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

April 30, 2017

Making a gig of chronicling your poly stories

On HuffPost, Jeff Leavell just published another piece about his gay triad family and its ongoing changes. He seems to have cracked the paying market (I hope?) for first-person stories about his life, especially his poly life. He's is a regular, for instance, in Vice and has written for the Washington Post's online section "Solo-ish."

Another guy who has made a go of this, writing from very similar circumstances, is Zachary Zane.

If they've made these gigs work, so can you.

Jeff (center) and family members.
How My Three-Way Polyamorous Relationship Works

“These men that I love, they are my family.”

By Jeff Leavell

We are told our whole lives that we can hate as many people as we want: whole nations, groups of people, ideologies and races, our bosses, our neighbors: we are allowed to hate freely and abundantly, but we only get to truly love one other person.

When my husband, Alex, and I met Jon, a handsome intellectual with blue eyes and the gait of an old man trapped in a young man’s body: sexy and endearingly awkward all at the same time, it was just supposed to be a hook up in a long line of sexual adventures. But then Jon came back again, and again and again. And then we were making plans to watch movies and eat pizza. We invited Jon to spend the night.

I knew the first time Jon came over and the three of us didn’t have sex that something important was happening: Jon was no longer a trick. We were falling in love. All three of us.

I had no idea what to do. I had no idea what was normal or not normal. I was like a crazy person: madly in love and jealous at the same time....


...Movie style happy endings don’t exist. People we love get sick. The circumstances of life make what had once seemed so easy, so perfect, suddenly impossible. We grow older. We fail almost as often as we succeed, sometimes more.

And yet, these men that I love, they are my family. Even as some of us drift apart. They are mine. And there is a beauty to that.

...None of this is easy. But as my father likes to remind me, nothing is. It’s just a matter of whether it was worth it or not.

Read the whole article (April 28, 2017).



April 19, 2017

New RelateCon poly convention gets a good newspaper writeup

Idaho's Boise Polyamory Network held its first-ever RelateCon convention three weekends ago. It drew 120 people, very successful for a first-time poly con, especially for a small city in a very red state.

A reporter for the local alternative weekly paper attended. Their long article went online today. Excerpts:

Along Came Poly

Ryan Johnson
A Boise convention brings polyamory out in the open

By Harrison Berry

...RelateCon brought into the open a community that has gained momentum online but, because of Idaho law and misrepresentation in the media and broader society, has been largely secretive.

"I just want people to not feel so alone in what they're doing," said [Jennifer] Hyde, president of the Boise Polyamory Network, a mostly online group of approximately 450 people. ... The purpose of the convention was for the group to meet openly, expose members to national resources, and discuss pressing issues related to what they call "ethical non-monogamy."

How to Find a Partner

Many of the presentations at RelateCon were lighthearted, with titles like "50 Shades of Real Life," "The Cuddle Puddle Project" and "Painless Poly Dating 101." One of two talks [Tyson] Downey hosted was about regaining passion in long-term relationships in the midst of "new relationship energy" from other partners.

...Another presenter, Masami Tadehara-Hinkle, offered attendees a "relationship shopping list" for identifying new partners and maintaining healthy relationships with existing partners. More than a checklist to be applied to others, however, Tadehara-Hinkle said it encourages people to be introspective, considering carefully what they want out of their new relationships.

"The idea is that it's more effective in terms of relationship structure to define the relationship in terms of individual needs, rather than having a set of rules," she said. [Amen to that, say I. –Ed.]

Tadehara-Hinkle's idea for a checklist came from the website morethantwo.com, which she described as "the poly bible." There, site curator Franklin Veaux has collected tutorials, tips, how-tos and common mistakes by newcomers to the practice. There's also a "relationship bill of rights" and advice on when and how to be openly polyamorous.

...Conference organizers said socializing was one of RelateCon's most important functions. Activities included poly bingo; a fancy dinner where polyamorous couples, triples and beyond could mingle; and meet-and-greet events at the hotel bar.

Because polyamorous groups are spread across the state, the informal events were some of the first times people who may have known each other online could meet in person.

Connecting to a National Conversation

The Boise polyamorous community started small. For the past three years, Hyde and the Boise Polyamory Network organized monthly potlucks at members' homes, sang karaoke and went bowling. Though they typically met in small groups, attendance at some events could reach 30 people. Most of their interactions took place online, but Boise Polyamory Network aimed higher — for a must-attend event that would bring the community together and connect it to the national polyamory movement.

"We're reaching and we hope to spread," said RelateCon organizer Heather Franck. "This is a national conference and we want reach across the nation."

Most RelateCon attendees were from Idaho and the Treasure Valley area, but many came from Utah, Oregon and farther afield—from the East Coast and even Canada. It also pulled nationally recognized speakers and organizers, including the Atlanta, GA.-based Relationship Equality Foundation. ... The group's mission is to offer education and resources to conferences on relationship structures and affiliated organizations. When Boise Polyamory Network asked REF for support, it sent four educators to the City of Trees.

"It's part of our mission to support new and up-and-coming organizations," said REF Vice President Billy Holder. "Relationship Equality Foundation is growing by leaps and bounds, and we're doing it by grassroots empowerment of organizations like RelateCon."

Beyond affiliating with national communities, REF collects data about polyamorous people through its legal survey, spotlights local events and organizations, and helps present large conventions like Atlanta Poly Weekend and the Chicago NonMonogamy Conference. It's also an awareness-raiser, spreading the word on ethical non-monogamy—a job that gets a little easier every year thanks to increased media attention given to the lifestyle. ...

Ethics, Children and Faith

Jennifer Hyde has seven children. Heather Franck is trying to conceive with her partner. Tyson Downey and Billy Holder are both fathers. Children are a fact of polyamory and a test of the ethics of the lifestyle.

"If you exclude any element of the family—a child, a partner, a husband, a mom—you're excluding the element of family," Holder said, describing the importance he places on being honest with his children.

Ethics was a central feature of RelateCon, encompassing nearly every aspect of polyamorous relationships, from intersections with the law, sex, introducing the practice to partners and discussing the lifestyle with children.

Conversations about the polyamorous lifestyle between parents and children can be uncomfortable. ... During one of these interactions, Hyde's then 5-year-old daughter called her a "cheater" for dating more than one man. When Hyde asked her where she learned about infidelity, the child told her she learned it from the Disney Channel. ...

...According to Franck, in right-to-work state Idaho, polyamorous people have lost their jobs because of the perceived ethical failings associated with "swinging."

Several RelateCon presentations sought to address these and other issues. Topics included identifying abusive relationships and how to help people in them, safe sex practices and BDSM, the roles of consent and honesty in the lifestyle, and legal issues related to polyamory. ...

Read the whole article (April 19, 2017).

● Also: Here's a writeup of the event by Kitty Chambliss, one of the presenters, at her Loving Without Boundaries site: All of the AWESOME at RelateCon 2017.

RelateCon is on again for 2018, but no dates yet.

Keep an eye on ALAN's LIST of POLYAMORY EVENTS. Right now it lists 32 conventions, campouts, retreats and other gatherings (with descriptions) worldwide for the next 12 months.


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April 12, 2017

CNN: "Rethinking Monogamy Today"

CNN just put up a nice article of basic advice, although it's very couple-centric — presumably in order to speak to what a mass audience wants to know. The story is getting reprinted on the sites of some local TV stations.

Rethinking monogamy today

By Ian Kerner, CNN

A nice safe picture for a mass audience
Could opening your relationship to others benefit you and your partner?

For many couples, monogamy -- staying sexually exclusive with one partner -- is expected and assumed. It's even included in many marriage vows. But as some people are increasingly realizing, monogamy isn't for everyone.

In fact, consensual non-monogamy can be a healthy option for some couples and, executed thoughtfully, can inject relationships with some much-needed novelty and excitement.

Story highlights:
● Consensual non-monogamy can be a healthy option for some couples
● Open relationships require increased communication and transparency

As a couples sex therapist, I've found that some may feel committed to each other yet still feel they have fundamental differences in sexual interests or desires. In the past, many of these couples might have chosen to break up, cheat or just "settle."

But these days, some are finding they want to challenge their notions about sexual exclusivity.

It's still unclear what's driving this new openness to, well, openness.

"We're just starting to ask these questions in research," sex researcher and educator Zhana Vrangalova said. "But there does seem to be a growing group of people who are open to exploring. Even if they ultimately decide that non-monogamy isn't for them, more couples are making that decision after an informed consideration, rather than just judging and rejecting it."...

Is non-monogamy is right for you?

So how do you know whether trying consensual non-monogamy -- which includes polyamory, the ability to have sexual and emotional relationships with others -- is worth exploring?

First, it helps to understand how you and your partner define sexual openness, as well as sexual exclusivity. ... For some couples, non-exclusivity might take the form of attending "play parties" together and swapping partners, watching other couples have sex, dating other people, or even entering into polyamorous relationships with multiple partners.

A less safe picture
Determine what's OK and what's not. These are important conversations to have even if you intend to remain monogamous, because they help set expectations and boundaries for your relationship.

Know that non-monogamy can't save a bad relationship. ... If you're struggling with major issues, differences or communication problems, opening up your relationship will probably worsen those challenges, not improve them.

On the other hand, non-monogamy can help a good relationship.... "It can actually remove the fear inherent in some monogamous relationships related to the potential for abandonment -- for example, if their partner were to meet someone else," explained [sex therapist Dulcinea] Pitagora. "For other people, there can be a deep sense of relief in not having to be the sole source of sexual satisfaction, and this can lead to greater opportunities for intimacy and bonding," she said. "Still others feel a sense of heightened sexual excitement hearing about their partners' other sexual relationships."

Vranglova agrees. ... "Couples say that consensual non-monogamy can improve their communication, because it requires a lot of talking, sharing and negotiating. ..."

Non-monogamy takes effort. If you're considering opening your relationship, it's important to remember that it requires just as much work as monogamy. That means educating yourselves about consensual non-monogamy through books (my personal favorite is Tristan Taormino's "Opening Up"), workshops, talking to other non-monogamous couples and perhaps working with a sex therapist or coach. ...

...There's a lot you can learn from this practice. Taking lessons about increased communication and transparency from non-monogamous couples can improve any relationship, without ever opening it up.

The whole article (April 12, 2017).



April 10, 2017

Says Vice: "TV Is Finally Starting to Get Polyamory Right"

They are referring to You Me Her, which is now 8 episodes into the 10 of its more serious Season 2. And also the independent webseries Unicornland, about which more to come.

The article just went up Monday evening:

TV Is Finally Starting to Get Polyamory Right

The You Me Her triad takes on the world.

By Ilana Novick

We chat with the creators of 'Unicornland' and 'You Me Her' about the importance of showing realistic depictions of polyamory.

Recently, New York Magazine reported that a 2016 study of two nationally representative groups of single Americans found 20% of respondents practiced some form of non-monogamy in their lifetime. YouGov found 31% of women and 38% of men surveyed said their ideal relationship would involve multiple partners at some point. Now, television is ready to explore what it's like to date — and even marry — outside the bounds of traditional monogamy.

Though this has popped up in a few television shows — Broad City's Ilana is vocal about open relationships, and No Tomorrow's Xavier explicitly brings up "ethical non-monogamy" — there are two recent series that are tackling the subject head-on. The web series Unicornland follows Annie (Laura Ramadei), a newly-divorced woman who explores her sexuality by dating couples. You Me Her, TV's "first polyromantic comedy" on Audience Network, is about a thirtysomething couple (Greg Poehler and Rachel Blanchard) who both fall in love with a grad student, grappling with what happens when polyamory comes out of the shadows and into the suburbs.

A few years ago, if Americans wanted to explore this interest on television, the options were limited. The choices included Big Love, its reality show alter-ego Sister Wives, and the kinds of documentaries that, as You Me Her creator John Scott Shepherd explained in a phone interview, made their subjects seem like "fringe members of the sexual society."

Unlike either the subjects of said documentaries, Jack and Emma are squarely within the mainstream of their community...

...Shepherd, however, is intent on puncturing those beautiful surfaces. The series really gets interesting when the music stops and Jack, Emma, and Izzy are forced to contend with whether their relationship is a real three-way commitment, or a way for each of them to avoid their individual and collective fears: of growing up, starting a family, and possibly having to live with making wrong decisions.

You Me Her is committed to showing the honest frustrations and realities about this non-traditional relationship. Izzy's concerns over whether she's an equal partner or just a plaything in Jack and Emma's marriage are entirely understandable, but it never seems to occur to her that perhaps it might be not only awkward, but life-changing, for the couple to welcome her openly into their lives. On the other hand, it also doesn't seem to occur to Jack and Emma that their desire to hide this relationship may be robbing Izzy of her own twenties.

That tension, according to Shepherd, was by design....

Unicornland's tensions, by contrast, are more internal. ... The series follows Annie, freshly divorced and exploring the sexuality she stifled during her marriage. Each short episode is centered around a date (or club encounter, or sex party) with a different couple, each couple and each situation a stepping stone for Annie on her sexual and emotional journey.

...She's awkward and tentative at first, rushing to the bathroom at the beginning of the series' first date and psyching herself up on the mirror: "You're beautiful. They're attracted to you. You're a young, grown up woman. You can do this." ...

Web series only have so much space, and it's tempting to wonder what the episodes would look like with more recurring characters, more room for emotional stakes and more time to let the stories play out further. It's fascinating to follow Annie's journey, but, possibly because of the short episodes, it sometimes feels like each moment of growth happens so quickly.

Still, the couples are diverse and it's a pleasure to watch Annie's comfort level increase as the series goes on. In the first couple of episodes she seems eager to please, to achieve like she's gunning for an A in dating. With time, her confidence builds: she heads to a club bathroom with a couple she's picked up on a dance floor or spends a lazy afternoon in bed with a college friend and her girlfriend. She finally has agency, and it's a cathartic viewing experience.

As creator Lucy Gillespie put it in a phone interview, "In the beginning especially, what Annie's doing is really just fucking around. As she continues, I think that anybody who does something for long enough is gonna look into what that is. If you play the piano long enough, you might start to think about music theory."

Both series creators report positive feedback from their non-monogamous viewers. Gillespie says, "We've been showered with support and love. The only negative stuff that I've heard is that it's another woman dating couples, but again, the series is sort of about my experience. As a creator, you get to choose what the series is about, so sorry, buddy. Write your own series."

Shepherd has even heard from poly recappers who review every episode. They seem to like it because "it's not a show about threesomes. It's a show about a romantic relationship between three people." Poly viewers appreciate that, as Shepherd continued, "they're not portrayed as sexually obsessed, or deviant ... They really respond to that. That makes me feel good."

The whole article (April 10, 2017).


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April 9, 2017

Polyamory en Español. And, help me gather the best poly sites and media lists in other languages!

"Poliamor," by Sonia R. Arjonilla

Alba C. in Bogotá, Colombia, who runs the Poliamor Bogotá Facebook page, points out that the "Español" tag on my site is woefully out of date! It's true — I stopped trying to keep up with polyamory in foreign-language media years ago, because it was just ballooning too fast.

Alba writes,

I publish articles in Spanish on all topics poly, researched from a variety of sources. I have also created a website for the purpose of categorising articles and translations: Poliamor Bogotá Website.

There are plenty of resources nowadays in Spanish, although not as many as in English. Some of my main sources are listed under the tab "Aliades" (meaning "Allies").

I am letting you know all of this since I noticed that your otherwise wonderful blog has the section in Spanish somewhat outdated. You might be interested in letting your readers know where they can find more information in Spanish.

And now two questions for you, dear readers:

What are the best poly sites in any given non-English language?

And, where are the lists of poly-in-the-media in those languages? I know people are keeping them — sometimes as an "articles" page on a general-purpose national poly site.

I would love to post and maintain a permanent meta-list of poly-in-the-media lists in Spanish, Polish, Japanese, Hindi, German, Swedish, Tagalog, and whatever. If this project takes off, it could be a great global resource and help poly activists communicate across cultures (yay Google Translate).

Help me out here. Email me at alan7388@gmail.com with any you know.


Alan M.


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April 4, 2017

Wired: "The Ins and Outs of Silicon Valley’s New Sexual Revolution," meaning polyamory

Wired again notes the extent to which polyamory has become embedded in the culture of America's tech capital.

The Ins and Outs of Silicon Valley’s New Sexual Revolution

Jochen Schievink
By Julian Sancton

In Silicon Valley, love’s many splendors often take the form of, well, many lovers. For certain millennials in tech — as well as, rumor has it, a few middle-aged CEOs — polyamory holds especial appeal. Perhaps that’s because making it work is as much an engineering challenge as an emotional one, requiring partners to navigate a complex web of negotiated arrangements. (There’s an app to keep track of that, obvs: The Poly Life.) Some enthusiasts even claim it’s the way of the future. “If life extension is possible, we might have to think about relationships differently,” says one Valley-based polyamorist. “It’s pretty hard to have an exclusive relationship with someone for 300 years.” True that — but balancing multiple LTRs takes just as much dedication and discipline (if not more).

Rules of Polyamory

1. Tap OkCupid

Good old OkCupid is where you’ll find a critical mass of polyamorous users. The app features questionnaires to help determine if the lifestyle is right for you, plus tools that make it easier to find other poly enthusiasts.

2. Study up

The gospel is Dossie Easton’s 1997 book, The Ethical Slut. But more compelling to STEM-y polyamorists might be Sex at Dawn, which draws on primate physiology to prove that monogamy is, like, totally a construct.

3. Join the club

Some workplaces (coughGooglecough) have quasi-official poly clubs; you can also find meetups online. Just know there are plenty of subsets within the community, especially in California, so be prepared to discuss neopagan liturgies with Nebula Moon-Ostrich.

4. Don’t be a letch

You shouldn’t go to a get-together hoping to hook up. These are not orgies. (Though tech-nerd orgies do get pret-ty wild, what with the color-coded bracelets signaling what you’re cool with doing/having done unto you.) And stick to your age bracket—restrictions are enforced to keep things comfortable.

5. Be honest (and avoid Manhattan)

Transparency is what separates polyamory from infidelity. It’s also what makes it difficult. Thankfully, this is one area where the Valley’s left-brained legions have an advantage. “Lying is unacceptable,” says Emily Witt, author of Future Sex. “In New York, playing people is much more normal.”

6. Don’t get jelly

No matter how rational you think you are, you’re hardwired for jealousy. But you can stifle that instinct through frank discussion. Some polyamorists even show their primary partner the romantic texts and emails they send to other ­people. Sound awkward? Hey, rela­tionships are work — and more relationships are more work.

The original (April 4, 2017). This also appears in the April print issue.


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March 31, 2017

"Millennials and polyamory: Will dating ever be the same?"

Avvo, "changing how people get legal help," is a massive legal-services marketplace, founded by Mark Britton of Expedia fame, that provides "detailed information on lawyers and legal issues." Its free portion offers 10 million searchable legal questions and answers, and ratings of essentially every lawyer in the United States.

It's big enough that it also runs a general-interest online magazine. This just appeared on AvvoStories:

Millennials and polyamory: Will dating ever be the same?

By Elizabeth Weiss

A recent edition of The Washington Post Magazine’s Date Lab — pairing two Washingtonians on a blind date — featured two millennials: a polyamorous woman and a woman open to trying something new.

The outing failed to produce fireworks between the women, but the Date Lab write-up did prompt scathing online comments. Total strangers berated the poly dater for broadcasting her lifestyle. Both women were labeled caricatures, members of a confused, experimental generation that needs to mature so they embrace the one true relationship approach — monogamy.

...The truth is that many millennials, whether a factor of generational change or youthful exploration, are open to the unexpected. Polyamory is increasingly considered an opportunity by millennials and, amid the hookup-heavy Tinder scene, some of them embrace the option wholeheartedly.

The new generation of polyamory

“After my divorce, I wanted to start from scratch and relearn how to be in a relationship. The last thing I wanted was to date and start the whole dysfunctional cycle again,” says Lucy Gillespie, creator, writer, and producer of Unicornland, a fictional web series about a woman who unconsciously practices “unicorning” by dating polyamorous couples to explore her own sexuality.

...Heather Claus — aka NookieNotes, owner of online dating site DatingKinky.com — [says] “In non-monogamy, I am exactly me. Every relationship becomes what it can be, without the hindrance of traditional social customs.”

      ● Read more about modern relationship trends in the full Avvo Relationship Study

...Page Turner, who maintains the website Poly.Land, was prompted to explore polyamory when she discovered that the affair she thought her friend’s husband was having was a wife-approved relationship. “They were stable, responsible people. It rocked my world,” says Turner. ... She hasn’t turned back since.

A non-monogamous millennial family

...Gillespie floats another idea: “They say millennials are very tribal. The New York polyamorous/ open relationship/ sex-positive communities are small, tight-knit worlds. I think that appeals to millennials — especially urban ones who moved from somewhere far away — because it becomes like family.”

Hacienda Villa, a sex-positive intentional community in Bushwick, Brooklyn, is one example of a place that promotes that familial feeling. Fourteen full-time members reside together in one space, some monogamous, some “monogamish,” some ethically non-monogamous, and some polyamorous. The Villa was co-founded by Andrew Sparksfire, a real-estate entrepreneur who is building community living environments nationwide that practice responsible hedonism to raise the visibility of the sex-positive movement in mainstream society, and Kenneth Play, a sex-hacking expert and educator and collaborator on The Casual Sex Project.

As Villa’s mission states, and most non-monogamists would agree, the lifestyle is about respecting everyone’s needs and boundaries while still indulging your desires. “Polyamory, open relationships, and sex positivity are ways that true love and emotions can enter the conversation. You can be friends with your lovers. That evolved, chill mentality appeals to millennials. It’s a genuine relationship hack,” says Gillespie.

...The legal ramifications can be daunting. But there are clear feminist implications that, at least for women, might make polyamory a more appealing option. Gillespie, for example, says her personal goal with Unicornland is “to see how a woman handled sexual situations; how she went from being passive, to being more active, in control, and powerful. I’m less interested in making polyamory mainstream, and far more interested in women being more in control of their sex lives.”...

...Are millennials testing out non-monogamy in search of something purer than the relationships they’ve been experiencing? A YouGov study found that only 51 percent of people under age 30 believe their ideal relationship is a completely monogamous one. And a recent Avvo study on relationships found that modern marriages are more romantic than practical.

...These millennials aren’t too concerned about being judged for a polyamorous lifestyle either. “I’m out as polyamorous although, in my day-to-day life, I tend to take an approach of being honest when asked directly about it but not advertising or disclosing electively,” says Turner.

If you’re worried about how a non-monogamous lifestyle could impact your job (and it might) be aware that in most states employees are at-will, meaning an employee may be fired for any reason or no reason. “Being polyamorous is not a protected class, so an employer could fire someone for being polyamorous,” says Robert S. Herbst, an attorney in Larchmont, New York....

Read the whole article (March 30, 2017).

● The same author wrote a brief piece on the same topic for AvvoStories last February 16: Millennials may just have a thing for polyamory.

● And almost a year ago, The legal ramifications of polyamory (May 16, 2016).

● The previous year, Avvo published an interview with a leading sexologist: Q&A with Dr. Pepper Schwartz: The rise of non-monogamy


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Plan your poly 2017 with Alan's List of Polyamory Events!

Twenty-six conventions, retreats, and campouts are scheduled from now through November. See them all, with descriptions, on Alan's List of Polyamory Events (polyevents.blogspot.com).

In April: RelateCon (Boise, Idaho); Rocky Mountain Poly Living (Denver); PolyLove fesztivál (Budapest); First International Solo Poly Conference (Vancouver).

A scene from Polycamp Northeast.