Polyamory in the News
. . . by Alan M.

January 16, 2022

Solopoly stories in the media this week, how to tell your own story and get paid, and more.

Fifteen years ago I was saying that this consensual multi-relationship thing really turns heads, and that media were beginning to wake up to the fact. Well yup. Here it is 2022 and they can't get enough. 

●  A Gen-Z targeted site called Screenshot ("New conversations for and from the new generation. ... learn what we can do for your brand") spotlights a rising music/TV personality and influencer: How Willow Smith’s solo polyamory may have paved gen Z’s way into ‘relationship anarchy’ (Jan. 11)

Willow Smith / Instagram
By Svetlana Onye

Through solo polyamory—that is, having multiple intimate relationships while maintaining an independent single freedom—women are experiencing a self-love like no other. ...

Willow Smith, pop punk singer and black alt-girl icon, has openly talked about belonging to the polyamorous community while routinely sharing Instagram posts on what polyamory is all about. More and more women seem to be defying the status-quo of what a relationship should look like, and as ‘relationship anarchy’—don’t worry, I’ll explain soon enough—becomes a more common reality for the younger generation, it seems that it’s time to seek relationships that work for you.

...The singer appears to have never shied away from the topic and shares daily posts about solo polyamory in particular and what loving multiple partners entails. With a follower count of 9.7 million fans, it’s clear that the youngest Smith wants to educate people on a mode of loving that is often stigmatised.... One of those followers who Smith successfully educated was myself. 

...It is unsurprising why this particular style of polyamory has become increasingly popular among women, specifically women of colour (WOC). Self-titled ‘Sex Positive Asian Auntie’ Jayda Shuavarnnasri, a sexuality and relationship educator, shared similar sentiments on her own platform, telling her followers that being solo poly meant that she is “experiencing myself, centring myself and choosing myself every day.” ...

...What we are seeing with the younger generation today are rapidly evolving ideas of relationships. From platonic partnering to solo polyamory, relationship anarchy is truly in action as many continue to redefine the boundaries of friendships or the openness of love.

●  Have you, a non-famous non-influencer, thought of telling the world your poly story and maybe getting paid a bit? Lots of outlets are probably interested. Online magazines in particular are always hungry for content. Find a few that look promising, write and ask.

For instance, Jessica Renaglia just got her first-person story published in Australia's MamaMia ("a women’s media company to make the world a better place for women and girls"):  'I have a loving male partner and a girlfriend. This is how we make it work.'  (Jan. 11). Frankly, it reads to me like she just narrated it into her phone and did some cleanup. But it definitely got her story across to readers.

MamaMia pays for original short pieces like this, as told at the bottom of their submissions page. According to the crowdsourced WhoPaysWriters.comMamaMia was paying $0.07 per word as of 2019. Not much, but not bad for something you can write off the top of your head.

Update: And, one thing can lead to another. That little piece got her profiled on the site of Australia's 7News, the country's most-watched TV news service: Inside a polyamorous relationship, by Australian woman who dates boyfriend and girlfriend at same time (Jan. 18). If she wasn't an influencer before, she is now.

●  Or you can interview other people about their stories. Zachary Zane, a successful freelance writer on queer and poly relationship topics, just placed this piece in the mass-circulation Men's Health (or at least its website): Here's How Solo Poly Compares to Other Kinds of Polyamory (Jan. 12). WhoPaysWriters.com indicates that as of a few years ago, Men's Health was paying 25 to 50 cents a word.

...“Solo poly is a relationship type where a person chooses not to have any primary partners—more specifically, partners that we get on the relationship escalator with,” explains Zhana Vrangalova, PhD.... Solo poly people have no desire to “live together with a partner, get married, have kids, join finances....”

...It's also different from "dating around" the way a non-poly person might. When someone is simply "dating around," they typically have a string of connections until they find the "one" and proceed to settle down with them. A solo poly person has no desire to settle down with one (or multiple people) anytime soon.

...We spoke to four people who proudly identify as a solo polyamorist: Jack, 34; Collin, 39; Phoenix, 33; Carlos, 26. Here’s what they had to say. ... 

And on it goes for another 1,000 words, question by question, with good, articulate interviewees providing most of the content.

Dainis Graveris

●  Similarly, in the Philadelphia Weekly Dr. Timaree Schmidt just interviewed several local CNM-ers. One of them describes a spectrum of metamour-relations terms that's gaining traction, in addition to the well-known "kitchen table" and "parallel." The two new ones seem to have originated with the Multiamory podcasters.

The article: Multiple Ways To Have Multiple Partners (Jan. 13). She's interviewing Shay Au Lait, "a Philly burlesque producer and theatre artist" who provides these descriptors, with links:

  • Parallel Poly– all the partners acknowledge each other’s existence but live entirely separate lives.
  • Garden party poly– partners are able to engage in friendly interactions at social functions or on social media, but don’t share a great deal directly.
  • Kitchen table poly– named after the idea that all one’s partners would be able to comfortably sit around the kitchen table; the assumption that metamours would be friends with each other.
  • Lapsitting poly– a more engaged version of kitchen table poly, where metamours in a polycule develop entanglements and relationships of their own.

But I prefer "Snuggle Pile Poly" to "Lapsitting." I find sitting in laps uncomfortable and awkward for both parties, but I was meant like a puppydog for friends-and-lovers snuggles.

●  It's hard to get a random sample of the multi-relationship experiences that people in the broader world have had, outside the streetlight glow of the self-identified poly movement with its collective culture (however diffuse) of shared experience and wisdom, values, advice and best practices.

We asked the members of the BuzzFeed Community to share their stories and advice about their experience being in a three-person relationship (aka a throuple). Here are some of their most engaging and insightful replies. ...

The 15 experiences are rather more bad than good; a number of the people blundered into avoidable known messes. There's a need for wisdom-sharing before people do this! Those of you who can educate, please keep it up.

Note: Buzzfeed asks for more group-relationship stories at the end of the link above.

●  Meanwhile, jumping way up the media scale, the New York Times "Social Q's" columnist, Philip Galanes, gives well-meaning advice to the upset mom of a poly daughter: My Daughter’s Married Boyfriend Shouldn’t Join Us on Vacation, Right? (Jan. 13). Galanes sounds all poly-positive and everything, but I see an elephant in the room trumpeting for attention.

My 30-year-old daughter is in a polyamorous relationship with a married man. She brought him home for the holidays, and while he was charming, I felt uncomfortable. (This may have been triggered by my husband’s infidelity that led to our divorce.) Now, my daughter tells me she would like to bring this man on our family trip to Greece this year. It may be petty, but I don’t want to foot the bill for another woman’s husband. And I don’t see any way this relationship can lead to my daughter’s happiness. ... 


...Let’s put aside the trip to Greece and the specter of your cheating ex. Unlike him, people in polyamorous arrangements usually set ground rules with their partners for opening their relationship to others. (No one is cheating!) Try to understand, as best you can, what your daughter likes about this arrangement and how it satisfies her.

As a show of respect, read up on polyamory before you broach the subject with her. Then ask questions. I am not suggesting that you set aside all of your concerns — only that you try to respect your adult daughter’s decisions. ...

All well and good, but the gaping black hole in this picture to me is the boyfriend's invisible wife. "No one is cheating!" writes Galanes. Well then, the daughter could just call the wife and ask "Here, I'll hand the phone to my mom and you can clear it up for her." But if daughter asks the guy "Let's call [wife] so she can explain to Mom" and he stalls and fidgets and sweats, well...

Science says there are 43.7 gazillion guys these days whose idea of "poly" is "My wife and I are in a poly relationship but she mustn't find out."

Trust but verify. Does the daughter even know?

●  On a happier note regarding poly inter-relations, Metamour Day is coming up!  Metamour Day ("celebrating polyamory's most distinctive relationship") is February 28th, Valentine's Day times two. This year the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) is taking the lead to make it a Thing across social media on the big day. And, artists and graphic designers, they are calling you:

The Facebook link to share.

My own post for Metamour Day last year. Let's get some fresh art.

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January 8, 2022

Mass. Attorney General approves town's polyamorous domestic partnership law

Arlington, MA, Town Hall

I was kind of biting my nails on this. Last April the town of Arlington, Massachusetts (near me) approved a bylaw allowing for multiple people to have an official domestic partnership. Arlington was the third municipality in Massachusetts to do this. The measure, proposed by a local polyfamily member, passed by a lopsided vote of 192-37 in Arlington's huge Representative Town Meeting (it's a New England thing). But there was a technicality. Because Arlington is a town rather than a city, this was a bylaw rather than a city ordinance, so it had to be approved by the state attorney general's office as not conflicting with state law.

Proponents assumed this would be no problem, since the measure was worded to avoid any possible conflict with the state law against bigamy.


Attorney General Maura Healey — the leading Democratic prospect for this year's race for governor — had 90 days to rule. The deadline came and went. Her office got an extension, and that deadline came and went. A conservative publication, the New Boston Post, took a close interest in this development, unlike any other media. Uh-oh....

Now, phew. Healey's office has approved it and Arlington's bylaw is official. As reported in Mass Lawyer's Weekly, AG upholds town’s recognition of ‘polyamorous’ relationships (Jan. 6):

The AG’s Office concluded in a Dec. 23 letter decision that the town’s bylaw withstood statutory review because it did not refer to, or result in, a redefinition of [state laws against multiple concurrent marriages.]


On other topics,

●  At the grassroots level, the polyamory movement seems on fine track for our long-term future. Since at least 2008 I've worried that as the poly bandwagon got rolling faster than its early builders and rear-bumper-pushers could keep up with, it might go bounding downhill in mass culture and veer into scuzzy ethics or some other disastrous direction, and wreck itself in a ditch. As I saw happen to various 1960s movements. But that hasn't occurred.

Heartening proof is up in a fast-growing reddit thread. Reddit/r/polyamory has grown to 239,000 members (there were 300 when I joined), and like the rest of reddit it's an enormous, random mob. A newcomer just asked the masses, "What are some good practice and basic ethics of polyamory that ‘newbies’ may not know?" That was just hours ago as I write. Already more than 160 comments are up, and ya know? With only rare exceptions they are excellent, principled, full of wise advice and personal experience, and spot-on regarding at least a dozen of healthy polyamory's essential concepts. And on reddit!

I hope the thread doesn't turn south now that I've jinxed it. But yeah, those of you who have been building and shaping this movement in good ways all these years can be damn proud of the job you seem to have successfully done. A few things are actually going right in the world. 

●  From sociologist Elisabeth Sheff comes How to Talk to Children about Polyamory, Part 2: "Tips on discussing consensual nonmonogamy with your children" (January 2). This the second of a planned 4-part series.

The first blog in this series addressed the conditions that influence parents to come out to their children as polyamorous, or not. This second in the series offers tips to parents who have decided to come out to their kids, and the third [will provide] guidance about how to manage information about CNM in children’s lives. The series closes with a fourth about how parents in CNM relationships can support their child/ren’s social health.


You may want to tell your child about your polyamorous relationship, especially if you have decided that: your child is old enough to understand; your partner is relevant to your child’s life, and; your family is safe enough that it will not be imperiled if your child mentions your polyamorous relationship to your boss, friend, or father-in-law. If your child asks questions about your relationship, that indicates that they are old enough to understand at least a simple answer.

Many polyamorous parents in my Longitudinal Polyamorous Family Study (LPFS) reported that they waited for their children to ask questions about their relationships, and then answered kids’ questions with honest, age-appropriate information. Others felt that it was important to bring up their polyamorous relationships with one or all of their children because the kids might have noticed and the parents did not want the kids to think there was a secret that they had to keep from the other parent. Still other parents in the LPFS got outed to their children and/or other people by circumstances or other's intent.

No matter how you choose to inform the kids or they find out, there are a few suggestions from the LPFS that could offer some guidance on talking to kids about polyamory. These include being age appropriate, askable, matter of fact, and honest, plus a few tips on what to say. ...

Be Age Appropriate....

Be Askable....

...While some families have secrets they are not allowed to talk about, the families in the LPFS generally allowed their kids to ask any question, about anything that occurred to them. Sometimes the adults would say that was a private thing or they would talk about it later, but the kids never got in trouble for asking about anything. This set the stage for the kids to ask their parents questions about what was happening in the family.

Be Matter of Fact....

Be Honest

Honesty is a hallmark of polyamorous relationships, and parents in the LPFS reported that it trickled down from their interactions with their romantic and polyaffective partners to influence their parenting. Parents told their kids the truth, and the kids appreciated it and often responded in kind. This was true of discussing polyamory as well. When children would ask their parents who are these other people, parents would explain honestly in a way that made sense to the kids at that age. Overall this method had the best results, as a couple of the kids in the LPFS reported that they did not get enough information from their parents (for good reason in each case) and were left in uncomfortable confusion for a while until they figured it out themselves.

What to Say?...

In addition to being honest and age appropriate, polyamorous parents and their children in the LPFS both reported that less is more. ...

Read the whole thing.

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