiaIn defense of open relationships, Sebastian Partogi, The Jakarta Post, Dec. 12. "Having observed some close friends who practice the open-relationship model, however, I begin to question whether the configuration is as negative as people have thought, compared with the much more privileged exclusive heterosexual monogamy."

–  Articles from Vietnam are showing up in my feeds, but Google Translate leaves me confused about the kind of media they're from. This one is from a child-care-services company that also presents magazine-style articles on its site: Just Exactly What Polyamory Dating, per Google Translate (Nov 27). Another seems to be in an overseas-employment magazine that also runs general-interest articles. 





    Tayla Means, 25, and Philip Barr, 27, met Tia Burt, 21, online when they had been dating for a year, and were trying to make new friends as a couple. 

    They met in person at the couple's home just a few days later and quickly bonded.

    After just three months of friendship, Tia confessed that she had feelings for both Tayla and Philip, and they revealed that they had fallen for her too.

    Tia had only been in monogamous relationships before, but happily moved into their home just five months after meeting them.
 
    They invested in a king size bed so they can all sleep together every night.
 
    Despite facing confused stares from strangers, the trio, from Florida, says they are happier than ever - and insist that jealousy is never an issue.


●  Lastly, about that casting call from Jupiter Entertainment for a reality TV series about polyfolks, apparently to be themed around Somerville, Mass.

A warning/advisory about this that I posted to the New England Polyamory facebook group set off an illuminating thread among local people. Some have investigated further and talked to the casting director, and others have come in with professional knowledge of the reality-TV industry and how it works. It's great to see the community coming together to share information and discuss how to present at least a partial united front. Some have reached out to educate the poorly informed people behind the show, who have adjusted the casting call accordingly and seem open to learning how to work with us.

Way too early to claim any success; as one insider posted, "the entertainment industry is brutal. It's why we have unions and agents and managers and definitely people still get screwed over." But it's heartening to see a community that can organize itself to deal with what looks like trash TV.

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November 27, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup – a lockdown triad "changed my idea of love." Sidewalks not wide enough for three to hold hands. And the passing of Allena Gabosch


Welcome to Friday Polyamory News Roundup for November 27, 2020.

●  Refinery29 this Thanksgiving week presents a tale of triad love conquering Covid disruption: Forming a 3-Way Relationship During Lockdown Changed My Idea of Love (November 24). Excerpts:
 

Naomi Blundell Meyer
By Abigail Moss

It’s a cold, windy night in February when my partner of eight years and I arrive at Original Sin, a cocktail bar in Stoke Newington. ... We’ve been chatting online with Andrea for a few weeks but this is the first time we’ll meet in person. In just over a month’s time, lockdown will force our relationship back online, though of course none of us knows this at the time.

...We agreed when we first joined Feeld that anonymous flings don’t do it for either of us. We both feel that a large part of what makes a person attractive is their personality and we wanted to get to know someone a bit before sleeping with them. With Andrea, this was easy – we realised straightaway that we have similar outlooks on life, the same weird senses of humour and loads of interests in common. Our dinner date flew by, just like our first date had done. Before any of us knew it, Monday had arrived; we’d spent the whole weekend together. The relationship quickly became about more than just sex.

...Then, one Sunday night shortly after Andrea had left mine and Paul’s flat, Boris Johnson announced that the UK was in full lockdown. ...

The next few months [of seperation] were tough. A lot of anxieties and insecurities bubbled to the surface for all of us and we each had moments of doubt about the future of the relationship. Even though polyamory is becoming more common, navigating a relationship like this can be tricky at times because there’s less out there to guide you. ... We chatted about our concerns and helped each other deal with the stress of the pandemic. As lockdown dragged on, we kept talking and worked hard to be honest and open with one another. There were some fun times too, and plenty of naughty WhatsApp chats....

When the lockdown rules eased, we arranged to meet up in a local park. Later, we admitted that we’d all been quite nervous beforehand, worried that it’d be awkward after all those months apart. It wasn’t. We drank rosé out of plastic cups in the sun and it was more like a few days had passed rather than a few months....

When the country went into a second lockdown, we barely had to discuss how we’d manage it... Paul and I immediately became Andrea’s support bubble. Our weekends are spent having lazy lie-ins, cooking together, watching movies. Lockdown fever still gets us sometimes (last weekend Andrea and I got bored of watching TV and successfully taught my cat to fetch a ball) but together this lockdown feels like a breeze compared to the first one.

We all feel incredibly lucky to have met and that the tough times were worth it. We don’t see the good times ending any time soon, no matter what surprises the future has in store. 



●  Also just out is another relatively happy Covid-era tale, by poly author Page Turner regarding her surprisingly good quaranteaming with just her spouse: What 8 Months of COVID Lockdown Have Taught Me About Toxic (and Non-Toxic) Monogamy (Nov 23)


...Since the middle of March, I’ve seen no one else in person aside from my live-in partner and the occasional delivery driver.... These are the perfect conditions for the kind of insularity that can threaten a bond, by making both parties feel trapped, smothered, or deprived. And yet, we’ve avoided that.

If anything, I’m finding we’re closer than ever. We’re getting along extremely well, despite being forced into close quarters together. We’ve not only been functionally monogamous but also just plain socially isolated.... This is not normal for us. It seems like a potentially socially toxic environment.

And yet, we’re thriving. Wow.

...I’m not one of those polyamorous people who think monogamy = bad. (Nor do I think that polyamory = good in every situation). ... Whether a relationship or relationship system is healthy depends less on the structure and more on the motivation for the relationship structure — why [it is] exclusive or open.

There are people who want relationship exclusivity because they think it’ll help them control someone else. ... That is what people mean when they talk about toxic monogamy.

I have certainly seen some examples of toxic monogamy culture during lockdown — in other relationships.

...It makes me really grateful that even when I’m functionally monogamous with my partner (we’re both basically ambiamorous, not squarely polyamorous or monogamous but able to do either happily depending on the health of the situation), that our relationship never looks like THAT.

Even when I haven’t seen another friend in person for months on end, I feel very free. Very unrestricted. And not a bit smothered.

It’s a good lesson about non-toxic monogamy, I think.



●  How often have you been presented with stereotyped love tragedies — in real life, the movies, literature, Italian opera, Shakespeare, advice columns — and thought "Well going poly would have solved that! Duhh?"

If they had known it was possible. They, and the culture around them. 

The classic love tragedy is about someone torn between two people, where rejection of either one will be a catastrophic heartbreaker/life-ender. Yet there is no other choice in sight.

The dummies.

To read about polyfolks in much of the mainstream media, you might think that the polyamorous possibility is only for a few extraordinary people with extraordinary skills. Mainstream advice columnists, in particular, need to get a clue otherwise: that knowing this option can be just as important for your conservative aunt in Dubuque as for a co-living urban Millennial who eats emotional-intelligence exercises for breakfast.

So we need more advice columns that raise the possibility. Like this one in The Good Men Project: ‘Should I Leave?’ Is the Wrong Question (Nov. 18)


By Jessica

“Should I break up with them?” is something my worried little fingers have typed into Google many a dark night. ... The question  “Do I want to break up with them?” hasn’t worked for me either. ... Using this method, I quite spectacularly broke my own heart by ending my first ever healthy relationship. ...

If we ask “What is better for my future self?” it can be more helpful in a variety of scenarios because it enables us to look several steps ahead. ...

This question also might lead to finding alternatives other than simply stay or leave. ...

If you want more romantic adventures so you feel you should leave your partner, but don’t want to because you still love them, polyamory or some form of open relationship could be solutions....

If you stopped feeling attracted to your spouse but loved parenting with them, you could consider a “parenting marriage” where you still live together but just as companions and co-parents.

The possibilities are, well, not endless but certainly less restrictive. ...



●  I quoted M. Ellery's Medium article How to Be a Non-Monogamous Mother in a Binary World a couple weeks ago. Turns out it's in a Medium sub-magazine called Polyamory Today that's been running since 2018. I should have known about this and maybe you should too. It has grown to 25 articles, mostly by people with their unvarnished tales of navigating actual poly life. It's excellent reading and might be good to suggest to newcomers whether they're starry-eyed or scared. The archive is sortable by category.


●  You knew this was coming: the latest fairytale polyfamily romance in the British tabloids. I haven't kept good count, but in the last six years or so I'd estimate there have been close to 80 of these happy tabloid profiles. Most of them follow the identical perky formula, with once-sentence paragraphs and lots of professional pix. The latest of these, out yesterday, is Newly-engaged couple who found themselves both falling in love with the bride-to-be's friend reveal they've formed a throuple after she ditched her boyfriend to be with them (Daily Mail, Nov. 26). They're in Germany.


From front: Larissa Mader, Patrick
Friedrich, Laura Hinsche

...Larissa met Laura, a nurse, in December 2019 at a friend's birthday party and the two become close friends.  

With Larissa introducing Laura to her long-term boyfriend soon after their engagement, the trio began to realise that they had a growing mutual love for one another. 

...Despite none of them having considered polyamory before, in April 2020 Larissa and Patrick invited Laura to form a throuple after both deciding that Laura would bring even more love and intimacy into their relationship.

Laura, who broke up with her boyfriend of six years to join the couple, spoke candidly about the throuple hitting some bumps in the road, figuring out how they could make their three-way relationship work.  

'From April to the end of May, we tried to make our relationship work but everything went wrong.

'The biggest mistake we made was actually that we talked far too little about the little things that bothered us.



They separated for a while, then came back together to try to make a better go of it.



'Since then, our relationship has been wonderful and we enjoy every second of it,' [said Laura].

'We live together and choose to do everything together.

'For us polyamory is not about having to share a partner with someone else because everyone loves everyone equally.



I hope they know to be flexible about that as time passes. No two relationships are ever alike, at least nor for long, and that's okay. 


...[Laura:] 'The most important thing in the poly relationship is communication because misunderstandings often arise much faster with three people than with two.'

Luckily, the throuple's respective families have been largely supportive of their decision to enter a three-way relationship, wanting the best for them however unconventional this may be. 

Learning from their previous mistakes and improving their communication, they are happier than they have ever been before and say that polyamory has just multiplied the love they give and receive.

She joked the throuple also had to overcome 'tiny' day-to-day obstacles, like sidewalks not being wide enough for the three of them to hold hands.  

...Larissa, Patrick and Laura are keen to show others online that being in a three-way relationship can work just as well as a conventional relationship.

'We just want to show that love works in a threesome,' Laura said.

'Of course there are some hurdles to overcome with communication in a throuple being even more important than in a couple.

'However, you shouldn't give up. You should fight for your love because polyamory is so special and unique.

...Larissa and Patrick are still planning their wedding for 2021 and would be marrying Laura too if three-person marriages weren't illegal in Germany. They also have plans to start a family. 

"Learning to live as a throuple was not easy on Larissa, Laura and Patrick, but
they are now looking forward to watching many more sunsets together."



  
ANNOUNCEMENTS:

   – That children's polyfamily book, A Color Named Love, reached its Kickstarter goal fast. That means the book is due out in March.

   – Loving More's Robyn Trask and Jesus V. Garcia will host an online discussion of all topics polyamory, Tuesday December 1 at 7 pm Mountain time, 9 pm Eastern. "Discussion is always open to current issues that people may be dealing with." Free.

   – Allena Gabosch, 1953–2020. Many of you knew this was coming, many didn't. For decades Allena was a beloved activist and whirlwind community educator in the polyamory and sex-positive worlds of the Pacific Northwest. She passed away on Wednesday, at age 67, after a fight with cancer. Notice and memorial from Zoe Duff.

Among other things she directed Seattle's Center for Sex-Positive Culture, originally known as The Wet Spot, for many years. Wrote a friend, "She lived her life loud and proud, on her own terms, and she literally pulled thousands together and created a community that fed all our souls. I certainly would not have accomplished what I have over the years had it not been for this amazing goddess."




Live like her.

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November 23, 2020

Today is Polyamory Day. Share it! And why November 23, you ask?


Limber up your meme-sharing fingers! Today, Monday November 23, is Polyamory Day.

Please share this from the original site (the Share button there is below the graphic on a phone, or in the big white sidebar on the right of a computer screen.)

Ambitious folks are building on the successes of the last several years to get this meme spreading, to further polyamory visibility and community.

Here's the Facebook post to share it from. It's best to share from there because, creator Steve Ks says, a thing shared from several different origins won't trend like something shared from a single origin.

Under the graphic is this:


If you agree that people who are polyamorous are entitled to the same rights, privileges, and governmental accommodation that others have, please circulate this image to others on your blogs, in email, and on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Polyamory is the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate loving relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

Thank you from activists on the Polyamory Leadership Network!


The backstory:

For years people floated ideas for an appropriate Polyamory Day, but nothing happened. Then in 2017 the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) took the initiative by declaring, with a press release, that November 23 would be National Polyamory Day in Canada. In 2018 they repeated the announcement for not just Canada but worldwide, and the idea spread. It spread further in 2019, with a graphic and text also offered in French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Dutch, and Italian. This year Steve Ks in Canada took the initiative and is publicizing this year's graphic through the Polyamory Leadership Network page. (I helped.)

Why November 23? Well, it had to be some date. This is the day when, in 2011, a British Columbia Supreme Court judge ruled that Canada's anti-polygamy law does not apply to modern polyamorists, if they do not try to make a group bond pass as a formally sanctioned marriage (polygamy). Previously, according to the law, three or more people simply living in one dwelling "conjugally" could be sentenced to five years in prison, although no prosecution had been brought for many decades.

But now that's fading into history, while the day is becoming a thing worldwide. Let's make this go!

BTW, below is a list of other more-or-less settled recognition days that are poly related (image link for sharing).  











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November 13, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup: Relationship anarchy as poly framework. New polyfamily kids' book, a heart-melt wedding, hihi birds, and more




●  Canada cross-border relationships update. Last month I posted a call by Canadian poly activists to press Parliament to allow not just "exclusive" relationship partners to visit from the US during Covid, but poly partners too. The "exclusivity" wording in the rules turned out to be vague, but even so the push failed. Says organizer Eve Rickert, "The [Immigration] Ministry has confirmed that polyamorous relationships are not eligible for visitation under these new rules." She and Carrie Jenkins wrote Canada Defines Love—Exclusively (Oct. 31).

●  Remember that piece on platonic romantic friendship in The Atlantic last month, built on the concept of relationship anarchy which the magazine failed to name? Following up, Self magazine named it: How ‘Relationship Anarchy’ Can Help You Deepen Your Friendships (Nov. 4).


Sarah Alice Rabbit / Adobe Stock
By Melissa A. Fabello

“You want to write about Rachael?” my mother asked. ... But when she read my [college application] essay for errors, she shed tears.... Not only because I was lucky to have someone so powerful in my life, but because she knew her own childhood best friend—more than any public figure, family member, or romantic partner—had deeply impacted her too. For both of us, the relationships we forged with our childhood besties would serve us well into adulthood: We would grow into who we were, partly because of the women we relied on while coming of age.

...It can be helpful to think of how cisheteronormativity feeds into our relationships as a relationship escalator, whereby societal messaging encourages you to date serially and monogamously until you meet the One. Friends support while you’re “on the hunt,” but then society expects you to hyper-focus on a singular, all-encompassing relationship. ...
 
Pushing back against the relationship escalator takes a fair amount of introspection and intentional action. Enter: relationship anarchy, a phrase created by queer feminist thinker Andie Nordgren, meant to capture the philosophical idea that social rules should not limit our relationships. ...

Overall, relationship anarchists place less emphasis on titles—like partner, sibling, parent, or friend—and more on the relationship’s significance. You’re not expected to prioritize your mother just by virtue of her being so. You’re not expected to live with a romantic interest over a platonic connection. Instead, you organize your life around the relationships that are most meaningful to you. ...

I practice polyamory, recognizing how unexamined monogamy can be harmful and limiting. By deprioritizing cis men in my life, I challenge the patriarchal notion that as a woman, my role is to cater to men. And I place friendships back where they belong for me—front and center—by giving mostly fellow queer, femme women the most gravitational pull in my orbit. ... A multifaceted system will always be more supportive than a singular focus for me. ...

In a world where we often joke about how hard it is to make and maintain friends in adulthood, we should question the systems that drive a wedge into those relationships in pursuit of one, narrow, sometimes fleeting structure. ...



●  So much for "natural law." Biologists say about 1,000 animal species are known to engage in homosexual or bisexual partnering and/or sex acts, with at least 450 of these species having it solidly documented. The number of known polyamorous species is growing too. These are creatures (often birds) that display long-term sexual and/or offspring-rearing partnerships among three or more adults.

The latest picked up by news media is New Zealand's hihi. New Zealand bird of the year: adult toy store endorses 'polyamorous' hihi (Guardian, Nov. 10).


Rod Williams / Alamy stock photo


















...The hihi, or stitchbird, is the only bird in the world to mate face to face, according to a statement released by Adult Toy Megastore as part of its campaign endorsement.

“We are proud to endorse the hihi for bird of the year 2020. Hihi lead the sex positivity movement among songbirds and for that we salute them and say to you: VOTE HIHI.

“Male and female hihi practice consensual polyamory (the practice of intimate relationships with more than one partner, with the informed consent of all partners) which is rare.


And as often happens in animals where a female mates with several males in rapid succession, sperm competition has evolved:


“Male hihi have testicles four times larger than they should be, making them, by size, the largest testicles on a bird in the world!… 


But don't go hoping for role models:


...Claims of consensual polyamory, however, were contradicted by a 2004 university thesis which found “male stitchbirds seem to be able to bypass female choice through adopting a face to face forced copulation position”.


Animals.


Massey University zoologist, Isabel Castro, who studied hihi mating systems, found they had a reproductive flexibility with few peers among perching birds. They can be found in conventional pairings or in breeding groups, Castro told NZ Geographic magazine. The group might consist of one male and several females, or in some cases one female may have several males in attendance. ...


New Zealand's bird-of-the-year competition has become a big thing in that nation. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is silent so far on the hihi; she is reported to be backing the black petrel.

I've been saving up a collection of polyamorous critter news for a future post. Watch this space.

(Update: Victory in the national competition went to the Kākāpō, the world's fattest parrot aka the "mighty moss chicken": an endangered, flightless ground dweller with a face likened to "that of a Victorian gentleman" and a smell "like the inside of a clarinet case, musty and kind of like resin and wood.")


●  A heart-melter today in the New York Times Style section, "Weddings" department: A Blue Moon Wedding for Two Goth Romantics (online Nov. 13). It's by Jenny Block, author of the groundbreaking book Open published back in 2008 when open relationships were barely recognized as a workable thing.


Vivienne Vermuth and Jason Perkins met in 2012 when she was performing at a burlesque show in Dallas. Although polyamorous, they decided to marry because they are “the center of each other’s lives and love.”

Dee Hill

On Halloween night, under a blue moon, Vivienne Vermuth and Jason Perkins, both dressed in black, were married after a dating life that Mr. Perkins describes as more layered than an onion.

...They call themselves “goth romantics” and were thrilled to realize 2020 would have the first full blue moon on Halloween in 76 years. “It’s a big deal for us,” she said. “It’s a time of cleansing, of starting over, and I can’t imagine a better time to do so than right now.”

The couple married in an outdoor ceremony Oct. 31 at Flag Pole Hill Park in Dallas by friend and fellow performer Honey Sin Claire, an Open Ministry minister.

They would have liked to have had more guests than the 10 that current Covid-19 protocol allows in Dallas. “We wanted to include our partners and their immediate family,” Ms. Vermuth said. “So it got hard very fast. Luckily it’s still about us, our love, and everyone around us understand and supports us which is most important.”

Mr. Perkins wore a gray velvet blazer and black pants. Ms. Vermuth wore a 1931, hand-sewn, black silk gown with a spider web Art Deco beaded back. Her sheer black gloves were embossed with velvet runes. Her bouquet and his boutonniere included ethically sourced mink skulls with wedding runes burned into them for love, perseverance, trust and sensual energy.



●  A children's book about polyfamilies is in its Kickstarter phase. A Color Named Love is written by M. Ellery and illustrated by Clara Reschke. "Meet Anna and her 4 parents in this children's book that celebrates polyamory and all the beautiful and valid forms of loving families." 


The authors' Kickstarter video.

Ellery has also written a Medium article: How to Be a Non-Monogamous Mother in a Binary World (Oct. 30). "Finding resources with polyamorous parents represented seemed impossible, so I created my own." The deadline for pledge donations is December 10. Estimated delivery of the book, if the Kickstarter goal is met, is March 2021. If the goal is missed your pledge will be returned.


●  And in the South Seattle Emerald ("a BIPOC-led nonprofit news outlet offering a wider lens of our region’s most diverse, least affluent, and woefully under-reported communities"), comes some poly poetry: I am learning to let love be boring, by Nic Masangkay (Nov. 11). Not bad.


●  ANNOUNCEMENTS:

–   The annual round of polyamory hotel conferences, rural retreats, and other regional events shut right down last March when Covid hit. Nevertheless I'm keeping Alan's List of Polyamory Events updated for the coming year.

Don't expect any big gatherings to restart until deep into 2021, I'm guessing. But some events are moving online, meaning you don't have to travel! Next up: 

November 22–23, 2020
ONLINE

PolyCon Canada 2020, a project of the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA), was originally scheduled to gather in Edmonton. Now it's a "24 hr livestream event from sundown Nov 22 to sundown Nov 23, 2020 (PST). Join us on Twitch or YouTube at no cost to view." Write for details.

"Title: Honouring Intersectionality and Diversity in our Communities. Livestreamed hosting, interactive chat, and video segments. Broadcast will also be available on YouTube and Twitch 24 hrs after the event." See schedule and program updates, including speakers. 


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

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