Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

May 24, 2016

"How the You Me Her Cast and Crew Learned From the Polyamory Community"

You Me Her, Audience Network's self-described "polyromantic comedy," ends its first season tonight with Episode 10. You can watch it from 9 to 10 ET/PT on DirecTV, or later online if you're a DirecTV subscriber. Here are titles and brief summaries of all 10 episodes. Some video clips.

I don't get DirecTV but Billy Holder (of Atlanta Poly Weekend) does, and he's reviewed some episodes in detail. He promises more soon.

The show's producer, Scott Shepherd, is paying attention. He talks about Billy as a poly-expert reviewer, though not name, according to this short piece just out at Vulture.com ("devouring culture"):

How the You Me Her Cast and Crew Learned From the Polyamory Community

Craig Barritt / 2016 Getty Images

By Summer Rej

During this weekend’s third annual Vulture Festival, the AT&T Audience Network presented their original series You Me Her, touted as “television’s first polyromantic comedy.” The Saturday afternoon screening, sponsored by DirecTV, was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Vulture’s Jackson McHenry, with creator John Scott Shepherd [above right] and series stars Greg Poehler and Priscilla Faia on hand for a Q&A. The series, which originally premiered at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival, centers around Portland suburban married couple Jack (Poehler) and Emma Travarsky (Rachel Blanchard), who, in an attempt to enliven their marriage, develop a polyamorous relationship with Izzy Silva (Faia), an inconspicuous grad student by day and escort by night.

In real life, the poly community has come forth to keep tabs on how they are represented, starting with the premiere at SXSW. Recounts Faia: “In Austin, when we premiered at SXSW, it was the first time someone came out in the audience and was like, ‘Thank you, I’m in a polyamorous relationship.’ We’re like Yeah, man. It was great.” Poehler agreed, noting, “It’s great that community has embraced the show.”

“The last time we were in New York, we had a whole community of people come, and they had some questions,” Faia continued, with an audience member correcting Shepherd about the definition of polyamory. “I said, 'It's a committed, romantic relationship between three people.' She said, ‘No! Three or more.’ I said, 'Oh my god, you’re calling me out in front of 500 people, thank you so much.' Three or more, I’ll never get it wrong again.”

Shepherd has little room for error — with some poly members so intent on making sure they are accurately portrayed, he choose to approach the series from an authoritative, critical perspective. “There’s a guy from [a polyamorous] group who writes a synopsis of every episode after he watches, and he grades us,” Shepherd says. “It’s kind of cool, because he’s grading us pretty well. It would suck if he was like, 'F, F, F, F, F'!” While the real life trio doesn’t share the same chemistry — with Poehler joking, “We’re in a relationship, the three of us,” and Faia quickly negating, “Don’t, that’s not funny” — keep an eye to see how the on-screen dynamic develops.

The original (May 22, 2016).

● A longer, deeper than usual interview with the show's two main actresses appeared May 4th at Paste magazine: Rachel Blanchard and Priscilla Faia Talk Polyamory and You Me Her.



May 22, 2016

Poly on campus, new roundup

The Daily Texan (UT Austin)
The Oak Leaf (Santa Rosa, California)
The Orion (CalState Chico)
The Sting (Kennesaw State, Georgia)
Iowa State Daily

Now that spring term is closing out, here are more polyamory stories in college newspapers since my last roundup. As always, this is probably incomplete. Click the titles below for the full articles.

● At the University of Texas/Austin, in The Daily Texan: Navigating an open relationship (April 6, 2016):

Melanie Westfall | Daily Texan Staff
My partner and I have been talking about the idea of making our relationship open, and I have reservations about how successful an open relationship can be. How I should go about starting this?

On a campus with 51,000 students, let alone the 7 billion people in the world, finding “the one” is quite the feat.... Knowing that there could be more than just one person for them, couples are turning to consensually non-monogamous relationships to explore their options.... The conditions of exclusivity in an open relationship vary among couples — some couples are completely open, where anything goes, while others prefer some boundaries.

Making sense of a relationship that involves only two people is difficult enough, but there are things to do to make the process of broadening the parameters of a relationship easier.

Get on the same page.

Before starting an open relationship, consider why you or your partner want one in the first place. Do you want to be open because you’re delaying a breakup? Does monogamy just not work for you? Or are you simply just curious about what is out there? Being honest about your intentions will set a good foundation for a successful open relationship.

Set ground rules.

Take time to map out the do’s and don’ts for the new relationship. These rules should cover every possible scenario you can imagine you or your partner getting into and where you stand on the matter.... [Trouble ahead if you go this route, say I. –Ed.]

Be prepared to feel jealous....

Make time for each other....

Embrace the experience.

Deciding to go through with an open relationship can be a great experience. Consensually non-monogamous relationships offer the combination of real intimacy and mutual independence that can be a great way of learning about oneself. A benefit of trying an open relationship is that it’s not a permanent decision. So if it ends up not being the right fit, returning to monogamy is possible. Do what works for you both, and see what can happen when the guard of monogamy is let down.

● In The Oak Leaf of Santa Rosa Junior College: One love, two love, find your true loves (May 17, 2016):

By Chelsea Wood

A new relationship form has emerged quite prevalently. While monogamy is a lifestyle choice, so is polyamory.

...The loss of monogamy within our generation isn’t something to be feared. Many young people simply enjoy not having to be bound to one person. Some even relish the ability to be with multiple people at once. Monogamy is fading away and new forms of social and romantic connection are developing within this age group.

Polyamory is a state of being romantically linked with multiple people at the same time with the full consent of each party involved. Polyamory may have come about to avoid the conflict of infidelity. Instead of going behind a partner’s back the open and honest ideas of polyamory avoid betrayal since each partner is completely aware of the other relationships.

“The healthy relationship aspect of it comes more from proper communication with a partner with any relationship; polyamorous or monogamous,” Meadows said....

● At California State University/ Chico, in The Orion: The More The Merrier (April 3):

Bobbie Rae Jones
By Joann Chevaillier

...I have met many people that are in poly-style relationships, and I have a lot of respect for them. This style of partnership has a flexible meaning and can be only defined by the people involved....

Polyamory, as defined by Wikipedia, “is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships involving more than two people, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved."...

Honest communication is key. With any relationship you have to communicate. When there are multiple partners involved it becomes even more important. Many times people may feel something and only communicate that feeling. But to truly have honest communication the person needs to explore why they feel that way — what’s at the core of the emotion.

– Trust: In this style of relationship a person has to believe the partners will be honest and upfront with anything going on, even if the partner is falling in love with another person.

– Jealousy: There is a misconception that jealousy doesn’t exist like some magic trick, but it does. The difference I have read is that jealousy is treated like any other emotion. The person feeling jealous mainly has to deal with the emotion, but also needs to communicate to the other partners....

● At Kennesaw State University in Georgia, an article and a followup in The Sting, the "student lifestyle magazine":

Exploring Polyamory (March 1):

By Brittany J. Rosario

...With this information, I began to challenge the structure of monogamy by finding out more about polyamory because it was clear that monogamy didn’t work for every individual’s well-being.

...The first article we found, “Monogamy VS. Polyamory – Are Humans Built To Love One Or Many?,” is written by Dr. Karen Ruskin [Oh God. –Ed.], who is a marriage counselor, parenting strategist, and human behavior expert. She discusses the differences between polyamory and monogamy and how it has an impact on the way a couple interacts and grows together.

Another article from Live Science, “New Sexual Revolution: Polyamory May Be Good for You,” states that being polyamorous has benefits: it prevents emotional stress, jealousy, and as long as safe sex is practiced it can be helpful to maintaining a happy and healthy partnership.

After evaluating the information in both articles and the lifestyle of polyamory, I hope you all have come to the same conclusion as I did. No matter what or who you choose, just choose to be happy. Everyone is different and has their own way of loving and caring for others....

The followup: Further Explorations into Nonmonogamy: Key Concepts & Tips for Beginners (April 2):

By Administrator

This article serves as a followup to Brittany Rosario’s “Exploring Polyamory” article.

...For the past two years, I’ve interacted with several individuals who consider themselves to be polyamorous. I, myself, have experimented with having non-monogamous relationships and have found it to be beneficial....

Something I particularly enjoy about polyamorous relationships is the emphasis on communication. Yes, communication is vital in any relationship, but people within the poly community really stress its importance and (more often than not) attempt to resolve any problems they have with partners. And this goes beyond just communicating about problems within the relationship two people have. It creates a support system within groups of people who are aware of each other’s relationships and also keeps everyone’s sexual health in check, as STI testing is of paramount importance (for obvious reasons).

...There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to pursue nonmonogamous relationships, with respect to structure, but there is such a thing as ethical nonmonogamy.

...On a totally different note, when a monogamous relationship fails, that’s usually the end. Typically (and somewhat mysteriously), it’s hard to move on and become friends. Polyamory places a lot of emphasis on the fluidity of relationships. A friend of mine is now friends with a former partner of hers. They hang out like friends normally would. The breakup has had very little effect on their ability to continue having a relationship, save for the fact that their relationship no longer has a romantic component.

...Some people absolutely can’t handle nonmonogamy in any capacity – and that’s okay! You should never pursue something you’re uncomfortable with....

I’ve read most of The Ethical Slut and think it has a lot of great information, but the hyperfocus on sex might be off-putting for some (as well as the somewhat bizarre “free love” hippie rhetoric). I’ve heard More Than Two gives a more objective look at polyamory with more of a focus on romantic relationships than sexual ones.... the polyamory subreddit is free to read and comment on! It’s a great place to get your feelings out, ask for advice, and discover more poly resources.

● In the Iowa State Daily: ISU students share varying identifications, personal definitions (March 8, 2015):


Over the years, many different identities and terms have surfaced as individuals discover themselves and others around them.

Many people have their own unique definitions of their identities. Though there are countless identities out there, here are a few with personal definitions from people around campus:


...“My definition of genderqueer and how I apply it to myself is that I am outside of the gender binary, so I don’t identify as a man or a woman,” Savanna said. “I prefer taking gender roles and expressions from both men and women and combining them.”...



...“I view pansexual as attraction regardless of gender and bisexual as attraction to all genders,” Luce said. “However, I grew up being told that bisexuality is within the gender binary, and that is how my family and friends view it, so I identify as pansexual to show that I do not adhere to the binary.”



...“I use the definition multiple relationships with the consent of everyone involved,” said Kenni Terrell, sophomore in journalism and communication.

...“I came out five years ago when I heard about it and found out that it existed,” Terrell said. “I knew it was me. It wasn’t something that I had to think about. That’s like with all of my identities, I just kind of know.”

Terrell talked about how many people might not have a good understanding of what polyamory is, but once they are given the definition, they seem to understand it.... “I feel like society is becoming more understanding.”



● And best of all, don't forget the service the hostiles did for us last month with this diligent roundup, full of useful resources, in The Daily Caller: Across The Country, Universities Look To Mainstream Polyamory (April 2).



May 21, 2016

The Guardian wants to hear about your open relationships

Here's a chance to tell your story. The Guardian newspaper (based in the U.K. but with a major presence in North America and worldwide) asks how open relating works for you.

You get a form with essay boxes to fill in, briefly or at length. The questions are pretty open-ended. Copy-and-pasting should work if you already have something written. You specify whether they may publish your response and whether you want to remain anonymous.

Let's get a wider batch of poly stories in there, not just open couples!

The solicitation went up May 20th. From the text:

Are you in an open relationship? Tell us about it

By Sarah Marsh

There has been a lot of discussion on open relationships lately, with ongoing reports about a celebrity threesome, and the TV personality Saira Khan saying she has given her husband permission to sleep with other women (something he later denied).

...Non-monogamous relationships are increasingly being talked about and in 2009 it was estimated that there were about half a million polyamorous relationships in the US – although exact figures are hard to come by.

Are you in an open relationship? If so, then we want to hear from you. What are the challenges and benefits? Is it something that is more common among particular generations? Get in touch by filling in the form below.

Go do it.


May 20, 2016

Thorntree Press, leading poly publisher, takes off

Three years ago I had my doubts when Eve Rickert and Franklin Veaux said they were going to start their own book-publishing company to bring out More Than Two, after dozens of publishers had rejected Franklin's proposal. How often does that work out?

But they've pulled it off big. They set up Thorntree Press, published More Than Two their own way keeping full control, marketed the book vigorously, found a distributor, and learned a lot. In the first a year and a half they sold more than 25,000 copies (in all formats) — amazing for new, self-published authors — and they just ordered a very large new printing.

That was the start. Thorntree Press now has nine books by various authors in publication, most of them poly related. Eve and Franklin have scheduled six more books for 2017; four of these will branch out to other relationship topics. They recently signed a bigger, better distributor to handle their books. Right now they're holed up in the woods sweating out another book of their own: Love More, Be Awesome. It won't be poly-specific; Franklin calls it "a kind of user’s guide for being a human being: tips and ideas for being awesome and living a life of compassion and kindness."

My impression is that Franklin is the mad visionary here and Eve is the pertinacious do-er who makes visions real. Before this venture, she had already been running her own science editing business (Talk Science To Me) on the edges of the book-publishing world.

They were just interviewed by Foreward Reviews magazine:

Polyamorously Yours... and Yours: Thorntree Press Redefines Relationships

By Howard Lovy

...The story of your founding is a familiar one for indie publishers. You sent your ideas to traditional publishers, who told you it couldn’t be done. So far, have the naysayers been right?

The idea for our first book, More Than Two, was shopped around to a large number of publishers and agents – about fifty in all. Many of them sent very similar replies, along the lines of, “We don’t see an interest in polyamory, and we don’t think a how-to book on this subject will sell, but if you’d like to submit a memoir, we’d love to publish that.”

We set up an indie publisher and did both books: the how-to and the memoir. The memoir [The Game Changer] has been modestly successful, but the how-to book has been a runaway hit, selling over 25,000 copies in its first eighteen months. Apparently the naysayers have been the exact opposite of right.

Apparently, millennials have rediscovered polyamory. It’s almost as if the ’60s never happened, though. Is the practice fundamentally different today than in previous generations?

Considerably so. Polyamory bears little resemblance to the “free love” movement of the 1960s.

Free love advocates talked about open sexuality, but often failed to acknowledge the realities: physical intimacy is, for most of us, the gateway to emotional intimacy. They didn’t really consider how to have multiple simultaneous committed romantic relationships.

Over the past couple of decades, the polyamory movement has grappled with exactly that question: Sex aside, what does it look like to have multiple romantic relationships? How is it possible to be in love with, and often be committed to, more than one person at a time? What relationship skills do we need to make it work? How can we relate to multiple romantic partners in ways that are healthy and that support positive, loving, long-lasting relationships? What does it mean to raise children and form families that are non-monogamous? How do the power dynamics work? Who does the laundry?

When we look at modern poly communities, which largely got their start in the early 1990s, we see a process of developing ways of relating and building healthy, dynamic relationships that go way, way beyond sex....

Don’t get us wrong, sex is fun and healthy and great, but you need more than sex to build a life. That’s what polyamory is about — building lives that just happen to involve more than two romantic partners.

Those of us who have been part of the polyamory movement for the past few decades have learned a lot of lessons and made a lot of mistakes. The millennial generation is, I think, the first generation that does not have to fight to try to build a new way of relating: Many of them are growing up in a world where polyamory is one choice among many, and there’s not a default assumption that everyone has to live the same way.

We think that’s amazing. We think the millennials are going to be an awesome generation. They are taking to polyamory naturally, and we they’re really going to show us how to do it well.

Stories From The Polycule is an INDIEFAB finalist. These are stories from real-life polyamorous relationships. What’s the biggest takeaway from this book?

There’s more than one “right” way to have a relationship. Families are different from each other. Different families can be totally different in form and function and the people in them can still be strong, vibrant, happy, and healthy.

Are there any upcoming titles you’re excited about?

We have two amazing books coming out this fall, Ask Me About Polyamory! The Best of Kimchi Cuddles  and  Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain.

Ask Me About Polyamory! is exciting because as a comic, it will be the most accessible introduction to polyamory on the market to date. The creator, Tikva Wolf, has a huge following for her Kimchi Cuddles webcomic, with over 15,000 Facebook followers and 300 supporters on Patreon, and the crowdfunding for her book was fully funded less than 48 hours after it launched. It’s a very different book than More Than Two, but we think it will easily be as successful.

Purple Prose is a big step for us because it’s the first book we’re doing that’s not focused on ethical nonmonogamy. We really want to expand our list to cover other topics in relationships and sexuality — we don’t want to get pigeonholed as only publishing poly books! Purple Prose is a step in that direction. It’s also an important book for us because — like Stories From the Polycule — it showcases many authors who are people of color, disabled, gender nonconforming.

Our 2017 and 2018 books are going to take us further with improving the diversity of topics we cover and writers we promote. We have books lined up on consent culture, breakups, reimagining classic romantic fairytales, intersectional nonmonogamy, and confronting birth and death within nontraditional families.

Nontraditional relationships are front-and-center in the news these days. Is this a good time to be Thorntree Press?

When we founded Thorntree Press, we wanted to amplify the voices of people who wanted to examine the polyamory (and more broadly, non-traditional relationship) movement. We seek out people who advocate values like empathy, compassion, communication, and respect, and we’re particularly interested in offering a platform to groups who traditionally have not had one.

Thorntree Press, for us, is an important part of that. Awareness of nontraditional relationships is skyrocketing. More and more people are realizing there’s more than one right way to live, and are looking for information about things like polyamory. We think this is a critical time in the development of polyamory, and we want to help create better awareness of how to make happy, healthy polyamorous relationships work.

This carries into other books beyond poly books. For example, almost no books on bisexuality exist — there isn’t even a BISAC subject category for bisexuality! The bookstore shelves are filled with gay and lesbian books, but there’s almost nothing for people who identify as bisexual — and that’s a lot of people! With Purple Prose, we’re hoping to change that.

The original (May 12, 2016).


Meanwhile, Eve writes us about "a bunch of things going on in Thorntree Press world":

Eli Sheff's book When Someone You Love Is Polyamorous: Understanding Poly People and Relationships was published last month. This is a 48-page, $5 booklet designed to explain polyamory to someone who doesn't know anything about it. The idea is that this is something you can give a friend or family member when coming out to them (or they can buy it for themselves if they're looking for answers).

Our transition to Independent Publishers Group (IPG) is now complete, meaning our books will get much broader access to bookstores, libraries, etc. (This also means that for Canadians, our books are all available at Chapters-Indigo. Finally.)

More Than Two has sold over 25,000 copies in all formats, and we've just ordered a third printing of 10,000 paperbacks (which is basically where your loan went — thank you!). We've sold rights in Korean, German and Italian, and are currently running a crowdfunding campaign for a Spanish edition with the help of some folks from Poliamor Madrid. (IPG is the largest distributor of Spanish-language books in the US, and has a distribution partner in Spain.) We've released some English-language perks for people who want to support the campaign but aren't interested in a Spanish-language edition.

Eli Sheff's Stories From the Polycule is up for two INDIEFAB awards with Foreword Reviews. It was also the first (and so far only) one of our books to get a Publishers Weekly review.

Ask Me About Polyamory: The Best of Kimchi Cuddles is available for pre-order, and Tikva will be signing advance copies at Atlanta Poly Weekend at the beginning of June. Signed copies are also available for pre-order from Malaprops in Asheville, NC.

There's a Goodreads giveaway running right now for When Someone You Love is Polyamorous. It closes May 26.

We have six books scheduled for 2017 — including new books from me & Franklin, Tikva and Louisa. Only two of those six, though, will be about polyamory or nonmonogamy.

I think that's everything. It's been a busy few months!

● Kitty Chambliss has posted a long interview with Franklin on her Loving Without Boundaries podcast: Part 1, Part 2 (May 19 and 25, 2016).

● It's a sign of More Than Two's reputation that people are attributing fake quotes to it to support whatever position they have. Eve is building a collection of false quotes from More Than Two, which should make fun reading. Be warned. . . .


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May 19, 2016

Dan Savage on poly as a bed-death solution

Many alternative newspapers

Here's very common motive for going poly or opening a marriage, and an example of why people either love or hate Dan Savage:

Q: My husband and I have been married for 16 years. We have been polyamorous for the last five years. We are a bit mismatched sexually in many ways. Polyamory was our solution. For much of this time, my husband had a girlfriend. Before I go on, let me say that I adore my husband in all ways except sex. We are raising a child together and are a good fit otherwise. I no longer have any desire to have sex with my husband. Lots of men and women write in to complain about their partner's low libido. This is not the case. My libido is fine. I just don't want to have sex with my husband. Whenever we would have sex in the past, I would get anxious and try to avoid it. We each have our issues. He feels insecure and has trouble maintaining erections. I always felt desexualized — not by him, but when I was younger. Being a poly woman dating in my 40s has been incredibly empowering and sexy.

But my husband's experiences have been different. He is frustrated because it is hard for him to meet women, and his frustration is made worse by the fact that I don't want sex with him either. When he had a girlfriend, our sex life wasn't as much of an issue. What should I do? He's unhappy. I'm frustrated. Neither of us wants to divorce. Should I force myself?

Lady In Baltimore Isn't Desiring Obligatory Sex

It is a truth universally acknowledged — in the poly universe anyway — that a married poly woman will have an easier time finding sex partners than a married poly man. Some men in open/poly relationships present themselves as dishonest cheaters rather than honest nonmonogamists because women would rather fuck a married man who's cheating on his wife than a married man who isn't cheating on his wife.

Go figure.

Anyway, LIBIDOS, the answer to your question — should you force yourself to fuck your husband? — depends on your answer to this question: How badly do you want to avoid divorce? Because if your husband can't or won't pretend to be cheating, LIBIDOS, and if women won't fuck him because he's in an open marriage, your refusal to fuck him could wind up incentivizing divorce.

...Forcing yourself to fuck someone is tiresome and dispiriting, I realize, but you can always close your eyes and think about someone you'd rather be fucking — a time-tested stratagem employed successfully by millions of people in loving, stable, and sexually enervating/dead marriages.

And since you're off the hook when your husband has a girlfriend, LIBIDOS, you might wanna do everything you can to help him find a new one — a stratagem employed by tens of thousands of women in poly relationships. You don't want your husband stewing alone at home.... So help him craft messages to women he contacts online, go to play parties and poly mixers with him, and vouch for him to women he's interested in.

But between girlfriends, LIBIDOS, you'll probably wanna fuck him once in a while. Lube for you, Viagra for him, pot for you both.

The whole column at its home site (May 18, 2016).


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May 18, 2016

A Fox station covers a Loving More convention

It's a cautious dance whenever a TV crew is invited to cover a Loving More convention, as happened last month at Rocky Mountain Poly Living in Denver.

Robyn Trask, who became Loving More's director 11 years ago, made it her mission from the start to spread polyamory awareness to the world at large. That means courting the media. But many polyfolks are not out, and a convention really must be a safe space for everyone.

Her solution has been to put strict limits on what reporters and especially film crews can do. They are introduced to the crowd on opening night. No one can appear in a photo or video clip, even momentarily in the background, unless they choose to wear a wristband that means "I'm OK with being photographed." The crew's time at the convention is limited. Sometimes, people who want to talk on camera only do so in a designated place. The media reps agree to the rules beforehand in writing, and the agreement has legal weight. As far as I know there hasn't been a problem.

On arriving at Rocky Mountain Poly Living, we were told that a film crew from the Fox affiliate in Phoenix would be present. When they were introduced at the opening gathering they looking kind of grumpy to me, as if they weren't used to such restrictions. Most of the crowd-filming they could do was restricted to the masquerade ball later that evening. I was nervous. Would the masks and costumes give them an easy way to make us look weird?

Yesterday the report finally aired on the news in Phoenix. I needn't have worried! Watch here:

Here's the text on the segment's webpage, pretty much a transcript of what aired (May 17, 2016):

In the middle of a major spring snowstorm, the streets of Denver seem deserted, but it's a celebration of love, at the National Loving More Convention in the Denver suburbs. Here a wife may be dancing with her boyfriend, and her husband doesn't mind. That's the polyamorous way.

"It is loving more than one in a committed relationship, it's that simple," said Torin Caffrey.

"I just came to terms with the fact I wasn't a monogamous person, if that meant I had to be alone then I would rather be alone than cheat or be dishonest," said Robyn Trask.

"For me it just comes naturally, I love seeing Robyn happy, so the thought of her going out and seeing her giddy it actually just warms my heart," said Jesus Garcia.

Robyn met Ben years ago at a conference, and the two have been close ever since.

"Over time anything is going to change, and when people see that there are options they didn't know they had, some of those people are going to be interested," said Ben.

People came from across the country to attend the conference; some say they've been "polys" as long as they can remember, others are just learning about it. Attendance at the event has grown every year, and the organizers say the younger generation tends to be much more accepting of the lifestyle.

"I always knew that our family was a little different from our friends, but I never really paid a lot of attention to it until about age 11 when I noticed some of my mom's friends weren't just friends," said Marina Trask.

Trask has nothing bad to say about her mom's lifestyle. She says she is polyamorous too.

"I feel like my mom being polyamorous made her more honest with me, she used the same honestly, she did with me, and she did with her partners, and any child would want to have that honest with their parents," said Trask.

Seminars at the convention were taught by longtime supporters of the lifestyle; one literally wrote the book on polyamory.

"Love doesn't equal ownership if I'd go to a party and people would say who do you belong to, and I would say didn't slavery go out a long time ago, I really believe love is about giving not about clinging," said Mim Chapman.

Make no mistake we live in a monogamous world; we've all heard about swingers, but polyamory, supporters say, is different. It's more about long term relationships than flings. But with those multiple relationships come a range of emotions, including jealousy.

"With a polyamorous relationship it is important that a person is ready to give time to each of the people they are involved with, give emotional space to each person they are involved with," said Frances.

Scottsdale psychologists Morgan Frances and Marcus Earle counsel couples and have had some experience with polyamorous relationships.

"If anything you have complicated your life. It takes a lot more work. What I found about the polyamorous relationships is a commitment to communicate with one another. To be honest in that communication to stay with the process until they come out with an outcome that everyone feels good about," said Marcus Earle.

It's a growing trend in the Valley too.

"Right now we have over 700 members," said Marla Curtis.

Curtis runs a meetup group for polyamorous people in Scottsdale.

"I have been married to my husband for 31 years, and I have a girlfriend that I have been with for over 12 years," said Curtis.

We went to a meeting at a Scottsdale restaurant, but for privacy reasons the cameras stayed outside. Polyamory is clearly not widely accepted, and reputations and jobs are at stake.

"There is a lot of worry being outside the norm, that it could adversely affect your life," said Curtis.

All those worries seemed to be put aside at the Denver convention, where they proudly promote a polyamorous life.

"Really it translates into many loves, and it's done honestly and ethically with all the partners involved knowing about the relationships," said Trask.

Trask says her polyamorous relationships have lasted decades; her monogamous ones did not last very long.

We couldn't have asked for better. Yay in particular for Marina! And on Fox no less.

Another plus: Pieces of this good stuff may get used in future reports elsewhere on the Fox network.


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May 17, 2016

WaPo: "Monogamy was failing me. Was polyamory the answer?"

The Washington Post steps back into poly discussions with a story (on its website) by a gal who cheated and was cheated on, agreed to open relationships she did not want, then discovered the poly community in Portland, Oregon. In the end she chose monogamy for good, but was impressed by the community and thankful that it taught her about honesty, choices, and boundaries.

Monogamy was failing me. Was polyamory the answer?

iStockphoto illustration

By Britany Robinson

...I’d never heard the term “polyamory” when my high school boyfriend suggested we stay together but also sleep with other people. After cheating on me just weeks after we’d lost our virginity to each other, he apologized with tears and gifts and proclamations of true love. Soon after, he suggested that he continue to sleep with other people — and that I do the same....

We went back and forth between cheating and allowing each other to stray, but it never hurt any less. I’d shrug to my friends. “It’s cool,” I’d say. But it wasn’t.

Later in life, there were other men who cheated. There were also men who cheated on their girlfriends with me. And there were committed boyfriends from whom I strayed. I learned how to let things slide... but continued to be disappointed. Monogamy was failing me — again and again. So I decided to try something new.

Polyamory is the practice of having “many loves.”... Honest, ethical — these things sounded good. They emphasized respect for yourself and for others and acknowledging each person’s needs. After neglecting my own for so long, I desperately wanted someone — or multiple someones — to care.


...I’d recently moved to [Portland], and through browsing dating apps, I discovered a surprising prevalence of polyamory. So I decided to learn more.

In a room full of pillows and erotic paintings, I found myself in the middle of a refreshingly honest conversation. “I don’t want to muscle through commitment,” one woman said as her partner rubbed her shoulder. “I want to wake up each day and decide for myself: Do I still want to be with this person? And know that he’s deciding for himself, too.”

The man rubbing her shoulder had other girlfriends. But here, his attention was laser-focused on her. He watched her with adoration, and I found myself feeling envious of that emotional attachment.

About 15 people sat in our circle — some came alone, others with partners. There was a transgender woman in a long black dress and dark makeup; a middle-aged couple in business attire, their legs crossed conservatively. There was a woman in her early 20s and some couples in their 60s. But each person in this wide spectrum listened and discussed their polyamorous lifestyle in similar terms....

We addressed the importance of knowing what we’re comfortable with, and communicating our wants, needs and desires with our partners. It was our responsibility to take care of ourselves first.

“If it’s not a ‘Hell yes’, it’s a NO.” This mantra was repeated again and again.

How often had I gone along with relationships and sex without a “hell yes”? I realized the abundance of unsure and uncomfortable answers I’d given men, just to avoid conflict or hurt feelings.

Sure, I’d told more than one ex-boyfriend. You can sleep with other people. I guess.

I wasn’t sure if I could ever be a “Hell yes” to the idea of having multiple relationships in my life. But the openness of the community gave me comfort. People shared so much of themselves and expected honesty from me, too. They wanted to know why I was there. What did I want from a relationship? What was I looking for?

It was time to ask myself those questions, too....


...His texts were full of honesty and inquiries. He was meeting so-and-so for lunch, but would I like to meet him for a walk after? How was I feeling? Did I want to hear about his other dates? He was thinking about me.

This new style of relationship was exhilarating at first. I knew I wasn’t being lied to, because there was no reason to lie. I’d met John’s other girlfriends, and I decided for myself how much information I wanted about those relationships. If I asked something, he told me.

But reality set in when John had to take a call from one of his other partners at my apartment. She was experiencing intense anxiety over the state of their relationship and needed to talk. He apologized before closing the door to my bedroom to speak with her in private, while I found myself sulking outside.

Was it selfish to be hurt when she clearly needed him right now? It didn’t matter. Because I was upset. And I owed it to myself to address that.

I realized that polyamory wasn’t what I was looking for. I told John that I couldn’t handle this kind of open relationship, and he thanked me for putting myself first.

For so long, I’d been failing to find honesty in others. But perhaps that was a result of my failure to be honest with myself. By giving up on commitment, I’d discovered a commitment to myself.

Polyamory isn’t my thing, but it got me a little closer to understanding what is. In the future, I’ll know when to say “Hell yes,” and I’ll mean it.

The whole article (May 17, 2016).



May 16, 2016

PolyAware group makes local airwaves. So can you.


At Rocky Mountain Poly Living in Denver last month I met an organizer from North Dakota and, as I recall, gave him my spiel on how easy it can be to get free publicity in local media. Just call and ask if they'd be interested in your thing. They always need local human-interest stuff.


Well here you go. Last night the Fargo-Moorhead TV news featured him and others in a five-minute report. They could hardly have asked for better treatment if it was their own paid ad. Including the well-spoken young daughter. Including where to get more info about the group, and when it meets.

Watch here (May 15, 2016). A transcript is there with it. Excerpts:

Love can be felt and described in a number of ways and to many, its often defined as a relationship between two people. But an age old practice is seeing a new movement in the Red River Valley that challenges the social norm.

The polyamorous community is now reaching out, showing that they are here, should be accepted, and that it's more common than you may think.

Game night with family and friends can bring a lot of laughter and love but for many in this room, love has broader boundaries than many traditionally think.

“None of this 'I have to have a secret life in my head'...”

“Yes, I have played wingman for my husband. It's a thing..."

Kurt Mesford and his wife, who's asked to be called Ashton and have her identity hidden, share a view on love that's not the norm.

...They're polyamorous, which means many loves.

Each currently has five relationships, a dynamic they're open with in their church where Ashton teaches Sunday school, with their family and friends and with their young daughter Haven.

“She doesn't know anything more about our love life than she would if we were monogamous,” said Ashton.

With the unique family dynamic, Haven has had to explain it to friends.

“I just say one person loves more than one person that's not in the family,” said Haven.

But she loves her parents as well as all of their partners, including one of Ashton's boyfriends, Andrew Tyson.

“If you're married and you're falling in love with a second person, your options are to either cheat or grit your teeth an bear it. Polyamory offers another option,” said Tyson.

As a once monogamous married man, Andrew has made polyamorous activism his passion with the recent creation of a group called PolyAware.

He estimates about 1,000 people in Fargo-Moorhead are polyamorous and he wants others who are interested to know there is a place to learn more and feel accepted.

“Monogamy is so present and ingrained in our culture that people never really question it. It's rare that you find someone who questions and wakes up one day and says 'huh, I wonder if I really should be monogamous', because they don't realize they have other choices,” said Tyson.

...In the next few months, PolyAware plans to expand their group to Grand Forks because of interest.

In the meantime, they hold a presentation every fourth Sunday of the month at the Pride Center in Fargo.

Anyone, whether you’re interested in a polyamorous lifestyle or just want to learn more, can attend.

We have information here.

Of course, not all may go this well for you! You need to be able to assess how a media outlet will treat you — and especially, how to present your key messages so that at least some of them will get across. Here are two excellent guides as to how:

● John Ullman's Doing a Media Interview? Tempted? Make Sure it’s not Poly In, Garbage Out (old but still as good as new).

● Joreth's Poly Media Training Guides. She gives a great Powerpoint on this, if you want to book her for your next conference.


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May 13, 2016

"What Being in a Polyamorous Relationship Taught Me About Fidelity"

A first-person story appears in another women's magazine in Australia. This time it's SheSaid, "Australia’s largest independent free online magazine for women, reaching internet-savvy females who are shopping focused and brand conscious" according to their ad department. The editorial department says the magazine is about "informing, inspiring and empowering women worldwide."

If we can stimulate maybe another five thousand such articles in the coming decade, we'll lock in the poly-aware future for good. Once people hear about the concept, it is not something they forget.

(As a comparison, this website has noted about 2,500 articles and broadcasts in the last 11 years, and it's not complete.)

What Being in a Polyamorous Relationship Taught Me About Fidelity

It isn’t about the number of people you’re seeing…

By Natalie Slaughter

Our worlds are changing. We’re becoming more aware of other cultures, other religions, other practises within our communities and others. We’re starting to dissolve the idea of a nuclear family as the best option for dating, getting married and/or raising kids....

...Despite all of that, there are still a lot of misconceptions about another relationship that’s on the rise: polyamory.

...My first attempt at a poly relationship was a disaster. I had been with one partner for a couple of years and we decided to try to introduce a third person.... We all agreed to communicate with each other often and let each other know when we were ready for each next step forward.

Our third – let’s call her Rachel – broke this rule. She told my partner I had okayed something I hadn’t, and the two of them started a separate relationship I had no knowledge of and was completely cut out of. Even though the three of us were dating each other, the way they went about their relationship constituted cheating. Needless to say, it ended terribly.

...I’ve recently given polyamory another chance, in a healthier way. I’ve found that while I’m still personally wary of triad situations, being involved in a poly relationship works well for me. The relationship I now find myself in involves situations where everyone knows my boundaries and they’re actually respected, and we aren’t all dating each other (maybe that’s something that works better for me).

Poly relationships are like every other kind of relationship – there are tons of options, and you almost never end up at the end of the path you’d planned for yourself. Every poly relationship works differently, and this way of life definitely isn’t for everyone. One of the few constants you can count on, though, is that polyamory and infidelity aren’t synonymous terms, so let’s stop acting like they are.

Read the whole article (May 13, 2016). SheSaid claims to have 200,000 newsletter subscribers.

If you missed that other one from Australia last week, here you go: Big Love: Polyamory in Canberra.



May 11, 2016

Good poly spokesperson salvages a dumb TV news report

WPIX-11 TV (New York)
Daily Mail Online

Open Love NY is one of the largest and, as far as I can tell, best-organized local poly groups anywhere. Its leaders have shown how to make waves in a city of 8 million right since its founding in 2008. Last week OLNY's current president, Gette Levy, represented us well in the midst of an otherwise mediocre TV news report. Thank you.

This aired on New York's WPIX-11 TV on April 2. Here's the text on the segment's page, condensed from what aired:

Polyamorous community discusses balance, relationships in New York City

HELL'S KITCHEN, Manhattan — Open Love NY is one of the largest support groups for the polyamorous community in the country. They meet on a regular basis in Hell’s Kitchen [named when it was a slum; now gentrified. –Ed.].

“Polyamory for me is when you engage in multiple romantic and sexual relationships at the same time,” explained the group’s president Gette Levy.

Levy believes polyamory is part of her identity.

“I felt very awkward through puberty I was attracted to multiple people at the same time, I got a lot of social cues that I should be jealous or that it was wrong for me to like multiple people at the same time I should be searching for that one person and that never happened for me.”

Today, Levy leads Open Love NY discussions on balancing time, family, and multiple partners. Levy opened up to PIX11 about her own love life.

“Me and my girlfriend have been together for 6 years, my boyfriend and I have been together for 3 and in the intermediary I’ve had partners of multiple years.”

The polyamorous community is growing in numbers and in visibility. Earlier this year, online dating site OkCupid added a feature for non-monogamous daters. In March, DIRECT TV launched the first poly-romantic series, You Me Her.

But Dr. Helen Fisher points out, “sharing a spouse or partner is difficult for the human animal, we are not built for it.”

Dr. Fisher is a biological anthropologist, she built a career studying how humans fall in love. Dr. Fisher found there’s another side of polyamory.

“It’s largely jealousy, its largely wanting to know what happened where.”

“And they’ve got rules. And maybe they’ve decided not to ask each other any of the details because that just pulls up more jealousy and more perhaps anger.”


Just this afternoon we saw one outcome of OLNY's years of community organizing. Today's Daily Mail Online features, flatteringly, a woman who turned her life around when she discovered the polyamorous possibility through the New York community.

Not that the Daily Mail is a stellar showcase for anything — it's one of the rags that give the British press its bad name — but still.

Polyamorous woman with a 'history of serial infidelity' whose marriage ended after she cheated on her husband tells how she found happiness with multiple sexual partners

By Miranda Bryant

A relationship coach with a 'history of serial infidelity' and whose marriage ended after less than four years has told how she found happiness through polyamory.

Effy Blue, 35, who lives in New York, was born in Turkey and raised in the UK, said her relationships used to end badly because she would fall in love then cheat on her partner — which contributed to the breakdown of her marriage.

...But after moving to the US, Effy said she started exploring her 'kinky side' and discovered that it was possible to have multiple partners.

Effy, who used to work for a marketing agency, also changed her career to become a relationship coach that specializes in helping couples who are 'either transitioning or curious about ethical non-monogamy'.

She declined to disclose how many partners she currently has but said one is a man who is soon getting married. Through their relationship she said she has also become close friends with his fiancee.

...She said: 'I stumbled into the poly community in New York and met a bunch of people who're in all different types of relationships, happy, satisfied and doing a very good job. I became very close to some of them, some friends, my support family.

She said finding a community of like-minded people helped her to learn about her sexuality....

The whole article (May 11, 2016).

Good job, organizers. "It is not given to us to know the fruits of our efforts"; we have to do them on faith. Keep the faith.


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May 9, 2016

"How is sex different with your other partners than it is with me?"

How much detail about your partner's intimacy with others do you really want to know, and how much about you are you okay with them sharing with another? Not every polycule is a happily transparent puppy pile, or needs to be.

A series about "modern love" on on HuffPost Weddings offered this video last Thursday (May 5): Watch This Couple Get Real About What Life Is Like In a Polyamorous Marriage (It was adapt or die). It appeared the same day on Cosmopolitan's site and has been picked up by the Daily Mail, the U.K.'s Sun and Metro — it's clearly making the rounds of syndication and perhaps is coming to an outlet near you. It originated from a video outfit called The Skin Deep.

A married couple read each other prepared questions, presumably from the producers. The first is about sex with others. There's hardly any more about poly specifically, though they've clearly struggled and processed about it. What we mostly see is simply a couple in deep talk (8:29).

The text intro on HuffPost:

Eilin and Andrew have been married four years, and pair are in a polyamorous relationship.

In the latest installment from “The And,” an interactive documentary about modern love, the couple asks each other deeply personal questions about their experiences outside the marriage.

In one instance, Eilin asks Andrew how sex is different with other partners than it is with her.

“How is it not? I mean, come on. It’s different,” Andrew replies. “There are different energies people give off and receive from each other. So, it’s not so much ‘how is it different?,’ it’s how could it be the same. It’s just not possible.



May 5, 2016

“We’re almost lucky as modern polyamorous people [because] the constructs haven’t been developed yet.”

Her Canberra

A local quarterly women's magazine in Australia, in print and online, features this:

Big Love: Polyamory in Canberra

By Beatrice Smith

Of all the diverse identities within the queer community, polyamory (or ‘poly’) has perhaps benefited least from popular culture, leaving the general understanding of polyamory threadbare and largely negative.

...“One of the things I’ve realised is that I even do friendship differently; I think a lot of poly people probably do,” says Megan Munro, an artist and social justice advocate. Like Ayesha, Megan refuses to see poly as a competition between partners. “I don’t have a
 ‘best friend’ and I don’t really have ‘a’ group of friends — I just have friends, so I think I have the same approach
 to friends as I do to my intimate relationships — they just ‘are’.”

...The idea of loving someone — multiple someones — as individuals is a wonderfully comforting idea, but for most people it’s easier in theory than in practice.

The more I talk to people about polyamory, the more I realise it’s just as much about the effort you put in as it is about the love.

...“We’re almost lucky as modern polyamorous people [because] the constructs haven’t been developed yet,” explains Siren. “We don’t have
 a poly nuclear family so it gives you that freedom to make your own rules, which I find really liberating.”

...If you haven’t heard of compersion before (neither had I), feeling compersion means to feel happy in your partner’s romantic happiness, whether that be with you or someone else.

It reminds me of one of those 
words like Boketto (Japanese for staring vacantly into the distance) or Torschlusspanik (German for a feeling of panic that your chances in life 
are diminishing as you age) that are described in other languages but we don’t have an English word for. Turns out we do. Or perhaps it’s simply 
that it hasn’t been co-opted for use in monogamous couples.

I tell Ayesha this and she’s thoughtful.

“I think that’s a shame because it’s such a brilliant idea,” says Ayesha.

...What comes up again and again is the way all three talk about other people’s poly relationships. “It’s not the way I do [poly] but some people might,” they all say at different points in the conversation, eager to distance themselves from judgement. It’s clear that polyamory probably benefits somewhat from its relatively fluid cultural definition — the rules aren’t written in stone so people make their own....

Read the whole article (online May 5, 2015).



May 3, 2016

"Across The Country, Universities Look To Mainstream Polyamory"

Daily Caller

Good news from a right-wing site, though perhaps the title is a bit overstated.

The piece includes lots of links to ideas and materials you might use on your own campus. (Thanks for doing my work for me.)

Across The Country, Universities Look To Mainstream Polyamory

By Peter Hasson

Universities across the country have begun actively pushing polyamory on campus, encouraging students to be more “affirming” of non-monogamous relationships and instructing them to view polyamorous relationships as an acceptable lifestyle choice.

Just this March, Portland State University hosted an event on polyamory as part of “Sex Week,” sponsored by the university’s Queer Resource Center. Students were invited to attend a discussion titled “Exploring Non-Monogamy.” The event was hosted in partnership with PSU’s “Polyamory Alliance,” a pro-polyamory student group.

According to the group’s description, the Polyamory Alliance “advocates, educates, and provides support and community to those who are polyamorous or those who identify as monogamous but would like to show support to the polyamorous person in their life.” Similar pro-polyamory student groups exist at the University of Minnesota, Kalamazoo College, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Also in March, the University of Michigan held an event titled “Navigating Relationships: Routing Our Own Courses,” as part of the university’s LGBTQ+ Health and Wellness Week. The event was advertised as “a facilitated discussion-style workshop on navigating healthy relationships, with an emphasis on polyamory and relationships involving asexual and/or aromantic partners.”

Michigan’s polyamory event took place just five days after a similar event at Pace University, located in New York.

The Pace event was titled: “Queer Sex outside the Margins: Queer Wellness Panel” and sought to answer questions such as “What is polyamory?” and “What’s all the buzz with BDSM?” According to the university website, the event placed a special focus on “kink, pornography, and sex positivity within the queer community.”

In February, Vanderbilt University sponsored a workshop titled “Deconstructing couplehood,” as part of the university’s Out in Front LGBTQIA+ & Ally College Conference.

The workshop was advertised as “a crash course in polyamory” in which students would “deconstruct the ‘ideal’ and privileged relationship (that is straight, monogamous, married or heading that way, presumably white and middle to upper class), and look towards the other myriad ways to love and form community.”

Back in New York, University at Albany-SUNY sponsored a monthly “Polyamorous talk” for students this year. Students at the taxpayer-funded university were invited to come “talk about the practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.”

Last December, Columbia University held an event titled “Polyamory as a Clinical Intervention: Affirming and Appreciating Nonmonogamies.” According to the university website, the event was part of a series on “various topics relevant to the health, mental health, and wellbeing of LGBT individuals, families, and communities.”

Similarly, the University of California at Berkeley held a three-part series on “polyamory and non-monogamy.” The series was put on this semester by the university’s Gender Equity Resources Center, which also offers resources to help students become more accepting of polyamory.

One such resource instructs Berkeley students to be respectful of polyamorous relationships by avoiding making “assumptions,” and being aware of the “stigmatization” that polyamorous people face. The resource also informs students that “many polyamorous relationships can be just as fulfilling and last just as long as monogamous relationships.”

The University of Wisconsin offers a similar resource to students, titled Polyamory 101. The resource includes a lexicon of polyamorous terminology, like the term “Intentional Family,” which is defined as “a relationship in which three or more partners consciously chose each other as family.”

Members of an “intentional family” “may or may not live together [and] there is the potential for all family members to be sexual with each other if they mutually chose to do so but this is not a requirement for family membership,” the resource states.

This is being reprinted on a lot of other conservative sites. The original (April 2, 2015).

BTW, the linked-to flyer from UC Berkeley's Gender Equity Resource Center would make a fine one-sheet intro to polyamory for use anywhere. But it was last updated in 2011 and the links and booklist need to be brought up to date. Can someone at Berkeley please make this happen?