Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

October 12, 2018

"Many Love" poly author is in today's New York Times, on the eve of her wedding

Illustration by Sophie Lucido Johnson, from Many Love

Sophie Lucido Johnson, whose sweet, self-illustrated poly memoir Many Love came out this summer, is getting married tomorrow. Today she tells the tale in the Style section of the New York Times. Excerpts:

Talking to My Fiancé About My New Girlfriend

After enjoying an open relationship, a couple decides to tie the knot. Just one question: Why must marriage require sexual fidelity for life?

By Sophie Lucido Johnson

Luke came to my front door in New Orleans on a sunny day several years ago with a sparsely decorated cassette tape and said, “I made this for you.” I could tell this was a move he had used with other women, but I had to hand it to him: It was a good one. ... I was charmed that Luke liked music and was obstinately analog about it. ...


...Two years later, we moved from New Orleans to Chicago and rented a one-bedroom apartment. ... But I never wanted to give up dating other people, and neither did Luke. In Chicago, we maintained our Tinder accounts and would lie side-by-side in bed swiping right, occasionally showing off our respective matches.

Polyamory wasn’t something my parents easily understood. My grandparents told me they felt “truly worried” for me. But nothing about our arrangement ever felt unusual. ... Before Luke, I had spent almost a decade building and prioritizing a close platonic friendship with my roommate, and she never minded that I went on dates with other people. Why should it be different with someone I slept with?

...Sometimes I got jealous; sometimes Luke did. We talked about our jealousy at length and afterward felt closer. Three years into our relationship, we kept dating other people, but we noticed that the jealousy just kind of stopped. In the spring, Luke filled our living room with yellow daisies and we got engaged.

The next winter, at a party, I met Kat.

She wore a skintight black dress with see-through keyholes on the sides. I couldn’t stop staring. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen in real life.

She was there with her boyfriend, Brendan, who was visiting from Portland, Oregon, and they were also polyamorous. I liked Kat and I liked her boyfriend ... finally Luke told me I should ask her out.

I decided I would ask her out by writing her an actual letter and sending it. The letter had a long list of possible dates and times when we might hang out, and I drew cats on the front of it to indicate how whimsical and carefree I was. ...


People ask me why I’m getting married, considering my open approach to sexual fidelity. ... I’m getting married because I want to promise, in front of my friends and family, that I am going to love Luke forever. I want to assure him that if he can’t pay his rent, or when someone he loves gets sick, or if his car breaks down in an ice storm and he’s stranded on the highway, that he can call me and I’ll be there for him no matter what. ... More than anything, I want Luke to know that I will tell him the truth, and that when the truth is painful I will stop what I’m doing and tend to him until he feels better.

But I am not going to promise him that our love won’t change, and neither will he promise that to me. The fact that love absolutely will change is one of my favorite things about love. Rather, as the love changes, I hope Luke and I will be able to hold each other with compassion; that we will stay curious and empathetic.

One night, after a December evening out, Kat walked me to the train station. Under the overpass, she pulled me toward her and kissed me in a small, sweet way that threw my stomach into knots. ... Talking with the love of my life about falling for Kat has been an incredible gift. Luke pets my hair and lets me wax poetic in a way that most of my friends can only tolerate for so long. And it goes both ways; I root for him when he goes on dates. Kat says she talks to her boyfriend about me, too.

Right before Christmas, Luke and I went to Portland (my family lives there; we always head over for the holidays) and met up with Kat and Brendan. We all went on a date together. After it was over, Luke and I lay awake in my childhood bed, laughing about how sweet and strange and beautiful our lives were turning out. ...

I know not everyone wants to love this way. I understand fear of loss, and I understand wanting to hold something still when it’s good. Ultimately, this particular shape makes sense to me: love as a blob that can’t be pinned down, as something alive, an animal that ventures from person to person but finds places to call home.

Read the whole article (October 12, 2018). More about the book.

● More from the author: an excerpt from the book published by Refinery29, How Friendship Can Be Just As Intimate As A Relationship (June 27, 2018). In part:

...We agreed to float a little ways down the river, using our forearms to keep ourselves gently tethered to the ground. We reached a place where the water was deep, but a red maple had fallen across its narrow width. We both grabbed hold of the tree so we could stay in one place, tumbling like wind socks in the current.

By the time we fixed ourselves to the tree, Hannah and I had already spent three hours talking nonstop. The conversation rolled forward unpredictably. There were no lulls or awkward pauses; the things we wanted to say turned up without announcement, and then we broke off into other topics altogether.

Women are especially good at this, psychiatrists Jean Baker Miller and Irene Pierce Stiver point out: they engage in “connective” conversations — conversations that are uniquely healing, and, unfortunately, critically absent in public discourse. According to Miller and Stiver, connectivity occurs when both people are equally invested and share the emotional weight of the conversation’s experience. "Connection in this sense does not depend upon whether the feelings are happy or sad or something else; it means having feelings with another person, aside from the specific nature of the feelings."

Conversation with Hannah was long and easy because we were not seeking solutions to our problems. In discussing the pleasures and pains of our daily lives, we constructed reality together. ...

Sometimes I don’t need a solution nearly as much as I need to be told that whatever crazy thing I’m feeling — terrified of going to sleep at night; palpably angry that my local bagel shop has run out of poppy-seed bagels; in love, unconditionally, with people who can’t love me back — is an okay thing to feel. I’m constantly amazed at the ways in which our world believes that uncomfortable feelings are abnormal and should be avoided or fixed at all costs. Hannah never tries to fix my problems; she sits with me in their shadows, engaging with the darkness.

That was then. . .

"Design for the wedding Go-Cups!"


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October 11, 2018

"Polyamory, unicorns, demisexuality: Five takes on monogamy and its alternatives"

A show on Australia's ABC public radio network called The People vs ("where the people debate the ethics of one thorny issue") did a one-hour "The People vs Monogamy" on September 30th. (Listen or download here.) Then yesterday the network posted a web article with extended quotes from the five folks profiled.

It's all less edgy than the title, but it models acceptance of diversity for its mainstream audience. Excerpts:

Is monogamy outdated? We asked five different people. (Pixabay: Gisela Merkuur)

Polyamory, unicorns, demisexuality: Five takes on monogamy and its alternatives

By Sue Daniel and Georgia Power

...It seems open relationships are having a moment. ... "The People vs" asked a panel of five people the question: Is monogamy simply outdated?

'Monogamy does not come naturally'

[Dan] Savage says, "One of the problems with monogamy is the unrealistic expectations that we attach to it.

"We conflate monogamous behaviour, successfully executed over five decades, with the sincerity of someone's commitment, with love. A relationship can be sexually exclusive, [but also] abusive, where both parties treat each other with contempt."

Savage has as "an evangelical mission" to reframe monogamy so couples understand that while they may struggle with infidelity, they can also survive it. ...

'It's called demisexual'

Erielle Sudario, from western Sydney, [says], "I have my own views on sex and basically I want to do it with someone I really trust, with someone I'm close with. I'm pretty sure there's a term for it, it's called demisexual or demi-romanticism, and I identify with that aspect of the asexual spectrum."

People who are demisexual/demi-romanticist need to feel a strong emotional connection before feeling sexual attraction. ...

'Hey, maybe this isn't for me'

Stephen Holden... would like to see more open discussion about how difficult it can be to challenge the cultural norm of monogamy. ... He says its taken him more than 50 years to realise that maybe, it's not for him.

..."I'm a little bothered at how difficult it is for people to explore, discuss and to be honest about the fact that 'hey maybe this isn't for me'. I would love to see people more open to that."

Mind meld? Monogamous for life

Peter McCarthy married his high school sweetheart Toria, and they have been together for 40 years. If anything happened to her, he doubts he could ever marry again. ... He references the third mind, a concept where life partners begin to think and feel as one.

'The worst problem is deception'

Columnist, author and dating expert Kerri Sackville [says] "The worst problem is deception, and whether you choose to be in a monogamous relationship or in an open or polyamorous relationship and workshop or talk through your challenges, that's going to be the best option."

The whole article (October 10, 2018).

And here are two more items from Australia since my last batch of them:

● In Melbourne's city magazine The Weekly Review, Three’s not a crowd: The rise of polyamory (May 30, 2018)

(No information or credit)

By Kirsten Robb

When Diane Cameron told people she was polyamorous ten years ago, she always got the same reaction.

“When I used to say, ‘I’m poly’, I’d get a lifted eyebrow and I’d have to explain it,” the life coach says. “But nowadays, I get a shrug or a ‘me too’. I don’t have to spend a half hour explaining to someone I’m not morally corrupt or full of STIs”.

To the monogamous heterosexuals amongst us, it might seem like non-monogamy is suddenly in vogue. If you use dating apps, you might be surprised by the amount of people listing “poly” or “non-monog” in their profile. You may have even seen articles in the newspaper, or Netflix programs with polyamorous plotlines.

But has there actually been a rise in non-monogamous relationships, or is there just a cultural shift in the way we talk about it?

“Polyamory is nothing new,” says Cameron, a relationship coach specialising in polyamorous relationships. “I think what’s new, is the fact we can talk about it a bit more and the fact that the glorious internet gives us the ability to meet like minded people.” ...

(More white-duvet feet, now with nail polish!)

...“It does require you to do a lot of work and be really vulnerable,” Alex* says. “It requires you doing a lot of introspection about why you’re having certain feelings and be honest about them.”

But jealousy, secrets, or even that uncomfortable feeling you get when your partner is getting close to someone else – these feelings aren’t specific to non-monogamous relationships. In fact, many in the poly world say that having to operate in a way that acknowledges those feelings actually minimises harm.

“This is just a way for getting through those situations that have always existed, with the largest amount of respect and love for the people around you,” says Alex. “We’re not trying to create a new way of living [Ahem, oh yes, some of us are! –Ed.], it’s a way to talk about it and hurt people less.”

● The Murdochs' News Corp. publications ran this just before the last Sexpo Melbourne: Bradford and Angela Atom are teaching Australians how to be in successful open relationships (Nov. 17, 2017)

A BISEXUAL married couple had done the “normal” married thing. It didn’t work out. This is why they turned to being swingers.

By Vanessa Brown

WHEN Angela and Bradford met for the first time and subsequently started dating, there was a big condition for their relationship to work.

It had to be open.

...Mr and Mrs Atom, from Raleigh in North Carolina, are both bisexual and have been married for three and a half years, moved to Australia after Bradford received a job opportunity too good to pass up.

Both working in the science field, the international move allowed the pair to have a clean slate and be completely open about their relationship from the get go.

“When we moved, we got a free pass to restart everything. When we arrived, we made it a point to be open and honest with everyone about our relationship. ...

The pair, who now live in Sydney and run adult sexual education classes in addition to their full time jobs, said every open relationship was different — but they tend to see other couples together.

“It’s a fun experience, but the key to any successful open relationship is a strong basis of communication and trust,” Mr Atom said. ... This is much more than just sex. ...

...Mr and Mrs Atom saw a gap in adult sexual education market, and made the decision 18 months ago to launch By the Bi — which teaches couples and singles everything they’ve wanted to know about sex, but haven’t felt confident or comfortable enough to ask.

“A lot of people in the 25 to 50 year old age group get their sexual education from porn,” Mr Atom said. “That’s like getting life information from an Avengers movie. ...”