Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

November 29, 2005

"Stuck on Youse"

Maclean's magazine

Maclean's is the national news magazine of Canada — their Time or Newsweek. This very nice article on the growth of poly in Canada appeared in the issue for December 5, 2005.

Polyamorous relationships aren't any less committed — they're just a bit more crowded.


When an old flame walked back into Helen's life just a few months before she was to walk down the aisle with another man, there was only one solution: marry her fiancé, Michael Schilder, and start dating Aaron Miedema again — and have him emcee the wedding reception. "If I had been trying to choose a monogamous lifestyle, when Aaron came back into my life it would have been a crisis," says Helen Schilder, 33, a dressmaker. "I would have been thrown into a tizzy. But because I was polyamorous, we could share."

Schilder's situation may sound strange, but it appears increasingly common in Canada....

Read the whole article.


November 15, 2005

The New, Not-Quite Monogamy

New York magazine

Trendy New York magazine found a new trend to spotlight as its lead story for November 21, 2005. It's "The New Monogamy," in which couples dip their toes into polyamory, or maybe jump in pretty darn deep, but avoid calling it that. "Dirty IM-ing with strangers, heavy flirting at clubs, lap dances, three-ways, four-ways, taking a bath with someone you met at a bar because your girlfriend is busy: As long as it's negotiated in advance, there seems to be no limit to the amount of cheating that some couples will allow in the name of making a relationship last."

New York has a rep as a hip, savvy mag, but the article is striking for its ignorance about poly. (In the blurb above, for instance, why are negotiated agreements "cheating"?) And some of the people interviewed remind me of women who say, "I believe in equal rights and equal pay and no discrimination and all that — but I'm not a feminist!" A sample:

"We're not polyamorous," insists Mike — and in fact, every couple we spoke with said the same thing. "We don't date other people, and we don't have romantic relationships with our sex partners — though we've become close friends with some of them."

If he sounds a bit defensive, it's understandable. Because in most people's imaginations, you've got on the one hand your earnest, hairy polyamorists (see San Francisco) and on the other, doughy, middle-aged swingers (see Minnesota or HBO). These are the bogeymen of today's hipster open relationships — if we swing tonight, can a purple muumuu and a relocation west be far behind?

And yet....

"What's new here is not that couples are being nonmonogamous," says Stephanie Coontz, professor of history and family studies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and author of Marriage: A History. "It's that couples are negotiating the terms of their monogamy."

Sound familiar? A pair of practicing New Monogamists is described:

These two can certainly teach most couples a thing or two about communication: They finish each other's sentences and tease one another gently about the few times they've failed to follow their own simple yet strict rules. (1) The Vampire Rule: If they're both in the same city, they have to make it back by dawn. (2) The Three-Strikes Rule: All pinch hitters must be interested in befriending both Siege and Katie (and vice versa); however, up to three solo dates are acceptable to warm someone up. (3) The Postcards Rule: If they're seeing someone else on their own, they must bring home photographic evidence. (4) The Woman-Only Rule: Katie is bisexual, Siege is not — thus, for pinch hitters to meet rule No. 2, they must be female. (5) The Veto Rule: for Katie's benefit, allowing her to rule out potential home-wreckers. (6) The Safety Rule: What some couples call "body-fluid monogamy," i.e., always use condoms when having sex with a third... or a fourth... or a fifth...

I bet lots of these "not polyamorous" folks will be arriving among us soon enough, especially as they grow up a bit and begin to see their secondaries more as people than as "sex toys" (to use the term of several interviewees). Let's be ready to welcome them.

At the end of the article is a glossary of New Monogamy words, which only partially map onto poly lingo.

Read the whole article.


November 14, 2005

"Seriously Polyamorous"

The Observer (London)

The Observer is a large, respectable, middlebrow Sunday newspaper in London, England. According to this article on November 13, 2005, "a new frankness about simultaneous relationships" is sweeping that wild and crazy place, the United States.

...Polyamorists are coming out of the closet across America.... Many polyamorous people, who call themselves 'polys', liken their emergence to the struggle by gays and lesbians for equal rights, 'coming out' as poly in a society prejudiced against their lifestyle. 'Most people in the poly community are very closeted. The community is where gays and lesbians were in the Sixties,' said Justen Bennett-MacCubbin, the founder of Polyamorous NYC.

...To bored husbands or wives who might think being a poly means uncomplicated, carefree sex with multiple partners, [Brigitte] Philippides has a stern warning. 'If you can't manage one relationship healthily, you are not going to be able to manage two. For polys, relationships are like a consuming hobby: they take up a tremendous amount of time.'

Polys say that for many people, monogamy is unnatural. They point to spiralling divorce rates and widespread infidelity among monogamous couples. Polys, they say, are honest about the human condition. It is monogamists, they say, who live in a fantasy land.

'People divorce often not because of the cheating, but because of the issue of trust being broken. For polys, everything is open and it's all about honesty. All my relationships are working,' Philippides said.

...'We talk about jealousy openly. It is not a taboo word for us,' she said. In fact, polys have a term, called 'compersion'. This is the opposite of jealousy and involves taking pleasure from the success of your partner's other relationships. A hefty dose of compersion helps make polyamory work. That and a deft hand at scheduling so that no partner in a poly set-up feels unfairly treated....

Read the whole article.

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