"Love me two (or more) times"
The alternative newspaper of central Florida presents a big, excellent intro to poly in its July 5th issue, starting with a profile of a local woman and her two males. They're part of the network of friends and lovers who have turned Florida's Tampa-Orlando axis, not exactly a hotbed of alternative culture, into one of the most polyactive areas in the U.S.
Monogamy not cutting it? Maybe you're a polyamorist.
By Deanna Sheffield
Shara Smith looks pretty normal. She’s petite with a pale complexion and long dark hair that falls well below the waist of her thin frame. Smith is 30, outgoing, childless and has a career as a lighting and video technician.... The only hint a casual observer might have that she’s not wholly middle-of-the-road is the message on the black camisole she wears during a recent interview: “My boyfriend says I need to be more affectionate,” it reads, “so now I have 2 boyfriends.”
It’s a joke, and it isn’t a joke. Smith has two boyfriends, as well as relationships with two other men that are “not well-defined.” She’s not a cheater; she’s a polyamorist, the difference being that all her boyfriends know about her other boyfriends, and they’re cool with it.
Smith is sipping coffee at an Orlando Starbucks and holding hands with Ki, one of her boyfriends. Unlike Smith, Ki (who asked that his last name be withheld) is shy, though today he’s excited.
Smith fires up her laptop and logs on to a live chat session with Franklin Veaux, another of her beaus. (Veaux has four girlfriends himself, including Smith. Ki, who has two girlfriends and three “undefined relationships,” has never met Veaux.)
Smith turns the video camera resting on top of her computer toward Ki. Smith and Ki are holding hands as the two men wave and smile at each other. At the conclusion of the conversation, Ki asks Smith for Veaux’s number so the men can chat, and says he looks forward to visiting him if he’s ever in Atlanta, where Veaux lives.
“Generally when you’re interested in one person, you tend to like the other people that they like,” says Smith. “You don’t go in thinking they’re a threat or competition; they’re allies.”
Such is life in a polyamorous relationship.
...“Poly is not mainstream because people are not aware of it, but that’s starting to change,” Veaux says. “I think that more people are becoming aware of it and considering methods aside from traditional monogamy.”
...Smith...keeps a computerized spreadsheet of everyone she’s slept with (or even been in close quarters with) since 1989, the results of their health tests, and all of the exams she has received over the years. Her Excel document, appropriately titled “Sexual Health and History Disclosure,” doesn’t just skim the surface. It lists her last checkup... It includes a laundry list of diseases ranging from HIV to syphilis and two types of the human papillomavirus, the dates she was most recently tested for each, the results and the status of any previous diagnosis. She includes her fertility status, the fact that she is not surgically sterile, uses condoms as her preferred method of birth control, doesn’t plan to have kids, and is pro-choice.
“Things don’t usually just happen,” she says. “There’s too many people that would be affected and could get hurt.”
Read the whole article. Be the first to comment at the end, or send a letter to the editor.
This is another one to bookmark for friends and relatives.
I am considering moving to the Tampa area - Clearwater, St. Pete, Tarpon Springs or near Orlando. I am a woman with two male partners. One I'm legally married to, the other I simply consider my husband as well.
Can you tell me what the climate is like there in terms of accepting this sort of thing? You sort of hint that the area is not very alternative friendly - though I don't care if they totally accept it but I also don't want threats coming at me either. I'm also an artist/photographer and would like to know what the area is like culturally.
I'm way up in New England, myself. I suggest you get in touch with
Poly Central Florida, http://www.polycentralfl.com/
Poly Orlando, www.polyorlando.org/
Poly Tampa, www.polytampa.com/
I'm sure they'll be very welcoming and glad to discuss things with you.
P.S. I see in your blog that you're a pagan in Southern Maryland. Sounds like you're living a parallel life near the Polyamorous Percolations webmaster (who's also pagan and part of an MFM household). Are you in touch?
@HeatherBartlett - as one of the leaders in the Central Florida poly community, you would be welcome here in the area! PolyTampa is a great resource close to you, but the two Orlando websites are for groups that are no longer around.
Fortunately, OrlandPoly has started to take up the slack. The website is http://sites.google.com/site/orlandopoly and you can find lots of resources and other people there and at PolyTampa
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