Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

May 30, 2014

"Were Christians Right About Gay Marriage All Along?"

The Daily Beast

When gay marriage passed in New York three years ago, remember the sympathetic articles there about what gay culture might teach straight marrieds about seeing monogamy in... a certain perspective? I wrote about two of them here and especially here.

Now comes something similar, again taking the position that this may not be a slippery slope down but a stairway up. Excerpts:

Were Christians Right About Gay Marriage All Along?

Mike Blake/Reuters

The marriage equality fight is all but won. Will the future of marriage be boring as hell, or a Bible-thumper’s idea of Sodom and Gomorrah?

By Jay Michaelson

Same-sex marriage is becoming a national inevitability....

Which leads to a perfectly logical question: What’s next?

Moderates and liberals have argued that same-sex marriage is No Big Deal — it’s the Same Love, after all, and gays just want the same lives as everyone else. But further right and further left, things get a lot more interesting. What if gay marriage really will change the institution of marriage, shifting conceptions around monogamy and intimacy? On the other hand, what if the domesticating institution of marriage changes — and even erases — the more libertine tendencies of gay culture?

...If you think about it, actual monogamy has never been the Western norm.

...What would happen if gay non-monogamy — and I’ll include writer Dan Savage’s “monogamish” model, which involves extramarital sex once a year or so — actually starts to spread to straight people?... Is non-monogamy one of the things same-sex marriage can teach straight ones, along with egalitarian chores and matching towel sets?

...The future of marriage, in fact, may turn out to be a lot like the Christian Right’s nightmare: a sex-positive, body-affirming compact between two adults that allows for a wide range of intimate and emotional experience....

...I want to admit a certain discomfort with [the] more radical vision. We are still a messed-up, male-dominated society that has trouble dealing with sexuality. Sure, polyamory works well for a few hyper-educated urban elites. But what about douchebags? What will sexual liberation look like at the bottom-feeding, lowest common denominator?

...But radical traditionalists aren’t the only ones fearing the consequences of same-sex marriage. So, it may surprise you to learn, are radical progressives....

...Normalizing marriage is a narrowing, rather than an expanding, of sexual possibility. Radicals point out that gay liberation in the 1970s was, as the name implies, a liberation movement. It was about being free, questioning authority, rebellion. “2-4-6-8, smash the church and smash the state,” people shouted.

Can you imagine that being chanted from the General Electric float at the pride parade? Today’s LGBT movement is, at most, about equality — that is, about assimilation. Its defining symbol is the equals sign. Liberation promised greater-than.

...If I had to predict, I’d go with a gradual realization of the conservative nightmare — only it won’t be a nightmare, and plenty of straight people will thank us for it....

Read the whole article; it loses a lot with just these excerpts (May 27, 2014).



May 29, 2014

*Tarantino's Yellow Speedo*: new play about a secret world poly cabal

Here's the premise of Tarantino's Yellow Speedo, now running in its world premier in Durham, NC, through June 7th:

Set in the Olympic Village, a cell of international athletes train to become an elite task force of sexual operatives determined to bring down the divisions between countries.

This is done by the polyamory training handed down from a mysteriously vanished cult leader; trainers guide trainees through rotations of partnerings, on their way to becoming world-peace diplomats in a transnational, back-channel poly cabal.

That, folks, is what Kerista aspired to be. I wonder if it influenced the playwright, Monica Byrne? She knows her poly stuff.

An enthusiastic review appeared in the Durham arts blog The Five Points Star:

Make Love Not War

By Kate Dobbs Ariail

...It’s about sex, personal freedom, love, and the destruction of the nation-state, more or less in that order of importance. Speedo takes place in the Olympic Village, where athletes from many cultures receive some special training in polyamory and other forms of boundary-busting, taught by “ambassadors” from a cult idolizing a diver named Arturo Tarantino. Tarantino espoused a philosophy of separating oneself from artificial, fear-based constrictions like sexual monogamy and jealousy, and instead making love with many people. He believed that this would erase boundaries between people, lead to world peace and the dissolution of geo-political borders. He called his desirable state of loving psycho-sexual satisfaction “the zone.” One day Tarantino got so completely zoned out that, after executing an “impossible” perfect dive, he just disappeared in the bubbles. His yellow Speedo floated to the top, to become a relic for his followers, and a symbol awarded to trainees who see the light and take off their clothes for this new world order.

...The content, as illustrated by the preposterous story, has challenges for viewers all along the belief spectrum. Although the play declares the glory of polyamory, asserting its naturalness, it looks clearly at one of its costs. Main characters Khala (Nicola Bullock) and Mia (Caitlin Wells) start off as a happy married couple (trapshooters from Team USA); by the end, Mia’s wrecked and stranded on the shores of Khala’s new boundary-free world.

Structurally, the play is very clever.... Byrne and director O’Berski are very skilled at getting you to immediately suspend disbelief and go with the story.

...The only thing I found shocking was the play’s un-ambivalent declaration in favor of unprotected sex — no condoms for all these couplings. In fact, the play’s most memorable line, uttered by Khala after her training partnering with Suileman (Allen Tedder, very elegant), is about his having painted the walls of her vagina with semen graffiti. In Arturian Sex, not only must there be skin-to-skin contact, but exchange of fluids.

...And so impractical, as are the logistics of polyamory (love may be endless, but time is not), that one suspects Tarantino’s Yellow Speedo of being allegorical, on top of fantastical. There’s kind of a Liberty Leading the People quality to it, with the playwright waving the flag and urging the bold freedom fighters over the barricades. At any rate, there’re about five plays worth of ideas woven into 90 short minutes....

The ideas take precedence over relationship development. Khala and Mia are such interesting characters that – although Bullock and Wells were quite fine – I would have liked them to live more fully, to seem less like animations Byrne designed to illustrate her concerns....

...Preview night was sold out, and Manbites Dog reports that tickets for this weekend are nearly gone....

The whole review (May 23, 2014).


In the local Triangle Arts & Entertainment:

...Finding The Zone, or a place of openness, is strived for by six trainees, led by instructors. Arturo Tarantino (Liam O’Neill), the famed Italian diver, and creator of this “Arturian” philosophy of love and sexual liberation, has gone missing; the instructors continue the teachings and practice in his honor. And some of them are pretty intense in their dedication.

The piece, overall, is a love letter to non-monogamy; polyamory consultants were used in the creation of the piece. Byrne is a strong advocate for this way of life, and her passion for it comes through in the story.

...The trainees are randomly paired up, regardless of gender or orientation, over the course of three days. We see these first meetings, broken up between videos of the trainees giving their Olympiad bios; and we learn a lot about these people. Byrne does a fine job rounding them out and creating a fleshed-out batch of characters in 90 minutes, though her ambition to create such a multinational cast led to a fair amount of mediocrity in dialects, though it’s not for lack of trying on the part of the actors.

The actors also handle the sexual components of the show with a strong attack. There’s nudity, folks....

...Overall, Tarantino’s Yellow Speedo provides a necessary conversation on the current state and politics of sex and sexual freedoms, albeit in a clunky delivery at times. It does, however, continue to showcase Monica Byrne’s talents for addressing taboo topics in a fresh, engaging, and captivating way.

The whole review (May 25, 2014).


The mainstream Raleigh News & Observer considered the play mediocre:

Durham production of “Tarantino’s Yellow Speedo” amusing, muddled

By Roy C. Dicks

DURHAM — Is monogamy the best choice for maintaining relationships or can polyamorous coupling lead to greater understanding and caring?

...Little Green Pig Theatrical Concern’s brashly comic, sexually explicit production boldly stages the author’s ideas in often amusing, thought-provoking segments, but the script is not clearly focused and tries to do too much.

From left, Caitlin Wells as Mia and Nicola Bullock as Khala. (Alex Maness photo)

...The exercises are sometimes amusingly awkward, sometimes unexpectedly tender. There are unlikely pairings that work out (a German male cross-dressing wrestler and a South African female fencer) and some that don’t (a Ukrainian male badminton player and a Belizean female hammer thrower).

...The pursuit of polyamorous relationships is an arresting idea, but the Olympics context adds an expectation of fitness (not so for all actors) and of intriguing international differences (squandered here on easy jokes and inauthentic accents). The frequent nudity seems keyed more to each actor’s willingness rather than appropriateness for specific scenes.... Having Arturo appear behind the video screen as a god-like figure spouting his philosophies is amusing at first but becomes repetitive overkill.

...Byrne’s theme gets muddled between farce-like moments and deadly serious discussions. Audiences will find many laugh-worthy moments but may miss the take-away.

Read the whole article (May 23, 2014).


Two years ago, Byrne revealed the mythical backstory of the vanished Tarantino and the secret psychosexual Olympic world cabal (in Raleigh-Durham's Indy Week, August 8, 2012).


Saving the best for last: Matt in North Carolina alerted us, "The writer, director, and members of the cast appeared on NPR's 'The State of Things' [with host Frank Stasio] to discuss the play, and spoke very openly about polyamory and bisexuality — it was a pretty jaw-dropping interview for North Carolina."

Listen here: A New Play Mingles Sex And Diplomacy (19 minutes, WUNC North Carolina Public Radio, May 16, 2014).

Monica Byrne starts off the interview by saying that this is

a play that I thought of because I wanted to address the issue of polyamory in sort of a metaphorical dimension. It means a lot of different things to different people.... I wanted to bring it into a larger public consciousness through theater.

For a lot of people what [poly] means, and what it means to me, is having multiple partners but also being extremely open, and communicative, and kind, to everyone involved. Everyone is onboard. ...And it’s a way of developing long-term relationships, as much as monogamy is.

...The Olympics to me is a metaphor for this phase of my life where I find myself, where I’m in Durham, I’m surrounded by these incredibly beautiful, young, heroic — in my eyes — unmarried people, some of whom I’m involved with, some of whom I’m not, and people I go in and out of being involved with — and that sort of heroic mindset is what inspired the Olympic Village as the setting of this. It’s the sort of goddess and god worship that I find myself doing in Durham....

...Yellow Speedos are the equivalent of gold medals in this sort of underground cult world. If you have won the Speedo that means you have achieved The Zone, which means you’ve transcended possession, feelings of possession. And if you’ve won the yellow Speedo then you go on to be a diplomat in this elite diplomatic corps.

[On monogamy]: To me, when I realized that what I thought was [monogamous] safety was not at all safe, it was actually an extremely liberating moment. I wanted to share that, actually, with the world. That [monogamy] isn’t the way it has to be. That this isn’t the way that anybody has to be.

And my wish — I mean Jay and I have talked about what we want people to go away from this play with — is to just question where they fall on the [poly-mono] spectrum. I think a lot of people don’t question monogamy as the primary relationship model as much as they should. But polyamory and other forms of relationships have such a bad rap, that that prevents that style of love from going forward....

FRANK STASIO: Jay, how do you do that? When you introduce a kind of radical concept like this, a new idea for a lot of us, to take seriously... how do you manage that, as a director?

JAY O’BERSKI: With a lot of candy. Candy around the pill. ...If you can draw an audience in, so that they can hear a much deeper conversation and argument, then you can hook them. And so many plays don’t attempt to go deep with it.... In plays about sexuality, or say racism, there’s sort of a pat on the back with the easy answer. The obvious would be for everybody to realize that polyamory was just “a phase.” Something that selfish people do and then they grow up. Which I think was a bias that I had, and was interesting to explore and get over.

...BYRNE: One of the lines that Arturo comes back to is, “Love must flow in its proper channels or it will destroy the fabric of society.” Which is something his father told him, and something he’s rebelling against. That love just needs to be free-flowing, with no boundaries whatsoever. And you know, it’s kind of like extreme capitalism and extreme communism. The answer lies somewhere along the spectrum.

In polyamory there absolutely are rules of behavior. In fact far more so, I think, than in monogamy, because you have multiple partners. So you need to manage all of their feelings, and all of their expectations, and take care of multiple people, and make sure your needs are bring met in turn. So polyamory is absolutely its own system as well. It just means multiple partners instead of one.

Afterward, Byrne wrote about the radio interview on her blog:

If I could have [had] longer, and it could be edited down so that I’d sound intelligent, I’d talk about so many more things…my “conversion experience” in Belize. How love, monogamy, commitment, and sex are not bound together. How jealousy is an entirely bearable and in fact transformative experience. How everyone I’m with brings out different sides of me that I might not have ever discovered otherwise. How the emphasis on monogamy cheats both women and men. How true intimacy is possible in any relationship where kindness, honesty, and respect are present. How I feel deeply cared for, and care for others, deeply, in turn. How many dear friends I’ve made this way.

How happy I am to be a solo polyamorist.

How my saying that causes a huge range of reactions in people.

Including curiosity.

Getting psyched for the interview.



May 28, 2014

Progressive Christian John Shore has a good discussion going right now...

...on his widely read "Christianity with humanity" blog. More than two years ago Shore published an interview with a woman in a happy triad living in the Deep South. That interview continues to prompt sympathetic mail, and he posted one such letter yesterday:

Dear John,

As I read through your interview with a polyamorous woman, I found myself tearing up. Because the woman you spoke with explained the whole love dynamic that I have been experiencing in my life for so long.

I also appreciated her making the point that being poly is about love, not sex. That is so important to stress, because a lot of people believe that polyamory is primarily driven by sex. But for many of us, it is just an expression of love in the way we see fit.

I would rather love two people, and have them both on board with that, then love two people and keep it a secret from my original partner, so that I have to live a lie.

I have many polyamorous friends, and a lot of them are working professionals. An English teacher, a bus driver, foreman at a plastic factory. I am a musician, artist, and mother, and it is so important that I teach my beautiful son that love comes in many forms, and that he has the freedom to choose for himself which form works for him. As long as he and his partner/s are happy, then who am I to say anything? Honesty, after all, is always the best policy.

Thank you again for sharing your views and opinions on polyamory. It gives me hope for society, yet.

Shore then goes on to discuss his own thoughts and gut feelings:

I see nothing at all inherently immoral about polyamorous relationships. If three people living in such a relationship say it is working for them, why should anyone argue it? If no one is being hurt, how is it anyone else’s business?

I personally am a monogamist. Why is that? To put it, I suppose, troglodytishly, because I want my (straight) wife Catherine (Cat) to love me more than she loves any other man. I want all of Cat, not some or most of her. I want her 100% emotionally and physically intimate with me, and no on else.

I want her exclusively. I don’t want the power of our intimacy diluted by one-third.* I don’t want her love for me to be something she does by way of emotionally multi-tasking.

In for a penny, in for a pound — and in for life. Relationship-wise, I personally think that’s the way to go.

Also — and this is no small thing — I don’t think there’s time in life to really love — to really get to know — more than one person....

The whole post (May 27, 2014).

The reason I'm putting this up now is because a whole lot of good people are joining the comments, including poly folks explaining our side, and Shore is responding. Go join in.



May 27, 2014

All the poly conventions, retreats and gatherings for the next 12 months.

Hey, you all know about Alan's List of Polyamory Events, right? It tells about all the 19 national and regional poly cons and gatherings that are happening for the next 12 months, as far as I know.

There is nothing like meeting your people, finding your tribe — whether at a hotel convention, a clothing-optional retreat, or a family-style, kid-friendly campout.

I'll be at Atlanta Poly Weekend in less than two weeks: June 6–8, in a nice hotel. Last I heard they were expecting about 250 people and hoping for 300, a record. Presenters and discussion leaders include More Than Two book authors Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert, The Polyamorists Next Door author Elisabeth Sheff, and if a spot opens up, me! Here's the schedule so far.

Then in July I'm off to the very different, ten-day Network for a New Culture Summer Camp East at Abrams Creek in the West Virginia mountains — a deep, culture-building exploration that I've been going to for several years now and recommend highly. It's organized by poly activists and cultural creatives Michael Rios, Sarah Taub, and others.

I wish I could go to a new project that they are starting in August: Endless Poly Summer. This is a five-day "tribe building" intensive at Abrams Creek, intended for people looking to establish extended poly-community networks that persist after people go home; that's the "endless" part. The Allegheny Crest Tribe, as the organizers and associates are calling themselves, hope to grow this into a four-times-a-year gathering. The first runs August 20–24.

And I keep wishing I could get to Polycamp Northwest south of Seattle at the end of August, which is now more than a decade old. I hope to make it again to Loving More's annual weekend retreat September 5–7, a smaller gathering in upstate New York. And the Beyond the Love hotel con in Ohio in November, which began just last year, calls out to me....

I update Alan's List of Polyamory Events continuously. I plan to keep doing it forever. Bookmark it, because updates and new entries do not trigger send-outs.

And if your regional or larger event isn't there yet, tell me! Write to alan7388 (AT) gmail.com.

See you around?


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May 26, 2014

Yet more attention to new Brooklyn poly building... Part 3

And the media attention to the new poly apartment building in Brooklyn continues to spread.

Leon Feingold, Open Love NY co-president and the guy behind the project, writes, "Hey Alan! Hope all's well. The interest in the polyamorous house has gone global." In the Netherlands: Dit huis is gemaakt voor seks. As Google Translated into English,

This House Is Made for Sex

In the New York borough of Brooklyn is a building that is for swingers. If you want to live with your partner, you should be aware that he or she is with another resident dives into the suitcase.

The Hacienda Villa... building is an initiative of Open Love NY, an organization that encourages polyamory. That is a way of life where people love and sex relationships engage with more people. The Hacienda Villa are only polyamoristen welcome.


"It is very important to us that people who are considering coming to live the lifestyle of the other residents respect here," explains co-founder Leon Feingold Open Love NY out of the New York Post. He has snared six tenants.... At this moment they are just friends, but that may just be different tomorrow.

...Feingold stressed that interested people do not have to expect to stay at the Hacienda Villa turning into a big orgy. "It's not a reality show where everyone picks up with each other. For many people this is just their home."

The original story in Dutch (May 18, 2014). A Dutch speaker tells us the piece reads more friendly than snarky.


A brief story now makes the New York Observer:

Roomies with Benefits: Brooklyn Building Caters to the Polyamorous

Leon Feingold. (Fivel Rothberg photo)
By Dashel Pierson

For those out there who think “love stinks,” maybe you’re just doing it wrong.

A three-story Bushwick building is being converted into a judgment-free living space for polyamorous lovers. According to the Poly Lexicon, polyamory is defined as “the non-possesive, honest, responsible and ethical philosophy and practice of loving multiple people simultaneously.” It’s like MTV’s The Real World only without the jealousy, the fighting and the douchebaggery.

But don’t get too excited....

Read on (May 20, 2014. This was also reprinted in Real Estate News NYC.)


From Mischa Lin, also a leader of Open Love NY: "Fantastic story on Bustle.com — and a great rebuttal to all the sensationalist reporting from other outlets:"

NYC'S first polyamorous-only apartment (building) is here, and it's nicer than your place

Poly triad hand in hand in hand
By Lucia Peters

Polyamory may not be for me, but it works for plenty of people....

...Although a rather depressing number of media outlets are calling Hacienda Villa a “love shack” and a “swinger’s apartment” (New York Post and Daily Caller, I’m looking at you), Feingold is adamant that the building is anything but. “It’s not a sex-fest,” he told the Daily News. “It’s not a place to come and get your freak on. It’s a place to come home to.”...

...The house’s first resident, a 40-year-old scientific researcher named Lily who had her first poly experience two years ago, remarked to the Daily News, “I’m really happy and safe knowing I’m going to be in a place where people are really wise and understand the community.”

Open Love NY is a New York-based organization that provides a safe space for the polyamorous community, as well as coordinates educational and social events for its members geared towards “fostering a public climate in which all forms of consensual adult relationship choices are respected and honored.” Find out more at the Open Love NY website.

The whole article (May 19, 2014).

Update June 10: The building is almost fully rented. Also, Leon posts on Facebook, "Dozens of media outlets have tried to get us to agree to a reality show or documentary - all of which I've vetoed, because it's designed as a safe space to live, not for others' ridicule or sensationalism."



May 25, 2014

“ 'You’re Doing What?' On coming out as polyamorous.” And other coming out tales.

Tied with jealousy for first place among poly discussion topics is whether to be out, and to whom, and when.

This piece appeared in the online magazine She Does The City ("An Imperfect Life Guide for Women"):

“You’re Doing What?” On coming out as polyamorous

Coming out as poly means offering up your heartBy Anonymous

When my partner and I decided to open up our relationship, we did it slowly and gradually.... We checked in often and talked a whole lot about how we were feeling. When we got comfortable enough about what it was we were doing and what we wanted to call it, we started telling our close friends.

For me, this was something I wanted to do in person. It’s kind of difficult to explain our exact deal in a text or a Facebook message, and I wanted to gauge people’s genuine reactions — you can learn a lot about someone by telling them a surprising truth about yourself, and watching what their facial muscles do.

...I tend to stick with telling people in person mainly because of the time and effort it can take to explain polyamory to those who may not know about it. There’s usually a lot of questions that go along with my revelation, and seeing how people respond helps me tailor the way in which I tell them. Each person I’ve told has taken it differently. Some people have been overwhelmed by the idea, and it becomes a fairly large discussion. Others take it quickly in stride, and that’s that....

It has a novelty factor for some people; others just like to know the general details about what’s going on in my life.... Then there are my favourite reactions, delivered by some of my closest friends. They’re excited for me, and that excitement comes from a genuine place.... I’ve even had some people want to hop on the open/poly train themselves, they just hadn’t known anyone that had done it. I’m not out to convert anyone, but that’s a pretty awesome response too.

...Polyamorous/open folk, how did your friends take it when you told them? I’m curious to hear any outlandish or perfectly ordinary stories you have to share. Have you told your friends, or is it something you keep to yourself?

Last time on the Poly Diaries: What Poly Means to Me.

Read the whole article (April 14, 2014).


And here are 16 other coming-out resources and articles, collected by GreenFizzpops in South Africa:















Opening Up by Tristan Taormino – Chapter 16: "Coming out (or not), finding community, creating families"

Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits by Deborah Anapol – Chapter 7: "Coming Out Poly"

My own posts tagged Coming Out (including this one; scroll down).



May 21, 2014

"Five Lessons From Poly Relationships That Everyone Can Benefit From"

If that title sounds familiar, it's only because the Five Things meme broke into poly writing last year. This piece appeared in Autostraddle today and is new as best as I can find.

It's also a winner, worth passing along to relationship-advice type places.

Autostraddle, "News, Entertainment, Opinion, Community and Girl-on-Girl Culture," claims to be "the world’s most popular independently-owned lesbian website with over one million unique visitors and 3 million views per month."

Five Lessons From Poly Relationships That Everyone Can Benefit From

By Carolyn [a longtime Autostraddle editor]

Juggling multiple relationships at different levels with many different people requires a sturdy relationship skill set that makes poly relationships the PhD of human interaction — not better than other types of relationships, but definitely more complicated. Here are five principles central to successful consensual non-monogamous partnerships that can improve basically any relationship.

1. Communication is really important.

...Sex educator Charlie Glickman says:

“Something else I’ve learned from being poly is that it requires the ability to talk about and process feelings quickly and efficiently.... When there are multiple people, each with their own needs and desires, as well as their feelings about each other, there are a lot of moving parts. If I could, I’d tell my younger self that the best way to learn how to process well would be to build social networks full of people who are dedicated to open-hearted, honest communication.”...

2. Consent is also really important.

...Talking about your relationships or current situation or expectations happens a lot in non-monogamous situations, but can be really useful in monogamous relationships as well. In addition to the obvious importance of enthusiastic consent in sexy situations, collaboration and enthusiasm between everyone at all stages can only lead to a better experience for all.

3. Everyone has feelings and needs.

...and theirs may be different than yours....

4. Jealousy is a dish best served deconstructed....

5. There is more than one way to have a relationship.

A ton of modern relationships are seen as having one logical path.... Solo Poly calls this path the relationship escalator....

There are so many possible types of relationships, and so many ways to conduct those relationships, that thinking about what you actually want from a given situation and how it might work for you (and communicating those needs) is incredibly important.

Here's the article (May 21, 2014). The comments, for once, are worth reading.

Update the next day: Another Five Things article just popped up: Five Ways In Which Polyamory Is Like Grad School, on Love Is Infinite's blog:

1. It’s not for the faint of heart....

2. It will sometimes eat your life and require you to consume copious quantities of caffeine… but you love it anyway....

3. People will ask you, “How can you do that?!?”....

4. And your answer will be something like, “I couldn’t NOT do it!”...

5. There are times when you will want to quit… and may more times when you will be glad you didn’t.

As mentioned before, this stuff is HARD. When you’re on your third night of no sleep with that damn essay that just won’t go right, you will want to say “fuck this! I don’t need this qualification anyway!” When you’re struck with an attack of jealousy or have just broken up with someone, you will probably want to say “this would all be better if I were just monogamous!”

But when you step back and realise you followed your heart and chased your dream and worked through all the adversities in the way, you will be so very glad you stuck it out.


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May 19, 2014

More Than Two book developments, and other new poly books

Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert have just decided to try to run the table with their long-awaited polyamory guidebook, More Than Two. It's now at the printers, and they had scheduled a publication date of May 30th. But after learning some harsh realities about the book industry in the last few weeks, they've moved the date to September 2nd so they have a chance to get it into mainstream bookstores and libraries.

Backers of their Indiegogo campaign will still get copies on schedule, in early to mid-June (paperback if you gave $25 or more, e-book if you gave $15). You can also buy the book "pre-release" at the authors' live events at bookstores and at Atlanta Poly Weekend June 6–8. But if you pre-ordered on Amazon, you'll have to wait.

What they found out is that mainstream bookstores won't accept a new book after its publication date, or if review copies haven't been sent out with a publicity campaign under way, or if the book has been sold electronically. And library book selectors almost never buy a new title unless it has been reviewed in Library Journal or similar trade publications.

Arranging these ducks takes time and insider knowledge. So Eve and Franklin decided to take a scary financial plunge, delay the date three months, and hire a publicist. The date also matches the start of their fall book tour.

You can tell they're a little anxious how fans will react:

And here's their blog post: Book update: Publication and pre-release dates (May 18, 2014).

They agonized about this decision, especially the delayed cash flow (Amazon doesn't charge your credit card until a pre-order ships). But they feel the book has a chance to break out of the poly community into the mainstream.

I helped edit the book, and I agree. I see it as the first poly guidebook that's aimed at today's "second wave" of interested people, as Franklin describes them. The first wave were the visionaries, radicals and social creatives who built the poly movement. The second wave are the more mainstream people encountering the subject by seeing it in the media, and they come with different assumptions. Franklin wrote,

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

So it's a very practical book, with little theory or advocacy and no woo. At 480 pages, it packages the knowledge of what is likely to work or fail, and why, that the poly community has accumulated over the years, and delivers it in a form that speaks to average people as well as to relationship radicals. I'd say they got the timing just right.

Update June 29: Beware of fake download scams. Scammers fill the internet with fake offers of cheap or free e-books, and they've added More Than Two's title to their bait in the water. I guess that's a sign of its online buzz. Don't get took, don't get malwared.


In other poly book news...

● Cunning Minx of the Polyamory Weekly podcast (now in Episode #392!) has just come out with a short e-book, Eight Things I Wish I’d Known About Polyamory (Before I Tried It and Frakked It Up). It's 17,000 words and about 66 pages, and is based on a class that she gives with the same title.

As early listeners to Poly Weekly will remember, her early tries at poly relationshipping blew up in distressing ways before she developed her current family of three. And in fact, her mistakes were perfect examples of central themes in Franklin and Eve's book. Click the book cover here to read the introduction and first chapter.

● In the U.K., self-help trainer and author Roger King has come out with Warrior Love in a Changing World. He describes his own odyssey into poly and argues, "We could learn to be in an even more abundant love with our main partner, if we gave each other authentic responsible freedom to love more than just ourselves." From the press release (May 15, 2014):

King... encourages readers to be honest with themselves and their partners, to become what he refers to as “warriors of love.”

“Could humanity make a paradigm shift and add to monogamy the ability of being polyamorous?” King asks. “Could we ‘come out’ and experience being honestly in love with more than one person at the same time? Could men especially be more open and honest? We are living longer, we change, our partner changes. As personal growth permeates societies, will open relationships become more the norm? Or will monogamy keep us tied to meeting our changing needs secretly?”

Update: Heather Trahan interviews the author.



May 17, 2014

Part 2: Brooklyn poly-house publicity escalates across New York

My post yesterday, Brooklyn real estate project for polyfolks draws more publicity than expected, followed events as they developed from Thursday morning to Friday afternoon. A poly intentional community is taking shape in a specially rebuilt Brooklyn brownstone. In 36 hours, news-media attention grew from a bit of neighborhood interest to coverage (sometimes salacious) by newspaper, radio, and TV across the New York metropolitan area, population 20 million.

"Leon Feingold is the realtor of the 15-bedroom Bushwick house for polyamorous tenants." (Natalie Musumeci / New York Daily News)

We left off yesterday when WABC-TV Channel 7 had just showed up with a news truck. The station aired a two-minute report at the end of the city news hour after teasing it several times. It's kinda nice. We see project leader Leon Feingold explaining the concept and showing the inside. Open Love NY gets mentioned by name, and some random neighbors on the sidewalk give their opinions, from live-and-let-live to this is nuts. Watch here:

A partial transcript.


An hour later, the New York Daily News online published a story that will probably be in the print edition. Says Leon, "This one might be my favorite. It's quite even-handed, well-informed, and has some good quotes. And I think I even look OK in the pictures."

So do the living spaces! The paper put up a slide show of the spiffy new interiors.

Inside Bushwick manor that is a haven for polyamorous tenants

A three-story residential building in Bushwick is being converted into a safe haven for the polyamorous — those who don’t mind having romantic relationships with multiple consenting partners.

By Natalie Musumeci

...Replete with a hot tub, gazebo and wet-bar, the 15-bedroom “Hacienda Villa” is for people who practice and are supportive of “responsible non-monogamy,” said Leon Feingold, the realtor of the Troutman St. building and co-founder of Open Love NY, a group that caters to the libertine community.

“We can have romantic, physical and/or emotional relationships with multiple people simultaneously, lasting anywhere from a single interaction to a lifetime, as long as everyone involved knows and consents,” said Feingold.

"Building realtor Leon Feingold is even considering taking a room at the 'Hacienda Villa,' which is complete with a backyard hot tub and a gazebo." (Natalie Musumeci / New York Daily News)

The “free love” household located on Troutman St., one block away from the Myrtle Ave. stop on the J, M, or Z lines, is already home to three tenants with four more on the way, said Feingold.

A 40-year-old scientific researcher, Lily, was one of the first residents to move into the house last week.

“I’m really happy and safe knowing I’m going to be in a place where people are really wise and understand the community,” she said, adding that she had her first poly experience two years ago with another couple. “We totally hit it off.”

...Make no mistake, said Feingold, the manor will not be a “swingers” pad.

Building realtor Leon Feingold is even considering taking a room at the "Hacienda Villa," which is complete with a backyard hot tub and a gazebo.

“It’s not a sex-fest. It’s not a place to come and get your freak on. It’s a place to come home to,” said Feingold, who is considering taking a room for himself in the house.

All renters must be verified by an existing member of the polyamorous community so that the house remains a judgment-free zone, he said....

See the whole article (online May 16, 2014).


About an hour later, the website of CBS New York posted a similar nice article: Polyamorous Community Offers ‘Judgment-Free’ Living Space In Bushwick (May 16, 2014).


Meanwhile, in TimeOut New York:

Brooklyn’s Hacienda Villa has been refurbished as a polyamorist-friendly swinger pad

Here are the passive-aggressive roommate notes we’d expect to find in such a place.

...Polyamory seems like one of the few taboos left in NYC, so it’ll be interesting to see if this project helps make the general public more accepting of it. But we can’t help but wonder: Do the polyamorous communicate with each other the same way the rest of New York’s roommates do — with passive-aggressive notes? If so, here are some you might find taped to the fridge. Or the bathroom door. Or the TV. Or the window because OMG YOU GUYS I TOLD YOU TO CLOSE THIS BEFORE YOU LEAVE.

- If you see that the extra-large hand-pump KY dispenser is empty, maybe consider refilling it? Kthxbye!

...- Dear everyone, My parents are visiting today. I know it’s asking a lot, but please put some pants on.

- SOMEONE left out the edible chocolate massage oil last night and we now have roaches. Jeremy, I know vermin is your thing, but it's really foul.

...- Everyone REALLY needs to keep the noise down after midnight. I could barely manage to get any sex at all, thanks to the sound of the rest of you snoring peacefully in your beds.

The whole piece (May 16, 2014).


Local satire in The Burning Bushwick: New “Monogamists Only” Complex to Open as Alternative to Polyamory Building. (May 17. NSFW artwork.)


Leon is co-president of Open Love NY, the city's largest poly education and social group with 1,500 members (as of two days ago). In January I spoke at its monthly public discussion forum, which is held in the Theater Arts Building in midtown Manhattan. Its biggest events are the monthly Poly Cocktails nights at a rock club in lower Manhattan, which have been running since 2007.

OLNY's Mischa Lin responded to criticism about dealing with outlets like the New York Post:

Right now OLNY is in customer-acquisition mode so yes, almost any publicity is good. If sex is what brings people in, then it's our responsibility as a community to show newcomers that we're about more than just hooking up. If we want this to be a movement, we have to keep growing, both in numbers and in refining our message.

As of dinnertime Friday, OLNY had over 120 new membership applicants. And in fairness, the Post story was what triggered everything that followed, including the rival Daily News playing catch-up.



May 15, 2014

Brooklyn real estate project for polyfolks draws more publicity than expected...

“You’ve heard of gayborhoods?” remarked Elisabeth Sheff to a Slate interviewer a couple years ago; “This is the first poly-neighborhood I’ve heard of.”

That was in Seattle, but now comes this from Brooklyn. The instigator is Leon Feingold, longtime poly-community organizer, co-founder and co-president of Open Love NY, and all-around nice guy; you may remember him from ABC-TV's The View last November. His day job is real estate — he runs his own company — and he's nearly done completely redeveloping a building into a 15-bedroom poly intentional community.

Is this a big deal? Starting Thursday morning it swept through Brooklyn's local media, and by Friday morning it was all over New York.

The first up was this piece, in the neighborhood-news site DNAinfo New York:

Polyamorous Home in Bushwick Looks For Tenants Wanting Judgment-Free Life

By Kaitlyn Mitchell

Prospective tenants on Hacienda Villa's front steps. (Photo by Kait Mitchell.)

BUSHWICK — This gives new meaning to "open house."

Decked out with a hot tub and wet bar gazebo, a residential building in Bushwick is looking for polyamorous tenants hoping to live in a judgment-free space.

"Sometimes it’s hard for poly people to find housing where’s there’s no judgments," said Leon Feingold, the realtor showing the property.

...Polyamory is the practice of having meaningful romantic connections with multiple partners, with the knowledge of all partners involved.

Living with non-polyamorous people can get sticky for "polys," one open house attendee said.

“I found it to be very hard to find people who are willing to take you in when you’re polyamorous,” said Kate, who declined to give her last name.

As a 28-year-old graduate student at Columbia University working towards her masters degree in social work, Kate currently lives with her parents outside of the city. She has three partners — one is married, one is engaged and the other she has been seeing for eight months.

“I just want a place where I can take my partners to and it would be like a sanctuary,” said Kate. “It’s not exactly what I was originally looking for, but I feel safe here.”...

...The Bushwick building, located one block from the Myrtle Avenue M stop and known by the group as “Hacienda Villa,” is owned by a member of the polyamory community who will occupy an apartment with his girlfriend on the first floor.

The three-story building has 15 bedrooms. Each floor is an individual apartment, where a member from the community living on that floor vets potential roommates who apply to live there. Rent ranges from $750 to $1,500 per month, depending on room size and whether it has a personal bathroom.

Renovations on the building started in January. Some apartments on the upper floors have already been rented, with the first floor expected to be ready for occupancy by July.

“We’re not advertising. We’re not looking for other people. This is just friends, and friends of friends,” said Feingold. He has done five showings in the past month, and half of the rooms have been rented out, mostly by people who already knew Feingold....

...Feingold calls the house a communal space, meaning members who don’t live there can use the first-floor common space for events, at the discretion of the owner.

“Once it’s finished, we hope to make it available for events for any community stuff," Feingold said.

"Anything from workshops, to speakers, to parties, to bar mitzvahs, anything. It’s a really nice, big space down there when it’s done. It’s going to be an asset to the community as a whole."

Read the original (May 15, 2014).

Within hours, Brooklyn Magazine got up a similar story:

Bushwick House for Polyamorous People Is Open For Business

By Rebecca Jennings

Here in Brooklyn, it’s difficult to think of ourselves as prudes — we’ve got awesome drag balls and an entire Tumblr page devoted to the Boobs of Bushwick — but polyamory seems to be a rather sticky taboo, perhaps one of the last to become completely eradicated. However, thanks to a new a Bushwick apartment complex for solely polyamorist tenants, it seems like the process of poly acceptance is speeding up....

...Here’s the tricky part: In order to secure a spot at Hacienda Villa, you’ve got to know someone (or know someone who knows someone) who’s a friend of Feingold. Wanna make fast friends? Join Open Love NY’s Facebook page, which has over 1,500 members....

The whole article.

Then The Gothamist, New York-wide, picked it up:

Of Course Bushwick Has Its Own Polyamorous Building.

...Does this appeal to you? TOO BAD. “We’re not advertising. We’re not looking for other people. This is just friends, and friends of friends,” Feingold said. Well then! More like polyamorous-not-them, amirite?

The gritty Brokelyn also went with the exclusivity angle:

This place has a hot tub. Do you know what we would do for a shower with reliable hot water? Do you know when we last encountered decent water pressure? Please, polyamorous house, give us a shot. We can play Marvin Gaye on a recorder if you ever need background music. We can trade Tinder tips. We’ll stay up playing bananagrams and laugh and laugh and laugh....

More publicity than Leon bargained for? Maybe not. By 5 p.m. he was doing another showing of the building to insiders and friends. Mischa Lin, OLNY's other co-president, posted,

"That explains the 13-and-counting requests today for membership. [Update from membership honcho Marton: ">40!"] ...It is leading to more interviews for Leon which we're working on today, so hopefully the stories will get better as the media outlets get larger!"

Poly these days grabs attention.


Update the next morning: Yep, I knew it! The tabloid New York Post raced right into this one. Might I ask, why did they even talk to the Post?

Brooklyn love shack gets makeover as swinger haven

By Sophia Rosenbaum

Residents of a three-story Brooklyn building don’t worry about catching their lovers in bed with someone else — they expect it.

A Bushwick brownstone is being gutted and repurposed as a haven for the “sex-positive community,” according to Open Love NY, a group dedicated to the polyamory community, which encourages consensual romantic relationships with multiple partners.

The “Hacienda Villa” is a 15-bedroom apartment building only open to those that defy the “one true love philosophy.”

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all relationship-style like monogamy, where you get one partner,” said Mischa Lin, who co-founded Open Love NY in 2009. “With polyamory, it’s all about how much you can handle.”

Each floor of the sex haven boasts multiple bedrooms ranging from $750 to $1,500, depending on size and if there is a private bathroom attached.

...As of now, all the renters are just friends — but that could change with the “anything goes” mentality of the community.

“It’s not like a reality show where everyone is hooking up,” Feingold said. “It’s just going to be home for most of the people.”

There are no rules in the polyamory community besides being respectful of others’ boundaries, no matter how crazy their fornication fantasies are.

“The key to polyamory is compersion,” Feingold said. “It’s when you derive happiness from the happiness of those you love, even if they get that happiness from someone else.”

“Jealousy is normal,” Feingold admitted.

The house, which is just blocks away from the Myrtle Avenue stop on the J, M or Z lines, has gone through a top-to-bottom makeover in preparation for its new community.

The first floor has a huge common space that Feingold hopes to rent out for private events, parties and even bat mitzvahs.

“The whole idea is that this is a community that doesn’t judge, so whatever people want to rent the space for, who are we to judge?” Feingold said.

Additional reporting by Jennifer Bain

"Hopefully the stories will get better as the media outlets get larger"??

At least Mischa got a PM from the reporter apologizing for the Post using "swingers" in the headline. That was an editor's doing, the reporter said.

Update a little later: Mischa now posts, "Follow-on coverage today - Leon did an interview with 1010 WINS radio that will be playing every half hour starting at around 10:30 am today." WINS is a major all-news AM radio station. The piece is airing with the teaser "It's 'love the one you're with' at a brownstone in Bushwick." Notes a commenter on the OLNY Facebook page, "The tone is balanced between a smirky condescension and an outraged titillation."

But others feel that anything that gets OLNY's name out is worth it; the few who need to hear about the group will hear about it, and the rest can be ignored.

New Yorkers are known for being thick-skinned....

Update noonish: Mischa posts, "Channel 7 and New York Daily News interviews happening today!"

Update, afternoon: Here's Channel 7's news truck that showed up. This will supposedly be on the 5 o'clock news.

Continued in next post.



May 14, 2014

Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart,
May 27, 1948 – May 13, 2014

Now it's real. A revered pioneer of the polyamory movement passed away last evening, after an eight-year journey with cancer. Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart gave us our name, tended our ideals in a continuous stream from the hippie counterculture to the modern poly movement, and helped to construct the Neo-Pagan religion in America with her life partner Oberon Zell-Ravenheart. She was at home in hospice care, surrounded by friends, family and waterbrothers.

Morning Glory was one of the two independent inventors of the word "polyamory" and "polyamorous," starting with her influential essay A Bouquet of Lovers, which she published in the Neo-Pagan magazine Green Egg in spring 1990; the word "polyamory" was in handouts she and Oberon distributed at a conference not long after. Oberon (born Timothy Zell) started the Stranger in a Strange Land-inspired Church of All Worlds in 1962, and helped to promote Stranger and ideals of group love as the 1960s counterculture grew. They met in 1973 and were married in 1974.

This 2-minute TV profile of her, Oberon, and their 22-year partner Julie Epona aired last year on a Destination America show titled "Polyamory in America":

Morning Glory, Oberon, and Julie (O'Ryan) Epona

Morning Glory was born Diana Moore in 1948 in Long Beach, California, an only child of Irish and Choctaw Indian ancestry. Just this winter she and Oberon published their autobiography, The Wizard and the Witch: Seven Decades of Counterculture, Magick & Paganism.

She was one of the sparks who, whether you know it or not, helped to kindle our fire and flower our lives.

MG and Oberon recently.

On Monday Oberon posted,

Another night lying beside my beloved lifemate, with my hand on her heart to monitor her breathing. She's still breathing as I type this afternoon, but very deep within herself--and within the Dreaming--as she prepares herself for her transition to the Summerlands (actually, the Elysian fields, as we are Mystoi). I'm not really sleeping during these nights of vigil beside her, and I'm feeling very tired and fragile. As Bilbo said to Frodo at Rivendell, "I feel thin...like butter that's been spread over too much toast."

Yesterday was a strange and yet perfect Mother's Day. The pool and hot tub were filled with laughing children as their mothers bustled and visited, cleaning up, preparing food for everyone, and generally being wonderful. Everyone is doing their part--individually and collectively. We are so blessed with our Community!

We are surrounded and supported by loving friends and family--old lovers, students, initiates, water-brothers, kith and kin. And the cadre of Handmaidens who have come together to handle everything are a great blessing. Last night I was watching them as they sat with her burgundy velvet shroud spread across their laps, working together embroidering beautiful designs--such as yonis, pentagrams, and the White Tree of Gondor. Soon enough they will be washing her and preparing her body for its final journey to a green burial.

But for today, she rests peacefully.


I'll post links to obituaries below as they come in.

Her Facebook page, with pictures and remembrances. Oberon's, rapidly growing with many more.

A tribute photo essay across the years. This was reportedly her theme song back when she was an erotic dancer:

Oberon writes,

We will be publishing our next issue of Green Egg [online] in about 2 weeks. This will be a special tribute to Morning Glory. We are collecting stories about her so if you'd like to submit a story re: M.G., send it in — even if only a paragraph, that's OK. We just want to get as many stories about her as possible. You can send your stories in to: greeneggzine [at] gmail.com .

If you have pictures you think are unique, please send those along as well. This issue will be free!!!

At OccultCorpus.com:

...She was a legend in the pagan and occult communities, pioneering an ecological focus for pagan traditions which we today may take for granted, but which was nearly uncharted territory in the 1970s.

She and Oberon were also deeply involved in the shift in consciousness within the Pagan scene toward a greater understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other mariginalized folks. From this side of the millennium, it may be hard to fathom, but there was a time - within my own lifetime - when Pagan circles routinely excluded and denigrated all of the above in the name of "natural law". She was also a pioneer in exploring the ethical considerations of polyamorous relationships, through personal experience and experiment over many years of passionate advocacy.

At Huffington Post/ Religion: Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart Dead At 66: Pioneering Pagan, Polyamory Leader 'Crosses The Veil' (May 14, 2014. Actually, she was two weeks short of turning 66.)

Later: Oberon posts,

Yesterday we laid Morning Glory’s body into the Earth, to rest in the bosom of Mother Gaea until she may return again in new flesh. I planted an apple tree over her loving heart, that someday her substance may return to us all as sweet nourishing fruit. It was a small private ceremony, attended by immediate family and about 30 of our closest family friends.

And what a beautiful and moving ceremony it was! MG’s body was carried by six pallbearers (three abreast…) across the dam to the campfire circle in the beautiful open redwood casket made by Emrys (who also dug her grave). She was laid in the center of the circle, shrouded in wrappings, blessing ribbons, chakra stones, and a burgundy velvet wrap that had been lovingly embroidered by all her Handmaidens. A drinking horn of her favorite whiskey (Tullamore Dew) was passed around the circle, and each person told of what MG had meant to them.

Then we carried her up the hill and lowered her into her grave (after first removing our tuxedoed Druid, Don, who managed to fall in without losing his top hat!). Our granddaughter and other children began throwing flowers into her coffin, in the oldest burial custom of humanity — begun over 100,000 years ago by our predecessor subspecies, the Neanderthals. Songs were sung, and tears were shed. Feasting followed.

After the hole had been all filled in, Freya arranged a lovely berm and circle of dirt clods around, planting many wildflowers (including, of course, Morning Glories) Pilgrims who visit her in times to come may consider bringing stones to replace the clods, which will soon wear away. I have seen this custom in the mountains of Peru…

Morning Glory is buried at the top of the Upper Meadow at CAW’s sacred land of Annwfn (Welsh: “Land of the Dead”) — our 55-acre sanctuary in the misty mountains of Mendocino County, bequeathed to us by our late bard, Gwydion Pendderwen, who died at Samhain 1982, and whose ashes were our first internment there. Morning Glory’s grave overlooks the campfire circle where we have held our rites of Beltane (and Walpurgisnacht) for the past 30 years. Many stories will be told of this Death of a Pagan Priestess — which has already become mythic (as was her life). And that is how we achieve immortality — for what is remembered, lives!

Arranging all the legalities for MG’s green burial has now secured Annwfn as an officially-recognized cemetery for full body burials — a final gift to the Pagan community from one of our eldest and most revered Priestesses. There is a space right next to her that is reserved for my own eventual burial — many years from now (I hope!). And over the years to come, I expect that many other Pagans will want to have their green burials at Annwfn. Arrangements can be made.

I am grateful to all of our many friends, family, lovers, waterkin, priestesses and priests who came by over the final weeks in the hospital and at home, to lend support, prepare meals, clean house, share stories, and generally take care of everything for everyone....

And now I must enter a new phase of my life, holding the Love of my life within my heart and head, and carry on The Work for both of us. There is still so much to do…

Bright Blessings, and Never Thirst!


MG singing her song "The Cancer Train" on the BlogTalk Radio broadcast memorial service for Isaac Bonewits, August 2010. It's at the 10:40 mark.

A longish obit in the conservative London Daily Telegraph (July 21, 2014). Comments Oberon, "A little late! And a bit over-heady on the sex; very little on her founding the first Pagan Church in America, and nothing on the links with Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land."



May 12, 2014

Kathy Labriola's Jealousy Workbook, and lots of other green-eyed news

Soliloquy and Baxter, at KimchiCuddles.com, are based on
real-life former partners of the artist. (Used by permission.)

Stuff about poly is spreading around the web too fast to keep up with, but I've noticed something. The first thing people new to the subject often think of is jealousy, and nowadays they often know that polyfolks have a certain philosophy about it: that you can tame jealousy and manage it, by self-examination and by forthrightly asking your partners and metamours for help.

Moreover, goes the philosophy, you can use your jealous feelings for two good purposes:

– Analyzing your own fears, insecurities and triggers, and

– As an early warning sign of actual problems that your gut has sensed before your brain.

The trick is figuring out which of those two opposites is in play. We never said this was easy.

Any kind of relationship is more likely to thrive if you enter it with self-knowledge, first-rate communication skills (learnable), fearlessness, generosity, and high integrity. In particular, cultivating these traits help you find partners who share them. But poly kind of forces the issue. Regarding jealousy in particular.

So it's a big oversight that I haven't said anything yet about Kathy Labriola's book The Jealousy Workbook: Exercises and Insights for Managing Open Relationships, published by Greenery Press last September.

Kathy Labriola
Labriola has professionally counselled hundreds of poly individuals and groups in the Bay Area for more than 20 years. Drawing on this long practice, she has compiled a big (8½ by 11 inch) open-relationship jealousy workbook with 42 practical exercises. They are embedded in chapters on determining whether an open relationship is really right for you, understanding your jealousy and its roots, finding its triggers, determining whether it might be appropriate for the situation at hand, and intervention strategies for managing jealousy and addressing the common real problems it may signal. The book includes chapters on best-practice communication skills, and jealousy tips and techniques from other professionals who have expertise in open relationships.

My opinion: This wise, readable, and practical book deserves to become a standard text in the poly world.

Here's what Anita Wagner, a poly activist who has been giving jealousy workshops of her own for many years, had to say about the book at Poly Living East last February:

It may be the most important book ever written to serve the interests of polyamorists. I couldn’t wait to receive my copy, and I wasn’t disappointed. Exercise examples include the basic (Exercise Two, Clarifying Your Relationship Orientation) to more challenging (Exercise Thirty-Four, Imaging Looking Through Their Eyes and Being in Their Shoes.) [In Anita's workshop at Poly Living] we will break out into groups and try out some of the 42 excellent exercises Labriola has devised for helping make jealousy less vexing and our relationships more drama-free.

Here's a review by Dave Hall, poly activist since ever, in the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality (October 2013).

Dawn Davidson of Love Outside the Box has also done poly jealousy coaching and seminars for many years. She snagged Labriola to co-host three audio webinars that you can listen to here.

Audio interview with the author.

Labriola also wrote the excellent book Love In Abundance: A Counselor's Advice On Open Relationships (Greenery Press, 2010).


More recently.... Here's a piece on dealing with outsiders' questions by a "geeky, poly, kinky, and curiously intuitive rationalist." It appeared six weeks ago and is getting shared around the interwebs. She says, "Every single one of these answers is true for me." Pick one for any occasion.

Ten Responses To “But Don’t You Get Jealous?”

“But if your partner can have other partners, don’t you get jealous?”

1. Of course.

2. Yeah, but it’s not like I didn’t get jealous when I was in monogamous relationships. Monogamy isn’t a cure for jealousy, it’s just a different set of circumstances in which to experience it.

3. Yes, but I also open myself up to situations that can cause jealousy when I have friends who are friends with other people.... The thing is... they also enrich my life in enormous ways that I would never in a million years trade away.

4. Yes I do, and certainly there are some situations I’m going to get into as a result of being poly that are going to be really difficult, and be a potentially stronger trigger for jealousy than most situations I might get into while being monogamous. For some people, myself included, that comes with the territory.

5. Yes, and yes, sometimes it really bothers me. It also means I get more opportunities to face it head-on. The times when jealousy is really bad are the times when I am forced to examine where it comes from, and to learn about it, and, in the process, to learn about me.

6. Yes, but it also means I get to unlearn one of the worst root causes of jealousy for me. For me, poly provides an opportunity to unlearn this culturally ingrained habit of thinking oppositionally. When I was monogamous, and someone I was interested in decided they wanted to go out with someone else, it was easy to feel like that was because I wasn’t good enough — that I wasn’t as attractive or interesting as that other person. Being poly, though, means that when someone decides they don’t want to date me, it isn’t because some other person is “better”. If they’re poly, it means that they could date me anyway, which means that I don’t have to think about my rejections in the frame of “I’m just not as good as that other person is.” I get to practice thinking about them in the frame of “Something just didn’t work between this person and me.”.

7. Absolutely, but although I may sometimes feel jealousy about my partners’ partners, I also sometimes meet them, and talk to them, and make new friends....

8. Of course, but the same situations that sometimes cause jealousy can also teach me things about sex and relationships that I never would have learned otherwise. Maybe my partner has a kind of sex with one of their other partners that they’ve never had with me.... I get an opportunity to learn how to do that. Maybe my partner communicates with one of their other partners in a way I haven’t tried.... iIt gives me an opportunity to learn a new way to communicate, too.

9. Yes, but this is what I want. This is the way that I want my relationships to look, and if dealing with jealousy is something I’m going to have to work on in order for my relationships to look the way that I want, then it’s something I’m going to have to work on.

10. Yes, and it’s worth it.

The original (April 1, 2014)


Two polyfolks explain on HuffPost Live (2-minute video):

Accompanying article:

Ian Danskin and Aida Manduley joined HuffPost Live to share how they deal with jealousy in their polyamorous relationship. One important step that Manduley described was "acknowledging that jealousy might happen, then figuring out how to deal with it."

Manduley went into depth with HuffPost Live host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani about what jealousy can mean in a polyamorous situation, questioning whether "jealousy is really code for other things," and stressing the need to ask what is really missing.

"What am I feeling like I need out of this relationship that I'm not currently getting? Do I have fears of being left behind? Is this person getting more time?" she asked.

Danskin's approach to combating jealousy was to look inwards at what else he's missing in the relationship.

"I don't necessarily think someone is going to get more of Aida's affection, because I don't think of affection as a depleting resource," he said....


Relationship coach Robyn Vogel's How to Embrace Jealousy in Open Relationship (at Digital Romance, April 19, 2014).


Continuing right along, Reid Mihalko's "Day of Jealousy" phone calls. Greenfizzpops writes, "I found this review of what advice was in them:"

1.  Examining your jealousy gives you an opportunity to get to the root of what is making you feel jealous and work on that emotion (feelings of abandonment, loss, anger, feeling threatened, self-esteem issues, etc).

2.  Discussing jealousy can strengthen a couple's "bond".

3.  Unfortunately, jealousy is socially acceptable. It's more socially acceptable for a man who walks in on his wife having sex with another man to murder them than to cry about it and walk away. He's almost "expected" to act violently.

4.  Jealousy is always telling you something, and you need to listen.

5.  It makes you feel vulnerable to admit you're not in control of your emotions, or to admit that you feel inferior to another person.

6.  Examine your "expectations" in your relationships. All relationships are based on someone's expectations of some sort.

Example: "We've been together for 6 months now, and he hasn't dated anyone else in that time, so that must mean we're exclusive…and I expect him to feel the same way". If an expectation is not being met it can bring on feelings of jealousy. Talk openly about it.

7.  Manage and limit your negative emotions by:

   a) Having a primary loyalty to your primary relationship.

   b) Go for "common ground" (Be careful about dating an exclusively monogamous person...).

   c) Always be honest and up-front.

8.  Take "ownership" of your emotions. It's not fair to say, "YOU made me feel jealous when you started dating so-and-so". Take responsibility for your own feelings. "I felt jealous when you…" "I feel insecure when…"

9.  Be as generous, open, and inclusive as you can be in all your relationships. Don't expect more than you can give.

10.  It's OK to feel jealous. Don't try to hide or "stuff" your feelings of jealousy. Don't beat yourself up about feeling jealous. Be willing to be vulnerable. Cry. Ask for hugs and support.

You can tell that jealousy is a prime issue in the poly world by all the discussion it gets. And you can tell that the standard poly wisdom about it is on target by how many different people in different places come to the same conclusions about what works.

The indefatigable Greenfizzpops published notes from a poly discussion group in Durban, South Africa. If you read nothing else here, read this:

...Jealousy is distinct from envy. It concerns something one has and is afraid of losing, while envy concerns something one does not have and either wants (non-malicious envy) or just wants the other(s) not to have (malicious envy).

Jealousy is one of the first things people ask about. "How does that work? Don't you get jealous?" or "Oh I'm too jealous, so I could never do that."

Our dominant culture has some pretty messed up ideas regarding jealousy.... that jealousy is proof of love... that acts of violence are excusable by feelings of jealousy. There's a whole mythology that control, jealousy, possessiveness and love all go hand in hand. In the face of this monolith of negativity, how do poly people handle jealousy?

Well, you pretty much have to change the way you think of it to handle it. If you think of it as a tool instead of a wall, you're halfway there.

When you really dissect what jealousy is, you notice that the bad feelings that people call jealousy are actually a whole bunch of emotions, an umbrella term for a complicated slew of things — insecurity, fear, anger, envy... and if you identify and address each issue making up the jealousy, it usually goes away.

For example, let’s say Dymitrje starts dating Sue. I suddenly feel very jealous. I tell Dymitrje and we sit down and talk about it. After some discussion, we figure out that what's bugging me is that Dymitrje is spending a whole bunch of time with Sue that he used to spend with me. So we work out a schedule in which I get enough alone time with Dymitrje. As soon as my needs are met, I feel better about the situation. Sorted.

The key word here is "enough". You have to have a fair amount of self-knowledge to prod yourself and figure out what your needs and boundaries are, and it's up to you to assert them.

Another example. Say I start dating Paul. Dymitrje feels really jealous and he lets me know about it. We talk about it and figure out that Dymitrje is feeling insecure — he has a fear that I'm going to leave him for Paul. I reassure Dymitrje that that's highly unlikely. [Notice that, being honest, she does not say it's impossible. That kind of honesty is actually reassuring, I've found, because it means the person says what is true. –Ed.] And then I go out of my way to act consistently and responsibly so that he believes what I say and start to feel less insecure. Sorted.

See? Its a process, and if you have a commitment to working these things out, its doable. Jealousy is everyone’s issue. Not just the person feeling it. Everyone has a responsibility to work through it.

Jealousy is not a unique emotion to itself, it is a combination of unpleasant feelings. Jealousy is a symptom — it means something else is going on.

A good example of something that causes jealousy is lack of communication. If I don't feel like I know what's going on, I get incredibly jealous, because I imagine far more than is really happening — fear of the unknown.

One thing to remember, though.... sometimes your jealousy is actually a red flag that you are in danger of losing something... your partner is about to ditch you for the new shiny, or someone is trying to "steal away" your partner. But this should not be the first assumption you jump to. Never ascribe to malice what may be adequately explained by stupidity, and never ascribe to stupidity what may be adequately explained by thoughtlessness.

Practical Advice:

- Try not to lump all those feelings together and simplify as one emotion, "jealous". Instead tackle each emotion separately. The reasons why you are jealous are most likely valid.

- Once you have all your issues listed out, go to your partner and discuss it with them. Communicate! You may discover that your conclusion are not in fact reality. Ask your partner to help you through these issues, because its pretty hard to do all on your own.

The bonus of all this processing is that by doing it, you strengthen your relationship. You get to know things about each other and build each other's trust through adversity. Communication skills are a polyamorous person's most useful thing ever.

She goes on to add,

There are a lot of useful URLS on the Internet about jealousy in polyamory. I include some below:



Whew. To lighten up in closing, here's The Five Stages of (Poly) Jealousy from the Poly in Pictures comic. Enjoy.


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