Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

March 31, 2011

Best poly parade float ever?

Okay, I declare that a float in a parade counts as media. This one sounds and looks like it was a Big Deal. From Australia, Nikó Truffelish writes:

Poly float in the Sydney Mardi Gras 2011

The Australian polyamorous community entered the Sydney Mardi Gras parade for the first time under its own banner!

It was a complete community effort (replete with kinky fundraising) and we have made a splash!

...The float’s theme was ‘Polyglamorous’, and we showed that we are a glamorous, cheeky, fun and outrageous lot. We had speech bubbles declaring ‘Polyamorists out and proud’ and ‘My girlfriend’s boyfriend thinks you are hot’. We had an awesome sequined truck, up to a hundred gorgeously dressed human bonobos, music and choreography, twirlers and hoops and kinky shenanigans. It’s hard to get noticed in the parade, but I think we definitely showed the crowd that we can celebrate our rich, connected lives in style.

...We had whole families marching. We had people from Melbourne, Brisbane, Tasmania, and from regional and rural towns in NSW and Victoria. Next year, when the poly community no doubt will do it all over again, we hope to have people from New Zealand, Perth and beyond.

If you are in Europe, UK, Canada or the USA and you are poly, why not come to Sydney’s Mardi Gras next year? The festival is in late Feb and the parade is on the first Sat of March. Go on the PolyOz Yahoo list or the poke around on the website (Mardi Gras section!) and we’ll probably be able to help you couch surf or find a temporary poly home for free.

On the float red and black were the favourite colours, there were many corsets and fetishy dresses, cross-dressing and nudity and bodypainting. All ages, shapes, sizes, orientations etc., though the usual bi-poly-kinky triumvirate was in evidence.

There was also a very successful and playful afterparty that we’ll also have to repeat next year, and a pre-party picnic and pub night to welcome visitors. This week we are also having a discussion night with many guests who are staying in town.

Apparently we were also on cable TV and the cameras soaked up our message and glamorous presence. How awesome.

As the poly community in Sydney is growing, we are putting on more and more events: bimonthly discussion nights, monthly socials, dinner parties, camping.... Playparties, a book club, game nights and film nights are also talked about. A poly TV segment will air on the Australian free-to-air channel SBS in June as part of a series on love and relationships, and community members have featured in articles and have been on radio. We are getting more visible and active.

It is absolutely amazing to be part of such a vibrant, caring, amazing community with so many amazing independent, talented, empathic, connected, pansexual human beings in it. Our float is going to be happening again in 2012!

Here's her original post (March 28, 2011). More pix are on the event's Facebook group page. And here are more.

See also Polyamory Australia, PolyOz, and the PolyOz Yahoo discussion group, all with further regional links.


P.S.: This post is a milestone: it's my 500th since starting Polyamory in the News six years ago! There's a lot to browse in the categories in the sidebar at right.

Oh, and if you've got a website, could you link to me? Tx.



March 30, 2011

Dinosaur Comics on poly pros and cons

Poly philosophizing returns to Dinosaur Comics today. The thing with Dinosaur Comics, if you're not aware, is that the exact same artwork appears every day. Only the dialog changes. Author Ryan North has kept this up for 1,930 issues now.

Much later: And another Dinosaur Comics, #2528.

And oh yeh, here's my long-running roundup of other poly comics (warning, contains a few dead links). Know of more strips? Leave suggestions and links in the comments there.


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March 29, 2011

In Canada test case, polys' challenges called "the most carefully thought out and articulated."

Vancouver Sun

Closing arguments began yesterday in the test case to determine the validity of Canada's broad anti-polygamy law. The law, reportedly unenforced for some 60 years, is so all-encompassing that it provides up to five years in prison for anyone in a committed polyamorous relationship — even if no one is married, and even if no one has sex. The attorney for the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA), which formed to fight the law, is scheduled to summarize the CPAA's position on [updated:] Wednesday April 13th.

Yesterday's testimony was covered by the longtime anti-polygamy writer for the Vancouver Sun. She reports that the government's lead lawyer conceded that, of all the law's opponents who have appeared in court, the CPAA presented the most cogent case.

Closing arguments begin in Bountiful polygamy case

By Daphne Bramham

VANCOUVER – Lawyers for the [British Columbia] government began their closing argument Monday in BC Supreme Court in the constitutional reference case to determine the validity of Canada's polygamy law.

Both the provincial and federal attorneys general contend that the law is constitutional.

But this is challenged by a court-appointed amicus, the BC Civil Liberties Association, and the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

"A polygamous society consumes its young," lead lawyer Craig Jones said. "It arms itself with instruments of abuse and shields itself behind institutions of secrecy, insularity and control."

Jones went on to say that is is "anti-democratic, anti-egalitarian, anti-liberal and antithetical to the proper functioning of any modern, rights-based society."...

The closings will also summarize key testimony from more than two months of evidence.

...When multi-partner, conjugal relationships are like “duplicative marriages,” Jones said they are criminal regardless of whether the individuals are heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.

Although he said ‘duplicative marriage’ need not be “exhaustively defined in advance,” Jones said all conjugal relationships involving more than two people are criminal if they go beyond “mere cohabitation” and have some form of imposed consequences related to entering or remaining in the relationship. [Update: see the correction to this in the first comment below.]

That said, Jones told Chief Justice Robert Bauman that the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association’s closing submission is the most carefully thought out and articulated position of any of the challengers.

However, he suggested that Chief Justice Robert Bauman reject the argument even though Jones said it provides fodder for social philosophers and policy makers.

Apart from the unusual subject matter and unusual trial format for a constitutional reference, the chief justice has taken the unusual step of allowing CBC [the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation] to livestream the closing arguments.

Read the whole article (March 28, 2011). Later version.

So the CPAA's attorney, John Ince, will get to explain polyamory and present testimony for its validity on TV (or at least computer screens) all across the nation. He did a great job in his one previous day in court last November.

Watch the live stream. CPAA activist Carole Chanteuse writes:

The closing arguments can be seen live between March 28 and April 14, between 10 am and 4 pm Pacific Time (with usual court breaks).

March 28-30 are the closing arguments of the governments. Of particular interest to polyamorists will be the arguments of Westcoast LEAF (April 1), the Amicus (April 4, then April 11/12), the BC Civil Liberties Association the 13th, and most importantly those of the Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association on [April 12]. The governments will wrap up their reply on April 14.

Update March 29: Continuing his closing argument, Jones "said again today that CPAA brought thoughtful arguments that are useful to the court working through this issue," writes Jasmine W., who was watching the stream. "He of course went on to rebut those arguments and try to discount polyamory; that's his job after all. Nevertheless, he admitted in court that CPAA was thoughtful and persuasive!"

Here are the CPAA's written closing submissions that will be presented verbally.

Here are Google News's other current news reports on the case. Here's the subset of these articles that mention polyamory, including one in the GLBT paper Xtra that leads with the subject.

Big thanks to the hardworking CPAA volunteers, who have been at this for more than a year, and to the donors who've contributed to keep the effort going thus far.

It won't be over when the judge rules. The losing side will almost certainly appeal to Canada's federal Supreme Court, and eventually Parliament may take up a rewrite of the law.


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March 26, 2011

"Just the three (or four) of us"

Biloxi-Gulfport (Mississippi) Sun-Herald

New words spread more easily than new ideas. Polyamory is getting noticed far from its centers of activity, but not always with great insight.

Just the three (or four) of us

By Pamela E. Spencer and Damon Smith — McClatchy Newspapers

We can't escape Charlie Sheen lately, which got us wondering. Sheen's got two ladies living with him.

New "Dancing With the Stars" contestant Kendra Wilkerson was once one of three women living with Hugh Hefner.

So is polyamory - being in an intimate relationship where you know you're not the only girlfriend/boyfriend - becoming more accepted? Do these relationships work?

Pamela says: Yeah, polyamory works if you're young or if you're a celebrity living on the wild side. But not for very long.

I'll give you a woman's perspective. When I was in my early 20s, I wasn't thinking long-term when it came to dating. I was having fun. That's what you should do when you're young.

...The Midwest girl in me thinks that eventually, either one or two things happen in a polyamorous relationship: Someone gets tired of partying and leaves willing or he/she gets traded in for a newer model.

Damon says: ...I have no real clue about it, polyamory or open relationships, save for that they are becoming more common every day....

Sure, open relationships can work. I'm certain that they have their benefits - like never running into that issue of being bored with sexing the same person again and again. But really, it's hard enough trying to stay STD-free and maintaining trust in one person. Why in the world would you want to juggle two or more?

Two heads may be better than one, but in this case, three-plus heads - all of which will likely be influenced by feelings - can't possibly be better than two. That's my logic....

Don't forget, folks, cultural context is everything.

(Read the whole article; Mar. 24, 2011.)



March 20, 2011

A black women's magazine explains poly relationships

Madame Noire

An online black women's magazine ("the latest in fashion trends, black entertainment news, parenting tips and beauty secrets") asks, "Are Some People Really “Polyamorous” or Just Plain Greedy?"

The article uses the reality show "Sister Wives," which just began its second season (see my post about its poly-relevance), as the jumping-off point:

By Toya Sharee

If you’ve ever tuned in to the TLC network’s reality show “Sister Wives” then you’ve witnessed the trials and tribulations that can occur when one person’s love and affection has to be equally distributed between four in a marriage. It’s hard enough to maintain a healthy relationship between two people, so you can only imagine the drama that can ensue when the complex emotions of three other people are added to the mix.

...Although monogamy is a widely accepted relationship style across mankind, within the animal kingdom…not so much.

...What ends up true for most of us, though, is that we kiss a couple frogs before we get our prince, and our dating behavior is more consistent with serial monogamy than it is traditional monogamy.

...What is the difference between polyamory and an open relationship? Who the hell would want to even be in a polyamorous relationship? The only experts that are qualified to give the answers to these questions are the partners within the relationship. They set and define the guidelines in the relationships by clear and effective communication.

The difference between [this lifestyle] and infidelity is the amount of knowledge held by the partners. Infidelity usually occurs when one partner has little or no knowledge that the other is sharing time, affection, emotion or participating in sexual relations with someone else. It’s when one person feels the relationship is exclusive and the other isn’t acting accordingly. It’s important that partners communicate about the boundaries of the relationship and are honest and realistic about its future, whether that includes the next year or only the next day.

More and more Americans are choosing traditionally unconventional relationship styles and customizing them in a way that directly compliments and enhances their lifestyles. Many of them find themselves in a daily defense against labels and stereotypes that are often associated with any relationship style that doesn’t involve commitment to one person wrapped in a wedding bow. Here are a few myths and facts to help you look past the judging and focus on the loving.

Each of the following comes with a paragraph of explanation:

1. Myth: The main goal of dating for most people is to eventually find the person they will marry.

2. Myth: Everyone wants to be in love and have a relationship, even if they say or act as if they don’t.

3. Myth: Only commitment-challenged people or nymphos choose polyamory.

4. Myth: Open relationships are for “freaks” or women who are afraid of losing a partner so they choose to settle for someone who claims they are incapable of being faithful.

5. Myth: Polyamory is a flawed relationship style because jealousy is a natural emotion.

6. Myth: Polyamory is just “swinging” with a socially palatable label.

7. Myth: Finding “The One” is a simple definition of traditional monogamy.

Read the whole article (March 18, 2011).



March 17, 2011

"Dan Savage, America's Most Important Sex Ethicist"

The March/April issue of the Washington Monthly, a well respected political journal, devotes a major feature article to the phenomenon that is Dan Savage and his impact on American culture. The article says the brash alternative-newspaper editor "can lay a legitimate claim to being America’s most influential advice columnist." Moreover, it says that he articulates what are clearly becoming the sexual and relationship ethics of the future.

This is important to us in several ways.

Savage has shifted in recent years from snarking polys to explaining us and our values well, and saying "I'm pro-poly and I vote." (Some of you have been working on him; thank you!) But more importantly, the moral and ethical framework that he articulates for everyone — straight, queer, kinky, poly, and/or mono — is the same framework that we have been advocating for how to make polyamory work happily and successfully all around. This ethic puts honesty, disclosure, communication, and respect — and living with your own sexuality — above pretty much all else. The author asks: Too much else?

The complete article is well worth reading, but here's a condensation:

Rules of Misbehavior

By Benjamin J. Dueholm

...After twenty years of churning out “Savage Love,” the Seattle writer can lay a legitimate claim to being America’s most influential advice columnist.... He is a frequent contributor to the popular radio program This American Life, and a “Savage Love” television show on MTV is said to be in the works. His podcast has a higher iTunes ranking than those of Rachel Maddow or the NBC Nightly News, and his four books have sold briskly (a fifth is due out in March). And when it suits him, the range of his commentary has become increasingly broad....

Savage’s ability to mobilize legions of readers has also matured beyond the lobbing of incendiary Google bombs.... [See santorum and saddlebacking.]

Savage yields to no one in his sexual libertarianism, but he has not been content to relegate the ideas of right and wrong to cultural conservatives. Wading deep into the free-fire zone of modern sexuality, he has codified a remarkably systematic — and influential — set of ethics where traditional norms have fallen away. The question is, into what kind of world do his ethics lead us?...

...Savage does embrace a whole host of kinks. But for him, what’s most important is that abandonment of inhibition should never entail an abandonment of personal responsibility. And as it happens, a column premised on its author’s willingness to say what others won’t say, and countenance what others won’t countenance, has proven to be an ideal forum for probing the nuances of what we owe each other when the lights are off.

In 2000, Savage answered a letter from a fifteen-year-old boy who was using both meth and heroin and engaging in a regular ménage à trois with his girlfriend and an adult man. The question the teen posed to Savage was not, needless to say, whether he should be having sex before marriage (or high school graduation). Nor, for that matter, was he asking whether it was advisable to take part in a legally risky threesome, or to dabble in hard substances. Rather, the boy’s question was whether he, “a big hippie,” had an obligation to tell the man, “an avid anti-drugger,” about his use of meth and heroin. Savage was not exactly affirming in his response:

“You are an idiot. The drugs you’re doing, young skank, are dangerous and, however careful you are with needles, sooner or later they’re going to kill you,” he wrote. “What should you do about your drug-phobic, statutory-rapist fuck buddy? Well, I’d say that like any good hippie you should be open, honest, loyal, brave, and true. Tell him what the holes in your arm are all about, and give him the option of staying or going. You say you have feelings for this guy, and if that’s the case, you owe him the truth. If that’s not the case, well, then you might as well go ahead and steal his stereo and TV set now.”

Savage’s advice here faintly echoes the presumptions against hard drug use and teenage risky behavior that prevailed in Ann Landers’s day, but it pivots on the boy’s obligation to disclose any and all information of relevance to a sexual partner — the first ground rule of Savage’s ethics. Full disclosure is a minimal standard, but one that many who have sought Savage’s advice fail to meet. “This sounds more like a question for The Ethicist, a charming new advice column in The New York Times Magazine, but since you asked, I’ll give it a go,” he wrote in 1999 to a young man living with a woman he didn’t love because he couldn’t afford his own place. “You are an asshole … You’re allowing this woman to make assumptions — false assumptions — about your intentions for your own gain.”

Meanwhile, he encouraged a correspondent with a long history of sexual infidelity to become an honest woman — by telling her partners about her need to stray: “Where there are no lies of commission or omission, SKANK, there’s no deceit. And where there’s no deceit, there are no boys whose hearts are broken when they find out they are being cheated on.” The configurations involved in these questions, from simple cohabitation to three-way relations to old-fashioned cheating, are not at issue. The obligation of each questioner to be up front about what they want and do is what drives the ethical dilemma in each case.

...As it happens, this vision fits rather well in a society built around consumption. If Savage’s ethical guidelines — disclosure, autonomy, mutual exchange, and minimum standards of performance — seem familiar or intuitive, it’s probably because they also govern expectations in the markets for goods and services. No false advertising, no lemons, nothing omitted from the fine print: in the deregulated marketplace of modern intimacy, Dan Savage has become a kind of Better Business Bureau, laying out the rules by which individuals, as rationally optimizing firms, negotiate their wildly diverse transactions.

Classical liberalism, however, may prove just as inadequate in the bedroom as it has in the global economy, and for many of the same reasons. It takes into account only a narrow range of our motivations, overstates our rationality and our foresight, downplays the costs of transactions, and ignores the asymmetries of information that complicate any exchange of love or money....

...Consider the case of a correspondent from late 2009. A straight male in his late twenties, the writer felt indicted by a distinction Savage had drawn in a recent column between being an “honest nonmonogamous dude” (HND) and a “cheating piece of shit” (CPOS). “I have a girlfriend of several years whom I live with and love very much,” he writes.

“I have never been an HND; I have in the past been a CPOS (though not in this relationship). My girlfriend is lovely, supportive, and generally GGG, and though the sex is good, I have a significantly higher libido than she does and I would like to have a little more variety in my sex life. I want to be an HND, but I don’t know how to broach the subject with the girlfriend without ruining our relationship.... How do I bring this up without screwing up our relationship beyond repair?
-- Aspiring Honest Nonmonogamous Dude”

Savage’s reply is frank as always: “I would encourage you to err on the side of screwing up your current relationship with an honest conversation about your mismatched libidos and your natural and normal desire for a little variety. Lies, damn lies, and statistics all demonstrate that, in time, one or the other or both of you will cheat. Better to toss that out there now, even at the risk of calmly winding down this relationship before you revert to form/CPOS, than to see the relationship explode after someone, most likely you, winds up cheating.”

This Aspiring Honest Nonmonogamous Dude (AHND) takes greater pains than most of Savage’s correspondents to praise his girlfriend, not only in general but specifically with regard to their sex life. They have already spent several happy years together. He is anxious about his surplus of desire, but apparently nothing else. Yet that consideration trumps all others in Savage’s answer. Sexual compatibility — in terms of libido or in terms of tolerating nonexclusivity — is the coin of the realm. Love, emotional compatibility, the possibility of a life together, not to mention irrecoverable years already spent — these must all be staked against the value of a fully deployed libido. But what, exactly, is the upshot of “calmly winding down” a relationship with a high risk of infidelity? Potential romantic partners, unlike firms in the classical free-market model, are not infinite in number, and a life of comparison shopping is not free of cost. If the aspiring HND dissolves this years-long transaction in order to find a partner who is just as lovable but less jealous, or who shares his libido at every point, he will likely have a lonely road ahead of him.

I wonder what he chose to do....

Read the whole article. It was also reprinted on AlterNet under the title "Dan Savage, America's Most Important Sex Ethicist."


In the course of the article Dueholm outs himself as a Lutheran minister, one who counsels a lot of people. No matter what you may think of ministers or Lutherans, his point about doing relationships based on consumer-society paradigms is telling and important. I have never heard it stated like this before. I'm not talking about dumb claims that if we have two people as intimates they must be "throwaways"; he's saying something else.

However, I think the causes and effects here flow in different directions than Dueholm considered.

If internet-era relationships, and poly relationships in particular, are developing an ethic of product disclosure, accurate labeling, safety warnings, explicit agreements, and honest exchanges — like in a well-regulated marketplace — maybe it's because those things are healthy and fruitful for all concerned. In a market economy they make for smooth transactions and a climate of successful trade, leading to greater well-being for the whole society. Market societies, and their economists, grasped the usefulness of these things early. Polys are helping people to discover the usefulness of these good things in another sphere.


(P.S.: No, I'm not a Libertarian, and let's not get going about market failures and regulatory failures; they just prove the point.)


Update March 19: Savage has just made Time magazine; he's featured on its "Ten Questions" page. Here's the last question and his answer:

What advice can you give readers of TIME?

We talk about love in a way that's very unrealistic: "If you're in love, you're not going to want to have sex with anyone else but that person." That's not true. We need to acknowledge that truth so that people don't have to spend 40 years of marriage lying to and policing each other.

Read all ten questions (issue dated March 28, 2011). He's also getting a lot of other mainstream exposure these days, such as on ABC's Nightline March 24th.

Update August 9: Benjamin Dueholm, author of the Washington Monthly article, lets his hair down as a serious religious person with a long article about Savage and Christian thought in The Christian Century — an old, very serious, moderate-conservative journal that your grandparents' minister may have read. The article is the cover story of the August 23rd issue. Read it here: Advice and Consent: Monogamy in the age of Dan Savage. Don't be put off by the abstruse theology in the first few paragraphs; read on.

These are people I'd like to see us engage more with.



March 6, 2011

More from Portugal


Daniel Cardoso, a polyactivist in Portugal, has prompted a long, informative article in the glossy women's magazine LuxWoman (circulation 70,000; "lifestyle e informação para mulheres com atitude"). Some pieces, translated:

Love multiplied

By Vanessa Nunes

Polyamory offers an alternative to the traditional pattern of monogamous relationships. Daniel Cardoso, polyamorous himself and writing a thesis about polyamory as a member of the faculty of Social and Human Sciences, explains the concept: “Being poly means wanting or maintaining the possibility that you can fall in love with, or feel attracted to, and pursue a relationship with more than one person at a time, without breaking the rules of the relationships you're already in.”

It’s not about coming up with a lame excuse for cheating on your partner or having multiple partners carelessly. Quite the contrary. It’s also more than an ‘open’ relationship. […]

Meanwhile, scientists and specialists have been debating whether humans can actually love more than one person at the same time. The idea [that you cannot] may be a notion acquired through learning, rather than an intrinsic human behavior.

Inês Rôlo, 22 and polyamorous, makes a key point in this debate: “We’re conditioned socially to a lot of stuff. Girls are socially conditioned to play with dolls and develop maternal tendencies. Women are socially conditioned to not develop their logical thinking skills very much (since games are often marketed as being for boys, for example). All of these are social and cultural conditionings.”

[…] Anyway, the human being is free and that means “no conditioning is absolute, be it social or not. We’re certainly not born with the capacity of loving only one person, or multiple persons, just like it won’t be society alone to determine whom we can or want to love,” Daniel clarifies.

Jealousy is also seen in a more relaxed way. Basing on communication and respect, and without the added pressure of exclusivity, polyamorous relationships attempt to eliminate personal insecurities from everyone involved, since there's supposed to be full openness. Everything happens with everyone’s informed consent.

When it comes to marriage, Daniel says: “Much of the polyamorous movement, national and international, sees marriage (taken as a legal and financial, but not religious, institution) as a platform for breeding inequalities and privileges — first for people of the same ethnicity, then for heterosexual relationships, then monogamous ones, etc. — that would do well to disappear.”

But in the real world, this being a different lifestyle choice, members of the poly community often have to face the weight of discrimination. Daniel reveals what it means to escape the mold of being ordinary: “Going out in the street holding hands with two people at the same time can provoke a lot of unfortunate comments, gawking and discriminatory behaviors.”

And among family things can be worse. Inês is a case in point. She says that her relationship has been “ridiculed by my family, disrespected, made fun of” — a tough situation that ignored “any concern for my happiness. And it's clear that this prejudice came from a certain religious morality.”

See the whole article (images of the magazine pages; March 2011 issue).

Also: Cardoso has just published a history of the word "polyamory" and its related forms in the online journal Interact ("revista online de arte, cultura e tecnologia"), issued by the Center for Communication Studies and Languages at the New University of Lisbon. Here it is in the original (March 1, 2011) and machine-translated into English (rough but mostly understandable).

Here are all my posts about Portuguese-language items (including this one; scroll down). As you can see, Daniel is a major force here in describing what we're about.

P.S.: Some lovers' graffiti.

Update May 9, 2011: Daniel and his triad appear on Portuguese TV!

Poliamor, a história de uma vida a três

Daniel, Inês e Luísa vivem uma vida a três. Os poliamoros não têm barreiras para amar. Precisam apenas de tempo e sentimentos. Conheça o poliamor por quem vê o amor partilhado por várias pessoas.



March 3, 2011

"Polyamory: 'Respectable' Non-Monogamy?"

Catalyst magazine

A free New Age magazine in Salt Lake City (supported by advertising from health-food and alternative-therapy businesses) presents a Poly 101 story as one of the three major feature articles in its March issue. The article leads off with Franklin Veaux's Map of Nonmonogamy, a triumph of geekitude.

Polyamory: "Respectable" Non-Monogamy?

By Jim Catano

...Those drawn to polyamory, however, claim a more complex desire: to create and maintain honest, consensual, ongoing, loving relationships with more than just one other person.... People who identify their relational style as polyamorous do something most other non-monogamists often don't... polyamorists often become, to some degree, part of each others' lives.

...Polyamory offers an alternative to serial monogamy — the current less-than-happy norm in Western society. Poly partners and spouses don't choose between sexual novelty and long-term stability. They enjoy both.

Any experienced polyamorous person will admit that this love style is definitely not for everyone and is never a cure for an already failing relationship. A troubled couple rarely finds relief simply by adding more people to the mix.

However, for those not intimidated by the idea of moving beyond social conventions and their own insecurities, and who have the time and energy to be with more than one intimate partner, polyamory may open up a world of enlivening new possibilities.

See the whole article, with Franklin's graphic.

There's nothing here you may not have read elsewhere, but it makes a good case for us and it's a breath of fresh air after the subject of my last post.

P.S., OT: Atlanta Poly Weekend has just posted its preliminary schedule. It happens March 25–27. See you there!



March 2, 2011

Charlie Sheen, Hollywood's polyamorous tiger-blood loony

If you haven't been watching the news in the last few days, you've missed the coverage of the spectacular trainwreck that is actor Charlie Sheen. Imagine a cokehead in the last stages of paranoid megalomania — he rages on TV that "My fangs are dripping tiger blood," calls himself a "high-priest Vatican assassin warlock" with "Adonis DNA," and accidentally jams a water bottle into his eye when he tries to wash his face on camera. He also claims he's drug-free now.

Sheen recently snatched his twin toddlers from his ex-wife. Fearing for their safety, yesterday she had police retrieve them. She claims he told her, "I will cut your head off, put it in a box and send it to your mom."

Sheen lives with two "goddesses" in what some of the media are correctly calling — oh dear — a polyamorous relationship.

Last night ABC's "20/20" had him on as a circus freak. From rival CBS News:

Charlie Sheen animatedly discussed his polyamorous living situation, his children and the cancellation of his CBS show "Two and a Half Men" on ABC's "20/20" Tuesday night.

Sheen's two live-in girlfriends, Natalie Kenly, a graphic designer, and Rachel Oberlin, a porn star, who he refers to as his "goddesses" also appeared on the program....

Read the whole article (March 2, 2011). Another bit: "I don't sleep," said Sheen. "I wait, I sleep on cars, on couches, I sleep when I can."

Here's a relatively sane interview with MSNBC that features him and the two women together at home. They portray themselves as what could pass for a decent poly household if you knew nothing more than this clip, such as that Sheen has a long history of assaulting women.

Here's more from Britain's Daily Mail about the head-cutting-off business (March 2, 2011). See all you want anywhere in the news today, where he's being compared to Muammar Gaddafi. (And take New York Magazine's quote quiz, It’s Time to Play ‘Sheen, Beck, or Qaddafi?’).

Yeah, as the word "polyamorous" goes mainstream, we can't help how it appears or who with, as I've feared starting three years ago. At least it's not appearing here much. But I'm nervous that this guy could do for us what Charles Manson did for hippies. (For instance, see newspaper cartoon.)

As I've argued, we can set ourselves apart from this kind of thing by stressing at every opportunity the thoughtfulness, consideration, respect, communication, self-knowledge, and goodwill that are required to make polyamory work well. And by setting good examples.

At least the world seems to be seeing this as a "coked-out celebrity loses it" story rather than about polyamory directly. Sheen himself is using the word "polygamy." And he's comparing himself to Hugh Hefner, never quite our role model.



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