Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

October 31, 2015

*Love, Sex and Neighbors*: Poly dramedy coming to NBC-TV

The Hollywood news and PR sheet Deadline TV announced yesterday,

Polyamory Dramedy Produced By Adam Shankman In Works At NBC

In Love, Sex And Neighbors, when a fresh-faced, traditional-values couple moves to Orange County [CA], they discover that the parents at their kids’ school are experimenting with polyamory. The one-hour dramedy, written/executive produced by [Gail] Gilchriest, follows four families at the forefront of a quiet revolution in the way everyday people live and love.

Gail Gilchriest
Googling finds me nothing more, including no more about its content or when it might air.

As for writer Gail Gilchriest, she's a professional Hollywood screenwriter from Texas best known for the remake of Dallas a couple years ago (interview about that). I haven't found anything to indicate what knowledge of poly, or attitudes about it, she brings to Love, Sex and Neighbors.



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October 29, 2015

"Economist Says Polyamory Can Solve China’s Gender Imbalance. Chinese Internet Explodes."

China announced today the end of its one-child policy, which has been in effect for the last 35 years. Just days earlier, the nation had an uproar over an economist's proposal for coping with the enormous gender imbalance that the policy has helped to create.

An official cartoon in the People's Daily announcing China's
new two-child policy. Will the picture make room for two husbands? 

For decades, China has been raising a lot more more boys than girls. Last year the birth ratio was 116 to 100. Traditional Chinese culture values sons over daughters, and the one-child policy, with its heavy sanctions, gave most parents just one chance. Early sex testing enables selective abortion of female fetuses (illegal but common), and many girl babies were put in orphanages to be adopted overseas. Or they quietly died at birth, with no inquiries as to how.

Chinese authorities estimate that by 2020, there will be 33.8 million excess males unable to find wives. By 2050 these unwilling bachelors — guang gun, "bare branches" — may amount to at least 20% of all Chinese men.

Throughout history and around the world, when a society has a large pool of excess males who will never find mates, they find family in criminal gangs and freelance armies. To preempt this, governments have often recruited them into real armies and gone to war to keep them occupied. US intelligence analysts worry about this.

Western polyfolks have long suggested that in China, polyandry — one wife marrying two or more husbands — is likely to arise here and there and ease the situation slightly. It is already said to happening informally a bit.

Earlier this week, Chinese authorities officially allowed the idea onto the table for public debate.

Economist Xie Zuoshi suggested that two men be allowed to marry a woman jointly, with full legal rights and privileges. The official People's Daily (circulation about 300 million in all editions) reported his ideas, indicating government approval for the question to go public. Was it a trial balloon?

Chinese social media erupted, mostly in condemnation.


First, here's the People's Daily article in its entirety (English edition):

Professor Sparks Anger Proposing Polygamy and Gay Marriage for China’s Millions of Bachelors

Professor Xie Zuoshi (Photo: People's Daily)
The birth ratio of boys compared with girls in China has been rising steadily, peaking in 2009 before dropping to 1.16 in 2014. Studies anticipated that at least 20 percent of men will be unable to marry in mid-21 century. By 2020, China will see 30 million unmarried men.

An economics professor has a unique, economic perspective: Chinese bachelors shall be allowed to share wives and marry each other.

Xie Zuoshi, an economics professor at Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, said, “In terms of supply and demand, the rising number of bachelors has deepened the scarcity of women, whose value is increased consequently. Men with high incomes find wives first because they can afford to take care of their women. For those who are earning less, one option is to share a wife with another man,” Xie wrote on his blogpost. He also proposed that China shall make polygamy and gay marriage legal, or encourage men marrying women from other countries.

Xie’s comment immediately sparked heated debate online. Many netizens were offended and raised questions on his moral standard.

Here's the original (October 23, 2015).

● Next up, in the New York Times China blog The Sinosphere:

Not Enough Women in China? Let Men Share a Wife, an Economist Suggests

Men playing checkers in Beijing. By 2020,
China will have an estimated 30 million bachelors.

By Didi Kirsten Tatlow

One wife, many husbands.

That’s the solution to China’s huge surplus of single men, says Xie Zuoshi, an economics professor at the Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, whose recent proposal to allow polyandry has gone viral.

Legalizing marriage between two men would also be a good idea, Mr. Xie wrote in a post that has since been removed from his blogs. (He has at least three blogs, and his Sina blog alone has more than 2.6 million followers.)

...Though some could perhaps detect a touch of Jonathan Swift in the proposal, Mr. Xie wrote that he was approaching the problem from a purely economic point of view.

Many men, especially poor ones, he noted, are unable to find a wife and have children, and are condemned to living and dying without offspring to support them in old age, as children are required to do by law in China. But he believes there is a solution.

A shortage raises the price of goods — in this case, women, he explained. Rich men can afford them, but poor men are priced out. This can be solved by having two men share the same woman.

...He added: “That’s not just my weird idea. In some remote, poor places, brothers already marry the same woman, and they have a full and happy life.” [He may have in mind China's Mosuo.]

Polyandry has been practiced before in China, particularly in impoverished areas, as a way to pool resources and avoid the breakup of property.

Yet much of the online response to Mr. Xie’s proposal has been outrage.

“Is this a human being speaking?” a user with the handle dihuihui wrote on Weibo.

“Trash-talking professor, many single guys want to ask, ‘Where’s your wife?’ ” a user who identified as Shanyu jinxiang1887003537 wrote.

...On Sunday, he published an indignant rebuttal on one of his blogs, accusing his critics of being driven by empty notions of traditional morality that are impractical and selfish — even hypocritical.

“Because I promoted the idea that we should allow poor men to marry the same woman to solve the problem of 30 million guanggun, I’ve been endlessly abused,” he wrote. “People have even telephoned my university to harass me. These people have groundlessly accused me of promoting immoral and unethical ideas.

“If you can’t find a solution that doesn’t violate traditional morality,” he continued, “then why do you criticize me for violating traditional morality? You are in favor of a couple made up of one man, one woman. But your morality will lead to 30 million guanggun with no hope of finding a wife. Is that your so-called morality?”

In addition to provoking guardians of traditional morality, the proposal has been pilloried by feminists and gay rights advocates.

“Men are publicly debating how to allocate women, as though women were commodities like houses or cars, in order to realize some grand political ideal originating from either the patriarchal left or the patriarchal right,” Zheng Churan, one of five women’s rights activists detained in March, wrote in an essay for a WeChat group called Groundbreaking.

...Mr. Xie also has supporters. On his Sina blog, he posted a comment from a student at Nanchang Hangkong University. “You are standing alongside the poorest working-class people,” the student wrote. “When there’s no better way, why don’t we get rid of so-called morality and solve society’s problems?”

Read the whole article (Oct. 26). Xie Zuoshi eventually reached the New York Times and responded (Oct. 27).

● From semi-independent Hong Kong, in the Hong Kong Free Press:

Let several men share one wife: Chinese professor’s answer to looming bachelor crisis

Xie's provocative blog post.

By Vivienne Zeng

...Xie Zuoshi... caused a storm in the Chinese media by saying poor men who cannot find wives should “bundle up to get one to share between themselves.”

Xie wrote several men sharing one wife is not a wild fantasy, but an idea which has been put into practice in China.

...If the 30 million extra single men cannot find women, they will turn into criminals and cause social instability, he said.

...In an ongoing poll on Weibo, 66.5% of the 7,700 respondents have said they don’t agree with polyandry.

Which suggests that a third do. The whole article (Oct. 23).

● As covered at Slate:

Economist Says Polyamory Can Solve China’s Gender Imbalance. Chinese Internet Explodes.

By Joshua Keating

...The proposal has provoked a furious backlash from readers who accuse him of “violating traditional morality,” forcing a fed-up Xie to clarify that he was not proposing that plural marriage be mandatory.

Xie, like economists everywhere in the world, was guilty mainly of not understanding that people don’t always respond well to utilitarian arguments for upending social convention. But the controversy also reveals some unfortunate sexist assumptions about the consequences of China’s gender imbalance.

...While China's one-child policy gets much of the blame, it should be noted that India, which doesn’t have similar laws, has a similar gender imbalance....

Much of the commentary on China’s imbalance has focused on the consequences of having so many men: It’s been blamed for the country’s rising crime rates, while young Chinese bachelors saving money in long-shot bids to attract wives have been blamed for imbalances in the global economy. But it would be a mistake to assume that the imbalance benefits women who their pick of an abundance of potential mates. Gender imbalances in China and throughout Asia have been blamed for an increase in sex trafficking and forced marriages.

...It was a bias against women that created this problem, but women seem to be disproportionately expected to deal with it. That used to mean pressure to find a husband as quickly as possible. Now, Xie suggests, they should have to find more than one.

The whole article (Oct. 26).


Meanwhile, China has a glimmer of its own modern polyamory movement. In relatively free-wheeling Shanghai, an article titled "All About Polyamory" appeared last spring in City Weekend, a chain of alternative-style magazines published in English in five cities. "Our team is comprised of locals and foreigners who love everything about the cities we call home," its staff writes.

The article is intermittently available at its original site (May 15, 2015), but you can also find it at another (May 19):

LGBeaT: All About Polyamory

Our latest series of columns has explored individual sexual and gender identities that are often hidden in the shadows. This time, we seek to expand your view of what relationships can look like.

For example: Regular three-way sex. A partner who leaves home to date multiple other people a week. A couple that shares two other lovers separately under the same roof.

What do these scenarios sound like to you? Your wildest fantasy? Cheating? Open relationships? Polygamy? Swingers?

Most monogamously minded people might choose one of the above descriptions. For others, they could all be examples of romantic relationships that occur outside of the conventional bounds of monogamy -- in other words, polyamorous relationships.

What Is Polyamory?

...Those who identify this way have consensual romantic and sexual relationships that are not exclusive to two people. Beautifully described by the Polyamory Society as the “non-possessive, honest, responsible and ethical philosophy and practice of loving multiple people simultaneously,” poly is also known as consensual, intentional, ethical or responsible “non-monogamy.”

So before you write off poly as just another way to get out of having a “real” relationship, let’s be clear: poly isn’t about sleeping around behind your partner’s back or racking up noncommittal fuck buddies. People who identify as poly are neither players, cheaters, nor hypersexual, at least not any more so than people who choose monogamous relationships. In fact, poly people can be just as deeply committed to their relationships with multiple people at a time.

What Does Polyamory Look Like?

Polyfidelity, one of the most popular forms of polyamory [sic], describes a closed group of three or more partners who consider themselves married or seriously committed, who are sexually exclusive and who often live together. Other polyamorous individuals have what they call primary and secondary relationships: They configure their relationships around a primary partner, with whom they share the deepest bond, while having one or more secondary relationships at the same time.

Still others allow for “open marriages” with varying degrees of romantic and sexual relationships outside of their life partners. Three people in a relationship are often called a triad, while four are a quad, but poly configurations can look like anything and everything.

Most poly people swear by communication as the key to their relationships. Within poly relationships, partners are in a constant process of negotiating and renegotiating boundaries and looking after each other’s emotional health -- basically, alllll the feels. An exhausting process, yes, but one that is also meaningful and necessary -- for any relationship form, really.

Recognizing Polyamory

So why is polyamory still invisible in many communities? Our society is built on norms that dictate loving only one person at a time and thatlegally and socially recognize monogamous, married, heterosexual couples to the exclusion of other relationship types.

But poly folks have meaningful connections; they have loving, stable relationships; they have families -- and they have the courage to subvert these restrictive norms by pushing the boundaries that define how we connect with and love one another.

Intentional non-monogamy isn’t for everyone; in fact, it isn’t for most people. But let’s be intentional about allowing people to love differently, intimately and openly.

City Weekend staff


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October 26, 2015

"What is Polyamory and Why Are People Switching to It?"


Sky News is a global TV news network founded by Rupert Murdoch and majority-owned by Fox. It's based in the U.K and has a huge global reach. As you'd expect, it has a conservative corporate agenda. But this morning its website presents a Poly 101 article that, despite wobbly English and a shaky grasp of some concepts, is very positive and mostly on-target.

The article has no byline; it's an OEM article built in India. Sky News picked it up from LovePanky.com, a branch of Confetti Media — a content-manufacturing company in Bangalore that sells to "distinguished publications and magazines and online portals" wanting "compelling content for success and branding operations."

With Sky News running the article, it's poised to go to tens of millions around the world. I see it's already popped up on a news site in Nigeria.


All this is another sign that, as modern polyamory expands beyond its origins, we will see it become less and less the purview of Western intellectual tech geeks, Burners, New Age folk, cultural creatives, and highly educated white professionals. The typical excited newcomer to polyamory is slowly changing — and so are the assumptions and needs that they bring.

The poly bandwagon is beginning to outrun its builders. Please help to keep good values steering it! So far, we've been pushing to keep it on track more successfully than I feared we'd be able to when I gave that speech seven years ago.

Excerpts from the story:

What is Polyamory and Why Are People Switching to It?

As far as relationship configurations go, polyamory is probably the most controversial. These days, however, it seems to be a rising trend....

What is polyamory?

Polyamory is defined as a consensual, romantic, and intimate relationship with multiple partners. The idea is open for some interpretation, considering it’s been around for centuries. Historically, it has been attributed to religious practices, but today it’s more in line with how people want to pursue their romantic interests....

How do people approach polyamory?

...For the more progressive individuals who don’t adhere to such customs, there’s still a huge discussion about how to approach the idea of having more than one partner.

...Remember, polyamory isn’t the same as hooking up or having several friends-with-benefits on call. In order for someone to be considered polyamorous, there has to be a serious, committed relationship in the works. Basically, you have to dive into it with the purpose of falling in love.

Are you ready to be polyamorous?

...You’re not just testing the waters, here. You’re actually involving your feelings and emotions in a pot that has gotten decidedly fuller since there are more than two people. You’re not just working to keep one relationship afloat anymore, but two or more.

...It seems like a dream, but it’s happening more and more in casual and non-cultural settings all over the world. Because of how people see relationships these days, it’s no surprise that keeping your options open is now the norm.... Polyamory changes things, because it allows you to be more expressive toward more people, without having to hurt them.

What happens in a polyamorous relationship?

To understand the concept better, this is what most people believe polyamory should look like—though these qualifications are not set in stone and each relationship differs, depending on an individual’s needs....

#1 You go on dates like normal people. It’s still a relationship, albeit with more than one person. You do the usual things that boyfriends and girlfriends do. Except this time, there are more people to entertain.

#2 You celebrate milestones together with all your partners....

#3 They can date whomever they want, as long as you agreed to it. [Sic]. Polyamory is a two-way street. If you can date more than one person, so can your partner or partners. If it’s something that you need to implement, then you better make sure it’s fair to your partners.

#4 Marriage is on the table, but not necessary....

#5 You’re in love with more than one person.... If you’re serious about polyamory, you’re basically aiming for a serious relationship with all of your partners.

#6 Your friends and family might not understand it yet....

#7 It’s a delicate situation that can unravel at any time....

#8 Getting pregnant is a complicated concept, if you’re a woman....

#9 Settling down means considering everyone’s needs for the long term. When you think of settling down, you envision a mortgage, a wedding, and a long-term commitment to a life with one person. But in this case, there’s more than one. You don’t necessarily have to choose just one, but you have to consider everyone’s needs and wants.

#10 A deep understanding of polyamory is mandatory. In order for things to go smoothly, you need to study up on how this works.... And the most important part? Just be honest and open with the people you love.

Polyamory is swiftly gaining adherents, as it allows room for romantic love between multiple partners. Using the 10 guidelines included here, you can evaluate whether polyamory is right for you—and how you can begin implementing it in your own romantic life.

Read the whole article (October 26, 2015).



October 24, 2015

Another gay triad goes public. . .

. . .this time outside Boston, on Identities.mic. This isn't the three in Halifax who were in the news last week.

These 3 Gay Men Are in a Successful, Loving Triad Relationship — Here's How It Works

By Mathew Rodriguez

Quick, name a romantic comedy where Sandra Bullock must choose between two romantic partners and decides to end up with both of them — and the two men she chooses want to be with each other too. It's OK: Gregory Rayo, Kai Stenstrum and Mark Aldridge, three gay men in love and living together as a triad outside of Boston, haven't heard of any either.

Gregory Rayo, Kai Stenstrum and Mark Aldridge

...A month or two into their long-distance romance, a guilt-wracked Rayo confessed to hooking up with a friend at a party. That's when Stenstrum (who responded with "Was he hot?") floated the idea of opening the relationship. First, it was sex with other people, and then dating other people.

...Then in March 2014, a Hollywood-sized act of fate occurred. While on a ski trip in New Hampshire with Stenstrum and Aldridge, Rayo conked his head and landed in the hospital, requiring some help at home upon his release. Aldridge, who lived a few miles away from the other two, stayed with Stenstrum and Rayo for the weekend to tend to their mutual beau.

As of that weekend, they made a mutual decision to become a triad. Rayo was relieved of his two-man juggle, and Stenstrum and Aldridge were excited to close the open loop in their three-person arrangement.

...In Nancy Meyers' rom-coms, a character's house reflects a character's inner self. Sunk into a brown sofa, a clean oasis in an accumulation of belongings, Stenstrum made clear what their one-bedroom apartment said about them.

"There's too much stuff all over the place," he said. "We're fitting too many people in too small a place right now."

...Stenstrum said the three were largely in unchartered territory. "We have no books or rom-coms to go off of," he said.

"You need to kind of become comfortable with the fact that you have negative emotions, things like jealousy," Aldridge told Mic.

"Jealousy always gets a bad rap, but it doesn't have to be that way," Scott Kramer, a social worker and psychotherapist who sees polyamorous patients, told Mic. Kramer said every relationship needs a little jealousy to thrive.

"With a healthy jealousy we might be able to say, 'Hey, wait a second, something doesn't feel right or seem right. Let me unpack things and see where this jealousy really comes from,'" he said. "Then talk to the people in the relationship and see if that jealousy is founded or unfounded."

...On most days, Stenstrum cooks and Aldridge scrubs the dishes. "One of our big things is dishes, because we don't have a dishwasher and I have to have things a certain way if I'm going to do dishes," Aldridge said.

"I get upset about that one thing because I've asked [Greg] to make our home together nice and when you don't do that it feels like you haven't listened to me or you don't want to help keep me happy," he said. "I need to feel like we're all on the same team."

"I'm a messy person and I've been trying to undo that part of myself," Rayo said. "I'm getting better by doing more chores around the house."

They said they all prefer to nip conflict in the bud.

"It doesn't usually end up in like one big fight," Stenstrum said. "It's usually like, Mark and I will notice it and start to get frustrated and we sit Greg down and start to talk to him about it."

Aldridge uses Stenstrum as a springboard for solutions. "I go to Kai to make sure I'm not being completely ridiculous," he said.

For Aldridge, who is new to polyamory, this method of conflict is a vast improvement.

"It's been so fantastic to have someone who's not part of the fight but is concerned with the welfare of both parties," Aldridge said. "It's interesting to have a third person who cares about both of you and can kind of help resolve situations and keep you in check and say, 'No, you're being irrational' or 'Your demands are not good demands to make of someone you love.'"...

...The unit did express a tension with their queer, monogamous counterparts. In the time of marriage equality, they said they often have had to fight to be seen as three individuals in one legitimate, loving relationship....

Read the whole article (October 20, 2015).


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October 23, 2015

Poker star Justin Bonomo "embraces polyamory." Excellent spokesperson!

Poker News

And fresh this morning from the world of championship cards. . .

He and the interviewer just nail it. If you want to know what to say when a microphone is stuck in your face for 4 minutes, watch this. And he plugs More Than Two, which he's read.

The link (October 23, 2015).

He tweets, "Just had the most interesting interview I've ever done [in 10 years of pro poker]. With @AuntyChardonnay about being polyamorous bit.ly/1KtPNPS".

More about him. Official tournament winnings $7.2 million.


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October 21, 2015

Another civil union of three officially registered in Brazil

Remember the worldwide media furor when three people in Brazil registered as a partnership in 2012 under the country's civil union law?

Three women in Rio de Janeiro made the local news last week for doing the same. Very little worldwide attention this time. . . so far. I find just one report in English, on Gay Star News:

Brazil women legally enter three-person civil union

Three women have legally entered into a civil union in Brazil, local media reports.

The women – a businesswoman, 32, a dentist, 32, and an administrative manager, 34 – registered their relationship in Rio de Janeiro last week.

According to the Instituto Brasileiro de Direito de Família, this is the second formalized three-person civil union and the first three-person same-sex union.

The first was registered in Sao Paulo between a man and two women, and sparked controversy in the Catholic-majority country.

The woman, who wish to remain anonymous, live together in a three-bedroom apartment but all sleep in the same bed.

‘We are a family. Our union is the fruit of love,’ the entrepreneur told O Globo newspaper.

‘I will become pregnant, and we are preparing for this, including financially. Legalization is a way for our child and ourselves not to be abandoned. We want to enjoy the rights of all, such as maternity leave.’

Brazil legalized civil unions in 2004 and gay marriage in 2013.

The original (October 19, 2015).


The El Pais newspaper in Spain covers the story in more depth: The three Brazilian brides who are challenging the traditional family unit, English edition (Oct. 27).

In the New Zealand Herald,
Brazilians try a new twist on love triangle
(Nov. 1).

A longer version of that story in The Straits Times: 3 Brazilian women get hitched in polyamorous civil union - and will raise a baby (Oct. 31).

And in the Times of India: 'I do, I do, I do:' Brazilian female trio get hitched (Nov. 1).

Lots more no doubt.


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October 18, 2015

"Accept niece's 3-way love life," says Ask Amy. And other poly advice columns.

Many newspapers

Mainstream advice columnist Amy Dickinson this week tells upset relatives to get over it:

Dear Amy: My 30-year-old niece has lived with her boyfriend for three years.... My niece recently revealed that she defines herself (and relationship) as polyamorous — or open to additional sexual relationships outside the primary relationship.

According to my niece, she recently met and fell in love with another woman and now the three of them are all in a relationship together.

I explained to my niece that her choice to be polyamorous is personal and should remain private, as should any other sexual proclivity. Now I am accused of trivializing the love of her life and sexualizing her most sacred personal relationships.

My niece feels she must be open and honest about this situation. My bottom line is you get to bring one significant other (not two) to Christmas dinner. My niece does not understand this and is deeply hurt and feels rejected. The uncles and aunts and her parent (my brother) are up in arms about the whole thing and say they will not have their children around this depraved situation. Any thoughts?

— What is the World Coming To

Amy Dickinson
Dear WWCT: The world, apparently, is coming to this.

You have the right to lay down whatever rules you want when you are entertaining in your own home. Your niece is being open and honest and so you should be open and honest, as well as respectful.

You should not tell this adult how to live. She does not need instructions from you on what to keep private. Her life is her own business; where it intersects with your life is where you can make it your own business.

It might help if you see things this way: Your niece has formed a family with two other people. You can reject one or both of her family members, or you can choose to be inclusive, without really caring one way or the other how they work out their sex lives.

Her sex life should not be a topic of discussion at the holiday table, any more than you and your husband — or other family members — would be inclined to discuss their sex lives at the table....

Here's the whole column in one of its many newspapers (October 17, 2015).


Meanwhile, in the Alaska Dispatch News, a sympathetic pair of columnists treat a poly/mono incompatibility question well:

Wayne and Wanda: My boyfriend wants to be polyamorous

Dear Wayne and Wanda,

My boyfriend of more than a year recently told me we should see other people. But he doesn't want to break up. In fact he said he's more in love with me than ever. But he said, fundamentally, after a lot of soul-searching and reading various books and talking to others in online forums, he has decided at heart he is a polyamorous person. As he explained it, this means we have a primary relationship but can choose to be involved with others, sexually, either individually or as a couple.

From my viewpoint, this came out of nowhere. I thought he was happy. He says he is but he believes living a "poly" lifestyle will allow him to reach a level of happiness he has never been able to experience. He said his strict religious upbringing prevented him from feeling free to explore this lifestyle but he has always felt deep down that monogamy is unnatural. He has asked me to try the "poly" lifestyle with him and said he felt like he could be honest with me about his needs and desires because I've proven to be so adventurous and open-minded.

The thing is, I am an open person and I consider myself pretty sexually liberated.... But this feels different and I don't know if I can share the man I love with others. He's framing it as a lifestyle and spiritual choice but I can't get past the fact that it looks like pre-approved infidelity. What should I do?

Wanda says:

These days, there is an evolving spectrum of normalcy when it comes to relationships. It's true that monogamous twosomes still rule the roost, but more couples are leaning toward "monogamish" arrangements where some form of sexual activity beyond the primary couple is acceptable. This ranges from duos who have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy on down to couples who have mutually agreed to take other loves either on their own, or together....

These arrangements, as you can imagine, are rife with potential for hurt feelings and jealousy. Polyamory cannot succeed without open communication and total alignment between partners....

But I would bet that no amount of pondering, reading and studying will make you emotionally OK with something that far outside your comfort zone. And that's OK. Your boyfriend says he's being true to himself and you need to do the same....

Wayne says:

Well, I’ll give him this: At least he isn’t cheating on you.... He’s asking you to take his hand ­— and perhaps the hand of another man and/or woman ­— and go on a sexual journey with him. And it sounds like this is going to be one heck of a ride.

He’s told you how he feels and what he wants. That’s actually admirable and refreshing in this day of Ashley Madison, Tiger Woods and other icons of unapproved infidelity. It shows he truly cares about you and wants you in his life. But it also reveals his deepest beliefs and I don’t think he’s going to change his mind or let you redirect his sexual views.

So, the decision comes down to how much you can handle. You could try to revive your adventurous past and give it a run with him. Who knows? Maybe you’ll enjoy it and maybe he’s right and all this sex with other people will make your relationship stronger. Or maybe the whole thing will make you sad, anxious and jealous. That would be heartbreaking. So would wishing him the best of luck in life and love, then moving on. But at least you’ll be true to your beliefs, as well.

The original.


Gracie X, author of Wide Open: My Adventures in Polyamory, Open Marriage & Loving on My Own Terms (2015), gives advice on Huffington Post and elsewhere.

Is it Possible to Cheat in a Polyamorous Relationship or Open Marriage?

It happened to a good friend of mine. She called me up one night very upset. She and her husband had been polyamorous for over 10 years and she found out that he was "cheating" on her.... She told me that she and her husband had an agreement that they would not date within a 10 mile radius of their home. They also had an agreement that they would fully describe their marriage to anyone that they were considering dating.

My girlfriend found her husband corresponding with a woman less than 1 mile away. Furthermore, when she read his new profile page, on the website where he'd met the new woman — there was no description of their marriage or their agreements. She was rightfully pissed off. But what was interesting was when I started coaching her about her predicament, she was reluctant to call her husband out.

There is potential hazard when doing poly to become wary of appearing uptight. Polyamorous communities can have a culture of permissiveness, which can creep up on a person and you can feel like a jerk if you get upset about possible sexual transgressions. It's important at these times to use simple "I" statements to express your disappointment. Try not to shame the other person but ask direct questions about what happened.

What is interesting is that it took me 30 minutes on the phone to get my girlfriend to even admit how hurt and upset she was. She felt like a poly defector for feeling angry and betrayed.... When I arrived at their home her husband was contrite and embarrassed....

Read on (June 18, 2015). Here's more of Gracie's open and poly advice. "To send a question to Gracie X and receive her advice column, go to GracieX.com"


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October 15, 2015

Canadian gay triad planning kids goes very public

Three men in Halifax, Nova Scotia, two of whom dissolved their marriage in order to "remarry" on equal terms with the third, went exceedingly public today in several lowbrow British newspapers, which wrote them up in happy terms. Sisters of the three have volunteered to donate eggs and be surrogate mothers for the children they hope to have.

To begin with, here's a video they did (2:08):

It ran with a cheery long story in the tabloid Mirror:

Meet the three men in a polyamorous relationship planning to start a family with their sisters' help

The trio share a king-size bed at their home and are planning to complete their unconventional family with the pitter patter of tiny feet

Adam Grant, Sebastian Tran and Shayne Curran are part of a polyamorous three-way relationship.

...The threesome, who all work in the medical profession, hope to conceive three children together with the help of Shayne's sister as a surrogate — whilst Seb's sister will donate her eggs.

Sebastian, 29, said: "We definitely see kids in our future. We would love to have three children altogether of our own genetics if possible and we have a plan on how we're going to make that happen.

"We have really supportive family and friends around us who want to help us conceive.

"Shayne has two sisters who have offered to carry our children for us and my sister will hopefully donate her eggs too."

Adam and Shayne met in 2009 and the pair got married two and a half years later.

After a year of wedded life, they met Sebastian in a nightclub in September 2012 and immediately hit it off.

And last year, Adam and Shayne got divorced so that Seb could be properly included in their arrangement.

Medical Administration student, Shayne, 29, said: "We're the happiest we've ever been — all our dynamics and personalities work so well in a relationship.

"The three of us bring out the best in each other.

Nursing student, Adam, 27, added: "We didn't want Sebastian to be excluded or feel like the third wheel in our relationship. So Shayne and I decided to get a divorce so that we could make a renewed commitment between the three of us instead.

"We want to make sure that we're all equally bound and obligated to each other in marriage."

..."Sebastian was different to anyone we had ever met. There was something about him that Shayne and I couldn't explain, but it was like meeting our life partner for the second time."...

...The trio have been living together for over three years now and are happier than ever.

And they hope to marry in the not too distant future.

Adam said: "Although being married to more than one person is not yet legal, we have spoken lawyers who can draw up paperwork to make sure we are equally bound and obligated to each other in the eyes of the law."

The trio hope to show that polyamory is a perfectly acceptable choice of life and love.

Adam said: "We just want to say that love is love. It should be multiplied not divided. It shouldn't matter if you're in a three-way or a four-way relationship."

Read the whole article (Oct. 15, 2015).

The Daily Mail ran the same story, but with lots more pictures including these:

Gay married couple who got divorced after just one year to include a THIRD man in their relationship now plan to have children with their sisters as surrogates

The whole article (Oct. 15).

And in the free-on-mass-transit Metro: Three male nurses are now planning to take their polyamorous relationship to the next level by having children together (Oct. 15).

From those beginnings the story was picked up many other places today, including Queerty and many other places, including the wingnut World Net Daily and Nairaland News in Nigeria, where being gay is a crime punishable by lynch mob.

Update: A reprint on Australia's SBS, in which a poly writer challenges gays on their own expressions of mononormative fear and prejudice: If love is love, why exclude the polyamorous? "The consequence of a ‘gay equality’ movement that has become so narrowly focused on marriage is that we’re sacrificing anyone who gets in the way." (Oct. 30).



October 7, 2015

"Six Things I Learned When I Catered My Partners’ Wedding"

Earlier today I mentioned that group marriages are an uncommon form of polyamory. (Technically they don't exist — polygamy is illegal — but I mean life-bonded groups that are marriages in all but law.) Then just as I was writing that, this happy triad marriage story popped up on The Good Men Project:

6 Things I Learned When I Catered My Partners’ Wedding

By JJ Vincent

When my partners got married – to each other – I learned a lot about the people around us.

...We’re a polyamorous relationship and have been for more than three years. Recently, two of the three of us decided that the time was right to get married.

I was not one of the two.

It was an easy decision, but not a light one.... Whatever reasons two people have for committing to one another, it should be done with thought, discussion, and consideration, not because of external pressures or expectations.

I brought the cupcakes.

We began to tell people; by arrangement, I did most of the telling before the ceremony, we all did afterwards. Friends, co-workers, parents, chosen family. I came away with some insights that frankly, I didn’t expect.

1. There was an automatic assumption by many that the marriage of two meant the ending of three. This wasn’t a big surprise from more casual acquaintances, although some of the people who questioned the status of our relationship know us very well.

I think this speaks to the general lack of understanding about polyamorous relationships. No big surprise. There’s not much open conversation about them... and what there is seems to focused on sex, time-sharing, and validating the feelings of the people who say, “I could never do that.” So the idea that marriage, which is still very much about “two”, could allow for a “three”, is confounding. The relationship between the three of us did not change, only the legal status of two of the people....

2. There was an unexpected amount of concern for the “third”.  And for this we were truly grateful.

On the flip side of number one, which assumed no room for a third, were the questions, “Are you okay with this?”, “Is JJ good with this?”, “How do you feel about this?” ...There was genuine concern among our friends that the “third” was okay with this decision.... We were all touched that people wanted to check-in.

3. People are still surprised when you don’t want to get married, even though they knew this, but especially when you fought for marriage equality.  One of the side effects of the right to marry is pressure on gay couples to exercise that right....

4. Parents ask the most unusual questions.  One parent doesn’t get it and wants to know what “take care of each other” means. We expected a lot of objections and questions, but not, “What do you mean, ‘they’ll take care of you’?”, and “What do you mean ‘build a future’?”, things that seem pretty self-explanatory.

One parent sent congratulations and flowers, two bouquets. He was very happy for his child, their marriage, and thank goodness he loves their spouse.

One parent, the ultra-religious one, asked if we were still all going to live in the house, if we were changing bedrooms (what parent asks about bedroom anything!), if there was a name-change or if they were hyphenating, and then got them a lovely card, handwriting a sentiment that showed she got it.

5. Congratulations (and parties) come from very unexpected places.  Like co-workers you get on with, but you aren’t sure if they get the “poly” thing.

They’ve always been nice, but we’re in the South, and for many Southern Politeness goes bone deep. So it’s all the sweeter when suddenly, unexpectedly, your partner tell you that his coworkers threw him a “Congratulations! You got married!” party…. Allies are everywhere, sometimes in unexpected forms, if you give them a chance.

6. Cupcakes make everything better.  Want to make a potentially uncomfortable situation better? Bring cupcakes.

All the better if they are in John Deere green for him, capital-P-Purple for her, and there are cookie-and-frosting sandwiches, too. We did not know how the ceremony would go. It was among a small group of friends, so that was in our favor, but you never know. Seeing it in action, with 1/3 of the relationship on the outside for the majority of the ceremony (I handed them their rings and we had a few minutes hugged together), you don’t know how people will react. When the “third” comes loaded down with frosted treats he made, it’s pretty clear he’s good with this....

JJ Vincent is a 40-something guy who lives in north Alabama with his two partners and their three dogs, five cats, and a hamster. He's a graphic designer, copyeditor, and polycrafter who is equally fond of knitting and NASCAR and gleefully surrounds himself with pink sparkly things.

Read the whole tale (October 6, 2015).


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October 6, 2015

"The Mass Exodus of Polyamorous People Towards Relationship Anarchy"

Postmodern Woman

Last April The Times in London published a seemingly nice profile of Louisa Leontiades, author of Thorntree Press's recent book The Husband Swap. The profile was prompted by the book's publicity campaign. The paper ran the story with the attractive family picture at left. Here's the article: The polyamorist’s diary: why I agreed to a ménage à quatre (April 27, 2015).

Louisa has been stewing about something ever since, and yesterday she wrote about it:

The Mass Exodus of Polyamorous People Towards Relationship Anarchy

A piece in The Times reviewed my book. It started,

“Imagine sitting on your sofa on a Sunday afternoon hearing a couple upstairs having boisterous sex. The person making the headboard rattle is your husband with another woman, but that’s OK: there is no deceit or recrimination here. Because alongside you on the sofa is said woman’s husband with whom, for several months, you too have been having an ebulliently sexual, loving relationship.”

Before I read the piece, I was overjoyed at the prospect of being featured in The Times. But I don’t know how the journalist came to this conclusion. I mentioned nothing of the sort. I do nothing of the sort. I don’t particularly want to imagine my partner and his partner having sex boisterously upstairs. Or, indeed anyone having sex boisterously within my hearing. I love sex, but I put it in the same category as Wagner: I have to be in the right mood for it. It’s not the soundtrack to my life I want on a Sunday afternoon.... But no, the media, even The Times, prefer to cast me in their Deep Throat scenarios and there’s not much I can do about it.

Despite the fact the polyamorous community says it over and over again — polyamory is ‘not just about sex’ — the monogamously inclined media (and indeed anyone who learns about polyamory for the first time) cannot get past the fact that sex is a potential component in several relationships. Yet polyamory is by definition ‘many loves’. Sex might be a component and it also might not be. So what?

Mainstream media perception and focus on sex as the principle driver of polyamorous relationships, is not only incorrect, but it has damaged the real meaning of polyamory to such a extent that I don’t know whether we can recover the word. I’m not the only one who feels this way. Many previously self-defined ‘polyamorous’ folk are adopting the term ‘relationship anarchist’ instead, which we feel allows us the freedom – for the moment untainted by media misconception – to build intimate relationships and potentially a community where sex is only one of many forms of connection…. It’s a pity. Because for many this was the original intent behind the definition of polyamory in the first place.

...I have loving relationships with several friends and am developing a loving relationship with my new metamour (partner of my partner). I have a deeply loving relationship with my partner of eight years, the father of my children. I have a deeply loving relationship with my boyfriend of two years. And when I say loving, I (mostly) don’t mean sexual.

But people — even supposed friends of mine — can’t let it go…

‘We are together,’ I say, ‘because right now, we choose to be together.’

But apparently my response is not acceptable. I am not allowed to choose. The validity of my intimate relationships is only judged according to the presence or absence of sex. Here’s the thing. Polyamory might not ‘just be about the sex’, but apparently that’s all the monogamous mainstream cares about.

Go read her whole article (October 5, 2015).

This comes in the midst of a discussion in the Polyamory Leadership Network (actually a re-re-discussion) about exactly what precise definition of polyamory most of us might want to offer the public. A lot of this centers on how to say — briefly — that poly relationships are often sexual and also often not primarily sexual, in a way most people can grasp.

The thing is, most people only have one mental model where those two things are not a contradiction, and that's marriage. So, that's the model a lot of the media immediately glom onto.

But group marriages are far from the most common poly structure. And open marriages, which are almost necessarily hierarchical, are very open to mess-ups and abuses of third parties unless the couple are willing to examine and shed a lot of unspoken monogamous culture, and to study up on the hard-won poly-community wisdom on this topic. (The long-version book I recommend to people is More Than Two. The short versions are morethantwo.com and Cunning Minx's Eight Things I Wish I'd Known About Polyamory (Before I Tried It and Frakked It Up).)

Louisa comments about her piece above,

Over here in Sweden, relationship anarchy (for Relationship Anarchists) does not ‘fit inside’ polyamory. Rather, polyamory fits inside RA, given that RA does not prescribe monogamy (emotional or sexual) or polyamory (emotional or sexual). You can be a swinger and/or polyamorous and/or monogamous and any point on the LGBTQIA and Cis spectrum and still be RA. In Sweden, this movement is supportive towards less polarisation of poly vs mono and more ‘any-configuration’ living regardless of your sexual and relationship orientation. It is neutral.

It may be that Sweden is unique in this regard, but it is interesting nevertheless that this is the predominant thinking here, which is also the official (albeit not philosophical perhaps) birthplace of RA.

In my participation in the [Swedish] polyamory association, I’d say most if not all of those who attend the meetups prefer to self-define as RA.1 Our banner when we walk at Pride is "Polyamory & Relationship Anarchy" (and it’s important for many that they're separate).

Update November 3: A well-thought rebuttal, by Unquiet Pirate: Relationship Anarchy is Not Post-Polyamory.

Update November 6: Leona just posted a followup, The Appropriation of Relationship Anarchy by Non-Anarchists. She discusses whether RA is a misappropriation of the political term "anarchist," partly in response to the rebuttal above: Relationship Anarchy is Not Post-Polyamory.


1. The formulator of RA is widely taken to be Andie Nordgren in Sweden. Here's her revised definitional statement: The short instructional manifesto for relationship anarchy (July 6, 2012).


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October 4, 2015

"5 Myths About Love, Sex, and Relationships That Stop Us From Accepting Polyamory"

Everyday Feminism

Sian Ferguson is a self-identified queer polyamorous student in South Africa. She's a regular writer for Everyday Feminism, which claims to be "one of the largest online feminist communities in the world" with about 2.7 million visitors a month, 70% of them under 35. She just published the piece below, which I see is spreading around:

5 Myths About Love, Sex, and Relationships That Stop Us From Accepting Polyamory

By Sian Ferguson

Whenever I tell monogamous people that I’m polyamorous, I’m always met with a lot of curiosity.

While people sometimes act in a discriminatory manner, I often get a lot of respectfully phrased questions and musings.

“How does that work though?”

“If your partner doesn’t get jealous, how do you know they’re really into you?”

“How would it work if you wanted to get married or have children?”

The more questions I get, the more I realize that society has taught us a lot of heteronormative myths about love....

1. We All Have ‘The One’/ A ‘Soulmate’

...There are a number of problems with this idea.

Firstly, it implies that a good relationship is pre-destined, rather than created and maintained through hard work.

I can’t count the number of times friends have been afraid to leave a toxic relationship because they fear their partner may be “The One.”

The opposite situation is possible, too. I had a friend who would put very little effort into relationships because they mused that if the relationship was “meant to be,” and if their partner was truly “The One,” the relationship would work out anyway.

...What if there is no “One” person out there for me, but a number of people who might be compatible with me?

2. If Your Partner Wants Someone Else, It’s Because You’re Inadequate

...If I fall in love with a new person, it’s a love independent of the one I share with my partner. My love for one person doesn’t replace the other; they simply coexist.

I’m of the belief that no single person can fulfill all of our needs and desires at once. My partner is extraordinary and incredible, and they can’t give me absolutely everything I need.

The reverse is true, too – as hard as I try, I can’t get my partner everything they want and need.

...Monogamous people might be able to relate to this, too – as much as you may love your partner, it’s important to have other friends, too, because you get different things out of different relationships.

3. Jealousy Is an Indicator of Love

If you love someone, you’d want them all to yourself. Right?

Well, no. But that’s what society teaches us.

...I’m not saying that I never get jealous – rather, I’m saying that jealousy isn’t an indicator of love.

4. A Two-Parent Home Is Better for Children

...Sometimes, families work differently, and that’s okay!

I was raised by a single mother, my grandparents, my older siblings, and extended family, and I turned out fine.

5. Marriage Is the Ultimate Demonstration of Love

I can’t count how many times people have asked me, “But who would you marry?” when they heard that I had more than one partner.

...The way society prioritizes marriage over all forms of other relationships is problematic, to say the least....

...These myths don’t only harm polyamorous people. They work together in a heteronormative culture, which ultimately harms a great deal of people.

For this reason, it’s imperative that we take notice of these myths and challenge them when they manifest....

Read the whole article (October 2, 2015).

Everyday Feminism has been getting deep into polyamory lately, and getting it right. A search turns up 11 poly-related articles on the site so far this year, after just one or two in each of the previous three years. Maybe a lot of writers are looking into it, or maybe the stats for the site have flagged it as a hot topic, or both.



October 1, 2015

"So You Want To Interview Polyamorous People?"

Longtime polyactivist Maxine Green in the UK (who originated the bunny-ears thing and draws the Chaosbunny comic) is a very out spokesperson to the media. So she gets a lot of requests. She's not shy about turning them down and advising the community to shun media opportunities that seem uninformed or exploitive.

Today she posted advice to media people themselves who wonder why they can't get polyfolks to respond:  So You Want To Interview Polyamorous People? (October 1, 2015).

I won't excerpt it, just go read it, especially if you might like to go public someday.


In the article's last section, "Where to find Poly People?" she left out something important. Robyn Trask, director of the Loving More nonprofit, maintains a resource list of excellent out polyfolks who are willing to speak to knowledgeable journalists.

If you might like to get on Robyn's list, phone her! She's a pro; she can help train you in what to ask about media outfits who come knocking, how to negotiate with them on a level footing, and basics of how to represent yourself and your message well.

That last is crucial, especially for TV. The camera is harsh. The camera never blinks. My own tips, picked up in part from pros:

● Know the audience, then dress, groom, and act like them. . . . or like the people they respect.

● Emphasize the aspects of yourself that help your message. De-emphasize aspects of yourself that distract from your message.

● Write out a bunch of key sound bites that you want to get across. (Some suggestions, though they're kind of dated.) Memorize your sound bites, and rehearse them in front of a camera or mirror. Wherever the discussion goes, turn it around into a chance to put one of them across.

● Act animated, relaxed, happy -- please not frozen. Use body language! If you're with partners, fawn over each other. You're an actor, playing a version of yourself. If you don't like it that you have to be an actor, stay off camera.

● Say not one word, display not one expression, that you don't want to see on TV! Not even after you think the interview is over. Too often, people who get furious with the media "misrepresenting" them gave the media poor material to show. They can only show what you give them. Choose what you give them.

● If you really flub something, stop midstream, pause a moment, and start over fresh. They'll only use one take. If you accidentally blurt something you don't want used, immediately say "Actually that's not true" and then start again and say what you meant to.

● Be prepared to walk away. Robyn and her partner Jesus V. Garcia were once flown expense-paid to New York for a national TV show. Backstage shortly before show was about to start, they discovered that its announced theme was sleazier than they had been led to expect. They conferred, walked out the door, hailed a cab, and flew home without looking back. They're proud of it to this day. Remember you can do that.

Anything you'd like to add? Use the comments below.


P.S.: Joreth Innkeeper, poly activist since ever, has assembled media training guides "to help you learn how to screen the media, how to craft your Public Persona, how to develop soundbites, how to dress for an interview, and how to improve your public speaking for lectures and workshops." She has provided one-on-one help in the past and "is available to come to your conference or community to provide a group Media Training workshop."