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



October 21, 2021

"8 Books With Love Triangles That End In Polyamory," the poly movement in today's Hong Kong, a cartoonist's cute message, and more


●  About the tragic love triangle trope in everything from Shakespeare to Gone with the Wind to Titanic? Most of us have thought countless times, "Jeezum, why don't they just go poly?"

Well, now from BookRiot ("the largest independent literary site in North America") comes Why Not Both? 8 Books With Love Triangles That End In Polyamory (Oct. 11).


By Addison Rizer

...Recently, though, tastes have shifted away from the love triangle, with some readers declaring it the worst trope in literature.... Readers cite a long list of irritants that come along with the trope. One suitor obviously being a better match, for example, while the other is rude or cruel or downright abusive. Some cite an unlikable main character, making it hard to believe them having more than one love interest at the same time. Others say it’s rude to string two people along like that and end up with a distaste for all involved.

If you’re one of those love-triangle avoiders, you’ll be delighted to hear about a new take on the trope that’s hitting the shelves: love triangles that end in polyamory. While the beginning of many of these novels echo the typical love triangle rivalry-and-indecision storyline, in the end, the characters shrug and say, “Why not both?” Which makes for super fun, interesting character dynamics and adds a freshness to the oft-done trope.


Each book gets a short description/review and a look at the cover. All of the author's picks are recent, and most or all are YA (Young Adult) genre. They are: 


Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao...
Adaptation and Inheritance series by Malinda Lo... 
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin...
Indestructible Object by Mary McCoy...
Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton...
This Song is (Not) For You by Laura Nowlin...
That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston...
Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman...

...Regardless of your interests, I hope you jump on the polyamory reading train and enjoy one of these books with love triangles that end in polyamory.


Click through for the book links.

Added November 20: Laura Boyle, on her Ready for Polyamory blog, posts a list of the poly fiction books that, based on recommendations and reputation, she has put onto her to-read list: Polyamory in Fiction.



●  Book Karnjanakit is an artist from Thailand now in Baltimore; that's a self-portrait at right. She just got a graphic story published in The Lily, an online magazine for women's voices that's owned by the Washington Post: I used to think there was one way to have a relationship. Then I discovered polyamory (Oct. 10).

Below is the first frame. It has a happy ending.


Last month she posted a longer autobio comic on her Instagram about getting through the pandemic while poly. (Click on the grayed arrow at right of the first panel there.)


●  Hong Kong has fallen under hostile authoritarian rule, and the Hong Kong Free Press is readying to relocate offshore if shut down by the Chinese authorities. It just published a look into a bit of the city's private sphere: Loving one and many: the world of Hong Kong polyamorists (Oct. 10). Bits:


By Selina Cheng

...“But I didn’t feel jealous,” Leonard said. “That for me was a turning point, because I realised that I could be okay.”

Leonard and Salome are among a growing number of Hongkongers experimenting with polyamory – couples who give each other permission to simultaneously pursue other romantic or even sexual relationships outside their own.

...In Hong Kong’s “public story about marriage,” the abolition of polygyny [in 1971] is viewed as a rejection of repression against women and a step towards equality, said Joseph Cho, a gender studies lecturer at Chinese University of Hong Kong. He added, however, that although contemporary Hongkongers have become more relaxed about public displays of desire, and accepting of people who identify themselves as sexual minorities, the city’s values about love and sex remain conservative.

...Polyamorous Hongkongers, however, argue that it is possible to love more than one person at a time, and to do this ethically – if consent, equality and honesty are respected scrupulously by all parties in the relationship.

We visited a few of the city’s polyamorists to learn more about how they are creating an alternative lifestyle of loving. ...

----------------------------

Salome and Leonard are the picture of a typical Hong Kong thirty-something couple on the way up. Salome is petite, her skin dramatically tan against a slim, bright pink dress. Leonard sports a smart, corporate blue shirt, a chrome Apple watch, and speaks with a crisp, British-inflected accent. We met one evening in their blond wood panelled Mid-Levels flat to chat about their alternative romantic lifestyle. ...

----------------------------

...Neiko, a thirty-something with a curvy figure and a bottom lip piercing, identifies as non-binary gendered and prefers the pronoun “they.”  ...What is very clear to Neiko is that they reject “the relationship escalator.”...

Neiko and E's home


...Victor and his wife Angeline are struggling to relocate their mutual partner, Anastasia, to Hong Kong, so the lovers can finally settle down together as a threesome. ...

Victor started dating Angeline about 10 years ago when they both attended the University of Hong Kong. Angeline met and fell in love with Anastasia on a trip, and eventually the three began dating as a trio. ... Victor, Angeline and Anastasia are working to create a household together, in a committed relationship with children – a polyamorous take on family. ...

...Love, in a triad, is a complex affair where sentiments and attractions shift and evolve over time. Victor said the closest relationship in the trio now is in fact the one between the two women.

----------------------------

...Monogamy, said [psychiatrist Dr. Emil] Ng, maintains the social order by allocating a woman to every man and by providing a basic framework for the division of wealth, property and status in society. By contrast, the polyamorous lifestyle is not merely a non-traditional way to experience love – it’s a direct challenge to the existing economic and social order. For Hong Kong polyamorists, open relationships are a simple, albeit unconventional, lifestyle choice. But others outside the circle may see polyamory as threatening, even dangerous. ...

----------------------------

...Neiko, Leonard and Salome want to help people in the polyamorous community connect with others like themselves, so they might feel less alone. Together they created the “Hong Kong Polyamory and Non-Monogamy Meetup Group” on meetup.com, a social networking website. Their last offline meeting attracted around 80 people, Neiko said, and added that polyamorists may be even more closeted and stigmatised than members of LGBTIQ communities.

For Salome, the path forward is clear. “It is difficult to imagine going back, once you have seen the nice garden behind the backdoor,” she said. “It’s so liberating – you don’t need to follow the prescription.”


And perhaps, she added hopefully, one day those who find themselves in love with more than one person need not be condemned by society. 

“Maybe things can be different, in another world.”

The polyamorists interviewed for this story spoke to HKFP under pseudonyms, citing fear of repercussion from family, friends, and employers.


 
● From PopSugar/ Latina, also reprinted several other places: Why More Latinas Should Consider Questioning Monogamy (Sept. 30)


By Yvette Montoya

Even though we're well into the 21st century, romantic relationships are still tangled up in rigid notions about loyalty, obedience, ownership, and, of course, monogamy. ... Add in all the religious dogmas that underlie those beliefs — "God will strike you down" and "you'll go straight to hell" (if you waver in your chastity) — and it's terrifying. The idea that we are either virgins or "wh*res" doesn't give us a lot of options.

...And God forbid you have children from more than one partner. Or are over the age of 25 with no marriage prospects or even a novio? Dios mio! What will your family's acquaintances and complete strangers think? How many of our fathers, uncles, brothers, and grandfathers have second families and kids all over the place? Can someone please tell me what kind of monogamy that is?

...If we want to identify and deconstruct damaging power structures, we should start with monogamy. Why? Because it is not something we actively choose; it's something we've been conditioned and coerced to accept. ... We also forget that we're the first generation of women to enjoy this much self-determination. And yet, we unconsciously end up in relationship structures that feed into our oppression, and we continue to espouse traditional beliefs about womanhood and family life that harm our self-worth. I'm not suggesting that monogamy is wrong, but like Dr. Kim Tallbear (aka the critical polyamorist), an associate professor and faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta in Canada, has said, "Until you have worked hard for your monogamy in a non-monogamous society, don't tell me it was your choice."

Consider Exploring Ethical Nonmonogamy....

Figure Out Your Needs....

What do you actually need — sexually, emotionally, and mentally — to be fulfilled? If someone asked what you needed to achieve an orgasm, or feel safe, what kind of direction would you give them? If you have never considered what your own needs are, that's a good place to begin. Reflect on your current and past relationships, and ask yourself why you configured them the way you did.

For Latinas, first-generation kids, and children of immigrants, there is a lot to unpack. ... As Latinas grappling with Catholic guilt, machismo, and cultural shaming, many of us actively avoid oversexualizing ourselves. In a society that brands us "spicy" and assumes we're all sexy Sofia Vergara-like baby makers, we make choices related to our sexualities to avoid criticism and being stereotyped. 

...Don't get me wrong, it's not all about sex, but it is about self-understanding and acceptance. Like it or not, our negative beliefs and practices around sex impact other areas of our lives and prevent us from authentically showing up for ourselves and others. ...



● The headline writer here went for the clickbait: 'My husband gives me sex tips.' What it's really like to be in a polyamorous marriage, but it's actually a nice profile of life at the poly/ open-marriage boundary. It appeared in MamaMia! Oct. 19. 


..."After getting married and being very honest about our queer identities and open relationship, we got hit up all the time! Mostly by single men and women who are sick of Tinder and the dating world and just want sex. People know we are in a secure and loving marriage, so we can offer them something quite simple and safe.

While the couple have had plenty of casual hook ups since getting married, the idea of polyamory was initially, as Luke says, "too complicated".

"It felt like we barely had enough time for our relationship, let alone another one! Then Cindra began casually dating Lou and it sort of just naturally happened. I could see how it might work and so we began to read and learn more about polyamory.

"I can't lie though, it was a big transition." ...

Cindra says that there is a lot of talking between all three parties about how their relationship can continue to work. ... "There is so much talking! ... We see a counsellor and we check in with each other regularly to navigate all our emotions."...

"We are open with other people about our marriage but when Lou and I bumped into my parents at the beach, that felt strange," Cindra says. "Lou knows all our friends and has joined our gym. So this was very overwhelming, especially for Luke. ..."



●  In the Poly 101 department, Yahoo!Life presents Here's What You Should Know About Fluid Bonding (Oct. 19).

●  And a brief Negotiating The Relationship 101: How I Negotiated Non-Monogamy In My Monogamous Relationship (Refinery29, Oct. 20).  Spoiler: Communication, communication, communication.

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