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

December 6, 2009

Seven poly books upcoming

To continue our poly books theme: Several new ones should be hitting the shelves in the foreseeable future. I've heard of seven that are in the pipeline, at least to the extent that their authors have talked about them in public.

1. The academic publisher Routledge will issue a hardbound collection of papers titled Understanding Non-Monogamies on December 22, 2009. It's co-edited by Meg Barker and Darren Langdridge. Barker is a well-known psychologist in England who specializes in researching BDSM, bisexuality, and polyamory. She's also a co-organizer of London's annual PolyDay event. Recently she did an interview with Mind Hacks:

How do you think open or polyamorous relationships differ psychologically from monogamous relationships?

This is a difficult question to answer because over the years I've come to realise that there isn't really one kind of polyamory, or non-monogamy, just as there isn't one form of monogamy. That is why Darren and I called our new book 'Understanding Non-Monogamies' — plural.

In fact, the first contribution to that book (by Katherine Frank and John DeLameter) even questions the distinction between monogamies and non-monogamies. They present research which suggests that similar conversations about relationship 'rules' are currently happening in monogamous and non-monogamous relationships of various kinds (e.g. swinging, polyamory and open relationships).

Some people have non-monogamous relationships for political or spiritual reasons, because they feel that monogamy is rooted in capitalism, or because they don't want to 'possess' another person in any way. Others recognise that they can be attracted to more than one person at a time; they want to act on their attractions, but not in a dishonest way like with infidelity. Some are in it for the exciting sexual possibilities. Some feel that being non-monogamous is an inherent part of their sexuality (perhaps along with the gender/s they are attracted to). Others feel that it is a choice they have made....

Unfortunately this is a typically high-priced academic hardcover ($95 list price, $88 at Amazon), but maybe you can ask a college library to get it.

2. Deborah Taj Anapol is finishing up her new Polyamory in the 21st Century. Rowman and Littlefield has scheduled it for release in June 2010.

Anapol was one of the founding mothers of the modern polyamory movement in the 1980s, and she wrote the first book to be called its "bible": Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits (1997; 1992). In recent years she has retired to Hawaii, where she grows coffee, and she teaches occasional workshops and retreats. She published the small book The Seven Natural Laws of Love in 2005.

Here's her short description that the publisher requested for the new book:

Deborah Anapol’s Polyamory in the 21st Century provides a perceptive overview of the whole gamut of intimate relationships that don’t conform to our culture’s monogamous ideal but endeavor to be honest, ethical, and consensual. Polyamory is now a global phenomenon which crosses generational, socio-economic, racial, and national boundaries — all of which are sensitively explored. The author frankly shares a perspective on polyamory gleaned from nearly thirty years as a participant/observer who helped bring polyamory into the public eye.

In her monthly newsletter she writes,

[The book] is going to be fantastic and very different from anything that’s been written so far on this very complicated topic. As part of my research, I’ve been emailing with Oberon Zell whose primary partner, Morning Glory, invented the word polyamory. Never mind that polyamory now means so many things it’s lost its identity (similarly with Tantra). It’s been fun talking story with fellow movers and shakers from an earlier era.

...We all had a dream of sustainable intimate relationships that would transform the culture in a Utopian direction. I’m pretty sure this hasn’t happened, but the journey sure transformed us. Polyamory is difficult because it challenges all of our genetic programming. Humans are not naturally monogamous, but they’re not naturally polyamorous either. Our DNA wants to survive and if deception, manipulation, and domination serve to further that agenda, then that’s what will shape our relationships unless we are conscious enough to make other choices.

...Now that I’m on a roll I may just jump right into the next book once this one is finished.... I think the most fun part of the whole project was discovering that there are young people out there who have rejected the polyamory movement because it’s too mainstream!... They’re calling [what they're doing] Relationship Anarchy (RA). It will be interesting to see where that’s gone in twenty years....

(The glossary at Polyamory.org.uk gives this definition: "Relationship Anarchy (RA) - A non-monogamous philosophy originating in Sweden with many ideas in common with polyamory. However, a relationship anarchist does not make a special distinction between friends, lovers and other forms of relationship." Here's a longer description.)

3. Franklin Veaux, of great xeromag poly pages renown, continues to shop the proposal for his much-awaited book, tentatively called Practical Guide to Polyamory, to publishers who are too clueless to snatch it up while they can. Last year he said (on the Polyamory Weekly podcast, Episode #156):

The approach I want to take with this book is a lot more practical and a lot less theoretical than a lot of the other books I have seen... practical, hands-on advice, that is divorced from tantric sex or BDSM or any of the other subcultures. I want to talk for example about poly-mono relationships. We need a lot more about that.... Building polyfamilies, doing poly without primary-secondary hierarchies.... A lot of the books seem to be couple-centric, but a lot of poly relationships are not couple-centric.... There's very little about people who are coming into an existing relationship, or about creating an intentional family or a polyamorous tribe....

I'd really like to focus on practical problem-solving, practical day-to-day tools for dealing with communication — for constructing relationships that are healthy and functional....

I want to talk to a lot of people in the poly community, particularly people who have either made a lot of mistakes and figured out ways to solve those problems, or people who are in successful long-term poly relationships.

Interested? Email him at tacitr AT aol DOT com.

4. Kamala Devi, tantra teacher and poly activist in San Diego, writes that she "is currently working on a book and a reality TV show with Reid Mihalko entitled Free-Love, Can You Really Afford It?"

5. Jenny Block, author of Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage, is reported (in her old hometown paper) to be "working on a book about cheating, which will be less autobiographical and focus more on the dynamics and psychology of infidelity." (Yes, I know cheating isn't poly.)

6. In the Netherlands, Leonie Linssen and Stephan Wik are co-authoring Love Unlimited: The Joys and Challenges of Open Relationships. The book is due out from Findhorn Press in spring 2010, in both Dutch and English. Linssen is a relationship and stress-management trainer and coach. At last September's Loving More conference, she explained that the book will be based on 12 case studies from her practice involving people in open relationships and "people dealing with the fact that they have feelings beyond their own partner." Earlier this year she published her poly autobiography in Dutch, and she is a well-known advocate for polyamory awareness in the Dutch media (see her descriptive list as mangled into English by Google Language Tools).

7. Also in the Netherlands, Ageeth Veenemans (with whom Linssen has collaborated in the past) intends to get her 2007 book Ik Hou Van Twee Maanen (I Love Two Men) published in English and Spanish. And she has written, "my second book is nearing completion."

8. This doesn't really count yet, but I've been bugging Pepper Mint to expand his Practical Non-Monogamy Tips II to book length (at 10,000 words it's not far from that already), and he said he may do it when his current book project is finished.

Do you know of any others? Add them to the comments below.




Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read the relationship anarchy definition. Looks like poly to me. I know poly folk who meet that definition, the closest of whom I see in my mirror every morning. There's no anarchy involved and nothing setting it apart from polyamory.

December 08, 2009 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anonymous on 12/8/09: Poly is a broad term, and there are lots of subsets within it. Just because you identify with the broader term and with only the description of the more specific, doesn't mean that the more specific term isn't valid for someone.

As for the lack of anarchy, do a quick search and you'll find (on wikipedia) "from Greek: ἀναρχίᾱ anarchíā, 'without ruler'" The major tenet of RA is that you treat all relationships the same and that no one relationship is given special status. You aren't supposed to have obligation or duty, and obligation and duty are the core things that a ruler demands. The majority of people practicing what folks would identify as poly acknowledge some sort of "preferred" status for certain individuals, and they have certain obligations to those people. RA is a subset poly, but it is certainly not an equivalent term.


December 09, 2009 1:48 PM  
Blogger Alan said...


Sounds like RA is what the poly world calls "non-hierarchical poly," but coming from an explicitly political place.

December 09, 2009 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Leonie Linssen said...

Hi Alan,

Great to see that you mentioned our book Love Unlimited - the Joys and Challenges of Open Relationships. You can read more about the book here http://www.findhornpress.com/sexuality-38/love-unlimited-303.html

Hope to see you again in 2010!

December 21, 2009 3:26 AM  
Blogger Kelley said...

Might you have insight into publishers seeking polyamorous fiction? Thanks for your insight!

June 30, 2010 9:17 AM  
Blogger William Albert Baldwin said...

Re: Kelley's question about poly fiction.

I myself am looking for publishers and agents interested in publishing poly novels.

March 28, 2012 2:39 PM  

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