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September 1, 2021
Bearding cultural conservatives in their lair: Polyam activist Leanne Yau runs rings on "the UK's Fox News." And other developments.
Leanne Yau, a.k.a.
Poly Philia, is a high-profile blogger and content creator energetically doing consensual-nonmonogamy education and peer support, drawing from
her "life experience as a bisexual, autistic, Chinese, Gen Z, non-binary
woman based in the UK." And, she's an Oxford Law graduate. Since launching her platform nine months ago it's gained almost 160,000
Last Thursday she posted,
Poly Philia logo
I'm appearing on national television tomorrow.
On the British equivalent of Fox News.
GB News is running a segment from 4-6 pm UK time called "The Afternoon
Agenda by Alex Philips" and tomorrow's question is "are humans
monogamous?". ... Alex Philips is pretty sex-negative and conservative
(for context, in a previous episode, she compared consensual porn to
violent sexual assault). ... I hope I will be able to hold my own and
portray the community in as positive a light as I possibly can.
Is it a bad idea? Probably.
But do I like a challenge? Absolutely.
She floored 'em. She had lots of discussion points and explanations waiting
at the ready and let them rip high-speed. Hostess Alex Philips (of Brexit
Party fame) didn't even really try to tangle but just let her go. For
...I personally wouldn’t say that ALL humans aren’t monogamous. But I do
think that more humans have the capacity or desire to be non-monogamous
than they would like to admit. But obviously, because monogamy is the
standard for society -- like your previous guest said, it’s put on a
pedestal -- and alternatives lifestyles like swinging and polyamory and
open relationships are so demonised, a lot of people don’t feel that they
can express their true desires. So, a lot of them resort to being either
in miserable monogamous relationships, or they resort to cheating. And
obviously, that’s not great in either situation.
And basically, I started my platform to offer an ethical alternative. To
say that we can preserve things like commitment, trust, communication,
honesty, all these important values in relationships, but also be honest
with each other that monogamy might not be the only way to achieve those
things. So I’m encouraging people to have open and honest conversations
with their partners about their desires.
...Polyamory is one path you could go down, but there are many types of
non-monogamy. Polyamory is specifically the practice of multiple romantic
relationships, but there are many non-monogamous relationships that
involve one primary, romantic relationship and then multiple secondary,
casual or purely sexual relationships.
...Commitment, the idea of commitment and love, to me, isn’t the promise
not to have sex with or not to fall in love with anyone else. Although, I
accept that for other people, it can involve that. But I think a lot of
people rely on the structure of a relationship to prove commitment instead
of actually doing the meaningful work with them, emotionally, to be
attuned to their partner. Commitment to me is trusting and communicating
with someone consistently, making promises and following through on them,
it’s caring about someone’s wellbeing, it’s being invested in their joy
and happiness, showing up for them in times of need, celebrating their
achievements…a lot of these things. And none of that actually requires
....I think that while monogamy is obviously a very valid relationship
style, it is not the default. It should not be the default, and I think
that other people should start recognising that.
...Non-monogamy has taught me so many new things. I’ve been able to
explore things with other people and be able to bring them back to my
partner and enrich our relationship in turn. I think that also, seeing my
partner with other people makes me happy! I think that I’m really invested
in my partner’s happiness and wellbeing, and because I know that I may not
be able to fulfill all of their emotional needs, I’m happy that they are
getting what they want and desire from someone else! ...
Wow. See how it's done, folks.
In other news,
● Cosmopolitan just published an excellent, very basic
Poly and ENM 101 worth passing to people who need it: What Is Ethical Non-Monogamy? (Aug. 31). Notably, it includes a section headed
"What is the difference between ENM, polyamory, swinging, and an open
relationship?". It may help reduce the catastrophic miscommunications that happen on dates
these days when people misuse the word "polyamory" to mean different things
and then think they're on the same wavelength. Oops.
The article is subheaded
"For one thing,
it's a relationship style becoming more popular than ever."
That's the theme running through the rest of these items:
These days, it’s difficult to capture the public imagination with
something as simple as a kiss. ... A kiss between two people? Whatever.
Between three? Colour me intrigued. Between chart-topping songstress
Rita Ora, her boyfriend the Oscar-winning director Taika Waititi, and
everyone’s favourite pansexual actress Tessa Thompson? I’ll bite. The
internet gasps in delight.
...For Sydney-based sexuality and relationship coach Stephanie Rigg, a
recent increase in visibility of the throuple (when all
three people are intimately involved with each other, as in The Politician, say, or The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills) is
“symptomatic of a growing willingness to question the status quo when it
comes to love, sex and relationships. We’re seeing more and more people
pause before falling into traditional ‘default’ arrangements and asking
themselves, ‘What do I actually want out of this?’ People are
realising they can create their own rules in the relationship
● So many polyam plotlines are popping up in TV series that I've stopped
keeping track. But very often, they're handled poorly by writers and actors
who don't seem to know what they're doing.
Generation Q has a poly problem. ... At some point between the last
episode and this one [“Luck Be A Lady,” S2 E3], Alice agreed to open the
relationship back up and let Nat explore polyamory. Instead of showing us
that conversation—which could have touched on a lot of different aspects
of polyamory/monogamy, jealousy, boundaries, and relationship
just leaves it all unsaid and unseen.... Especially given how badly last
episode bungled the conversation, with Nat throwing out casually biphobic
remarks and Alice conflating polyamory with cheating... does Alice just
not understand polyamory or do the writers not?
It’s like Generation Q wants to do a poly storyline without
actually talking about polyamory. ... Generation Q doesn’t even
come close to exploring what polyamory is or isn’t. And in fact, Nat and
Alice are still barely talking to each other about it. ...
...Despite there being a wait before the UK [audience] sees this threesome
become official, the interest around the storyline is palpable.
Never one to shy away from embracing the rich tapestry of lifestyles, the
decision to include polyamory isn't just a logical progression of the
show, but a welcomed way of embracing inclusivity.
Nevertheless... questions about the accuracy of its polyamory portrayal
are already being asked. ... The intricacies of this reveal have (mostly)
been well received, and yet trepidation within the poly community still
The caution that some viewers are feeling comes from the element of
persuasion seemingly involved with this development – both Levi and Amy
aren't sure about taking this step, whereas Ned is all for it. Although it
shows a discussion of options that are rarely seen, there's the issue that
the two parties aren't as keen on the idea, yet still go ahead with it.
Levi, Ned, Amy
Partnered with this, you also have the uncertainty of why Ned is
suggesting such a dynamic – does Ned genuinely think this relationship is
right for them or is this about avoiding potential rejection?
Poly relationships aren't the black-and-white caricature that those
outside of the community believe it is, they're valid experiences that
have the same depth and complexities of monogamous relationships.
Unfortunately, many TV shows fail to translate this onto our screens, with
most poly romances portrayed as confusing episodes of promiscuous fun. ...
To try to combat any stereotyping that may take place, Neighbours made
sure to include its characters discussing the difference between thrupples
(relationships with three people in them) and polyamory (desiring intimate
relationships with more than one partner, but having the consent of all of
them). By taking the time to explain this important distinction, the show
is allowing its viewers to become familiar and more educated about what
polyamory really is.
However, a brief discussion on the sofa about whether Amy, Ned, and Levi
should give it a try isn't enough to truly set the groundwork for
revolutionary inclusion. If Neighbours is to deliver accurate
representation, then it needs to avoid opting for the all too easy
conclusion of depicting polyamory as experimentation waiting to go wrong.
"TV shows often use poly as a salutary lesson, a weekly plot point, or a
way to help characters strengthen their monogamous relationships," shares
London-based polyamorous blogger Exhibit A.
"Someone will experiment with poly, it'll ultimately go wrong, and they'll
realise that actually, they were happy with monogamy all along. That's
If Neighbours is to really cement itself as being for diversity, then it
needs to treat this developing storyline with the respect it deserves.
Therefore, if Amy, Ned, and Levi ultimately fail as a relationship, there
needs to be a nuance to the situation rather than relying on polyamory
being the catalyst. ...
...Just a few months into her union with a man she’s crazy about, a
freaked-out Mary has an idea: They will open up their marriage! Mark is
not exactly thrilled about the idea, but Mary pulls the strings, so off
they go. In the film’s press notes, [the filmmaker Hannah] Marks notes
that she’s not a practitioner of “ethical non-monogamy,” nor does she ever
expect to be, but she knows many people who are, leaving her eager to make
a film about this world that can fit alongside other classic rom-coms. ...
Marks’ lack of lived experience shows at every turn.
As Mark and Mary try on polyamory, their predicament also makes for a
canny stand-in for all sorts of relationship pitfalls and problems. Their
earliest experiences are bad, sexy, silly, funny, snappy, and weird, and
Marks mines them for some very relatable emotions. That doesn’t do much
for the polyamory aspect, which comes to feel like just another random
problem thrown into the mix of an otherwise standard-issue relationship.
Soon, the couple is engaging in a series of one-upmanships that mostly
feel engineered to ruin their lives....
...Having just committed to arm-tattoos of each other’s names in hearts,
Mark isn’t eager to share his wife with others. Yet after setting basic
ground rules designed to protect their bedrock union, they embark on a
nightly barrage of carnal encounters. It’s no surprise that this scenario
is headed for disaster, and that said calamity will come equipped with a
twist, but Rosenfield and Law are such a likable duo — he clownish
and earnest in equally uninhibited fashion, she brazen and fierce with an
underlying sweetness — that the film remains amusing and spry even as it
coasts along a path that will feel familiar to most rom-com fans, and
especially to anyone who’s seen 1994’s “Threesome” or HBO’s documentary
from earlier this year, “There Is No ‘I’ in Threesome.” ...
By now it’s no surprise to Good Trouble fans that Malika, played by the
talented Zuri Adele, is on a journey of exploring her sexuality, namely
polyamory. The topic is one that Adele told ABC Audio she was excited to
learn about and credits the writers for helping tackle it
“We have some great experts who are in the writer’s room and able to chime
in and give a lot of insight on polyamorous practices and, you know,
proper vocabulary,” she shared. “And, also just normalizing and humanizing
and making sure that we’re not fetishizing or stigmatizing polyamory in
any way.” ...
...Outside of the realm of television there are thriving Black polyamorous communities. Houston Texas residents Devon and Danielle Stokes-White are the founders of Black Poly Nation, an organization of roughly 34,000 members. “Black Poly Nation is the largest organization of its kind that has ever existed,” according to Devon White. The Whites started the organization two years ago out of a need to belong to a community.
“When we were introduced to polyamory it was hard to find any sense of community especially in our area so that was one of the motivating factors for us going full steam in creating a community for other likeminded people,” Stokes-White added.
As a couple they are leaders in creating a space for other polyamorous people where they can explore and learn from one another. “We spend a lot of our time creating content for the Black polyamorous community,” said Devon White. They welcome the idea that shows in the mainstream are creating a space where representation and conversation around topics that are often considered taboo can be explored. “The community that we have built is really great because you have built-in friends who understand how you are feeling,” said Stokes-White.
Jealousy in polyamory is a common concern. How your own unique heart
navigates it may determine whether polyamory is a good choice for
By Chelsey Burden
If you’re in a queer dating scene, you may have noticed that polyamory is
becoming more popular. (I’m using polyamory as a catchall for any kind of
consensual non-monogamy.) While obviously monogamy is still dominant
in mainstream society, some people report that in their subcultures, like
say, certain queer dating scenes, the pendulum has swung and
polyamory feels like not just an option but the new
With that comes a lot of us navigating new territory, maybe asking
questions we’ve never asked of ourselves before. What relationship style
do I prefer? Is polyamory something everyone is capable of adapting to?
Does struggling with polyamory mean I’m doing it wrong or
that it just isn’t right for me?
For some people, polyamory has helped them get in touch with and
communicate what they need. For others, trying polyamory
helped them learn that what they need is, well, monogamy.