Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

March 27, 2021

Major BBC article: "The rise of multi-partner relationships"

The BBC, Britain's broadcaster to the world, has put up another significant article for the growing recognition of polyamory worldwide: Ethical non-monogamy: the rise of multi-partner relationships (March 25). 

It steps off with Ian Jenkins, author of the just-published Three Dads and a Baby (see earlier post). From there it presents various other interesting and informative people — including Dossie Easton, now 77, who tells of the event that inspired her to write her seminal The Ethical Slut with Janet Hardy (first edition 1997).

It's long at 3,500 words. Save it to send to relatives who think you're a lone nut. Some bits:  

By Jessica Klein

Multi-partner relationships are on the rise, and finding their way into the mainstream. Could this new exposure change the way we look at sex and families?

(The BBC led with the new faces of gay poly domesticity: Three Dads and a Baby author Ian Jenkins (left), partners Alan and Jeremy, baby Piper, and the family woofers. Photo: Sweet Me Photography.)

...Though it’s still rare for people in polyamorous relationships to share legal parentage of their children, various forms of ‘ethical non-monogamy’ – relationships involving more than two adults who consent to the arrangement – have becoming increasingly widespread over the past decade. Multiple factors contribute to this, from the rise of multi-partner dating apps and mainstream media representation [Thank you, dear brave spokespeople] to social media and more easily accessible networks for those interested in the lifestyle. “I think a huge factor is just people's willingness to be open,” says Jenkins. “There has to be visibility.”

These cultural shifts, however, date back to free love proponents in the 1960s, who worked hard to expand our sexual boundaries from groups working all across the globe. And changes continue to happen because of people like Jenkins and his partners, whose stories help shed long-held taboos about having multiple partners.

‘This is not a new thing’: the history of non-monogamy

In 2016, a survey of nearly 9,000 single US adults showed that one in five had previously been in a consensually non-monogamous relationship. A Canadian survey came up with roughly the same numbers a year later.

...“Something else we've seen in the last decade is that Google searches for the terms ‘polyamory’ and ‘open relationships’ have increased, which demonstrates that there's more interest in this topic,” says Justin Lehmiller, social psychologist and research fellow at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction in Bloomington, Indiana.

But people have been engaging in these types of relationships “for a really long time”, adds Lehmiller. “This is not a new thing.”


...[Dossie] Easton had been talking about ethical non-monogamy for years when she and Hardy taught a BDSM workshop at a Mensa conference in 1994 in Big Sur, outside San Francisco. While the audience wasn’t scandalised by the BDSM, they were shocked that Easton and Hardy, who were lovers at the time, did the workshop right in front of Easton’s male partner. That prompted the pair to write the book, which covers how to carry on healthy non-monogamous relationships.

The Ethical Slut [now its third, expanded and updated edition] is still somewhat required reading for people interested in the lifestyle. “Every year it sells more,” says Easton.


...The current near-mainstreaming of ethical non-monogamy, [Lehmiller] says, has happened because of both academic research that’s filtered into the public, through media and education centres, and more diverse depictions of these relationships on TV. These newer depictions go beyond HBO’s Big Love or TLC’s Sister Wives, which both follow Mormon families featuring one husband and multiple wives, to show a variety of poly relationships. Both Lucy Gillespie’s Unicornland, in which a newly single woman goes on dates with several different couples; and You Me Her, where both members of a couple fall for another woman together, are strong examples.

“The internet and more inclusive dating apps have also played a role in changing these attitudes,” says Lehmiller. ... [With new apps like Feeld and 3Fun] “there are more options for meeting and connecting,” says Lehmiller, “so it's not as much of an underground scene as it was in the past”.

Feeld is how Janie Frank, 25, met her two partners, Maggie Odell, 27, and Cody Coppola, 31, in 2016. ... Looking back, Frank [says that Feeld] introduced her to “this whole lifestyle that I didn’t know existed. Talking to people on the app… I began to realise there is a whole community for people who are ethically non-monogamous.” 

Today, Frank and Odell both have TikTok accounts, between which they have a few hundred-thousand followers. “We've been using them to try to talk about polyamory and bring awareness to it, and just normalise it and educate people on… what it can look like,” says Frank.

Some ethically non-monogamous people reach out to thank them for the representation. Others less familiar with the lifestyle comment to say they’re glad they learned about polyamory from Frank and Odell’s videos. “I had never heard about this before,” some say.  [Still!]


Is the law catching up?

The rise in ethically non-monogamous relationships is leading to legal recognition beyond Jenkins and his partners gaining parental rights to their children. In July 2020, the Somerville, Massachusetts city council voted unanimously to recognise polyamorous domestic partnerships. The city of Cambridge, which borders Somerville, recently followed suit.

This isn’t just happening in the US. In 2018, two men and a woman in a polyamorous relationship were all recognised as the legal parents of their child in Newfoundland, Canada. The year prior, three men in a relationship in Medellin, Colombia, were legally married.

These geographically disparate moves towards normalising ethical non-monogamy may help spark a more global movement. [Claudia] Zinser, in Berlin, believes the push to online meetings and communities, spurred by Covid-19, will enhance “global networks” for those who practice ethical non-monogamy. The spread of information about non-monogamy, meanwhile, “is going to give people more options for designing the type of relationship that’s right for them”, says Lehmiller. ...

Go read the whole article. It's in the BBC's "WorkLife" section, "your global guide to getting ahead; a destination for everything that you need to be more successful." 

    –  By the way, I've bought and am reading Three Dads and a Baby. In addition to being an important step for polyamory awareness and acceptance, it's also a good fun book by a kind and decent man; you'll enjoy it.

    –  "There has to be visibility," Jenkins says above. For the story of, IMO, the key person who brought the early modern poly movement out of its anti-media shell to tell its story to the world, see footnote 2 here.  

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March 22, 2021

THE 3 best Poly-101 articles to share out, IMHO. (And news updates)

New to this thing and looking for good Poly 101 overviews? Or know someone who is?

Or maybe someday you'll want fine guidance to send someone?

They, or you, might land on something mediocre in the mainstream media, like this recent throwaway in the UK's Independent newspaper. Or you might happen to land on a really good one, like this in the fashion magazine InStyle three months ago: Everything You Need to Know About Polyamorous Relationships (despite its overclaiming title).

Or you could leave the mass-market track and find your way to a gem...

● ...Such as this series on Scarleteen, a renowned site for "sex ed for the real world: inclusive, comprehensive, supportive sexuality and relationships info for teens and emerging adults".

The series comes in three parts:
A First Polyamorous Guide,  I Think I'm Poly; How do I Initiate Open Relationships?,  and Relationship Structure and Troubleshooting: Navigating Poly Relationships, all by Mo Ranyart and s. e. smith. Some content is repeated to make each article stand well alone. They appeared in July 2017 but I discovered them just now.

In speaking to teens directly as intelligent people, the authors dwell on insightful and sophisticated concepts that a 15-year-old learning about love can grasp -- experienced adults too -- and that you might not find elsewhere, because the articles are designed for people the authors care about rather than for clicks. For instance,

     – The difference between the default state of a new relationship where no one's established the relationship structure, and an explicitly polyamorous one, is the thought and intention that's been put into it.

     – If you don't have a great track record of honesty with previous partners, or have found that communication is tough for you to initiate, now's the time to really dig into those skills and think about how to apply them in your relationships. It gets easier with practice, and when you're balancing multiple relationships there are usually plenty of opportunities to polish those skills. And communication within poly is sure excellent practice.

     – When you're opening up an established relationship, keeping that original relationship strong and intact can be a goal that winds up driving a lot of your decisions.... And while it's fine to prioritize one relationship over others in terms of time or emotional energy devoted to it, it's not okay to discount a new partner's feelings or treat them as disposable if problems arise with an established partner. 

     – Especially early on, it's helpful to have some periodic check-ins with your partners, to make sure things are moving smoothly and everyone's still happy with the relationship structure. There may be ongoing conversations, negotiations, or adjustments that need to happen to make sure everyone is feeling comfortable with their individual relationships, and with the larger poly structure as a whole. ... These don't always have to be big, scary conversations; sometimes just saying "I'm feeling pretty good about this, are you?" and hearing an affirmative in response can be a solid reassurance.

     – You might hear... “I don’t care what you do as long as you don’t tell me" or "my partner doesn’t care what I do as long as they don't hear about it.” This is something we call “information sequestering,” where a partner is suggesting that open communication isn’t necessary.... At best, it suggests that someone involved in the situation may be uncomfortable with opening their relationship, and someone will get hurt. At worst, it could mean that someone is cheating, and keeping their partner out of the loop is a deliberate way to avoid the truth coming out.

There's also serious treatment of STIs, safer sex, and discussing your safe-sex boundaries early (well before the heat of the moment), with links to the abundant safer-sex information elsewhere on the site.

●  This especially good Poly 101 just went up a few days ago, in the Healthy Living section of the widely used and respected UK medical site NetDoctor:  Polyamorous relationships explained. "41 ways to understand polyamorous relationships, dating and sex." (March 15)

It's long, and thorough and gently factual the way medical sites are. Amazingly, it hits more than 100 points correctly IMO with just one or two partial fumbles. That's an extraordinary score, especially for a one-source article (she's sex therapist Tatyana Dyachenko).

Just one sample, the summation at the end:   


By Annie Hayes

...41. The bottom line.

Different people express love in different ways, so just like monogamous relationships, no two poly relationships are the same. Polyamory is about opening up your ideas of love, sex, and intimacy – you're not looking for just one person to share a romantic or sexual connection with, but several. Above all, it's about respect, communication, and trust.

●  And third, another all-time favorite Poly 101 of mine is The Coffee Break Primer on Polyamory by Ada Powers. It's more broadly philosophical, and is especially clear-eyed about what you're getting into. It's the one with that haunting illo you remember of astronaut moves being demonstrated to a 1940s audience.


UPDATE about HBO Max's "There's No 'I' in Threesome".  Gabrielle Smith, writing for Cosmopolitan, does a thorough takedown of so many things wrong with this self-centered, deceitful, open-relationship-experiment-gone-wrong docu-drama by Jan Oliver Lucks: 9 Reasons HBO Max's New Documentary "There's No 'I' in Threesome" Made Me Want to Literally Scream (Feb. 15). Pass that link to anyone who needs it. Post that link in comments you make about the film or in others' comments you see. 

UPDATE about Craig Ivey, the supposed "polyamorous tantric sex guru" in the tabloids for his affair nine years ago with now-congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-QAnon), she of the Jewish space lasers. Ivey is looking better, considering. He confirms that “It does sadden me to see the type of person [Greene] has chosen to become,” says “Am I a Tantric Sex guru? Fuck no. I found Tantra about 4 years ago,” and he has posted a statement about his discovery of polyamory, his insights about himself in learning how to do it well for all concerned, and other matters. Two panels from that:

Craig Ivey at home


ANNOUNCEMENT:  Online event, Abuse in Polyamory. "Join this global live event hosted by Poly Pages. Join our host Claire Travers as she sits down with Alicia, Eve and Sydney for this live one-off event. This event will run on April 17. This event will be 90 minutes long.

"Abuse can happen in any relationship, whether you have one partner, two partners, or more. A polyamorous relationship is not any more or less likely to be abusive than a monogamous one, however having multiple partners may create unique situations that abusive people may exploit. Our social understandings of abuse assume a mono-normative relationship, leading to poor understandings and awareness of the ways abuse may present in a non-monogamous dynamics. In this one-off, live event - join three polyamorous survivors, educators and writers in a global conversation about abuse in polyamory. Facilitated by Poly Pages -- an academic non-monogamous platform -- this event is a facilitated, closed panel discussion. This panel will include: how we speak about abuse in polyamory, how abuse may present in polyamory, and how we as individuals and as communities, can address abuse in polyamory."

Paid event; modest cost; sliding scale.

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

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March 19, 2021

At the one-year mark, polyamory's many-sided Covid tales

Hannah Minn

With things finally looking up, here's a collection of stories on how people in polyamory have held up through the pandemic year.

It varies. Settle in for a read.

First off: The annual round of polyamory conferences and retreats remains on hold for at least a few more months  at least in person. Coming up online is Southwest LoveFest March 25–28, normally held in Tucson but this year on Whova, a virtual-convention app. No travel required!

But for something like 25 years now, real-life conferences have been a central, productive nexus of the polyamory movement  like conferences in just about every other field. Their suspension has been a big blow. Can't wait to get back!

Get your shots. Proof of vaccination is shaping up to be a requirement for many conferences and other big, crowded indoor events.

●  "Polyamorous relationships under severe strain during the pandemic" is the title of a long survey article being reprinted widely in mainstream media. It's by Riki Thompson, a sociologist and polyamory researcher. She published it on The Conversation, an open-source public journalism site for academics to tell about their work. The site's quality standards are high, and once an article gets on it, media of all kinds are allowed to reprint it for free. (Feb. 11).

The pandemic blew up some carefully constructed ‘polycules.’

By Riki Thompson 

...I decided to focus on how the pandemic had influenced the dating lives of my participants. ... One finding soon emerged: People practicing polyamory were facing a totally different set of pandemic-related dilemmas than those who practice monogamy.

At the same time, their experience navigating the complexities of having more than one partner put them at a particular advantage when it came to managing pandemic-specific dating issues.

(Yes, they used one of those feet pix.  EyeEm/ Getty)

Relationship networks – also known as “polycules” – can be complex and interconnected. ... 

...On a March 2020 episode of his “Savage Lovecast,” sex columnist Dan Savage declared that “poly is canceled” because of the pandemic, adding that “monogamy is where it’s at these days.”

In my study, some participants who identify as polyamorous seemed to agree with Savage’s assertion. They told me that they were “monogamous for now,” though not out of preference, but by circumstance. ...

People in Facebook groups devoted to poly relationships were discussing how stay-at-home orders advantaged some relationship types over others. Those with “nesting partners” – a live-in partner or partners – were automatically granted the right to maintain their relationships during lockdown. Meanwhile, those living apart were [often] expected to cut off connection for an indefinite period.

In my study there were also participants who have tried to retain some semblance of their preexisting relationships.

Because open communication is an important element of poly relationships, it’s common to talk about sexual health, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and testing.

...As Dandelion, a 20-year-old nonmonogamous, nonbinary person, explained, “I think having to navigate STI conversations before COVID prepared me a lot to have those conversations.”

A 64-year-old poly man who goes by Special Sauce made a similar point regarding the coronavirus: “Conversations about risk and exposure to SARS-CoV-2 are just like conversations about safe sex and testing.”

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve heard about families and friends forming “pods” or “bubbles,” limiting maskless interaction to a small, predetermined group.

For many poly people, their pods and polycules do not neatly overlap. ... Curio, a 38-year-old solo poly woman, reported that members of her [housemate] household changed the rules in August when they realized they “needed to set people up to make informed and harm-reduction-based decisions, instead of saying a flat ‘no’ to everything.” They agreed that housemates would be permitted to connect with others beyond their bubble if the person they were seeing had received a negative COVID-19 test and quarantined until meeting.

Suedonym, a 35-year-old poly woman, described similar negotiations to protect an immune-compromised pod member; the group decided that “a person needs to be quarantined and asymptomatic for two weeks before being allowed into the pod.”

And yet the risks could be daunting, with some polyamorous arrangements reflecting a sprawling web of contacts. ...

In May, Poly Slut, a 45-year-old solo poly man, sketched a social network map of his and his roommate’s interconnected polycules. He quickly realized that it would have been impractical to adhere to safety guidelines, so in the end he put some relationships on hold to reduce risk.

In January, Ebullient Mommy, a 47-year-old married, poly woman, decided, sadly, to end “all in-person sleepovers with my boyfriend because … he chooses to spend indoor time unmasked with people that he and his other partner are casual acquaintances with and I’m not.” ...

●  Next up:  A long and unusually hopeful article recently appeared in the feminist Refinery29: How Polyamorous People Are Surviving The Pandemic  (March 8). In addition to more material like the excerpts below, it presents lots of on-target Poly 101 explanation for newcomers to the topic, making this a good one to share out.

Hannah Minn
By Elly Belle

Before the pandemic, Rachael, a 32-year-old sex and relationships coach, used to host a monthly potluck. “Everyone would bring their partners and friends,” Rachael said; and so would she....

Rachael prefers what she calls “kitchen table polyamory.” Her relationships with her partners don’t exist in seclusion, but in the community, meaning that each connection is in conversation with the others.

...Things were going smoothly until the pandemic, [Rachel] says, which “led to some new stressors to navigate with my nesting partner, since we were suddenly together almost all the time and we were both feeling burnt out and overwhelmed.” But, by identifying this as a problem, Rachael and her nesting partner started seeing a couple’s therapist, which helped them so much that Rachael says things are even better now than they were pre-COVID.   

For some, though, the problems come from not having a current partner. “I float between groups and prefer one-on-one interactions, so I never had a ‘pod’ or polycule,” says Dylan, a 26-year-old who has practiced polyamory for roughly seven years. ...

For many polyamorous people whose living situations dramatically changed when the pandemic hit, finding new activities to do with partners and new ways to spend time together has perhaps been the greatest challenge. But in many ways, it’s also brought people even closer to their partners, forcing them to be in a pod together for their own safety.

“It’s been really hard not to see so many of the people I’ve been really close with over the last several years because of COVID, and I’ve leaned a lot harder on my partners for support since they’ve been in my bubble,” Rachael said. But, “as rough as this year has been, having multiple partners in my bubble has allowed me to go to my girlfriend’s place when I need to get out of my house, and it’s meant some fun hangouts with all of us together, like getting to spend a snow day sledding with both my partners.” ... 

...Avery, a 24-year-old who has been practicing polyamory for about three years, is currently in a throuple with a married couple. Avery also has their own partner with whom they live and who isn’t involved with the other couple at all. Over the course of the last year, Avery has had to get used to many long distance dating techniques to keep communication with their partners alive. “Even though my partners aren't technically long distanced, we've utilized techniques such as video chatting, calling, and more in order to connect with each other since we are quarantined separately. I think these techniques may go away once we can see each other more often post-COVID,” Avery says. “But, it made me more open-minded to long-distance relationship techniques....”

“Being involved with a married couple is such an interesting experience alone, and I feel like I’ve learned a lot about having a shared relationship, but making it personal and special still. All of that while also having a separate live-in partner is a challenge, but also a beautiful thing in itself,” Avery says. ...

...I’ve personally practiced communication and providing affection by sending love letters across the universe and great divides of physical distance, all in hopes of staying connected and showing my partners I care for them despite not being able to hold them or physically show up in other ways right now. ...All of these are love letters and acts of service to me. 

...After all the struggles of the last year and all of the yearning, the most prominent feeling inside me now is not dread or even desperation for touch and affection. Instead, it’s hope and excitement about the new lessons, new feelings, and new partnerships blooming on the horizon — and all around me.

Bohdan Skrypnyk / Getty
By Shelly Baker

On March 15, the day before Gov. Gavin Newsom announced shelter-in-place orders for California, my partner of nearly five years left me and our life for someone else.

When a long-term relationship you never want to end, ends, no one tells you how to move through it. I wondered if there was a word for “knowing it is dead but living in denial,” because that was still the feeling I woke up with daily for nine months after that fateful week in spring.  

...Before COVID-19 took hold, my “polycule” had a rotating 6-7 people in it. I had two partners ― my life partner and a newer relationship that was fast developing, sparked from a friendship. And they each had dates of their own, some casual, others in a more serious capacity, and sometimes those people had dates, too. With polyamory, you must make the best of your dates’ choices, and I would be lying if I said it was always easy.

In non-monogamy, so often, you run up against the dilemma of “ideals vs. practice.” In theory, a relationship style that is all about love sounds like a beautiful path to take. But in practice, especially when you’re gay and everyone has abandonment triggers, the reality can unfold quite differently.

...Regardless of what relationship orientation you prefer, everyone says the same thing when you get dumped. Don’t isolate! Link up with other people, let your friends hold you, go out. But how do you do that in a global pandemic? 

It became immediately clear to me that I had been watching my entire last year on a split-screen, my perception of it on one side, the truth on the other. 

My remaining date and I were experiencing problems, too. While he was quarantining with his other partner and I was feeling immense levels of abandonment, I ended it. And so it was that I lost both partners to other people.

...I couldn’t even cry in a friend’s arms.

...Instead, I went to the clinic where I work long days in a mask, hoping I wouldn’t die, getting upset because I didn’t die, then coming home to cry, sleep and repeat. When you are grateful for your high-risk hospital job just to keep sane, something is severely wrong. 

...Despite my private hell, it seemed like every week, someone I knew was going through a breakup, job loss or moving due to COVID-19. I started wondering how other people were coping with being left during the pandemic. As winter rapidly approached, I felt the hole of sharing holidays with partners.

Slowly, I have begun to make sense of all of this. But I am also surviving this dual breakup and rejection during a period when all of my communities are being stretched thin. ...

...There are a few things I know for certain after this experience, the biggest being that if you are abandoned, romantically or by friends or family, it’s genuinely no marker of your worth. Scarcity culture has always been present if you’re LGBTQ+, but now it’s starvation culture, and everyone deserves compassion if you’ve got some to spare. ...

●  Speaking of starvation culture:  In societies where access to sex is a scarce commodity  meaning hard to come by  people obsess about sex. The same is true for trusted intimacy, sexual or not. In the polyam world these things are at least theoretically abundant. Many people in large polycules have remarked that with the sex-scarcity pressure off, it's easier to form deep platonic friendships without both parties worrying that this thing is supposed to end up in bed.

A trans woman writing in Refinery29 tells about how liberating this was for her to make deep friends in the poly world: What Being Single During The Pandemic Taught Me About Friendship (Jan. 18)

Vesna Asanovic / Refinery29
By Drew Gregory

Since childhood, I projected my trans womanhood onto crushes. I didn’t understand my gender, so I assumed my affinity for women was solely romantic. I thought that if I could just find my soulmate my gender confusion would disappear. Until I did — and it didn’t. Then I came out.

...The best date I went on [in 2019] was with Gaby. We didn’t hook up or catch feelings or go on some adventure; it was just coffee. But it began one of the most important relationships of my life.
After the date, Gaby texted me to tell me that they had a partner, Mal, and that they were polyamorous. This shifted my expectations, but only slightly. ... Gaby and I continued getting to know each other, and at some point we both confessed that we were better at finding hookups than platonic friendships. We clearly had an attraction. We clearly had a connection. But maybe dating wasn’t what was needed to best serve that connection. What if instead of hooking up, we asked each other, we did something far more vulnerable for both of us? What if we became friends? And so we made a pact not to have sex. Yes, that sounds like the first act of a romcom, but this one had a surprise ending: We kept our agreement. ...

...Before then, I had never allowed myself to be vulnerable, to open up emotionally, or to express my needs and wants in friendships — only in my romantic relationships. But with my new [poly] friends, I could be vulnerable. It became okay to cry, to talk about money, to make mistakes, to say no, to say yes, to say maybe. These friends taught me what it means to trust in a friendship. And through this discovery of queer family, I achieved a newfound independence. ...

...In spring 2020, Gaby and I lived within walking distance of each other, but we might as well have been in different states. They lived alone, but I lived with four roommates, all of whom continued to see their partners. I didn’t begrudge them this — if I was in a relationship, I would’ve wanted to see that person too — but it meant we weren’t totally quarantined, so I couldn’t safely see Gaby or anyone else. Meanwhile, Gaby was making plans to move in with Mal.

Suddenly, cracks began to form in my newfound revelation around community. Sure, it’s nice to think that as queer people we can prioritize our friends over traditional relationship structures. But with the pandemic limiting the number of people we could safely see, people were choosing their partners. And I was alone. ...

...My roommates let me know there was an option to get out of my lease early. I shared this news with Gaby and Mal. “Why don’t you just move in with us?” Mal casually suggested. I told them not to joke about that, and they said they weren’t. ...

...I started the pandemic wishing my friends could care for me like my partners used to. Turns out? They can.

●  During the worst months of the crisis, writer Natalie Davis published this pair of articles in Medium's burgeoning Polyamory Today section (which has grown to a couple hundred articles by 48 writers.)  My Husband’s Girlfriend Moved in with Us During the Pandemic (Dec. 15)

My husband’s girlfriend, Molly, moved into our house during the summer of 2020, in two, three and four week spurts at first, and now, perhaps, for the duration of the pandemic. She is not our unicorn. We do not have wild threesomes, or even tame ones. Molly is one of my husband’s three polyamorous partners, counting me. His other partner lives with her boyfriend about ten miles away.

...Eric and I are fully employed and while the world spins topsy-turvy during the pandemic; we are working remotely, or remotely working, depending on the day. We get together with our presumptively monogamous neighbors over fire pits at a safe social distance, complain about politics, and walk our neighborhood in large loops to get fresh air and retain what is left of our sanity — like anyone else. ...

...Molly, almost ten years my junior, lived a few miles away with her college-aged children. ...While Molly was mostly following stay-at-home orders, her children’s routines included working at a hospital, going to the gym, visiting boyfriends, and eating at restaurants.

The lifestyle of Molly’s household was inconsistent with the tighter lockdown practiced at our house. ... Molly was having a rough go if it, primarily because without a live-in partner, she was lonely for actual adult companionship and sex. ... Cue, Eric.

As Eric saw it, he and Molly had four options.

  -- He could accept the risks her household posed as the cost of polyamory, and they could see each other with no physical barriers, other than condoms. This would necessitate consultation with, and agreement by, the rest of our bubbled-in polycule,* whose members had lower risk profiles — and no kids.

  -- He could wait until the pandemic was over to see her at all.

  -- They could continue with the socially distanced visits — wine on the porch or a masked walk in the neighborhood.

  -- Or they could devise a plan that included coronavirus testing and quarantining, and could lead to Molly bubbling in with us.

...When Molly tearfully choked out last spring, “Eric, I need you to be my person. I do not have anyone else because of the freaking lockdown. Can you do that?” — Eric, man that he is, protector, hero, problem-solver, and co-owner — with me — of a relatively large house, was game.

... This was actually happening. My husband’s cute, engaging, fun, smart, sexy girlfriend, with whom he never had to talk about parenting, ceiling leaks, and whether the peanut-buttered attic traps caught any flying squirrels, was living with us, and all that entailed. She would be using my fridge, washing her lacy black panties in my laundry room, and sharing the entirety of my home. She would be sleeping in the guest room, whose floor was also the sound-porous ceiling of the master bedroom. She would be sharing my husband, in decibels I could hear.

When the bedposts banged the wall upstairs, how welcoming could I really be?

...Eric is “kitchen table” poly, which means he loves to have his partners and my partners, all around the metaphorical as well as physical table, as a type of chosen family. My default is usually to do my own thing with my other partners and let Eric do his, and have our streams cross less frequently. Covid changed that. ...

I reminded myself that I had agreed to this trial.


...I found Molly sitting on the back porch with her coffee, crying. My shoulders slumped and I felt like what I was — an inconsiderate, jealous jerk. I desperately wanted to turn the clock back fifteen minutes.

“I told Eric that we needed to get up,” she sobbed. “It’s my fault. I was taking a long time.”
“Oh Molly,” I said as I sat down. “This whole thing is hard. Talking about having a partner move in, even someone as wonderful as you — and I do think you are wonderful –is light years from living it. Obviously, I know you and Eric have sex and am cool with that. I just don’t really want to walk in on it.” ...

...Each of Molly’s extended visits yielded increasingly less friction and more growth. I was also examining my relationship with Eric more closely, which led us to communicate with deliberateness, because, as Eric and I try to remember, “your lover is not a mind-reader.” This was exponentially true with three interconnected partners living under one roof and sharing two beds. ..

Our adventure continues.

Meanwhile, the pandemic played a big role in ending another piece of her poly life: My Partner Broke up with Me by Text, and I Never Replied (Jan. 7).

...I sent Wes photos of our Halloween costumes, outdoor treat table, and a ginormous inflatable lawn dragon we named Blaze. He, in turn, sent photos of his clever candy delivery chute from his porch to the sidewalk below, complete with a bell for kids to ring to trigger a treat avalanche.

Nonetheless, these concerted text exchanges were not enough to sustain our relationship. His last text to me was:

Hey… I wish I knew a less awkward and gentler way to say this … but I would like to break up. I really appreciate the effort you’ve been putting into trying to maintain our relationship, but I’m just not feeling the same connection and I’m not able to put in the same effort. I still like you (and Eric and the rest of the polycule) and would be happy to see you at a poly conference or whatever if events are ever a thing again.

He had not asked me a question like “can we talk?” He had not sought my input such as “how can we make this work better?” Rather, he had stated his course of action with finality. I stopped staring at my phone and took a 20-mile bike ride along the river. I mulled and rode, and rode and mulled. ...

●  Also during those worst months: How 3 Non-Monogamous Couples Pivoted During COVID-19, on Rewire (Jan. 26)

OneLineStock/ Adobe

By Annie Burdick

...What about those in open, polyamorous, and ethically non-monogamous relationships?... 

Lindsey*, 23, bisexual, and Greg, 25, bi-curious

...Their boundaries have shifted during COVID, as Lindsey and Greg have tightened their relationship's guidelines by a mile. For them, online dating has become the new norm, and neither has been on a physical date since the start of the pandemic. 

..."For the time being, Snapchat and FaceTime help us strengthen our emotional bonds with prospective partners until we're able to decide if it's worth testing out the physical bond, too," Lindsey said. ...

Matt, 26, bi/pansexual, and Leah, 25, queer

..."I had been having a difficult time with dating due to mental health issues and time commitments, so I wasn't particularly interested in meeting anyone new," Matt said. "There wasn't much of an adjustment to be made."

... Leah had been seeing people only casually, more of a friends-with-benefits approach than building meaningful connections. While she and Matt both had dated more actively before, they just happened to be in momentary pause from serious connections as the pandemic started. 

For Leah, this was a signal to let go of the casual relationships, which didn't feel worth trying to maintain as physical connections became less safe. 

Leah had friends with polycules who had contracted the virus, and this also influenced the decision to lean away from non-monogamy for the course of the pandemic. 

"What is most interesting is that I'm choosing to value existing relationships with people I care about, rather than spend the time and emotional energy to build new ones," she said.

Erin, 31, pansexual, and Ryan, 34, bisexual 

Erin and Ryan are nesting partners.... They are in a polycule with John, 29, who identifies as bisexual, and Lucy, 32, who identifies as non-binary and pansexual.

...The result is that each member has metas (short for metamour, the partner of your partner), and often a person's meta is also their active partner as well. In addition, Erin has queerplatonic partnerships that have developed since the pandemic began, and other members of the polycule have outside relationships as well. ... They're a "chosen family" and often spend quality time as a group.

..."None of us have veto power," Erin said. "We avoid using words like primary and secondary. We try to minimize couples' privilege as much as possible," she said.

Their boundaries prior to the pandemic were limited and dealt with sexual health. They've made adjustments during COVID to factor in the added risk of a larger network of physical relationships. ... 

"I imagine each of us having a decision-making formula that contains all the variables needed in order to make an informed decision. If a partner is showing me consideration when making decisions, (that) doesn't mean that the formula will equal a decision in my favor," she said. 

"The decision made should still be the authentic choice of the person. Consideration is simply knowing I was included as a variable in their formula at all.

During the pandemic, variables have "shifted in size and importance" for the polycule. ... Once more was known about COVID, they adjusted their assessment of which risks were worth taking to maintain the relationships outside of their household, with added cautions. 

Erin has created shared documents for the polycule outlining guidelines for health and communication expectations when podding with other households. Other documents help them equitably schedule time with various partners. They choose only to pod with other households who present a low risk. 

They agree to inform each other if they want to engage in risky activities with people from outside the pod, so that the other members of the polycule can assess if the risk is acceptable to them. If it's not, but that person decides to go ahead with the decision, they're able to quarantine in a designated part of the house before getting tested and reentering the group. This allows for the ever-important autonomy and safety. 

With all these changes, Erin says her relationships with some of the non-nesting partners have at times felt like long-distance relationships, despite being local. ...

"You can see them, but can't touch them. You have to schedule out visits far in advance," she said. "Each 'visit' feels like a special occasion." 

This has led to challenges in the lack of physical intimacy, but benefits in the strengthening of mental connections. ...

Laura Boyle

●  This episode of Laura Boyle's Ready for Polyamory podcast is Love in the Time of Covid, an interview with New England poly event organizer David Overton "on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and precautions against it on polycules and polyamorous relationships" (Jan. 9; Season 2, Episode 3).

In particular, they discuss how pandemic choices are exposing unspoken hierarchies in polyam group relationships.

For instance, whose word sets household safety practices when there's disagreement? 

[David's] household came up with carefully defined, science-based, case-number per population guidelines for seeing their partners from outside the household when it became clear the shelter in place orders were not just going to be "a couple weeks in March." So, we had an interesting conversation about the effects these guidelines have had on their extended polycule that I struggled to cut down to an hour-long podcast for you all. 

Relationship realities, such as the ones Covid is exposing, get handled well or poorly depending most often on whether everyone can freely and fearlessly discuss them, IME. No guarantees  but caring, gentle, fearless discussion  early and often  is consistently the best way to place your bets, I find, even if it takes a deep breath and a leap of faith.

And that includes facing up to facts that are present, both the group as a whole and you individually. "Facts are stubborn things," said John Adams, and trying to wish them away only leads to darker and darker places. Examples of facts hidden under rugs are sneakyarchy (hat tip to Page Turner for inventing the word), tolerance of abuse, and utopias that steam Casey Jones style to trainwreck because they are ideologically unable to self-correct.

Dear beloved people, may we come out of this year stronger or at least wiser.

From my heart,


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March 16, 2021

Major New Yorker article: "How Polyamorists and Polygamists Are Challenging Family Norms" ...and family law.

"For years, Andy, Roo, Cal, and Aida envisioned creating a utopian place where people like them—queer, trans, polyamorous—could feel completely safe and welcome." Fire and music at the Rêve, their home.

An important article just came out: a 10,000-word piece in The New Yorker, How Polyamorists and Polygamists Are Challenging Family Norms (online March 15; in the March 22nd print issue with the title "The Shape of Love"). It's especially timely right now after the new multi-domestic-partnership law was enacted in Cambridge, Mass.

Author Andrew Solomon switches back and forth between profiles of patriarchal Mormon polygamist families and egalitarian, genderfluid modern polyamorous families, such as in the group above. Connecting these two very dissimilar groupings are their estrangement from conventional marriage law and what they are trying to do about it. Solomon presents deep profiles of activist families in each camp, some of them well known, interspersed with many legal developments in recent years — all with typical New Yorker thoroughness.

Go read it. It's registration-walled, but registration is free.

Some excerpts to get you started:

...As many as sixty thousand people in the United States practice polygamy, including Hmong Americans, Muslims of various ethnicities, and members of the Pan-African Ausar Auset Society. But polygamists face innumerable legal obstacles, affecting such matters as inheritance, hospital visits, and parentage rights. If wives apply for benefits as single parents, they are lying, and may be committing welfare fraud; but if they file joint tax returns they are breaking the law. ...

Polygamists have become more vocal about achieving legal rights since the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide, in 2015. So has another group: polyamorists, whose lobbying runs in parallel but with scant overlap. ... In the years I’ve spent talking to members of both communities, I have found that it is usually the polygamists who are more cognizant of common cause.

...In an anti-poly paper in the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, John O. Hayward wrote, “Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, the only remaining marital frontier—at least for the Judeo-Christian nations of the West—is polygamy.” Another law professor, Jack B. Harrison, wrote that state bans against plural marriage were sure to be challenged, and that anyone who wanted to maintain them would have to “develop a rationale for them, albeit post hoc, that is not rooted in majoritarian morality and animus.”

This is no longer merely a theoretical matter. ...

In February, 2020, the Utah legislature passed a so-called Bigamy Bill, decriminalizing the offense by downgrading it from a felony to a misdemeanor. In June, Somerville, Massachusetts, passed an ordinance allowing groups of three or more people who “consider themselves to be a family” to be recognized as domestic partners. Last week, the neighboring [city] of Cambridge followed suit, passing a broader ordinance recognizing multi-partner relationships. 

The law has proceeded even more rapidly in recognizing that it is possible for a child to have more than two legal parents. In 2017, the Uniform Law Commission, an association that enables states to harmonize their laws, drafted a new Uniform Parentage Act, one provision of which facilitates multiple-parent recognition. Versions of the provision have passed in California, Washington, Maine, Vermont, and Delaware, and it is under consideration in several other states. Courts in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Texas, Arizona, and Louisiana have also supported the idea of third parents.

American conservatism has long mourned the proliferation of single parents, but, if two parents are better than one, why are three parents worse?


...Andy Izenson, Roo Khan, Cal T., and Aida Manduley envisaged creating a utopian place where queer, trans, and polyamorous people could feel safe and welcome. For years, they had told one another stories about the property they would build. At the end of 2017, when Andy and Roo lost their lease, in Brooklyn, the time had come; Cal, who had been living in New Hampshire, was ready to move in, and Aida, a psychotherapist in Boston, planned to relocate as soon as possible. They found a house with fourteen acres and some outbuildings in Ulster Park, on the Hudson. They called their ménage the Rêve.

Living the dream: Andy Izenson, Cal T., Aida Manduley, and Roo Khan.

When I visited, last year, everything seemed to be a work in progress. Unfinished projects around the house gave a feeling of relaxed chaos. Andy, wearing a loose white dress, offered me drinks and snacks. Andy is Jewish; Aida is Puerto Rican; Roo is mixed race and Muslim; Cal is Black and mixed race. Their ethnic and religious backgrounds have prepared them for the marginalization they have experienced as polyamorists. Like the others, Andy goes by the pronoun “they” and described themself as “gender ambivalent.” A lawyer in their early thirties, they spoke in long, hyperactive paragraphs, their eyes wide with passionate focus. ...

‘Polyamorous’ is a close enough description of my practices in the same way as ‘trans-masculine’ is a close enough description of my gender.” Roo said, “I like the word ‘caucus.’ We caucus with polyamorists, you caucus with trans-masculine folk, I caucus with trans-feminine folk.” ... There are various romantic configurations among the four partners, but only Andy is in a romantic relationship with all three of the others. In addition, they all have “comets”—lovers from outside the group who blaze through and then are gone. “It’s a more stable structure with more people,” Andy said.

...The members of the Rêve have thought deeply about what many people characterize as divided love. ... Andy said that the idea was... a conscious rejection of two things: first, “dividing relationships into two categories—one category being people with whom you have sex and the other category being people with whom you don’t have sex,” and, second, “saying that those categories are defined by some deeply operative distinction that changes the fundamental nature of a relationship.”

...The four of them saw the Rêve as a home to a core of residents and as a sanctuary for a wider group. The house has room for nine—“more if people are willing to cuddle,” Andy added. At present, some fifteen occupants can arrive at the house at any time and stay as long as they like. “As we build more structures, as we have more beds, we can have more people living here full time,” they went on. “We want to be able to say, This is what we’re doing for the rest of our lives, so, if you aren’t so stressed about bathroom proximity but you want to fuck a little further off into the woods, this is where you can do it.” ...


No family in America has done more for the image and legal standing of polygamists than the Dargers: Joe, his three wives—Alina, Vicki, and Valerie—and their twenty-five children, who live in and around Herriman, Utah. In 2011, they published a book, “Love Times Three,” about their polygamous life, even though their marriage was a felony at the time, and they tirelessly worked to persuade other polygamous families to come out. Utah’s [2020] decision to decriminalize polygamy was in large measure the result of a lobbying campaign that the Dargers had pursued for two decades. Their house is in a relatively new subdivision, with wide views of nearby mountains. Joe, who works in construction, has built additional houses on the property for two of his adult children. “Anybody else, they’d say it’s a nice estate,” he said, when he showed me around, in June. “If you’re polygamous, it’s a compound. We’ve taken lessons from the L.G.B.T.Q. community, being very deliberate about language, because how you let people define you has an impact.” 

...Many Mormon polygamists were more than happy to make common cause with the gay-marriage activists. “A lot of our first allies were L.G.B.T.Q., and that was brave of them,” Alina Darger told me. “I’ve come to an appreciation for their struggle, and I am a very firm champion that rights are for every person.” 


Tamara Pincus is a psychotherapist in Washington, D.C., who works with clients who are exploring alternative sexualities, including polyamory, kink, and L.G.B.T.Q. relationships. She defines herself as a bisexual woman who has sometimes dated genderqueer people. Her husband, Eric, is cheerful and geeky and talks about his apostasy from conventional marriage with a nearly religious fervor. ...   

...Within a few years, Eric had established a relationship with a woman who had two children and was separating from her husband, who is himself polyamorous. Four years later, she and her children moved in. “I love her and wanted her to be part of us,” Eric said. “And Tamara was very happy with her.” Tamara has a boyfriend of nine years. Eric said, “When I was supportive of her doing things, it came back much stronger, because she was, like, ‘Thank you, you made that possible.’ I’m not a very jealous person.” “The sexual relationship is just easier with newer partners,” Tamara said. “A lot of children of the eighties and nineties saw our parents split because of affairs. We are finding more sustainable ways of doing family. Often, monogamous married people feel like ‘This is what I have to do,’ not ‘This is what I choose to do.’ Every day, Eric and I make a choice to keep this relationship together.” 

Another partner of Eric’s, whom he has known for three years, stays over occasionally, with her child. Tamara’s boyfriend stays over at least once a week and has a child who regularly stays over with him. The children in the house all regard one another as siblings. Every Friday, Tamara and Eric host a big dinner for everyone, including ex-partners and close friends. 

...So far, the children have encountered only tolerance [in the larger community], but they have an awareness that tolerance does not necessarily run deep. After the shooting at the Pulse night club, in Orlando, in 2016, one of them asked, “Do people hate us like they hate gay people?” Tamara and Eric are out as polyamorous in most contexts, but Tamara’s long-term boyfriend is not. “If he came out at work, he would likely be fired,” Tamara said. ...


Diana Adams, a family lawyer in New York, has become the leading figure in the conversation surrounding the application of existing laws to polyamorous and other unorthodox arrangements. In 2017, Adams, who uses the pronoun “they,” founded the Chosen Family Law Center, which undertakes many such cases pro bono. They work with polyamorous clients who would marry if they could, helping them craft a legal dynamic for their shared life.

Adams believes that the establishment of gay marriage produced a backlash against expanded relationship rights, and they encourage their clients to consider other options. “An L.L.C. model is not related to romance, but it’s related to how they can share finances,” they said. “It’s an option I have realized with polyamorous triads and quads. ... You don’t need to get married to become a social-welfare state of two or three or four.” 

...[Adams] went on, “We’re seeing a movement away from parenting being defined by DNA and toward its being defined by intention. Getting out of the model of a two-person monogamous marriage as the basis of family is the next frontier.”

They note that in earlier eras monogamy was expected of women but not of men. “When we were deciding to make this more equitable, it could have gone in a different direction,” Adams said, adding that they wished society, instead of pushing men toward monogamy, had allowed women nonmonogamy. They went on, “Divorce specialists will tell you we have an epidemic of people saying they’re monogamous, then breaking up families with lies and infidelity. What is harmful is that that infidelity breaks a covenant. What if we think about what [covenant] we would actually like to create?” 


...Polyamorous behavior exists across social groups, but the terminology is of the chattering classes. Elisabeth Sheff, the author of “The Polyamorists Next Door,” speaks of people who are “safe and privileged enough to come out as polyamorous.” Texts on polyamory have tended to focus on the concerns of white, middle-class, college-educated readers, and skate over historical and cultural boundaries that constrain individual choice. Sheff, noting that Black people are already burdened by stereotypes that depict them as sexually voracious and unable to form stable family relationships, describes “perversity” as “a luxury more readily available to those who are already members of dominant groups.” ...

Update: Here's a 50-minute interview with author Andrew Solomon on the RadioWest show ("wildly curious") on KUER, Salt Lake City's NPR radio station: Polygamy, Polyamory And The Changing American Family (online April 1, 2021).

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March 12, 2021

"Three Dads and a Baby" book makes a splash, and three other gay male triads in the news

From left: Ian, Alan, and Jeremy with baby Piper 

The book Three Dads and a Baby is just out, and it's drawing heaps of mainstream media attention to good poly parenting. The book is the story of a triad of three medical professionals who won the right in California to be listed on their kids' birth certificates as their three equal, legal parents. Their case is apparently a first. It sets a powerful state precedent that other polyfamilies in California can cite, and it sets a social precedent that looks to be influential elsewhere.

By Faith Karimi, CNN

Meet Ian Jenkins and his partners, Alan and Jeremy.

They're a "throuple": a committed polyamorous relationship involving three people.

And after a complicated and expensive court battle to all become legal parents, the trio are raising two toddlers in Southern California -- and proving how families come in all forms.

They're part of a unique and very modern family that includes three dads, two surrogates and one egg donor. In a new book, "Three Dads and a Baby," Jenkins chronicles their search for potential egg donors and a surrogate, and a fight to change a medical and legal system geared toward heterosexual couples.

The three men have all been together for more than eight years. Jenkins says they fought to get all three of their names listed on the birth certificates to protect their parental rights and the rights of their children. The process was emotionally grueling.

"But we are hopeful that other people benefit from the experience we had," he told CNN in a recent interview, "and that it's easier, less expensive and less stressful for them."

Two men and no baby

As a gay teenager in Virginia, Jenkins says he faced death threats after coming out and couldn't imagine he'd ever be able to openly love another man. ...

He met Alan while they were doing their medical residencies in Boston.

"He was smarter than the other students. It was obvious, even though he wasn't straining to show off his medical knowledge, like half of them were," Jenkins says.

He was drawn to Alan's calm demeanor, witty comebacks and compassion for his patients. In the book, Jenkins recalls being touched by Alan's tender care of a frail old woman who had been hospitalized. He nicknamed her "my Golden Girl."

Their first date was in 2003. Jenkins went to Alan's place with a baking stone, homemade pizza dough and wine, and made him dinner. The couple ... ended up in San Diego, where Jenkins is an associate professor of medicine at UC San Diego and Alan works at a hospital as a psychiatrist.

Three men and a baby

After almost a decade together, Jenkins introduced to Alan the idea of bringing a third man into their partnership. They met Jeremy online, and he joined them in 2012.

Jeremy works in animal medicine at the San Diego Zoo, where his patients range from apes to California condors. To protect their privacy, Alan and Jeremy prefer not to use their last names.

..."With a third voice at the table, our conversations about parenting began to change. We just didn't have the ovaries."

With egg donor Meghan

They shared their predicament with one of Alan's childhood friends, a woman named Meghan who offered to be an egg donor. ... Another female friend agreed to be a surrogate, and they were ready to be dads. But the road to fatherhood involved more lawyers, paperwork and money than they'd ever imagined. ...


At the hearing, the three men asked to be allowed to speak. Fighting back emotion, they explained why it was important for all three to be named as parents. They talked about automatic inheritance, ability to make decisions on medical consents, visitation rights should they split up.

Their pleas worked.

"We could just see in her (the judge's) face that something had changed, that she wouldn't feel comfortable denying one of us parenthood," Jenkins says. "And we could tell right then that she was going to find some way to make it work out for us." ...


The trio are settling into their roles as parents. They now have a second child, a boy named Parker, who was born in 2019 -- the product of the same egg donor but a different surrogate. Parker's birth meant another set of legal contracts among the people involved. But with Parker, there was no legal battle to get the dads' names added to the birth certificate. The court took care of it without having them come in.

...Jenkins says they're forever indebted to the egg donor and the two surrogate mothers for their gift of two biological half siblings.

...Meghan lives in Tennessee and sees the children at least once a year. They call her "Mama Meghan."
The children have different names for their fathers: Jenkins is Papa, Alan is Dada and Jeremy is Daddy.

As Jenkins notes in his book, Piper seems proud of her unique family.

She once told a preschool classmate: "You have two parents. I have three parents."

The dads and their children share a bustling house with two Goldendoodles named Otis and Hazel. They benefit from three incomes and more people to share parenting responsibilities. But in other ways their family is just like any other, Jenkins says. He compares it to his growing up as a child of divorcees with three parents in the picture.

"Day to day in our home, everything is very ordinary," he says. "There's just people making dinner, going out to the hot tub with the kids, reading books, playing with toys. It's just these three parents instead of two or one. "

While Jenkins is worried that their children may be treated differently because of their unique relationship, he says they haven't had any issues so far.

"We've had zero negative feedback from coworkers and friends. Everyone seems to just be delighted about the arrangement and that's because they know us," Jenkins says. ...

If he were to send a message to his teenage self, Jenkins says, he'd tell himself that life gets better. 

● In their hometown San Diego Union-Tribune: San Diego ‘throuple’ share their story of three dads and two babies (March 7).  

By Pam Kragen

...As for how the relationship works, Jenkins writes that the throuple keys to harmony are honesty, constant communication and a complete lack of jealousy. Arguments are rare, but any vote of two against one is always final. The book itself was a three-way negotiation about what could be shared and what was kept private. The partners agreed that what happens in the bedroom is off-limits, but Jenkins wrote humorously that he, Alan and Jeremy almost never sleep in the same bed because it would be too crowded and hot with three men and two large goldendoodles fighting for a sliver of mattress.

“Any relationship I was fated to have would be nontraditional,” Jenkins writes in the book on the merits of monogamy versus polyamory. “I picked a lifetime of nontraditional relationships before I picked a college. From one boyfriend to two, it’s just a question of human nature. ... Most of us expect to have a number of relationships over our lives. ... Why give up everything wonderful about one relationship to experience the joys of another?”

...The benefit of three dads, Jenkins said, is that the children never lack for undivided attention and no parent is locked into performing the same tasks night after night. All three men share evenly in household chores, cooking and children’s bath and bed times. But each dad also has their own specialty. Jenkins’ personal favorite activity these days is teaching Piper to read.

Jeremy teaches reading to Piper, now 3.

...Jenkins said their legal case is now a topic of discussion at judges' conferences. Sharing the story of their precedent-setting legal victory with other nontraditional families was one of the main reasons he wanted to write the book. While their case can help other families in California, it can’t be used in other states, so more trailblazers will be needed nationwide.

...In recent weeks, Jenkins has been doing press interviews for the book. Feedback from the stories and podcasts has been “95 percent strongly positive and enthusiastic,” he said, although he’s received some criticism from an unexpected place. Some members of the LGBTQ community worry that Jenkins’ book will draw negative attention to gay parents who don’t want attention drawn to their families’ lives. ...

He has a blog on the Psychology Today site.

Yahoo News: The rise of polyamorous parenting: ‘From the beginning, we just loved each other’ (March 12). It's a brief slide show with this provocative description: "Throuples are not only becoming parents together, but they are proudly sharing their lives with the world. It's due in part, of course, to social media, but also to what appears to be a cultural shift." 

●  Jenkins on one of many podcasts/vodcasts:


And while we're on the subject of gay trads recently in the media...

●  Newsweek ran a first-person story by another doctor in a trio: 'I'm in a Throuple, We're All Very Much in Love' (Feb. 20)

Left to right: Carlos, Edward and Hernán

By Edward Ribbons (as told to Jenny Haward)

...I met Carlos and Hernán around that time, but I had no intention of a relationship. I just saw these two gorgeous South American men and definitely wanted to have fun with them. ... Hernan actually designs headpieces, like tiaras, and I remember he showed them to me that night and I waltzed around their apartment wearing them for a while; the three of us just really hit it off. We had a lot of fun chats, there were some more serious conversations that happened quite quickly. 

...We'd been together around nine months when my parents and my brother came to Sydney to visit. I hadn't told my mom that I was seeing anybody, so I called and explained that I was actually seeing two guys and asked her to tell my dad. My parents are very open-minded, kind people but they had not met people in polyamorous relationships before. When they visited I could tell my mom was still a bit uncertain, but she and my dad really loved the boys; they get on so well. And my brother will FaceTime Carlos and Hernán as much as calls me. It's really nice. I knew I had strong feelings for them already, but around the time my family met them, I began to think that the relationship was something that had longevity and could be more serious.

The boys have been together for 12 years and I have been with them for about three years now and we describe ourselves as a throuple. I have a very different relationship with each of them; but neither is better or closer, they are just different. I would say Carlos and I have a calmer relationship. He's an engineer and he thinks very logically. Hernán's artistic. But it changes all the time. It doesn't feel unnatural to spend time with just one or the other, we don't do everything all together. I am a obstetrician and gynaecologist and can work unusual hours, so it's nice that the boys have each other to spend time with. There is a lot of depth and closeness to what we have. ...

...There are upsides and downsides to being part of a throuple. What has surprised me is that it can sometimes be difficult to make plans that make everybody happy. I'm definitely a social butterfly naturally, but if you asked Hernán what his dream was for our relationship, it would be for the three of us to spend a lot more time at home, watching Netflix and relaxing. I think we're all still working that out about each other. Also, with three of us, each person is only ever a third of the relationship, so you can't be selfish. There are two people there who will call you out if you're being unreasonable, which happens. It can be emotionally complicated sometimes but we love one another and I wouldn't say we argue much. 

Edward Ribbons is an obstetrician and gynaecologist currently based in London. His boyfriends Carlos Briñez and José Hernán Ávila live in Sydney, Australia. You can follow them on Instagram @eddyribbo @avilaco1 and @carlos_1mba.

●  Next: a long story about a very out gay Black triad in Atlanta, in The Reckoning ("thought-provoking, unique stories about Atlanta's Black LGBTQ+ community"):  Meet The Browns: Gay Polyamorous Triad Spills The Tea On How Two Became Three  (Feb. 23). It begins,

Que, Tye, and Martel

By Darian Aaron

Three is not a crowd for Que Brown, 28, Tye Brown, 26, and Martel Star, 27. The Tallahassee, FL and Mansfield, OH transplants are one of many Black gay polyamorous triads or “throuples” in Atlanta who are finding and creating healthy romantic partnerships outside of the traditional two-person monogamous relationship model. However, there is one distinction between their triad and others— these men are living and loving out loud, online and off, and are rejecting the stigma associated with polyamory that often pushes those within this relationship structure to the margins of society.

For Star, an entertainer and avid social media user, it was only natural that he’d be open about their relationship on Instagram since social media played such a pivotal role in connecting him to Que and Tye, who had already settled into their seven-year relationship as a couple after initially meeting in a Tallahassee nightclub. The pair were married in 2017. The Browns tell The Reckoning the discussion about adding a third partner happened early in their marriage. 

“About two years in it was something that both of us had a conversation about, and we were both really open to the whole idea, and it was something that we talked about for a while before we ever acted on it,” said Tye Brown. ...


...“People are fascinated because there’s an additional person,” said Star. “Communication is still important. Being mindful of the needs of your partners is still important. Being mindful of how we deal with our friends and finances, and how we move throughout the day, all of those things are the same as you would find with a monogamous couple,” he said. 

● An older gay triad in Out Smart, "Houston's LGBTQ magazine": Three Hearts (online Feb. 1 and in Febroary 2021 print issue)

From left: John, Geno, and Brandon

By Ryan Leach

John Papagiannopoulos, 52, Brandon Bartee, 42, and Geno O’Quinn, 49, have identical tattoos on the inside of their left wrists. It is an image of three hearts, interconnected, each a different color—orange, green, and blue—to represent themselves, their relationship, and the life and love they share together.

...Bartee still recalls the moment when things took a more serious turn. “I had a 450-square-foot apartment that Geno would stay at, even though he had a townhouse. When John separated [with his ex], he asked if he could stay there more. One night, we were all watching a TV show on the sofa, all cuddled up, and I said, ‘This feels like home.’ That was six years ago on February 21.”

“We were already in love with each other,” O’Quinn adds, “but I think when John’s relationship ended and Brandon was no longer with his ex, it kind of connected one day for all of us. We knew [our relationship] felt comfortable—that it was home.”

...While the throuple cannot legally marry, the men wear wedding rings and refer to themselves as husbands—in the same way that committed male couples used the term in the days before same-sex marriage was legal. Through a combination of marriage and adoption, the three hope to one day become a “legal” family.

“Our relationship is poly-faithful,” explains Bartee, “but the trouble we get into we do together, and we have rules: don’t lie, don’t cheat, be honest. And if you do something you’re not supposed to, be up front and ask forgiveness.”

...“We all have our alone time, and we all have together time. You can’t get jealous because the other two are cuddled up and you’re not involved. You have to step back and appreciate the bond that they have, because the bond they have is the bond you have with each of them,” says Bartee.

Like the three different heart colors in their tattoos, these men have personalities that are quite distinct. Fortunately, their unique characteristics complement each other. “John and I have the whole nerd factor in common, whereas Brandon and I have the spontaneity and craziness,” O’Quinn explains. “Brandon also helps bring that out of me and John.”

The three men allow each other to be entirely themselves, and it shows through. ...

“If there have been any objections, they haven’t let us know,” O’Quinn adds. “After I brought John and Brandon over to meet my mother, I told her that I wanted her to know that I am dating both of them. She said, ‘I have Facebook. I’m not stupid.’ That was it!”

Bartee’s experience with his mother was especially affirming. “When my dad passed away, my mom called and said, ‘I have a question. How do you spell John and Geno’s last names, so I can put them in your father’s obituary? It’s the first time I have seen you happy and in a relationship that I know will last,’” he recalls.

But no matter how other people view the poly-faithful trio’s relationship, these men know that the thing that centers them is love. O’Quinn puts it best: “I love them both equally, but in different ways and for different aspects.


●  P.S.: In other triad babies in the news, you may remember California's ChaCha, Jimmy, and Summer from their past publicity episodes. The women wanted to get pregnant at the same time — but now it turns out that nature has blessed ChaCha first. Polyamorous throuple's baby news after husband plans to get both wives pregnantin the UK's tabloid Star (March 8) and elsewhere. 

From left: Summer, Jimmy, ChaCha
Jimmy Silva, 33, ChaCha VaVoom, 31, and Summer Pelltier, 27, are expecting a little boy.

On Instagram this weekend, the trio were excited to announce that ChaCha has fallen pregnant.

They wrote: “SURPRISE!!!! We’ve had a long journey in the last 8-9 years and now our journey is going to include another person.”

The throuple, who got “married” last February, plan to raise the baby together.

...After getting hitched and jetting off to honeymoon in Thailand, their 35,400 Instagram followers were waiting to see where the relationship would go next.

So when the throuple announced ChaCha’s pregnancy, they garnered more than 8,300 likes. ...

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