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

March 10, 2022

Five new polyamory books! Three guides, two novels. Also, Ukraine and us.

First, let's step back a moment.

We polyamorous people are a small, weird minority of social-rule breakers. Some call us a threat to society. Our freedom to live in non-traditional relationships is just one way a free and pluralistic society respects people's dignity to create their own lives as long as they harm no others. Such a society is only possible where people have the power to govern themselves, combined with legal structures that are at least supposed to protect the rights of all. 

People who create their own lives, and who insist on the democratic structures and legal protections that enable them to do so, infuriate and terrify the authoritarians who are growing in power around the world and in our own United States.

For what it's worth, this site has received far more reads from Ukraine over the years (56,400) than from any other country in Eastern Europe.

You can donate to Ukrainian relief and support through this list of organizations, vetted by the Washington Post, or many others. Much more may yet be required of us. Perhaps including, bitterly, watching the Russian destruction and conquest of valiant Ukraine rather than driving a military escalation over the global nuclear brink. If you don't think so, read this.

And we stand in awe of the courageous antiwar protesters in Russia, who continue to turn out in the streets despite being arrested by the thousands.

Back to our regular programming.


More new poly books are out!

●  Open Deeply by Kate Loree, LMFT. This is going to become an important book. It's too bad that its title and cover look kind of porny, which might suggest unseriousness. In fact this is a seriously insightful, unusually comprehensive guidebook, by a skilled consensual-nonmonogamy therapy specialist, for people entering poly life or other forms of ethical non-monogamy and seeking to be successful at it. It's also intended for people who are already there and perhaps mired in one or more of its messes.

The book is written towards couples, but the author explains that this does not mean couple privilege:

The focus of this book is mainly on the dyad. You might question this focus, since triads, quads, etc. are plentiful within non-monogamy. But I found that regardless of how many other partners actually exist back at home, and whether the individuals I see practice a hierarchical model... or a non-hierarchical structure with many partners all on equal footing… almost always, only an individual or a couple chooses to see me. For this reason and also for reasons of charity and simplicity, I focus on connecting and communicating with one other partner. Many of these strategies and philosophies could be generalized to your triad or quad family weekly discussion.

Why another such book, with so many already out there?

In my sex-positive private practice — a practice that serves the non-monogamous kink porn and LGBTQ communities — I have noticed a pattern. Even before the first session, my client couples have often read the classics (The Ethical Slut or Opening Up) and therefore have the basic concepts and principles of ethical non-monogamy down. However, I quickly find myself referring them to other books, ones that speak through a monogamous lens. Why would I do that?

Because there hasn’t been a nonmonogamous book I can find that truly addresses what comes up every day in my private practice. Couples want and need to go deeper. They read the basic principles and issues, but the books available don’t go deep enough.

This book attempts to fill this void.... Open Deeply provides a guide to successfully restructuring your relationship model while also addressing the deeper aspects of love, compassion, communication, and attachment. Interwoven is my personal story of being nonmonogamous since 2003. ... It’s designed to help couples restructure their relationship model and navigate non-monogamy successfully.... It looks at attachment theory as the key to successfully negotiating non-monogamy.

...As we cover how to blend cutting edge, neurobiologically-informed grounding skills with affective communication skills, challenging conversations regarding non-monogamy will become manageable.

Throughout, speaking from her own experience and that of clients, she emphasizes the crucial nature of having a larger, supportive CNM community:

When I began my nonmonogamous journey,… it was close to two years into it before we began to connect to community. Don’t let that be you. You don’t have to go it alone. This book is here to help you connect to community, to yourself, and to your partner(s).

Open Deeply is scheduled for release April 19, but you can preorder now.

●  A different form of guidebook is Kate Kincaid's new Polyamory Journal, A Relationship Book: Prompts and Practices for Navigating Non-Monogamy. Kincaid is known to many as co-founder of SouthWest Love Fest, the largest of the annual polycons (at least pre-covid). She is also a licensed professional counselor for queer and ethical-nonmonogamy clients. Her new book works through the basics of navigating this life, with each chapter followed by do-it-yourself exercises and journaling prompts for participatory self-development.

The primary purpose of this journal is to help you get to know yourself better. This book will require challenging, introspective work. ... The sections group together themes that are relevant to polyamorous relationships... and each is full of thought-provoking quotes, Q&A sections, journal prompts, and interactive exercises.

You co-write your copy of the book by answering and journaling into it with pen or pencil. The sections are Defining Your Relationship Values, Fortifying Your Self-Security, Establishing and Honoring Boundaries, Working Through Jealousy, Practicing Self-Care, and Thriving in Polyamory. Read sample pages.

● Also just out: Polyamory: A Clinical Toolkit for Therapists (and Their Clients), by Martha Kauppi (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022). Book description from the publisher.

Your favorite long-term client tells you they want to open up their relationship. Are you ready to help them?

This groundbreaking guide to consensual nonmonogamy offers a reading experience that feels like consulting with a trusted advisor. Martha Kauppi equips you with the skills to be a true ally to clients who want to explore polyamory. Learn from the expert who trains experts as she debunks myths and shares the exact tools she uses with her own clients.

Flip to any chapter for an understanding of what is possible, where things break down and why, and how to help. You’ll learn how to conceptualize complicated relational dynamics in a way that leads to effective treatment, and how to identify and disrupt maladaptive relational patterns without perpetuating negative cultural bias. A must-read for anyone looking for a framework to simplify the complexities of polyamory.

You can read chunks of the book here, starting with the table of contents. Kauppi talks about why she wrote the book here (video or text).

●  In the same vein, don't forget Rhea Orion's A Therapist's Guide to Consensual Nonmonogamy: Polyamory, Swinging, and Open Marriage (Routledge, 2018). From the publisher's description:

Clinicians are on the front line in providing support for the estimated millions pioneering these modern relationships. This first available guide for therapists provides answers to prevalent questions: What is the difference between expanded monogamy and polyamory? Is CNM healthy and safe? Why would someone choose the complexities of multiple partners? What about the welfare of children? Through illustrative case studies from research and clinical practice, therapists will learn to assist clients with CNM agreements, jealousy, sex, time, family issues, and much more. ...A step forward toward expanding standard clinical training and helps inform therapists who wish to serve the CNM population.

 Read chunks of it.

And two new poly novels are just out:

●  Into The Open: An Alternative Love StoryAuthor CJ Alexander writes us, "I’ve just written a novel about a young couple opening their relationship. In it I was trying to write the book I wish had existed for my husband and I, in the hope that it might help others."

The Amazon description:

Is this it, now  we just carry on as we are, until one day our hair is white but nothing else has changed? Where’s the excitement, the adventure?

Sophie and Jonathan are teenage sweethearts, starting to settle into a comfortable adult life in their new home. But after seven happy years together, Sophie is bored, convinced there must be more to life and determined to find it without losing Jonathan in the process.

Join them as they struggle to meet their own and each other’s needs by opening up their relationship. Follow them as they make exciting connections with new people and develop their relationships with friends and family, as well as each other. Will they be able to survive the year?

Into the Open is an angst-filled tale of love, sex, and connection, with equal parts joy and heartache.

●  I Am My Beloveds, by Jonathan Papernick (March 2, 2002). This is the newest of Papernick's three published novels.  Publisher's description:

Ben Seidel wasn't sure how serious they were when he and his wife Shira discussed having an open marriage. But when Shira announces that she is going on a date with Liz, any ambiguity evaporates. Suddenly, every day is new terrain for Ben, navigating between keeping things together with Shira and exploring new partners. And when one of those new partners begins to matter to him more than he ever anticipated, he discovers that the complexities of this new life are only just beginning.

Bracingly honest, refreshingly sexy, and deeply empathetic... is the work of a superior storyteller, making real a lifestyle that might be as close as your own bedroom door. 

●  Therapist Lucy Fry, author of the new Love and Choice (see my previous post), now has a long piece in London's Evening Standard: My wife and I tried polyamory — here’s what it taught me about love and choice in relationships (Feb. 25). She bemoans her past failed triad but came away with bigger life lessons:

...What I have developed is my ability to be in fulfilling, loving relationships. Since opening up my marriage, I believe I am a better lover, partner, and friend than I ever was when I was unconsciously monogamous (or, monogamous-by-default).

The lessons I have learnt, both from engaging in conscious non-monogamy and talking to those who do it, have been huge. I am a clearer and less defensive communicator. I am less judgemental, and more empathic. I am quicker to adapt to change and less frightened of it. I am less dependent on others to provide me with a sense of security and better able to provide it for myself.

...Recently, I have returned to monogamy. After years of exhilaration, drama and bliss, I wanted to pause, and rest, and think, and to explore the deep intimacy that can be created with just one partner (at a time). Experiencing conscious non-monogamy changes a person, and not just sexually, and I needed time to process that without adding more complex experiences to the mix. This is nothing like the unconscious monogamy of my past however, since it is a very individual, conscious choice made in full knowledge that there are other viable, ethical options -- options I suspect I will pursue in future. ...

●  And in case you missed them, I've also recently posted about other new books:

– A World Beyond Monogamy: How People Make Polyamory and Open Relationships Work and What We Can All Learn From Them, a massive piece of reportage by former BBC correspondent Jonathan Kent, notable for its many interviewees outside the western world.

– Open: An Uncensored Memoir of Love, Liberation, and Non-Monogamy by the brainy and altogether sex-positive Rachel Krantz. Here's a new radio interview with her on WNYC in New York (March 15).

Have I missed any new poly books since the turn of 2022? They're coming thick and fast. 

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Blogger Unknown said...

Cover pending, but my handbook for CNM-affirming mental health practice (with a focus on folks who experience multiple forms of oppression) is now taking pre-orders and will be out this summer): https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538157138/The-Handbook-of-Consensual-Non-monogamy-Affirming-Mental-Health-Practice

March 10, 2022 1:06 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Recently read a YA book that, though it never says the word polyamory, involves the hero developing a consenting relationship with two people. Though this is the latest in a series set in this world, it stands alone, so you don't need to read the others to get it.

The book is, "Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm Queen of the Dead" by Richard Roberts.

It's set in a world where super powers are relatively commonplace but only just becoming really accepted. The characters tend to be teenagers who are struggling with coming out about their developing powers, and dealing with the struggles inherent in various relationships, including parents, friends, and romantic partners. It's really well done imo, and keeps everything suitably age-appropriate for a teen audience. Fun plots and an overall light-hearted theme make for a great backdrop to the personal growth on display.

March 19, 2022 11:38 AM  

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