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

February 17, 2019

A great polyfamily TV report, with articulate kids

Ten or 15 years ago this TV report, which aired yesterday, would have been epochal for us. Now it's a new normal. The Calgary affiliate of Canada's CTV network aired a sweet segment about a local FFM triad polyfamily raising the five kids of both women. They've all been living under one roof for five years.

You know the producers are going to treat them well as soon as you hear the soothing background music, which runs throughout.

My favorite quotes come from two of the kids:

"I like it 'cause you've never really by yourself, you can always like, hang out with someone."

Another tells how she explains her family to friends and other people: "I just tell them it's like basically the same as having just a regular mom and dad except you have one extra, and they all love each other and they're all like in a relationship."

The moms met through a children's playgroup. The adults say they never planned this, it just naturally happened as friendships turned romantic.

My experience is that polyfamilies who weren't looking for such a thing, where it "just happened" naturally among friends, have a high rate of success.


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February 16, 2019

Giving us more love – poly in the news this Valentine's Day

Every Val's Day, media looking for an angle give polyamory some extra attention. Here's a representative scattering of what they said and showed about us this time.

New York magazine put up a touching, excellently produced 23-minute video exploring the concept and people who live it. Featured are Sophie Lucido Johnson, author-illustrator of the recent memoir Many Love (with scenes from their wedding), alt-relationship coach Effy Blue, and a young Latinx couple pushing through relationship problems to hold to their poly ideals. Recommended. (Feb. 14):

● In the Chicago Tribune's arts & entertainment weekly RedEye: No ordinary love: Polyamorous couples celebrate Valentine's Day their way (Feb. 12):

They used a still from the She's Gotta Have It series.

By Demetria Mosley

...“Polyamory isn’t for everybody and that’s OK,” said Topaz Steele, a Chicago native who has identified as poly for about 10 years. “I’m not here to say that everyone should try to be nonmonogamous or that everyone is capable of loving people in this way. I do know that being polyamorous works for me and my lifestyle and I wouldn’t push anyone to do it just because.”

Steele spent last Valentine’s Day out on a date with her two boyfriends. While out, the trio grabbed a bite to eat and spent time discussing their favorite videos games and anime shows. Throughout the date, she casually made a point to hold both of her boyfriends’ hands, either separately or at the same time. She said she couldn’t care less what people think of seeing the three of them out together on a date.

“If people are looking at us, I’m not looking back at them. I’m paying attention to the people I’m with,” she said.

...For the past 15 years, Jennifer Nicole has practiced solo polyamory, which to her, means having no desire to ever live with or share finances with any of her partners.

Nicole, who is an active member of Chicago Poly Info and MeetUps on Facebook, is currently dating four people. She said she loves the freedom that her relationships allow her to have.

...Last year, one of her long-distance partners sent her small gifts in the mail every day for a week to celebrate the holiday. Another partner took her out to dinner to celebrate.

“Every one of my partners warms my heart in a different way and I express that to each of them differently,” she said. “There’s no copying and pasting the same message to everyone. They are all so different and I would never do that.” ...

(A correction to the article posted by Elisabeth Sheff: It "erroneously credits me with research [by] a team led by Dr. Teri Conley at the University of Michigan. It was Dr. Conley and her team that produced the statistics on the number of people in the US who are in consensually non-monogamous relationships.")

● In Men's Health magazine, Why Polyamory May Be The Future of Love (Feb. 14):

By Richard Godwin

...If you were expecting a hedonistic free-for-all, you’ve come to the wrong party. Open relationships are complicated. They won’t spare you emotional conversations or banish awkward concepts such as guilt, cheating and unloading the dishwasher. (Rather, imagine splitting these things three or four ways.) Polyamory, the practice of having multiple consensual partners, involves hard work, and almost certainly more of it than the relationship you’re in now.

“A lot of people go into open relationships – and particularly open marriages – thinking it’s going to fix things,” says Laurie Penny, a 31-year-old writer and activist who has been an “ethical non-monogamist” for the past decade. “There are rare occasions when one partner says to the other: ‘Have you thought about trying this?’ and the other says, ‘Wow! I’m so glad you asked!’ But mostly it doesn’t happen like that.”

Initially, she says, you’ll spend longer talking about all of the ramifications than doing it – discussing consent, desire, fantasy, society and how it’s not about a lack of rules but about working out what the unwritten rules are, and whether there might be better ones. Later, you might find yourself borrowing cutlery from your partner’s partner, as Penny did the other day, or attending their wedding. “All of their partners did. She has two boyfriends, and he also sees other people.”

● Good advice for anyone in Gay Star News: Polyamorous people reveal how they celebrate Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)

Eunice (center), Claire (right), and Conaire in the UK

'Not every monogamous couple celebrates the same way, so you can imagine the variety for polyamorous people!'

By Charlie Mathers

"I think anyone who isn’t in a long term, monogamous, allosexual, cishet relationship feels the pressure of society on us a bit around this time,’ Eunice explains.

She is an organizer behind Poly Speed Dating, a regular event in London for polyamorous people to meet like-minded others.

...Eunice’s partner is Charlotte. They’re both also mutually dating Conaire.

...Eunice realized she was polyamorous just over a decade ago now. She met people who mentioned the concept to her – One of these people would go on to later become her metamour (the term for your partner’s other partner).

From there, she took a year out of dating to research the idea of polyamory. She spoke to other who had more experience and spent time thinking ‘deeply about what being ethically in relationships meant to me.’

...While her partner Charlotte also hasn’t face stigma, she adds: ‘My main issue is that I’m queer and all the cards with actual figures on are gendered. ... Cute sparkly owls do not need gendering.’

...[Eunice] said: ‘Some might spend [V-Day] with one partner, and the next night with another, and so on. Some might decide to do big (or small) group celebrations,’ she said.

‘Some take a whole week. A few I know choose to make it a day to celebrate and connect with their metamours, instead of their partners. Some people choose not to celebrate at all.’

Eunice says the most loving way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a partner is always in the ‘the way that makes them feel most loved. So sometimes, that’s cooking someone dinner. Taking them to a show that they love but you’re not that interested in.’

‘Giving them a new teapot/lingerie/book/dildo for their collection. Cuddling up on the sofa under a duvet sharing cool music videos with each other.

‘Making them a beautiful piece of art. Going to swingers or kink parties together.

‘Or maybe, it’s sending them funny “I love you” memes/gifs and amusing articles all day.’

Charlotte echoed this idea polyam people celebrate Valentine’s Day ‘in as many ways as non – polyam people celebrate the holiday. We’re a pretty diverse bunch.’

She added added it is ‘probably more popular’ to celebrate on a day that isn’t the 14th.

...She continues: ‘Do it your way, the way that makes you feel loved, because that’s really the whole point of the day.

...The most important thing however is that you talk with your partner about how they wish to celebrate the day, if it all – ‘Talk about it before setting up a huge party with a hundred guests for your introverted poly network, because on the day is too late.’

...Charlotte’s advice? ‘Communication, communication, communication. Talk about scheduling, who wants what, who wants to celebrate on the day and who would rather wait to have more time at the weekend. As usual communication and compromise win the day.’

● At Binghamton University in upstate New York, in the Sex Issue of the student newspaper Pipe Dream, Researchers believe sexual habits are changing among BU students (Feb. 14):

Polyamorous, open relationships see increased acceptance, survey indicates more [BU students] are participating in group sex

By Amy Donovan

...In Pipe Dream’s 2016 sex survey, which received roughly 750 responses, just 11 people said they had taken part in group sex, but in this year’s survey, 60 respondents said they had experience with group sex.

According to Ann Merriwether, a BU lecturer of psychology who conducts research on causal sex and relationships, there have been changes in the sexual habits of BU students since she began her research in 2011. Merriwether said her team has seen an increase in women engaging in casual sex and a decrease in sex. They’ve also seen more students expressing varying sexual orientations, with many beginning to describe themselves as “mostly heterosexual” as opposed to “exclusively heterosexual.”

...One polyamorous student, who asked to remain anonymous, said he defines being polyamorous as engaging in emotional and physical relationships other than his primary partner.

“I’m still very new to this type of relationship and figuring out my boundaries and my partners boundaries with it,” he said. “It’s something I’ve wanted to try for a little, and while there are surprises and obstacles it’s generally what I thought it would be on my end.”

He also said he has found a surprising number of polyamorous students at the University, most of whom are open about their experiences.

“A lot of people I know here are in polyamory relationships, a surprising amount if I’m being honest,” he said. “And while it’s not a community in that same way the queer community is a community, my [polyamorous] friends are always willing to talk about their experiences and help me with my new experiences.”

● In another college paper, The Northern Light of the University of Alaska, Anchorage: Consider Polyamory (Feb. 11).

By Ben Edwards

...This Valentine’s Day, couples should recognize the full breadth of romantic options that they have.

Adopting polyamory depends on the enthusiastic consent and trust of both partners. Additionally, it requires clear communication on what the terms are for the new polyamorous agreement. Even the word itself is subject to interpretation. It could imply multiple romantic connections or strictly sexual diversification. At its semantic foundation, polyamory can be thought of as “multiple love.” How couples define that is up to them. What couples should not do, however, is continue to suffocate within the arbitrary confines of monogamy. If the current arrangement makes both partners truly happy, then there is no need to change. But if there is mutual dissatisfaction, then they should not feel guilty or scared of trying something new. ...

● Another college paper, The Martlet at the University of Victoria in BC, Canada: A Crash Course in Polyamory (Feb. 14):

Polyamory is magical in that it allows us to explore our insecurities and rise above them; to love freely, without fear or the desire to confine one another.

By Kierra Moseman

...I like to define polyamory as engaging in romantic relationships with more than one person at a time, with the consent of all involved. Polyamory is also associated with concepts such as ethical non-monogamy, relationship anarchy, and the open relationship. The key difference is that polyamory promotes the idea of love and romance between multiple people, while other types of non-monogamy may only allow for sexual freedoms. ...

...Polyamory can look however the participants need it to look. As long as the consent of every person is established, you’re practicing correctly. ... What most people don’t realize about polyamory is the amount of difficult, personal work that an individual must do to be happy in such a radical form of loving. ...

● Also in the Victoria BC area, in a chain of local papers: Valentine’s Day can be ‘tricky’ for those in polyamorous relationships (Feb. 14)

By Nick Murray

“Valentine’s Day can be a tricky one for polyamorous relationships,” says Cora Bilsker, the owner of Nested Heart Counselling.

“It can be celebrated with single or with multiple partners. Some people like separate celebrations and others like to celebrate together. I have spent it with three or four people before, and it has been really sweet.”

Polyamory is the practice, desire or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time, with the knowledge and consent of all partners.

...Bilska says that most of her clients are between the ages of 20 and 40, and the lifestyle is growing “leaps and bounds,” especially in Greater Victoria, as it becomes better understood.

...The Canadian Polyamory Advocacy Association (CPAA) says that behaviours associated with the movement – and in its view are central to it – are gender equality, self-determination, free choice for all involved, mutual trust, and equal respect among all partners.

...But while polyamory edges closer towards the mainstream and becomes better understood, Valentine’s Day can present challenges for polyamorous partners.

“It can be an emotionally loaded time, but it does depend on the relationship,” Bilska explains.

More generally, she has advice for people embarking on a polyamorous relationship.

“Making it work, you need a strong sense of self. It’s a journey that will challenge your insecurities and it’s a journey to give you what you need, not relying on just a partner to help you learn about yourself.”

● In the Hartford Courant, the daily paper of the capitol of Connecticut, This comedian wants you to hear his story of polyamory (Feb. 14):

Brett Johnson's "Poly-Theist" standup show is at the Elbow Room Feb. 22.

By Christopher Arnott

...“I grew up religious, Evangelical. I married at 21, straight out of Christian school,” Johnson says.

But a few years later, he was “no longer Evangelical, no longer monogamous” and began to explore polyamory, which allows for multiple romantic partners in trusting relationships simultaneously.

Johnson, who lives in Boston and is no longer married, has turned this life transformation into a one-man show titled “Poly-Theist”.... The show follows events in his life up to “just a few months ago,” including — “Spoiler alert,” he says, laughing, a current relationship in which he is again exploring monogamy.

Johnson started performing the hourlong “Poly-theist” in December, and it’s become his main gig. In coming weeks, Johnson will do the show in Chicago, Pittsburgh, Portland, Maine, and various cities throughout Massachusetts. This summer, he’ll be bringing it to the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland.

...“I didn’t grow up even thinking this was a thing.

...The reaction to “Poly-theist” has been positive, even from Johnson’s ex-wife, who she says hasn’t seen the show but helped him title it.

● The news site of Australia's national broadcasting network offered Five Sydney couples share their relationship secrets on Valentine's Day (Feb. 13). The first couple is poly and genderqueer.

By Mridula Amin

Eme and Jen are polyamorous, which means they are committed to each other but can have intimate relationships with multiple people.

"We didn't just wake up one day and say 'Oh yeah let's be open'," says Jen.

"We got to that through six years of communication and then last year we opened it."

..."We'd both migrated from the Philippines, we were into the same obscure films," says Eme. ... "We were like everyone else is a bit boring, let's go outside and have a cigarette on Glebe Point Road and talk."

Years later, it's the same thing they did to talk about Eme transitioning to gender non-binary.

..."The trust to give each other freedom has been a highlight, just to be able to be at this stage in our relationship that we're still growing — that's what I love."

● Also in Australia, sexuality educator Siren Vandoll posted How I Manage Being Polyamorous on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 9), with a list of commonsense advice.

● From India, a long feature article in the Times of India: Polyamory is a reality in Kolkata! (Feb. 13). With a poly-talk glossary. India has had a lot of polyamory in its news in the last few years that I haven't gathered into a post yet.

● And Elle publishes a Valentine's feature on Emma Goldman, that beloved anarcha-feminist from the turn of the 20th century: What Happened When the Mother of Non-Monogamy Fell Head Over Heels in Love (Feb. 13).

● Also, in Elle's UK edition, What is a Relationship? The New Rules of Attraction for 2019 (Feb. 14).

From debates around consent to the redefinition of romantic relationships, the entire dating landscape is in flux. Welcome to a brave new world.

...Newer concepts such as non-monogamy, as well as polyamory (a recent survey found that a fifth of Brits identify as ‘poly’), as well as relationship anarchy (an anti-hierarchical approach to relationships, where everything from friendships to romantic love are given equal weighting), are changing what relationships look like – and what we want from them.

My own situation is a case in point.

For almost two years, I have been in an ethically non-monogamous relationship.

In Australia it's summer on Valentine's Day. (Getty.)

... Anyone who knows anything about poly life will know that it is not a free-for-all; there are rules and boundaries and colour-coded Google calendars. The truth is I feel a thrill at this facet of our relationship. It seems to me a radical act of compassion to accept that my partner may feel attracted to someone else, like we all are from time to time.

If you’re thinking, ‘Nice idea, but I could never do it. The jealousy! The paranoia! The sharing!’, I get what you’re saying, but I’ve also seen how poly life has started to influence the dating experiences of my most monogamously minded friends. ...


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February 8, 2019

Psychology task force on polyamory & CNM is off to a roaring start

The American Psychological Association (APA) has a Division 44 that deals with LGBTQ and gender issues. Within it, as reported here earlier, Heath Schechinger and Amy Moors are spearheading a task force to overhaul therapists' understand of polyamory and other forms of consensual non-monogamy (CNM). The intent is to train America's psych professionals to serve CNM clients well, which often does not happen now.

Schechinger recently posted a progress report to the Polyamory Leadership Network (the emphases are mine):

Heath Schechinger
[In January] I had the privilege of representing the Consensual Non-monogamy Task Force at the bi-annual Executive Committee meeting of the Society for Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity (APA Division 44). It was clear throughout the two-day meeting that Division 44 is supportive of the CNM Task Force and our initiatives.

I was thrilled by the gestures of support, with many going out of their way to express their excitement, acknowledge awareness of the historical significance of the Task Force, and/or their desire for the CNM Task Force to become a Standing Committee ensuring ongoing representation.

Amy C. Moors
They also unanimously approved our Task Force a year ago (as well as our modest budget proposal this year), were supportive of our petition to support relationship diversity, and asked me to do a Q&A in their newsletter to highlight the Task Force and de-mystify the process of getting involved with Division 44. The incoming editor expressed interest in receiving CNM research for the Div 44 academic journal, Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity (PSOGD).

It was clear they were not merely tolerating us, but celebrating our presence. This seems to highlight the shift we are witnessing in the non-monogamy movement, as one of the most powerful psychology organizations in the world is demonstrating a clear interest in addressing monosexism and acknowledging the historical erasure of non-monosexual relationship structures.

We also have 75 volunteers who are contributing to our 12 Initiatives. The co-leads [Schechinger and Moors] have identified their goals and are in the process of contacting their contributors to strategize their efforts to accomplish their goals.

And what are those initiatives? Here's the current list (also available as a better formatted PDF with an introduction):

1. Consensual Non-monogamy Fact Sheet  (Lead: Amy Moors, Ph.D. & Heath Schechinger, Ph.D.). An easy-to-read infographic that provides helpful information about CNM, including a definition, stats, dispelled myths, and recommendations for further reading.

2. Healthcare Brochures  (Co-leads: Michelle Vaughan, Ph.D. & Heath Schechinger, Ph.D.).  Resources designed to educate medical and mental health providers about consensual non-monogamy.
3. Consensual Non-monogamy Inclusive Practices Tool (Lead: Heath Schechinger, Ph.D.). A benchmarking tool to highlight inclusive clinical practices and policies related to equity and inclusion for people engaged in CNM.
4. Therapist Recommendations (Co-leads: Heath Schechinger, Ph.D., Dossie Easton, Geri Weitzman, Ph.D., & Amy Moors, Ph.D.). This team is creating a guide with empirically informed recommendations for therapists working with clients who engage in consensual non-monogamy.
5. CNM Literature Project (Co-leads: Daniel Cardoso, Ph.D. & Michelle Vaughan, Ph.D.). This team is creating and supporting resources designed to summarize, index, and organize peer-reviewed and historic CNM literature that can be used by researchers, educators, and clinicians. These resources include the Consensual Non-monogamies Literature List and the Kenneth R. Haslam Collection on Polyamory.
6. Special Call Campaign (Co-leads: Lisa Dawn Hamilton, Ph.D., Sharon Flicker, Ph.D., Daniel Cardoso,
Ph.D., & Ashley Thompson, Ph.D.). This team is responsible for organizing special calls (e.g., journal issues, conference symposia) related to consensual non-monogamies.
7. Intersecting Identities Campaign (Co-leads: Leonore Tjia, M.A., Roberto Abreu, Ph.D., & Christopher Stults, Ph.D.). This team is promoting awareness of issues facing individuals engaged in consensual non-monogamy with multiple marginalized identities through writing a peer-reviewed paper on the topic, compiling a list of advocacy groups that work intersecting CNM identities, and challenging common homogeneous narratives about CNM.
8. LGBTQ Resources Campaign (Co-leads: Dawn Brown, M.S. & Stephen Forssell, Ph.D.). This team will work with local and national LGBTQ leaders to increase CNM representation in LGBTQ resources. They are creating resources addressing the intersection of CNM and LGBTQ identities and providing recommendations for how to can be inclusive of CNM.
9. Legal Issues Campaign (Ashley Thompson, Ph.D. & Ryan Witherspoon, Ph.D.). This team is committed to addressing legal and discrimination issues related to consensual non-monogamy, such as the effects of stigma and discrimination and the implications for family law and employment discrimination, as well as CNM being a protected status. This team is producing a peer-reviewed paper.

10. Healthcare Provider Directory Campaign (Co-leads: Heath Schechinger, Ph.D., Bree Zimmerman, M.A., & Deanna Richards, Ed.M.): This team is dedicated to removing barriers to accessing culturally competent care through organizing a campaign to include consensual non-monogamy (and/or related terms) on healthcare provider locator directories.
11. Inclusive Education Campaign (Co-leads: Lisa Dawn Hamilton, Ph.D. & Apryl Alexander, Psy.D.). This is developing a pledge campaign to promote CNM inclusion in education and training programs. One project will include recruiting educators to pledge being inclusive of consensual non-monogamy in their courses. They will maintain a database and promote awareness of individuals and organizations who pledge in order to increase visibility and advocate for inclusion.
12. Inclusive Demographic Forms Campaign (Co-leads: Jen Rafacz, Ph.D. & Rachel Ann Kieran, Psy.D. This team is committed to increasing awareness about including relationship status/structure (e.g., monogamous, polyamorous) on client history/intake and demographic forms. A couple initiatives of this group include writing an article addressing inclusive demographic forms, organizing a pledge campaign, and providing sample language for assessing relationship style on demographic forms.

Advisory Board Our Advisory Board consists of individuals with substantial experience in a particular domain (e.g., therapy, public outreach, research) who have made themselves available to provide consultation and guidance to the Task Force Co-chairs and project Leads. Our network of advisors include:
Alan MacRobert
Charles Moser, PhD, MD
Cris Beasley
Cunning Minx
Dave Doleshal, Ph.D.
Dossie Easton
Elisabeth Sheff, Ph.D.
Jes Matsick, Ph.D.
John Sakaluk, Ph.D.
Justin Lehmiller, Ph.D.
Richard Sprott, Ph.D.
Susan Wright, M.A.


It's wonderful to see such an ambitious poly-awareness initiative take hold and advance inside a powerful professional organization.

Looking back, most of what the our movement has accomplished in the last 30 years has been done by amateur volunteers with irregular time and energy, little coordination, and lack of money or organizational structures to carry out big ideas.

As for money: it's amazing that even on pathetic financial shoestrings, we've spread understanding across the Western world about, for most people in mainstream society, a huge new "impossible" idea: that successful, ethical multi-love relationships are entirely possible and actually happening among the many who are suited for it, and who access hard-won poly community wisdom about what works. The "polyamorous possibility" (Eli Sheff's phrase) has become much more widely known. And once known, it is remembered.

But with more people encountering the idea and considering it for themselves, more people need the knowledge and community support to not screw it up. And, more people are likely to face job discrimination, housing discrimination, and official ignorance in court. As the movement grows, the needed work grows.

No dollar donation specifically aimed toward poly awareness and support has ever, anywhere, exceeded four figures to my knowledge1 — with one big exception. That was when Robyn Trask purchased Loving More in 2004 when it was a for-profit print magazine heading toward extinction. She then sacrificed her investment to turn Loving More into the nonprofit organization it is today, so that its advocacy, support efforts, and conferences could survive and thrive. She has also personally made up a number of its financial shortfalls.

So, 15 years later, here I am riding a train to Loving More's 14th annual Poly Living conference in Philadelphia. Everyone who is involved in modern polyamory enough to be reading this site owes Robyn more than you may know, whether that debt is once or twice or ten times removed.


1. Am I wrong? Please share in the comments here.


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February 6, 2019

That poly conference in Israel managed to happen, despite religious threats

The polyamory conference for psychology professionals in Israel, which was under fire from religious demonstrators (previous post), happened yesterday on schedule as reported in Haaretz, even though Bar-Ilan University administrators partially caved by limiting who was allowed to attend. And, we learn more about who orchestrated the opposition.

Scene at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan

Religiously-oriented Israeli University Holds Confab on Polyamory Despite Uproar

Orthodox groups demonstrate against 'academic-therapeutic' conference at Bar-Ilan University, claiming the phenomenon encourages adultery

By Shira Kadari-Ovadia

A university in central Israel is holding a conference Tuesday on the treatment of polyamory, a phenomenon in which people engage in intimate, consensual relations with more than one partner or have a desire for such relationships.

The conference is taking place at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan despite the fact that there were protests last week by religious groups, claiming that holding it constitutes encouragement of adultery.

The conference, being held as part of a training program in the university's department of social work for treating sexual problems, had been fully booked in advance registration. Scheduled speakers include academics, psychologists and sexual therapists.

Opposition to the event at Bar-Ilan – Israel’s only religiously-oriented university – was led on social media by the Liba Center, a conservative Orthodox group that in the past organized protests against women serving in the army and equal rights for members of the LGBT community.

Leading up to the conference, members of the group demonstrated outside the homes of senior Bar-Ilan administrative officials.

In response to the protests, the administration issued a statement stressing its commitment to academic freedom, adding: “Unfortunately, the people from the Liba Center, which is identified with extremist positions, is spreading information that is selective and not current regarding the conference, which is academic-therapeutic in nature."

The statement insisted the conference is geared "exclusively to professionals who are social workers and therapists" and that the university supports faculty members interested in holding business-like deliberations based on knowledge and research.

"By its nature, academia frequently deals with controversial social issues,” the statement concluded.

The original (February 5, 2019. Registration wall).

The article comes with promos for four previous polyamory stories in Haaretz, a prominent voice for secularism:

–  Who's afraid of polyamory? (Feb. 3, 2019)
–  I know my boyfriend's wife. We go out for coffee together." (May 27, 2017)
–  Is an open marriage the secret to keeping love alive? (July 26, 2015)
–  Polyamory: A product of deprivation or a cure for a monogamous rut? (March 26, 2016)

Also, in the Daily Sabah, a Turkish pro-government paper:

Uproar fails to stop polyamory event at religious Israeli university

...Over the past week, religious groups have been doing their best to have the seminar nixed.

A Facebook group against the event called "adultery at Bar-Ilan!" bears a logo of one of the Ten Commandments: "You shall not commit adultery."

Bar-Ilan University attracts many religious Jewish students and lecturers, and requires students to include Jewish studies in their degrees.

...Demonstrators believe the concept clashes with Jewish values. One of the protests was organized at an interchange outside the university at the time as the seminar.

An online petition to stop the seminar garnered more than 2,700 signatures. It states: "If you too think that this is a conference which is not moral and not academic, join us in our activities to cancel the adultery conference."

...Responding to a request for comment, Bar-Ilan said the conference is a professional one and "is not intended to encourage polyamory."

"Polyamory has become a more prevalent social issue and, as such, is of great interest to the sex therapist professional community in Israel," it said in a statement.

The whole article (Feb. 5, 2019).


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February 3, 2019

Speaking up for poly, under attack at Israeli university

Now a rational voice is in the news amid the furor at Israel's Bar-Ilan University, where the psychology department is set to hold a polyamory conference for therapists (see my last post). Haaretz, a leading Israeli newspaper with a liberal bent, ran this column today:

Who's Afraid of Polyamory?

For people who can’t find themselves in monogamy, polyamory offers alternative frameworks for their relationships based on commitment, sincerity, good will and love

By Lihi Rothschild

A conference on polyamory and psychological therapy is to go ahead as planned on Monday at Bar-Ilan University despite numerous objections from groups of conservative students. The students say the conference promotes unfaithfulness and moral depravity. The protests, including demands to cancel the conference, reached the doorstep of the university’s rector, Miriam Faust.

Polyamory is a lifestyle involving a number of simultaneous romantic and or/sexual relationships with the knowledge and consent of all involved. In recent years it has become increasingly popular in Israeli society, with many people experimenting with various forms of non-monogamous ties. Opposition to the conference is based on a distorted presentation of polyamory. Contrary to the claims by opponents of the conference, this lifestyle does not involve unfaithfulness but rather an open and conscious choice of non-exclusive sexual or emotional relationships.

The accusation that polyamory is responsible for the destruction of the monogamous family is also exaggerated. The normative couple does not fall apart because of polyamory, but rather because monogamy is a framework marketed as a glove that fits every hand, but like most one-size-fits-all garments, many people find that it isn’t the best fit for them. For people who can’t find themselves in monogamy, polyamory offers alternative frameworks for their relationships based on commitment, sincerity, good will and love.

When a polyamorous man or woman enters psychological treatment, they sometimes find themselves in a complex situation. Sometimes they have to spend the first session, or even several sessions, explaining what polyamory is, how it works exactly and how their life relationships work. In more difficult cases they encounter scorn over their lifestyle choice, or face all sorts of stereotypes which assume that non-monogamous relationships are unhealthy, unstable and even deviant.

Sometimes instead of the treatment that focuses on resolving the patient’s problems, it mistakenly assumes that polyamory is the source of those problems, and tries to correct it. Such therapy not only doesn’t help, it can be very harmful. ...

...The American Psychological Association has recently recognized the need to expand knowledge and awareness about polyamory among professionals, and over the past year established a committee to study the subject and establish guidelines for treatment. The Israel Psychological Association held a conference last March on the subject entitled “Polyamory – are there rules for love?”

Such research groups and conferences like the one to take place on Monday at Bar-Ilan can help start dealing with the lack of understanding, the stigma and ignorance in this area. However, it would be better in the future if greater efforts were made to bring in spokesmen and spokeswomen from the polyamorous community and therapists who have undergone training in this area.

In conclusion, a few words about academic freedom. The essence of academic life is to ask questions about social structures and phenomena. It is meant to track changes and developments in a critical manner. It is meant to make new knowledge accessible and encourage critical thinking about the world. The demand to make knowledge and academic discourse subservient to codes of Jewish law goes against the essence of the academic world.

It is regrettable that Bar-Ilan University has given in to pressure and restricted entry to the conference to professionals in the field. This is a decision that harms the purpose of the conference in that it creates the impression that this issue must be hidden from the public eye and restricted to researchers in the field, and this limits academic discourse. However, the rector, and the head of Bar-Ilan’s school of social work, Prof. Nehami Baum, are to be given full support for their insistence on holding the conference, even in its limited form, considering the objections.

Lihi Rothschild is a Ph.D. candidate at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her area of research is polyamorous and queer families in society and law.

The original (February 3, 2019. Registration wall.)


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