Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

January 25, 2015

Poly in a dozen college newspapers

Get Real
(Cambridge University, U.K.)
The Evergreen Daily (Washington State University, WA)
Klipsun (Western Washington University)
Bull (University of Sydney)
The Kaimin (University of Montana)
The Vanguard (Portland State University)
The Concordian (Concordia University, Montreal)
The Manitoban (University of Manitoba)
KaLeo (University of Hawai‘i at Manoa)
Daily Emerald (University of Oregon)
The Horn (University of Texas/ Austin)
TEDx (University of Texas/ Arlington)
Puget Sound Trail (University of Puget Sound)

When Diana Adams issued her famous challenge at a Loving More conference six and a half years ago — "That every college student in America will know the word 'polyamory' and what it means within five years" — few students did, and I saw no clear path to that goal. But by the five-year mark it was well on its way to happening, and more so since. To watch Buzzfeed or read reddit/r/polyamory (25,000 members), for instance, you'd think poly was all about millennials.

Here's my latest roundup of college-newspaper treatments of poly, no doubt incomplete. The quick takeaway: they're basically getting it right.

● At Cambridge University in England, in the student LGBTQ magazine Get Real:

5 Reasons Everyone Should Try Polyamory

Robert Ashworth
By Katt Parkins

...There are many ways in which this philosophy is beneficial and here are just five of them.


Writings on polyamory usually describe the following scenario: If you’ve got a friend you really like to play basketball with, and a friend who absolutely loves quirky German cinema, why force one of them to do both?...


Most people are forced into this stifling web of repression because of how they are told marriages or relationships “should work”.... In the poly world, a new kind of fidelity emerges – the idea that emotional commitment and faithfulness transcends exclusivity.


In most stories, films, TV drama (and so on) eventually a character has to choose. And only one of these can be “real love”. What if they’re both real love? ...If everyone communicates, and works through this together, this kind of life is indeed possible.


...All logical arguments aside, [compersion is] an intensely beautiful feeling.... And isn’t the idea of owning someone a projection of materialist ideals anyway?


Just like we accept that gender is an often-fluid and equivocal concept, and sexuality is not in polarised form, we should accept that relationships could be just as varied and complex.

...Only recently have transgender people began to gain the terminology, pronouns and general language needed to express themselves. Polyamory is at a similar stage, dancing playfully on the peripheries, questioning assumptions, and finding joy and authenticity along the paths that many dare not wander.

Read it all (Dec. 19, 2014).

● At Evergreen State College in Washington state, The Evergreen Daily got hold of Polyamory Leadership Network members Michael Rios and Bhramari Devi Dasi:

Poly want a partner

By Abby Student | Evergreen sex and relationship columnist

...Polyamory directly translates to ‘many loves,’ and is defined as a romantic relationship between more than two consenting adults in which all parties are knowledgeable of one another. Also known as ethical non-monogamy, these relationships vary from person to person and do not always contain a sexual component.

...Michael Rios, poly-educator and webmaster of polyinfo.org, said he has been polyamorous his whole life. Rios founded a polyamorous commune while still in high school in the mid-1960s. He currently has two nesting partners. They live together in side-by-side group housing units. Rios also has two long-distance lovers who he sees every so often. He maintains regular contact with his co-parent of three children even though they haven’t been sexual for many years.

“We got an official divorce in the late ‘90s, but we talk on the phone every day,” Rios said.

...Monogamous people often translate polyamorous to total disregard for monogamous commitments, which is not the case for most poly individuals.

“I will not date someone who is dating someone who is cheating,” Devi Dasi said. “If their relationship world isn’t honest and open, I won’t go near it.”

She acknowledges that, as with all groups of people, there are obviously exceptions; not all moral compasses point quite as due north as hers.

Devi Dasi implements this principle not only for ethical reasons, but to ensure the health of everyone involved.

“When it comes to sexual health issues, it’s not only about the person who I’m being sexually intimate with. It’s about the people that they’re sexually intimate with and so on,” she said. “When someone is cheating, you can’t have that conversation.”

Devi Dasi said it’s a [poly] cultural norm to have these conversations. Sexually active poly people should be open to having what she calls a ‘sexual health and practice’ conversation....

Read on (Dec. 5, 2014).

● In Klipsun, a student magazine at Western Washington University:

Redefining Relationships

Photo illustration by Evan Abell
By Demi Cavanaugh

...As foreign and confusing as it may seem to some, for people like Gray Newlin, it just makes sense.

“Love isn’t finite,” Newlin says. “You can’t really stop yourself from loving other people while you’re in a relationship.”

Newlin’s hair is messily piled atop her head, with only her short choppy bangs, which frame her wide navy blue eyes and flushed cheeks, escaping the elastic band that secures the rest of her mane.

Newlin has been in open relationships since she was 14 years old, even before she knew what polyamory meant.

...Those who understand it will say polyamory is as much about setting limits as it is about removing them.

Robin Trask, executive director of Loving More, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness and providing support for polyamorous relationships, says these relationships are defined as being, “ethical, non-monogamous relationships done with consent.”

...“Polyamorous couples in a healthy relationship would talk about which behaviors they are and are not comfortable with and determine what their relationships are going to look like,” says [Chalaina] Connors, a poly-friendly licensed professional counselor in Portland.

...Polyamory can go wrong in a number of ways; one is when people identify themselves as polyamorous, but only as an excuse to sleep around with multiple partners, which does not represent the values of open and honest communication that polyamory emphasizes, Newlin says....

...With a practically endless number of relationship combinations and no real societal guideline in place dictating how they should function, polyamorous individuals are forging their own paths and determining their own set of relationship standards that work for them.

“There are limits,” Trask says. “But you decide what they are.”

The whole article (Oct. 25, 2014).

● In the magazine Bull at the University of Sydney, Australia:

I love you, but I think we should love other people

By Natasha Gillezeau

...I have been in a monogamous relationship with my boyfriend – who I love – since November 2013. But I have never felt less free.

...Brigitte, 23, has been in a polyamorous relationship with her boyfriend Chris for four and a half years. They constantly negotiate the openness of their relationship, and have periods of hooking up with whomever, and periods resembling monogamy. “You guys live together. How does it work?” I asked.... “How would you two deal with the other person having sex?”

“We’ll talk about what happened. Then I feel less anxious. The fear of the unknown is the worst, but when I find out it’s like ‘that’s exactly what I thought, it’s better having heard it from you’.”

...No longer Christian, Philluhp identifies as queer, polyamorous and asexual....

...After breaking up with her last monogamous boyfriend in 2011, Clo, 20, knew she was looking for something like polyamory, but didn’t know the term. “I was using all different words for it, like ‘casual relationship’, which is kind of bullshit. Just because a relationship is non-monogamous doesn’t mean that it’s casual.” Clo began seeing a guy who told her he identified as polyamorous, and after her initial trepidation, felt a sense of relief.... She tells me polyamory allows relationships to form organically, and according to their own rules.... “It’s just such an unusual thing. But it couldn’t happen within the bounds of monogamy, because there is so much expectation on what sexual relationships mean, and how they happen. All of these different growths would be completely stifled.”...

The whole article, worth the full read (PDF file; go to page 13) (July 2014).

● In the Montana Kaimin at the University of Montana in Missoula:

Missoula models don’t always let people eat sushi off their naked bodies, but when they do, it’s at Polytana Sushi Social.

The event celebrates relationship diversity, clinical sexologist Lindsey Doe said. This includes monogamy and all things non-monogamous.

Polyamory is the practice of having more than one intimate relationship at a time, but with all parties aware and consenting.

The Polytana Sushi Socials helps spread awareness and understanding to the community, she said.

University of Montana student Ellen Kuehl is modeling at the event this year. She modeled for more than 200 people at the last Polytana Sushi Social, she said.
Her body was painted, positioned and artfully decorated with sushi....

The whole article (Oct. 16, 2014).

● At Portland State University:

The Atomic Spectra of Love

Illustration by Rachael Bentz
By Brandon Staley

Years ago, Tamela Clover watched an educational video about prairie voles. The video divided the voles into two groups: monogamous and non-monogamous. The narrator went on to explain how, by altering the chemistry of the brain, the non-monogamous voles could be made to act monogamous.

Clover, the creator of the Portland State Polyamory Club, looks back on that video in horror....

Clover, a senior studying psychology, said she decided to form a support group focusing on polyamory after transferring to the university and attending Viking Days, an event aimed at acquainting incoming students with the school.

She met with representatives from the Women’s Resource Center, Queer Resource Center, and Student Activities and Leadership Programs but couldn’t find a student group that dealt specifically with polyamory.

...Several months later, the PSU Polyamory Club acts as a safe place for members to discuss anything from work frustrations and communication problems in relationships, to more delicate topics like the pros and cons of coming out in various areas of life.

...“It’s not uncommon for monogamous people to be in relationships with polyamorous people,” Clover said. “In that case, it could be a really good resource for a monogamous person, because they come and get support that they might not be getting elsewhere.”

Mapping Love

When Aubrey Limburg got word that her application to join the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program—a research program that prepares first generation, low income undergraduates for graduate and Ph.D. programs—had been approved, she knew she had to find the perfect topic....

Limburg had been reading the book Wannabes, Goths, and Christians: The Boundaries of Sex, Style, and Status by Amy Wilkins. The book discusses goth women harnessing sexual independence through their identification with polyamory, which caught Limburg’s eye.

“I said, ‘What the hell is polyamory?’”

...While seeking out participants for her study, Limburg expressed frustration at the lack of men willing to talk. Benjamin Baker, a senior studying economics at Reed College, said because of the sometimes tenuous and complex position of men in the polyamory community, speaking honestly about one’s orientation can be difficult.

“There are a somewhat equal number of men, but we don’t really know how to define and express what we are doing and why,” Baker said. “We don’t want to be seen as studs, and we are always trying to find our place in a more feminist and egalitarian social structure.”...

The whole article (July 15, 2014).

● In The Concordian (Montreal):

Love and sex can be more than just a game for two

By Jocelyn

...Hopefully this helps clear up some of the public misconceptions about those of us who subscribe to the “more the merrier” mantra.

Serial monogamy is fine as a choice, with relatively short commitments to partners and the liberty to come and go as one pleases.... Polyamory though, tends to be shrouded in hearsay and misinformation, often generalized as being “a sex thing,” or just about getting it on with more folks than one can count. But the reality of the situation is quite different. Polyamory isn’t just about the sex — although that certainly is a part of it — but about multiple committed relationships between consenting individuals. No secrets, no jealousy....

Read on (Oct. 7, 2014).

● At the University of Manitoba, a two parter:

Open to Openness

By Jodie Layne

Dear Jodie,

My husband and I just agreed to an open relationship and I’m such a newbie....

Dear reader,

There are so many things to consider when making a change in relationship structure, especially when you’re moving from the most normative to a stigmatized and often misunderstood relationship structure that doesn’t offer many visible, healthy models or examples in popular culture.

It’s important to go slow and ensure that you’re mindfully setting parameters... You don’t have to do anything that doesn’t sit right with you.... A great guide and a resource that helps you explore all kinds of non-monogamous relationship structures is Opening Up by Tristan Taormino....

Can you have sex with people that you both know? Should they only be strangers? Are you going to talk to each other about your encounters or are you going to remain more or less in the dark? What do you need personally to feel loved and desired? What health concerns do you have?...

Getting out as many guidelines and ideas as possible before you start actually sleeping with other people — as well as committing to honest and open discussion about things you haven’t thought about as they come up — will help....

As for finding people,

Open to Openness, Part Two

...Remember: it’s still possible to cheat in an open relationship, so check in with your boo to make sure that you’re not violating any guidelines and/or trust. All that aside, here are some places you might want to start.

Poly Winnipeg: While it’s not necessarily advertised as a place to find people to hook up with, it’s probably a good idea to meet some members of the poly community in Winnipeg anyways! They can help you figure this new thing out while also “outing” you as poly.

Bathhouses: If you’re just looking for sex... Aquarius bathhouse is now co-ed!...

Online: ...there are plenty of ways for you to explore possibilities no matter what you’re looking for. This is how a majority of people seem to be finding partners right now.

In real damn life: ...Telling a few trusted and nonjudgmental friends can help get the word out in a discreet way and can sort of be like a bat signal, attracting interested potential partners....

Part 1, Part 2 (March 10 and June 9, 2014).

● At the University of Hawai‘i/ Manoa:

...Americans are still strongly opposed to the idea of romance between more than two people. Here are a few guidelines on experimenting with ethical non-monogamy, or polyamory.


...While sex is generally a natural part of romance, polyamory is more than just hooking up with various people.

...Love isn't scarce like natural resources and doesn't diminish as people are added to a relationship. Each relationship is unique and can have many or few rules, depending on the people involved.... Regular testing for sexually transmitted diseases after new partners enter the relationship is important and free in the state of Hawai‘i.

...While there is nothing wrong with traditional monogamy, it's historically been presented as the only option in life. In reality, there exists a diverse spectrum of relationship possibilities to explore.


The most important aspect of polyamorous relationships is honesty between partners. Jealousy can be a destructive force in all relationships, romantic or otherwise, stemming from fear of the unknown – fear that a lover may leave, or that one is insufficient.

Open and frank discussion about topics like goals, desires and sexual boundaries can solve serious problems before they start by reassuring participants that their needs are being met and that everyone is comfortable.

Polyamory doesn't permit the ability to “cheat” on a partner at any time, as cheating implies deceit or dishonesty. If anyone involved isn't fully informed of and consenting to the existence of the other participants, then it's not truly a polyamorous relationship.

...This is a unique time in human history where love is consensual, marriage is not arranged, and basic human rights are written into law – where real people can continue to explore the uncharted boundaries of love.

The whole article (Oct. 1, 2014).

● In the Oregon Daily Emerald:

Just because you don’t want an open relationship doesn’t make it wrong

Taylor Wilder / Emerald
By Dahlia Bazzaz

...While the past decade has seen some major improvement in terms of accepting alternative sexual identities, some practices, including non-monogamy, remain (relatively) taboo.

...Robin Ewing, a senior dance major, says that his decision between whether or not to initiate an open relationship with his partner is largely based on his levels of spiritual, emotional and sexual fulfillment. While in a long-distance relationship during his freshman year, Ewing proposed an open relationship with his girlfriend at the time.

But Ewing acknowledges that even open relationships have boundaries — especially when jealousy gets in the way. It’s an arrangement that can be rewarding with excellent communication and clear expectations, but it does not come without hard work.

“You have to be really comfortable with yourself. You can’t own the other person,” Ewing said.

...The scenarios are endless, but the key to understanding non-monogamy is consent....

The whole article (May 4, 2014).

● At the University of Texas/ Austin, a writer for The Horn reviews More Than Two at some length:

By Dana Sayre

More Than Two is a new, comprehensive guide to polyamory by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert. For years, Veaux has blogged about polyamory on http://www.morethantwo.com/, and the book is an outgrowth of that work.

...After answering the question, “What is polyamory?” (forming multiple, committed, romantic and/or sexual relationships at the same time with the full consent of those involved) the book moves on to discussing communication tools, boundary-setting, and how to create empowered relationships and agreements (not rules) with multiple partners.

...In addition to relationship advice and definitions of terms, each chapter contains stories based on the personal experiences of the authors or other real-life poly individuals. I was impressed by the honesty, vulnerability, and bravery necessary to speak openly about past relationship mishaps and the short-sighted actions which led to the end of past relationships.

...Any time we try to create relationships outside of traditional cultural scripts, we can expect to face problems we are unprepared to solve. But what I really appreciated about More Than Two is the authors' insistence that all the tools necessary to be successful at poly are actually just relationship tools more generally.

...What people most worry about when considering polyamory is how to combat feelings of jealousy. But as Veaux and Rickert explain, jealousy most often stems from insecurity, low self-esteem, and lack of trust. It is only by learning to value our own self-worth and to trust in the love and care our partners have for us that we can combat the fear and insecurity which feed jealousy.

To do that work takes courage and a willingness to be vulnerable. But it's worth it – again, whether or not you choose to be monogamous or polyamorous.

...Perhaps my only complaint about the book is its length, but I have mixed feelings about seeing that as a negative.... I worry it would be too intimidating to someone just starting to think about exploring polyamory.

...It's hard to un-learn all the cultural scripting of monogamy, especially since it's so deep-seated and taken for granted in our culture. It's important to remember the polyamory is a process, not a destination. It's something that we do, that we work towards, that we build together with those we love.

...The book was also somewhat heteronormative, which I suppose makes some sense. People in the LGBTQ community have been building non-traditional relationships for years without necessarily calling themselves polyamorous. Now, however, I do know many queer people who embrace the term.

The book touches on the fear some men have in letting their female partners have other boyfriends, but overall, there wasn't the focus on alternative sexuality I would have liked to have seen from such a comprehensive guide. I feel there could have been a section dedicated to queerness, and another to BDSM, instead of just slight references to each sprinkled throughout....

Read the whole review (Sept. 17, 2014).

● Also from Texas, a student's TEDx talk at UT Arlington is currently going around: Polyamory and emotional literacy, and the benefits they can bring to the wider society, by Kel Walters (5:36):

● In The Puget Sound Trail at the University of Puget Sound:

Polygamy and polyamory examined

By Gregory Gropage

...What may be the most central tenant [sic] of polyamory, however, is the belief that love is not finite. Monogamous culture often suggests that a person has only so much romantic love to give, and by giving it to more than one person, it diminishes the amount you can give to another. Polyamorous culture argues, however, that giving love to one person can actually increase the amount you can give to another.

The whole article (Dec. 16, 2014).




Blogger Douglas Moran said...

I have to say I'm pretty disappointed that my own alma mater--the place at which I first practiced polyamory (though the word hadn't been invented yet!)--UC Santa Cruz, is not on the list yet. Time for me to send the school paper a letter!

January 26, 2015 12:04 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home