Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

December 26, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup: "Everything You Need to Know About Polyamory," and how the public education machine is running by itself

Dainis Graveris / Unsplash

The pandemic flies further out of control. Millions face eviction. US deaths to pass 400,000 around MLK Day. Administration flings chaos and sabotage. Pentagon brass meet to discuss how to deal with an autogolpe attempt, a possibility brand new in all of American history.

So there's a bit less news-media attention these days to light topics like new relationship models and stuff.

Here are just two items plucked from the stream this week, from outside the news parts of the media. Both are fine Polyamory 101s, especially the first. They're reminders of how media of all kinds are now churning out, on their own, abundant basic intros and profiles of the kind that just a decade ago poly education and awareness activists struggled mightily to drag into existence, one by obscure one.

I'm talking about some of you, dear readers. You've done such tireless work — dealing with journalists, submitting to interviews, helping them get it right, correcting their misconceptions — that now the media can just copy each other and usually get it right. Your early efforts built this positive-feedback cycle that's running fast today, faster than anything we could do.

Which is not to say we shouldn't get on their cases when they bumble it.

●  Everything You Need to Know About Polyamorous Relationships is from InStyle, a leading international fashion magazine, circulation 1.7 million, where a one-page ad in the print edition costs $234,000. So if this piece appears in 1 or 2 pages of print as well as online, the market says that's worth about a quarter million to a half million dollars in publicity value.

As far as I know, that alone would be more than the actual money that polyamory education and awareness efforts have raised and spent in the movement's entire 30-plus year history.

And it's darn good, even with over-claiming headline.

Everything You Need to Know About Polyamorous Relationships

Including the most common myths about polyamory and best practices for entering into a polyamorous agreement

By Maressa Brown | Dec 25, 2020

If you’ve spent even a few minutes on a dating app these days, chances are you’ve encountered profiles that disclose some form of consensual non-monogamy. ...

“Polyamory is a form of consensual non-monogamy that emphasizes emotional intimacy and sexual intimacy to whatever desired degree in an ongoing way among multiple partners,” explains Elisabeth A. Sheff Ph.D., CSE, author of The Polyamorists Next Door, who explains that often the goal for polyamorous people is to have long-term, emotionally intimate relationships with multiple people.

People in polyamorous relationships are open to bonding intimately — be that sexually and/or romantically — with multiple people.... [Says] Casey Tanner, certified sex therapist and expert for LELO who works with many polyamorous couples, “Successful polyamory is guided by explicit consent to what kind of romantic and/or sexual relationships are explored outside of the relationship at hand. These agreements exist to keep each member of the relationship physically, emotionally, and sexually safe such that partners can truly lean into experiences within those boundaries.”

Unlike an open relationship — in which committed partners might agree to green light dating, sex, or other types of bonding outside of their relationship — a polyamorous relationship is marked by more relational commitment, says Shannon Chavez, Psy.D., a psychologist and sex therapist in Los Angeles. “There can be different levels of commitments and different levels of intimacy,” she notes. For instance, some relationships might be based strictly on sex while others are based on an emotional connection or both physical and emotional intimacy.

It also bears noting that many polyamorous people find support from building a sense of community with other polyam people, either online or locally. “It is much more than who you are having sex with or having another relationship,” says Chavez. “The lifestyle is an important part of polyamory.” ...

Next  follow descriptions of common polyam relationship structures, from open couples to network polycules to unofficial group marriages to solo polys. Then,

Although awareness about polyamorous relationships is growing, plenty of misconceptions abound. A few of the most common myths, busted:

...There’s always one primary couple. ...

Polyamorous people have wild sex lives. ...

Practicing polyamory will save a monogamous relationship. ...

Polyamorous people are “greedy” and “boundaryless.” ...

There is only one way to be polyamorous. ..

Just like other marginalized groups, people misunderstand the polyamorous community to be homogenous, or one-size-fits-all, says Tanner. “When people picture a polyam person, they might think of a youthful, queer artist type with no kids and no mortgage,” she says. “In reality, polyamory occurs throughout the lifespan and includes people of all professions, family constellations, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.

...Some people come to polyamory after having been in monogamous relationships in the past and finding that they were not getting their needs met, says Chavez.

But that’s far from the only path to practicing what Chavez calls a relationship orientation. People are realizing that they knew from the beginning of their relationships that they could — and would prefer to — be in love with more than one partner at a time....

Either way, polyamorous people realize that they are someone who could love multiple people and enjoy multiple relationships...


If you’re just beginning to practice polyamory, Tanner recommends making the following moves:

Address transparency.  Answer questions like what do you want to know about the other’s outside relationships, and how much detail do you want to provide/be provided with?

Discuss frequency. Talk about the frequency with which you’d like to engage in other relationships and the ways in which you’ll continue to be intentional with bringing energy to the relationship at hand.

Talk about “coming out.” Decide which people in your life you feel comfortable “coming out” to about polyamory, and make sure you’re on the same page. ...

BTW, two years ago InStyle ran 6 Habits to Steal from Couples in Open Relationships (Aug. 15, 2018). These were,

1) Practice total honesty. ...

2) Conduct regular relationship evaluations. ...

3) Set clear rules and boundaries. ...

4) Talk through jealousy. ...

5) Don't rely on one another for everything. ...

6) Be vigilant about safe sex. ...

●  In a less heavyweight corner of the media, The Benefits Of Polyamory appeared a couple days ago on Vocal, a large and successful platisher site.1 Despite the optimistic headline, this one takes a dimmer view of what fraction of people are right for the poly life.  

Dainis Graveris / Unsplash

By Ossiana M. Tepfenhart

...Things started to change around the time I was in high school.

I, along with many others, started to hear about relationships with more than one person. ... I quickly learned about polyamory and realized that I'm not entirely monogamous by nature.

Dainis Graveris / Unsplash
Poly relationships can take a wide range of different appearances...

When Does Polyamory Work?

From what I've seen, poly relationships only work for a very select few people. They work for people who are not monogamous by nature, have the ability to be radically honest with their partners, and have a high level of emotional maturity.

Most people cannot be good poly partners, simply because the tendency towards being jealous or envious can make insecurity too much of an issue. With that said, if you're confident and open, it's possible to make things work out well.

Why Do People Choose To Be In Poly Relationships?

...The Extra Love ...

The Variety-Filled Sex ...

More Resources ...

Why Polyamory Is Not For Everyone, But Should Still Be Accepted....

ANNOUNCEMENT:   Love Is Polytical, a two-day online conference January 2-3, is planned by Karada House, "a queer collaborative art space that explores the boundaries of art, the body and creativity" in Berlin, Germany. The working language is English. Workshops include Relationship Tools: Needs, Wants and the Relationship Anarchist; Kinky, Poly and Asexual; Psyche of Polyamory, Intersectional Non-Monogamy, Queering Polyamorous Parenthood, We Do Not Live Single-Issue Lives, and more. (I don't know anything about this group; just posting their announcement.) 

Have an announcement that belongs here? Write me at alan7388 (at) gmail.com.


1.  A platisher (publishing platform) is a for-profit, magazine-like site where writers send in content about anything, staff screen for quality, their pick of the best gets publicly featured by category, and the creator gets some pay based on reads. Much of the rest also goes online but, without being featured, stays mostly unseen as if on private blogs.

 Don't miss Polyamory in the News!
 SUBSCRIBE by a feed, or
 SUBSCRIBE by email



Labels: ,

December 18, 2020

Giving the Gift of Sex Positivity: 10 organizations

It was a thin week for polyamory in the media. So here, for this season of charity, is a donation appeal that Elizabeth Sheff posted on her site: Giving the Gift of Sex Positivity, Ten non-profit organizations advocating and researching diverse relationships. (Update: Link now working.)

Small organizations like these are almost always short of money, and your gift can go a long way.

Even if you don't chip in a bit, most readers here would probably want to know about these groups. Sheff gives a paragraph-length description of each.

Please be safe this holiday season  so your friends and family will be around next year to celebrate in person.

 Don't miss Polyamory in the News!
 SUBSCRIBE by a feed, or
 SUBSCRIBE by email



Labels: ,

December 11, 2020

Friday Polyamory News Roundup: Breaking the unicorn stereotype, facing down reality TV, Western polyam in Asia, happy polydays, and more

It's Friday Polyamory News Roundup time for December 11, 2020! I skipped last week, so we've got a lot.

●  The wedding-industrial complex, that 600-pound money-sucking gorilla that too many about-to-be-weds and their families fail to chase away, seems to be picking up on our ideas. But boy can it fumble them. Brides magazine ran a reasonably decent article in September, How To Know if an Open Marriage Is Right for YouThat must have done well for them, because now they're back with What Is Polyamory and Why Is it Having a Moment? by a different author (Dec. 7). Nearly every paragraph in this one is either wrong or just eye-rollingly misguided.


By Anka Radakovich

Polyamorous marriage is having a moment. The spike in this alternative marriage arrangement is happening with young, married couples who have been married for a few years, yet long for “something more.” ... 

“Consensual Polyamory and open relationships are booming as the Covid pandemic has put a strain on many traditional relationships,” says Sexologist Dr. Ava Cadell.

That's odd, everyone I know tells of Covid putting a lid on their lives. Cadell goes on:

“Divorce has spiked and even newlyweds are calling it quits, but an alternative to separation and divorce is adding new relationship energy,” she says. “The benefits of adding one or more partners for a couple include avoiding cheating, getting additional attention, satisfying a natural curiosity, exploring bisexuality, and learning to love in new ways.” 

...[The Ashley Madison cheating site] recently published a study called “Love Beyond Lockdown: A Report on Navigating Marriage and Infidelity Through A Pandemic And A New Normal.”...  “Lack of sexual initiation is the primary complaint of married people during lockdown,” the study found. Seventy five percent of cheaters don’t look to their partner in times of uncertainty and stress, so they go outside the marriage. The pandemic has not decreased the desire or ability to cheat, in fact it has fueled it.

...The downside of all of this is jealousy. ... But the hippies [in the 1970s Kerista commune] figured this poly dilemma out by using the concept of “Compersion,” which is a “feeling of pleasure or deep emotion arising from your partner being with another partner. Often referred to as the opposite of jealousy.

Simple, huh?

...“When the pandemic is lifted we may see that some marriages didn’t make it,” says Dr. [Tammy] Nelson. “...One thing that the pandemic has taught couples was to be more honest with each other about their needs and desires. ... Couples may occasionally need to find an outside relationship to fill in the gaps,” says Dr. Nelson.

Got a gap? Find a body to patch it with!

Will somebody please pitch a decent article on polyam to Brides? It looks like they're in the market. 

●  Speaking of toxic couple-centrism, Elisabeth Sheff, longtime researcher on the sociology of polyamory, has posted a research-based series of items about unicorn relationships and their problems — and sometimes their surprising successes for everyone involved — on her Psychology Today blog The Polyamorists Next Door. The latest in this series is Unicorns in Their Own Words (Nov. 29). She finds that, as usual, stereotypes capture only some of the people being stereotyped.
Pixabay, bouette782
Pixabay, bouette782

My findings indicate that [unicorns'] experiences in consensual non-monogamy (CNM) are incredibly diverse and range from hideously exploitative to joyously liberating.

She also writes,

The previous two blog posts in this unicorn series covered the reasons why it is so hard for couples to date and provided some tips on how couples can improve their dating lives — both of which got a big reaction from some readers.

She's being diplomatic. As we all know after this happy, rationality-filled year 2020, humans will often fly into a fury when informed that research finds that some people in a stereotyped group don't fit the stereotype.

Both folks who say that polyamory is evil and those who say that unicorn hunting is evil are basing their responses on their individual experiences. This is not to say that those experiences are wrong, invalid, or false. Those experiences are real and legitimate — and they are not the only experiences. ... Research with humans involves sampling as broad a range of people as possible, including non-monogamists who identify as something else than polyamorous or manage their polyamorous relationships differently than the group that opposes unicorn hunting on principle.

●  Dunno about you, but I could use some holiday cheer.  

–  The MFM polyfamily raising a toddler who run the RealPolylife site have put together an Instagram-of-the-day series — 31 of them for the 31 days of December — of many different people's polyam Instagrams. It feels like those childhood Advent calendars for the Christmas season, where you open a little paper door onto a scene for each date in December leading up to the biggie. We're a third of the way through the month, but you're welcome to start at the beginning. #HappyPolydays: A Group of polyamourous people raising awareness in the month of December

–  Kimchi Cuddles offers a free print-it-yourself holiday card. Open the jpg file there for the card. For best results print it on card stock, cut and fold.

–  In past years I've run big roundups of holiday-season tales, tips, and advice. Start here. More.

●  Other topics: On the Black women writer's site Zora (53,000 followers) hosted by Medium, Gabrielle Smith refuses to be shamed for her poly relationships across racial lines: My Dating Life Does Not Determine My Blackness (Dec 7)

This past August, I started making resources on Instagram for folks interested in practicing ethical non-monogamy (ENM). The face of polyamory and ENM is overwhelmingly White and typically displays structures that replicate monogamy or coupledom. In this, I wasn’t really represented as a queer Black person who practices solo polyamory (meaning I am essentially my own primary partner). So I began working on ways to expand that. I’ve cultivated a humble following, but with that, naturally, comes the trolls....

●  In Men's Health, from prolific bi & poly writer Zachary Zane, I'm in a Loving, Committed Relationship. I'm Also Polyamorous (Dec. 9). "My monogamous friends don't get it, so allow me to explain." 

Last week, the person I’ve been dating for the past four months and I had The Talk™ (you know the one: “So what are we?”) and arrived at "partners." Official romantic partners! This may not seem like that big of a deal because I'm polyamorous, but it was still a huge moment for me. It signaled to the person I was dating that I'm in this for the long-haul. This isn't just a COVID cuff or whatnot.

I was excited, so I told my friends and family. They were happy for me but also slightly confused. In fact, I had a friend ask me, “Is there really any difference between what you were doing and what you’re doing now, since you’re polyamorous? You can still date and sleep with other people.”

...In a poly relationship, as with a monogamous relationship, commitment means you will be there for that person. You'll support them. You'll take care of them. You’ll love them. 

We also have rules, and agreeing and abiding to these rules is the poly form of commitment. ... 

●  Our ideas are increasingly getting around. Far around. What non-Western country has most picked up on the current Western movement for gender-equal, consent-based polyamory?

I might guess India, but that's only from English-language news feeds. India, of course, is a former English colony, and in a country of 427 languages English is second only to Hindi if you include people's second and third languages. That still amounts to only about 11% of the population. Does anyone have better information on the globalization, or not, of Western-flavored polyam?

A new article in the Deccan Herald prompts this small, very fragmentary data dump from India's English-language media:
In Bengaluru, many couples are exploring polyamory

Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/metrolife/metrolife-your-bond-with-bengaluru/in-bengaluru-many-couples-are-exploring-polyamory-920842.html
In Bengaluru, many couples are exploring polyamory, Theres Sudeep, Deccan Herald, Nov. 28, 2020. “It’s like having a network of friends versus just one friend” [Treesa explains]. “You have different people who you can relate to and share different facets of your personality with and it’s the same for your partner.”

Polyamory is a reality in Kolkata!, Zinia Sen & Shamayita Chakraborty, Times of India, Feb. 13, 2019. ''The word has been around on the internet for a dozen years now. But that three or more people can live happily ever after is still a thought that makes our society cringe collectively"

Is polyamory finally ready to become an open secret in India?, Jayanthi Madhukar, The Hindu, Dec. 9, 2017. "Polyamory is about equity and egality: any person in a relationship has the same rights, no matter their gender, sexual orientation or age."

When three is not a crowd, Tariq Engineer, Mumbai Mirror, June 3, 2017. "Polyamory warrants full disclosure, honest communication and self-awareness. Here’s understanding what it is all about."

Dos and don’ts of polyamorous relationships, Bhakti Paun Sharma, The Health Site, Jan 20, 2017. Article on a large, mainstream medical news site for the public, with the graphic at right.

Polyamory isn't 'sleeping around', monogamy isn't natural: Meet Indians who are 'poly', Sowmya Rajendran, The News Minute, July 20, 2017. "Outliers to the 'system' do exist, even if they may not be in a position to proclaim their decisions and choices to everyone. One such group is those who practise polyamory, which is engaging in multiple intimate relationships with the consent of all the partners involved." 

Too many chefs don’t spoil the broth: Polyamory 101, Omaiha Walajahi, December 2020, on a psychological counseling website in Hyderabad. "This very idea [of only one possible True Love] is being questioned by a lot of people since time immemorial. Why do we have to contain love in these societal boxes? And who says we can’t love more than one person? People have been asking these questions and stepping away from the monogamous style of living."

More of my posts referencing India (including this one; scroll down).

●  Elsewhere in Asia,

–  Rice in Singapore bills itself as "Asia, Unfiltered. Rice is Asia’s alternative voice. From sex workers to politicians, contemporary art to street food, we bring fresh perspectives and bold commentary on everyday life in Asia." It just posted a long profile of a free-spirited Singaporean polyam lady, Janice Leong, and her tale of how she got where she is today: On Honesty and Uncertainty: What A Polyamorist Has To Teach Us About Relationships (Dec. 4) 

–  VOI in Indonesia is running many stories, each in Indonesian, English, Chinese, and Japanese, about US and British polyfamilies picked up from the British tabloids. For instance, A Polyamorous Husband And Wife Fall In Love With The Same Woman On Tinder (Dec. 3). See the bottom of that for links to a half dozen more. Say what you will about the tabs, they have reach.

–  Also in IndonesiaIn defense of open relationships, Sebastian Partogi, The Jakarta Post, Dec. 12. "Having observed some close friends who practice the open-relationship model, however, I begin to question whether the configuration is as negative as people have thought, compared with the much more privileged exclusive heterosexual monogamy."

–  Articles from Vietnam are showing up in my feeds, but Google Translate leaves me confused about the kind of media they're from. This one is from a child-care-services company that also presents magazine-style articles on its site: Just Exactly What Polyamory Dating, per Google Translate (Nov 27). Another seems to be in an overseas-employment magazine that also runs general-interest articles. 

    Tayla Means, 25, and Philip Barr, 27, met Tia Burt, 21, online when they had been dating for a year, and were trying to make new friends as a couple. 

    They met in person at the couple's home just a few days later and quickly bonded.

    After just three months of friendship, Tia confessed that she had feelings for both Tayla and Philip, and they revealed that they had fallen for her too.

    Tia had only been in monogamous relationships before, but happily moved into their home just five months after meeting them.
    They invested in a king size bed so they can all sleep together every night.
    Despite facing confused stares from strangers, the trio, from Florida, says they are happier than ever - and insist that jealousy is never an issue.

●  Lastly, about that casting call from Jupiter Entertainment for a reality TV series about polyfolks, apparently to be themed around Somerville, Mass.

A warning/advisory about this that I posted to the New England Polyamory facebook group set off an illuminating thread among local people. Some have investigated further and talked to the casting director, and others have come in with professional knowledge of the reality-TV industry and how it works. It's great to see the community coming together to share information and discuss how to present at least a partial united front. Some have reached out to educate the poorly informed people behind the show, who have adjusted the casting call accordingly and seem open to learning how to work with us.

Way too early to claim any success; as one insider posted, "the entertainment industry is brutal. It's why we have unions and agents and managers and definitely people still get screwed over." But it's heartening to see a community that can organize itself to deal with what looks like trash TV.

 Don't miss Polyamory in the News!
 SUBSCRIBE by a feed, or
 SUBSCRIBE by email