Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

August 28, 2008

"What has six legs and scares some people? A 'committed' threesome or maybe just a bug"

Austin (TX) American-Statesman

A newspaper book reviewer checked out Jenny Block, and her heavily poly audience, at a public reading in Texas:

...Seated in a big circle, the diverse group of 40 listened as Block described the evolution of her 13-year marriage, which began conventionally and gradually evolved to include other loves....

A petite, confident woman who presented the topic articulately and with enormous wit, Block pointed to the hypocrisy of a society that prefers rampant cheating and lying and divorce to a paradigm shift that would acknowledge the simple and, she would argue, scientific fact that human beings are not naturally monogamous. (One benefit to her husband of their present arrangement, Block said: "He doesn't have to watch romantic comedies anymore." Presumably, her girlfriend doesn't find them a chore.)

Enthusiastic group participation made this an eye-opening evening. One woman volunteered that she is "married" to three other adults (a woman and two men, with whom she lives, along with the group's children), and that the four adults often sleep in the same bed. For her, more is more, she said, even if she has to hide her personal life from her employer and others....

Read the whole article; scroll partway down (Aug. 10, 2008).

August 16, 2008

"Like the love triangle in 'Vicky Cristina,' real-life trios see all sides"

New York Daily News

Woody Allen's new movie "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" opened this weekend (here's a review; here's the trailer). The New York Daily News, circulation 700,000, uses it as the springboard for a feature article about real-life poly vees and triads:

By Patrick Huguenin

On Friday, Scarlett Johansson, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem hit the big screen as a trio of volatile lovers in Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."

In the movie, Bardem kisses Johansson. Johansson kisses Cruz. Then, they all fall for each other. But in real life, far from the jaunty shores of Allen's Barcelona, the mechanics of a "three-way-tionship" are more complex.

Click for photos of pop culture's most famous 3-ways.

Miriam Axel-Lute is a 33-year-old writer based in upstate New York. In 1997, she exchanged vows of commitment with her college girlfriend, Rebecca. In 2005, she exchanged vows again, with Robin, a man she now refers to as her husband. And so did Rebecca.

"You have to make your vows short," she wrote afterward, "when they're going to be said six times."

The two entered into what is known as a polyamorous triad relationship, or a "poly triad." Miriam, Rebecca and Robin each wear two rings on their left hands. In 2006, Miriam gave birth to a daughter....

When it comes to parenting a toddler, Miriam's poly triad offers conveniences that couples might envy.

"At the moment," she says, "Rebecca is staying home with her, Robin works outside the house and I work from home. He goes to work in the morning. I go downstairs to my office. I go upstairs at lunchtime and help put her down for her nap. We rotate bedtime routine and a little perk is we rotate dates. Our little girl ... gets one-on-one time with one of us while the other two are having a date, which is something that a lot of new parents don't get to say."

The article goes on to describe the executive director of Seattle's Foundation and Center for Sex-Positive Culture (formerly known as The Wet Spot):

Allena Gabosch, 55, is a Seattle-based sex activist and educator.

She describes her current core relationships as a "V".... One of her partners lives in Canada and the other about an hour-and-a-half north of Seattle, on the drive in between. Once they were involved in a poly triad. Now, the other two continue to see Allena, but without seeing each other.

At their best, says Allena, the trio enjoyed a warm bond and shared hobbies — most of them outside the bedroom.

"We didn't do much sex stuff together, but we did a lot of stuff together," she says. When Allena's girlfriend and boyfriend decided to split, she found herself in the center — or at the apex.

"I would get phone calls from either one of them," she says. "I had a five-minute rule. They could call me and vent for five minutes, then they couldn't mention the other person again."

In fact, she says, the split was made easier by a set of tenets by which all three lived. Full disclosure. No talking behind anyone's back. No surprises....

Read the whole article (Aug. 15, 2008), and add to the growing comments.

Regarding the Center for Sex-Positive Culture, one of its board members writes, "We have 2,500 active members and are doing over 120 events this month, mostly in our own facility. And Allena rocks!"

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August 11, 2008

"Sharing the Wealth": a mono shows his admiration

The Daily Californian (UC Berkeley)

A columnist for the Berkeley student newspaper finds us scary but praiseworthy:

Sharing the Wealth

By Louis Peitzman

I'm told that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. That's likely why I've never given polyamory a second thought. Openly dating two (or more) people without drama or moral conundrums sounds great, but there's got to be a catch, right?

Further research, however, indicates that there isn't, really....

I'm not advocating polyamory for all, because that would mean polyamory for me, and there is no way in hell. I'm just saying, I admire the openness, the communication, the everyone getting exactly what they want. We could stand to learn something from the polyamorous, even if we see our relationships as a strictly one-on-one deal.

...First, there's the idea of sharing. Non-poly couples deal with this, to some extent, but there's a sizable difference between sharing your closet space and sharing your significant other. The latter requires understanding, security and the knowledge that a person can't really belong to you in the first place. One of the things I like most about polyamory is that there's this inherent selflessness built in. As an only child, that appeals to me, because it's pretty much a foreign concept.

From a practical perspective, polyamory forces time management.... Sorting all this out requires massive patience and a color-coded Google calendar....

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we come to the issue of jealousy — or maybe the lack thereof. Except, from what I understand, polyamory isn't so much about not getting jealous as it is about dealing with that jealousy productively.... Instead of getting all torn up about it, which is probably how I'd handle things, they use it to their advantage. Rather than mope, they identify and respond to their feelings: Where is this coming from? What can I do to stop it? How can I prevent myself from feeling this way in the future?...

Read the whole article (Aug. 11, 2008).

And while we're on college newspapers, a columnist for the Dartmouth Free Press weighs serial monogamy versus poly:

By Valerie M. Arvidson

Serial monogamy, the repeated leaping from one sexually monogamous relationship to another, has become the most popular dating trend of our generation.... In a way, it is a median: Polyamory (literally “many loves”), having multiple sexual partners at once, is still regarded as a risky undertaking; while full blown monogamy this early in our lives feels like a death sentence.

...College-aged students are most often found in serial monogamist relations partly because leaving home means needing to find someone else to take care of them.... But this kind of investment often gets poor return because, let’s face it, monogamy is hard. It’s a social ideal that many question. What are the benefits over polyamory? It feels safer. It feels safer to have series of monogamous relationships as opposed to parallel sexual relationships. The risk of getting hurt seems less, and yet, serial monogamists probably get hurt just as often as polyamorous persons; the pain is just punctuated and stretched across time....

Read the whole article (June 2008).

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August 6, 2008

"Just like that, we became a triad"

The Frisky

Everybody knows polyamory is hard — this is advanced graduate-level relationship stuff, it demands major self-analysis and communication skills, it'll test you bigtime, this ain't for wimps. Right?

Not always. The Frisky, a big webzine/blogsite for women about sex and relationships, presents an article by someone who's breezed right along as if she were born to it. Some people are.

I really didn’t know what polyamory was until I fell into it at 27. I was arguing one day with a couple I’d been sleeping with for about a month, when BAM! I ended up in a three-way relationship.

Just like that, we became a triad. It was easy and natural and we had such a good time! There was twice the energy and convenience of a normal relationship. We all had a lot going on, but when one of us was busy, the other two were still able to spend time together. Jealousy just wasn’t there. We didn’t have to ration out love. It multiplied.

On the negative front, our problems turned out to be really the same as anyone else’s. Dan did dumb boy things and I did dumb girl things and Ellie just watched calmly and loved us like a true negotiator. Our situation felt totally normal to us, so much so that we often forgot that people didn’t expect to see a man out for Valentine’s Day dinner with two dates, or three people snuggling together on a plane.

The only real trouble with being a triad came from the world around us.... It really sucked that we couldn’t be too open or affectionate without inviting gossip and discrimination....

And when things changed, it happened in a pretty common way. I finished school and wanted to move on to begin my career. Ellie got an excellent job offer in another city, and we moved there together. Dan stayed behind to continue his work, but planned to move there eventually too.

When Dan and I broke up a few months after the move, he and Ellie remained together, and he and I stayed friends. Sure, now it’s complicated, but what relationship isn’t?

Most importantly, I’m not worried about what the future holds — whether I stay with Ellie, whether she and Dan stay together, etcetera — because this whole situation, this love story, has changed the way all I (all three of us, really) view love.... One of the best lines I’ve heard came from a member of our poly discussion group back home: “A relationship’s value does not depend on its length.” Each stage of a relationship is a part of your life, and doesn’t have to last forever to be successful.

...Oh, and threesome sex is hot.

Read the whole article. (Aug. 4, 2008)

Also from The Frisky: "...we wouldn’t be surprised if, come fall, polyamory is the new lesbian is the new black."

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August 4, 2008

More great Spanish poly coverage: El poliamor los tiene 'atrapados', and others

El Mundo; La Vanguardia (Spain)

Spain's largest and most established newspapers, the conservative El Mundo and the liberal El País, have both been preparing long feature articles on polyamory, including profiles of the Barcelona triad who have become Spain's very public poly spokespeople. The El Mundo article appeared in the paper's Sunday magazine section on July 20, 2008. The article by El País is still in the works, and because they got scooped, they may hold it back for a while.

Juliette Siegfried (aka ktylove) of the Barcelona triad sends this translation of El Mundo's first several paragraphs:

Polyamory has them "captured"

By Loreto Marmol. Photography by Chema Conesa.

A man in the arms of two women who are devoted to him and fight for his attention could be the dream of any man, or a portrait of Roland Combes. Juliette Siegfried is spontaneous, joyful and passionate but, except for the name, has nothing in common with Shakespeare's [Juliet]. She doesn't believe in eternal love nor would she be willing to die for it, not even for what she feels towards Roland, her husband of 10 years. And she is not the only "Juliet" he has eyes for. Roland is also devoted to his girlfriend Laurel Avery. They met during a move, and from the beginning there were sparks. They just celebrated their first anniversary together.

Juliette, 41, greets us barefoot in the Barcelona apartment she shares with Roland, the same age, and where Laurel, 42, visits often. First dispute: how to sit together on the sofa. They don't want Roland giving an image of a king, so Juliette decides to sit in the middle. And if it looks like someone always loses in a love triangle, right then; their cat Deci sits between them both.

No jealousy nor possession

They consider themselves a polyamorous family, with the possibility of loving multiple people at the same time, without feelings of jealousy or possession (or at least they work to manage these). The fundamental values are respect and non-possessiveness. According to the French psychologist Yves-Alexandre Thalmann, author of The Virtues of Polyamory: The Magic of Multiple Loves [Las virtudes del poliamor: La magia de los amores múltiples], in this concept "the equality of the sexes is a given and even promotes feminine emancipation." On the other hand, remember that polygyny (one man married to several women) and polyandry (one woman married to several men) assume a dominant/dominated relationship.

In September they will move in together. They are looking for a home in Sitges with three bedrooms (the current one has two). They are looking for an apartment, not just rooms, because they are not bisexual and don't [all] sleep together. When it comes to sex "We take turns," they explain. And if they both want him at the same time? Juliette says the night is long [laughs]. "To the one who's waiting, I say, 'Just finished, on my way!' he jokes. "No, we can wait a night," the women say.

It's not for sex

The objective of polyamory is not to form a harem. They are no more interested in sex than anyone else: "Sexuality is not a determining aspect of polyamory; its principal content is love," confirms the expert. People usually think polyamory means having several girlfriends, "but there's not time to go from house to house. For us it's more important to have long lasting, deep relationships," explains Roland.

They are also looking for a larger apartment because Laurel is pregnant. Is it Roland's? Juliette pauses and says, "Definitely." Laurel, a homeopath, hadn't thought of having children until she met them. During her youth she saw how her mother, single, had to work very hard to get ahead.

Children and finances

"I'm very happy that they are both going to be parents of my child," she says. And she believes that this will offer more love, time, money, and resources to care better for the child. "In a society like ours things are easier with three because we can combine our incomes," points out Roland, a programmer. Juliette, a medical translator, things it is better because they will be able to share the work of caring for the baby. In her opinion, two is not enough: "It's our way of growing our family," and is the only circumstance in which they wanted to have children. Thalmann advises polyamorous parents not to share the details of their love lives with their children: "Let them know about your polyamorous nature, yes; but tell them details about your encounters, no."

They meet twice a month to review finances, and they have a joint account for expenses. Their individual purchases are made from their own accounts and if they are expensive, they consult with the others first. However, dates and dinners out are their biggest expenses. "If cheating is expensive, being honest is cheaper," says Juliette....

This is the conservative paper? There is a sidebar with the obligatory warning from a psychologist:

A Risky Game

Pilar Varla, psychologist and author of Pure and Lasting Love (Amor puro y duro; La Esfera de los Libros, 2004) believes that "you can't be in love with two people at the same time." Therefore, this expert in loving relationships distinguishes between the love that underlies connections of protection, gratitude, living together, economics, comfort, caring, and romantic love.

"Not having sexual exclusivity with the one you love causes a lot of pain and a feeling of fraud," she warns.

According to the psychologist, maintaining multiple relationships is an "inconvenient formula" and she doesn't recommend it because it "rarely works." Varela points out that normally there is no symmetry: "One proposes it and the other tolerates it, one commands and the other agrees, one enjoys more and the other less and even suffers in silence. The fewer external interferences in a relationship, the happier they will be with the relationship and with themselves."

Here's the whole original.


And here's more from Spain.

  • La Vanguardia, the largest newspaper in Barcelona and Catalonia, has a column titled Urban Pathologies ("Ultrasonography of an unstructured society"), whose author recently wrote a column on polyamory, "a trend that emerged a few years ago but now seems to have an ever greater media and social presence" (July 24, 2008). He explains the concept well and is much more sympathetic to it than the title of his column would suggest! He also gives a mention to the new book by Yves-Alexandre Thalmann, Las virtudes del poliamor.

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August 3, 2008

Poliamor report on El Universal TV

El Universal TV from Mexico broadcast a wonderful Spanish-language report about polyamory, five minutes long, on its news show Código 2008 on August 3, 2008. El Universal TV is a branch of Mexico's largest newspaper and is on Cablevision in parts of the U.S.

Watch it here (may require Internet Explorer or a Firefox plug-in), or on YouTube.

From the show's program guide (translated):

I live with my two boyfriends

Polyamory refers to the lifestyle of people who have intimate and loving relationships involving more than two persons, with the full knowledge of those involved. Diana, Israel and Sergio are a case that breaks away from the hitherto traditional Mexican family. Let's take a look at their banquet of loving.

Sunday August 3, 22:00 hrs.
Proyecto 40, or Channel 140 on Sky and Cablevision
On the Internet: www.proyecto40.com.mx [for subscribers].

The entire 49-minute news show, including the poly segment near the end, is also available on the Proyecto 40 site (choose Internet TV, then Código, then 3 de Agosto de 2008).

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