Polyamory on campus, new roundup
The Michigan Daily (University of Michigan)
The Uniter (University of Winnipeg)
The Appalachian (Appalachian State University)
The Odyssey (Tarleton State College)
Columbia Chronicle (Columbia College, Chicago)
The UW Daily (University of Washington)
The Journal (Western Oregon University)
The Daily Californian (UC Berkeley)
Columbia Daily Spectator (Columbia University)
The Reflector (Mississippi State University)
The Peak (Simon Fraser University)
Her Campus (Hofstra)
The Lawrentian (Lawrence University)
The Argus (Lakehead University)
Yuuuge backlog of poly in college newspapers — 15 since my last collection. This list is probably incomplete.
● The Michigan Daily (University of Michigan) ran a feature with sections on polyamory and asexuality: Love Beyond the Binary (Feb. 11, 2016). Excerpts:
...University of Michigan freshman Allie Hodge, who identifies as asexual and biromantic, believes that love simply means being intimate with someone, but “in the way where you feel really comfortable with talking to them, where you can share yourself fully and not worry about judgment.... I don’t feel the desire to have sex, but I can understand people who do find it appealing. At the same time, I do feel really strong romantic attraction to people, as well as platonic.”
...University graduate student Kelly* also feels a certain stigma against her romantic and sexual orientations. Kelly identifies as a lesbian in a non-sexual open relationship with a man.... “Even if I don’t want to have sex with anyone, that doesn’t change who I’m attracted to,” Kelly said. “My sexual orientation isn't about who I sleep with; it's about who I love.”
...For people who identify as polyamorous — being in love or romantically involved with more than one person at the same time — relationships are much more fluid. Hodge talked about the beneficial aspects of polyamorous relationships, since they involve a lot of honesty and rely on a lot of trust.
“Polyamory is often looked at as cheating or being unfaithful,” Hodge said. “But it can also be super healthy, where all these people have this genuine love for each other.”
If you’re not convinced, try watching the 15-minute video made by Elite Daily, titled “A Polyamorous Couple’s Guide To Sleeping With Multiple Partners.” The clip follows Brooklyn partners Caleb and Tran, who both identify as polyamorous. They describe their journeys of having both sexual and romantic relationships with other people, while still retaining their own special relationship as “primary partners.” Throughout the video, Caleb and Tran emphasize the key elements to maintaining a healthy polyamorous relationship, which are openness, honesty and communication....
● Also in the Michigan Daily: Back-to-back events discuss non-traditional sexual practices (Feb. 12):
By Emily Millers
About 50 people attended back-to-back interactive lectures on sexual health Wednesday evening as part of the annual Sexpertise conference on sexual health, hosted by the University Health Service....
Amy Jacobs, a clinical social worker at the University of Michigan Health System, presented “Seeing Other People: Open Relationships, Polyamory and More.” She discussed different types of consensually non-monogamous relationships and discussed her own experiences with open relationships.
Jacobs emphasized that consensual non-monogamy is not cheating because these relationships are based on communication and honesty.
“You’re negotiating those kinds of things with your partner to find out what’s important to you,” Jacobs said. “What do you need out of our relationship so that I make sure that I’m respecting that relationship when I’m with other people?”...
...Jacobs also said being honest about her relationships is a positive for her daughter, in that she gets to experience alternative family styles and know she has options for future relationships.
● The Uniter, the student newspaper of the University of Winnipeg and "Winnipeg's weekly urban journal," profiled polyactivist Anlina Sheng and others: Etching out guidelines for polyamory (Feb. 18).
Photo by Robert Ashworth
By Talula Schlegel
As the exploration of relationships and their dynamics become increasingly open and intricate, we see more conversations about polyamory, a form of non-monogamy.
Anlina Sheng, founding organizer of PolyWinnipeg, says polyamory negates the necessity to restrict relationships based on gender or structure.
“Historically, polyamory has been an egalitarian movement,” Sheng says. “There is huge diversity of polyamorous relationship structures and dynamics.”
...Jaz’s learning curve began in high school.... “polyamory was like a moment of clarity.”...
...“I love the community that we've built in Winnipeg. It's one of the more diverse polyamorous communities that I'm aware of,” Sheng says.... “Rather than focusing on dating and hookups, it focused on networking and sharing experiences and info, and I think that's helped to establish an environment that's safe and welcoming.”
● At Appalachian State University, The Appalachian ran ‘Safe spaces’ for diverse relationships (Feb. 12):
...A far smaller but growing community of people who identify as polyamorous offer another perspective on relationships in the Appalachian community. Polyamorous people are individuals interested in being in a loving, caring and respectful relationship with more than one consenting adult, Beth Fox, Appalachian alumna with a bachelor’s in sociology, said.
Fox said in a polyamorous relationship there is not a finite amount of love designated for a single individual.
A big misconception about these kinds of relationships is that they are purely sexual and non-committal, when in fact they involve a high level of commitment and communication, Fox added.
“Polyamorous people feel that one person cannot be everything, and that loving one person does not take away any love from another person,” she said.
What makes these relationships so strong is the effort put into honest, respectful communication between all parties. They allow individuals to express themselves in many ways with more than one person, Fox said....
● A Christian student at Tarleton State College asks (on a millennials' platform site) her fellow religionists to accept polyfolks for who they are: Polyamory: The New Norm?
What will we do about it? (Feb. 9).
By Caitlyn Oxford
...When I first heard about polyamory, I was appalled! "How could this not be considered cheating?" "This isn't biblically correct!" and "This isn't morally correct!" were thoughts that went through my mind.... Then, I realized what I was doing. I was shaming people just as whites shamed the blacks, straights shamed the homosexuals, and intelligent humans shamed the mentally ill. So how do we face this? Do we shove our religion in their faces? Do we bring them down to a lower level? This time should be different. We should face something new without the need for parades and religious rallies that won't change a thing.
...Many of us stand in a place where we are constantly torn between our incredibly deep love for Christ and our NEED to accept people for who they are, despite their beliefs in things that we don't agree with.... Some of us are young enough, or maybe stupid enough, to believe that not everybody has to believe in what we believe.... The point is that when polyamory blows up in our faces, instead of making them feel as if they are unwanted in our society, let them be what they are. They are in no way hurting us. They believe differently then we do, why is this a problem?
For once in the history of time, can we let people be who they are?
● At Chicago's Columbia College, in the Columbia Chronicle, Three is the new two: How to menage a trois (Feb. 9). I'll refrain from comment, but you can guess what I'm thinking.
By Selena Cotte
Threesomes, once considered a shocking and perverted act, are becoming mainstream as more people decide to add a third partner into their beds.
...Threesomes are different from polyamory — a relationship between multiple people, like Karen’s relationship on the television show “Mistresses” — but if you find yourself wanting another person in your relationship, starting with threesomes can be an easy way to bring up the idea without fully committing....
Whether you are in a relationship and looking for a third or are single and looking to experiment, here’s how you can have your very own threesome.
1. Communicate: Think it through and communicate your thoughts, fears, questions with others — everything you’re thinking about threesomes should be spoken and worked through. Talk about threesomes until the idea nearly loses its appeal....
2. Start looking: The best option will be in person....
● The Daily at the University of Washington: Pillow talk: Polyphobia (Jan. 13).
By Taylor McAvoy
There is a lot of taboo surrounding polyamorous relationships when there really shouldn’t be. In case you were unaware of the terminology, polyamorous, in the context of a relationship, means having three or more people involved in any combination of gender, sexual identity, or marital status.
Marisa Iliakis illustration
...Polyamory can be a wonderful and loving relationship model like all others, but it’s not for everyone. While monogamy is nothing to be ashamed of, it is the social norm and we can always benefit by exploring our options more openly. It’s important to actually get to know something about polyamory and poly people before you decide what works for you personally....
Monogamy actually isn’t all that different from polyamory. In both models, the people involved can be committed or cheat, the relationships can be open or closed, and they are both subject to jealousy under the right circumstances. However, they are not as binary as they seem. There are people who prefer monogamous relationships but would find happiness in a polyamorous relationship with the right people. There is a spectrum here....
...Sadly, loving more than one person romantically is a skill many have failed to even recognize....
The basic guidelines for a polyamorous relationship are the same for any other model. Don’t coerce your partners, define the level of intimacy, consent, tell the truth, be open minded to differing points of view, communicate emotional and sexual needs, set limits on obligations, balance give and take, work as a team to problem solve, grow and change together, treat each other with respect, work through mistakes, and most importantly, have the relationship with the people, not the idea of a relationship.
The book “More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory,” by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert, is a great place to start if you’re interested in learning more about polyamorous relationships and offers some wonderful guidelines and advice for the polyamorous model.
● In The Journal of Western Oregon University, Share the love (Dec. 3, 2015):
By Megan Clark
Campus Life Editor
...Polyamory simply means “many loves,” and involves entering into a relationship with more than one person. People remark on the morality, or lack thereof, of those involved in a polyamorous relationships, saying that it shows lack of commitment and desire for fidelity, which, of course, is untrue.
Possibly due to these misconceptions, polyamory is not overly common, though polyamorous relationships are increasing in popularity.
Some studies, like one done by Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, an educational consultant and the foremost academic expert on polyamory in the United States according to Psychology Today, have shown that polyamorous relationships have few negative impacts on children raised in polyamorous households.
...In addition to the normal issues encountered with monogamous relationships, polyamorous relationships feature many of the same ideals, such as consent, dedication, and, of course, love.
Since polyamory is not based on the perceived ownership of another, it alleviates feelings of jealousy; it is understood that love is shared between multiple people.
Polyamorous relationships allow for varied and greater emotional support....
...According to Tracy Giuliano, a psychologist at Southwestern University in Texas, “the more aware people were of polyamory, the more positive their attitudes were.”
With increased familiarity and awareness comes understanding and the acceptance of healthy lifestyle choices, such as polyamory, that go against the grain.
● In UC Berkeley's Daily Californian, in the Sex On Tuesday column: A love note from one slut to another (Oct. 20, 2015):
By Taylor Romine
When I met Zed, he was wearing a pirate costume, restraining my friend with his faded red rope while slyly smiling at her but also with her. The smiles exchanged were heartwarming — playful yet stern.
I fell in love with him in a way I like to have sex: fast and hard.
...I had a couple of partners when I met him, but none of them were serious. Zed was different. At the beginning of our courtship, we discussed what we each would want from a relationship while affirming that we were both polyamorous — in multiple, consensual relationships simultaneously. We had no intention of being emotionally committed, but it quickly happened anyway.
When some explain what polyamory is about, they tell those who are unfamiliar with it that it is “legalized cheating.” The issue with this approach is that it situates the negative repercussions of cheating within what could potentially be healthy relationship dynamics. Previous boyfriends have cheated on me, and my issue wasn’t the physical component but that they didn’t communicate their needs with me. Of all those times of lying and sneaking around behind my back, what hurt the most was that none of it was necessary. The pain of betrayal could have been prevented by a conversation.
Throughout my dating life, I have always lacked the jealousy that seems to be normal in other monogamous relationships.... One of my favorite parts of being polyamorous is that I don’t participate in that jealousy. Although we are dedicated to each other, we are also very relaxed about our affection toward others. He swipes through Tinder frequently, and I encourage him to openly discuss his experiences. I would rather know specifically what is happening than be in the dark....
My relationship with Zed forces us both to be completely open, continually analyze our relationship and redefine what is important to us over time. Emotional connections with others have proven to be more difficult than any sexual relationship. At the end of July, I briefly dated a guy with whom I had a lot in common...
And although my relationship with Zed is one demonstration of how polyamory can work, it should be based in whatever is comfortable for both partners. The effort we put into our relationship proves to me the dedication we have and that regardless of the ending, our time was well worth it.
● In Columbia University's Columbia Daily Spectator in New York: All You Need Is Loves (Nov. 18, 2015).
By Aidan Goltra
To manage her multiple relationships, School of Engineering and Applied Science junior Arya Popescu uses Google Calendar.
Like any other busy student, Popescu has work to manage, homework to do, and assignments to complete. But despite her busy schedule, Popescu found a polyamorous niche embedded within an apparently vibrant kink and bondage, domination, sadism, and masochism community at Columbia. Sitting with me at a table outside Hartley Hall, Popescu speaks rapidly and with verve about the community, making frequent use of hand gestures.
“I found out Columbia had a kink community and was like, ‘Oh my god, this is so awesome. In that context poly is normal.”
A standard definition of polyamory, often shortened to “poly,” is non-monogamy. However, according to Popescu, this definition is too broad. She explains that while non-monogamy could be used to label every incident of infidelity or random group sex, none of these acts fall under polyamory’s umbrella. In ethical polyamory, what often looks like and is judged like deceit in fact follows consensual, pre-determined rules.
It is perhaps these loose associations, along with a traditional allegiance to monogamy, that keep polyamory from gaining popular acceptance....
Throughout our interview, Popescu repeatedly said that she didn’t view one relationship model as superior, just different from one another. Still, she believes most people take a perspective on polyamory that is too informed by monogamy.
“Really the practice of ethical polyamory involves a lot of openness and mutual communication. Sometimes it’s like, ‘Oh, give me all the gory details.’ Other times, not so much. There’s this mindfulness and openness and active consent regarding relationship practices in the polyamorous community.”...
...On one hand, Popescu says her most intimate relationship is with someone who identifies as asexual. While she and Popescu have “played” together, Popescu says that for the most part, their relationship is platonic.
On the other hand, Popescu is president of Conversio Virium, Columbia’s BDSM and kink club....
Interested in observing the polyamorous scene of New York City at large, I visited Bluestockings on the Lower East Side, a bookstore and cafe where every few weeks the polyamorous club Open Love NY meets. “We try to create a nonjudgmental group that just so happens to love the same way,” Open Love NY Vice President Puck Malamud, whose pronoun is they, says. The group also aims to educate about polyamory through speakers and group discussion.
It was a casual night for Open Love when I visited....
Talking with me to the side, Malamud hesitates to answer when I ask them where the polyamorous movement is headed. Though they concede that polyamorous individuals do not experience the same level of discrimination that minorities or homosexuals do, they recite a long list of legal privileges that do not apply to unmarried or nonmonogamous partnerships, including attorney and health care proxies, custody, health care packages, and defense against discrimination in the workplace, among other benefits.
Malamud believes these exclusions exist to incentivize marriage, preventing polyamorous parents from raising children according to their philosophy. These restrictions prevent, for example, many polyamorous parents from following the idea that “it takes a village to raise a child.” More than a quaint aphorism, according to Malamud, the “village” is a poly ideal, a legal and familial structure many are striving to legitimize, though they are not sure how much progress has been made....
● In The Reflector of Mississippi State University (Ole Miss): Polyamory understanding is needed (Sept. 17, 2015).
By Bek Yake
...I am in a polyamorous relationship with an agender person and a girl. This is different from cheating as all parties are fully aware and in approval of all members of the relationship. I did, in fact, have a rather emotional talk with both of them 2 a.m. one time to ask for permission to date my boyfriend and my established girlfriend, as I had fallen deeply in love again but would not pursue a relationship if she was not in approval. After a lot of panicking for no reason, my girlfriend accepted my then soon-to-be boyfriend with open arms, and everyone cried happy tears. They’re in a very close platonic relationship and ever call each other boyfriend and girlfriend.
I have to say my triangle, as we call it, is probably better than your average couple. Why, you might ask? All relationships, romantic or not, are going to have arguements and misunderstandings. A triangle pretty much guarantees a mediator. If two parties are in disagreement, the third party can talk to the other parties separately to determine the real cause of negative feelings and then coax the two to reconcile and work to be better people. In this setup, no one person can have undue control over another. There are emotional protections from mistreatment and it is a lot easier to have the emotional support you need....
If you are thinking about starting a polyamorous relationship, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.... Communication is key....
● In The Peak at Simon Fraser University, BC, Canada: Guess Again, Grandpa: Polyamory isn’t for me (Feb. 22, 2016).
By Rachel Wong
I always thought that the ‘swinging Sixties’ was in relation to swing dancing. As it turns out, I was pretty far off....
In today’s society, the term ‘polyamory’ is used to describe the relationship that many people share, sometimes two people in a ‘primary’ unit. In this case, both of these people may disclose to their primaries any dates and sexual relations with other partners, setting mutually agreed upon terms and boundaries so as to prevent jealousy and infidelity. People in this type of polyamorous relationship, then, can take part in meaningful relations outside of their primary without having to break up with their primary partner with whom they have built a solid relationship.
Upon sharing this newfound knowledge with my grandpa, he just laughed and said to me, “Well, we didn’t call it the Swinging Sixties for nothing.”...
● A breathless, superficial article-for-hire (I assume) appeared in Her Campus, a commercial mag for female students distributed at colleges. It's positive and happy but seems to assume that poly is all a couples thing: What The Bachelor Doesn't Tell You: All About Polyamory (Feb. 21, 2016).
● In The Lawrentian of Wisconsin's Lawrence University:
Consider the Impact of Amatonormativity (Feb. 19, 2016).
Amatonormativity is the normalization of romantic love. It is the culturally engrained idea that every person wants a romantic partner, is searching for one and will not benefit from any decision that implies otherwise.
Like most other terms of its ilk, amatonormativity is never expressed directly, but is always present.... This type of stigma is especially potent on polyamorous people, for which any sort of monogamous system is unhealthy. Poly people are told that they do not love their partners enough or that they have poor integrity. Many never learn to fully appreciate their body’s capacity for love or the pleasure of not defining their relationship in terms of how marriage-bound it is....
However, none of this compares to how oppressive amatonormativity is towards aromantic people....
● In The Argus of Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario: The Rise Of The Monogam“Ish” (Sept. 15, 2015).
Polyamory is shaping a ‘new normal’ for modern relationships.
Canadian Polyamory Advocacy
Association (CPAA) logo
By Leah Ching
If you know the name Chris Messina, it’s most likely as the inventor of the twitter hashtag, but lately he’s been making new waves, calling for the reinvention of human sexuality on a grand scale. Speaking with CNN, he said, “Personally, I’m in a monogamish relationship. We’re committed to each other, but have a porous boundary around our relationship, meaning we’ve agreed that it’s OK for either of us to express romantic feelings toward other people or to be physically intimate with other people, so long as we’re honest and transparent about our intentions with one another.”
...Many no longer believe monogamy is the only way, and are looking for recognition and understanding of the merits of a polyamorous relationship.
There are many forms of “non-monogamous” relationships, with polyamory (meaning many loves) being one of them. So is polyamory actually on the rise?
...To many, a non-monogamous relationship may seem like an alternative form of thinking and loving that is more flexible and malleable than the rigidity of monogamy. To a growing number, polyamory is a radical new improvement to how we approach modern relationships.
An anonymous Lakehead couple (heterosexual, 25-30) spoke with the Argus about their polyamorous relationship. One partner began by telling the Argus, “Polyamory is not an excuse to hook up and have casual sex. There’s a lot of misconceptions about why people do this.” In reply, her partner offered; “I think we have a deep relationship. Neither of us distrust each other or would ever try to control or shape the other.”...
...As tips for those considering polyamory she suggested, “Base any kind of relationship you enter in honesty, mutual respect for the other person.”