Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

November 24, 2008

Jean-Paul Sartre's play No Exit as a poly fable

So a while ago Sparkler and I went to see a production of the play No Exit. Even if you've never heard of it, you've probably heard Jean-Paul Sartre's signature line from it:

"Hell is other people."

I came away thinking something I've never seen anywhere: that Sartre surely wrote the play with a polyamory theme in mind, which reviewers and commentators have missed over the years because they didn't lead Sartre's poly life.

So here goes. (If you're not into lit-crit type stuff, move along now, nothin' to see here....)


The play goes like this. Three strangers, freshly dead and just arrived in Hell, are escorted by a demon valet into a nice hotel room, where they will be sealed up together for all eternity. They are a man and two women, one of them a lesbian. Within the first hour and a half they are trying to kill each other and themselves, using a letter-opener that the managers of Hell thoughtfully left in the room for them. Only to discover that in Hell, you can't even die. Bwahahaha!

I'd never seen the play performed before. But I knew about it ever since I had deep discussions of it in high school with my first love, when I was 16. (Sartre was taught in high school back then.) I insisted to her that if hell is other people, heaven must be too. The difference is all up to us.

Watching the play, it became clear that the hotel room is meant to be not a hell but a purgatory, a place where salvation is still possible — if the characters could only get it together. For instance: early on, when the characters realize that they are intended to be each others' torturers (no demons required), the man proposes that they can beat the system and save themselves by sitting silently apart from each other in the corners and contemplating repentance.

Of course they can't keep this up for long. The lesbian behaves as a vicious domme toward the bubblehead socialite girl; the socialite displays stupid hots for the guy; the guy is disgusted with her but goes along with it in order to spite the jealous lesbian to her face.

Along the way, we learn that a defining sin for each of these three people in life — a reason why each one has been sent to Hell — was his or her behavior in a truly horrid triangle relationship of one sort or another. And here they are locked together forever, in another three.

Now, Sartre had one of the first famously open relationships involving threesomes: with his lifelong partner, Simone de Beauvoir (though he's often judged to have treated her poorly.) I looked up some biography, and found that the two of them at times brought a third partner into their couple relationship. In fact, says a recent biographer, de Beauvoir's own first novel, She Came to Stay, "was based on the trio that she and Sartre formed with a younger woman called Olga Kosakievicz." And if I'm reading the history right, Olga was apparently in the first group of three actors to rehearse No Exit when Sartre wrote it!

So Sartre was quite familiar with living and functioning in MFF threes (yes, de Beauvoir was actively bi). And even when not in one, he and de Beauvoir (their relationship lasted 50 years) famously agreed to tell each other everything about their other lovers.

This had to affect his thinking and writing about bound-together, sexually interested threes.

I say that No Exit has a little-noticed poly message that's quite different from the unrelenting bleakness that most people see in Sartre. If the characters were literally at each others' throats 90 minutes after their arrival in the room, where will they be after a year in there, or 20 years, or 600? Their hell was arranged to fit their sins. It is up to them to redeem themselves: by learning to treat partners in a triad with the love and kindness and devotion they failed to show in life, and thus create their own salvation there in that room — since they'll be in it for eternity. If they want to get to heaven, this is where they must make it, themselves.

Consider: Sartre makes a big point of stating that the room is furnished with no mirrors, and that even the women's make-up mirrors have vanished out of their purses. Therefore, as he has a character say, the only way they can ever see themselves again is by the tiny reflections that show when they look deep into one another's eyes. There's a message of redemption here overlooked by critics who lack Sartre's poly life experiences (even considering how dysfunctional those experiences sometimes were). Because if hell is other people, heaven is too.

Heck, if it was just a man and a woman in the room, and they'd been sent to Hell for their bad behavior as parts of couples, every reviewer would say it's obvious they're supposed to save themselves by learning to love well as a couple. Duhh.

And then, I found a statement by Sartre himself (in the preface he narrated for the Deutsche Grammophon recording of No Exit), that the characters in the play are indeed supposed to be able to create their own redemption:

What I wanted to suggest is precisely that many people are encrusted in a series of habits and customs... but that they don't even try to change.... I wanted to show by way of the absurd the importance freedom has for us, that is, the importance of changing our actions by acting differently. No matter what circle of Hell we're living in, I think we're free to break out of it.

Okay, opinions from any Sartre fans out there?


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November 19, 2008

Queer poly advice for students

The Brandeis Hoot

Do polys qualify as "queer"? Once an insult, queer is now proudly embraced by the whole LGBTQIAA world (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, asexual, and allies). Sometimes a P gets added to that.

The poly and queer worlds certainly overlap. In the Loving More survey of 1,010 polys taken in 2000, 667 stated their sexual preference; of these, 51% said they were bisexual. (The complete survey data are now online at the Kinsey Institute; see page 23 in the documentation.) Informal estimates have put the number of bi polys at 30% to 60% of all polys. My experience is that when you ask a roomful of people at a poly conference how many consider themselves bi, 30% or 40% raise their hands.

This compares to just 2.3% of the general population. (1.8% of men and 2.8% of women age 18–44 in the U.S. gave their sexual preference as "bisexual" when surveyed for the CDC's 2002 National Survey of Family Growth; see tables 12 and 13 on pages 30 and 31 of the PDF doc.)

And to look at the equation from the other direction: a lot more queers are functionally poly, or poly-friendly, than straights are.

Nevertheless, in his always-thoughtful freaksexual blog, Pepper Mint argues that "poly is not necessarily queer". Although the two subcultures have important things in common, he gives good reasons to consider them distinct.

A few days ago at Brandeis University, it was queers who took the lead. The "Ask the Queer Resource Center!" column in a student newspaper gave the campus a good introduction to polyamory and its values:

Dear QRC,

My partner, “Taylor,” and I have been together for 7 months, and are very committed to each other. Lately, I have been interested in opening up the relationship, but I’m too embarrassed to bring it up....

Sincerely, Eager Explorer


In the queer community, this is known as Polyamory, an identity based on consensual non-monogamy. Polyamorous people believe that love can be strengthened, not weakened, by participation in multiple (carefully negotiated) emotional and/or sexual relationships. It is perfectly fine for you to want further romantic involvement with other people, because expecting to get everything you want from only one person is often unrealistic.

Yet as long as you want to stay with Taylor, open dialogue and consent is key: without honest negotiation, this is infidelity, not polyamory. Therefore, it is important to be completely honest with Taylor before further exploration.

You might start out by telling Taylor why you value this relationship. Then explain why you think that Polyamory could be a liberating endeavor for both of you. Propose the idea of remaining “primaries”: in Polyamory, these are long-term partners who remain each other’s first priorities....

No matter what, communication is crucial.

Read the whole article (Nov. 14, 2008).


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November 12, 2008

Poly books in the news

A nice thing about getting a book published is that it can reach people who never read books. Talk shows, newspaper and magazine articles, and new-media chatter (pushed, hopefully, by the publisher's publicity department) can all spread your stuff around.

Here's a roundup of recent media prompted by books on polyamory.


Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino (371 pages, Cleis Press, May 2008).

Sex author Tristan Taormino keeps adding to her list of media appearances for this book, which was published last spring.

A new addition to the list: in Montreal's weekly newspaper Hour, a columnist muses on the meaning of Taormino's book and also Jenny Block's Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage, which was published at nearly the same time:

By Laura Roberts [Nov. 6, 2008]

...Both Jenny Block and Tristan Taormino make the argument that human beings, like many other animal species, just aren't cut out for lifelong relationship commitments. In her book Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage, Block discusses her own decision to open up her marriage. Taormino's book, Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, is a sort of how-to manual that focuses on the history and various kinds of open relationships. Both writers agree that monogamy is rarely an option that is chosen these days so much as dictated by society. Indeed, the society we currently live in would have us believe that the perfect couple is one in which neither partner needs nor wants anything outside of the relationship.

This is, of course, insane....

...Certainly, open relationships aren't the answer for everyone, but these two books urge us all to communicate more about our own wants and needs — sound advice for couples of all kinds.

Read the whole article.

In the UK, The F Word, "contemporary UK feminism," presents a long review of Opening Up:

By Red Chidgey

Once past the salacious opening of Taormino admitting she enjoyed public sex parties, the writing style and presentation of this book is textbook detached. The romantics amongst us might prefer the more poly-as-gift approach of Wendy-O Matik’s Redefining Our Relationships, which speaks to the creative, focused-attention side of open relationships and anarcha-dating styles. Or there’s the juicily imaginative Pagan Polyamory: Becoming a Tribe of Hearts, by Raven Kaldera — a witch’s look at building a community of lovers which deals with the obstacles and challenges of polyamory from an astrological/Pagan approach: from communication processes of Mercury to the transformations of Pluto.

This said, Opening Up is a much-welcome addition to the polyamory fray and deals expertly with the philosophical and manifold reasons for giving up on the ghost of monogamy.... In terms of breadth, it rivals other books on the market for providing working models for all kinds of non-exclusive permeations and for being transparent about the demographics of its research informants (the appendices include a breakdown of age, occupation and so on for the hundred or so people who contributed their stories to the book). For open-relationship beginners, it is an excellent first port of call; for those who greedily snap up anything on poly-loving that they can find, it might not offer anything new, but it will refresh your memory about stuff that is worth revisiting.

Yep, Opening Up may skimp on lurid details of play mates and sex adventures, or fall short on suggestive ideas about the erotic/cute things you can do for the lovers in your life (take a look at the poly bible The Ethical Slut for that); but it does provide a comprehensive journey for relationship self-starters. Demonstrating that non-exclusive relationships aren’t just for the queers and self-confessed perverts, Taormino weaves interviews, analysis and in-depth profiles of poly practitioners to represent and eulogize how everyday “people make room in their beds, lives, and hearts for other people”. Count me in.

Read the whole review (Sept. 4, 2008).

Taormino is currently back out on the book-tour trail, with public appearances coming up in Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington DC, and Baltimore; see her schedule of events.

Taormino maintains an Opening Up book website that's especially notable for its big, up-to-date listings of poly resources — including local and regional poly groups and poly-friendly professionals (therapists, doctors, lawyers, etc.).

Also, don't miss her sex-advice site Pucker Up (NSFW), and her Double-T Newsletter. Sadly, she was recently laid off from her longtime Village Voice column.


Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage by Jenny Block (276 pages, Seal Press, May 2008).

Meanwhile, Jenny Block appeared last week on "Good Morning Texas," a TV talk show in her home area, Dallas/Fort Worth. Watch it here (Nov 6, 2008).

The Tyra Banks Show has put up a quick video of Jenny giving a few sentences of open-relationship advice, and the comments are burning up. Add your own.

She has also gotten a new gig writing a weekly Sex Talk column in Quick, a free weekly paper put out by the mainstream Dallas Morning News.

The best-selling lesbian magazine Curve interviews Block in its November issue. The interview is not on the web (yet); it's in the paper magazine only.

Block has a column in the Huffington Post. She also has a new video up on Tango magazine's website, for which she has written several articles.

She also contributed the lead chapter to a new anthology titled One Big Happy Family: 18 Writers Talk About Polyamory, Open Adoption, Mixed Marriage, Househusbands, Single Motherhood, and Other Realities of Truly Modern Love, edited by Rebecca Walker (Riverhead Books). The book is due out February 19, 2009. "These plainspoken, cage-rattling essays... address how dramatically the traditional nuclear American family has changed," writes Publisher's Weekly. Read the whole review; scroll 1/8 of the way down (Nov. 10, 2008).


The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and "Catherine A. Liszt" (Janet Hardy) (279 pages, Greenery Press, 1997) is now 11 years old and getting dated. A revised and expanded second edition is due out next year. But the current edition is still selling well and getting occasional media notice, such as this from Time Out New York:

Free love: Is getting intimate with more than one person really so wrong?

By Julia Allison

I first heard of the 1997 cult-favorite book The Ethical Slut almost a year ago, when the guy I was seeing at the time referenced it to support his case (more like plea) for an open relationship. I found the title intriguing, but only recently purchased a copy. The premise is that polyamory (being romantically involved with more than one person at a time) is our natural state — monogamy, not so much.

...The authors argue that it’s not inherently unethical to have simultaneous partners; what is unethical is treating your partners badly.... “We measure the ethics of a good slut not by the number of his partners, but by the respect and care with which he treats them.... One-night stands can be intense, life-enhancing and fulfilling; so can lifetime love affairs,” they write.

They take issue with our culture’s prevailing sentiment that “If you’re really in love, you will automatically lose all interest in others,” and the corollary “If you’re having sexual or romantic feelings toward anyone but your partner, you’re not really in love.”

...On a personal level, the authors might have convinced me that any hurt I’ve experienced is just the grief over what I’ve considered to be another strikeout in the relationship game. Perhaps I should take a look at it from their point of view: “Our monogamy-centrist culture tends to assume that the purpose and ultimate goal of all relationships — and, for that matter, all sex — is lifetime pair-bonding, and that any relationship which falls short of that goal has failed.... All relationships have the potential to teach us, move us, and above all, give us pleasure.”

...Honestly, if all men I dated treated me with this much respect and love, I’d probably have slept with a lot more of them.

Read the whole article (July 17-23, 2008).


In yet more poly book news: Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli posts that her new young-adult novel Love You Two (Random House, October 2008; 307 pages; ISBN 9781741660715 paperpack) "has been published here in Australia. It is the first to address polyamorous and bisexual relationships, particularly for young adults, in Australia. Any critical feedback is most welcome!" (It's now available on Amazon.)

Here is the publisher's description:

When Maria was a little girl, her mum used to sign cards and notes to her and her younger brother Leo with the crazy line, Love you t(w)oo. It was supposed to make them feel like their mum had heaps of love for both of them, that she loved them equally. Well, that's okay when you love all your kids. Actually, that's the way it should be. But what happens when your mum decides that her turning-40 revolution is going to be the announcement that she loves your dad as much as ever, but is also in love with someone else! Maria's mum has always been strong and funny and maybe a bit too cool for a mum. Maria's always loved her mum for fighting the 'old wog ways' and making sure Maria has an easier time growing up and discovering love than she did. But can Maria's love for her mum deal with this? Is there a limit to love and can it easily turn to hate? Does love end? What is love anyway? And what does it all mean for Maria's own feelings about her new guy?

From the author:

Love You Two was inspired by Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli’s 15 years of community work and academic research and publishing in sexual, family and cultural diversity in Australia, with an emphasis on adults and adolescents, and parents and their children.

She says, ‘There were lots of people I’d met, events I’d witnessed, that just hung around in my head and heart begging to be taken out, aired and affirmed. I wanted to write a comforting, funny, challenging and realistic book for young people and the adults in their lives who love “differently”, whose families are misunderstood, misrepresented, and hidden, so that they could find themselves and know that what matters is how people love, not who they love.’

And this is from a review by an English teacher:

...Here, [she] encounters a different style of living where openness and acceptance are the norm: ‘Where people are multicultural, multisexual. Where knowing how to love is what matters, not who you love.’ Love You Two is an absorbing coming-of-age novel about the complex nature of identity: the false fronts that people present to the world and the secrets they keep hidden. The ideas presented in it are radical and challenging — perhaps too much so for some — with homosexuality and bisexuality, polygamy and sexual intimacy discussed in a frank and open manner. At times, this makes for discomfiting reading. Ultimately, while Love You Two is to be commended for its bravery, it should be recommended with discernment.

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November 10, 2008

Poly coming to the stage (and screen, and webcast sitcom...)

There's been a bunch of news about upcoming plays and other shows centering on polyamory. Is this a trend?

From Broadway World:

"All My Love" Play Opens March 2009.

Diamante Productions presents the world premiere of "All My Love," a comedy-drama about the perils and pitfalls of open relationships, written and directed by Artistic Director Tony Fiorentino. "All My Love" is an exploration of alternative "lovestyles" and a critique of Western society's most cherished notions of monogamy, fidelity, and marriage.

Ellen Fletcher, an award-winning sexologist and divorcée, decides to convert to "polyamory" in the wake of her marriage's downfall, hoping to eschew the complications of another exclusive relationship. But when she becomes romantically involved with her divorce attorney, she finds that it's not that easy to practice what you preach.... Meanwhile her teenage daughters search for the meaning of love through the prism of their mother's heterodox philosophy on relationships.

"All My Love" will run in Chicago at the Theatre Building from March 19 to May 10, 2009. Read the press release (Nov. 3, 2008).


Linton Media in Brooklyn, headed by the award-winning LGBT television producer Katherine Linton, has put out a casting call for people to appear in "a new docu-reality series based on the lives of polyamorous or poly-curious individuals and their partners. There is strong network interest in our show, and we are looking for serious auditions only."

One of the people behind this project is Birgitte Philippides, president of Polyamorous NYC, which should guarantee that this is a worthy endeavor. I have high hopes.

Are you 20-35 years old, dynamic, charismatic, and not at all afraid to show your authentic side? Are you a married couple and just integrating polyamory into your relationship? Gay, straight, bisexual, trans and have never really heard of polyamory or how it works but, willing to explore? Are you someone who has always been prone to affairs, realize monogamy is just not for you, want to bring everything above board and declare yourself polyamorous?

Looking to cast 5 primary characters who, along with their partners, lovers, spouses, are willing to be completely out and open as you challenge traditional monogamy and embrace or explore this new "love-style" movement.

For more information write to poly AT lintonmedia.com


CineKink in New York, "the really alternative film festival," is calling for poly entries among others for its next annual film festival, to run February 24 to March 1, 2009:

CineKink is an organization dedicated to the recognition and encouragement of sex-positive and kink-friendly depictions in film and television. CineKink NYC is seeking films and videos, of any length and genre, that explore and celebrate the wide diversity of sexuality.... Cutting across orientations, topics covered at CineKink have included — but are by no means limited to — BDSM, leather and fetish, swinging, non-monogamy and polyamory, roleplay and gender bending....

Scheduled for its sixth annual appearance February 24 – March 1, 2009, the specially-curated CineKink NYC will also feature a short-film competition, audience choice awards, presentations, parties and a gala kick-off, with a national screening tour to follow.

The deadline for submissions has been extended to November 29, 2008.


Another casting call: Petal Films in Seattle, "an independent film production company dedicated to producing high quality motion pictures in short, feature, and episodic form," has put out a call for actors (unpaid) for its upcoming webseries "Family," described as "an episodic story of alternative love":

The series explores a fictional Seattle polyamory community, and is mainly a comedy. The series content will be consistent with a soft R rating (profanity, some mild nudity, nothing too raunchy).... Episodes will be a finished length of 3-5 minutes. We hope to do 1 or 2 episodes per month.

Gemma - F - 30s or early 40s
Stuart - M - 40s
Ben - M - 40s
Various recurring and guest roles, male & female, ages 20 - 60.


And here are two plays that opened and closed in the past year:

Last spring "Multiple O" was staged at an indie theater in Madison, Wisconsin, "based on the book The Ethical Slut. It's about a couple trying poly and doing everything wrong at first but struggling to get it right."

The show got a lukewarm review in the Isthmus, the local alternative paper. Podcaster Cunning Minx and a friend went to the show with a more positive attitude; she talks about what happened, and interviews cast members, in Polyamory Weekly Episode #155.


Last year "The Pied Pipers of the Lower East Side" debuted in New York and was reviewed in The Villager:

Wyatt, Billy, Dawn, and Dear are a modern day sexual tribe — two guys and two girls living together in an arrangement that satisfies all their primal needs. They live in an apartment in the Lower East Side, which is happily provided by them by their wealthy benefactor, Donovan (Tom Bain).... The plot thickens when Billy’s preppy brother Evan (Nick Lawson) arrives for a visit, unaware that his brother is involved in a polyamorous relationship with individuals of both genders. Soon the foursome attempts to free the mind of their Iowa-raised, über-conservative visitor through methods such as parading around the apartment naked, staging a John and Yoko inspired “bed-in”, and long-winded lectures explaining the evils of market-driven capitalism.

The play does not seem to have had a long run.


Update Jan. 7, 2009: From MovieNet News: "TV News: Duo developing drama about an open marriage — Showtime is developing an hourlong drama from “Bridges of Madison County” scribe Richard LaGravenese focused on an open marriage."


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November 7, 2008

Out and Proud: a student takes the plunge

The University Register
(University of Minnesota at Morris)

A college student tells of coming out poly:

The Loose Screw

by Jeanette Blalock [October 30, 2008]

...Today, many people are involved in polyamorous relationships, which is to say, loving relationships with more than one other person.

With these relationships come a host of new issues, both legal and personal, but they often just aren’t talked about. Why? Because simply being in a polyamorous relationship is often viewed as deviant, and some people have faced negative consequences as a result of their relationships....

But I also know that the triumphs of GLBT rights we have seen over the last few decades would not have been possible without the courage and temerity of people who decided to come out of the closet and talk openly about their lives and their relationships, to show that no, their lives weren’t all about sex acts the way the Moral Majority liked to think, and that in fact, gay and trans people live lives that are absolutely normal and boring, not shocking and deviant. Without people who were proud and open, there wouldn’t be gay rights in this country or any other.

With that in mind, let me tell you about my household.... The three of us live in one house, in two separate bedrooms. I divide my time as equitably as I can manage. The two of them are friends, and while jealousy issues have cropped up, they haven’t been so severe as to be dealbreakers – and I haven’t seen these jealousy issues as being any worse than what my monogamous friends confront in their relationships. We live ordinary, boring lives. We fight, we make up, we play video games, we pay our bills, we take our classes.

And as for the two men in my life: I love them both very, very much. And so, whenever I see people saying that sure, gay marriage is fine, but they absolutely draw the line at someone marrying more than one person, I cringe a little bit....

So that’s why I’m talking to you about this today, in spite of the fact that just writing this column is likely to cause me grief from future employers, or a shocked and dismayed phone call from my parents, who know of but do not entirely approve of my relationships. Being out and proud makes a difference.

Read the whole article.

For the brave (and the secure), there's something to be said for burning your bridges early. That phrase comes from the likes of Julius Caesar, who would sometimes order his army to burn the makeshift bridges they'd built to cross a river — so that they would know the only way out of trouble was forward.


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November 5, 2008

Compartir l'amor: A triad in Spain

Entre Línies, Canal Tres TV, Barcelona


First, a personal digression:

If things on this site have seemed slow lately, it's because a couple months ago Sparkler and I adopted the city of Nashua, New Hampshire, as a home away from home where we could campaign for Barack Obama on nights and weekends.

From August through last night, I knocked on 835 strangers' doors in and around the city. Sparkler specialized in phonebanking and the feeding of volunteers. Yesterday I was up at 4:45 a.m. I arrived before dawn at an elementary school (where 150 voters were already waiting in line before sunrise) to start a nine-hour shift as a poll checker: marking off names on a voter list as people showed up and voted. Then in mid-afternoon off I ran, literally, to join Sparkler in the knock-and-drag until closing time.

Knock-and-drag: if a voter who's known to be on your side hasn't voted by the final hours, you knock on their door and drag them to the polls.

To give you an idea of how organized the Obama campaign was, those of us who would be dashing around after nightfall were issued glowsticks to wear around our necks to help keep cars from hitting us, and little flashlights to help spot house numbers quickly in the dark. So much for Rudy Giuliani mocking Obama at the Republican convention by saying, "I don't know what a community organizer does." Now they know.

New Hampshire became a safe Obama state a few weeks ago, thanks in part to such work. But we kept at it anyway to help make sure. And so that someday, when we have grandchildren learning American history, we can tell them how we helped to turn a new and better page.


Now back to Polyamory in the News.

Several items have piled up, and I'll get to them in the next few days. First up:

I learned of two Spanish-language TV reports on polyamory earlier this year; you can watch them starting from here and here. Now there's a third, thanks to Juliette Siegfried and her triad in Spain. Juliette writes,

"A few weeks ago we did a TV report on Canal Tres in Barcelona with another man, Santi, who is also polyamorous. [The show is also available on YouTube at lower quality.] Here is a rough translation. Some of it is in Catalan, which I don't know, but the rest is in Spanish."

Juliette: It doesn't matter to me if she cooks better than I do, or I sing better than she does. He loves us for who we are individually, so there's no competition.

Narrator: They have simultaneous, long-term, sexual relationships, with the full consent and knowledge of everyone involved. This is called polyamory.

Roland: We are a couple that's very much in love, we've been in love for 13 years, and we believe we'll be together all our lives and that we have a long, happy future together.

Narrator: Juliette and Roland are married, but their relationship is far from conventional. They consider themselves polyamorous, with the ability to have additional loving relationships with the consent of everyone involved. In their case, Roland also has a relationship with Laurel.

Juliette: Hi!

Roland: Hello!

Laurel: How are you?

Juliette: Good! Hungry. Where are we going to dinner?

Narrator: Santi also considers himself to be polyamorous. However he doesn't believe in marriage. He does believe in having multiple relationships at the same time, with honesty. He does not believe in living together nor in exclusivity.

Santi: I respect you if you say you want to be exclusive all your life. But I don't respect you telling me that I have to, or anyone else. If you choose to be monogamous, that's your life but you can't tell another person to be. I think the best thing in life is falling in love, for everyone. So once you're in a couple, you'll never be able to do that again in your life. I believe in falling in love all your life. So, if I'm with someone, and I really love her, I will even encourage her to fall in love with other people, to live a very full life.

Juliette: But, I got something in my teeth and she said, maybe you need a metro card...

Roland: ...anyone else telling them, well, it's kind of like polyamory, we don't want people telling us what to do or how we should love.

Narrator: Roland is a computer programmer and Juliette is a translator, both Americans who live in Barcelona. Laurel, a homeopath, visits often.

Laurel (dubbed): Soon after I met Roland, we began a loving relationship. It was interesting coming into the relationship of Roland and Juliette who are married. I didn't feel the least bit awkward, I was actually surprised, because Juliette has made me feel like part of the family from the very beginning.

Narrator: They believe that it is nearly impossible to be faithful for a whole lifetime, and to avoid cheating, they decided to become polyamorous. They have overcome jealousy issues, and (can't translate the rest of the sentence). At the moment neither Roland or Laurel has other partners, but Juliette has one.

Juliette: We started little by little, without having sexual relationships. They were more than friendships but less than lovers. During those 6 years, it was a process of communicating about what was happening, any jealousy, how you feel about what's happening with someone, and doing a little more or a little less so that everyone involved is comfortable. Now it's the culmination of years of work together.

Narrator: Juliette and Laurel are good friends. [Can't translate next sentence.]

Juliette: If we want to make a schedule or a plan, if she wants to go away for the weekend with him, we talk about our plans to coordinate them, between what I want to do and what she wants to do, as well as the things we want to do together too. It's a good opportunity to look at the calendar and organize everything.

Narrator: The fact that they do a lot together can create confusion for those around them.

Juliette: They believe that we are in a three-way relationship, which isn't the case. They usually focus on sexual "threesomes", and in our case that's not what we do. There are triads that do.

Narrator: Their sexual relationship can seem even more confusing.

Juliette: They ask me, "How can you stand the fact that he sleeps with another woman? What happens if she's better in bed than you are?" This is a very strong and common idea people have, but what happens is that all of us, polyamorous and monogamous, have had better and worse lovers in our lives. We're not with someone just for that. It doesn't matter if she cooks better than I do or I sing better than she does. He loves us for who we are individually, so there's no competition.

Roland: I am affectionate with each of them, sometimes one after the other, and people notice that it's a little different. But I'm not in a bar giving one kiss to her, and then one kiss to her. It's not like we feel like everything has to be exactly equal. I can be holding her hand without holding Juliette's, and later maybe put my arm around Juliette, but it's not like I have to have both of them on my arms together.

Santi: The women thought I didn't love them, they've made me think I'm a bad person. Now I know that I'm not. I've realized that I'm not selfish, you know? I like to give and receive freedom, and I realize it's not incompatible. Just because my girlfriend has someone else in her life that she loves, I'm not going to love her any less. I love her when she's with me and for how we are together.

Narrator: Santi is 37, and is [can't translate].

Santi: The last relationship I had was years ago, many years ago now. I had other relationships, met people, and I had affairs. I was caught, and I lost them. So my last girlfriend was years ago, and now I don't want to do that again. Polyamory is about love. I don't defend sleeping around, no way. It's about love, I want to love. And when I found polyamory I thought "Wow, its me!"

Narrator: [can't translate].

Santi: One thing that happens to me a lot is I start going out with someone, and it's great, they seem to understand it perfectly, but as soon as you find another partner, they leave me, and I'm really hurt. In the end, who ends up suffering?

Narrator: Four years ago, he had a son.

Santi: The first thing I will tell him is that the first person to tell him that she is his partner for life and that he can't have anyone else ever, isn't worth it.

Narrator: [can't translate].

Santi's friend: It's not a bad thing, in fact it's very good, but I know that people are jealous and if one day I have another partner I dont know if he will understand. If it's someone like Santi, that knows, then great. But I don't know if I can find another person who understands.

Narrator: Santi didn't hesitate to explain polyamory to his family.

Santi's mom: You're thinking, what are you saying, is this crazy? How does this work? Later, after explaining it more, I began to understand. I mean, it has its good points, at least it seem that way. It has its good points because we have too much control over each other in a couple. I have been married for 43 years, I've gotten used to it so there's no problem. But if you think about it, it's a bit like slavery.

Narrator: Roland, Laurel and Juliette have made an important decision. They are looking for a place to live together.

Juliette: We've looked together with her to find out about her tastes, and if they are like ours, I'm sure they won't be exactly but more or less, and also because we're all pretty easy-going and I can give up something, all of us can give up a little if needed.

Girls: Oh look! A Jacuzzi!

Juliette: Yeah, we understand each other.

Laurel: [can't translate dubbing.]

Narrator: Their search has gotten more urgent.... [Had to cut the YouTube video off; it ends shortly after saying that Laurel is pregnant with Roland's child.]

Thank you Juliette, Laurel, and Roland! Watch the full show, 10 minutes long. (Dated September 22, 2008.)


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