Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan

July 28, 2014

"What I learned from dating someone in an open marriage"


More good press from the mono side of the fence. let's give a big thank-you to Charles in the story and the other polyfolks who made such good impressions on the author. Acceptance and recognition will come by us earning this kind of respect from the people around us.

What I learned from dating someone in an open marriage

I ended up choosing monogamy, but my time on the poly fringes gave me a healthy new perspective on love and sex.

By Nicola Jane

Discpicture / Shutterstock
“When they leave me, it’s usually for The One,” my lover, Charles, said. I was gushing about the new man in my life, and Charles was adjusting admirably to the news. But then, he had to. That’s the deal for a man in a polyamorous, open marriage who dates multiple partners.

It came as no surprise to me, either, that I met The One while I was involved with Charles. Despite the doom-mongering from friends and family about dating a married man, I knew I was more open to falling in love than I had ever been. I can’t count the number of times I heard “You’re wasting your time” or “You’ll never meet anyone else.” But buoyed by the confidence and happiness that comes from a healthy relationship, I was more able to recognize and accept the right guy when he came along. And my experiences on the periphery of non-monogamy taught me a lot about relationships, lessons I’m applying in my new, monogamous relationship.

1. You will be attracted to people outside your relationship.

...Acknowledging this inevitability means my boyfriend and I can deal with it from within our relationship instead of pretending we’ll only ever have eyes (and maybe hands and lips and everything else) for each other.

2. Trust is more than just monogamy.

...Small children who regularly see their parents going out and returning are more secure than those who aren’t used to being left alone....

3. The only way to have complete trust is to talk about everything....

4. The biggest threat to a relationship is you, not other people.

Happily partnered people don’t leave for someone else....

5. Your partner is not enough....

6. Your partner needs to know how important they are to you....

7. It’s not a competition.

...Dating Charles meant I had to reconcile myself to being one of many, but I also discovered that did nothing to lessen my appeal. I stopped resenting other women or seeing them as competition, because I wasn’t going to lose what I had if he was with them, too. As a result, I’m much more at ease with other women than I was before, which is a good thing for every aspect of my life....

8. Expectations are everything.

When I first got involved with Charles, he outlined the small print. He would never leave his wife. He would only stay over by pre-arrangement.... With my expectations managed, I didn’t run into brick walls trying to make the relationship something it wasn’t. I was free to enjoy all the things it did provide....

9. The end isn’t The End.

Poly relationships have more ebb and flow and more overlap. Things are more likely to develop into something else than to end. Charles is friends with all his previous lovers. I’ve always hated mine in the end or, at the very minimum, felt a lack of interest bordering on hate. But Charles and I haven’t had any breakup drama to go through – merely an adjustment. And he’s as delighted for me as I am grateful to him for clearing my head of the bad relationship habits monogamy led me into....

That’s quite a lot of lessons learned from some “wasted time.”

Read the whole article (July 27, 2014).


July 25, 2014

Upcoming poly events for the next four months

Not many of you seem to know about Alan's List of Polyamory Events. There I describe all 20 major poly conferences and gatherings for the next 12 months. Nine are coming up in just the next four months. Here they are:

Endless Poly Summer
August 20–24, 2014
Abrams Creek Campground and Conference Center, Mount Storm, WV

Michael Rios, Sarah Taub, and friends, who organize the Network for a New Culture Summer Camp East each July, are starting an ambitious new project. Endless Poly Summer aims to build, over five days, an enduring network of like-minded people who don't fall out of touch as happens after most events. (That's the "endless" part.) "The point is building tribe," says Michael. I've gone to their (mostly poly) Summer Camp for the last five years, and can attest that New Culture's practices for community creation and interpersonal-skills development are exactly right for this. Michael and Sarah have a vision of "turning Abrams Creek into a place where tribe is created" around any number of interests and commonalities. "If you can start creating overlapping tribes all over the place, you can have a very strong social impact."

From the website: "Here is where you can meet other poly people at a deeper level, learn the skills needed to handle your relationships, and become a part of a supportive network of people who share your relationship values.... Spend up to 5 days in a rustic woods-and-water setting, hang out around a bonfire, enjoy a song circle, cuddle up at a snuggle party, learn to take your relationships to the next level, and build connections with others that last all year long! At Endless Poly Summer, we invite top-notch presenters, and live, work, learn and play together for up to 5 days or more."

At Burning Man
Aug. 25 – Sept. 1, 2014
Nevada desert
(Note: You cannot get into Burning Man without a ticket that's legitimate by Burning Man's anti-scalper rules. Beware of ticket scams.

Poly Paradise theme camp.
Poly Paradise will be in its 16th year in 2014. Since 2012 it has been awarded prime central locations on the A or B rings; in 2014 it will be on the B ring at azimuth 4:15. This is a large theme camp; in 2012 it was 200 x 600 feet and had 170 campers. In 2013 it had 183, almost half of them new. Workshops and events will include Heart of Now, Poly High Tea, the famous Human Carcass Wash, the Hiney Hygiene Station, Mind Melt, Revolutionary Honesty, and a poly mixer. Benevolent Dictator Scotto writes, "PolyParadise 2013 was the truly the best Theme Camp iteration we have ever created. Each year there are many challenges and together we overcome, together we build an amazing space within the gates of BRC, a place to really call home in the desert."

Polycamp Northwest
Aug. 29 – Sept. 1, 2014
Olympia, WA area

This big, multi-day, kid- and family-friendly campout is now in its 13th year, held in a reserved area of cabins and common buildings in a state park. Workshops, hikes, canoeing, singing, dance, games from Calvinball to frisbee golf. Adults-only workshops/discussions take place in their own separate area. Polycamp NW has been getting 150 to 200 people. Facebook page (which is more active than the website). See newspaper article about Polycamp by Dan Savage from 2010.

Organizer Quintus writes, "We also do three other events each year:
— Post Polycamp Party
— Room Party at Norwescon (sci-fi convention)
— Polystrip (fundraiser for Polycamp; burlesque by members of the poly community)

Loving More Retreat
September 5–7, 2014
Easton Mountain Retreat Center, north of Albany, NY

A smallish rural gathering of fellowship and workshops. Navigating poly life both for beginners and long-timers; building intimate community. Beautiful rural setting, hot tubbing, pool, fun, stars. Clothing optional (though not many go bare except around the hot tub, sauna, and pool). Intimate crowd, newbie-friendly, typical attendance 30 or so. Here's a FAQ. See last year's schedule. I've come to this since 2005. Loving More, "supporting polyamory and relationship choice since 1985," is the oldest poly organization of the modern era and played a central role in getting the whole movement going.

Großen Polytreffen, Autumn (Germany)
October 8–11, 2014
"Im Seminarhotel Gut Frohberg"

Since 2008 the German organization PolyAmores Netzwerk (PAN) e.V., at Polyamory.de, has organized local meetings and, in the spring and fall, "Grand Poly Meetings" that draw 50 to 120 people — "for contacts, networking, and planning the organization of activities. At the large meetings, up to 40 workshops, talks and other events are self-organized by participants." In 2013 the fall meeting sold out.

Poly Palooza
October 9–13, 2014 (Columbus Day weekend)
Desert Hot Springs, CA

This will be the second year for this event (under this name). It will be held at the same resort hotel in Desert Hot Springs as in 2013. Kamala Devi and other members of the San Diego poly/tantra community invite you to "a 4-day groundbreaking retreat where you will experience intimate connections with families that have vast experience successfully navigating complex polyamorous relationships. We are offering radical tools and transformative practices to access your full erotic expression within an immersive community where we dance, play, soak, study, work, eat, sleep and awaken together! You will develop deep friendships that will inspire and support you for a lifetime.

"Why? We are co-creating an experience of paradise to role-model revolutionary new expressions of unconditional love and sexual liberation. By exploring these paradigm shifts we intend to transform our own lives as well as the future of humanity."

OpenCon 2014
October 10–12, 2014
Dorset, U.K.

OpenCon in the U.K. is a participant-created convention on the
unconference model, which means the people who show up organize the content. This will be its fifth year. The first four sold out; attendance in 2012 was 87. "A 3-day event in the English countryside for everyone who knows that happy and honest relationships don't have to be monogamous. OpenCon combines discussions, workshops and socialising to give you a chance to meet like-minded people, to build our community and to celebrate its diversity."

The team putting it together in 2013 told us, "This year we're not running a gender balancing policy as they did last year, but our explicitly feminist ethos, and actions to increase accessibility of the event, (which you can read more about on dedicated Ethos and Access pages on the website) have resulted in our current attendees' gender profile being very well balanced."

Here are the self-generated schedule boards from 2011:
1, 2, 3, 4. This is how an unconference works. "We had 33 workshops run, only 5 of which had been arranged in advance."

Playground 2014
November 7–9, 2014
Toronto, Canada.

Entering its fourth year, poly and nonmonogamy author Samantha Fraser's Playground conference "will bring together the brightest minds in sexuality education, activism and media to examine the ways in which the sexual and erotic play a part in our everyday lives. Everyone is invited to attend from those looking to educate to those looking to get educated. And most importantly, for everyone looking to have FUN! Over the 3 days, workshops and presentations will touch on kink, non-monogamy, dating, sexual/relationship fulfillment and more. Playground is an all-inclusive event for every community to take part in and celebrate diversity."

Beyond the Love
November 7–9, 2014
Columbus, Ohio.

This new hotel conference had a very successful start in November 2013, with a reported 200 people attending. "Beyond The Love’s mission is to provide an opportunity for the polyamorous community to come together in an educational and social forum. At Beyond the Love you will find a wealth of classes, workshops and mini events to learn tools, techniques and communication skills to enhance our poly relationships. We provide a safe environment for meeting with other like-minded people in a supportive and inclusive community. We are passionate about recognizing poly as a relationship choice and sharing common experiences on our many different paths."

Here are some workshop presenters so far. I'll be there running a session called "Poly Awareness Activism: Strategies and Tactics." There will be other attendee-generated unconference sessions, poly matchmaking, a Midwest poly leadership summit, massage, yoga, and a masquerade ball. Over 18 only. Facebook page.

To be continued. Please spread this page.


P.S.: Here's how to do a thorough search for your local poly group(s) and their get-togethers.



July 24, 2014

Xtra review of More Than Two

Daily Xtra (Canada)

At Canada's national gay news site, Niko Bell reviews Franklin Veaux's and Eve Rickert's forthcoming book More Than Two:

More Than Two challenges accepted polyamory pacts

By Niko Bell

Part of cover illustration for Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert's book More Than Two
French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre is perhaps the most prolific non-monogamist of the last century. His life-long open relationship with philosopher and feminist (and bisexual) Simone de Beauvoir, with whom he shared a belief in authentic personal freedom, is legendary. He was not, however, entirely ethical.... Perfect authentic freedom, in Sartre’s case, was licence to be a dick.

Modern polyamory, as with Sartre, often expresses itself as a desire for freedom: freedom from tradition, monogamy, boredom or sex-negativity. Traditional relationship rules are replaced with self-tailored agreements, anything being acceptable as long as it is agreed to. Unfortunately, as with Sartre, it is quite possible to keep agreements and still be a pain in the ass.

Eve editing hardcopy of the book.
Writers Franklin Veaux, from Portland, and Eve Rickert, from Vancouver, take a stab at this problem in their new book More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory.

Veaux and Rickert argue that, while there may be no perfect way to be non-monogamous, there are certainly some very bad ones....

More Than Two is less like Sartre and more like his sterner predecessor, German philosopher Immanuel Kant. Kant, who reportedly died a virgin and never left his home town by more than ten miles, defined a moral action as one that treats people as ends, not means, and respects individual agency. Veaux and Rickert riff off Kant to create their own axioms: "don’t treat relationships as more important than people," and "don’t treat people like things."

...There is barely a mention of gay male relationships in the book, and no wonder — non-monogamy, as the authors point out, is intensely divided by sexuality. Straight polyamory, they write, still struggles with homophobia, while some gay people accuse polyamory of undermining gay societal acceptance. Some bisexual and trans people, the authors even suggest, flee to polyamory to escape gay and lesbian cultures that view them with suspicion.

This is the sort of tough problem with which the largely straight, cisgendered polyamorous world will have to grapple one day. To do so, they need a new normal of relationship theory, with its own rules, codes and ethics. More Than Two is a tentative step in that direction: a little more Kant, and a little less Sartre.

Read the whole review, with mixed opinions of the book overall (July 23, 2014).


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July 23, 2014

A poly home, just without the sex

The Atlantic

Not the street with the home described,
but a similar one nearby. (NCinDC / Flickr)
My post yesterday about the big poly article at The Atlantic led me to an Atlantic piece published ten days earlier. It's an example of how groups of friends are building tight-knit households that are the next thing to polyamorous, in order to beat the isolation and resource overstretch that increasingly bedevil harried nuclear families.

In fact, the "normal" household of Mom and Dad with no other adults is a recent historical aberration. Humans have lived in larger extended families and tribes for almost always. We're born to it. This is why a nuclear family can instinctively feel so diminished, lonely, and incomplete without you knowing why.

Setups like the one below qualify, to me, as the generalization of polyfamilies: they're based on friendship rather than romantic interconnections, but otherwise quite similar. Think "intentional community."

Two Couples, One Mortgage

Why my partner and I decided to buy a house with our friends, share our space and our lives, and all make a family together.

By Ari Weisbard

Last December, my partner Rebecca and I bought a rowhouse with another couple. Our wedding was this May. Next month, we’re expecting a baby — the other couple’s baby.

For most of our adult lives, Rebecca and I lived in houses full of roommates and loved it. Before our most recent move, we rented a rambling five-bedroom house with four friends. When we started talking about getting married, we realized our biggest fear was that we’d leave these important kinds of friendships behind and end up living in what she jokingly called a “love/torture cave of nuclear family loneliness.” Neither of us wanted that.

It turned out two of our closest friends... felt similarly, and we decided to do something different and move in all together....

Yes, all four of us are on the deed and, yes, we share the 30-year mortgage and food and maintenance expenses. No, there’s no division of the house into separate sections. And no, all four of us are not all having sex with each other. (Why do many people assume that if adults are willing to share a kitchen, they probably also want to share a bed?) We are just two couples who plan to live together and raise children in one household, hopefully for decades....

Many nights, when one of us stumbles home from work exhausted from a hard day, someone else has already done the shopping and cooked a great homemade dinner. When a pipe burst this February, we all took turns bailing out the basement. Once the baby arrives, we look forward to being crucial reinforcements for each other during those first several nearly sleepless months and trading off so each couple can have date nights. Living together with another couple also has made it easier to identify and counteract some of the sexist patterns that emerge in many households. Because we discuss chores as a group and work consciously together to establish our household norms and individual responsibilities, there’s less opportunity for traditional gender roles to establish themselves surreptitiously.

Living together seems to be a great financial move so far. With four adults splitting the mortgage and other costs, it is easier for each of us to save more of our income, which will give us the financial freedom to pay for childcare or reduce our work hours later, when we need more time and money for our families....

For many people, their romantic partner is the one person with whom they feel comfortable showing their struggles or weaknesses. While Rebecca and I certainly support each other in that way, it has actually been great for our relationship that we don’t try to be each other’s only source of support and amateur therapy....

Sounds poly to me. Read the whole article (July 11, 2014).

Here's a similar story about another platonic-quad household. Here's one about six adults, several of them divorced from one another and remarried to others, who all moved in together along with their kids and find it great.

I'll be posting more here about such all-but-poly households. The media are spotting a trend toward them "not seen since the 1970s," driven in part by the changing economy.

As I've written before, we can expect this way of life to increase in the coming century as resources become scarcer and more poorly distributed. People with good poly housemate skills will have an early advantage.


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July 22, 2014

The Atlantic: "Multiple Lovers, Without Jealousy"

A Summer Camp drum circle.
I just arrived home, bedazzled and in community love, from the Center For a New Culture's annual Summer Camp East. It's put on in the West Virginia mountains every July by poly activists Sarah Taub, Michael Rios, and other New Culture folks in and around the Chrysalis household near DC. I only wish I could go back four weeks from now, when they'll be putting on Endless Poly Summer: a new, five-day tribe-building intensive at the same site. (Schedule). They are damn good at this.

Then back home I turn on the computer and what do I see but Sarah, Michael, and Jonica, another Summer Camp organizer and a member of their intimate network, leading off a major feature article in The Atlantic online — one of the country's most prestigious news and public affairs outlets. The article is long, 5600 words. It has stayed #1 on the site's most-read list for two days now.


Multiple Lovers, Without Jealousy

Polyamorous people still face plenty of stigmas, but some studies suggest they handle certain relationship challenges better than monogamous people do.

Graphic: poly triad on bicycle built for 3
Jackie Lay

By Olga Khazan

When I met Jonica Hunter, Sarah Taub, and Michael Rios on a typical weekday afternoon in their tidy duplex in Northern Virginia, a very small part of me worried they might try to convert me.

All three live there together, but they aren’t roommates — they’re lovers.

Or rather, Jonica and Michael are. And Sarah and Michael are. And so are Sarah and whomever she happens to bring home some weekends. And Michael and whomever he might be courting. They’re polyamorous.

Michael is 65, and he has a chinstrap beard that makes him look like he just walked off an Amish homestead. Jonica is 27, with close-cropped hair, a pointed chin, and a quiet air. Sarah is 46 and has an Earth Motherly demeanor that put me at relative ease.

Together, they form a polyamorous “triad” — one of the many formations that’s possible in this jellyfish of a sexual preference. “There’s no one way to do polyamory” is a common refrain in “the community.” Polyamory — which literally means “many loves” — can involve any number of people, either cohabiting or not, sometimes all having sex with each other, and sometimes just in couples within the larger group.

What this misses is their particular relationship: it's a form of Relationship Anarchy, in that they proudly tell the world they have no terms or agreements, not even for safe sex; each is responsible for handling their own precautions and everything else in life.

Sarah and Michael met 15 years ago when they were both folk singers and active in the polyamorous community. Both of them say they knew from a young age that there was something different about their sexuality. “Growing up, I never understood why loving someone meant putting restrictions on relationships,” Michael said.

“What I love about polyamory is that everything is up for modification,” Sarah says. “There are no ‘shoulds.’ You don’t have to draw a line between who is a lover and who is a friend. It’s about what is the path of my heart in this moment.”

They’ve been “nesting partners” for 12 years, but they’ve both had other relationships throughout that time. Jonica moved in three years ago after meeting Michael on OkCupid. She describes the arrangement’s appeal as “more intimacy, less rules. I don’t have to limit my relationship with other partners.”

The house is, as they describe, an “intentional community” — a type of resource-sharing collectivist household. They each have their own room and own bed. Sarah is a night owl, so she and Michael spend time together alone late at night. Jonica sees him alone in the early morning. They all hang out together throughout the day. The house occasionally plays host to a rotating cast of outside characters, as well — be they friends of the triad or potential love interests.

The triad works together, too, running a consulting nonprofit that puts on events “that teach skills for living together peacefully, such as clear communication, boundaries, what to do when you get upset,” Sarah said [think New Culture]. An added bonus of the living arrangement is that it cuts down on commuting time.

I initially expected the polyamorous people I met to tell me that there were times their relationships made them sick with envy. After all, how could someone listen to his significant other’s stories of tragedy and conquest in the dating world, as Michael regularly does for Sarah, and not feel possessive? But it became clear to me that for “polys,” as they’re sometimes known, jealousy is more of an internal, negligible feeling than a partner-induced, important one. To them, it’s more like a passing head cold than a tumor spreading through the relationship....


...Increasingly, polyamorous people — not to be confused with the prairie-dress-clad fundamentalist polygamists — are all around us. By some estimates, there are now roughly a half-million polyamorous relationships in the U.S., though underreporting is common. Some sex researchers put the number even higher, at 4 to 5 percent of all adults, or 10 to 12 million people. More often than not, they’re just office workers who find standard picket-fence partnerships dull. Or, like Sarah, they’re bisexuals trying to fulfill both halves of their sexual identities.

Says Sarah: "The one thing in the article I really wish I could correct is being portrayed as wanting to be poly because like many bisexuals, I'm 'trying to fulfill both halves of my sexual identity.' It’s such an old tired stereotype that bisexuals need 'one of each,' or have 'halves' of our identities, and it’s so unrelated to my reasons for being poly!"

...Polys differentiate themselves from swingers because they are emotionally, not just sexually, involved with the other partners they date. And polyamorous arrangements are not quite the same as “open relationships” because in polyamory, the third or fourth or fifth partner is just as integral to the relationship as the first two are.

Jackie Lay
...Despite lingering disapproval, there’s some evidence that Americans are growing increasingly accepting of open relationships. To be sure, the sanctity of two-person marriage still looms large: For decades now, most Americans — 90 percent, give or take — have told Gallup that having an affair is unacceptable.... However, an April study asked 1,280 heterosexuals how willing they would be, on a scale from one to seven, to commit various non-monogamous acts, such as swinging or adding a third party to the relationship. Depending on the scenario, up to 16 percent of women and up to 31 percent of men chose a four or higher on the scale when asked whether they’d willing, while still with their partners, to do things like have a third person join the relationship, or have “casual sex with whomever, no questions asked.”


...Bill and Erin don’t hide their outside relationships from Erin’s 17-year-old daughter. One day, the couple was watching the television show Sister Wives, which documents a polygamous family in Utah, when the daughter remarked that it was an interesting system.

Jackie Lay
“She was talking about Sister Wives, and I said, ‘What about brother husbands?’” Bill asked her. “I said, ‘Your mom and I date a guy.’ And she was like, ‘Cool.’”

...Cassie and Josh said their son, who is now 10, has grown up around his parents’ girlfriends, so he doesn’t find it unusual. He calls the women the couple dates “Ms. ‘Anne,’” and refers to them as “my dad’s [or sometimes mom’s] girlfriend” to others.

“We have friends who are poly, mono, gay, and lesbian,” Cassie said. “He doesn’t understand why people have a problem with people caring for and loving each other.”


...There’s a paucity of any sort of research on consensual, Western non-monogamy.... The nascent research that does exist suggests these modern polyamorous relationships can be just as functional — and sometimes even more so — than traditional monogamous pairings.

...Terri Conley, a professor of psychology and women’s studies at the University of Michigan who studies polyamory, has analyzed a sample of 1,700 monogamous individuals, 150 swingers, 170 people in open relationships, and 300 polyamorous individuals for a forthcoming study. She said that while people in “open relationships” tend to have lower sexual satisfaction than their monogamous peers, people who described themselves as “polyamorous” tended to have equal or higher levels of sexual satisfaction.

What’s more, polyamorous people don’t seem to be plagued by monogamous-style romantic envy. Bjarne Holmes, a psychologist at Champlain College in Vermont has found that polyamorous people tend to experience less overall jealousy, even in situations that would drive monogamous couples to Othello-levels of suspicion. "It turns out that, hey, people are not reacting with jealousy when their partner is flirting with someone else," Holmes told LiveScience.

Conley found that jealousy is “much higher” among monogamous pairs than non-monogamous ones. Polyamorous people also seemed to trust each other more. “For a long time I’ve been interested in whether monogamous relationships are all they’re cracked up to be,” Conley said.

Her findings, like Holmes’ and Sheff’s, are preliminary and limited. But if they hold up, it could mean that at least in some ways, polyamory is a more humane way to love....

Olga Khazan is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where she covers health.

Read the whole, much longer article (July 21, 2014).

It's getting a lot of public notice. Sarah in the story says, "This is my first time having so much about myself shared online, and I'm feeling exposed.... some of the comments are pretty fierce, and if folks are willing to comment, I would be grateful. The biggest bugaboo seems to be the age spread among Michael, Jonica, and me, and what it must certainly mean about why we are in this relationships configuration."

In fact, as I noticed during those ten days with them and 80 others, their age differences mean little when each is a free agent with their own life goals, other interests, and no strings. But many readers only know the polygamy stereotype.

Diana Adams, the lead character in The Atlantic's last big feature on poly, remarks that this one is "written in a bit of a scattered way, with a tone that poly people are 'the other' and seeming mystified by motivations of poly people." I'd agree.

More from Sarah: "Although there were some factual errors about our lives (apparently we live in a 'tidy duplex'), I'm reasonably OK with how I was portrayed and quoted, especially on working with jealousy."

Barry Smiler of BmorePoly (in whose home most of the interviews took place) says of the story, "While the writer definitely got some things wrong, from a big-picture perspective I think she did an okay job. It's great to see mainstream reporting on polyamory that's fact-based and not sensationalistic. As Pete Seeger used to sing, 'inch by inch, row by row...' "


A writer for the Time magazine website takes brief note:

The Atlantic argues that polyamorous people handle certain relationship struggles better than monogamous people do. “Bill says watching his wife have sex with another man induces compersion — basking in the joy of a partner’s success.” (I’m pretty happy when my wife gets retweeted.)



July 21, 2014

Ozy: "The Rise of Polyamory"

Ozy magazine, which calls itself "the go-to daily news and culture site for the Change Generation" (164,000 daily subscribers), presents a Poly 101 article and 6-minute video.

The article seems kinda thrown together, but it gets the concept out. I'm amazed at how many people still haven't heard of it.

The Rise of Polyamory

By Melissa Pandika

Why you should care: Because polyamory’s growth in popularity could shake up the dating world.

Jen Day and her boyfriend of 11 years, Pepper Mint (yes, that’s his real name), live together with their cat in a whitewashed house on a narrow, leafy street in Berkeley, Calif. They kiss and nuzzle and have date nights, like any other couple.

Just not always with each other.

...Large-scale studies tracking the number of polyamorous (aka “poly”) individuals don’t exist, but evidence from polyamory groups, relationship therapists and dating websites suggests that figure is rising fast. University of Michigan psychologist Terri Conley estimates that 5 percent of Americans are involved in consensual non-monogamous relationships....

“There’s a shaken belief [in monogamy]” leading to “more openness to seeing what works rather than believing in some tradition,” says San Francisco clinical psychologist Deborah Anapol. And, in general, people have grown more open to alternative lifestyles.

Poly triad graphicOf course, it’s also possible that interest in polyamory has remained stable — but people just have more opportunity to take part. Thanks, Internet!

Still, the poly-curious should think hard before making the leap. Polyamory might sound like free love, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Maintaining multiple healthy relationships takes McKinseyian time-management skills and grace dealing with jealousy. Skeptics worry about the welfare of children in polyamorous families. The stigma hasn’t quite worn off, either.

“A lot of people get into this relationship style and don’t really have the tools to do it ethically, so people get hurt,” says Michael (last name not given), who organizes polyamory events in the San Francisco Peninsula and South Bay Area, Calif. “People are like, ‘I dated this guy who was poly and was a sleazebag.’ It gives the lifestyle a bad name.”

...“If you ask one person what their definition of polyamory is, it will be totally different from somebody else’s,” says Maryland-based sex and kink educator Cassie Fuller.

To wit: Fuller and her husband practice polyfidelity, in which all members are considered equal partners who remain faithful to one another. Mint and Day form intimate networks, labeling their lovers as “primary,” “secondary” and “tertiary” depending on the level of commitment. Michael and Yi-Ling (last name not given) practice relationship anarchy, participating in open relationships without ranking partners....

...Anecdotal evidence strongly suggests an upswing. Local poly organizations have experienced a surge in membership, while sex and relationship therapists have noticed a rise in poly clients.

“All signs point to an upward trend,” says Niko Antallfy, a sociology lecturer at Macquarie University.

The real trend is toward more tolerance and acceptance of diversity....

Oh but the critics! There are many. Some, predictably, consider polyamory amoral. Others blame a shift toward a “me-me” culture....

Read the whole article (July 17, 2014).