"The polyamory capital of England." Three-dad families. NPR's insightful guide for the polycurious. OPEN takes off. And, Ukraine and us.
In the Form of a Question: The Joys and Rewards of a Curious Life is getting lots of media attention this week as she goes on tour.
By Christina Veta...It helps to be “addicted to learning,” writes Amy Schneider. ... “Learning was my first drug, my oldest form of self-medicating.”[The memoir] mines Schneider’s history — acid trips, polyamory, marriage, gender transition and a spontaneous night with a sex worker — before her history-making moment on “Jeopardy!”...Among the key takeaways,The Boy Scouts helped Schneider realize she was trans.In hindsight, the only thing she learned from her “nightmare” experience in the Boy Scouts was that “I’m not a boy.” She found it “disgusting and disturbing.” It didn’t help that she was pressured to watch a boy vivisect a live crawfish with his pocket knife. ...Ahead of her senior year at the University of Dayton, “while suicide held no appeal for me, staying alive didn’t seem that tempting, either.” The Ohio native credits MTV’s animated show “Daria” for helping her persevere. “If Daria could survive this Sick Sad World, then so could I,” she recalls....“I realized that being trans in public carried responsibilities. To hide my voice began to feel like a betrayal to my community.”She thinks everyone should be polyamorous....“I think everybody should be poly,” Schneider writes. “Most people do not agree with that, and that’s okay.” [One of the book's chapters is "What Is Polyamory?"]...ADD may be the secret to ‘Jeopardy!’ stardom.The trivia phenom credits her laziness and ADD for her success on the show. Spending years learning about several subjects briefly, only to give up and move on to the next thing, helped her accrue random facts — like the name of a Finnish distance runner from the 1920s. “Not that there’s any remotely conceivable reason you should know that.”...
"Seaside towns have always had a reputation."
By Serena KutchinskyBritish Ibiza. Shoreditch on Sea. Camden of the southeast. For a small seaside town, Margate has an impressive array of nicknames. Now, it seems there is another to add to the list, because this Kent hotspot is the unofficial polyamory capital of England....Abundant art galleries, fancy boutiques, artisan cafes and trendy bars. ... In summer, it plays host to one of the hottest parties on the south coast — Margate Pride, where rainbow flags fly proudly. Drag queens and allies dance on tables. '90s pop queens strut their stuff. And tourists and locals party till dawn....In a small town like Margate, where the population is just over 60,000, [a large poly community] means there is a real risk of bumping into people your partner is dating. But this doesn't have to be awkward, says sex educator and Margate resident Ruby Rare, the co-host of E4's Sex Rated.
Ruby Rare and hometown snaps
Her reaction is to share a hug rather than a death stare. "I wouldn't look at them and think 'oh God, that's my partner's partner'. Instead, I'd go 'Oh my God that's a lovely person who is in our wider friendship group'."As a result of its newly minted hipster status, house asking prices in Margate have... increased on average almost 50% faster than the rest of the country in the past five years from £245,199 to £317,036 — a rise of 29% according to Rightmove. "It's the fastest wave of gentrification I've ever seen," says Francesca*, a polyamorous person in her mid-30s, who lived in Margate from 2019 until last winter....Ruby, alongside some friends, has just started the town's first official meet-up for Ethically Non-Monogamous (ENM) people. "There are lots of polyamorous people, it's a lovely, open community," says Ruby, who migrated from south London almost three years ago. She adds that while there is a really fun time to be had in the "pockets" of Margate that are "queer heaven", it's a seaside town that is still very "economically divided".The intimacy of small-town life, experts like Ruby say, helps the success and visibility of polyamory in places like Margate. Being open and honest about who else you are dating and sharing that with your partners is central to non-monogamous relationships. "It's much harder to be an a**hole in a small community," she laughs. "It's easy to treat people in a more disposable way in a massive city where there's a good chance you'll never see them again."Kent local Genevieve Pepper, 45, is a writer and performance artist, whose comedy alter ego is a dominatrix called Jezebel Pye. After her marriage ended several years ago, she started using the dating app Feeld which caters to those seeking unconventional hook-ups. Its popularity in the UK has grown dramatically, reporting an almost 250% rise in active UK users from January 2020 to 2022. To her surprise, she discovered a whole new world of sexual adventure on her doorstep....While the [area] poly community has welcomed Genevieve, she says there are class divisions that run deep. While out on a recent date, she was accused by other locals of being a Londoner. "We dress a bit funky… challenging the stereotype that local people are cave dwellers who didn't have any style until the Londoners turned up."...There is a "sense of privilege and resentment", Genevieve says, among some local people towards the gatekeepers of the Margate scene, who are often ex-Londoners. "There is a bit of blindness because it's so lovely in Margate and Cliftonville [the town's trendiest district] for people that can afford it. "But if you're working a double shift and struggling to feed the kids it's hard to feel part of that. I'm more likely to be serving them coffee than I am to be invited for coffee with them."-------------------------------...While the visibility of small-town life can make some people more respectful, it can also create pressures of its own. ...Says Genevieve, "People lie, for a start, particularly men…. They'll say they've told their girlfriend and don't realise this [new] woman is going to see their girlfriend on the school run."...Francesca echoes Genevieve's view. "Whatever man you're dating there will be five women in the town who are upset with him," she says. "It was hard to find a man who didn't have a trail of devastation behind him."The close-knit nature of the scene has helped [Ruby] practise an open relationship style called Kitchen Table Polyamory. "Everyone involved is able to sit together at the kitchen table, have a cup of tea and chat," she explains.... As gentrification continues apace, there are moments of culture clash as locals and new arrivals work out how best to co-exist amid the surge in property prices and the cost of living crisis. ...
The workplace can be a precarious environment for non-monogamous individuals to be open about their non-monogamous identity. Stories of professional repercussions – even loss of employment – are all too common.
We're out to change that. We are excited to invite you to an upcoming webinar to present our "Open Workplaces Toolkit," a resource designed to empower employees and employers alike to create more inclusive work environments for non-monogamous individuals:
Open Workplaces Toolkit Webinar
Tuesday, October 10
4:30pm PT / 7:30pm ET
RSVP to join or receive the recording
It's crucial that today's workplaces reflect and accept the full range of family and relationship structures and identities. Our toolkit offers actionable guidance for advocating for and implementing policies that support consensually non-monogamous employees – whether you're a non-monogamous professional, an employee, or a corporate leader working to create a more inclusive and accepting work environment. Here's a glimpse of what we'll cover:
- How creating space for diverse family structures benefits the majority of American households.
- Why organizations that proactively support diversity will attract and retain top talent.
- The economic and mental health benefits of promoting inclusivity in the workplace.
By promoting inclusivity, you can help create a workplace where individuals feel safe and supported, reducing anxiety, isolation, and fear of exposure. This webinar is your opportunity to learn more about the "Open Workplaces Toolkit" and discover how you can play a role in fostering inclusivity in your workplace. Consider sharing this invitation your coworkers, people/HR team, and non-monogamy or LGBTQIA+ employee group!
Hope to see you there,
Brett Chamberlin, Executive Director
Peer SupportJoin our monthly Non-Monogamy Support Circles led by our friend Professor Playtime, a.k.a Bridget Ryan. Each month, OPEN is pleased to offer two fantastic opportunities for you to connect, share, and gain knowledge within a safe and inclusive community.Non-Monogamy Peer Support Circle: RSVP HEREDate: Thursday October 12thTime: 5:30pm - 7:00pm PT / 8:30pm - 10:00pm ETLocation: Virtual (Zoom link provided upon registration)Non-Monogamy 101 Support Circle (for people new to non-monogamy): RSVP HEREDate: Thursday October 19thTime: 5:30pm - 7:00pm PT / 8:30pm - 10:00pm ETLocation: Virtual (Zoom link provided upon registration)Why Join Our Support Circles?🌈 Inclusive and Safe Environment: Both groups offer a space without judgment, where you can be your authentic self without fear of being misunderstood🗣️ Share Your Experiences: Connect with individuals who have faced similar challenges and experiences. It's an opportunity to be heard, validated, and gain insights from one another.🔒 Confidentiality Assured: We highly value your privacy. What's discussed within our circles remains strictly confidential, and sessions are not recorded🎙️ Valuable Resources: Our support circles include knowledgeable guests, fellow non-monogamy enthusiasts, and resources to delve deeper into this subject.Spread the Word! If you know someone who could benefit from joining us, please share this message with them. Let's build a network of understanding, acceptance, and personal growth together!
– Instead of having healthy, clear communication with just one partner, you need to be communicating with, and anticipating the needs of, multiple people.– You constantly have to be saying a lot of the things that in monogamous relationships, you keep to yourself because it's awkward and you don't have to bring it up.– What kind of maintenance is needed?First and foremost, you have to check in with everyone. Frequently. Also having maybe a specific time and place to check in, since things can shift. ... If it helps, you can actually be pretty regimented about it. Like, say you're going to meet every other week on Sunday afternoon and talk through what feels good, what feels bad, you know, take away some of that awkwardness and fear.And when you're checking in, that's when you want to bring up any of those icky feelings that have come up for you. "Maybe that's jealousy, or insecurity. And as you're discussing those feelings, that's when you'll paraphrase [back to the other person what they said] to just make sure you're hearing what your partner is saying. And try to connect to what you can about what is being said. There are some exercises that can help."...
“Typically, I hear clients use the label ‘polyamorous’ to describe themselves if they are intentionally creating multidimensional love-based relationships,” says Hamilton. “People might feel more comfortable using the term ‘ethical non-monogamy’ if they are not open to forming long-term relationships, or if they are focused on sexual connections rather than emotional bonds.”
“Spend some time reflecting on your values, and [your goals for] romantic and sexual relationships. Reflecting on this, and the role that those types of relationships play in your life, can help you figure out if non-monogamy is truly aligned with who you want to be and how you want to live.”
Before exploring with others, ask yourself these questions:• Are you willing to question your assumptions?• Can you self-regulate when you feel triggered?• Do you have the bandwidth to read and listen to relationship-learning resources?• Are you willing to be curious about what works for the people you are relating with?Checking off these boxes will make it easier for you to explore ENM joyfully, says Hamilton. “If you have a solid sense of why you are exploring and you’re willing to invest energy in the process of experimenting, you may find that there is a style of ENM that works great for you.”
1. Get ready for a paradigm shift.
“If you’re already in a [monogamous] relationship... it’s important to know that going from monogamy to ENM is not a process of small tweaks but instead a major restructuring of the entirety of your relationship,” says [Liz] Powell. “Part of being successful in ENM is unpacking the assumptions and norms of heteronormative, mono-normative culture.” For example, the assumption that each person has a soulmate, or that someone meets “The One” and settles down, happily ever after.2. Familiarize yourself with relational tools and practice them.
“When opening an existing relationship, folks will often try to create agreements or rules that are designed to help alleviate their fears, anxieties, and insecurities,” says Powell. “[However,] these kinds of agreements and rules don’t tend to work out well in the long run as they are structural solutions to emotional problems.” Instead, think about what you would want in certain situations and figure out what emotional or relational work you need to do to get there, they advise. ...3. Plan for dysregulation.
“Change, even desired change, is dysregulating to your nervous system,” Hamilton says. As a result, she suggests learning some nervous system regulation techniques....4. Remember your self-worth.
“So much of the drama of ENM comes down to [people’s] fear that if a partner turns their attention to someone else, it must mean [they] are lacking in some way,” says Hamilton. “[That's why] developing a strong sense of self-worth is invaluable.” ...Be sure to pour into your friendships, says Hamilton. And of course, you can always ask your partner for reassurance when you need it. ...
...But while it's true there are more couples looking for a one-night threesome than ones looking for long-term loving triads, it’s also true that it’s not always the couple doing the looking. Sometimes, magic happens and unicorns spring from Welsh lakesides unbidden. Sometimes, three – or four – people just catch a vibe…...For their first date, Laura walked all the way from Kentish Town to Green Lanes in London: “I had a shot of tequila before I left. I listened to La Roux on repeat to hype myself up while I walked.” She needn’t have worried. Despite feeling like she’d dived headfirst into unknown territory, Laura immediately felt comfortable with the pair: “From the start that summer, everything was so easy.”...“A single person interested in dating a couple should first start with some self-reflection to truly understand their motivations and desires.”...“Understand the principles, communication skills, and challenges involved, and be honest with yourself – consider your emotional availability, time, and energy to invest in multiple relationships.” This is, quite literally, doubly important if you’re in a couple looking to date other couples....Ah, the good ol’ buzzword: boundaries. The term has attracted a bit of a bad rep recently, what with Jonah Hill and others tossing around therapy-speak to justify shitty behaviour. But, when it comes to dating an established couple, or dating as one, it’s best to lay some ground rules before anyone gets their heart broken. ......“Do your own research on unicorn hunting to avoid unethical behaviour, coercion and power dynamics. Remember that you have an established relationship, which means inherent power over the third person newly joining.”If you’re in a couple, looking to date other couples, expect the dynamics to be even more complex. ... Couples therapist Kendra Capalbo recommends nurturing individual connections alongside the group dynamic....“Managing jealous emotions is a big effort, but it’s worth it,” Graff stresses. However, he also suggests that jealousy can sometimes signal this type of relationship dynamic simply isn’t for you. “You might then need to come to terms with the fact that it might still be good for your partners, and learn to respect and accept their differences.”...“Non-monogamous relationships often require flexibility, empathy, and a willingness to adapt as feelings evolve,” sex and relationship expert Charlotte Johnson affirms. “It's possible to navigate these situations successfully with ongoing communication and a focus on ensuring that everyone's emotional well-being is prioritised. This may involve redefining the relationships, allowing them to develop naturally, or finding individual solutions that work for everyone involved.”...
...“The caricature of this setup is some controlling, insecure misogynist has established this policy and his girlfriend or wife is reluctantly going along with it to please him, despite not really being attracted to other women herself,” Sprankle says. According to that caricature, “This can stem from fearing his penis will be second tier to other penises his female partner will encounter in the wild. He may fear that he could easily be replaced by a penis that is larger, firmer, or doesn’t curve too far to the right."OPP is also frowned upon because it could indicate that a couple doesn’t view sex with other women as equal to sex with men. ......“It’s not my preference to hook up with couples that only date or sleep with other women. Those couples tend to be the most closed-minded and have the worst communication,” says Carly S. a 36-year-old queer woman who runs the blog Dildo or Dildon’t. ...
Sometimes the one-penis-policy, particularly threesomes with two women and one man, are the gateway drug to [positive] open relationships that allow for couple swapping, sleeping with men, orgies, or even full-on polyamory. Other times, the woman is really, really bisexual, and feels that she gets plenty of dick from her primary. She’s down with OPP because when she’s going to take a night off work, sleeping, or away from friends to fuck someone else, she wants to sleep with a woman....There’s a relationship format for every couple [sic]. Ethical nonmonogamy is bespoke, not off-the-rack.
So here are the three of us: Mitch works in finance, Ben works for a beauty company, and Benjamin owns an e-commerce business and runs a store.Two of us, Ben and Mitch, had been together for 14 years before we met Benjamin on the Atlantis gay cruise in February 2019. All three of us got ceremonially married in Kauai, Hawaii, in September that same year. At the same time, two of us — Benjamin and Mitch — also got legally married.We're all parents to our 18-month-old daughter, Tegan, whom we adopted last year. We're expecting our second child in December through surrogacy. Our family lives together in our home in Los Angeles.While our family looks different from most, our challenges are similar to those of most two-parent families.Here's a look into what parenting with three dads looks like and why we think more people should consider similar arrangements.We all contribute to our family finances, proportionate to our income. With rising inflation and the increasing cost of living, we think polyamorous relationships will be something that more people look at.Having three incomes, three parents to tend to our kid, and three minds to set goals makes us so much stronger than couples.For example, when it comes to parenting, we take shifts. We take turns with who gets up in the middle of the night when Tegan wakes up. The same person does the mornings with her, which means feeding her breakfast, doing the diapers, and handling her playtime — so that the other two get two nights of sleep.We split our chores between us, too: Ben does more of the cooking, while Benjamin does more of the yard work.Ben is the more playful one with Tegan — he's the one that makes her laugh. Mitch is the motherly one who is most in tune with her health, food, and how much sleep she gets. Benjamin is the practical one, who loves showing her activities and essentials such as walking downstairs and getting out of bed.We get to be different things to Tegan — even when we're bickering over how much noise we should allow Tegan to make.The important thing is that we're aligned on the things we grew up with. This means we're on the same page about things we wish could've been different in our upbringing — including the kind of support we needed to become who we are.Ultimately, we wouldn't recommend jumping into a throuple just because you saw an article or YouTube video about it. Becoming a throuple means you have to understand two people at a time, and you need to take time to know their triggers and wants. It's a journey that's going to involve a lot of hiccups and uncomfortable moments.
Questions to Ask Yourself:Self ReflectionEmotional PreparednessPersonal BoundariesTime ManagementPersonal DevelopmentFuture GoalsSocial FalloutQuestions to Ask Your Partner(s):Relationship DefinitionCommunication ExpectationsEmotional ResponsibilitiesPartner’s BoundariesPartners’ Other RelationshipsConflict ResolutionSafe PracticesFuture GoalsSocial Consequences
One couple, many hands. "A new mural painting in
to Ukrainian volunteers. If you have helped Ukrainians during this
year and a half, you may consider yourself to be one of them."
Here was a country with a tragic history that had at last begun to build, with great effort, a better society. What made Ukraine different from any other country I had ever seen—certainly from my own—was its spirit of constant self-improvement, which included frank self-criticism. For example, there’s no cult of Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine—a number of Ukrainians told me that he had made mistakes, that they’d vote against him after the war was won. Maxim Prykupenko, a hospital director in Lviv, called Ukraine “a free country aspiring to be better all the time.” The Russians, he added, “are destroying a beautiful country for no logical reason to do it. Maybe they are destroying us just because we have a better life.”
Ukraine's LGBT military unicorn.
The thorns and barbed wire
represent old restrictions
now being cut away.
Women fighters in a trench in the Donetsk