Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

November 12, 2021

The Poly 101s in the media are getting better

Many, many intro-to-poly articles in mainstream media have been crossing my screen (thank you Google News Alerts), and I'm impressed that their average quality improves year by year.

●  For instance, this one just appeared on Health.com, the website of the big, respected, reliable Health magazine aimed at women: Polyamory, Polygamy, and More: What to Know About Non-Monogamy (Nov 9). It stresses the need for clarity in language and communication when you're a single or couple thinking of setting out on a consensually non-monogamous life.

By Eve Ettinger

...But increased visibility of non-monogamy and its variants doesn't mean we all know what these things mean in practice. So what exactly is polyamory, and how does it differ from ethical non-monogamy, open relationships? Is it different from polygamy or polyandry, concepts that existed long before the sexual revolution?

A still from a Health magazine video

Though polyamory and non-monogamy are now fairly ubiquitous terms, their exact meaning can shift from person to person or couple to couple. ... 

..."One common misconception that shows up in my office frequently when working with people who are exploring non-monogamy is that there is a specific or correct way to be poly or open, or to do any kind of ethical/consensual non-monogamy," says [New York therapist Dulcinea Alex] Pitagora. "The fact is, these categories and labels can be a helpful starting point for conversations with partners, but they need to be defined and agreed upon by the parties involved, and nobody else. One person's poly relationship can look a lot like someone else's open relationship, whereas another person's poly can look a lot like someone else's relationship anarchy."...

It goes on to clarify how various terms and categories are used in practice, toward helping you and your partner(s), if any, figure out what's right for you. And it gets them right IMO.

It ends,

[Sex therapy director Jesse] Kahn encourages a curiosity-based approach to these questions, rather than one that seeks a set end goal or pre-conceived answer. "Start by educating yourself on polyamory, various polyamorous structures," they say. "Explore and think about what about your past/current relationship structures worked and didn't work, and in your fantasies what they might've looked like instead."...

●  A more basic Poly 101 is just up from another, less reputable mass-circulation health magazine. Prevention is an old-time outfit trying to keep up. Its lucrative business model, starting in 1950, was to fill its pages with articles shamelessly touting questionable/ worthless dietary supplements and selling the ad space around the articles to the supplements' makers. Today Prevention, like Reader's Digest, is a survival from our grandparents' era. (My grandmother was as firmly addicted to Prevention's hokum as today's Trumpies are to Fox News.)

Nowadays the magazine is trying for broader appeal and modern relevance. For this Poly 101 articles — this is not its first  are apparently what the doctor ordered.

Prevention's writers have handled these stories well. Including this latest one: What Is Polyamory? Polyamorous Relationships, Explained (Oct. 28).

Nope, it’s not cheating—and it might work really well for you.

By Jake Smith 

...Polyamory, a form of consensual non-monogamy, allows people to pursue multiple romantic partners at once, and unlike cheating, everyone involved is aware of the arrangement.

Despite what romcoms and the marriage-industrial complex may suggest, polyamorous relationships are very much normal—and they’re on the rise. ...

Volanthevist / Getty
What is polyamory?

...“The crucial thing is that it must be practiced with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved,” [Leanne] Yau says. This distinguishes polyamory from cheating, which occurs when one or more parties in a relationship are unaware of non-monogamous actions by another.

Polyamory falls under the umbrella of ethical non-monogamy, a term that encompasses all the various relationship styles that are consensually non-exclusive, whether sexually, romantically, or both, explains Tamara Pincus, L.I.C.S.W., C.S.T., author of the book It’s Called “Polyamory and founder of the practice Tamara Pincus and Associates. (Others include open relationships, swinging, and “monogamish” arrangements.) All relationships exist on a spectrum of total romantic and sexual exclusivity to complete non-exclusivity, Yau says; polyamory can fall anywhere beyond traditional monogamy.

...These kinds of relationships are more common than you might think, and they’re becoming even more so: One-third of Americans say their ideal relationship isn’t completely monogamous, per that 2020 YouGov poll. In 2016, YouGov found that 61% of Americans wanted completely monogamous relationships; in 2020, the number fell to 56%. Young people say they’re more likely to pursue non-monogamy, too, meaning these arrangements will likely become more popular.

“Polyamory very much focuses on emotional and romantic connection, whereas other types of non-monogamy are more like casual and sexual endeavors,” Yau explains. “That’s a crucial difference between them.” That’s not to say that sex isn’t a factor in poly relationships—it’s a crucial part of expressing love between many kinds of people—but it’s not the end-all-be-all for many polyamorous people.

“Quite a lot of members of the asexual community really value polyamory for this reason,” Yau says. “It allows for them to have a purely romantic relationship with someone who has sexual needs that can be met outside of the relationship.”

The subheads from here on:

What are some myths about polyamory?
Hierarchical Polyamory
Non-Hierarchical Polyamory
Solo Polyamory
What should you know before starting a polyamorous relationship?

...In the end, polyamory is growing in popularity for a reason. “Having multiple close, intimate relationships really provides an opportunity for a kind of support that we don’t tend to find in the rest of the world these days,” Pincus says. “Polyamory can help people build closeness with a lot of people. … It’s a lot of emotional work, and it’s worth it.”

● Also just out is this good long intro to the "Relationship broken? Add more people!" fallacyCould Opening Up Your Relationship Fix It? in the feminist online women's mag Refinery29 (Nov. 7). It spotlights the multi-relationship counselor/author Dr. Liz Powell, known to many of us for her smarts as a speaker and workshop leader at polycons.

J. Houston
By Quinn Rhodes

What does an open relationship have in common with getting married, having a baby and moving in with your partner? That’s right: none of them is a way to fix problems in a relationship. With an increased awareness of non-monogamous relationship structures, the myth that polyamory is a ‘fix’ for a broken relationship is also gaining momentum. 

That’s not to say that people don’t try. Dr Liz Powell, a licensed psychologist specialising in non-monogamous relationships, explains that they see this a lot. ... In Dr Powell’s view, too often people try to apply polyamory like a plaster when they’re struggling with differences in sexual desires or how they want to split their time and priorities. 

An open relationship could, theoretically, help with those issues. In reality, problems often begin when someone is feeling hurt, unheard or unseen by their partner. Without resolving that conflict in the first instance, and instead just opening up the relationship, you allow that pain to fester and resentment to build on top of the struggles you’re already experiencing and, crucially, communication that perhaps isn’t working.
Dr Powell says: "If you’re already struggling to talk about what you want and need, if you’re already struggling to advocate for your needs or have those needs met, non-monogamy is unlikely to fix those problems – aside from the fact that it’s likely to end your relationship."

For Sam, who is 30 years old and non-binary, opening up their relationship did bring it to a very necessary end. ...

...For Ellen, opening up her relationship gave her a lens to explore her own vulnerabilities and look at what’s important to her in a relationship. She’s learned how to handle rejection – something you don’t expect to feel the sting of when you’re in a long-term partnership – and the difference between privacy and secrecy. ...

...Dr Powell suggests that it’s unhelpful to think of opening up your relationship as adding more people to it. Instead, you should think about it as breaking down everything you know about your relationship and building it up from scratch. ...

But, people being people, there are always exceptions. Adding more people sometimes does save an otherwise healthy, companionate relationship or marriage when the problem is sexual incompatibility. A friend of mine in a decades-long nesting triad that raised kids together from conception to adulthood often says, "Some people get into polyamory to have more sex. Some get into polyamory to have less sex." It worked for them.

● This next piece is emotionally deeper than the three above — a Poly 102. It appeared in the large online women's magazine Bustle: How To Know If Ethical Non-Monogamy Could Work For You (Nov. 9)

By Kristine Fellizar

“It confronts you, inevitably, with your deepest fears.”

...You may have noticed an uptick of people looking for ethically non-monogamous (ENM) relationships while you were swiping through profiles on Tinder or Bumble. But what exactly is an ENM relationship, and is it right for you? According to experts, there are a few key things you should know. ...

“There isn’t a one-size-fits-all model for ethical non-monogamy,” Sydney Chin, a polyamorous sex educator based in Philadelphia, tells Bustle. As long as there is clear consent and open communication within the relationship structure you’ve agreed on, an ENM relationship can work.

If you’re curious about ENM, start by doing your research. Chin suggests following non-monogamy educators online, joining communities like Remodeled Love, and reading books like Jessica Fern’s Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy.

...“More than anything, embarking on a journey of discovery means you get to [find] your truth,” says [relationship therapist Anlacan] Tran. “...You get to write your own story. And it can be whatever you (and your partner(s)) want it to be.”

...People are often surprised to discover that the ability to be so completely open and truthful towards each other creates a whole new level of intimacy. For many, ENM actually ends up deepening their love and dedication towards each other. ... Tran says, “It's refreshing and incredibly valuable to have a place between you to express your full truth.”

On the other hand, being ENM also means you may have to wade through a lot of uncomfortable feelings like jealousy, insecurity, and fear. “It confronts you, inevitably, with your deepest fears,” Tran says. “It means facing inner demons, it means breathing through discomfort, it means finding new ways to relate to each other with many people at the ready to judge you.” ...

●  ANNOUNCEMENT: If you're new to poly and you'd like to talk about your experience so far, the Polycurious podcast wants to hear from you. The podcasters got written up in the Bushwick Daily, the online newspaper for the Bushwick section of Brooklyn: ‘Polycurious,’ a Bushwick-Based Podcast, Explores Relationship Structures and Delves Into Ethical Non-Monogamy (Oct. 28)

By Allie Iliana Herrera

The second season is set to be released in February of 2022, and the podcast is currently looking for people who are just dipping their toes into their non-monogamy journeys. 

Fernanda and Mariah

...Polycurious, a Bushwick-based podcast hosted by Fernanda and Mariah, delves into these topics to try to bring clarity on how we can pursue our desires ethically, whether we are in a monogamous or non-monogamous relationship.

“If we actually think about it in technical terms, the podcast should have maybe been called ‘non-monogamous curious’ or something like that, because it really explores all types of non-monogamy. So poly, by itself, it just means many,” Fernanda told Bushwick Daily. 

The first season, which ended this past June, interviews non-monogamous couples as an introduction to non-monogamy and to show what non-monogamy looks like for many different people, whether it be through a swinger community, a friends with benefits situation, casual sex, polyamory or some other dynamic.

The podcast logo

...The podcast also follows Mariah’s own journey in non-monogamy, the stigma around it and her transition from one type of relationship into another. In one of the season’s episodes, Fernanda interviews her partner who chooses not to pursue non-monogamy despite having a partner who does.

“After having so many people opening up to me and to the audience, I felt like I needed to do the same,” said Fernanda. “I think that people would really benefit from learning about different types of relationships and relationship structures, not because I’m an advocate for following that — a lot of people are more comfortable with monogamy and that’s okay— but I think that there’s a lot of stigma and a lot of misinformation about these types of relationships.” ...

You can contact the podcasters through their Facebook page.

●  Aaand just to prove that the British tabloids, in their obsession with happy polyfamilies, are not all about white MFF triads, here's All-female throuple vow to marry each other and raise kids as trio despite online trolls (Mirror, Oct. 24)

Reese, Kelz and Dez

...Back in 2015, Destiney 'Dez' Cruz, 30 met Kelsha 'Kelz' Sellars, 26, on a dating app and they soon fell in love.

Early on, they discovered they were both open to the idea of having other partners while continuing their relationship.

...In 2020, Kelz met another woman called Sherice 'Reese' Allen, 33, on a dating app and they found they had an “easygoing and natural connection”.

When Reese and Dez were introduced to each other shortly after, they began a separate relationship, and then became a committed throuple.

Now they share their life on TikTok and Instagram, giving followers an insight into their closed dynamic.

The trio are in committed relationships with each of the other partners, as well as in the triad together.

In a video that has been viewed over 800,000 times, they answer some of the questions they’re asked frequently, including whether they get jealous, to which they reply, “sometimes… it’s healthy and normal”.

...Dez said: “When it comes to feelings of jealousy we try to resolve those issues by having a conversation about where exactly that feeling stems from.

...No matter where they are, all three of them always share a bed.

...The three of them now co-parent two kids, aged 15 [years] and 18 months, together, and hope to have a commitment ceremony as a wedding one day. ...

Kelz said: “Our 15 year old loves the three of us parenting together, because we’re all different in the way that we parent and so she is able to get different types of support… not only from us but from the rest of our support systems as well.

“She’s aware of what polyamory is and is able to communicate her family dynamics to those who she wishes to share it with.”

...Reese said: “There is so much more love to go around, a village when it comes to helping with raising children, our finances are split between all partners three ways, and there are more avenues to making sure all needs are being met.” ...

The article includes their musical video explanation of themselves, with warnings of poly-dating red flags to watch out for. (Sorry, I can't get it to embed here.)  


You wonder where the tabloids find so many super-out polyfamilies? Who will expose their lives, real names, and pictures so proudly in these rags? The tabs have featured about 100 such poly groups in the last several years by my count and estimate. 

Part of it is they cruise social media looking for out influencers like the folks above. But especially, they pay for your story. What they pay is guarded by frightening nondisclosure clauses, but for polyfamilies, I've heard it's typically at least a few thousand dollars.

They're called the red tops.

These story packages — text, abundant photos, sometimes videos — are created and sold to the tabs by independent tabloid-content companies, including MDW Features, Barcroft Media, HotSpot Media, and Triangle News. These companies are based in the UK, but most of their featured polyfamilies have been in the US.

Want to write them and ask if they're interested in you? Well....

Don't accept their first offer; it may be a lowball. And I'm told this is not the easy money you might imagine; you'll end up putting in a fair amount of time, energy, and perhaps stress. They may give you good editorial control over how you're portrayed if you ask for it, so put that in the contract: require the right to review and remove anything in the final product. Even so, as with any media, say or show nothing that you don't want used. During the interview and photo shoots, be prepared to refuse any requests that you feel are off (trick questions, sketchy photo setups), and to resist any amount of cajoling, which they are experts at. If you're ready to walk away from the deal, especially after they've committed resources to show up, you hold the upper hand.

They actually want you to be happy with the result, as best I hear — for their own reputation among future story subjects that you might refer to them, and perhaps because your happiness and enthusiasm will show in the product. Remember, this is not journalism. It's mutually agreed exploitation made level by an exchange of cash.

Real journalists, and the institutions they work for, never pay sources or subjects.

Till next time! Take good care of yourselves, dear ones, and stay safe.

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Blogger John U said...

Hey Alan, How does one find the Audience Network? It seems it is something on DirectTV or Facebook, but I can't find anything that indicates You Me Her is on either one.

November 12, 2021 3:56 PM  

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