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

December 13, 2019

Friday Polynews Roundup — Dilbert, things monos can learn from us, a bad-poly play, 12 Pillars, and more

It's Friday Polynews Roundup time for December 13, 2019.

● We gotta start with this one: the December 7 Dilbert strip:

It does confuse what "polyamory" means, which is not just dating two people. That's called "open relationship." Or, "dating." Think instead, "loving relationships with an understanding that everyone's part of the same team."

Thanks to everyone who sent this.

Broadway World announces a one-person play about poly gone bad: Kate Robards Returns to The Marsh San Francisco with POLYSHAMORY (Dec. 11).

...Kate has everything she's ever dreamed of...but so does Kate's husband's girlfriend. With a polyamory therapist and sex-positive ethos, Kate begins a polyamorous marriage that goes wrong. A story of his and her. And hers. And his. And sex. And therapy. And love. ...

PolySHAMory has been welcomed by critics, who called it "a remarkably cohesive narrative" (The Washington Post) and "a rich portrait of a complex life" (DC Theatre Scene), while Robards was praised for her "warm and friendly personality" (Montreal Rampage) and her ability to "create a comfortably comedic atmosphere" (DC Metro Theater Arts).

One-minute trailer:

Omar Lopez / Unsplash
● In the young-women's online mag YourTango: The 12 Principles Of Polyamory (And How They Can Benefit Any Relationship) (Dec. 12). This stemmed from writer and sex educator Jeana Jorgensen rediscovering "The 12 Pillars of Polyamory" by Ken Haslam, an energetic poly activist during the crucial early years when the bandwagon was barely starting to move. Jorgensen adds her own commentary on the 12 Pillars, which are

1. Authenticity
2. Choice
3. Transparency
4. Trust
5. Gender equality
6. Honesty
7. Open communication
8. Non-possessiveness
9. Consensual
10. Accepting of self-determination
11. Sex positivity
12. Compersion​​

The 12 Pillars, BTW,  originated with Ken's talk to Polyamorous NYC on March 19, 2008, which seems like ancient history now. His talk was soon online, widely reprinted, and influential during that key period.

Ken later founded and funded the Kenneth R. Haslam Collection on Polyamory at the Kinsey Institute Library, to gather and archive papers and other materials documenting the origins and history of the modern polyamory movement for future researchers.[1]

● Also on YourTango this week: I Used To Be In A Polyamorous Relationship — Here Are The 3 Major Things Polyamory Taught Me (Dec. 6). They picked this up from PopSugar, where it first appeared Nov. 14. I mentioned it then, but here are excerpts:

By Lexi Inks

...After unexpectedly reconnecting with an acquaintance and now my current partner (the love of my life, to clarify), I came to discover that he was polyamorous with two committed romantic partners. This came as a surprise to me, especially because I hadn't met anyone who was poly, much less learned about it at length.

...Speaking from experience, I can confirm that plenty of poly relationships are committed partnerships founded on love and deep connection.

...Communication is imperative; without it, someone is going to get hurt. ... Without voicing and sharing your thoughts/feelings/desires/needs, not only will you be unhappy and unfulfilled, but your partner will also continue to be at a disadvantage because they don't know how to be a better partner for you.

...Repeat after me: My partner can care about people other than me. Although this isn't the case in monogamy, your partner can (and should!) have healthy platonic relationships with people other than you. Seriously, you should not be the only important person in your partner's life.

..."Compersion" can be difficult to learn and practice for those new to non-monogamy.... As my relationship progressed and I settled into compersion, I realized that it's applicable to every relationship, monogamous ones included.

...While the lifestyle isn't for everyone, anyone can take these lessons and make their relationships deeper, more loving, and more fulfilling.

Prevention magazine — that old health-supplement marketing tool that got my grandmother to buy into every expensive swallowing fad that came and went[2] — has modernized under Hearst ownership for the digital age. That means getting on the consensual non-monogamy horse: Sleep Diaries, Naked Edition: A Divorced Mom Explores Ethical Non-monogamy (Dec. 6). Sleep Diaries is a feature "where interesting people share a week’s worth of late-night habits." This one follows Michelle, a 38-year-old divorced poly mom.

● With the holidays coming up, 10 Non-Confrontational Gifts For Your Girlfriend’s Other Partner in the very poly-friendly Autostraddle, "the world’s most popular lesbian website, with over one million unique visitors and 3.5 million views per month" (Dec. 11). The gift suggestions for polyfolks are unremarkable; Autostraddle too get commissions on sales of featured products.

● News You Can Use

So this week's news crop was fairly thin. Here's something substantial and useful from the poly community itself: The ever-cogent Page Turner's Best Practices for Negotiating Polyamorous Relationship Agreements on her Poly.Land blog. Andrea Green, editor of South Africa's ZaPoly site and discussion list, boosted it as worthy of a spotlight. I agree.

While I’ve had a number of polyamorous relationship agreements over the years, the best ones all had one thing in common: They were very specific, very clear, and comprehensive.

An agreement should meet everyone’s needs. In order to figure out what these are, make sure to devote adequate time for discussion.

As a starting point, here are some questions that have guided developing agreements that I’ve made in the past:

– How much freedom or autonomy do we need?
– What concerns us re: sexual safety?
– What painful scenarios have we run into in the past that we are we looking to avoid? Are there any measures that we can implement to prevent these?
– How do we feel about relationship vetoes?
– Do we want to have a permission structure (i.e., to have a standard that we ask and obtain approval from an existing partner before we start a new relationship) or a notification structure (i.e., don’t need permission but should tell our partners after things happen)? Or something else altogether (e.g., don’t ask don’t tell, etc.)?
– What are the consequences of breaking the relationship agreement?

And this is just a beginning. Developing a comprehensive understanding of each other’s concerns can be quite a twisty-turny process and lead to all sorts of places that are hard to predict until you get in the thick of things. ...

Each week going forward, I'll try to highlight something like this that's really useful and worthy from the community. Your suggestions welcome. Mailto: alan7388@gmail.com.

See you next Friday, or sooner if big stuff comes up!


1.  If you have any such papers in the back of your attic, write to Liana Zhou, Special Collections Librarian, Kinsey Institute Library (zhoul@indiana.edu) to get shipping instructions — before you die and your heirs, not knowing their significance, throw them out forever.

2.  Finally they admit it: "Prevention participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products...."




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