Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

January 31, 2016

More Brazil stories: "Polyamory practitioner teaches how to bring a third person into a relationship"

Following up on my last post, today's O Globo newspaper in Brazil features a young poly educator spreading the word. O Globo is part of the media company that owns GNT TV, which last year featured the ten-part, poly-heavy series "Free Loves", Amores Libres.

Some excerpts, courtesy of Google Translate:

RIO - How to introduce her boyfriend to her husband without hurting them? When your spouse goes out with someone new, is it okay to be jealous? If my girlfriend from another city is here at home, can she can sleep with me and my wife? Or simply: can you love more than one person at a time?

Sharlenn Carvalho

These are inconvenient questions in a monogamous marriage, but everyday for those who are (or want to be) in polyamory. Sharlenn Carvalho, 32, activist and practitioner of this model of simultaneous, consensual multiple relationships, specializes in answering them....

...'There is a dictatorship of monogamy, which we call "polifobia". It's hard to face in a natural, public, open way. Many need help on that path.'

...Sharlenn is thinking about professionalizing her project this year: 'It is an activity that I consider essential and don't want to stop doing. But I do it for love. If I could support myself as a "polyamory consultant" that would be ideal.'

The whole article, in the original Portuguese: Adepta do poliamor ensina como introduzir terceira pessoa na relação (January 31, 2016). Thanks to Claudia Domingues for the tip. Domingues is the notary who recorded Brazil's first certificate of polyaffective union; she tracks related news on her Facebook page.


And on the news site UOL, the bestselling sex-and-relationship author and speaker Regina Navarro Lins writes,

Our ways of love and sex are evolving

Ilustração: Lumi Mae

I believe that in time fewer people will want a closed couple relationship, and most will opt for multiple relationships. Attentive to the signs, we see that to love and be loved by more than one person at the same time, so-called Polyamory, is gaining ground.

Regina Navarro Lins
The definition of poliamoristas: "This loving practice advocates relations rejecting monogamy as a principle or requirement. Polyamory, as an option or way of life, advocates practical and sustainable opportunities to be responsibly involved in intimate deep relationships, possibly long-term, with several partners simultaneously. "

No doubt, love is a social construction. If we analyze the various periods of our history, we find that it evolves. It is impossible not to ask the question: in a few decades will Polyamory prevail?

Her whole article: O comportamento amoroso e sexual está em evolução (January 19, 2016).

Update April 11: Another triad marriage ceremony is described in a story on Fox News Latino:
Polygamy is Brazil's latest contribution to sexual revolution
(April 11, 2016).


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January 28, 2016

More poly developments from Brazil, as word spreads

At least eight certificates of triad unions have now been issued in Brazil, says the newspaper Folha de São Paulo:

"Couples" of Three or More May Obtain Civil Partnerships in Brazil

Audhrey loved Eustáquio, who loved Rita, who loved Audhrey. The three decided to live together eight years ago, and today they are a family.

A family from Belo Horizonte obtained a year ago a polyamorous civil partnership — official recognition of their situation. (Bruno Figueiredo / Folhapress)

...This is the story of a family from Belo Horizonte that a year ago obtained a polyamorous civil partnership — official recognition of their situation. At least eight such documents have been issued in Brazil.

Audhrey Drummond, 49, and Eustáquio Generoso, 57, got married in 1988 and had an on-off relationship until 1997. During that time they had a son, Iago, who is 23.

A year after they split up, Eustáquio began seeing Rita Carvalho, 45. But when Audhrey and Eustáquio met again in 2003, Audhrey admitted that she was still in love with him. "I told him that I didn't mind if Rita was in the picture," she says.

This is not a triangle relationship, but a ménage à trois, with Eustáquio living with both his wife and his mistress. He has his own room, with the women sleeping with him for a week at a time.

As well as obtaining rights to health insurance, polyamorous families also try to obtain recognition for their situation in order to add third (or fourth, or fifth) party to pensions and inheritance plans, for example.

Specialists are divided as to the validity of polyamorous civil partnerships. The public notary Fernanda Leitão believes that they are supported by a 2011 Supreme Court decision which equated homosexual civil partnerships with heterosexual marriage.

The lawyer Luiz Kignel disagrees. He says that the number of polyamorous unions is negligible in comparison to the number of heterosexual and homosexual couples, and as such, there is no indication of social change on this issue.

The original: PortugueseEnglish (January 26, 2016).

Once again, these "certificates of polyaffective union" are not legally recognized multi-marriages; they are the people's own notarized declarations that they meet the qualifications for being in a civil union. Normally in Brazil this creates a civil union on the spot. But whether this is true for multi-unions has not been tested in court.


If Brazil is becoming more aware of such relationship possibilities, some credit goes to GNT TV and its documentary series "Free Loves" ("Amores Livres") that began last August. Here's an article about it that appeared in an end-of-year roundup on December 30th, on the news-and-entertainment site Catraca Livre. With help from Google Translate:

Polyamory: series tells the story of non-monogamous relationships

To portray different types of relationships that go beyond the standard "romantic love", GNT launched in August of this year a documentary series about polyamory, directed by João Jardim. Titled "Amores Livres", the program tells the story of non-monogamous relationships. It is available to watch online.

The 10 episodes of the series bring thinkers on the subject to give their testimony, as well as reports from people in various types of amorous setups.

The program's goal is to show that any form of love is worthy, whether polyamory, open relationships, polygamy, relationships virtual or long-distance, group sex, abstinence, and even the option of monogamy.

The original: Poliamor: série online conta a história de relacionamentos não monogâmicos (Dec. 30, 2016).

Carolina writes, "I'm a Brazilian reader of your blog. GNT is a Brazilian channel [associated with the O Globo newspaper] and I've found it interesting that they did this, considering that poly is not a big thing here and that most people are very traditional when it comes to relationship configuration."

You can watch a long video clip from each of the ten episodes for free at GNT: Amores Livres. The full 20-minute episodes are available for pay online.

Note: When you open a foreign-language site in Chrome, look for the tiny Translate icon (two squares) that appears in the very top-right corner.


Also: At the end of the Catraca Livre article above are links to some poly docu-videos hosted on that site:

Documentaries talk about polyamory and its endless ways to say 'I love you'

Documentary shows day-to-day polyamory practitioners


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January 26, 2016

"Harmful Myths the Ethically Non-Monogamous Community Needs to Address," and more

Earlier this month, in a roundup of mostly super-sweet stories extolling the poly movement, I promised another side of the picture.

First, here's a bread-and-butter account of standard problems you're likely to face in the best of circumstances: Polyamory is Hard (Aug. 16, 2014), by Russell of Polytripod.

I was talking to my therapist the other day.

Actually, it was couples therapy.

And, actually, I brought this up twice because, in all honesty, I have two sets of therapists: one I see with my partner/girlfriend and the other I see with my wife.

Polyamory is hard. Which, I think, should be pretty obvious in that I'm seeing two therapists but that's not the point.

...There's the routine stuff:

– Constant (endless) communication
– Questioning assumptions that you have about love and relationships
– Calendaring and scheduling
– Expectations management
– Emotional processing — sex, love, jealousy, guilt, regret, etc.

Then there's the long-term, extended stuff:

The legal differentiation between partners (example: a "wife" affords a legal distinction over a "partner"), leading to a whole rat's nest of issues concerning wills/probate, medical care, rights over your assets, etc.

Re-thinking the roles of "husband, wife, partner" — and the promises those titles imply....

Breakups and ending/transitioning relationships that've lasted for years.

Challenges surrounding space, distance, travel, and cohabitation. Not everyone wants to live together; not everyone likes the same kinds of personal space. Those are some tough compromises.

Embracing inequity. Poly's inherently unfair. My wife has made sacrifices that enable me to spend time, energy, and resources on my partner, which often excludes her. Meanwhile, my partner isn't around me as often as my wife, and, doesn't attend family travel, and I'm not always around, which excludes her, creating her own set of sacrifices. Resolving those inequities is a full-time preoccupation.

Retirement and security....

Combining or separating the finances of multiple people, how to communicate and work with cash flow shortages, new financial expectations, etc.

Realizing that you can't ever make everyone happy. Instead, poly is a lifestyle of compromises where everyone doesn't get exactly what they want: there's only so much time, so much space, and so much of you to go around.

...It hurts that I can't give everything to both of my partners and make both of them 100 percent happy at the same time. It's a constant process of compromise, learning, re-tooling my skillets, and managing expectations.

And I think anyone just getting into polyamory should know that it's hard. In fact, just last week, I was at a bar on Mississippi Avenue with a bunch of enthusiastic poly-newcomers. I was kind of a Debbie-downer in that crowd, but I think it's real. Poly looks pretty good on paper, especially if perceived in the context of short-run, but everyone should be prepared for the long-game, and what that means in their lives.


However, I was thinking more of this grimmer piece by Michón Neal on harshness that polys with minority identities face: 5 Harmful Myths the Ethically Non-Monogamous Community Needs to Address. It appeared at Everyday Feminism last November 11th.


...But there’s also a bit of a problem. In my experiences with the polyamorous community, I have encountered very little that strikes me as ethical.

And I’m not alone in this.

I’ve known people and seen articles about people who are so fed up with the lack of ethics in non-monogamy that they no longer identify with it — and I’m tempted to be one of them.

For a community that prides itself on offering healthier solutions regardless of relationship orientation, the practice of it seems to be more of a burden than a blessing when it comes to certain marginalized people, as pointed out by the article linked above.

There are some deeply ingrained myths about non-monogamy that actually exclude many people with varied experiences — especially those of us who have intersecting marginalized identities (minorities of minorities, as I like to call myself).

I am a genderqueer black person who practices relationship anarchy. I have been non-monogamous all my life, even before I knew the terms for it. I am aromantic, pansexual, left-handed, synesthetic, kinky, atheist, and sapiosexual. I have invisible mental and physical illnesses, am neurodiverse, a survivor, poor, and a parent.

...So when I critique make these criticism of the lack of ethics in ethical non-monogamy, I am coming from 27 years of personal experience, education, and intersection.

Having been at the center of assumptions... I’d like to help unpack those that make the non-monogamous community a rather unethical place to be.

1. Not Everyone Transitions into Non-Monogamy

I very strongly believe polyamory is inherent to my nature.... Yet, to this day, pretty much all of the community’s stories focus on romantic, white, cis people who’ve transitioned into non-monogamy.

Instead of feeling like I’m part of the community, I ended up feeling more alien than ever.

...When I recently stated that, due to several men in the poly community explicitly ignoring my gender, sexual preferences, and desire for friendship by immediately asking for sex or to explore their fetish with me (and in one case actually being raped by one of these men — who then claimed it couldn’t be rape since I was poly), I would pretty much avoid cis and straight men, I was told that my experiences were too political to be shared in that group.

It exploded as others who’d been fetishized empathized and the rest simply wanted to return to talking about how awesome it was to feel compersion for the first time....

2. Disastrous First Relationships Are Considered Normal, But Aren’t

...Many popular poly stories and guides, like More Than Two, The Game Changer, The Husband Swap — reference at least one non-monogamous experience that either ended in disaster or was extremely unhealthy. This is usually regarded as a problem arising from non-monogamy rather than the influence of monogamous and romantic culture on our practices, as well as arising from the transition.

Even Franklin [Veaux], who has always been non-monogamous, felt so guilty about his needs and desires that he allowed many of his relationships to end prematurely due to insecurities, veto power, and couple privilege. He remained with his wife far too long in an attempt to cater to her desires and it wasn’t until decades later that his relationships were able to be built on a healthier foundation.

Actual ethics starts at the root and that is where we should begin. These problems need to be addressed before deciding to be non-monogamous instead of afterwards....

3. The Reality Behind the Statistic

Most people in the polyamorous community may only be familiar with other minorities via statistics rather than actually listening to us.

People like me seem to only exist as shadows or impossibilities in the community. The thought leaders like Franklin Veaux, Aggie Sez, and Elizabeth Sheff can really only give information based on broad generalizations....

...The books in The Cuil Effect Project, my writings on Postmodern Woman, the site Queer Black Voices, and the site Polyamory on Purpose are good places to start if you want to get a feel for the actual experiences of intersectional marginalized identities, emotional intelligence, and healthy relationships versus toxic ones....

4. ‘Drama-Free’ Polyamory Excludes Me

And speaking of health and options: I’d be considered one of those “drama-filled” people polyamorous folks try to avoid, not because I cause drama, but because I encounter so much trouble by nature of my marginalized identities. Being with me requires one to deal with heavy issues every single day.

I’m not the fun type of polyamorous and so am usually avoided.

In practice, “drama free” polyamory ends up meaning that the new person doesn’t come between the established couple, it means they don’t rock the boat, and it usually means parents, differently-abled, and other races are off limits....

5. There’s Community Support Unless You’re Invisible

Those I’ve talked to who feel that they were born polyamorous or who are in minority categories often feel they have nowhere to turn to for advice or information on their experiences....

...And if our partners are abusive, it’s much harder to leave because we have fewer resources.

...Polyamorous people say it’s not about the sex and that polyamorous people don’t face discrimination, but that’s just not true if you’re not white and straight. Those of us most likely to face legal or dire situations are also those least likely to receive help.

6. Abuse Isn’t a Personal Problem — It’s an Epidemic....

Go read the whole article (November 11, 2015). She has a Patreon campaign to support her queer and poly fiction writing.


From a different place, counselor and popular YouTube advice-giver JP Sears delivers a warning about the potential of an open relationship to wreck a couple (16:05). I have obvious answers to some of his assumptions, but he's often on target, and he's representative of much opinion that's out there. Short version: "You have to be a master at your first relationship"; it needs be rock solid before opening it, and he's never seen one that is.

Here he falls into into the dumb therapist's mistake — therapists who were gazing out the window during the class about sample bias — by assuming his clients represent everybody. In reality, all of his clients showed up because they had a problem serious enough for them to seek paid help.



January 23, 2016

Poly blizzard decisions, in the Washington Post

In its blizzard coverage, the Washington Post publishes a story about the burst of dating behavior that, data indicate, happens as people get snowed in. Polyamory comes up.


...For Jack*, 29, it’s a little bit of both. He’s in a polyamorous relationship, and his primary partner, Kate*, whom he’s been seeing for nearly two years, is out of town for the weekend. While she’s away, he has options.

There’s the polyamorous woman he hooked up with Wednesday night. She lives two blocks from him in Washington, an easy trudge even in two feet of snow, and is the likeliest candidate to keep him warm over the weekend. Then there’s the other woman he’s dating — but she lives in Arlington. “She and I have been talking about how we want to spend the weekend playing around in the snow, but seeing as how bad it is, she’s going to stay in Arlington,” he said. “I would have loved to spend this awesome weekend with someone who I am much more close to emotionally, than someone I just met.”

Still, he’s bummed, because he likes spending snow days with Kate. “I built my very first snowman with her,” he said.

And having to make this decision is raising even bigger questions for Jack, who has been worrying about his relationship with Kate and “whether or not this is something I even want to be doing — whether I’m seeing these other partners because I have the opportunity to, and not because I want to.”...

The whole article: Milk, bread, and 7 boxes of condoms: How D.C. prepares for a blizzard (Jan. 21, 2016).

If you're wondering, couldn't those three have just gotten together? Yeah, me too. In my opinion, the defining thing about "polyamory" — as opposed to the broader category of open relationships or just free dating — is an understanding that to some greater or lesser degree, we're all in this together.


January 20, 2016

Steve Harvey Show: "Polyamory, New Way to Love or Just Plain Crazy?"

Want to see a poly family represent well on TV? Watch Brooke, Jane and Adam breeze happily along for 12 minutes on today's Steve Harvey show.

Steve Harvey is a popular daytime talk show that's broadcast on many NBC stations. Harvey acts impressed by the three, and Dr. Laura Berman follows up by describing how millennials have a wider choice of relationship models available to them than previous generations did, so they have a better chance of finding what's right for them — if they're up for the levels of honesty and communication that polyamory demands.

The triad show off pix of their kids and tell what a great household they have for raising them.

Part 1 (7 minutes)

Part 2 (5 minutes)

The segment's blurb:

Growing Trend Of Polyamory

Steve has tackled the topic that has a lot of people raising their eyebrows. It’s a growing relationship trend across America — Polyamory, meaning more than two people in a romantic relationship with each other. The idea is as curious as it is controversial, but Steve has talked to three people in a relationship with each other and no question is off limits! Sex and relationship therapist DR. LAURA BERMAN joined the conversation with insight as to why polyamory is trending among millennials.

You may remember Brooke (with a different hairdo), Jane and Adam from a spate of profile articles last April in U.K. tabloids and the New York Daily News.

Okay, so they're young, white, slim and hot. I guess we have to take what we can get.


Update the next morning: Uh-oh, there's more to this story! Greenfizzpops went poking further and comments,

If you go to the article about this interview on Adam's website, the video promising to teach you more seems very much like teaching pick up artist (PUA) techniques to unicorns hunters. www.donotlink.com/hydy.

I caution against supporting pua techniques.

Turns out Adam runs a dating-techniques-for-men business (along with Brooke and Jane). With an emphasis on manipulative, creepy-sounding techniques for unicorn hunting. This is from the front page of his website linked to above:

Adam Lyons is a well known dating coach. Not only has he been voted #1 in the world for his craft for multiple years, he has written articles for AskMen.com and featured in a number of documentaries such as “The Rules of Seduction” on Channel 4. He is widely regarded as a top expert in attraction and seduction.

He now runs a popular dating company with his two partners, Brooke and Jane, implementing their successful coaching program where they guide people in how to develop, create and maintain their ideal relationship whether they are single looking for love or currently in a relationship looking to improve the quality (monogamous or polyamorous)

...One of the biggest questions this throuple gets asked... is how polyamorous and monogamous couples can add another girl to their life. Even the most well intentioned and charming couple can make a few mistakes that trigger something known as the “creep alarm.” This prevents any type of wooing from happening and cuts the interaction short before it can actually develop.

That’s why Adam created this special video for you that answers this question and teaches you to…
   Get past a girl’s creep alarm…
   Trigger the chemical that makes her fall in love…
   and get her inner voice working for you instead of against you…

Read the comments to that post. The JJ Roberts in the mudfest there is the author of Sex 3.0, used in a rival relationship-advice business. These men seem to know each other too well. Roberts goes on a rant about how unattractive Brooke is with her half-buzzcut (WTF?), and how can a guy who poses as an expert in attraction allow his woman to look like that (WTF?).

That batch of tabloid articles about the triad last April gives more of their backstory. I should have done more homework.

If you've never heard of PUA training, here's the xkcd's comic's famous take. If you're not up to speed on how PUAs are regarded generally, a typical tale: I Dated An Ex-Pickup Artist.

More update: In a hot reddit thread after the show, Adam (AFCAdam) explains his position:

The PUA industry split in half.
Half moving towards aggressive tactics and manipulation (look at gunwitch method... Warning it's unpleasant)
The other moved towards self improvement and becoming attractive (look up the art of charm)
We've evolved and changed.
PUA fragmented.
I identify as a dating coach.
We get customers based on people wanting to get laid sure.
But then again...
So does tinder, Match.com etc.
The difference is we teach them that focusing on getting laid doesn't work.
You need to focus on empathy.
Being a real person.
Having goals. Encouraging your partner to have theirs.
I educate people in this.
Teach them these techniques.
I'm still evolving too.
Still learning more.
And continuing to teach and help others.
I've lost count of the amount of men if changed develop into actual caring people, who lead healthy communicative relationships.
As I said. The media gets this, my students and clients get this.
My girlfriends get this.
The only people who currently don't.
Are the polyamory communityX
That continues to judge and insult our family.


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January 18, 2016

Cosmo: "What It's Really Like to Be in an Open Relationship"

Flip open the issue of Cosmopolitan that confronts you at the grocery checkout this month (left), and you'll find an article misleadingly titled "The Swing Set." The online version has a more accurate title: "What It's Really Like to Be in an Open Relationship."

It tends to assume that non-monogamous people come in couples and create rules and more rules (send your letters), but even so, the story introduces its readers to things worth knowing.

Is monogamy really the best option?

By Taffy Brodesser-Akner

...For the uninitiated, consensual nonmonogamy rarely looks the same in any two situations. There are the polyamorous relationships, in which people openly have multiple romantic or sexual partners. There are open relationships, in which a primary couple seeks outside sex or companionship but always returns home to each other. There are swingers, who experiment with other couples, often together or somehow equally. There are other ways to be monogamish, but those are the main ones. And there's overlap in those definitions because that's the point: This is people making it up as they go along so that their relationships stay fulfilling.

So think fast, because whether or not you want to examine the state of monogamy in America, ignoring it may no longer be an option. Is it sweeping the nation? Maybe, maybe not....

OpenMinded.com launched last April, and within a month, it had more than 8,500 registered users. By September, there were nearly 152,000. Of those people, 75 percent are paying and active users....

Multiple partners has often been considered a male fantasy, but as women grew stronger in their ability to earn and survive on their own, they more readily dared to explore their own fantasies.

It's not that monogamy is so bad. It's just that we're living a whole lot longer than we used to, and we meet more people (partly because of the internet). As Sheff puts it, "I've got a full stomach and a roof over my head, and orgasm doesn't necessarily mean pregnancy, so let's play."

...All the people I interviewed have sets of rules. So many rules that their rules have rules. But there is something inside some of the women I spoke with that isn't about needing another partner. It's about needing not to be confined by their primary one.

"I feel kind of guilty when I break a rule," Kate says, acknowledging that she'd hate it if she found out her husband has such secrets too. "I sometimes justify it like, what he doesn't know won't hurt him. But then, I'm like, that's such a horrible thing to think."

What polys get right

In her research, [Terry] Conley divides her subjects into two groups: The first includes the polyamorous, "people who agree they can love more than one person at a time," and also swingers, people who might swap a partner or do another couple-based activity. The second group are people who are in an open relationship, meaning that the other partners are always external.

Both groups rate their satisfaction as good, but the first group — the polyamorous and swingers — does better on measures of trust and commitment than the open-relationship people. Conley says monogamous couples could learn some things from them. "A lot of strategies used to help struggling married couples — empathy, speaking clearly about needs — are strategies polyamorous groups promote as far as keeping everyone in your triad or quad or whatever happy," says Conley.

But even people in open relationships can seem more secure than those in monogamous ones, she says. Let's say the big fear is that your partner will find someone else. Well, what if your partner finds someone, has sex with that person, and still returns to you? "That's tremendously flattering," she says.

And from a sexual-health lens, here's an interesting thing: Conley's research finds that people practicing consensual nonmonogamy use condoms far more often than monogamous people who cheat....

The whole article (online Jan. 16, 2016. February 2016 print issue.)


January 15, 2016

"OkCupid and the mainstreaming of polyamory"

SBS, Australia's version of public radio and TV, posted this trendspotting think piece on its website today.

I'm quoting it at length because it illustrates that the world is coming to see that polyamorous relationships are a real thing, that people do them successfully, and that they'll increasingly be a part of society's future.

OkCupid and the mainstreaming of polyamory

Comedian Brydie Lee-Kennedy looks at the shift in popular culture regarding multiple partners.

By Brydie Lee-Kennedy

When was the first time you heard someone use the word “polyamory” in conversation? Or just “poly”? How about “open relationship” or “non-monogamy”? Chances are, it was some time in the last couple of years, as less conventional relationships have moved into the mainstream consciousness.

...In recent years... the concept and practice of open relationships has become demystified as more and more people realise that it is, for many, a viable and fulfilling lifestyle choice. Pop culture and the media have certainly contributed to this shift. There’s been thinkpiece on top of thinkpiece on the issue (of which I suppose this is one, but bear with me) and personal essays of non-monogamy enthusiasts have been published everywhere from Vice to the New York Times.

...Strangely, as the rest of the world has started to embrace non-monogamy as a valid relationship choice, dating apps and websites have been slow to catch-up. On apps like Tinder, users are free to mention that they are in an open relationship and looking for other partners but there are no checks in place. The user may simply be looking to cheat, as their primary partner would have no way of confirming their claims on the app itself. For this reason, many other users may shy away from matching with this person, for fear of being party to infidelity.

...And even when a user is telling the truth about being in an open relationship, mainstream dating sites and apps have typically not allowed people to view or contact every person involved to make sure things are above board.

OkCupid, one of the stalwarts of internet dating since its launch in 2004, has now designed a feature specifically for its polyamorous and non-monogamous users....

It is also an extremely welcome move for the polyamorous community. Non-monogamy takes many forms and the rules of relationships will differ couple to couple (or triad to triad or polyfamily to polyfamily etc.). But probably the most important and valuable tenet in any relationship is respect and trust.

So OkCupid’s new feature is not only another step on the road to normalising alternative relationship models. It is also a valuable tool for polyamorous people who wish to maintain the highest standards of openness and transparency with all of their partners.

Read the whole article (January 15, 2016).


Polyfolks embraced OkCupid years ago because you can custom-tailor your searches to find matches regarding particular things that are highly important to you. If you know how; it takes some knowledge and effort.

Since my post last week about OkCupid's new poly-partner linking feature, I've found another guide to using OkC for poly dating: at Tristan Taormino's extensive Opening Up website for her book of the same name. It may be a bit dated but here it is, along with the others I've cited for quick reference:

In-depth guide to poly dating on OkCupid (at OpeningUp.net).

● A briefer version at PolyInfo.org (scroll down to the OkCupid section).

● Get the Chrome plugin extension that streamlines things: OkCupid for the Non-Mainstream User.

● If your partner(s) are also on OkCupid, you can link to them simply by double-bracketing their OkC names in your profile. For instance,  "My other partners are [[UserName]] and [[Username]]."  (With their permission, of course.)



January 14, 2016

Ebony: "You, Me and He: Polyamorous Couples Go Mainstream?"

Writer Glamazon Tyomi
A writer for America's leading black magazine picks up on the OkCupid story and uses it as the jumpoff for a Poly 101 interview with PolyVictoria of Open Life Advice.

Most of it is routine. But this at the end stands out as something you might want to memorize so you can serve it up to your concerned relatives as needed:

EBONY: But isn’t this going against what God has planned for us? Isn’t being polyamory a sin?

Victoria: If you believe in any higher power, a being of love, strength and truth, a being of forgiveness, light and empowerment, then logically you have to know that the more people you love ethically and with an open mind, then God in any of His forms will at the very least understand your motivations, if not outright support them.

It’s also important to note that any higher power has to be more displeased with the deception of cheating than an honest and open arrangement where no one is lied to and everyone is empowered to live and to love to the best of their ability.

The whole article (January 14, 2016).



January 12, 2016

"Polyamory may be going mainstream but it ain't easy"

The Daily Telegraph is one of the U.K.'s major newspapers and is aligned with the governing Conservative Party (some call it The Torygraph). The current news flurry about OkCupid's attempt to go poly-friendly prompted a column in today's Women's section. The writer calls herself naturally monogamous and was in a five-year poly relationship reluctantly, but she says she drew some good things from it even so.

I tried having an open relationship — polyamory may be going mainstream but it ain't easy

By Rebecca Reid

...Once seen as the preserve of middle aged men in Utah, or hyper-liberal flower children, non-monogamy is fast becoming the territory of perfectly unremarkable people.

When I first started dating my fiancé, a couple of weeks in, we discussed how we saw things working with regards to other people.

Did we want to be open (able to have sex with other people)? Poly (able to have relationships with other people)? Or did we want to embrace monogamy? Seeing as we’re both naturally monogamous — and averse to the drama and complications that can come from open relationships — we decided to keep it simple and stick to just seeing each other.

It’s no longer such an unusual conversation to have at the start of a relationship....

...Think-pieces about polyamory have tended to be written in active defense. I understand that the much maligned practice needs all the good PR it can get — but it does the lifestyle a disservice to pretend that it’s all rainbows, flowers and great shags.

...I spent the best part of five years in a polyamorous relationship and it was — like all relationships — a mixed bag.

One of the best things about the poly world is having more of you. Two people playing a board game can be boring, but with four it’s fun. Same goes for picnics, holidays and parties. You’re not just a couple, you’re a ready-made group and there’s something brilliant about that.

When one of you is feeling down, there are more people to cheer you up. You get more birthday presents, more sex, more laughter, more of everything. But when I say everything, I mean everything.

When you bring another person into your relationship, you bring all their laughter, joy and cute little foibles. You also bring their insecurities, needs and fears. It’s a little different in open relationships, where the emphasis is on sex rather than dating, but either way: by introducing another person in to your relationship you get their good days — and their bad days, too.

...I learned a lot from my experience of polyamory, even if most of that was that I didn’t really want to be poly.

People in open relationships tend to be brilliant at communicating, either by nature or by necessity. When you involve other people in that relationship, you complicate it — both emotionally and logistically, meaning a much higher level of communication is needed for things to work.

It’s something that, when I stopped being poly, I took forward into my next monogamous relationship....

Read the whole article (Jan. 12, 2015).

P.S.: If you haven't seen my post about the OkCupid news since I put it up last Friday, I've added some updates.



January 10, 2016

"Polyamorous, Pansexual, and Proud: Why I'm 'So Out and Outspoken' "

Women's Health

Gaby Dunn is a Los Angeles comedian, does part-time writing/directing for Buzzfeed Video, and runs a YouTube comedy show called Just Between Us. She's been a newspaper crime reporter and an intern at The Daily Show. And she's totally out as a role model for poly designer relationships. You may remember her from this:

Meanwhile, Women's Health is an old-style print magazine that lives at the grocery-store checkout line. It's published by Rodale and has a circulation of 1.5 million. It says it "features a celebrity each month that exudes the lifestyle of a healthy, active woman."

They meet.

Polyamorous, Pansexual, and Proud: Why I'm 'So Out and Outspoken'

Photo by Marvin Lemus

Actress and writer Gaby Dunn breaks down her identity, and opens up about the judgement she faces.

By Gaby Dunn

A few months ago, I went to “gay brunch” with some lesbian friends in West Hollywood. I wore a little pink sundress, my hair down and curled. A couple hours later, I left my friends at The Abbey (a gay bar in L.A.), to meet my boyfriend. After dinner, he and I texted my friends, wanting to meet up again. In between the two events, I’d changed clothes, and now I was wearing shorts, a backwards snap-back hat, a flannel, and sneakers.

“How is it you left gay brunch this morning looking so straight, and came back with a guy, looking so gay?” one of my friends asked....

I am open to dating across the gender spectrum, including trans people, agender people, etc., so though I’ve identified as “bisexual” for most of my life, I am actually “pansexual.” (Thank you, Internet, for helping me learn a new word.)

...I also prefer polyamorous relationships. For me, polyamory means I have a primary partner who is my priority and then other partners depending on if I like someone and they like me. Sometimes that third person is also sleeping with my primary partner. Sometimes they are not. Sometimes my partner has someone else they’re seeing. Sometimes they don’t. It’s an open relationship, and coincidentally, because I am pansexual, it is sometimes with a man, but most often with women.

I have had a boyfriend for a little over a year now. He is cis and straight — which means when the doctors assigned him male at birth, they were 100 percent correct.... Almost all of my close friends are women, and almost all of those are queer-identified. When I had girlfriends, I could bring them into my friend group seamlessly.... But now I’ve got this kind, sweet, smart dude around. I still date within our gay community, but I come with a boy-shaped anchor. ["Anchor relationship" is becoming a poly-world alternative to "primary relationship."] Most of my friends have become friends of his, too. However, some have dropped off, confused as to why “all the lesbians around here fuck men.”

Just this weekend, a friend said, "Isn't it great we're all gay?" And then looked at me and said, "kind of." It hurt. It hurt because it’s the erasure of the very real fluidity of sexuality that a lot of queer people experience. It makes me feel like my relationships aren't valid or meaningful, or that I've offended "my people" by falling in love with a straight guy....

This confusion over my identity doesn't just happen with my friends. It also happens in little and big moments all throughout my daily life....

So when I am dating a guy, my life as a "straight girl" is pretty, well, straight. My boyfriends’ families judge me on my merits and not on their opinions of homosexuality. The waiter at the restaurant hands him the check.... My boyfriend and I are smiled at by old people on the street while holding hands, and I get chairs pulled out and doors opened for me.

Life is a lot different when people assume I'm a lesbian....

...If I shout from the rooftops about being queer, people will have to get it, right? I have the luxury of making a video all about my coming out process.... It’s a story I’ve told in a lot in different mediums, but I wasn’t always brave enough to do so when I was a kid (I went to a religious high school and I remember having regular anxiety attacks where I imagined everyone in the hallway looking at me and knowing I was gay).

Then, a month ago, I sat with an old classmate, an out lesbian herself now, and told the entire YouTube community about those paranoid hallucinations. I could not have predicted that I’d have the confidence to do that when I was a teenager. It's amazing how much can change over time....

Read her whole article (January 7, 2016).

Update Jan. 15: She posts a followup vlog talking about the article: "Polyamory, Pansexuality, Published" (7:05):


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January 8, 2016

"Polyamory by the Numbers": A dissection of the growing interest

The Advocate

America's leading gay magazine reports on the growing public interest in and acceptance of polyamory, although it notes that there's a long way to go. The article is also in the magazine's current print issue.

Polyamory By the Numbers

In the wake of marriage equality, data shows Americans think three isn’t such a crowd.

By Brenden Shucart

From the pages of Time magazine to the rules of the new “Fallout” game, polyamory seems suddenly to be everywhere — and very present in the public consciousness....

Exact numbers for individuals practicing non-monogamy can be maddeningly hard to come by. But most researchers estimate that a full 4–5 percent of Americans participate in some form of ethical non-monogamy. In her Psychology Today blog post on May 9, 2014, Elisabeth Sheff relates the findings of independent Australian academic Kelly Cookson:

“It appears that sexually non-monogamous couples in the United States number in the millions. Estimates based on actually trying sexual non-monogamy are around 1.2 to 2.4 million. An estimate based solely on the agreement to allow satellite lovers is around 9.8 million. These millions include poly couples, swinging couples, gay male couples, and other sexually non-monogamous couples.”

Who they are may surprise you.

A 2012 survey of 4,062 poly-identified individuals ages 16 to 92 conducted by Loving More — a polyamory support and advocacy organization — found a number of interesting data points.

There are more women than men: Essentially half of the respondents (49.5 percent) identified as female, while only 35.4 percent identified as male. The remaining 15.1 percent either declined to choose between male and female or wrote in “third” genders such as two-spirit and genderqueer.

The survey didn’t ask respondents to state their sexual orientation, but about half of the female respondents and about a fifth of the male respondents were actively bisexual, having had sex with both men and women within the preceding 12 months. When compared with the general population — by way of the biennial General Social Survey (GSS) — the self-identified poly population was slightly, but significantly, happier than the general population, and better educated.

At least 25.8 percent of those taking the survey, however, had personally experienced discrimination because of their lifestyle.

But the data from a March 2015 Gallup poll clearly shows a growing tolerance for relationships and situations outside the bounds of traditional monogamous marriage.

Compared with similar data collected by Gallup in 2001 and 2002, there has been a 15 percent growth in those who view sex between an unmarried man and woman as morally acceptable, and an increase of 16 percent in the acceptability of having a baby out of wedlock. Acceptance of divorce is up 12 percent. And tolerance for “polygamy” is up to 16 percent, which may not seem like much, but it’s more than twice the 7 percent who found it to be morally acceptable in 2001. Support for each of these indicators is at an all-time high.

In the court of public opinion, however, not all consensual non-monogamous relationships are created equal. A paper published online in September 2013 in the journal Psychology & Sexuality found that those in polyamorous relationships are seen in a more positive light than either swingers or those in open relationships. In 13 different areas there were significant perceived differences between the three consensual non-monogamy strategies under scrutiny. Those in polyamorous relationships were regarded as more moral, more motivated by duty (rather than pleasure), and more family-oriented than swingers and those in open

...Given the trends, popular acceptance of — and even legal recognition for — marriages between more than two people is likely not a question of “if” but rather “when.” And given how quickly public opinion has shifted on same-sex marriage, “when” could be sooner than anyone expects.

Read the whole article (January 8, 2016).

Perhaps paralleling such trends, self-identification with bisexuality is also on the rise among both men and women.



Media erupt as "OkCupid Adds a Feature for the Polyamorous"

OkCupid has started offering something a lot of polyfolks have long agitated for. Or rather, they've made an attempt at it. And it's drawing a lot of media attention.

OkCupid has been the default dating site of the poly world for years now, but it's still awkward to use well for this purpose. (Tips for how; scroll down to "OkCupid.") Will the new option really help?

First, here's the article that broke the story — at The Atlantic, a major mainstream news and analysis magazine:

OkCupid Adds a Feature for the Polyamorous

Seeing an increased interest in non-monogamous arrangements, the company will allow couples to link their profiles and search for additional mates.

By Olga Khazan

Online dating behemoth OkCupid is adding a feature tailor-made for polyamorous people. The new setting, which became available for some beta users in December, allows users who are listed as “seeing someone,” “married,” or “in an open relationship” on the platform to link their profiles and search for other people to join their relationship. It will be rolled out to all users on Friday.

A screenshot of the new feature obtained by The Atlantic [above] shows a stock photo of a sample user listed as “in an open relationship” with another, whose profile is linked below his.

The move comes in response to a rapid uptick in the number of OkCupid users interested in non-monogamous relationships. According to the company’s data, 24 percent of its users are “seriously interested” in group sex. Forty-two percent would consider dating someone already involved in an open or polyamorous relationship. Both numbers represent increases of 8 percentage points from five years ago. The number of people who say they are solely committed to monogamy, meanwhile, has fallen to a minority of all users, 44 percent, down from 56 percent in 2010.

“It seems that now people are more open to polyamory as a concept,” said Jimena Almendares, OkCupid’s chief product officer....

OkCupid added the “open relationship” setting in 2014.... The polyamorous profile-linking setting is not yet coming to Tinder or Match.com, the other sites owned by OkCupid parent company Match Group, according to Almendares....

Though specialized dating sites for polyamorous people exist, this appears to be the first instance of a mainstream online dating platform allowing two users to search for sexual partners together, as a unit. Polyamorous people have long used dating apps and sites by either spelling out their arrangement in their profile bios or by creating their profile as a couple.

However, Almendares says, that created confusion for people looking to join polyamorous arrangements....

The whole article (Jan 8, 2016).

Says Franklin Veaux,

Nice idea, badly implemented. OK Cupid now allows you to specify the name of a partner and link your OKC account if you say you’re in an open relationship…but only one. You can only have one ‘real’ relationship, you see.

[They seem to] think of polyamory as something couples do, rather than something people do. They’re far from the only ones who see it that way.

So don't forget the Chrome plugin. Other readers remind us that there's already a more useful OkCupid hack for polyfolks (and other non-mainstream people): the OkCupid for the Non-Mainstream User extension.

Updates next day:

● Now there's an article on CNN: Polyamorous community welcomes new OkCupid feature for open relationships (Jan. 8). It quotes Pepper Mint:

"It's good news but it's not just OkCupid being generous," [Mint] added. "It's well-known in the poly community that if you want to date online you go to OkCupid. What we're really seeing is [the effect of] non-monogamous purchasing power."

OkCupid readily admits that the feature comes in response to growing interest among users in relationships with more than one person at a time, be it flings, casual hookups or committed relationships.

From 2010 to 2015, the site saw an increase from in positive responses related to multiple partners, OkCupid chief product officer Jimena Almendares said, including "Would you consider dating someone who is already involved in an open or polyamorous relationship?" and "Would you consider being part of a committed polyamorous relationship?"

"Now, couples can identify themselves, and users searching for a non-monogamous relationship can find them more easily," Almendares said. "Also, users searching for monogamous relationships only will not see profiles of users in non-monogamous relationships."

After the CNN article went up, the reporter, Emanuella Grinberg (who's covered poly well for CNN before) added this new material to the story from Pepper about the problem of OkCupid's couple-assumption:

There's still room for improvement, Mint said. He would like to see "polyamorous" become a relationship status option. In the spirit of honesty and transparency that polyamory is predicated upon, being able to add more multiple partners to a profile would be another positive step forward, especially since many poly people don't seek out new mates as a couple.

"OkCupid has been making incremental changes and they're good but there's still farther to go," he said.

Elsewhere a commenter notes,

What makes it extra puzzling to me is that OkCupid already has a useful feature for this: If you use double square brackets, you can link to any other OKC profile in your description. Which allows you to explain your current situation in plain English and link in profiles where appropriate.

For instance, just type "My other partners are [[UserName]] and [[Username]]." (With their permission, of course.)


● On NBC News: OKCupid Hearts Polyamorous Relationships With New Feature (Jan. 8).

Cosmopolitan: OkCupid Is Launching a Feature for Polyamorous Couples [sic] (Jan. 8).

● Engadget: OKCupid offers options for polyamorous couples (Jan. 9):

One of OkCupid's biggest advantages versus other matchmaking sites is the seemingly endless amount of dating data its users provide voluntarily in an effort to find a compatible mate. The flip-side of that is OkCupid can use that information to tailor its site to emerging trends -- like offering the option for polyamorous folks to link their profiles to make finding like-minded people easier....

This wasn't a random change, rather it was spurned by the massive amounts of information OKCupid has available to it. Forty-two percent of its users are willing to consider dating a someone in an open or polyamorous relationship, while 24 percent are interested in group sex. The Atlantic says that those numbers each jumped by eight percent in the past five years and that, in the same time period, people identifying exclusively as monogamous has dropped 12 percent. This is simply the site reacting to what its users are looking for.

Update Jan. 12: More media are running with this story, but they're mostly copying from the items above. Here's an exception by Zachary Zane at Pride.com, who considers the meaning of this bit of public recognition and its limitations: OkCupid Going “Polyamorous”: What This Means for the Poly Community (Jan. 11):

...Additionally, but on a related note, the linkage of a couple doesn’t in any way create or facilitate connections to further create a polyamorous community. And polyamory doesn’t typically exist in isolation, with one couple being polyamorous; it typically exists in the larger context of a group of like-minded individuals. A community. This linkage doesn’t facilitate that community—again, just men and women looking for threesomes.

Despite my reservations about OkCupid’s couple's linkage feature, (which should accurately be called “unicorn hunt” feature), I would argue the benefits far outweigh the cons. It’s necessary for non-monogamous relationships to become more visible, in order for society to accept those types of relationships as valid. Nevertheless, OkCupid needs to proceed with caution at the fear of misrepresenting and further demonizing the poly community, as solely looking for sexual flings—perhaps by better clarifying and separating the differences between non-monogamous and polyamorous.



January 5, 2016

The poly movement gets wide cred for the insights it offers everyone: Article roundup, Part 2.

Part 1 of this article collection, which I finally got up two weeks ago, became the most-read post on Polyamory in the News in 2015. Thanks!

Here's Part 2, even larger. Click the titles for the full stories.

Ten Lessons You Learn from Being Polyamorous, from SheWired (Aug. 1, 2015):

What multiple lovers can teach you

By Sasha Garwood

Much of my recent adult life has been spent in consensual non-monogamy.... Here are some life lessons I learned…

1. Not all relationships that matter are romantic or sexual ones

Ironically enough, one of my major takeaways from non-monogamy was how significant all the sustained and meaningful relationships in my life were, not just the sexual ones. When you’re receiving emotional support and sustenance from a network of different people and your friendships may or may not contain sexual elements, you start to realize that actually the important things are intimacy and trust and closeness and loyalty, however you best perceive or interpret those things....

2. Love is not a finite resource (although time, attention and money all are)

It’s a poly truism that ‘love is not a finite resource,’ and it’s often countered with ‘maybe not, but time is.’  I learned pretty early on that I couldn’t cope with dating more than 2 or 3 people on a regular basis.... Knowing what your finite resources are, what your feelings are and how to make the two fit together to maximise everyone’s happiness and sanity is really important.

3. Sex and meaning do not necessarily correlate

...Sex doesn’t mean feelings are there if they weren’t, or make feelings change, or mean you’re compatible in ways you weren’t before. If you’re poly, it’s much more difficult to convince yourself that you should be in a relationship with someone just because you’ve had sex. This is mostly a good thing.

4. Trust your instincts.

...If you’re dating other people – or know you could if you’d like to – you get pretty good at gauging not only whether people are interested in you, but whether you’re interested in them. It also makes it very difficult to hide when things aren’t working, because other partners and lovers are sort of dragged into the mix.

5. Very few things are not improved by direct and honest communication

...The end result is that I communicate like a motherfucker. Unsettled by something? Feeling neglected or insecure or stifled? I will not only tell you in a non-antagonistic way and explain why, but also suggest what might make me feel better.

6. Everyone makes mistakes – what matters is how you deal with them

...If one person in your network (or ‘polycule’) is being a jerkwad, the repercussions ripple outward like somebody dropping Stonehenge into a puddle. You just gotta own your shit. The difference between ‘I’m really sorry, I know I did x wrong, here are the steps I am taking to fix it’ and ‘OMG I’m in such pain somebody else please fix it’ is astronomical.

7. Know what you’re getting into

...Ask them about their other partners and/or their exes. If they’re cagey, rude, dismissive or cruel, walk away....

8. It will only work if EVERYBODY is into it (it’s not for everyone)...

9. G or ICal is a godsend (because scheduling matters)...

10. Nobody has all the answers (but you can figure out a bunch of stuff about yourself)...

None of this is necessarily easy. My own shift from polyamory back to monogamy was pretty tough, not just because of giving up lovers.... The point is, one of the best things about poly is that it brings you face to face with a lot of your needs and desires and vulnerabilities – and teaches you tools to deal with them. A toolkit is a good thing, and the poly toolkit is pretty multicontextual.

● She wrote a followup with further insightful stuff: 10 Reasons to Open Up Your Relationship (Sept. 1).

...‘Because you both want to’ is the best reason of all, and if either you or your partner are not really into the idea then you probably shouldn’t. But there are actually a whole bunch of advantages to poly and open relationships that aren’t obvious if you’ve never really been exposed to them....

1) You’re not asking one person to meet all of your emotional, sexual, intellectual and practical needs

2) It solves issues of personal, sexual and social difference...

3) It helps relationships last longer (or end if they need to)...

4) It can help you both retain a sense of individuality

Opening up often helps partners to see each other as separate people, with their own tastes in people and practices, and their own exciting ideas, rather than falling into thinking of each other as two halves of the same undifferentiated unit. Plus, if you’re happy for them to see other people but they keep returning to you for love and support, it reinforces the fact that you’re together because your relationship is good and you love one another, rather than sticking in it through inertia, lack of option, or fear.

5) Monogamy is pretty much at odds with how human beings grow and change

...Open or multiple relationships afford much greater space for each person to develop individually without being stymied by needing to fill a particular role in the relationship, and often require open discussion and negotiation that is very good for the relationship. Over time, individual changes may mean changes in the relationship, but are much less likely to mean ending it (see 3).

6) You’re less tempted to try and shoehorn anybody into being ’the One’ just because you’re having sex with them...

7) Amazing support networks dedicated to one another’s wellbeing

Provided everyone involved really wants to be there, poly and open relationship networks can be sterling sources of love, support and succour through thick and thin....

8) Threesomes (or moresomes) are great...

9) It’s easier to spot and deal with abusive relationships

If you have happy, healthy relationships for comparison, it’s more difficult for anyone to gaslight you or coerce you into doing things you don’t want to do – or at least, there are more people around to notice, offer you practical and emotional support and help you to leave.... [But see here.  Ed.]

10) More different, varied experiences and opportunities for personal growth

...As an exploration of self and other, poly and open relationships are brilliant – and often involve lots of sex, plenty of hugs and much intelligent discussion as well.

Many thanks to Ryll, Evan, Helen, Sarah, Helen, Emma, Eunice, Psyche, Karen, Katryn, Trish and Jenni for distilled wisdom.

● One of the sanest takes I've ever read on whole subject: The Bigger Picture of Polyamory.  It was recently put up by Jasna (Dec. 27) and is being widely linked to.

...Polyamory is something I feel strongly about, to my core, but it’s actually a small part of a much larger life philosophy which has slowly been showing itself to me in recent years.

I love exploring the way friendships develop. When I meet someone new, I never quite know what form that friendship will take — in the beginning, the possibilities are limitless, and that’s simultaneously exhilarating and remarkably comforting. I love watching the shape of the friendship evolve and change and discover itself.

The great majority of the time, the friendship settles into a comfortable platonic companionship. We get along well, we laugh together, we care for each other, we form happy memories. We are friends.

Sometimes it settles into a space that doesn’t quite have a good name. I have friends whom I cuddle quietly with. Friends whose hand I like holding. Friends whom I hold in my arms when they are sad, and whose forehead I kiss to comfort them. It is still a friendship, but if I were in a monogamous relationship with someone, this type of friendship would begin to blur the lines of what’s okay....

I have found that when I remove expectations for what a friendship should and shouldn’t be, it slowly begins to take its natural form, and becomes something even more beautiful.

Sometimes, the form that it takes edges into the romantic.... Navigating romance outside the norm of a common constructed social narrative is tricky at best, and forces a lot of self-exploration and communication. It requires time and emotional energy. The times in my life when I have been able to provide these things and focus on multiple romantic relationships have been some of the happiest and most rewarding in my life. But truthfully, it’s rare to have the time and energy for it.

It’s not that I’m poly because I want to be in multiple relationships. It’s just that, as I go through my life and discover the friendships and connections that naturally arise, there just isn’t a place for monogamy to comfortably fit into.

...I just want my friendships to blossom and grow and settle into their own natural level.

Read the whole article, and pass it on. One of my favorite poly sayings is "Let your relationships be what they are."

● On Vivid & Brave, "A Community & Conversation for Creative Women": Accidental Polyamory Saved My Sanity (Sept. 2):

By Markie Jones

Growing up, I tried to adhere to strict Christian values. Remember those WWJD bracelets that were popular mid-90s? I had one in just about every color.... I wanted the prince charming, once-in-a-lifetime monogamous marriage. What I got was a divorce, a baby daddy, and I became accidentally polyamorous.

...Realizing I still loved my ex-husband while falling madly in love with another man drove me to near insanity.... It wasn’t until my new love mentioned polyamory that I ever gave it a consideration. Upon learning that he subscribed to poly principles, I began my research. I found a new outlook on life.... This knowledge has allowed me to open doors to a happy and healthy blended family.

...I am now able to balance multiple relationships by applying my knowledge to both my romantic and platonic friendships. I can love more than one person and still give someone my whole being. I don’t feel the guilt that I used to because I don’t have to choose one over the other. Each person plays a very important role in my life and the lives of my children. For me, it’s brought me deeper feelings towards people in general, because I’m allowed to feel everything towards them....

● From erotic-romance author Chloe Thurlow: Why a Polyamory Affair is Good for Your Health (Sept. 3)

Chloe Thurlow
If an affair makes you feel as if you’re walking the highwire (breathless, excited, close to death), a polyamory affair makes you feel like you’re flying.

A polyamory affair is one where couples [sic] treat sex as fun, recreational, a joy to be liberally shared; who take lovers and encourage their partner to does the same.... In a polyamory affair, couples aren’t looking for a quick fling, but as poly flings as each partner can handle. A polyamory affair is a life-style choice, a philosophy, a desire to live fully and abundantly without lies, arguments, jealousy, possessiveness, recrimination and feelings of rejection.

A polyamory affair [that is] free from stress, heartache and bitterness is healthy, fulfilling and likely to endure. Maybe forever. And here’s the weird thing: a polyamory affair doesn’t even have to be sexual. It usually is, obviously, but it is not a precondition.

My polyamory affair is now in its third year....

● The current issue of Marie Claire, an old-school women's magazine, waxes enthusiastic but misses a lot of the message: The Next Sexual Revolution? A Look at the Estimated Millions of People Exploring Open Marriages (January 2016 print issue, online Dec. 14, 2015). Actually, it's a brief profile of three very primary couples who have side options. The theme: "Many people practicing nonmonogamy see it as a way to preserve their relationship, not implode it, says Esther Perel, marriage therapist and author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence...."

The clueless author labels one pair "The Poly Partners" even though they say "We don't have romantic partners." (No word on how their secondaries may feel about that.) And hey, the term is polyamory; the definition is built in.

● A long piece in Dame Magazine by sex-pos writer and editor Rachel Kramer Bussell: Can an Open Marriage Be a Good Marriage? (Aug. 18):

Here’s how polyamory can open up your options, from the people who are making it work.

...I wanted to find out what makes open marriages work, especially since we live in a society that is highly skeptical of the prospect. Yes, sometimes open marriages end — but many not only survive, but thrive. In fact, those in open marriages often credit polyamory with strengthening the marriage and making each of them better spouses.

...The first thing to know about open marriages is that there’s no single way of conducting them.

...When she was about to get engaged, [Lola] reconnected with her first love, and realized she still had feelings for him. They began an affair. She brought up the idea of polyamory to her now-husband, but “he didn’t understand that me being in love with someone else didn’t mean I loved him less. He couldn’t wrap his head around it.”...

Eventually, when another couple was interested in a foursome with them, he agreed to it, and this was his moment of recognition that polyamory could work for them. For a time, they would only have sex with other people together. Now, he is involved in a long-term relationship with a married woman who has two kids — Lola considers them their “poly family.” Lola dates, but isn’t looking for anything serious.

Which is to say, through trial and error, they’ve found a way to make polyamory work for them....

How to start the conversation

...According to Inara de Luna, a relationship coach who has been in open relationships for over 20 years, “It’s important for both partners to go through an assessment process to see if this relationship style might be a good fit for them. Ideally, this process should take place before there is a new erotic/romantic outside interest in a particular person. Once another human being is involved, then objectivity flies out the window and the urgency to consent becomes a pressure of its own.”...

It’s crucial that you ask the right questions. According to de Luna, they include: “What are their motivations for opening their relationship? What do they expect out of such a relationship style? And what are their needs, limits, boundaries, and triggers?”...

...Check out some of the extensive resources at polyamory sites like Opening Up, Loving More and More Than Two to find books, organizations, message boards, counselors and more who are experienced in polyamory.

Are open marriages good for marriage?

Opening up your marriage isn’t going to automatically solve interpersonal issues between spouses, but it can be a way to safely explore attractions to others and aspects of your sexuality, learn about yourself and deepen your communication with your spouse by discussing fantasies and options you might not otherwise.

The women I spoke with told me they felt they are better wives not despite their polyamorous relationships, but because of them....

● Vice magazine interviews Brandon Wade, the entrepreneur behind the dating site OpenMinded.com, and titles it Having Sex with a Bunch of People Might Save the Institution of Marriage (June 30, 2015).

Q: So polyamory is unique because it's more about building a sort of community, rather than just each person having a series of relationships. But I feel that connectivity would bring so many issues.

Well, you'll be interested to know I'm working with my legal team on a pre-dating agreement. It's like a prenuptial agreement that we'll be making public, hopefully by the end of the year, so that people who are about to start dating each other can negotiate the conditions and terms and put them on a piece of paper. That way, when they do break up, things can be done in a cordial and organized manner.

● I bet this had some poly influence behind it: at Mic.com, Kate Hakala writes It's Time We Embrace the Taylor Swift Theory of [non-sexual] Friendship (June 10):

We no longer have best friends. Instead, we have five of them. Or six. Or hey, maybe even an entire squad.

...Welcome to the Taylor Swift theory of friendship, where best friendship is no longer monogamous, it's an umbrella term of intimacy. Swift changes the language of BFFs from a duality to a league.

● In The Georgia Straight, alternative weekly paper of Vancouver: What I learned from dating a polyamorous Tinder match for two weeks in Europe (Sept. 8)

As our Tinder conversations turned into full-blown dates and adventures around Greece for two weeks, I learned a lot about the poly community as well as what it means to be poly.

...I was most impressed with Miss Winston’s high level of intelligence and emotional maturity. As I got to know her better, I soon realized that her many relationships contributed to her growth as a person. From my interactions with her, I got a sketch of her other partners as well, and in a way, she took the best part of her experiences with each and absorbed it into her own identity....

● As a child, a writer in a U.K. online women's magazine says she was inspired by the movie Paint Your Wagon. She muses at length about Polyamorous Relationships: Are they ideal? (May 13).

Gracie and husband
● Gracie X, recent author of Wide Open: My Adventures in Polyamory, Open Marriage, & Loving on my Own Terms, writes on Bustle, Do Open Marriages Work? How Dating Other People Brings Me Closer to My Husband (Aug. 26):

Right now, my marriage is mostly closed. Our lives are tremendously time-challenged. We have four kids and busy careers. But having some openness is one of many ingredients that keep the erotic life active in our marriage....

It all started a year ago, when my husband and I decided to go on an adventure. I wanted to have sex with a woman, not having done so in many years. The whole idea both titillated my husband and scared him a bit....

Bonnie, like me, was married and bisexual....

● On the website Feminista Jones, in "the Gentleman's Corner," podcaster Desmond JaMaal writes Being Polyamorous Transformed Me (Feb. 2, 2015).

A few years back, I was like water vapor and so was my relationship with love. My emotions and thoughts were like particles that did not have a defined shape or volume. I struggled with mishandling relationships and partners. I learned about polyamory and thought it might be something that would fit me, my sexual and emotional appetites, and my desire to be truly attracted and connected to more than one person. I found myself nestled like a cloud in a forest, dense with thoughts and desires. I decided I was going to be poly and that is when I transformed.

I became liquid, like water. I had a definite volume composed of honest and open inclusivity relating to the status of my multiple relationships, but I had no defined shape. My relationships could be whatever I needed them to be in any configuration I chose. My partners knew I had additional partners and were aware of my desire to express my needs in many ways....

Kelly Neff
● By Kelly Neff on My Tiny Secrets, Polyamory 101: A Super-Sweet Beginners Guide (Sept. 10)

When it comes to sexuality and love, so many of us have been conditioned by a lifetime of programming from our families, media, religious institutions, our teachers.... Feeling safe enough with your partner to break free from this programming and to pursue a lifestyle that feels GOOD to you is an unrivaled gift.

As a bisexual non-monogamous woman, and as a psychologist who specializes in relationships and sexuality, I have personally and professionally witnessed so many people who have sought out that safe place but who have been fearful to express their authentic sexuality to their partner(s).

I certainly was one of those people, but my life has been transformed as I have been traveling on a magical, soul-baring, heart-exploding, crazy challenging and totally enchanted journey into polyamory.


This is my fourth roundup of articles talking about things the poly movement offers the wider culture. Here are the batch two weeks ago, the one before that (January 2015), and the one before that (November 2014).

Lest you be gritting your teeth by now at all this happy-clappy talk, coming in a few days will be some dashes of cold water about the poly movement's gaps and failings, and genuine dangers in this thing that do real damage.

Female factoid: If you have any doubt that the polyamory movement's thought leaders and spokespeople continue to be mainly women, I tallied the genders of the authors of all 33 articles in these four collections. Where the gender could be judged, there are 25 women authors and 5 men.

This 5-to-1 ratio even beats the 3-to-1 female ratio for the authors of the 42-plus nonfiction polyamory books — counting those that have been published in a printed edition, in English, since the movement took shape around 1984. Updating that list is on my to-do calendar!


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