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

March 2, 2013

Tristan Taormino on NPR

National Public Radio

Of all the 31 books about polyamory published since the modern poly movement began in the mid-1980s, the one recommended most often these days — at least for people looking to open an existing relationship — is Tristan Taormino's Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships (2008).

Tristan Taormino leads an energetic life as a sex educator, college speaker, author, sex-positive activist, host of the weekly VoiceAmerica radio show Sex Out Loud, and producer of feminist porn.

A number of NPR stations are airing a 10-minute interview with her on the highbrow, big-ideas show To the Best of Our Knowledge. She's one of a series of six guests discussing "After the Romance": what to make of the fact that humans are built in such a way that new-relationship limerence does not last.

You can listen to her 10-minute segment on open relationships, or the entire 53-minute show (she's segment 3), or listen on the radio if your area is on the local broadcast schedule. (First airs March 3, 2013. Produced by Wisconsin Public Radio, distributed by Public Radio International.)


...I think for some people it's simply [that] monogamy doesn't work. I mean monogamy may be this revered and sacred institution, but as a relationship style it's really pretty dismal, and has failed a lot of people. So people are looking for an alternative. And there are people out there who say "I don't want to cheat, I want to be honest about this" — and how can we create a relationship and a set of guidelines that incorporate other partners, and do it in a really responsible way?

...We're brought up to believe [monogamy] is the mature choice, and when you're truly in love with someone you want to be monogamous with them because you don't want anyone else. And that's just not true for people. There are a lot of people out there who believe that you can love you more than one person at a time. And other people who believe you can love someone strongly, commit to them strongly, and still have other sexual partners — and that doesn't infringe on your primary partnership.

...[Jealousy] is part of what you sign up for when you sign up for an open relationship. You're going to have to confront some of your own emotional baggage: around insecurity, fear of abandonment, envy, possessiveness — an open relationship is not a good idea to "fix" a monogamous one. You've got to have a solid foundation before you open up.

The host challenges her with a story of two good friends of his who were excited to announce they were opening their marriage — and within six months one had moved in with a new primary "and now they are getting divorced. Is that a common story?"

It's a common story of serial monogamy, actually.... One of the things that people have to do in open relationships is you really have to manage that new relationship energy. When you first get infatuated, or excited about someone, and everything about them is really amazing, and you're like hey, let me pack up all my belongings and move in with them — there's a time at which you have to take a pause, and say let's not make any abrupt decisions here. Because this little honeymoon phase of feeling high, and in love, or in lust, is going to come to an end. And if you can ride out that wave, then you can make better decisions.

This is just the right basic 10-minute audio snippet for a newbie couple considering opening their relationship or marriage. Save the link for that purpose.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm one of those polyamorous people who became polyamorous and left my husband of the time for a new man. That new man is now my husband of three years (we dated for 8). We're still polyamorous. I don't believe that having left my first husband devalues polyamory, however. On the contrary, had I never explored polyamory I might be still stuck in a marriage that wasn't working. And it wasn't a sad tale for my first husband either. He used my leaving as an opportunity to follow his own dreams and ended up meeting his new girlfriend of 8 years and now-fiancee that same year. Leaving someone isn't always the worst thing in the world. The reason polyamory can feel so dangerous is that it involves total honesty. With total honesty will often come dramatic change, which might seem scarier and more painful, but which actually, in the long run, can create a higher quality of life. Had I not become polyamorous I would not now be married to a man much more compatible with me in every way, who is my best friend. My first husband and I might still be struggling to make things work, when there were, all along, two more suitable people out there waiting for us. Both my ex-husband and I remain polyamorous to this day, and it hasn't caused us to leave our new partners.

March 02, 2013 8:23 PM  
Anonymous Silenus said...

The host told about a couple who proclaimed they were open and got divorced six months later. Taormino got into NRE, but I think that missed the point. There are, and have been since the O'Neils' book was published, a lot of people who were near the end of a relationship and decided to "try" an open relationship as a last gasp to save their relationship. In fact, I would guess that at least one of the partners were really focusing on getting out, and playing the poly card was a step in that direction. These people are NOT any sort of reflection on the theory and practice of open, poly, swing, etc relationships.

March 03, 2013 8:43 PM  

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