Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

February 27, 2014

Robyn Trask speaks our piece on HuffPost Live

Robyn Trask of Loving More represented for us very well yesterday on a Huffington Post Live webcast: The Ups And Downs Of Open Relationships (Feb. 26, 2014).

Host Noah Michelson, editor of HuffPost Gay Voices, and New York relationship writer Stacey Nelkin totally got it and contributed well. Michelson even embraced poly people as entitled to call themselves queer, since they too are about doing a non-normal thing that works for them as long as no one is hurt.

Watch here (17:06). This one is worth referring people to.

It's also on AOL.com.


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February 26, 2014

It's out: "The Ethical Slut, an Alternative Love Story," the webseries.

Remember filmmaker Ben Fritz's Kickstarter campaign last year for his Ethical Slut webseries? Now you can watch all of Season 1.

Filmed in Madison, Wisconsin, it's "inspired by" the classic poly and open-relationship guidebook by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy (and has their blessing). Fritz and his crew have posted Season 1, with 12 short (mostly 5- to 8-minute) episodes. And, he announced earlier this month, "Season 2 is in post-production, and Season 3 starts filming this week!"

Trailer, aka Episode 1 (3:42):

Episode 2 (7:37):

Here are all episodes of Season 1.

Director's description:

Dotty, a marriage therapist, sees couples who don't appreciate each other. When her friend Jackie confesses to cheating on her husband, she's motivated to find alternative ways people organize relationships. Is it possible to have all the sex, love, and affection you can dream of, without the shame and guilt?

The Ethical Slut is the official handbook to polyamorous living. It's a no-holds-barred guide for anyone who dreams of a world beyond conventional relationships. A slut is anyone of any gender who has the courage to lead a life according to the principals that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you. Dotty and Jackie, two friends in Madison, Wisconsin, find The Ethical Slut when they discover that convention relationships aren't working in their lives. Dotty, a marriage therapist, wants to find new ways of helping her clients organize satisfying lives and challenge herself to keep growing. Jackie, a successful real estate agent, has found a new zest for life in a newly awakened sexuality, but finds it conflicts with her old life. Together, with the aid of The Ethical Slut, they begin to explore the wide world or relationships, and the infinite possibilities. The series is shot in Madison, Wisconsin and many of Madison's favorite locations and businesses are represented. We are always seeking support and donations to keep our series going.

The show's Facebook page.


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"My Five Wives," TLC's new polygamy series about a family in it for "love and commitment", begins March 9.

Yes they're in Utah and yes they come from originalist Mormon culture, like the fictional Big Love family (HBO), the real-life Sister Wives family (TLC), and the real-life Joe Darger family (TLC). I guess TLC's market research found that viewers can't get enough. The twist this time: The Williams family are post-Mormons who have left the religious stuff behind and choose to live as a big polygamous household regardless. Says husband Brady Williams, "It's now about love and it's about commitment, and it's about happiness as a family. It's not about the fear of hell or the promise of heaven."

"My Five Wives" starts Sunday March 9 (at 10 p.m. Eastern/Pacific time) and will run for nine episodes. It's an expansion of TLC's one-hour special on the Williams family that aired last September 15th. From Zap2It.com:

My Five Wives': Meet TLC's newest polygamist family

By Jean Bentley

...Patriarch Brady Williams is 43 years old and was raised a Mormon. Now, however, he and his five wives live a non-denominational plural lifestyle. He's been married for 21 years to his first wife, Paulie, and his second wife, Robyn; 19 years to his third wife, Rosemary; 16 years to his fourth wife, Nonie; and 14 to his fifth wife, Rhonda. Between all five of his wives, he has 24 children.... The show will debut on-air during the "Sister Wives" [season] finale.

30-second promo:

At Examiner.com:

Why would TLC want another show to compete with their popular Sister Wives that follows Kody Brown, his four wives and their 17 children? The Brady Williams family will show a different, more progressive style of polygamy.

The Williams still live and work in Utah while the Browns had to flee to avoid prosecution. Brady Brown runs a construction company that one of his five wives helps him with. Viewers have never been quite sure what Kody Brown actually does to support his family.

My Five Wives is being billed as “more progressive” and does not appear to sport the modesty in dress or behavior than the Brown wives do. The show promises to allow viewers to see more of the private relationships that Williams has with each of his five wives.

The Williams family all live together on their family’s large property in Utah, in what appears to be a big spawling house. The dynamics of that alone make them different than the “Sister Wives” who all live in separate houses on a cul de sac in Las Vegas.

...“My Five Wives” will give us an entirely different prospective on life in a plural marriage than the show “Sister Wives” does....

Article (Feb. 17, 2014).

At the Huffington Post, when the one-hour special aired last September:

"My Five Wives": TLC's Newest Polygamous Family Favors Buddhism

By Brady McCombs

The newest polygamous family from Utah on reality TV considers itself progressive and independent. Williams and his wives slowly withdrew from the fundamentalist Mormon church in their rural community outside of Salt Lake City during the mid-2000s after re-evaluating their core beliefs.

The family no longer teaches the tenets of fundamental Mormonism to their children at home, opting instead to take from other teachings such as Buddhism to instill good, moral values in their two dozen children, who range in age from 2-20.

"Since we have left the religion, it's now about love and it's about commitment, and it's about happiness as a family," said Brady Williams, 43, a project manager in his brother's construction business. "It's not about the fear of hell or the promise of heaven."

It wasn't the first time Brady Williams has crossed religious lines. As a teenager, his parents left mainstream Mormonism and joined polygamy. He said that transition was very difficult, but not as hard as leaving the fundamentalist church his five wives all grew up in.

...Non-affiliated plural families are actually quite common among the estimated 38,000 fundamentalists who practice or believe in polygamy, most living in Utah and other western states, said Anne Wilde, co-founder of a polygamy advocacy group called Principle Voices. The group estimates that about 15,000 are independent like the Williams....

The whole article.

A trailer for the new series, titled "Love Keeps Us Grounded" (1:03):

From a TLC press release:

From dealing with everyday issues like maintaining a strong marriage and raising children to more complicated issues such as jealousy, loneliness and their schedules with Brady, nothing is off-limits.

An independent plural family, the Williams gradually withdrew from the fundamentalist Mormon Church after reevaluating their core beliefs. Believing in equality for everyone and a God who loves and accepts all, they emphasize that their choice to be together is "about love, commitment and happiness as a family" rather than religious doctrine. Though their beliefs and their decision to leave the church have led them to be shunned by their community and estranged from many family members, the Williams’ believe their sacrifices are worth it.

Here's the show's website, with more videos.

The Williams family's Facebook page.

Here's what I find interesting. With a series about a more secular, "progressive" family, TV polygamy is edging closer to home for mainstream America. Only Showtime (an edgy network) has so far dared to base a series on modern, gender-equal "polyamorists next door," who challenge mainstream life directly. Maybe other networks are cautiously moving that way. We know they're interested.


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February 24, 2014

"Polyamorous Somerville residents balance multiple relationships"

Somerville (MA) Journal

An old-line local newspaper right in my neck of the woods printed a 2,000-word feature article on polyfolks in town. Somerville is on the northern edge of Boston and Cambridge — a mix of working-class families, students and other college people, and geek-chic cool culture. Poly Boston has been a presence since the 1990s.

Joel in the article writes, "It's pretty good overall but we've had to go back and forth with the author and editor to correct some mistakes."

Sharing the love: Polyamorous Somerville residents balance multiple relationships

Zach Peery and Laura Blake at Grendel's Den in Harvard Square. (Wicked Local photo by David Gordon)

By Monica Jimenez

Although 31-year-old Ball Square resident Kate Estrop plans to go out to dinner for Valentine's Day, her evening won't look like the couples' tradition you might expect.

Accompanying Estrop to dinner tomorrow evening will be her partner of five years, Joel, 34 — as well as her other main partner, Adam.

Three friends will be joining them, including another couple and the woman who first introduced Estrop and Joel to Adam. She's also Adam's wife.

"It's a triple date for Valentine's Day. I will just say it might be ambiguous as to who is out with who," Estrop said. She added, "There's a lot of interconnectedness in our friend group."

...Asked who's going home with whom, Joel said, "We have not figured that one out yet. It's been a topic of some discussion and also possibly some stress."

This is Estrop's and Joel's first Valentine's Day identifying as polyamorous or "poly," defined on the organization Poly Boston's website as "having or being able to have consensual, honest, respectful relationships with more than one person at a time, or being able to romantically love more than one person at once."

Think of it like breakfast cereal, said 19-year-old resident Nessie Fox, who chooses to go by this pseudonym when discussing being poly and lives in Somerville with one of her two main partners.

"You wouldn't want to wake up every single morning and eat Honey Nut Cheerios for the rest of your life. You're gonna kinda hate Honey Nut Cheerios in five years," Fox quipped. "But if you had Trix and Captain Crunch and Honey Nut Cheerios… you would still kinda like them after three or four years."

Fox, Estrop and Joel aren't alone. Many people in the Boston area and particularly Somerville choose to live and love this way, as evidenced by the 280 members on Poly Boston's meetup.com page, who are invited to a poly mixer Tuesdays at Diesel Café in Davis Square — a few doors down from a monthly Wednesday discussion group at Blue Shirt Café by the Boston Queer Polyamorous Women's Group (375 members).

Contrary to common belief, polyamory isn't all about sex, and it's certainly not easy, according to Fox, Estrop and a handful of others. Poly relationships come with most of the the challenges of a relationship between two people, including jealousy and time management — only multiplied and intertwined with other people's, and without a standard script.

Poly people also face confusion and tension from more conservative family members, according to Somerville resident and tribal fusion belly dancer Laura Blake....

...Most others were interested in living with multiple partners in the future, including Peery and Blake [who] both envisioned a "poly family home."... Joel imagined living with a group of five people in a "vague family situation."

Fox's vision of the future was simple. Although she cheerfully said she hates children and can't imagine herself as a mother and Jordan doesn't want children either, she wants puppies and he wants ravens.

And she does envision living with multiple partners, she added.

"I want a big, happy house with people who love each other and puppies," Fox said.

Read the whole article (Feb. 13, 2014).


While we're at it, here's another story recently in from a chain of small local newspapers, in Delaware County, Pennsylvania: Sharing while keeping: introducing non-monogamy to monogamous relationships.



Danielle Duplassie discusses her findings about opening couples

The Globe and Mail (Canada)

Canada's leading national newspaper printed another Q&A interview about open relationships, this time with a poly researcher, following the one the same writer did with a couple one day earlier. Both articles involved people heading off to the International Conference on the Future of Monogamy and Non-Monogamy in Berkeley.

The article seems to be all about conventional couples who opened their marriages or relationships. However, that probably is the most common way people get into poly.

Danielle Duplassie has caught the attention of Polyamory in the News twice before since 2007.

The myths, realities and challenges in polyamorous relationships

By Zosia Bielski

“Polyamory is a challenging lifestyle to live. We are not socialized to live this way and there are very few media models that demonstrate people actively living these lifestyles,” says Dr. Danielle Duplassie, a Burnaby registered clinical counsellor and sex therapist who works with non-traditional couples.

This weekend the University of California, Berkeley hosts the International Conference on the Future of Monogamy and Non-Monogamy, devoted to scientific and academic research on polyamory, open relationships, swinging and other forms of consensual non-monogamy. (Sample session titles include “Are Polyamory and Cheating all That Different,” “Jealousy Management,” “Issues in Polyamorous Parenting” and “Love Is Always Non-Monogamous.”)

Traditionalists view those practising polyamory with incredulity – “I give them a year,” being the common refrain. But it’s also no cakewalk for its own practitioners.

“Finding a good fit for two people is challenging. Finding a good fit with more than two people is even more challenging, even if sex isn’t involved in the dynamic for everyone,” says Duplassie. Here, the sexologist talks myths, realities and challenges in polyamorous and open relationships.

Pathologies. To the outside world, non-monogamous couples often appear in denial about their own imperviousness to jealousy, and worse: “The biggest misconception is that people assume that these types of relationships are an indication of pathology. I’ve heard both academics and lay people question those in open relationships, making assumptions about their ability to make commitment and questioning their attachment style.”

Different strokes. Some couples forge a primary union with outside partners serving sexual or platonic needs. Others practising non-monogamy prefer multiple relationships that are independent of one another. “Sometimes people will negotiate certain sexual roles with different partners as a way to get a variety of sexual needs met,” Duplassie says. “Maybe the primary partner will serve as the ‘home base’ for the sexual relationship, while a secondary partner is strictly for particular forms of sex play.”

Rules of the game. Open communication and rule-setting are cornerstones of polyamory.... [Uh-oh about the rule-setting; the wrong kind plants explosives and can have the opposite of the intended effect. –Ed.]

Third party. What happens to the third party once two primary partners decide to move on? “In a triad situation where the original pair decides to move on from the person they invited into the relationship, that third person will feel hurt and rejected....”

Time for all.... “Some of the unique and concrete challenges that were identified in my doctoral research included: inadequate time in a day to devote to all partners; believing the philosophy of non-monogamous relating in theory but questioning it when one feels insecure; engaging with a partner who may not be liked or accepted by another partner and violation of the boundaries that have been established.”

Realism and desire. “In many monogamous relationships, the idea of being attracted to someone else often feels threatening to a partner, and conversations about outside attractions are often avoided,” Duplassie says. “Those in non-monogamous relationships have a greater understanding that one’s sexuality does not fit into a box. We can be attracted and feel emotionally connected to more than one person at a time.”

Read the whole article (Feb. 21, 2014).


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February 21, 2014

Another personal profile: "How Kamala Devi kicked monogamy"

San Diego City Beat

To parallel Diana Adams's interview at The Atlantic, here's another profile of a high-visibility poly spokeswoman: Kamala Devi, who is best known these days for her starring role in Showtime's Polyamory: Married & Dating. As it happens, Diana and Kamala Devi were part of the same friends network back when Kamala lived in New York. Diana was a presenter at Kamala's Poly Palooza in California last fall.

How Kamala Devi kicked monogamy

Photos by Joshua Emerson Smith

By Joshua Emerson Smith

In the late '90s, when Kamala Devi graduated from the University of Arizona, she was dating a woman and had been an active member of a women's bisexual discussion group on campus. She'd also fallen in love with her yoga teacher, who happened to be man.

The lesbian community she'd identified with in college wasn't thrilled about that development, she said. "As embraced as bisexuality was, it wasn't that you could see a man and a woman. You had to choose."

Devi didn't choose. Instead, with the consent of her partners, she openly dated them both.

"It was scary, because that meant a de-identification with the lesbian identity, and I was estranged from a lot of the community."

That willingness to defy convention started an adventure that, years later, would lead the 38-year-old to own her own business in San Diego as a sex-and-relationships coach, as well as becoming a nationally recognized activist for polyamorous lifestyles....

Shortly after college, she and her male partner moved to Hawaii where they joined an artist commune. Among other things, Devi worked as the director of the gay and lesbian pride festival in Honolulu.

"It was just a field of permission," she said. "People were experimenting and exploring. The environment was really ripe for non-conventional relating."

In an effort to represent a wide variety of lifestyles in the festival, Devi reached out to a local dominatrix, who ended up offering her work. For nine months, Devi worked as a dom, doling out lashes to rich businessmen and other clients.

"It was a profound experience for me, because what I realized is these men were getting healing, sexual healing," she said. "It was obvious when I put my hands on a client that I had a gift."

After two years, Devi took off traveling through Southeast Asia, Europe and China, where she continued to study yoga, as well as Hindu-derived teachings known as Tantra, which focus on meditative and sexual practices.

"It was the spiritual aspects that called me most," she said. "Maybe the hedonism was a little off-balance in my island exploration, and so I started to pursue the yogic and the Tantric path....

Read on (Feb. 11, 2014).


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Dumb collection of old quotes passes for journalism

Mail and Guardian (South Africa)

I'd rather see hostile but accurate journalists covering us than the dumb and lazy. Harking back to the trashy newsrags of yore is an article in a South African paper that has South African polys shaking their heads. It's pasted together scattershot from ancient material (dig the cool 80's hep talk, man), including giveaways like "Ryam Nearing of the organisation Loving More agrees" (she retired from Loving More 13 years ago).

Here it is: Polyamory: Two's company, three's a charm, subtitled "Many couples are finding meaning in loving, open relationships," and bylined Rosemund Handler (Feb. 21, 2014). The happy photo is a publicity still from Showtime's Polyamory: Married & Dating. I'm posting about this item only because it's being served up without comment by automated news-collectors on the polywebs.



February 20, 2014

"How this couple saved their marriage by embracing non-monogamy and having sex with others"

The Globe and Mail (Canada)

Canada's leading national newspaper talks to an open couple from Vancouver. They're marriage coaches who are off to the International Conference on the Future of Monogamy and Non-Monogamy in Berkeley this weekend.

Q&A: How this couple saved their marriage by embracing non-monogamy and having sex with others

Mark Bentley Cohen and Lianna Walden

By Zosia Bielski

Mark Bentley Cohen decided a mountain top was the spot to tell his wife of 15 years that he was bisexual.

The Vancouver couple had considered experimenting with non-monogamy, but Cohen decided to go ahead without his wife, cheating for two years with other men. Instead of leaving him, Lianna Walden came to an atypical solution: The two would recast their somewhat stagnant marriage as a non-monogamous union, playing with others instead of divorcing.

“We really want to be together but we free each other to do what we want to do sexually,” says Walden, a 49-year-old filmmaker who now does marriage coaching.

On the cusp of their 20-year wedding anniversary, Cohen, 52, will star in a one-man show titled “Bi, Hung, Fit … and Married” at this weekend’s International Conference on the Future of Monogamy and Non-Monogamy, held at the University of California, Berkeley.

Walden and Cohen spoke with The Globe about how people react to the unconventional setup and what their teenage kids think.

How did you move from grappling with your husband’s infidelity to diving into a non-monogamous marriage?

Lianna Walden: It was devastating at first. I wasn’t as upset about him fooling around as I was about him lying to me. I was feeling jealous that he had started experimenting. I didn’t want the same relationship any more. I said, if you’re going to do that then I would like to experiment, too.

The first time it was me, Mark and another guy. It was terrifying. We went through it and I was like oh my god, why didn’t we do this before?...

...And there’s no jealousy?

Bentley Cohen: I wouldn’t say that. This past summer Lianna was reading this book on polyamory and was big on the idea. She started moving closer to Russ. I thought Russ was going to move in and the three of us were going to be sharing a bathroom and a bed. I was definitely uncomfortable with the idea. When it came to emotionality and another love relationship, I was jealous....

...You’re telling me this is easier than monogamy?

Bentley Cohen: No! It’s easier to stay in simple dissatisfaction, which is stable.

Walden: We give workshops and we tell people that it’s not the easy route. There are more emotions you have to deal with but it’s way more exciting. We love each other more than we’ve ever loved each other before.

Bentley Cohen: We’ve allowed each other all these freedoms, crossed all kinds of lines and upset each other in ways that we could never even have imagined before. It’s made us stronger. There’s a lot of emotional upheaval but in the end that’s what a lot of people are missing from their relationships after 15 years of being together when you become complacent and stagnate.

Read on (Feb. 20, 2014).

A little earlier, I now find out, Lianna Walden and Mark Bentley Cohen were interviewed in Vancouver's The Straight: Bisexuality and open relationships: transcending myths of monogamy and monosexuality (Feb. 5, 2014). With a better photo of them.

Their websites:


Update: In the U.K.'s Independent, Adultery may be the key to a long, happy marriage, psychologists claim (Feb. 21, 2014).


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The Onion: Open Relationship Gives Couple Freedom To Emotionally Drain Other People

TV interviews with open-marrieds have become such a thing that The Onion filmed one of its own: Open Relationship Gives Couple Freedom To Emotionally Drain Other People (1:19. The link has a transcript.)

It just went up (Feb. 20, 2014). Thanx to Gaius Catullus of Poly Boston for the tip.

This isn't the first we've heard from The Onion: see I'm in an Open Relationship With The Lord.



"And So The Campaign For Polygamy Begins"

The American Conservative

Edmund Burke might not approve.
Within three hours of Diana Adams's interview appearing on The Atlantic's website yesterday, Rod Dreher at The American Conservative was warning that we're just going to see more of this kind of thing from the fawning, nonjudgmental media.

I've spoken in the last six weeks at the Arisia SF con, Open Love NY, and Poly Living East. Each time I said that intelligent conservatives know they've lost the war against gay rights, so they are turning their aim to the next thing down their slippery slope, namely us (or "polygamy"). In each venue, people in the audience said "Bring it on!" or words to that effect. I sense that the poly awareness movement is confident, secure, eager to declare its message, and spoiling for a fight. We're not likely to get the Stonewall moment that people talk about — but I've heard talk of looking for some nice high-profile legal fight if we can provoke the opposition into doing something stupid, as the Kody Brown family did so spectacularly with group cohabitation in Utah. I hope this isn't hubris we'll come to regret.


And So The Campaign For Polygamy Begins

By Rod Dreher

Now that same-sex marriage is all but a fait accompli in the US — come on, do you really think that Justice Anthony Kennedy is going to miss his chance to be the swing vote on constitutionalizing SSM? — it is time to move on to the next frontier: legalizing polygamy....

Well, now that [same-sex marriage advocates have] just about won this thing — and I don’t know anyone on my side of the SSM debate who, at this point, holds out serious hope that gay marriage is not going to be the law of the land soon — it is becoming politically and culturally safer to argue for polygamy. As with gay marriage 10 to 15 years ago, the groundwork for accepting polygamy will be laid by stories and essays in the media seeking to challenge the taboo.

Example 1: Jillian Keenan’s essay in Slate last year....

Example 2: this puffball interview on the Atlantic’s website today, in which the journalist queries a Brooklyn polyamorous lawyer who fights to advance the cause of polyamorous rights. Excerpt:

...Why does polyamory work for you?

I remember from a very young age realizing that I was bisexual, and that I tended to be attracted to many different people at the same time. I really think that polyamory for me is an orientation, like being heterosexual or homosexual. Humans in general have a hard time with monogamy. We used to have a sense that it was acceptable for husbands to go out and have other lovers, but with the shift to egalitarianism, rather than to say that woman could do that too, we’ve gone in the other direction....

There’s not a single question that remotely challenges anything Diana Adams, the lawyer, thinks, believes, or is working towards. It’s all so cuddly and warm and embracing. Get used to this kind of thing in the media. We’re going to be seeing a lot more of it in the years to come. This is how you prepare the public to accept something radical that would have caused them to recoil in the past....

Cuddly and warm and embracing, that's actually us. Read the whole article (Feb. 19, 2014).



February 19, 2014

Diana Adams at *The Atlantic*: "How one lawyer helps those, like her, in non-traditional relationships"

I'm real happy to see this one. The Atlantic's website is a big deal in the world of serious news and magazine readers. Today it published this interview with one of our top-tier spokespeople and leaders:

Up for Polyamory? Creating Alternatives to Marriage

How one lawyer helps those, like her, in non-traditional relationships

"Le déjeuner sur l'herbe" by Édouard Manet

By Roc Morin

“When I was a child,” Diana Adams began, “I had a doll house and a rich fantasy life. I imagined that I was a cancer-curing surgeon, a world-class ballerina, and a TV show host all at the same time. I was also an amazing mom to all my dolls, but it was always a little mysterious about where they had come from and whether they all had the same father. A little neighbor boy once said to me, ‘I’ll be the daddy.’ I thought about that for a moment. I said, ‘No, you can be my gay lounge singer friend. That’s much more fun.’ I’ve always liked boys. I just like them better in groups.”

Over the years, the aspiring ballerina/surgeon/TV host shifted her focus to law. As a lawyer, Adams now runs a Brooklyn-based legal firm oriented toward providing traditional marriage rights to non-traditional families like the one she imagined as a kid. As an openly polyamorous woman, Diana lives inside a version of that doll house today. Along with her primary partner Ed, she is currently romantically involved with several other men and women.

I sat down recently with the 35-year-old to discuss her life and career.

...How do your different lovers get along with one another?

They’re really good friends. The men even have a name for themselves. They call themselves “The Man Harem.” Sometimes they’ll play with that. They’ll all show up in matching clothes – wearing all pinstripes, or all red shirts, for example. They’re friends and they help each other. For instance, I just had my birthday and my partner Ed is off doing amazing work with NASA. As a consolation, my long-term boyfriend is staying in the house for the week. So, rather than my boyfriend saying, “Wow why's your partner going out of town when it's your birthday?” he’s asking if my partner is okay having to be away for so long, if he needs support. And [Ed] is saying, “Thanks for taking care of Diana since I can’t be there.” There’s a real feeling of compersion. Compersion is the opposite of jealousy.

...How does your family view your lifestyle?

Well, I come from a very religious household. I mean my dad [was] a fundamentalist deacon, so it was hard at first. But, basically my parents have been incredibly supportive. I think that's because they get to see me having wonderful love in my life and getting a lot of support.

Can you give an example?

Well, a while ago my dad had a massive heart attack and two of the men in my life came together to be with my family at the hospital. They’re both scientists, so they understood what was going on with his body and were able to explain [to him] everything that was happening. Both of them had busy jobs, so they actually coordinated with each other so that one of them was there at all times.

My family was just completely awestruck....

How are you using the law to empower non-traditional relationships like yours?

Our laws are about 20 years behind what families actually look like. I'm working to create alternatives to marriage, because I think that if we could choose marriage affirmatively instead of it being a default, it would make relationships stronger. Marriage is an incredibly intense contract.... I mean, you’re signing the most important document you’ll sign in your life and people read it less carefully than a cell phone contract. People have no idea what they’re actually committing to and are horrified a lot of times when they find out.

What kinds of alternatives to marriage are available?

...Domestic partnership, for example, has tremendous possibility to create a more expansive version of what a relationship can look like.... Lesbian couples and sperm donors in a three-parent model base their relationship around a child. That's a model many policymakers can wrap their heads around better than a polyamorous triad.... There are a lot of basic things like ensuring tax benefits, or making sure that your partner is not financially vulnerable, or if you want to be sure that you can visit your partner at the hospital, we can do a healthcare proxy....

I’m helping one polyamorous triad right now set up an LLC so they can share their finances. We’re making them employees of their own three-person corporation so that they can be covered under an employee health plan.... There are a lot of things we can do with co-parenting.... We can do a three-parent adoption....

Go read the whole interview (Feb. 19, 2014).


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More college coverage of poly concepts

Brown Daily Herald (Brown University)
The Daily Wildcat (University of Arizona)
The Concordian (Concordia University)
The McGill Daily
The Mooring Mast (Pacific Lutheran University)
The Flagpole (Athens, GA)

A bunch more college newspapers have published poly articles since my last roundup ten days ago (we've just been through Valentine's week). It's good to see consistently accurate reporting of the basic concepts.

First, a big feature article at Brown University:

Sex, love and dating: the Brown alternatives

Despite taboos, some students delve into kink, group sex, polyamory or open relationships

By Emily Wooldridge

Lynne could not decide what color to wear to the stoplight party. An open relationship doesn’t come in colors red, yellow or green.

“Do I wear green because I can hook up with people or yellow because maybe I can’t?” she asked herself....

For the multitudes of alternative relationships and sexual practices on campus — including group sex, kink, open relationships and polyamory — there is no cruise control. These practices can be difficult to navigate or understand, because every experience is different.

“There is no such thing as normal sex,” said Anica Green ’17.

Instead of worrying about what color to wear, “why don’t you ask him?” Lynne’s friend suggested.

Great sexpectations

“Gossip Girl” warns, “Inside every threesome there is a twosome and a onesome,” but what about a fivesome?

In a dorm room, there are 10 condoms on the floor. When first-years walk by, they ask, “Is this the room where the orgy happened?”

For Dominic, a male undergraduate, that threesome was “the climax of a term where everyone is having meaningless sex,” he said.

For others, group sex is “the best thing that has happened in their lives,” said Andrew, a male undergraduate....

More to love

“I found myself diving into it without knowing what I was doing, without even knowing the word,” Andrew said.

Polyamory — the practice of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the consent of everyone involved — “was something every movie and book told me was wrong,” Andrew said.

“How can I be in love with more than one person at once?”

Andrew’s girlfriend is drawn to monogamy, a notion that he believes is destructive and “the root of a lot of problems in relationships.” Andrew has fallen in love with people outside of their relationship, flirting on the boundaries of polyamory, but is afraid to tell his girlfriend.

“She would think I’m crazy,” he said, even though falling in love with other people “doesn’t mean my feelings for her are any different or less real.”...

...In an Italian cafe, crowded with young people by night and old men playing cards by day, James, a male first-year, kissed his girlfriend on the dance floor.

James left to get a glass of grappa, a grape-based brandy. When he returned, she was kissing another girl.

“Everyone was talking about it,” said James. “Even the bartender asked me about it.”

But this did not bother James, because he had been in a triad with these two girls for a little over a month. One of the partners was Maria, his former girlfriend — “a hippie from Canada who smelled like cigarettes and always had leaves in her long brown hair,” he said. The other partner was Maria’s friend....

Read the whole article (Feb. 14, 2014).


In the University of Arizona Daily Wildcat:

Just the tips with Kat: Three (or more) not always a crowd

By Kat Hermanson

Keith and Roscoe [pseudonyms], two UA seniors, have been together since Valentine’s Day 2012. Six months ago, they made the decision to open up their relationship from monogamous to non-monogamous.

“It’s mainly been sexually open,” Roscoe said about his relationship. “[Non-monogamy in our relationship looks like] being able to hook up with other people, but I’ve been upfront when I’ve been crushing on other dudes. Neither of us see that as a threat to our stability.”

Non-monogamy and polyamory are a challenge to the tradition of two people per relationship that has been ingrained into our society for hundreds of years. Rather than being based in jealousy, possession and boundaries as monogamous relationships tend to be, non-monogamous relationships rely on communication, openness and self-reflection.

...If you don’t have consent, you’re cheating.

...“There’s a lot of inherent jealousy and ownership in monogamy,” Roscoe said, “and neither of us are comfortable with that.”...

...Every shitty young adult book with an overblown love triangle (looking at you, Stephenie Meyer), every romantic comedy with the “this is my ex from college” trope, every Disney princess’ happy ending, have taught us that one person will sweep us off our feet and make us happy forever, and that anyone who comes close to that one person is a threat....

Kat Hermanson is a gender and women’s studies freshman..

Article (Feb. 12, 2014).


At Concordia University in Montreal:

Polyamory: Love multiplied is love shared

Graphic by Jennifer Kwan
Here’s a joke: a polyamorous couple decide to have a date with their special somebody on Valentine’s Day. By the end of the night, it doubles as an excuse for a house party.

If you don’t get the (admittedly lame) joke, it’s probably because you don’t know what the definition of polyamory is.... Because of its not-as-prominent profile, polyamory arguably remains even less understood and accepted by society than swinging.

So, to clear the air, The Concordian decided to interview Jocelyn Beaudet, a staff member, Concordia student, and polyamorist himself, to find out the dynamics, both positive and negative, of this often misunderstood lifestyle. What follows is an edited and condensed Q&A....

The guy interviewed strikes me as rather rigid and doctrinaire, but judge for yourself (Feb. 11, 2014).


Also in Montreal, a gay columnist in the McGill Daily:

Rethinking commitment:
Polyamory and the potential for new ways of loving

By Eric White | Visual by Saad Salahuddin

I always dreaded having to play the game. Soon after coming out I entered a relationship with the first guy I hooked up with, and when we finally broke up almost two years later I felt lost and helpless in a world of single, gay men I knew nothing about. We attempted making our relationship an open one in the last few months we were together, which in hindsight was just a vain attempt to make a failing relationship work....

In some ways, I sometimes feel this invisible pressure that as a queer person in this day and age, a successful polyamorous relationship is the rainbow-covered, glittery, golden peak I should be striving for. Given the benefits of polyamory, I understand why.

...Of course, given the dimensions that seeing other people adds to a relationship, it can mean a lot of hard work and commitment in figuring out what makes you and your partner comfortable. Based on my own experiences, and what I’ve heard and seen from friends, nothing is more pivotal to an open relationship than communication....

The whole article (Feb. 10, 2014). Incidentally, that bit about the glittery golden goal mirrors a sad piece just out yesterday on Huffington Post Gay Voices: All the Cool Gays Are Polyamorous (Feb. 18).


In The Mooring Mast of Pacific Lutheran University:

Sex Positive with multiple partners: polyamory

By Reland Tuomi, News Editor

Pacific Lutheran University’s Women’s Center and Diversity Center have been hosting an award-winning Sex Positive series focusing on spreading knowledge and understanding of sex and relationships. To start off the semester, the series introduced polyamory to PLU.

...“Poly has many definitions,” Allena Gabosch, a Sex+ panelist and executive director of the Center of Sex Positive Culture, said. “But it is mostly focused on relationship structures and communal ethics between partners.”

The panel was made up of five people in polyamorous relationships, one exclusively gay, two in bisexual relationships and a married couple. When asked how polyamory works in their marriage, Adrianne and Jay gave informative answers.

“I love the freedom to connect with other people,” Adrianne said. “I love seeing him [Jay] be in relationships and be happy with those people.”

Jay agreed, saying polyamory has allowed him to make deep connections with a few people whereas monogamy only allowed for a relationship with only one person.

...Attendees also asked the panelists what major misconceptions people have about the polyamorous community. The most common one the panel discussed was the myth everyone in the community has sex all the time.

“I wish,” Gabosch said. “The funny thing about the poly community is we spend a lot of time talking about sex and relationships and don’t have a lot of sex.”

...To learn more about polyamory, visit the Center for Sex Positive Culture’s website.

Article (Feb. 16, 2014).


Lastly, this isn't in a college paper but a college town's alt weekly: The Flagpole of Athens, Georgia. Matt Parsons writes, "Hey Alan, I've recently started a polyamory group and the local paper covered us. The front page of the paper edition is for this article! Fairly exciting."

Polyamory Group Aims Arrows at Many Hearts

By Rashaun Ellis

It shouldn't be surprising, but it is. The young woman sitting with members of Athens Polyamory — a newly formed social group for people in non-monogamous relationships — leans over to kiss her partner on the cheek when he had clearly arrived at the crowded coffee shop with someone else. The woman he'd come with doesn't seem to really notice.

Athens Polyamory started meeting last month and is open to couples and single people of all genders and orientations who are either currently non-monogamous or would like to learn more about ethical non-monogamy, say co-founders Matt Parsons and Eli Gaultney.

Polyamory, often shortened to just "poly," is a relationship model whose main principles are ethical and consensual non-monogamy. Participants in these relationships will typically have some sort of agreement that governs the conditions of their relationship, and this requires a “very radical degree of honesty,” as Gaultney puts it, to make sure that everyone's wishes and feelings are respected....

...Group members can't stress enough that their organization only supports ethical and consensual non-monogamy, with all participants being on board with all the goings-on. That's why swingers are welcome, but people looking to cheat on their partners are not.... Athens Poly intends to both teach and encourage “openness, honesty and really clear channels of communication” within relationships....

...There will also be training in nonviolent communication with local facilitators.

...Members of the group are all young and energetic types.... Everyone involved so far has been practicing polyamory for at least two years, except Rebecca Seidl, another Athens resident who has only been practicing poly actively for a few months now. Far from being nervous or dealing with horrible bouts of jealousy, she says that, so far, it hasn't been too difficult....

Article (Feb. 12, 2014).



February 17, 2014

More Valentine's poly media

This year's Valentine's week was a big one for poly notice. Here's some further roundup, following my last two posts.

At Nerve.com, "dedicated to all things smart, sexy, culturally important, and entertaining" with 1.5 million visitors per month:

How Polyamorists Celebrate Valentine's Day

There's more than one way to love.

By Kate Hakala

...I wondered how ethical non-monogamists tackle love on a day when the world is so preoccupied with it. As you might expect, the answers were just as diverse and variable as love is.

Sabrina Morgan, a sexuality speaker and sex workers' rights advocate, uses the term solo poly to describe her specific dating style.... Last year, Sabrina celebrated Valentine's enjoying tapas and champagne with one lover, but this year her sweetheart and his wife have invited her to a convention, a kind of group outing....

Louisa Leontiades, writer at Postmodern Woman, is in what she calls an open triad. She and her nesting partner Gösta began as the cross couple of a quad, or two couples in a relationship together. She told me, "that relationship broke down in 2009, which is what prompted my book The Husband Swap. My ex-husband and Gösta’s ex-wife are now married." Currently, Louisa has another boyfriend who spends time with her and her husband. In the poly world, that’s called a "Vee" due to the shape of the relationship.... "Gösta has also recently started seeing someone. It’s early days, but she and I get along really well," she explained. This Valentine's Day, Louisa, Gösta, Louisa's boyfriend, and Gösta's girlfriend will have a dinner as a group, with candles and laughter. "Just like any others," Louisa expressed.

...Mischa Lin, Founding President of Open Love NY, believes that for some, the first instinct in the poly community is to downplay Valentine's Day. "By their very nature, poly people tend to eschew society’s rules about love, including when and how to celebrate it.... For many poly people, love is something that should be celebrated every day of the year," she explained.

Mischa offered me an example of a Kimchi Cuddles webcomic drawn to portray the outlook of some poly people when they're asked about Valentine's. It's been circulating around the internet:

[Says Mischa,] "Each February we celebrate with an anniversary version of Poly Cocktails that routinely draws one of the largest crowds of the year, usually between 200 and 500 people in a single night."...

See the whole article (Feb. 14, 2014),


An open couple in Chattanooga, Tennessee, was interviewed for the college radio station at the local University of Tennessee campus. And then the segment turned out to be a hot property nationally. Posts one of the people on the show,

I should preface this with, we were out to all of our families. Today I get a call from my mom, and she asks me why I didn't tell her I'd be on NPR. Apparently my aunt heard the interview.

I then get messaged by a friend who lives across the US, asking if it was us in the radio segment. It was.

So an interview that was suppose to be for a college radio station's being played all over the US. This is kinda cool.

It was another sign that the media's demand for poly spokespeople outstrips the supply. Here's the blurb:

On this Valentine’s Day, WUTC wants you to ask yourself:

What is the number of love? How does a relationship function?

In this story, we follow the relationship between Chattanoogans Amy Lolmaugh and Gryffon Daughtery. After meeting at drama club, their relationship takes many interesting turns which include Halloween haunts, jealousy, marriage, and a Google calendar.

Listen here (length 9:17, aired Feb. 14, 2014).

More coming.



February 15, 2014

THE WEEK: "Everything you wanted to know about polyamory but were afraid to ask"

This counts as Big Media. The Week is a prestigious news magazine with a print circulation of 560,000 and 1.3 million web visits per week. Its readers, it tells advertisers, are "affluent, powerful opinion leaders" with a median household income of $160,000. Its claimed mission: "By analyzing and curating thousands of media sources from around the globe, The Week distills a worldly and balanced, concise view of the issues that matter most."

Yesterday it published this hugely positive feature article on its website — including live links to Loving More, Tristan Taormino's book Opening Up, Sex at Dawn, and Modern Poly's Local Poly Groups Registry:

Everything you wanted to know about polyamory but were afraid to ask

Inside the sex positive world of multiple partners

By Leslie Turnbull

First things first: Maintaining intimate emotional and physical relationships with multiple partners is not for everyone.

American cultural norms steer us toward monogamy — a faithful, one-on-one, forsaking-all-others, 'til-death-do-us-part definition of love and intimacy that usually involves marriage. For a lot of us, this works. For others, it doesn't....

All this begs the question: Is there a functional alternative for those who are not by nature monogamous? One that doesn't involve secrets, dissemblance, and emotional betrayal?

There is.

...The estimated 500,000-plus polyamorous (or "poly") relationships in this country vary in configuration as widely as the people who comprise them, from heterosexual married people who simply date others, to larger, more complex relationship structures that often involve shared living space and raising families. What all truly polyamorous arrangements have in common — and what makes them distinct from secretive infidelity or "cheating" — is a defining characteristic of the practice: transparency. Polyamorists believe that their relationships can thrive only in an environment of complete honesty.

In that spirit, a number of polyamorists agreed to share with me the following pieces of wisdom and advice for those who might be considering "going poly," or those of you who are just curious about the practice.

Polyamorists are just like the rest of us.

...Most poly people are otherwise ordinary Americans who raise families, pay mortgages, and go about their daily routines just like everybody else. If anything, poly people tend to skew a little more intellectual — or "dorky," as one thirty-something biologist describes his poly circle of friends. Perhaps this is because most polyamorists have come to their decision to open their relationships by doing a lot of research....

Polyamory is not just about sex.

...Polyamorous relationships are based as much on emotional intimacy and love as they are on the physical. With many polyamorous arrangements lasting years and even decades, all participants eventually develop a deeper personal connection with one another that may or may not have anything to do with who sleeps with whom and when.

There are practical benefits as well....

Communication is key.

From a couples' first conversation about the possibility of non-monogamy to deciding which of the many poly-family-friendly vacations you three (or four, or five) are going to take the kids to this year, poly people assert the importance of strong, sensitive communication. Why? Because honesty and empathy are the backbone of intimacy and trust, and intimacy and trust are essential to successful polyamorous relationships.

The more people involved, the greater the need for everyone to feel heard, understood, and respected. So be prepared to talk — a lot — with your partner(s). Perhaps more importantly, be prepared to listen. All of your relationships will be the stronger for it.

The nonprofit 501(c)3 organization Loving More is a great resource for poly individuals and families seeking additional advice and support.

Speaking of support…

...What most poly people agree on, however, is the importance of building a strong network of like-minded people with whom you can share perspectives, information, and advice. In addition to the well-publicized Polyamory Conference (or "Polycon") held in Atlanta each year [too bad she mentions only the one], numerous local groups exist to provide poly people with an opportunity to connect. Try Googling "polyamory" and your city, search meetup.com using "polyamory" as a filter, or visit the website www.polygroups.com.

Hey, for that last sentence she read my Alan's List of Polyamory Events site! (the "Find Your Local Groups" section).

Other resources include Reddit and dating sites like OKCupid.

If this lifestyle feels right for you, it may be worth diving deeper. Who knows? You may just meet the love(s) of your life.

Leslie Turnbull is a Harvard-educated anthropologist with over 20 years' experience as a development officer and consultant. She cares for three children, two dogs, and one husband. When not sticking her nose into other peoples' business, she enjoys surfing, cooking, and writing (often bad) poetry.

Read the whole article (Feb. 14, 2014).


And elsewhere in big media yesterday, Time magazine online gave polyamory a nod in its heading to this article by Jessica Bennett (Feb. 14, 2014):

Searching For Meaning In 50,000 Essays About Modern Love

What have other people's tales of love, heartache, lust, fetish, divorce, longing, polyamory, spanking, marriage and loss taught New York Times ["Modern Love" column] editor Daniel Jones? Simple. When it comes to the heart, none of us have a clue.

(I would argue that last point, but never mind.)



February 14, 2014

"On the Kinds of Love We Fall Into: Polyamory in Theory and Practice"

Los Angeles Review of Books

Emmett Rensin
For Valentine's Day, here is a small masterpiece of relationship autobiography just published this morning: deep, writerly, engagingly perceptive, and 12,000 words long, by a young person who has seen enormous life.

It appears in a literary magazine that was founded three years ago and has become a big deal in the literary world.

On the Kinds of Love We Fall Into: Polyamory in Theory and Practice

By Emmett Rensin

...She indulged me; listened to me complain about my girlfriend, about long-distance fidelity, about not wanting to be the kind of man who rationalized his desire to betray, but who still couldn’t understand why love was proved by exclusivity. She listened to all of it, and when I was done she said, “Don’t worry. You’ll grow up one day and find a girl you can love who’s OK with polyamory.”

At the time, I don’t think she meant herself.

...Nearly five years later, the term is far more common than it was when I first heard it: case in point, this likely isn’t the first time you’re seeing it in print. But despite greater visibility, the meaning of that word and the culture that accompanies it remains confusing to most people, even threatening.... Even for the genuinely curious — like I was, back then — it’s difficult to get a handle on what precisely “polyamory” means, beyond it involving relationships in the absence of traditional fidelity, beyond it being antithetical to everything we’re taught about love....

By winter, I’ve effectively moved into Lou’s apartment, a second story coach on Chicago’s north side. One of the bedrooms is a storage closet. Lou has a roommate, an archly hip sort of southern girl who loves to cook for us despite possessing the skepticism toward me of a lover’s roommate. The pressure of close quarters is relieved, most nights, by the porch.... Contemplating the color from a string of Christmas lights hung year round, refracted off cheap plastic and through cigarette haze, falling on Lou’s mostly naked body, becomes my private ritual, acted out on any number of winter three a.m.’s, when we go there to escape the stuffiness of her room that is too much for languid, post-coital comfort.

Cigarettes are so frequently an affect, in writing and in life. She smokes because she likes it, and I like this about her.

I say so, one night.

“I’m just better at performing my identity than you,” she says.

I find this inexplicably funny....

Read on. But don't start until you have lots of time to be drawn in.



February 13, 2014

Poly-article comments good and bad

There's been chatter about the awful comments that people make to mainstream-media poly articles, and some are saying "never read the comments." I disagree, for reasons I'll get to, but first here's a heartening counterexample.

Voxxi is a big new news site for Latinos whose primary language is English. (It did a fine article on safer sex among polys last month.) A few days ago a book reviewer there wrote about a novel that has a doomed attempt at an open love triangle; her review bore the dreadful title "Polyamory, the kind of love that always hurts." Links to the article popped up here and there.

Our side jumped into the breach. I was proud to put up the first comment while riding the train home from the Poly Living conference. More of us piled in, and we've swamped the place. The book reviewer has come in too, backpedaling and thanking us for our thoughts and saying she was only discussing someone else's book (which she wasn't really, but never mind). I don't think she'll make these mistakes again.

See Polyamory, the kind of love that always hurts (Feb. 9, 2014), with the comments at the end.

This shows what we can do. And not for the first time. The way to win the comment wars, or at least to place respectably, is to step in, say your piece politely and intelligently, and leave. It will stand out from the crap and impress the undecided.

In addition, if you fail to look at what the other side is actually saying, you will become ignorant about them. Politics is full of this, and the side that does it the most ends up looking stupidest.

So don't be scared to witness people saying we're ugly and fat or too rich and thin; dumb losers or privileged winners, STI breeders or prudes about always using condoms, sex sluts or "all talk and no action," old hippies or naive millennials. Say your piece politely and thoughtfully, and leave.

Having a thin skin on the internet is so 20th century.

Oh, and don't wait for me to post things here. Catch news faster through Google Alerts, using the search-query terms polyamory, polyamorous, etc. You can limit your alerts to "news," or include other types of sources to be monitored.

And another thing: If it's a print newspaper or magazine, once you've posted your comment, copy and paste it to the Letters to the Editor. A printed letter still gets hundreds of times more readers than an online comment. If looking up the letters address is too much trouble, just mail it to letters@[domain].com and it's almost sure to get there.

You'll probably have to include your real name and a way for them to contact you for verification, but they will honor a request for a letter to be printed anonymously.



February 11, 2014

Three official parents? Legal developments

Maybe you saw the news about three legal parents of a baby in Canada:

Della Wolf with her three parents. Watch CBC News video (2:16).

About this Steve in Vancouver writes,

Hi Alan,

British Columbia (where I reside) is the first province in Canada with legislation that allows three or more parents on a birth certificate (although it's been achieved elsewhere in Canada through litigation). The revised B.C. Family Law Act, which came into effect in March 2013 and allows for up to four parents to be listed, seeks to clarify who is a parent and who isn't as more couples turn to assisted reproduction.

The news below is the first time more than two parents have been listed on a birth certificate (a lesbian couple and the biological father).


Della Wolf is B.C.'s 1st child with 3 parents on birth certificate

By Catherine Rolfsen, CBC News

...Three-month-old Della Wolf Kangro Wiley Richards is the daughter of lesbian parents and their male friend.

"It feels really just natural and easy, like any other family," said biological father Shawn Kangro. "It doesn't feel like anything is strange about it."

B.C.'s new Family Law Act, which came into effect last year, allows for three or even more parents. Della's family is the first to go through the process, and they finalized the birth certificate registration last week.

Moms wanted a dad, not just a donor

The story starts when Danielle Wiley and her wife, Anna Richards, were faced with a problem many couples encounter: how to get pregnant.

"Both of us, from the beginning, wanted to have a father that would actually be a participant," said Wiley.

Kangro, an old friend of Richards, seemed like the obvious choice. "When Anna and Danielle approached me, I think instantly I thought I was going to say yes, even though I had to debate a lot of things in my head first," said Kangro.

Before Della was conceived, the three started creating a written contract, outlining how their family would work. Kangro would be a guardian, with rights to access....

"The form that you can automatically fill in online, we weren't able to do, because it didn't have a space for a third parent. And it was really important to us to have Shawn on the birth certificate."

In the end, Vital Statistics sent them a new form with space for up to four parents....

..."In the old days, we looked at biology and genetic connections" [says Vancouver lawyer Barbara Findlay]. "And that's no longer true. We now look at the intention of the parties who are contributing to the creation of the child, and intend to raise the child. And that's a really, really big shift."...

The whole article (Feb. 6, 2014).

In the National Post: Vancouver baby becomes first person to have three parents named on birth certificate in BC (Feb. 10, 2014).


Similar legislation was enacted in California last October, when Gov. Jerry Brown signed a measure that, in some situations, allows a child to have more than two legal parents. Los Angeles Times article: Brown signs bill to allow children more than two legal parents (Oct. 4, 2013).

A legal analysis at Justia.com: California Allows Children to Have More Than Two Legal Parents (Oct. 15, 2013).

And another at Lawyers.com: In California, Children Can Have More Than 2 Parents (Oct. 18, 2013).

Amanda Marcotte's column at Slate: Children in California Can Now Have More Than Two Legal Parents. Conservatives: Your Plan Backfired (Oct. 8, 2013).


Similar action has been brewing elsewhere; for instance Florida judge approves birth certificate listing three parents (Feb. 7, 2013). These things are being driven not by poly groups but by more common realities stemming from divorce, merged families, IVF pregnancy, adoption, and the like.

However, a triad in Massachusetts who are friends of mine got a co-guardianship agreement approved about a decade ago that establishes parental rights for all three. They say there was no problem getting it approved since it was uncontested by any relatives, and they think this should be possible in many other places.



February 10, 2014

"Non-monogamy: The 5 sexual relationships rewriting the rule book"

Metro (U.K.)

Some 1.3 million riders of mass transit in the U.K. today picked up the free paper that's distributed at subway and bus stops — and found this. (Assuming that the story online also appeared in print.)

Non-monogamy: The 5 sexual relationships rewriting the rule book

...Helen Croydon, author of Screw The Fairytale: A Modern Guide to Sex and Love (John Blake), shares her guide to five relationship trends everyone’s talking about...


This is the new buzz word for straight men and women who experiment with bisexuality....

Hybrid relationships

It’s increasingly common for one partner to grant the more sexually charged of the two permission to let off steam, while they stay at home with a hot chocolate and get some peace and quiet....

A hybrid relationship or ‘mono-non-mono’ may seem like one half is getting a better deal but, among the couples I interviewed, many are happy for their relationship to remain as good as asexual, instead defining their connection through security and friendship....

Multiple dating

This is the dating equivalent of try-before-you-buy....

Posh swingers

...exquisite private parties with hot waiters in thongs serving canapés and champagne....


Think multiple love, not multiple sex. Polyamorous (or ‘poly’) people believe love isn’t a finite resource. You can spread it, lavish it and reproduce it for as many partners who capture your heart.

Matt, a 26-year-old philosophy student in a four-way relationship with two women and one man, says: ‘I can say I have a favourite book but I can still love other books. Why can’t I do the same for people?’

Some poly people have a ‘primary’ partner they consider their number one and everyone else is ‘secondary’.

Others love multiple partners equally. If it’s a three-way bond, it’s a triad; if there are four, it’s a quad.

Some followers of the poly lifestyle choose to be ‘open’, which means they are free to date anyone. Others are ‘closed’, so only date others within a defined group.

If this sounds complicated, London Polyamory Meetup (www.meetup.com/polylondon) runs discussion evenings about the practicalities.

See the whole article (Feb. 10, 2014).



February 9, 2014

Poly in more college papers

Long Beach Union Weekly (Cal State Long Beach)
The Post (Ohio University)
The Phoenix (Swarthmore)
Best of Midd Blogosphere (Middlebury College)
CU Independent (University of Colorado)
The Shorthorn (Univ. of Texas, Arlington)
Her Campus

Here's another college roundup, no doubt incomplete, following my others in the last three years.

A pro-poly editorial at Cal State University Long Beach, in the Long Beach Union Weekly:

Same Love, Just More People

By Stephanie Reynoso

I flirted with the idea of being polyamorous for some time before meeting my current boyfriend, although I wasn’t exactly sure how it worked or what rules to follow. I had been dating multiple people, and they were well aware of me dating others simultaneously.

...I see relationships as serious moments in our lives in which, ideally, you and your partner share passions together and learn from each other to grow and become better people. Sharing intimate thoughts and communicating ideas with multiple people gives you a beautiful opportunity to learn from people. This wouldn’t signify that you love one lover more than another; it’s merely a different type of love, which is satisfied by only that person.

Multi-Cupid Arrow. Illustration by Rose Feduk
Samantha, from the movie Her, spoke a brief yet really profound and beautiful quote on this subject. She argues, and I agree, “The heart’s not like a box that gets filled up; it expands the more you love.” You can apply the knowledge you gain from one partner to another, and love each one individually for being their own person.”

Being able to express these thoughts with my boyfriend, openly and without the fear of being faulted, has provided me with an outlet....

The whole article (Feb. 3, 2014).


At Ohio University:

A polyamory club is coming to Athens, thanks to some OU students

By Tiffany Touville

...Millions of people are living a polyamorous lifestyle. Although polyamory doesn’t have a set definition, and there is no “right way” to be polyamorous, it generally means being romantically attracted or involved with more than one person at a time. This can mean multiple people involved in one relationship, or a relationship with two people both dating others.

Because of the general sense of silence surrounding polyamory, a group of Ohio University students are getting together to start The Southeast Ohio Community of Alternative Relationships (CAR), a club for people who associate with a non-monogamous lifestyle. An upcoming potluck is being held to unite people with this common link.

“It started because there was a polyamory convention in Columbus a couple months ago,” said Jasper Jones [pseudonym], leader of CAR and a sophomore studying economics. “I got a group of people together to go up to it. At the convention we decided that there needed to be a group here in Athens.”

Delfin Bautista, director of the LGBT Center, said a SafeZone event specifically geared towards all non-monogamous relationships is also being planned to clear up any misconceptions about these types of partnerships.

“We don’t want to just be limited to those four letters; LGBT,” Bautista said. “Our goal is to use SafeZone to raise awareness that there are a lot of misconceptions and even prejudices from people not in non-monogamous relationships.”

...“There are many different ways to love,” Jones said. “I think they’re all beautiful.”

Whole article (Feb. 6, 2014).


A looong (6,300-word) feature article appeared at hyper-intellectual Swarthmore (my wife's alma mater), examining the varied realities behind the hype about college hookup culture. It includes a case history of an open relationship that fell short:

Having sex at Swarthmore: The myth of hookup culture, deconstructed

By Anna Gonzales

...Open relationship. The words were nothing more than a joke to Allison — something you might choose as your relationship status on Facebook with your best friend from high school, not something people actually did....

Allison and her boyfriend, Ian, who started dating during their senior year of high school, had fallen more and more in love over the course of the year. After graduation, they faced the question of whether to stay together as they began college. They were headed to schools several hours apart, and neither had means of transportation beyond trains. Both wanted to lead full lives and have a complete college experience, which they saw as including random hookups with people at their respective schools. But they also still loved each other, and didn’t want to break up.

So they chose to be in an open relationship.

There would be rules: Allison and Ian had to tell each other about the people they hooked up with — not the details, but the basic facts — and they weren’t going to date anyone else. If they found themselves growing too attached to someone else, or drifting apart from each other, they would become exclusive again.

Finally, there would be no jealousy. Allison and Ian reasoned that they were both too intelligent, and that their relationship was too strong, to be affected by jealousy....

...For summer reading, Allison and Ian both perused the acclaimed guide to open relationships and polyamory, “The Ethical Slut,” which explained that the entire idea of monogamy was based on a starvation-economy model. Love, the book proclaimed, was not something to be rationed or limited — it didn’t run out — but instead could be extended to a theoretically boundless number of people, as long as everyone was honest about their feelings and actions. The couple both considered themselves liberal and sex-positive, and an open relationship fit with this ethos.

“After we read the book and started our open relationship, we felt like we were enlightened or free in this intoxicating new way,” Allison told me. “We had sort of unburdened ourselves of this kind of close-minded, conservative, old-fashioned relationship model.” It seemed like nothing could go wrong....

...Allison fully embraced all that Swarthmore’s social scene had to offer: on Thursday and Saturday nights, Allison would drink and go out with a few of her friends, and she never went to bed alone unless she wanted to....

As freshman year continued, Allison felt somewhat intellectually superior (at least in one sense) to her classmates, whom she saw as either shackled to their high school relationships, unable to have nearly as much fun, or as somewhat sad, filling their weekends with empty hookups. She thought she had everything figured out, able to have all of the advantages of hookup culture and a steady relationship with none of the downsides. She could go out and hook up as much as she wanted, and then crawl back into her dorm room bed and talk to Ian until she fell asleep....

[Later:] ...The stigma of being in an open relationship was also extremely difficult for Allison to deal with. “I’m kind of private, but I felt like everyone suddenly knew about the open thing and thought it was okay to ask me really really personal questions, and treat me like some rare special breed of non-monogamous animal,” Allison said.

She added that some of her friends thought she was being flaky, and that a few of them tried to slut-shame her into either becoming exclusive with Ian or breaking up with him. While she was secure in her decision to be open with Ian, many of her friends questioned her decision.

“Everyone wanted to fit me into their little script — it really threw people off and freaked them out that I wasn’t single and just floating around hooking up all the time, but I also wasn’t in an exclusive relationship,” she said. “Fuck that. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, you should be able to make whatever choices you want.”...

Can't skip this bit of class-of-2016-speak:

...“It also depends on where I am in my life, whether I want to spend my Saturday nights grinding on a rando or if I want to stay in and cuddle with someone while we watch a movie”.

Article (Jan. 20, 2014).


Another long piece, by an international student from Eastern Europe at Middlebury College in Vermont. Its tag line is "Spiritual Polyamory":

Love Unlimited: or why Polyamory is good for you!

By Maggie Nazer

Author Maggie Nazer and intimates
I have been obsessing about Love ever since I was 12 and fell in love for the first time. My life over the next few years could easily be fit in one word: misery.... Throughout my teenage years I either pitied myself for not being with someone, suffered the consequences of dysfunctional relationships, or grieved over my past romances.

In 2012, I travelled to Thailand for a meditation retreat. The Thai monks who led the retreat promoted unconditional love, and among the many different Buddhist values they introduced me to, the idea of non-attachment and non-possession in relationships were the ones I felt the most urging need to master.... It was a whole new world of perception I was entering. As I strived to learn more about the appealing practice of “love without attachment”, I wondered whether it was a mission possible for people other than ordained Buddhist monks....

...As I discovered that relationships are a powerful way to learn and grow, and started practicing letting go and non-possession, I opened myself for greater compassion, greater passion, and greater Love.... At about the same time I mysteriously stumbled upon the formal definition of what seemed to best incorporate the values and freedom I aspired to create and share with others — polyamory.

Polyamory, or “the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved” goes far beyond justifying multipartnering. To practice polyamory is to be willing to face the social stigma and unacceptance, in addition to one’s own deeply rooted fears and insecurities, in order to intensify personal development and improve one’s relationships with others. Polyamory as a spiritual practice is not much different from yoga or meditation &mdash it takes time and effort, and determination. Yet, learning to be mindful towards oneself and others, taking control over one’s own emotions and behavior, and creating relationships based on mutual respect, love and appreciation instead of neediness, desire to dominate, or to fit social expectations, is crucial. It is crucial because it empowers people to be effective communicators and to support each other’s growth, resulting in the creation of happier, more aware and more emotionally mature individuals....

...Polyamory does not view people as interchangeable, which is often the case in modern monogamous relationships....

...Respecting your partner’s freedom to experience intimacy with others is a sign of spiritual maturity: “sharing the body of another human being is the greatest ego challenge we face in our desire to experience unconditional love”, “Spiritual Polyamory” insists. As jealousy and control are transcended, joy overtakes....

...The biggest challenge for all of us, no matter how we distribute our Love, is to stay engaged and strive to improve ourselves and bring the most out of the people we share our lives with and the relationships we build with them. Continuously. One at a time, or simultaneously altogether for those of us who like a good challenge.

The whole article (Dec. 17, 2013).


At the University of Colorado:

Opening up the Bedroom with Polyamorous Relationships

By Caitlyn Zimmer

For most of us, college is the ultimate age of exploration. It is the time when we get to decide what we want to do with our lives, explore different countries and continents, test our alcohol limits and... maybe you discover the multiple functions of rope, and that handcuffs shouldn’t just be reserved for detaining convicts.

Unfortunately, relationships can sometimes get in the way of exploring these possibilities. We can find ourselves feeling isolated and stuck in overbearing relationships with no room to breathe. We want love, sex, romance and independence, but finding this balance can be difficult. Many of us turn to the hookup culture that permeates the college campus, but maybe you want to actually remember the name of that attractive fellow you woke up next to this morning....

I propose we open up relationships. We can still pursue love while satisfying our sexual curiosity. We can still have trust with our lovers without tying ourselves down with a relationship.

The answer is polyamory: the practice of loving multiple people at the same time. Now, I know what you are thinking: open relationships don’t work because we are not capable of overcoming the very human emotion of jealousy. I dare to disagree....

....In fact, you might learn how to communicate with your partner better through polyamory. Many CU students have experienced successful, non-monogamous relationships.

...You need to say outright whether you are feeling jealous or insecure. Otherwise, you will find yourself glaring at your partner when he or she enters the room, and you might find a formerly close relationship destroyed.

...Russi’s best advice for people interested in open relationships is to “establish why you want to have an open relationship, and stick by that reason.” There are many reasons to want to have a polyamorous relationship, whether it is to sexually explore another gender, experience a different type of sex, or keep your options open. Whatever the reason, stand by it, and be open about it with your partner.”...

You should never feel like somebody’s property....

Article (Oct. 5, 2013).


In the University of Texas/ Arlington Shorthorn, a brief item about poly at an LGBTQA event; Workshop debunks polyamorous myths (Sept. 11, 2013):

“I was really confused... I thought it was just homosexual relationships."


Her Campus is a commercial college women's magazine distributed at many schools. This long piece appeared in the University of Ottawa edition:

By Ariel Holmwood-Bramwell

...My question is: is there really just one?

Imagine you’re in line for Starbucks and the barista takes your order. They ask for your name (to put on your cup) and your number (to put in their phone). The next day, you have a text from the barista, asking to meet.... You’re psyched, except for one small problem: you’ve been seeing a girl for a while now. But the barista was so cute, and seemed like fun; It’s decision time. What if it didn’t have to be? What if you could go out with both of them?

...A polygamist relationship isn’t the only type of relationship that involves more than two people. There are many others, ones that aren’t based on religious beliefs or a hierarchy, but on something more: equality, love and honesty.

What is Polyamory?

Honesty is Key...

Let’s go back to your imaginary dating dilemma. You’ve decided that you want to go on dates with the barista and the girl you’re already seeing. Great! Now you have to tell them about your decision. You can’t hide new relationships in a polyamorous relationship. Before you go on your date with the barista, meet up with the girl and explain how you’ve met someone that you’re attracted to, and that you’d like to go on a date with them while still seeing her. Once you’ve made sure that the girl understands, it’s time to talk to the barista (preferably on your first date). Let him know that you’re already seeing someone, but that you like him too and that you’re really excited for your date. The key part of all of this is to be open and honest.

...No matter how honest and open you are, be prepared for negative responses. Much like LGBT relationships, polyamorous relationships aren’t part of the traditional view of love....

DYI Relationships

Once you’ve entered a polyamorous relationship, you’ll need to define the rules. No two relationships are the same. In fact, because the umbrella term “polyamory” covers so many different types of relationships, you’re free to create the lifestyle you want, with your partners’ consent....

And then it moves into an interview with the woman who runs Poly Ottawa. Read the whole article (Sept. 20, 2013).