Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

December 31, 2013

The bright poly future... and some dark sides: Part 1

Six months ago I put up a post that got spread around: Poly as "the relationship status of a totally fabulous future"... And from long-timers, warning signs.

Buttons from ModernPoly.
Since then we've seen lots more declarations that poly is growing (true); that widespread knowledge of it will improve relationship culture generally (possible); and that it will advance the centuries-long trend toward freedom, humanism, and personal agency, to the betterment of the world (something I dearly hope).

Here are some more items the public has been seeing about our movement's rapid development — to be followed by some serious pieces about shadow sides.

First the nice stuff to close out 2013. Then in a few days I'll post Part 2.


• I won't even try to quote all the conservatives' warnings that the poly wave of the future is suddenly crashing in, now that the war against acceptance of gays is all but lost. Go see Conservatives Shifting their Aim to Polyamory (another post here that took off).

• Sociologist Elisabeth Sheff, author of the new book The Polyamorists Next Door, sums up in an essay,

If current trends continue, the number of poly relationships will rise dramatically as members of the general public discover what I call the polyamorous possibility, or the option of adding openly conducted non-monogamy to the relational menu that used to only include being single, being monogamous, or cheating (and now also includes hooking up for certain age groups). As the poly population rises and becomes more visible, recognizing them as diverse families will become increasingly important.

• Maria Padhila of Planet Waves, in her lookback at 2013, writes,

Polyamory, of course, had a big year. It was like it was just invented or something.... Polyamory is also being “positioned,” as they say, for the next big social and political battle, now that there have been so many victories in LGBT marriage. If right wingers have started to notice it and fight it, you know it’s going to be a thing.

• In the Trends section of a Missouri TV station's "Ozarks First" news site:

The concept of “friends with benefits” is taking on a whole new meaning with the rise in polyamory. There’s such an increase in multi-partnered relationships, communities are starting to see overflow attendance in support and social groups for people in open relationships.

Shows on TLC and Showtime profile the sometimes complicated sex lives of participants and illustrate how lines are blurring in terms of social norms.

There’s a lot of discussion around the concept of “the new normal” and what that statement means in a post-Recession world. Some say the new normal is the modern evolution of the traditional family and household — others claim that it’s simply a way to survive both physically and emotionally through tough times. Regardless of what side of the debate you may be on, family is an evolving concept....

Whole article (Oct. 13, 2013).

• On mytinysecrets.com ("natural intimate beauty & health"), a woman in a Texas triad who are raising kids writes,

5 Reasons Why Polyamory Can Be Healthy for You

“An apple a day helps keep the doctor away”, but so can ethical polyamory. Polyamory... can have health benefits that you might not realize....

#1 Sex benefits our health....

#2 Polyamory can offer stress relief... because there are more people to help with your daily life....

#3 Increase general life satisfaction.... Since there are more people in a polyamorous relationship, we support and help one another to reach life goals.... For example, when Jadez went to college, Antony and I worked. After she received her degree, her and I continued working, while Antony attended college. A few years later, I also attended college and finished my degree with Antony and Jadez’s full support. Now, we all work and support the family....

#4 More love has psychological benefits....

#5 Polyamory helps [people] to become emotionally stronger & stable....

Article (Aug. 17, 2013).

• At MNartists.blog,

I ask a friend in her twenties what’s trending in young sex. “Polyamory,” she says — not so much the practice but the public identity. People are polies now the way people are vegetarians, or redheads. We discuss the polies. Are they for real? The irony (or is it an irony at all?) is that the most sincere and solid polies my friend has run across seek not multiple lovers, but multiple loving relationships: more caresses, less sex.

Article (Nov. 1, 2013).

• Interesting claims by Keith Pullman/ Full Marriage Equality, who advocates for legal recognition of multiple marriage:

Why Polyamory Will Gain Acceptance Faster

It’s not going to take as long for polyamorists to get our freedoms, including the freedom to marry, as it is taking (monogamist) gays and lesbians....

...Here why:

1) Momentum. Note that gay civil rights have made progress much faster than feminist and racial civil rights. Likewise, rights for nonmonogamists and people who don’t want to marry at all will not take as long as gay rights....

2) Smaller opposition. Opposition to polyamory and the polygamous freedom to marry comes almost entirely from specific segments of religious conservatives, more and more of whom are warming up to the fact that civil marriages are not a threat to their churches and that it is destructive and wasteful to concentrate on trying to control adult relationships....

3) Less motivated opposition. Most of the above considered the “line in the sand” to be the same-gender freedom to marry and are already resigned to polygamous freedom to marry upon national establishment of the same-gender freedom to marry....

4) More existing understanding....

5) Strict monogamy is rare.... Extending rights to polyamorous people... deals with a reality that everyone has experienced....

6) Political compatibility.... Progressives, libertarians, and conservatives can all find much to like in polyamory, which is why you can find polyamorists in just about all areas of the political map....

Article (July 8, 2013).

• By Canadian hip-hop journalist Addi Stewart:

10 Ideas Polyamory Could Teach Monogamy

1. Communicate fearlessly
If there’s ONE thing that permeates monogamy, it’s truth masquerading as jokes...

2. Fantasies aren’t fatal
How many monogamous relationships are allowed to have those super truthful conversations [sharing] their darkest, most naughty fantasies? Not enough, apparently....

3. NRE is a renewable resource
Routine is the death of relationships....

4. Limits are boundaries to honesty....

5. Needs change over time....

6. Freedom is the most beautiful gift you can give someone you love....

7. Commitment can come in many shapes and sizes....

8. Steel sharpens steel....

9. Society’s judgment need not disturb the dreams we have in our bedroom....

10. Recognizing when what’s on paper isn’t working in practice....

Article (Dec. 23, 2013).

• To close, here are Franklin Veaux's observations on the changing poly scene as 2013 comes to its end — and as he and Eve Rickert near completion of their forthcoming book More Than Two:

I'm seeing more people aware of solo poly and loosely defined relationships, but I'm ALSO seeing more hierarchy, couple privilege, and enforced primary/secondary thinking.

The poly community is swelling, so it's perhaps not surprising that we can see more of both attitudes. It's also polarizing.

I'm seeing the hierarchy and couple privilege from large numbers of previously monogamous couples who are hearing about polyamory from the media or from other poly people and saying "wow, we can have sex with other people? Rock on! But only if we set the rules."

And I'm seeing the loose definitions and solo poly attitudes from younger people, like millennials, who are growing up without rigid expectations of how relationships "should" look.

– I have started to think of the poly movement from 1992 to about 2010 as "first wave" poly. These are the people who invented the language and created the poly movement.

– People in their 30s and above who are coming into polyamory because they've seen it on TV or heard about it from talk radio, but whose experience is only with monogamy, are "second wave" poly. They're largely all about hierarchy and rules; a lot of these folks I see come to poly from a place of deep fear and suspicion; they like the idea of having multiple partners, but only if it's not uncomfortable or threatening.

– The millennials will be "third wave" poly. These are people who grew up with homosexuality and gender fluidity being no big deal, and I think they're going to create poly communities that are very diverse over the next few decades.


P.S. from me: I'm going to Loving More's Poly Living East in Philadelphia February 7–9. It happens every year in a nice hotel near the airport, and last year about 200 people attended. The new Poly Living West is in Denver April 25–27.


December 26, 2013

"A Queer Poly Triad Buys a Bed Off Craigslist"

The Toast

A bit of simple fun reading for the morning after Christmas. The Toast is an online writers magazine that actually pays.

Fit For a King: A Queer Poly Triad Buys a Bed Off Craigslist

By Jade Sylvan (in Weird True Tales)

It’s 9 PM on a Tuesday and I’m in a U-Haul cargo van with my two female-bodied romantic partners riding fifty minutes outside of Boston to look at the king-sized bed Victoria found on Craigslist that will hopefully, as Finn puts it, “withstand the force of our lovemaking.” We’ve already exhausted every possible joke involving lesbians and U-Hauls (especially amusing because none of us identifies as a lesbian, and two of us don’t even always identify as women), and are now trying to remember the words to “Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong” for an impassioned impromptu singalong....

“There are like, eagles in it,” says Victoria, who’s driving and therefore powerless to Google lyrics. “And mountains high.”

“Hold on,” says Finn, who has crammed his/her 5’3” embodiment into the open area between the two front seats that’s probably meant for a suitcase. She/he finds the song on his/her phone and we’re in business. We even manage bizarre bluegrass-style harmonies that are an affirming surprise to everyone. Finn kisses Victoria on the shoulder and it hits me. Holy fuck. We’re all buying a bed together.

...Newburyport is an upper-middle class coastal suburb that reminds me of the conservative midwestern suburb where I grew up. The woman who answers the door is everything I think of as heteronormative. Straight mousy brown hair, slumped shoulders, thin lips. The house’s interior is fifty shades of beige, and the television is mindlessly on in the living room even though no one is in the living room. Every surface is antiseptic. This is the type of place I’ve spent the last fifteen years trying to forget exists....

Read on (Dec. 25, 2013). Some of the commenters take the writer to task for queer condescension.


December 23, 2013

"My Big Polyamorous Wedding"


In the "Issues" section of xoJane, a brassy online women's magazine that claims 4 million readers monthly, Angi Becker Stevens tells of her planned marriage ceremony to her boyfriend while married to her husband. They're all living together.

My Big Polyamorous Wedding

I've been married to my husband for 11 years, and I'm currently planning a wedding to my boyfriend, too. Yes, we're polyamorous. No, we're not freaks.

Angi Becker Stevens

...A few years ago, I never would have imagined I’d get married again. Since shifting to a non-monogamous relationship, I’d become cynical about marriage and the normative values I felt it represented. I still deeply loved my husband and was no less certain that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, but often thought if I had it to do over again, I’d have skipped the legal marriage part. But then a funny thing happened: I fell in love again....

My husband is entirely supportive of the wedding; we would never have made such a decision in the first place if we were not already functioning harmoniously as a family....

Our friends are fantastically accepting of our relationship, but family [of origin] has been, unsurprisingly, a bit more complicated....

We sometimes crack jokes at our house -- while doing something mundane, like playing Wii together -- about how scandalous we are. But no matter how much we try to laugh it off, it’s still painful. All around me, I see unhappy, dysfunctional relationships that are legitimized by society because they fit the usual model, while our happy, healthy relationships are automatically written off as wrong and invalid because they look different from what people are used to....

Read the whole article (Dec. 21, 2013). It was reprinted at AlterNet Dec. 23.

At a news site called The Daily Globe, writer Kim LaCapria talks at length about why Angi's relationship life triggers so many readers' fragile psyches: Is Polyamory The New Gay Marriage? I Hope So (Dec. 23, 2013).

Angi's blog is The Radical Poly Agenda. Here are her previous articles I've noted (including this one; scroll down).


December 21, 2013

Poly in the Holidays, 2013

It's winter solstice day again... and before Sparkle Moose and I head off to the annual Longest Night overnight (where certain dear friends await, along with pianos and hot tub and hygge), it's time for this year's poly holiday collection:

1. A video webcast went up yesterday afternoon on HuffPost Live, featuring some of my favorite people:

Holiday Survival Guide: Polyamorous Edition.
"The holidays are a wonderful time for families to get together and celebrate, but tensions can run high with everyone in one place — especially when someone is bringing home more than one significant other. HuffPost Live is here to help" (25:24). Dec. 20, 2013.

The guests:

• Robyn Trask @LovingMoreNP (Denver, CO) In a polyamorous relationship; Executive Director of Loving More.
• Billy Holder @Atlpoly (Atlanta, GA) In a polyamorous relationship; Founding Member of Atlanta Polyamory.
• Dawn Davidson @unchartedlove (Oakland, CA) In a polyamorous relationship; Counselor at Love Outside the Box.
• Rachel Klechevsky LMSW/ @Rachel_Ilana (New York, NY) Sex & Relationship Therapist.


2. In Milwaukee's decades-old alternative paper the Shepherd-Express, a sex and relationships columnist interviews a local poly activist about holiday complications.

Have a Poly, Poly Christmas

Navigating the holidays when you (or a loved one) is polyamorous

By Laura Anne Stuart, MPH

The holiday season can be both the best of times and the worst of times, especially if the way you love falls outside our very narrow socially prescribed norms....

I asked Lyndzi, co-facilitator of the Young Milwaukee Poly Group, if she had any tips to share to make social obligations less stressful for everyone involved. Young Milwaukee Poly will celebrate its five-year anniversary in January 2014, and every year of its existence, the topic of how to deal with the holidays has come up.

LAS: What specific issues do people in polyamorous relationships regularly face during the holidays?

Lyndzi: One of the biggest issues with poly folks around the holidays is time management (although this seems to be an issue for almost everyone).... The issue that most poly people face is who to bring. Depending on each person's family, bringing your wife and girlfriend or two boyfriends may not be acceptable, though some poly folks get lucky. I am personally open to my mother and could bring both of my boyfriends home for Christmas, though I choose to not bring them both to my father’s traditional Catholic Christmas....

LAS: What advice do you have for non-poly people who will be seeing poly family members soon?

Lyndzi: If you have poly people in your family and will be seeing them this holiday season, here are a few common-sense tips to live by.

Don’t ask them about their sex life. Is that appropriate to ask of your monogamous or married family members?... If there’s something you are dying to know, email them later; they can respond when and with what they are comfortable sharing, without feeling like they’ve been put on the spot in front of an audience.

Leave the whispers and gossiping until you get in the car on your way home, even if you’re not talking about them....

Be welcoming and supportive. You may be meeting new members of their poly family. They should be treated as your family and as you would like to be treated.

LAS: What strategies have members of Young Milwaukee Poly shared to help cope with less-than-supportive family members?

Lyndzi: Unfortunately, many people in the poly community cope with being poly around the holidays by simply lying....

Read the whole article (Dec. 18, 2013).


3. Blogger "Pearls and Pentagrams" posts a letter to her birth family with funny but serious guidelines for how to feel at ease visiting. As she explains to other readers in her situation,

I found that when I stopped trying to gently explain things and just started pointing out to our family just how ridiculous some of their concerns sounded to us, they began to understand more that our lifestyle choice didn’t have to be a lifestyle change for them, that we were still the people they raised to be responsible adults....


4. Goddess of Java, the Polyamorous Misanthrope of many years' experience, posts a tale of a recent Christmas past. Excerpt:

Poly writers often get asked for happy poly stories. Here’s one:

The Prince and I have had a tradition of throwing a party to decorate the Christmas Tree. We instituted it in a small way when our son was an infant and it’s continued for nearly two decades now....

The Prince, the Bird, Muscle Boy, Button, FWB, three of their kids, Madame Bernhardt, an old family friend and some of The Bird’s friends were there. The small children piled most of the ornaments they could lay their hands on at the lower part of the tree, and FWB commented that since he was tall, he felt a responsibility to hang them higher up. We had all the standard Tree Decorating Party treats, played Christmas music....

This is what poly can often look like, and it’ll always be the times I love the best.

Then there was that Dear Prudence column earlier this month.

For several years now at Christmastime, I've reprinted additional poly-and-the-holidays stuff from tragic to funny to awesome. Rather than copy and paste, I wave my wand and point you. Enjoy. (Especially the rooftop performers, and the quad carolers.)



December 18, 2013

A publicity gambit after Brown v. Utah

Want to try to get your poly group or meetup some local media attention? Here's a chance.

Last Friday's Utah decision legalizing group cohabitation by married people in that state, which effectively decriminalized polygamy, continues to draw attention nationwide (examples at CNN, The American Prospect, New York Times). Seizing on this victory, Billy Holder of Atlanta Polyamory and other folks (including me) have put together a press release that you can stick your name on and send to your local newspapers, radio and TV stations, etc., if you want to try to get some notice for your group.

Media are often eager to find a local "hook" for a national story like this. The iron is hot if you want to strike.

You have unlimited permission to copy, add, rewrite and paste:

[Your name, email, phone]


On December 13th a U.S. District Court judge sided with the polygamous Brown family in Utah, stars of TLC's "Sister Wives" series, ruling that key parts of Utah’s anti-polygamy laws are unconstitutional. Judge Clark Waddoups’ 91-page ruling decriminalizes many forms of open and honest non-monogamy in Utah and sets a potential precedent nationwide.

[Your group's name] joins with Loving More, Atlanta Polyamory, The Relationship Equality Foundation, Athens Polyamory, Modern Poly, The Charlotte Poly Network, B’More Poly, Hampton Roads Area Poly (HARP), Polyamory In the News, and others around the nation in congratulating the Browns on their historic win for freedom and equality in their case against the Utah law that made cohabiting in a group relationship a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.

While only currently affecting the State of Utah, the Brown decision is a win for nontraditional chosen families and people in honest open relationships across the country. We honor the strength and perseverance of the Browns in beating down this injustice in federal court.

Things of note about the ruling:

• The case is officially Brown v. Buhman (2:11-cv-652), though it is widely called Brown v. Utah.

• The ruling throws out part but not all of the Utah law. It removes as unconstitutional the section of the law prohibiting "cohabitation," saying that this violates constitutional guarantees. "The court finds the cohabitation prong of the Statute unconstitutional on numerous grounds and strikes it.”

• The ruling does uphold the part of the Utah law banning bigamy "in the literal sense -- the fraudulent or otherwise impermissible possession of two purportedly valid marriage licenses for the purpose of entering into more than one purportedly legal marriage."

• The practice of private multi-unions or self-declared marriages outside of legal contexts (civil and religious) is not restricted. That is, people may participate in group marriage ceremonies and call each other husbands and wives without the law taking notice, as long as there is no intent to defraud or to claim marriage benefits by those who do not qualify for them.

• Polyamorists are an enumerated group in this case, having been named directly in the original filings.

Key rulings across the nation are striking down anti-cohabitation statutes as well as laws restricting gender in marriage (such as United States v. Windsor, the U.S. Supreme Court's DOMA ruling last June). As legal rulings dismiss laws restricting personal freedoms that cause no harm to others (that is, without “a rational basis”), a clear message moves across our nation that personal relationships can and should be able to take more than one form, and that the form should be defined by the people involved in the relationships, not the government. The courts are removing antiquated laws one by one and increasing the freedom of individuals to make their own relationship choices without living in fear.

If the Utah officials on the losing side appeal the decision, Brown v. Buhman (Brown v. Utah) would move on to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and then possibly the U.S. Supreme Court, possibly resulting in a nationwide ruling that would strike down the criminalization of group cohabitation in states that still currently intrude on such private matters.

[Add something here about your local group, and who to contact if the media want to learn more about what you do and what you offer people in your area.]


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"They have websites and 501(c)3 advocacy organizations and bloggers" Oh my!

The Trentonian

This morning a newspaper not far from Loving More's upcoming Poly Living conference editorializes about us, in the wake of the Utah polygamy/cohabitation decision.

Furthermore: After gay marriage

...Religious conservatives, better take your tranquilizers.

...And don’t look now, but the polyamorists are agitating openly for acceptance, as they have been quietly doing so for several years now. They have a convention planned in April [actually February 7–9] at the Philly airport Embassy Suites, with workshops, seminars and all the usual works.

They have websites and 501(c)3 advocacy organizations and bloggers. There’s even a big ongoing academic study focusing on them.

“Relationship choice” is their battle cry.

Gay marriage is soooo yesterday. Polygamy and polyamory are going to be the new hoo-ha and turmoil. Count on it.

...About same-sex marriage we’ve said: If you’re opposed to it, then don’t marry somebody of the same sex. Similar counsel seems to apply to polygamy and polyamory. If you’re opposed to them, don’t take on multiple spouses or join multiple-partner arrangements. Simple.

The whole editorial (print issue: Dec. 18, 2013).


December 17, 2013

Interview with the Kimchi Cuddles artist

When I saw the first Kimchi Cuddles comics last May it was love at first sight. The NRE has worn off, but the love has only deepened and grown. Today Louisa Leontiades, who runs the MultipleMatch.com blogazine, publishes an interview with the artist.

Interview with Kimchi Cuddles – Poly Awareness Through Comics

Tikva: It’s a funny story… I was in a relationship with a person and made a passive-aggressive complaint to him in the form of a comic. But it was a happy every after, because his response was that I am HILARIOUS and should immediately start a web comic about polyamory. Seriously I doubted. But I tried it anyway just to see, and I’m continually amazed by how much love and support I receive from strangers all over the world who read it daily....

...Have any of your friends had problems being depicted in your cartoons?

No, surprisingly. Even the person who Soliloquy is based on brags that she’s in the comic (she’s an ex-girlfriend of mine that I may have been mad at when making some of the comics). Most of the people who are depicted in the comic read the comic daily and enjoy it, and even email me suggestions/stories! It probably helps that I love all my exes and think they’re awesome....

How true to life is it?

All the characters are based on real people, and if you know any of them in real life it’s extra hilarious.... Kimchi is all me, but little pieces of me also exist in Nora, Lilly, and Marco....

Tikva, the real Kimchi 

...Will you be publishing a cartoon book?

I hope to start a kickstarter (or something like that) to create some sort of coffee table book, hopefully before the spring....

(Interested in Xmas shopping for those other significant others in your life? Go to Kimchi Cuddles Shop.)

Read more, (Dec. 17, 2013). And here's the artist's own self-description.


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December 15, 2013

Why to buy The Polyamorists Next Door today, Sunday the 15th.

If you'd like to get sociologist Elisabeth Sheff's new book The Polyamorists Next Door, she asks that you please buy it from Amazon today, Sunday December 15th.

The reason:

If everyone who is interested buys a copy on December 15 then it has a good chance of being rated as the top seller in its category on that day. Being a best seller [for a day in a category on Amazon] is important because it can help get the book published in paperback, which is a lot less expensive to purchase and more likely to be in mainstream bookstores. Rowman and Littlefield only publish hardbacks and ebooks, and if the book is a “best seller” then it will be easier for me to get a different publisher interested in doing another run in paperback.

Click for the Amazon page. There you can click the book cover for a preview of the inside, including the table of contents.

The book, long awaited, describes findings from Sheff's years of studying polyfamilies and their children. One takeaway:

The children in the polyamorous families that participated in my 15-year study are generally in great shape: They are articulate and intelligent, precocious and thoughtful, poised and self-confident. Not that kids from poly families are perfect – they can be just as obnoxious, defiant, and irritating as children in other families. Even so, kids from poly families are a strikingly robust group....


December 14, 2013

'Sister Wives' family wins ruling; right to group relationships upheld

In a huge win for the legal status of polyamorous relationships, the federal judge hearing the "Sister Wives" challenge to Utah's anti-cohabitation law has, after many months of deliberation, just ruled in favor of Kody Brown and his four wives.

This is big for us. Utah's law outlawing polygamy outlawed polyamory too — any group relationship among people living together, or informally calling each other "husbands" or "wives" even if only one legal marriage is claimed or is on the books.

Meri Brown, Christine Brown, Janelle Brown, Kody Brown and Robyn Sullivan
of TLC’s 
Sister Wives welcome baby Solomon. Photo courtesy TLC.

If the decision is appealed, it will go to the 10th US Circuit of Appeals in Denver, then maybe to the Supreme Court. If the ruling is upheld, polygamous families and polyfamilies would be legal (though not recognized by the state as married) in states where anti-bigamy or anti-cohabitation laws still outlaw them.

Even if these laws are rarely enforced, they can have effects on employment discrimination and child custody cases. The argument "What you're doing is illegal in this state" can hit hard in such cases even if the law is not enforced.

Note that as far as governments are concerned, the Brown family is identical to a polyamorous group. They claim only one legally recognized marriage among them (between Kody Brown and his first wife), and the others file their taxes and so forth as single persons.

One article among many:

Federal Judge Strikes Down Ban On Religious Cohabitation In Utah Polygamy Law

WASHINGTON — A federal judge struck down Utah’s criminal ban on cohabitation between a married individual and another person not his or her spouse, a prong in the state’s law against polygamy.

The Friday ruling did not address legal polygamy — actually being married to multiple people — but only what U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups referred to as “religious cohabitation.”

The court struck down the provision in the state’s bigamy statute that criminalized a married person from “cohabit[ing] with another person” and limited another provision in the law to cover only those who make a “claim of entry into a legal union recognized by the state as marriage” and not those who enter into a religious union with no attempt to “elicit the state’s recognition of marital statua.”

Waddoups has been considering the case brought by the Browns — featured on TLC’s Sister Wives television show — since 2011.

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who represents the plaintiffs, wrote on Friday night, “It is a moment in which all Utahans should take pride and celebrate not in the name of polygamy but of privacy. So congratulations to the Browns and to the people of Utah on a truly momentous day.”

In beginning his 91-page opinion, Waddoups noted that the case “has weighed heavily on the court for many months.”

At question was a 1973 law, passed when Utah rewrote all of its criminal laws, that read: “A person is guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person.”

After detailing the history of the treatment of polygamy in Utah, Waddoups noted that the court deferred to a prior Supreme Court case foreclosing “any potential free exercise right to the actual practice of polygamy.” This case, he explained, was about “religious cohabitation” in which the participants “make no claim to having entered into legal unions by virtue of their religious cohabitation.”

Although Waddoups found no fundamental right either to polygamy or such “religious cohabitation,” he did find that Utah’s ban on religious cohabitation would violate the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment because the point of that provision in the statute is “to infringe upon or restrict” people practicing religious cohabitation “because of their religious motivation.”

In looking at privacy rights, Waddoups applied the reasoning of the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas striking down sodomy laws as unconstitutional, noting, “Consensual sexual privacy is the touchstone of the rational basis review analysis in this case, as in Lawrence.”

The court found the provision here unconstitutional because Utah does not prosecute “[a]dultery, including adulterous cohabitation” but does prosecute “religious cohabitation.” Of that, Waddoups wrote, “The court finds no rational basis to distinguish between the two, not least with regard to the State interest in protecting the institution of marriage ….”

The other potential basis for upholding the provision was “serious concerns” about “the potential for injury and harm in closed religious polygamist communities,” but Waddoups decided that “such crime can and should be prosecuted on its own independent basis under the Utah statutes specifically designated for those purposes.”

As such, Waddoups concluded the religious cohabitation ban to be unconstitutional.

Similar constitutional concerns led him to conclude that the other provision in the bigamy ban — its language criminalizing “purport[ing] to marry another person” when already married — needed to be interpreted in a narrow way — only when a legal union is claimed — that would prevent it from criminalizing cohabitation-like situations.

Original article at Buzzfeed (Dec. 14, 2013).

Here's the judge's 91-page ruling (pdf or txt).

Vrimj, a member of the Polyamory Leadership Network, has been tracking the legal aspects of the case from the beginning. She writes that this decision "strikes down all parts of the bigamy statue except the actual filing of multiple marriage licenses." The decision "is binding precedent only in the Utah federal district courts, but it is advisory precedent all U.S. courts, and would be very persuasive in the 10th Circuit. It is unclear if the county sheriff will appeal, but if he does it will probably next go to a three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals."

In the Salt Lake Tribune: Federal judge declares Utah polygamy law unconstitutional (Dec. 13). With a statement from Kody Brown.

Statement from the Browns' lead attorney, Jonathan Turley (George Washington University Law School): Federal Court Strikes Down Criminalization of Polygamy In Utah .

More from Vrimj as she reads the decision:

This is so good; the first facial attack on Reynolds [the 1879 Supreme Court decision affirming that polygamy can be criminalized], and this is the prefect place for it!

[Judge Waddoups writes:]

The proper outcome of this issue has weighed heavily on the court for many months as it has examined, analyzed, and re-analyzed the numerous legal, practical, moral, and ethical considerations and implications of today’s ruling. It would be an easy enough matter for the court to do as the Defendant urges and find against the Plaintiffs on the question of religious cohabitation under the Statute, defaulting simply to Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145 (1879) without seriously addressing the much developed constitutional jurisprudence that now protects individuals from the criminal consequences intended by legislatures to apply to certain personal choices, though such legislatures may sincerely believe that such criminal sanctions are in the best interest of society. The court has concluded that this would not be the legally or morally responsible approach in this case given the current contours of the constitutional protections at issue.


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December 13, 2013

Poly therapy today:
An interview, and more

Ten years ago therapists and counselors with any grasp of polyamory were mostly limited to the handful in the back of Loving More magazine. If you or your polyfamily was looking for one, you were probably out of luck. Now it's easier to find them, or at least to find therapists who know enough that you don't have to spend your first sessions paying $125 an hour to educate them.

And if your prospective shrink isn't up to speed, you can now direct them to this 36-page booklet: What Psychology Professionals Should Know About Polyamory, so they can learn on their own time.

You can also refer them to Kathy Labriola's recent book Love In Abundance: A Counselor's Advice On Open Relationships and her newer The Jealousy Handbook: Exercises and Insights for Managing Open Relationships. Then there's relationship coach Leonie Linssen and Stephan Wik's Love Unlimited: The Joys and Challenges of Open Relationships, a collection of 12 illustrative case histories. And more articles appear all the time in academic journals and professional newsletters. (For example, Clients in Sexually Open Relationships: Considerations for Therapists, by Kevin Zimmerman in the Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, vol. 24, issue 3, July-Sept. 2012.)

It is still hard to get presentation slots for this controversial topic at the meetings of the professional societies, we are told. But at last year's American Psychiatric Association meeting in Philadelphia, a session about poly research to improve clinical care drew a standing-room-only audience and coverage in the local newspaper despite being relegated to an out-of the way corner of the convention center in the last time slot on the last day.

One of the professionals helping to push things forward is Tamara Pincus of the Washington DC area. Yesterday she was interviewed in HuffPost/Women:

The Polyamorist On The Couch: Q & A With Tamara Pincus On What Therapists Should Know About Big Love

By Arin Greenwood

Tamara Pincus
The New York Post says that polyamory is having a fashionable moment.... But if open relationships are becoming more common... Tamara Pincus, a D.C.-based therapist with a practice advertised as "psychotherapy for the open-minded," says there's still a long way to go before polyamory goes fully mainstream.

Pincus, who hosts a monthly discussion group for people who are interested in, as she puts it, "consensual non-monogamous relationships," recently reached out to a group who might not realize they're interested in these relationships: She published a primer on polyamory aimed at clinical social workers.

That paper is behind a paywall, but here's a [brief] paper [she] published earlier in the Greater Washington Society for Clinical Social Work's newsletter [see page 12]....

Why don't we start with you telling me about the paper you wrote — what is it about, and who is it for?

...Currently, there is not a lot out there for social workers about polyamory. A lot of them have never heard of it or think that it only happens when a couple is not doing well but not ready to break up. They don't understand the concept of poly identity and why people choose polyamory aside from a desire to have sex with more than one person.

This can lead to marginalization. A lot of poly clients in therapy don't come out to their therapists, which means they don't work on a lot of the issues that come up. Also often when they do come out they feel judged by their therapists or misunderstood.

Often even the most well-meaning therapists will not understand polyamory, so clients will end up spending their time educating their therapists which is not a service they should necessarily have to pay for....

...What do you want therapists to understand about poly clients?

I want therapists to understand that polyamory is not a sign of an attachment problem or other disorder. I want them to recognize it as a valid relationship choice.

I also want therapists to be versed in basic language about polyamory and basic information about things like how to contract in a non-monogamous relationship, what does consent in a non-monogamous context look like, how poly families work, etc.

I want therapists to understand that polyamory is not damaging for children.

There is a book just coming out by Elisabeth Sheff called The Polyamorists Next Door where she does a study of poly families and learns that in fact polyamory is not bad for children. Eli is not poly herself so this is not just some puff piece by a poly person trying to promote their lifestyle.

I want the community at large to see polyamory as a reasonable and honorable relationship choice. Poly people are often told that what they are doing is too complicated or weird and that it would be better if they just cheated which is just strange to me....

Read on (Dec. 12, 2013).

Some other recent related items:

● At YourTango, a brassy online women's magazine ("your best love life"):

Success with Polyamory and Infidelity; We Could all Learn a Lot

By Tracy Deagan

Ben and Claire came in to therapy with me to work on the common couples issues of not being sexually faithful and jealousy. They were unusual in the manner that they are working on these issues and what they need from a therapist, because Ben and Claire identify as Polyamorous — as does a growing segment of the US population.

...Like many folks that identify as polyamorous, Ben and Claire had talked with two therapists previously that “just did not get it.” They ended up feeling that they were spending their time and money educating their therapist. They described misperceptions regarding polyamory and the people that identify as polyamorous similar to those I hear from even seasoned professionals....

A therapist helping those that choose a polyamorous structure has a responsibility to educate themselves on this structure and to weed out their own fears and prejudices that living in an overwhelmingly monogamous society has given us. The majority of therapists I have trained have a knee jerk “That is just wrong!” reaction to polyamory without doing the research to differentiate it from cheating or really examining what monogamy has engendered in our society....

Read on (July 2, 2013).

● In the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work's newsletter Clinical Voice, September 2013 issue, Damon Constantinides PhD, LCSW, has an article Supporting Polyamorous Clients against social shaming.

● Therapist Victoria Rose Sturley, in London, puts this up: Free: Open and Awesome Relationships Crash Course.

● Here's my most recent roundup of lots more poly-and-therapy news. And here are all my posts tagged therapy for the last three years (including this one; scroll down).



December 12, 2013

"A Live-In Love Triangle Ends in a Beating Death"

New York Times

The following horror was in the news today with the word "polyamorous" attached. As with couples, an okay-looking front can hide abuse, brainwashing, and murder.

A Live-In Love Triangle Ends in a Beating Death

By Sarah Maslin Nir

There were family outings at the beach, homemade pizza nights, a wintry day spent making a dreadlocked snowman — evidence of a secret life in Queens that seemed happy, if unconventional.

But there were troubling signs, glimpsed by her friends in Harlem where she still kept her old apartment, that Sheryl Outerbridge’s other life was quietly destroying her. She would return to Manhattan with burn marks and broken bones, her body tortured — her soul, too.

Sheryl Outerbridge, left, at Rockaway Beach, Queens, in
happier days with Malik and Devonnee Wilkerson, who are
under arrest in connection with her beating death last week.
...Little by little their story unraveled. The husband and wife who bundled her battered body into a 2001 Chrysler Town and Country were no serendipitous passers-by; they had been living with Ms. Outerbridge in a polyamorous — and, friends said, brutal and controlling — relationship that, law enforcement officials contend, ended when the couple beat Ms. Outerbridge to death.

Ms. Outerbridge, a 38-year-old mother of three, was buried on Wednesday in New Jersey, hours after her funeral service in Harlem. One of the suspects in her death, Devonnee Wilkerson, was arrested and charged with kidnapping and assault; her husband, Malik Wilkerson, was in custody in Pittsburgh and awaiting extradition to New York, the police said.

In a statement to the police, Ms. Wilkerson explained what precipitated the violent act. Ms. Outerbridge, she said, violated a cardinal rule of their relationship by getting a tattoo for her birthday: it said “Bish Baby,” Ms. Wilkerson’s pet name for her husband.

“There are boundaries not to cross,” Ms. Wilkerson told the police....

Ms. Outerbridge grew up a voracious reader, but struggled in school, her home life disrupted by the vicious men her mother brought home, her sister Crystal Outerbridge said. The men, she said, pulled their mother into drinking and drugs, beatings and her eventual death from complications of AIDS.

Sheryl Outerbridge persevered, getting a general equivalency diploma and a job as a bank teller.... But even as she climbed upward, she seemed destined to repeat her mother’s mistakes....

...As frank as Ms. Outerbridge was about her three-way relationship, she tried to keep its brutal reality to herself, but that became increasingly difficult. She would return to her Harlem apartment with black eyes, a split lip, “a small map of Texas on her cheek, like somebody took the cigarette and dragged it up her face,” Ms. Irving said....

The whole article (Dec. 12, 2014).


December 11, 2013

Dan Savage: Is poly queer?

Many alt media

In his column this week, Dan Savage talks about whether polyfolks can call themselves queer in the absence of any compounding factors. He doesn't say what I thought he would.


Joe Newton
Q: My husband and I have been married for 20 years, and we both also share our lives with additional partners. Rather than spend a lot of time dishing about who and how we love — and how fortunate we feel! — I'd like to get right to my plea for support.

I want freedom. I want the freedom in my life that I've always wanted for you, Dan: to be able to live and love and talk about your actual life without being afraid that it could cost you your job, your kids, your family. Having to live in the closet is difficult. I cannot say that it is as difficult for us as it is for someone who is LGBT.... [But] this isn't a contest about who suffers more.... The progress we have made together toward a more tolerant world for gay people gives me hope that we could be next.... So can we be added to the acronym, please? Perhaps we can honor the differences between our experience and the LGBT experience with an ampersand. What do you think of LGBT&P?

–Privately Polyamorous Person

A: You haven't been keeping up, PPP. We are no longer the LGBT community. We are the LGBTQLFTSQIA community, aka the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, leather/fetish, two-spirit, questioning, intersex, and asexual community/communities. I don't see why we can't slap a "P" onto the end of our acronym, so say it with me now: "I'm proud to be a member of the LGBTQLFTSQIAP community/communities!"

But I have to draw the line at the ampersand. Because if we give poly folks a punctuation mark, PPP, then soon everybody is gonna want a punctuation mark....

And why should poly folks be held at arm's length with an ampersand? Because most poly folks are straight? Lots of leather/fetish folks are straight, and they're covered in the acronym. Lots of trans men and trans women are straight, and they're covered. David Jay, founder of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network, "is in a romantic relationship with an asexual girlfriend and hopes to adopt a child," according to his Wiki page, and he's covered.... You're a sexual minority, too, and poly people sometimes face discrimination, bigotry, and oppression. So welcome to the club, PPP. Congrats!

And here's the best part of putting poly folks in the acronym: It brings us one step closer to seizing control of the entire alphabet. While religious conservatives are fighting a losing battle to "take back the rainbow" from the gays — a movement led by a fundamentalist preacher in Washington State — we've been making off with the alphabet one letter at a time....

Read the whole column (Dec. 11, 2013). This is the last item.



December 9, 2013

Conservatives shifting their aim to polyamory

Emblem by Angi Becker Stevens.
I've noticed something since the Supreme Court's DOMA decision last June. Aside from diehard fundie Christians, the conservative movement has mostly thrown in the towel on gays as being a losing issue. Instead, social conservatives are turning their sights more directly onto the next target down their slippery slope: polyamory.

As poly becomes widely known and recognized, we're becoming a bugbear in our own right, rather than just an incidental debating point in the fight against gay marriage. However, conservatives still often mix us up with polygamy, probably a tactical error. That term calls up images of cults in the desert dressing for the 19th century, hardly a serious moral challenge to mainstream assumptions. A more immediate challenge are the modern, successful, highly educated and connected "polyamorists next door," to use the title of sociologist Elisabeth Sheff's great new book just out.

Last week the shift seemed especially clear, when an unusual number of conservative websites and media picked up on the ABC Nightline segment featuring Kamala Devi, Michael and Rachel, and the Dear Prudence advice column that addressed the etiquette of poly-family Christmas invitations.

For instance, here is Rod Dreher at The American Conservative following up on Dear Prudence. I highlight this one because Dreher is thoughtful and worth reading to know what his side is thinking. So are many of his commenters; they're more civilized, or maybe more heavily moderated, than ABC's. It's a mistake to imagine that these people are all hateful loons (though some are), any more than to think that liberals are all clueless airheads (though some are).

Have A Poly, Jolly Christmas

By Rod Dreher

[Following the Dear Prudence column] ...some American Idol graduate whose career is going nowhere needs to write a holiday anthem to encourage polyamorists who are sadly marginalized and excluded from family Christmases. Why not? ....If the Bowersox “holiday anthem” (her phrase) about coming out to one’s family by bringing one’s same-sex partner home to Christmas is something to be celebrated, what in principle would be wrong with a holiday anthem about coming out to one’s family as a polyamorist by bringing one’s poly partner(s) home to Christmas? Serious question.

(Sounds like a fun idea to me. Anyone?)

Actually, these Christmas song questions highlight how confused and confusing our response to the radically changing American sexual and social scene often is. I think relatively few people are entirely consistent on the matter. Would I welcome my adult child’s same-sex partner to the Christmas table? I would, no matter what I thought about the moral status of their relationship. But I would not welcome my child’s polygamous partner(s) to the Christmas table, and would not even consider it.

...Why is one tolerable to me, but the other not? I’m not sure I have a satisfying answer. I think they are equally sinful, from an Orthodox Christian point of view, and incapable of being squared with the will of God. Yet in the case of the gay family member, I honestly have no problem socializing in good faith, any more than I would have a problem socializing in good faith with straight family members who happened to be living without benefit of clergy with their partners. Why is this acceptable, but polygamy at the Christmas table is absolutely not?

Obviously because polygamy still has about it a strong taboo.... Homosexuality, for better or for worse, has lost that taboo for most people, including people like me, who hold to the standard Christian position on marriage and sexuality. It’s just not worth alienating the affection of my family over.... This is why gay rights have won: when conservatives like me don’t think defending our principles is worth enforcing a taboo that would alienate the affection of those we love, the battle is over.

So why is the anti-polygamy taboo worth drawing a line against?... The thing that leaves me very uneasy is the language and logic used to justify the legitimacy of homosexuality and gay marriage — the language of liberty, liberation, and personal autonomy — leaves us in a weak position against which to resist polygamy....

The only people in this matter who are fully consistent are those who would accept everybody, and those who would refuse all but one-male-one-female pairings. My guess is that most of us are neither. This is messy.

Well, life is messy. Or rather it's "complex and ever-evolving," more precisely "a nonlinear system," just like the rest of nature. Get used to it.

Read his whole article (Dec. 5, 2013).

I actually think this conservative attention is good for us, for several reasons:

1) It spreads the word that successful poly relationships even exist, to a big audience that we can't reach directly. The more people who simply hear about the polyamorous possibility, the more who will know that is exists for them too, if the time ever comes. As Sheff says, we are presenting a striking new concept that once known, cannot be un-known.

2) Even direct opposition tends to normalize a new thing, which is what conservatives seem to fear the most. Think of how the early debates over homosexual relationships 40 or 50 years ago normalized homosexuality as an actual serious topic. They spread the knowledge that real gay relationships exist among decent people.

3) Engaging with the opposition strengthens our skills and develops the quality of our ideas. If you stay in your thought bubble unchallenged, your ideas get all flabby and you may indeed end up a clueless airhead.

So bring it on. Those of you who are positioned to, challenge the other side. Seek debates (in fair forums; a hostile TV show may edit you down to nothing, but live talk radio is great). Pick a fight. Join the comments. For ideas, you might start with Tristan Taormino's stirring Poly Pride speech a while back, especially her third from last paragraph; the suggested poly talking points at the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom; and Sheff's research in her new book.



December 5, 2013

Dear Prudence on inviting a poly family home for Christmas

Slate, many newspapers

It's the holiday season, and Dear Prudence takes a question about inviting a poly third to Christmas at the home of split-opinion parents. Among mainstream advice columnists Prudie (Emily Yoffe) has been somewhat unsympathetic to poly in the last four years, but at least she's now offering straight advice. And notice the part I've bolded.

My Two Lads

Dear Prudence (Emily Yoffe)
My daughter wants to bring her husband — and her boyfriend — to Christmas.

Dear Prudence,

Our daughter "Amanda" lives in another state and has been married to "Jacob" for several years. Theirs is an open relationship, and I have always known that. My husband, however has kept his head in the sand regarding this. My daughter has a boyfriend, "Tom,” whom Jacob knows about and has a great friendship with. They are all planning to come to our home this Christmas, but my husband insists that Tom (who has visited us previously) is not welcome. Do I tell our daughter, son-in-law, and daughter's boyfriend to make other holiday plans? My opinion is that they are all consenting adults, there are no children involved, and always behave appropriately in public.

—Stuck in the Middle With Him

Dear Stuck,

Perhaps a generation from now many families will be having a very polyamorous Christmas. But we aren’t there yet. I support your conclusion that your daughter and the men in her life are consenting adults and as long as they behave with decorum, what they do in private is none of your business. But they are also open about their open relationship, so I can understand your husband’s point of view that he attended Amanda’s wedding to Jacob, where she vowed to forsake all others, including every Tom, Dick, and Harry. Before you call your daughter, talk to your husband about the possibility of indulging in some denial and just treating Tom as a friend of the couple who has nowhere else to go for the holiday. If that doesn’t work, and your husband has no interest in getting presents for this trio (a boxed set of Peter, Paul, and Mary?), then contact your daughter and explain your dilemma. Do not open with a suggestion that she go elsewhere for Christmas. Tell her that her father is not yet ready to accept her unconventional approach to marriage, but that alienating herself from him won’t help the process. Suggest this year she come only with Jacob. Surely she knows there are simply occasions when she must make a choice about which man to bring.


Here's the original in its first place of appearance, at Slate (Dec. 5, 2013).

This set off a big discussion thread today on reddit/r/polyamory, which has over 16,000 mostly young members. Sample comment: "I don't like the implication that Amanda is the one who selfishly wants to have her cake and eat it. That sounds like the dad, who wants to see his daughter but not see her partner! He is the one who should grow up and start listening to his family."

While we're at it, here's a brand-new, actually knowledgeable advice column for alt-relationships: Dear Viny: Actual Advice for Alternative Relationships. She's put up seven pieces in the month since she started.

And here's my roundup of 11 advice columns by and for alt-relationship people a few months back.


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December 3, 2013

"Coming Out as a Modern Family"

New York Times
Maria Bello
Sometimes a successful poly family just falls together by itself, without anyone apparently knowing about, or needing, the word, the literature, or the community. Actress Maria Bello tells how it happened to her, in the Fashion & Style section of the New York Times. Here are the beginning and ending:

Coming Out as a Modern Family

By Maria Bello

When my 12-year-old son, Jackson, asked me if there was something I wasn’t telling him, I replied, “There are a lot of things I don’t tell you.”

“Like what?”

“Adult stuff.”

He persisted: “What kind of adult stuff?”

This was the moment I had been anticipating and dreading for months. “Like romantic stuff,” I said, fumbling for words.

Brian Rea
“What kind of romantic stuff?”

“Well,” I said. “Like how sometimes you can be friends with someone, and then it turns romantic, and then you’re friends again. Like with Dad and me. Or romantic like Bryn and me were, and then he and I became friends.”

“So are you romantic with anyone right now?” he asked.

I took a deep breath, knowing that my answer, and his response, would have an impact on our lives for a very long time....


...And we have figured it out together: Jack, Clare, Dan [husband], and I. It’s a rare weekend when we aren’t piled in the same car, driving to one of Jack’s soccer tournaments. Dan makes fun of Clare for getting lost and she makes sure he always has the umbrellas, sunscreen, water nuts and whatever else we might need in a nuclear disaster.

We have dinner together almost every night. As I write this, we’re basking in the afterglow of Dan’s 50th birthday party that Clare, Jackson, and I gave, which was attended by his family and mine and many other people I consider partners in one aspect of my life or another. It was a room of celebration and unconditional love.

Mostly, the four of us laugh a lot together. Jackson has gotten us hooked on “Modern Family,” and in each episode he tries to figure out if Dan is Phil or Jay and if Clare is Gloria or Mitchell....

So I would like to consider myself a “whatever,” as Jackson said. Whomever I love, however I love them, whether they sleep in my bed or not, or whether I do homework with them or share a child with them, “love is love.” And I love our modern family.

Maybe, in the end, a modern family is just a more honest family.

Maria Bello is an activist and actor whose most recent film is “Prisoners.”

Read the whole article (Nov. 29, 2013).


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December 1, 2013

Four gay and bi polycules in San Francisco profiled

The Bold Italic

Continuing the theme of gay writers addressing polyamory without fear, this profile of four groups appeared a few days ago in The Bold Italic, "an online magazine, shop, and events hub in San Francisco. We celebrate the free-wheeling spirit of the city."

Polyamory is Alive and Well in SF

By Peter Lawrence Kane

After the Supreme Court’s Prop. 8 ruling came down in June... amid the celebration, there were some wistful sentiments that maybe queerness was waning and all the gays were — as my uber-queer thesis adviser once put it — “ready to go home and cook dinner, forever.”

...But there are multiple other ways of fashioning a life with one’s chosen partner, or partners. I sat down with four families or member of polyamorous groups, two all-male and two male-and-female, to gain some better insight into just how happy (and gleefully sex-positive) these enduring arrangements can be.

Richard, Steven, Rob, Eric, and Paul [above] are all between 47 and 62 years old and live in San Francisco. Richard and Steven (the daddies) have been together for 23 years and legally married in 2008, while the three boys joined in the last five or six years. Rob and Paul are collared, wearing padlocked chains that indicate they’re boys in a daddy-boy dynamic. Additionally, Paul and his separate partner of 16 years wed in October.

Getting together:

Rob: If somebody has a thing going on, we all make a point to show up. We have scheduled dates because if we don’t, they won’t happen.

Eric: And we’re not [gestures to include the entire family] monogamous as well. We all have fuck buddies.

Paul: There’s a lot of focused one-on-one. Not necessarily having sex, but focusing on the relationship. Which usually involves sex.

Richard: We’re not “poly-monogamous.” We interbreed with regularity, though that certainly has diminished as the intensity of the relationship among the five of us has increased....

Do you envision legalized polyamory?

Richard: Three years into our relationship, Steven and I had our own Jewish-pagan ceremony. Then we got domestic-partnered. Right now we’re trying to get the boys to find boys. They need support staff, so to speak. When I’m 90, Eric will be 77, and he’s going to need someone to push my wheelchair around....

Together for three years, Liesl and Steve are a couple dating another couple, Megan and Nathan, along with several other lovers whom they see less often. All are in their late twenties and live in the East Bay.

Getting together:

Steve: If I’m dating a girl, usually Liesl ends up dating that girl, but most of the time, if she’s dating a guy, he and I don’t play too much. Except at either end of Liesl.

Liesl: Although I’ve had lots of guys say that if they were to experiment on a guy, it’d be Steve. I was the first woman Megan had ever been with. But that’s not surprising. All the straight girls, they’re like, “Well, I’ll try this.”


Steve: The reason we’re polyamorous isn’t philosophical, it’s that we’re terrible about monogamy. But in the Bay, people have a whole idea of what that means about our relationship....

Read the whole long article (late November 2013).


Of course some gays really are monogamous, like some straights, and they can get in one's face about it, like some straights — as told by Tom Gualtieri at The Weeklings and reprinted at Salon:

Hey, moralists, spare us the monogamy speech

Your view of your own moral superiority is not going to make someone else’s relationship better or worse.

Back in 2004, just after San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s controversial move issuing same-sex marriage licenses, I went on a date with a good-looking fella I’d met through friends. The topic of monogamy came up – not in the context of some imagined, romantic future for the two of us but in the ado (and much of it) caused as much by Newsom’s boldness as by the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts the previous autumn.

My date offered, unsolicited, his opinion about gay men who indulge their sexual needs openly and, let us say, frequently. I worked my way through the bread basket as he bloviated....

Eventually, I parried with my philosophy that promiscuity does not equal sluttery and conservatism in the bedroom (or in politics) doesn’t make anyone automatically superior. There are gay men, I said, who neither need nor desire “free love” and are perfectly happy that way. There are other men who don’t engage because, while they would like to, they fear the judges at their own court of inner demons. And finally there are men who profess their superiority at not needing “free love” but do it in secret anyway; we call those men “hypocrites.”

It was at this point that I become sorry we had already placed our order....

Read on (Nov. 30, 2013).


Also of note: at counselor Gina Senarighi's site, Myths of Non-Monogamy: Polyamory is So Gay

One of the myths of non-monogamy I face regularly is that open relationships and polyamory is a gay thing. That straight people are basically monogamous naturally, and gay people for whatever reason aren’t.

“There is no societal or religious pressure, no relationship archetype or historical expectation for a gay man to be monogamously coupled. Unlike heterosexual relationships, gay relationships form simply because two people want to be together.”
          –Tyler Curry

One of the best parts about being a part of the LGBTQ community is that because we don’t have set models for relationships, we get to be creative when we decide to build them....


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