"You, me and polyamory: Inside Philadelphia's growing nonmonogamous community"
The Living section of Philly.com, the news site incorporating the respectable Philadelphia Inquirer and the tabloid Philadelphia Daily News, profiles polyactivists Kevin and Antoinette Patterson to begin a feature on area polyfolks and what this is all about. Kevin is author of the forthcoming book Love's Not Color Blind: Race and Representation in Polyamorous and Other Alternative Communities (Thorntree Press, March 2018).
By Anna Orso, Staff Writer
...Today Antoinette, 35, and Kevin, 38, still date other people. The parents of two continue to identify as polyamorous, meaning they maintain multiple relationships with the consent of everyone involved, and have since the beginning of their relationship 15 years ago.
Antoinette and Kevin Patterson (photo: Anna Orso)
...Polyamory, once portrayed as the sole realm of sexually open hippies, has a very real place in Philadelphia modern life, with participants of all walks of life navigating a complicated web of sex, relationships, marriages and friendships among those who are in love or lust with romantic partners often dating each other. Philadelphia even has its own 1,000-member Facebook group: Polydelphia.
Logistics are difficult (enter elaborate Google calendars), jealousy happens, and there’s a coming-out process for people in polyamorous relationships that can open them up to criticism and judgment.
But those who are able to make it work say the benefits of living and dating openly far outweigh the drawbacks.
Antoinette, a physical therapist, and Kevin, a writer, now say polyamory is a fundamental part of who they are....
“I’m not trying to freak the norms,” said Kevin, who wrote a book about polyamory and race. “Like, I have a Netflix queue. I drive my kids to school every day. I am the norm.”
They also made the front page of the
printed Philadelphia Daily News
...The words “polyamory” and “nonmonogamy” encompass a variety of relationships, including married couples in open relationships, people who practice solo poly, and people in “triads” or “quads,” which are multiple-person relationships where everyone is romantically involved with one another. The common theme is the goal of remaining ethical — to avoid hiding relationships.
...Some studies suggest that 5 percent of Americans are in a consensual nonmonogamous relationship, but as many as one in five Americans have been in one at some point in their life. And while the reasons someone choose polyamory vary — some say it’s a deep-seeded part of their sexual orientation, others say it’s more of a relationship-style preference — the consensus among experts is that it’s not a fear of commitment. Conley said, on the contrary, “these are people that really like commitment.”
“I’m not polyamorous because I’m avoiding commitment,” Kevin Patterson said. “I’m making commitments with multiple people.”
...“A lot of people say, ‘How can you love more than one person?’” said Shallena [Everitt], an administrator for the local chapter of the group Black and Poly, which she discovered about five years ago. “You love them for different reasons and they bring different things to you.”
Kevin and Antoinette keep up with each other’s romantic lives, including each other’s sex lives. ... Kevin said if Antoinette’s boyfriend (known as Kevin’s “metamour”) decides to sleep over, “they can have the bedroom” — Kevin’s just fine in his basement man cave.
“I try to leave as much room as I can for their relationship to grow,” he said, “without my influence.”
Elisabeth Sheff, a sex education consultant and author who’s written three books on polyamory, said it’s this mentality that can make a polyamorous relationship work.
“If the metamours can’t get along, the family does not make it,” Sheff said. “If the metamours get along, then the lovers can make it through things that maybe would have otherwise broken them up.”
...Paul Beauvais [is] a 44-year-old IT architect who lives in Overbrook.... “Polyamory is really based on the idea that we shouldn’t be running relationships in a resource model,” he said. “Love is not a scarcity.”
Read the whole article (December 13, 2017). The only criticism I've seen of it is that it should have also mentioned the other Philadelphia-area poly groups.
Maybe your group can interest a newspaper writer in doing something like this. It's not hard; they're always looking for local human-interest stories.
Update January 1, 2018: The Philly article was reprinted on the Minneapolis Star Tribune site today, under the title People who practice polyamory say the lifestyle can be rewarding. Without the photos of the black people who are its main subjects, interestingly, just a generic all-white iStock graphic. Were they saving a few bucks on the photographer's reprint fee? Or were the subjects of the story too black for what they think Minnesota readers are? We'll never know, unless maybe someone in the editorial department there sends us a tip (my email is alan7388 AT gmail.com).
Also: Christopher Smith is extending the submission deadline for The Black American Polyamorous Anthology Project for one month, to January 16. The project "is an avenue for self-identifying polyamorous Blacks / African Americans / Black Americans to express — through any form, written, audio or video — their experiences."