Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

April 29, 2014

Poly news report on southern TV

WLOS-TV (Asheville, NC)
WYMA-TV (Greenville, SC)

This morning in the inland Carolinas, a local TV news show aired a superficial and "balanced" 4½-minute report on polyamory. They called it a trend, failed to define it clearly, showed open-marriage advocates and counselors Carl and Kenya Stevens (who recently moved to Asheville, NC), then two brief snips from an interview with poly researcher Antoinette Izzo at the University of Las Vegas, then a counselor who says this never works, and to close, an old married couple who say they can't imagine anything but monogamous love being real:

(If the javascript video link above fails, you can watch here.)

The correct way to view "news" reports like this, IMO, is that they accomplish one thing: they put the word in front of people. A few who have never heard of it will have a flash of revelation. The most important bit we see is someone looking it up on Wikipedia. A certain handful of viewers will do this, and their lives may change forever.

An expanded transcript is on both stations' websites, including parts that got cut from TV including more from Izzo. In the comments, go help out the valiant few who are representing our side well.


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April 24, 2014

A suddenly viral story: "Meet world's first married lesbian threesome"

Remember the lovely wedding commitment ceremony of Kitten, Doll and Brynn that was featured last fall in Offbeat Bride? Now that their first baby is on the way, they got a writeup in the U.K.'s Daily Mail.

Doll, Kitten and Brynn (L-R), from Massachusetts, were joined together in a marriage-style ceremony last August and are expecting a daughter in July.

The Mail, understand, is a "dreadful rag" of the sort that gives lowbrow Brit papers their bad name, but it sure has reach. And although its treatment is sensationalist and the headline is surely inaccurate, the story is totally friendly and upbeat, and the photos and video are flattering. I bet a lot of negotiating went on behind the scenes.

Here comes the bride. And another one. And another one! Meet world's first married lesbian THREESOME . . . and they're expecting a baby due in July

By Deni Kirkova

...The plan at the moment is that Kitten will bear all the children — possibly using her wives' eggs and donated sperm — but they are open to other options, such as adoption.

Brynn, 34, says: 'The hope is to have three kids altogether. We always joke that the children should never outnumber the parents.'

Doll, Kitten and Brynn Young married in a ceremony in August 2013, when each of their fathers walked them down the aisle. All three women wore white wedding gowns and exchanged rings....

The so-called 'throuple' worked with a specialist family lawyer who drew up the paperwork and drafted the ceremony so that all three of them were obligated and bound to each other.

While Brynn and Kitten are legally married, Doll is handfasted to both so the threesome are as equally married to each other as legally possible.

It was back in 2009 that Brynn first met Doll through an online dating site. Senior Software Designer and Engineer, Brynn had been married twice before to women and both experiences had made her acknowledge that monogamous relationships weren't for her.

Meanwhile Fashion Designer, Doll had known that she was polygamous since high school. She explains: 'I had always dated girls — who although they had boyfriends or girlfriends — were also allowed to date me.

'I never thought that much about it and I had never really 'come out' as poly to my friends and family. To me, it was just how I was.'

Kitten: 'We decided that I would be the one to carry the babies because I am more than happy to become a full-time mum. When our daughter arrives in July, I'll be the one changing the nappies and doing the feeds!'

Brynn and Doll dated for eight months before moving in together. Two years later, they purchased a house together.

Doll, Kitten and Brynn show off their wedding rings.

Having both enjoyed polygamous relationships before, Doll and Brynn looked for a third woman to join them. After a few failed liaisons, Doll and Brynn created an OKCupid couple's profile. Eventually, they received a message from Kitten....

Doll says: 'There was an instant attraction with Kitten but I think we all really bonded when we baked cookies together on our fourth date. I didn't know what love was until the three of us clicked like that.'

...The threesome insist their relationship is like that of any normal couple: having breakfast with one another, watching TV after work and sharing a bed together.... Doll says: 'The only difference is that communication is a lot more difficult for us than others. There are three people so our relationship takes detailed scheduling - everything we do goes on the calendar!

...Brynn explains: 'Just because we aren't the atypical configuration, I didn't want to not get married. We're very traditional people and that sense was reflected in our wedding.'...

...Brynn adds: 'Through homeschooling, I think we can also educate our kids to have the same strength that Doll, Kitten and I have.

'The three of us have been brave enough to stand tall and go against what society calls normal. I hope our child will feel free to do the same thing if they wish.'...

Read the whole article (April 23, 2014).

Update April 25: Overnight the story has gone worldwide, including on the websites, at least, of the New York Daily News, the Moonie Washington Times, the U.K.'s tabloid Sun and Mirror and The Times, Germany's Bild, France's Le Point, Greece's News247, India's Daily Bhashar, VN Express in Vietnam, VG in Norway, the Malaysia Chronicle, Australia's news.com, and many more. I'm sure the great photography helped.

Update April 28: Media Matters posts a roundup of conservative reaction: Right-Wing Media Cite Lesbian "Throuple" To Attack Marriage Equality.


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April 21, 2014

"I Quit Polyamory Because I Fell In Love With A Man"


I've always said I'm a poly-mono switch, so I'm not bothered by people moving from one identity to the other. A few hours ago the popular online women's magazine xoJane published, in its "It Happened to Me" section, a story with the title above.

Remember, what we're about is relationship choice. She seems happy with hers.

It Happened To Me: I Quit Polyamory Because I Fell In Love With A Man

Maybe all I can really take away from my experience is that you just never know what’s going to stumble into your life and change it completely.

By Jessica Ebacher

...I’d been doing what some people call serial monogamy for years, and I knew that it wasn’t good for me....

...It wasn’t too long after that that a friend of mine, a girl I’d had a crush on for years, told me that she was in a polyamorous relationship with a couple....

...I became very active in the poly community, helping to run and organize events. I made a lot of friends through that, some of whom I’m still really close with. I was dating a man and a woman, both fairly seriously, when I met the man I can only describe as my soul mate. I know that terms like that are cheesy as hell, and I’m sorry to use it, but how else do you describe the person that, after two dates, you want to tell all of your darkest, most painful secrets to? Whom you trust absolutely? Who seems to understand you in a way that is completely unexpected, and just as completely wonderful? Seriously, I’m asking.

...Now, I don’t want this to come across as some kind of critique of polyamory.... It made me more open about my needs and a better communicator. It also helped me get over my lingering social anxiety. I’m still a fairly introverted person, but I’m not scared of social situations the way that I used to be, and I can only be grateful about that. I’m also really grateful to the people within that community, who are, by and large, friendly, thoughtful, engaging, and generous with their time and advice.

...There is a certain sense of scorn in the poly community for knights, the (usually) men who think that the (usually) women in the community are just waiting for the right guy to come along and rescue them. That’s a sentiment that I still agree with, to a certain extent. Polyamory is a totally valid choice, and to assume that someone is only practicing it because they haven’t met the right person yet is, frankly, wrongheaded.

On the other hand, sometimes I wonder if maybe I wasn’t waiting for that very thing....

Read the article (April 21, 2014).

I know what you're thinking. "She's young, she'll get over it." Maybe, but that reminds me of what my mother said years ago when I told her I was living with two lovers.



April 19, 2014

"Cameron Diaz Is Trying to Convert the World to Polyamory"...

...says the celebrity-news site Famously, exaggerating. Judge for yourself:

Cameron Diaz Is Trying to Convert the World to Polyamory

By Beejoli Shah

Continuing her one-woman performance art attempt at being Shailene Woodley‘s sexually graphic great-aunt, Cameron Diaz has moved on from preaching about pubes to promoting polyamory.

In an interview with The Mirror [a U.K. tab], the girl who once adorably romanced Jim Carrey at his greenest opens up about the importance of opening up, when it comes to picking more than one romantic partner.

“We can have all of these girlfriends, all of these friendships. I know with my girlfriends I do totally different things with each one of them. I have different conversations. We like things that others don’t like. There are different commonalities in each one of them and when I want to do those certain things, I can go to that girlfriend and we do those things together… For some reason, we get into relationships and we expect one man to understand ‘all’ the parts of us and meet all of those needs. I think that’s where everything fails.”

Given that she just told InStyle this month “I don’t know if anyone is really naturally monogamous. We all have the same instincts as animals,” it should come as no surprise that Cammi D’s au naturale lady parts are equal opportunity lovers. When The Mirror followed up to ask whether she advocated for having multiple partners at once, she retorted, “Why not? Why would that be so bad?”

...Although when it comes to men, her Wikipedia biography makes it look like serial monogamy has been more her style.

See the original article (April 15, 2014).

Diaz is an extremely successful actress. Her 42 movies include Being John Malkovich, Vanilla Sky, Gangs of New York, There's Something About Mary, and three that are currently in the works. She is said to be Hollywood's richest actress over 40.



April 18, 2014

Poly playwright contest in New York: The winners, and a reading

Remember the $1,000 contest that Open Love New York sponsored for the best new plays treating poly life?

Well, the contest brought in an amazing 75 entries, and now they've announced the two winners. In the full-length category it's “The Three of Us” by Tamara Rose. The short-play winner is “A Relationship’s Beginning in 10 Acts” by Marjorie Conn.

Both will debut at a free staged reading this Tuesday evening, April 22, at the Manhattan Theater Club near Times Square.

From the press release:

“The quality of our winning plays attracted an extremely high level of theatrical talent who were willing to lend their time and industry to the competition,” said Mischa Lin, producer of the competition. “These two plays show the very truth and nature of modern, multi-partner relationships. They are also tremendously entertaining theatrical works that will make you laugh, cry, and above all, think.”

Update April 25 from Mischa: A Staged Reading to Remember.


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Atlanta poly triad on Australian TV, and some TV advice

Channel 7 (Australia)

The Atlanta triad who started Atlanta Poly Weekend three years ago, and who were featured amazingly well on the CNN website last October, just did a 7-minute remote interview for one of Australia's main TV channels. Watch it here.

Atlanta poly family on TV

It's positive overall, but two comments: They act frozen — so unlike how I've seen them in real life — and they respond too directly to each question.

Please, if you're going on TV, loosen up, move, interact with each other, ham it up, be actors.  Because that's what you are. Your body language says way more than your words. It's what viewers remember.

Notice, for example, how the hosts act. In real life that would be overdramatic hamming; on TV it looks engaging and friendly. And Elisabeth Sheff, who comes on as an outside-expert talking head, shows what some practicing in front of a home camera can do.

Second: Use interview questions as excuses to go into zingy bits that you've practiced beforehand — including at least one or two sound-bite messages that you've decided are the key points you most want to get across.

The interview spends a lot of time cutting away from the motionless trio to happy photos of them being lively together in real life. Thank you, producer.

Billy (on the left) says, "It wasn't perfect but it was positive. And we learned a lot."

(Aired April 13, 2014).



April 16, 2014

New study: How many Americans want poly relationships?

How many polyfolks are there? News media always ask, and no one really knows. My indirect method suggests it's roughly 3 million Americans, regardless of whether they use the word "polyamory." This is fairly consistent with surveys that ask people if they are in consensual open relationships.

For instance, writes New York University sex researcher Zhana Vrangalova, recent research "has found that, among the general heterosexual population [of US adults], about 4 to 5 percent are engaged in some form of consensual nonmonogamy." That would be about 10 to 12 million individuals.

Now Vrangalova reports (on her Psychology Today blogsite Strictly Casual) that a study has just been published that addresses a different question, an interesting one for the future of the polyamory movement:

"Is the desire for such an arrangement limited to these 4 to 5 percent, or are there many more out there who desire it, but don’t dare seek it out or don’t believe they could ever find it?"

Would You Have an Open Relationship?

A new study reveals people's interest in consensual non-monogamy.

By Zhana Vrangalova, Ph.D.

...In a study just published online ahead of print in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Amy Moors and her colleagues at the University of Michigan explored attitudes toward, and willingness to engage in, consensual nonmonogamy among 1,280 heterosexuals. Unlike many other studies, participants were not college students [although their mean age was still only 23]. None had any first-hand experience with consensual nonmonogamy....

How many approve of it?

...Two questions in the study asked about such general attitudes toward consensual nonmonogamy. On a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree), participants rated the following statements:

● Every couple should be monogamous.
● If people want to be in openly/consensually nonmonogamous relationship, they have every right to do so.

The ratings were averaged together such that the higher the score, the more positive the attitudes toward consensual nonmonogamy. Results are illustrated in the left portion of the graph below:

Overall, attitudes toward consensual nonmonogamy for both sexes were slightly above the neutral midpoint of the scale, indicating they found it fairly OK for others to engage in open relationships if they so choose. In fact, over 80 percent of participants chose at least a 4 on that 7-point scale for the second statement.

How many are interested in it?

...Four statements asked about people’s own interest in potentially having a consensual non-monogamous relationship, using the same scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree):

● I would like to be in a non-monogamous relationship.
● I would consider being in an openly/consensually non-monogamous relationship.
● Monogamy is very important to me.
● If my partner wanted to be non-monogamous, I would be open to that.

As you can see from the right portion of the graph above, participants’ own interest in an open relationship was much lower than their approval of it for other people. Men (mean = 2.64) scored significantly higher than women (mean = 1.99), but neither sex even approached the neutral midpoint of the scale.

Such low means are not at all surprising. We are all socialized to view monogamy as the norm (with cheating as a dishonorable, but not unexpected option). Consensual non-monogamy, on the other hand, is not only stigmatized, it is also quite rare and very few people have had the opportunity to see, hear, or learn about this relationship arrangement as a possibility.

Given this, what is perhaps more surprising is the number of people in this sample who showed some, however slight, interest in a non-monogamous relationship: Across the four statements, between 23 and 40 percent of men, and between 11 and 22 percent of women [in this young sample] chose a 4 or higher on the 7-point scale. That is a lot more than the 4 to 5 percent of people who are currently engaged in consensual nonmonogamy.

How many are willing to try specific types of consensual nonmonogamy?

There are many different ways of being open, with each couple deciding on the specific rules that work and don’t work for them. In this study, participants were asked about their willingness to engage in six different types of non-monogamous arrangements, on a scale of 1 (very unwilling) to 7 (very willing)....

...Similar to the interest in consensual nonmonogamy in general, the willingness to engage in these specific non-monogamous behaviors was quite low for both men and women....

However, here again there was a substantial minority of people who were ambivalent at worst, very willing at best, to give these arrangements a try. As the graph below illustrates, across the six behaviors, up to 16 percent of women, and up to 31 percent of men chose 4 or higher on the 7-point willingness scale.

Of course, this was not a representative study of the U.S. population, and we cannot generalize too much beyond this fairly young, fairly liberal, Internet sample. However, these data tell a story of significantly more openness to and curiosity about consensual nonmonogamy than perhaps ever before in recent Western history. However slight or tentative it may be at the moment.

Some of these data are presented in the study; other are additional analyses that the study authors were kind enough to provide for this Psychology Today post.

Read Vrangalova's whole article, with the references (April 14, 2014).

Although the title of her article talks about "open relationships," the last graph breaks out poly-type relationships in particular. Bars 3, 5, and 6 are about situations that I'd call specifically polyamorous. Bars 1, 2 and 4 refer to other kinds of nonmonogamy in general.

Notice that the three poly questions got slightly higher positives than the other questions, especially among women.


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April 15, 2014

Iran: "Open Relationships In A Closed Society"


At the online news site "of a group of Iranian journalists in the Diaspora," a reporter looks at open-relationship stirrings among Iranian young people.

Open Relationships In A Closed Society

By Hadis Elmi

When Vahid was honest about his open relationship, friends constantly interrogated him: “You are not jealous? Have you no honor? Do you think this relationship is going anywhere?”

The relationship between Vahid and his wife is different from that of other couples. Both have sexual relationships with other people. They live in Iran, and started having an open relationship when Vahid was required to travel for a year during their engagement....

...For people like Vahid, the motto “One God, One Partner” is both meaningless and impractical. For them, the idea that if a person is in love he or she won’t even think about a third person is totally nonsensical. Though most societies do not approve of sexual relationships that involve more than one partner and often regard such behavior as debauched and deceitful, for some young people who do not accept these rules, it is a way of life. For those who promote free love, commitment to only one person amounts to selfishness.

In an open relationship, two people agree to be with each other, but also allow relationships with others at the same time. The idea of sexual or emotional relationships with others is acceptable to both parties. Unlike a relationship that conforms to traditional rules, an open relationship is unlikely to end on grounds of what would normally be regarded as an act of infidelity.

It might be assumed that an open relationship is more compatible with Western and free societies. But recently it has become more acceptable for some young Iranians....

Maryam is in an open relationship. She now lives in Europe but her first experience was in Iran. She says the idea first appealed to her when she realized she wanted to be involved with women in addition to her relationship with her boyfriend.... Soon after expressing her interest in sleeping with women, Maryam discovered that she wanted to sleep with other men too. Though he could accept that Maryam might have relationships with girls, her boyfriend balked at the idea of her seeing other men. “In his view, this showed that I did not love him. Our relationship died eventually.”

After emigrating to Europe, she formed an open relationship with another man. “What is between us,” she says, “is not only sex. Many people like us live together, socialize together, are in love with each other and rely on each other. We all define what would break up our relationship differently.”...

Read on (February 2014). "IranWire seeks to empower Iranian citizen journalists by creating a forum in which young Iranians can discuss national and local news, providing training modules and putting Iranian citizen journalists inside the country in touch with professional Iranian journalists."

Also see Sexy spring: How group sex will liberate Iran, China, printed in Salon last July, a long excerpt from Katherine Frank's book Plays Well In Groups: A Journey Through The World Of Group Sex.


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April 14, 2014

Dossie Easton on polyamory community, getting *The Ethical Slut* published, and more

Wag's Revue

Dossie Easton is 70 this year. She's a psychotherapist, co-author of The Ethical Slut and a variety of kink handbooks, and a delightful speaker at poly and other sex-positive gatherings. She just had a 13-page interview published in the quarterly online literary magazine Wag's Revue:

Illustration for Dossie Easton interview
Dossie Easton, born in 1944 and a slut since 1969, is dedicated to exploring new paradigms of gender, sexuality, and relationships.... [She] chatted with contributor Abby Koski on the phone about how the Internet has shaped polyamory, modern marriages, radical publishing, the craft of co-authorship, and erotic art.

Easton: I learned to use the word “slut” in an approving manner when I was living with gay men for fifteen years, and you know, the baths were a big deal during that wonderful time in the 70s, and it’s still continuing now, but the opening of sexuality was just gorgeous, it was just amazing, and so we did a lot of reclaiming of language.

...Are there any big differences, or similarities, that you notice when you compare the open community today versus the open community when you became involved in it?

Oh, I laugh. Back in 1971, my daughter was two years old, and I had been non-monogamous since 1969. It was a decision I made three months after my daughter was born, and I found myself a single mother due to circumstances I had not planned, and it was the communal era, there was a lot of living communally and raising children communally. The biggest extended family I joined was in the Bay Area here, and it was a house in The Society for Creative Anachronism. I mean, this is one particular group of people who have established themselves as poly a long time ago, and their institutions continue to be very polyamorous, so it’s one place people can go and find peers who are interested in doing this stuff.

...There’s an enormous amount of prejudice when people open their relationships, still. And so if people don’t have some sort of community, it’s going to be really isolating, and they’ll have no one to talk to when things get difficult. And paying someone like me is only part of the solution.

Right, it’s a community learning process. It’s not about just one couple, or one person, figuring it all out.

Yeah! ...If a couple opens their relationship, is there someone else out there who is experienced and has knowledge about common problems one may run across? You can’t get it all from books!...

Here's page 1 of the interview; click the right arrow to flip the pages. (Spring 2014 issue).


In other book news, Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert's More Than Two: A practical guide to ethical polyamory is all done but the publishing! Which will happen with fanfare on May 30th. I like the cover they chose, but I like the content even more — and not just because I edited it. All 480 pages of it, as the finished book will be.

Despite its size, and despite the fact that it's self-published (under their new Thorntree Press imprint), they managed to bring it in at an Amazon price of $17.75. You can pre-order here at that price.

Here's a Chapter 1 excerpt and the table of contents.

As I say on the back cover, this book is going to be an Event. As interest in ethical multi-relationships enters mainstream culture, the book sets a new standard for realistic, down-to-earth guidance on how to make them work.


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April 11, 2014

"What Rolling Stone didn't get about 'Millennials’ Sexual Revolution' "

Los Angeles Times website

Remember last week's Rolling Stone article Tales from the Millennials' Sexual Revolution? And remember Emmett Rensin, the young author who on Valentine's Day published a striking literary account of his stormy poly life? Today the latter criticizes the former on the opinion blogs of the Los Angeles Times:

What Rolling Stone didn't get about 'Millennials’ Sexual Revolution'

By Emmett Rensin, guest blogger

Even after reading Rolling Stone’s recent article “Tales From the Millennials’ Sexual Revolution,” you might not have realized it was about polyamory. It was easy to miss. In several thousand words, the term appeared only one time. And no one could be blamed if the phrase that author Alex Morris chose in its stead caused even more confusion: “The New Monogamy.” Huh?

...While well researched and amply quoted, Morris’ article engaged in an old, ugly trend of mischaracterizing polyamory as some kind of newly emerging phenomenon, discovered by Morris while investigating a “new sexual revolution.”

...So, if I may temporarily take the dangerous step of speaking for my community, here are some common misunderstandings that have come out of these stories, and some clarifications for future stories:

Polyamory isn’t [just] a trend among young people....

Polyamory doesn’t entail a particular relationship structure....

Polyamory is not [all] about sex.... Polyamory, at bottom, is about love, and about the idea that love is not a zero-sum game in which one partner’s gain is another’s inevitable loss. If sex comes into that, then it comes into it, but sex as an expression of love isn’t anything unique to us.

Finally: Polyamory is not a revolution. We are not rebels. We are not trying to delegitimize monogamy.

Sorry if all of that is less exciting. But hey, who knows? Maybe once the real stories are out there, this whole polyamory thing won’t seem to be “new” or revolutionary after all.

Emmett Rensin is an author, essayist and political activist in Chicago, Ill. His previous work has appeared in USA Today, Salon and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Read the whole piece (April 11, 2014).



April 9, 2014

"In Mainstream Media, Polyamory is Getting Attention"

Bitch Media

Just after my last post on poly and feminism, Bitch Media, the website of Bitch magazine ("the feminist response to pop culture"), today published a long article discussing how the mainstream media are treating polyamory:

In Mainstream Media, Polyamory is Getting Attention

By Erica Thomas

Mainstream media appears to suddenly have an appetite for polyamory.... In recent years, I’ve been surprised to find stories about happy people in non-monogamous, non-dyad relationships popping up pretty frequently in major newspapers, magazines, and on news sites.

Our culture’s ideas about what’s a “conventional” relationship has been expanding for decades in many ways.... As part of that shift, non-monogamy appears to have entered the public sphere as something we can casually discuss over breakfast. Suddenly polyamory trend pieces are everywhere....

...After reading through dozens of stories about non-monogamy published in the past few years, I found that three basic stories kept being repeated. I’ll refer to these three groupings as the Comfortable Distance story, the Personal Profile, and the Slippery Slope.

A 2009 Newsweek article exemplifies the “comfortable distance” framing of what they refer to as “the phenomenon.” The article by Jessica Bennett asks whether polyamory is “the next sexual revolution” and lays out a fairly neutral description of non-monogamous relationships for the uninitiated. But it sets off non-monogamy as something that most people would find bizarre....

...[Sierra] Black’s essay nicely illustrates the personal profile. Many of the most complicated and humanist portrayals of non-monogamous relationships are done as interviews or profiles of an actual person who is trying some version of non-monogamy. These are typically compassionate, intimate stories....

...The political right has been identifying non-monogamous relationships as part of a slippery slope that starts with marriage equality and leads not only to polyamory but to polygamy, child abuse, incest, and the right to marry anything.... Even within the slippery slope articles, some are more judicious in their approach than others.

It does seem that non-monogamy is becoming mainstream enough to discuss openly now. It helps that more people in open relationships are coming out and speaking up about their experiences. As coverage increases, reports on non-monogamy seem to be moving to a more positive place — one that dispels myths by encouraging polyamorous people at the center of the stories speak for themselves....

Erica Thomas is an artist, writer, filmmaker, project manager, and feminist (among other things) based in Portland, OR.

Read the whole 2,000-word article (April 9, 2014).

Previous poly articles in Bitch, including several advice columns by Megan Carpentier, "Ms. Opinionated."


April 7, 2014

For feminists: "So You Want to Try Polyamory"

The modern poly movement has been feminist from the start, in ideology and in most of its leaders — from its founders in the mid-1980s, through the bold new women spokespeople and organizers who continue to emerge year after year.

Factoid: of the 37 nonfiction books about polyamory published in the last 30 years, women authors and co-authors outnumber men 3 to 1.

This morning, the online magazine Everyday Feminism posted a big, thoughtful Poly 101 article by Ginny Brown:

Source: Showtime, Polyamory: Married & Dating
So You Want to Try Polyamory

So you’ve been reading about polyamory and have decided it’s something you want to try. Or maybe you’re still thinking about it, but don’t have a clear sense of where you’d even begin....

Questions to Ask Yourself

Partly because it’s outside of our cultural norm, and partly because it involves coordinating the needs and preferences of so many people, being happily polyamorous pretty much requires the ability to reflect on what you want and communicate it with your partners.

1. Why Do I Want This?

What great things are you expecting polyamory to bring to your life? More sex? Someone to go with you to movies that your partner hates? A warm, loving community of friends and lovers?

...If you’re opening up an existing relationship, it’s good for you to know what your partner is hoping to gain and vice versa.

Articulating why you want to be poly will also help you navigate the times when it’s tough: You can look back at your goals and assess whether you’re moving toward them overall and whether working through the hard stuff is still worth it.

2. What Would an Ideal Situation Look Like?

This will likely change with time, experience, and the people you meet, but it’s still good to set a baseline expectation.

Does the idea of a big house with five or six adults sharing love, sex, and household responsibilities sound awesome or alarming? Would you like to have a lot of partners that you see occasionally, or just two or three that you focus on?... Would you prefer to be friends with your partners’ partners, or keep relationships separate?...

3. What Are My Insecurities and Fears?

Seeing a partner enjoy a loving relationship with someone else has the potential to bring all of your insecurities to the forefront, so it’s helpful to get in some work on addressing them ahead of time.

...Whatever your personal buttons are, polyamory will almost certainly push them....

4. How Will I Handle Jealousy?...

5. What Are My Boundaries Around STIs and Protection?

...The vast majority of the poly community are strict about using condoms for intercourse with new partners, at the very least. Beyond that, it’s a matter of personal comfort.

Do you want to use condoms and dental dams for oral sex? How often will you get tested for STIs?....

6. How Will We Handle Dates and Scheduling?

...If you’re opening up a relationship, you’ll want to set expectations about logistics....

How to Meet People

...OKCupid is overwhelmingly the most popular site for non-monogamous people.... Another good way to meet people is to go to poly meetups....

Mistakes to Avoid

1. Being a Dating Hound

A lot of people decide to be poly, connect with a community, and immediately start flirting with or asking out everyone they think is cute.... By jumping immediately to “Who here can I make out with?” you’re taking the focus off building friendships. And building friendships with other poly folk is helpful on multiple levels.... I recommend giving at least as much energy to making solid friendships and finding the people who will be your poly support network.

2. Getting Swept Up in the NRE....

3. Letting Fear Determine the Course of Your Relationships

Setting rules and boundaries is important, but it’s also important to make sure these are being set for the right reasons.... There will be times when it’s hard and scary, and times when it’s exhilarating and life-giving. It can take some time to figure out how — or even if – polyamory works best in your life.

Embrace the process.

Ginny Brown is a writer, speaker, and educator specializing in sexuality and relationships. She recently completed her M.Ed in Human Sexuality and teaches college courses in health and sexuality. She also writes at www.polyskeptic.com, a blog about polyamory, atheism, and culture....

Read the whole article (April 7, 2014).

Also at Everyday Feminism:

Love Without Boundaries: The Practice of Loving Many by Ichi Vazquez (Aug. 10, 2013; a sweet piece reprinted from The Indypendent).

More Than Two: Examining the Myths and Facts of Polyamory by Laura Kacere (Oct. 15, 2013).


Elsewhere, some other items:

Why Women Are the Catalyst and Foundation for Polyamory, by Manning Haile (Nov. 18, 2013).

● A 17-minute Mimi Schippers video on polyamory at The Feminist Wire (Sept. 13, 2013).

● Angi Becker Stevens' feminism series at The Radical Poly Agenda. Excerpt (July 25, 2013):

I think that poly without feminism can potentially be a rather dangerous thing. If polyamory is just a means of reproducing traditional sexist dynamics in relationships with multiple partners, then we’re stepping dangerously close to everything that’s wrong with traditional patriarchal “one man-many women” polygamy. I see polyamory veering close to this in relationships with the so-called “one-penis-policy,” for example....

● My previous items tagged "Feminism" (including this one; scroll down).


In other news:

It's less than three weeks to Loving More's Rocky Mountain Poly Living conference in Denver, April 25–27. This is the first-ever Poly Living in that region, following the growth of Poly Living East that Loving More puts on every February in Philadelphia.

And by the way, each of Loving More's owners/leaders in its 28 years of existence have been women: Ryam Nearing and Deborah Anapol, then Nearing alone, then Mary Wolf, then Robyn Trask.


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April 1, 2014

Rolling Stone: "Tales from the Millennials' Sexual Revolution"

Rolling Stone has published the first half (the cis/hetero half) of a two-part series on how the next generation is going different ways than their parents did, relationship-wise. Open non-monogamy is a big focus of the article, and poly gets attention by name near the beginning.

Another interesting point in the article: today's young-uns are having somewhat less sex than past cohorts did. (My guess: it's so quick and easy now to fap to iporn.)

Tales from the Millennials' Sexual Revolution

This generation is radically rethinking straight sex and marriage, but at what cost? In Part One of a two-part series, Rolling Stone goes under the covers in search of new approaches to intimacy, commitment and hooking up.

Getty Images

By Alex Morris

By the end of their dinner at a small Italian restaurant in New York’s West Village, Leah is getting antsy to part ways with her boyfriend Ryan, so that she can go meet up with her boyfriend Jim. It’s not that she means to be rude, it’s just that Jim has been traveling for work, so it’s been a while since she’s seen him. Ryan gets this. As her “primary partner” and the man with whom she lives, he is the recipient of most of Leah’s attention, sexual and otherwise, but he understands her need to seek companionship from other quarters roughly one night a week. Tonight is one of those nights, and soon Leah will head to Jim’s penthouse apartment, where the rest of the evening, she says, will probably entail “hanging out, watching something, having sex.” “She’ll usually spend the night,” Ryan adds nonchalantly, which gives him a chance to enjoy some time alone or even invite another woman over. He doesn’t have a long-standing secondary relationship like Leah (“I’ve actually veered away from doing that”), but he certainly enjoys the company of other women, even sometimes when Leah is home. “I like everyone to meet each other and be friends and stuff,” he explains.

...When Ryan moved to New York and began living with Leah a year and a half later, he assumed they would transition immediately into monogamy.... He was therefore surprised when the first thing Leah gave him after the move was a book called The Ethical Slut, considered to be a primer on how to handle a non-monogamous relationship....

...They see themselves as part of a growing trend of folks who do not view monogamy as any type of ideal. “There’s this huge group of younger people that are involved in these things,” says Ryan — an observation that seemed borne out of a monthly event called “Poly Cocktails,” held at an upstairs bar on the Lower East Side a few weeks later, in which one would have been hard-pressed to realize that this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill mixer (a guy who’d wandered in accidentally must have eventually figured it out; he was later seen by the bar grinning widely as he chatted up two women).

In fact, Leah and Ryan are noticing a trend that’s been on the radar of therapists and psychologists for several years now. Termed “The New Monogamy” in the journal Psychotherapy Networker, it’s a type of polyamory in which the goal is to have one long-standing relationship and a willingness to openly acknowledge that the long-standing relationship might not meet each partner’s emotional and sexual needs for all time. Or, more specifically, that going outside the partnership for sex does not necessitate a forfeiture of it. “I was at a practice where we would meet every week, six to eight therapists in a room for teaching purposes and to bring up new things coming into therapy that weren’t there before,” says Lair Torrent, a New York-based marriage and family therapist. One of the things all the therapists had noticed over the past few years was “that couples — and these are younger people, twentysomethings, maybe early thirties — are negotiating what their brand of monogamy can be. They are opening up to having an open relationship, either in totality or for periods of time....

It’s worth noting that their arrangement was ultimately Leah’s idea. Ryan is a young Generation X’er, while she’s an older Millennial....

This story is the first of a two-part series exploring Millennials' sexuality. In Part Two, Rolling Stone will take a close look at the lives of queer Millennials.

Read all of Part 1 (March 31, 2014).


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