Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan

February 6, 2016

Mainstream reporters on poly need to get it right.

OkCupid's new setting that basically lets couples seek dates as a pair continues to serve as the hook for mainstream articles and broadcasts about polyamory.

Usually they're fairly accurate, but not always.

For instance, a writer at the The Independent, one of the U.K.'s leading newspapers, says "Polyamory is an umbrella term for intimate relationships that involve more than two people. The expression covers everything from swinging to triad relationships."

Well, no. At minimum polyamory means "multiples loves." Swingers tend to be more about play parties and often guard their emotional monogamy. And, there's that crucial bit about "with the knowledge and consent of everyone concerned." And despite what the article goes on to imply, it's not all about couples.

Otherwise, this piece is rather sweet:

Polyamory: Vaults' lead singer Blythe Pepino and her partner reveal why monogamy wasn't doing it for them

Whole lotta love: Blythe Pepino and Tom Jacob see other people (Micha Theiner)

Last month, dating website OkCupid added a function which allows couples to search the website for people to join their relationships. Chloe Hamilton meets a polyamorous pair to see how it works.

By Chloe Hamilton

I meet Blythe and Tom in a bar in Clapham. Blythe's pastel-pink hair is easy to spot from a distance. Slim, sandy-haired Tom sits beside her. As I approach, their heads are together and they're giggling softly. They look every inch the loved-up couple. I introduce myself and slide on to the sofa next to them, hoping three won't be a crowd. I needn't have worried.

The pair have been polyamorous from the beginning of their relationship after both realising, separately, that monogamy wasn't doing it for them. Polyamory is an umbrella term for intimate relationships that involve more than two people. The expression covers everything from swinging to triad relationships. Typically, these encounters involve sex, although it's not a prerequisite.

...The lead singer of the British band Vaults, Blythe Pepino, 29, and her partner, Tom Jacob, 27, agree to meet me to shed some light on what it's like to be non-monogamous.

...They have been an item for two years and live together in south London. Blythe also has a girlfriend, Alice, whom she's been with for over a year. Alice – an artist – lives in Bristol, so they don't get to see each other that often. Tom is seeing another girl, Sian, whom he met on Tinder. In addition to this, Tom and Blythe recently started dating a couple, Nich and Sonya, whom they met at a specialist club night in London. Blythe tells me they "fell in love with them as a couple" and now hang out regularly. Sometimes they go to the movies, sometimes they have group sex. Blythe and Tom also have one-night stands with people, although these happen less frequently. "I'm just not that good at them," Tom says.

A common misconception, they tell me right off the bat, is that people in polyamorous relationships don't get jealous. Both Tom and Blythe readily admit to having experienced feelings of jealousy at some stage in their relationship. The trick, they say, lies is how they deal with that emotion. Namely, through talking. Open and honest communication is essential to polyamory. Blythe and Tom tell me that whenever one of them sleeps with someone new, they schedule a meeting the following day to discuss what the latest tryst means for their relationship.

My eyes must widen at this point because they start to chuckle again. It all seems so well-organised. I'd imagined multiple-partner relationships to be driven by red-blooded lust and a desire to sleep with as many people as possible, but Blythe and Tom's account suggests there's quite a lot of admin involved, too. "It would be very disingenuous if I said it wasn't a lot of work," says Tom. "But it's so worth it."...

Read on (February 4, 2016).

The article has only 9 comments, some of them already calling out the author for her definition. Go add a comment, and/or tweet her: @chloehamilton.


● Here's another story to add to the list of those inspired by the OkCupid news: What It's Like To Look For Love On Tinder When You're Polyamorous (Mic.com, Jan. 15, 2015).

Getty Images

By Nayomi Reghay

When Marcus*, 37, messages someone on OkCupid, he always asks one question: "Did you read my profile?" Usually, the answer is no. "Then they'll say, 'Wait, you're MARRIED?!?!'," Marcus told Mic.

..."[One person said] 'I'm not going to help you cheat,'" Marcus told Mic. "And then there was a guy who was convinced if he went on a date with me it would break up my marriage."

From Marcus's point of view, that isn't likely. He's been with his wife for eight years. They have two children, and as of one year ago, when they agreed to open up their relationship, they are also polyamorous....



January 31, 2016

More Brazil stories: "Polyamory practitioner teaches how to bring a third person into a relationship"

Following up on my last post, today's O Globo newspaper in Brazil features a young poly educator spreading the word. O Globo is part of the media company that owns GNT TV, which last year featured the ten-part, poly-heavy series "Free Loves", Amores Libres.

Some excerpts, courtesy of Google Translate:

RIO - How to introduce her boyfriend to her husband without hurting them? When your spouse goes out with someone new, is it okay to be jealous? If my girlfriend from another city is here at home, can she can sleep with me and my wife? Or simply: can you love more than one person at a time?

Sharlenn Carvalho

These are inconvenient questions in a monogamous marriage, but everyday for those who are (or want to be) in polyamory. Sharlenn Carvalho, 32, activist and practitioner of this model of simultaneous, consensual multiple relationships, specializes in answering them....

...'There is a dictatorship of monogamy, which we call "polifobia". It's hard to face in a natural, public, open way. Many need help on that path.'

...Sharlenn is thinking about professionalizing her project this year: 'It is an activity that I consider essential and don't want to stop doing. But I do it for love. If I could support myself as a "polyamory consultant" that would be ideal.'

The whole article, in the original Portuguese: Adepta do poliamor ensina como introduzir terceira pessoa na relação (January 31, 2016). Thanks to Claudia Domingues for the tip. Domingues is the notary who recorded Brazil's first certificate of polyaffective union; she tracks related news on her Facebook page.


And on the news site UOL, the bestselling sex-and-relationship author and speaker Regina Navarro Lins writes,

Our ways of love and sex are evolving

Ilustração: Lumi Mae

I believe that in time fewer people will want a closed couple relationship, and most will opt for multiple relationships. Attentive to the signs, we see that to love and be loved by more than one person at the same time, so-called Polyamory, is gaining ground.

Regina Navarro Lins
The definition of poliamoristas: "This loving practice advocates relations rejecting monogamy as a principle or requirement. Polyamory, as an option or way of life, advocates practical and sustainable opportunities to be responsibly involved in intimate deep relationships, possibly long-term, with several partners simultaneously. "

No doubt, love is a social construction. If we analyze the various periods of our history, we find that it evolves. It is impossible not to ask the question: in a few decades will Polyamory prevail?

Her whole article: O comportamento amoroso e sexual está em evolução (January 19, 2016).


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January 28, 2016

More poly developments from Brazil, as word spreads

At least eight certificates of triad unions have now been issued in Brazil, says the newspaper Folha de São Paulo:

"Couples" of Three or More May Obtain Civil Partnerships in Brazil

Audhrey loved Eustáquio, who loved Rita, who loved Audhrey. The three decided to live together eight years ago, and today they are a family.

A family from Belo Horizonte obtained a year ago a polyamorous civil partnership — official recognition of their situation. (Bruno Figueiredo / Folhapress)

...This is the story of a family from Belo Horizonte that a year ago obtained a polyamorous civil partnership — official recognition of their situation. At least eight such documents have been issued in Brazil.

Audhrey Drummond, 49, and Eustáquio Generoso, 57, got married in 1988 and had an on-off relationship until 1997. During that time they had a son, Iago, who is 23.

A year after they split up, Eustáquio began seeing Rita Carvalho, 45. But when Audhrey and Eustáquio met again in 2003, Audhrey admitted that she was still in love with him. "I told him that I didn't mind if Rita was in the picture," she says.

This is not a triangle relationship, but a ménage à trois, with Eustáquio living with both his wife and his mistress. He has his own room, with the women sleeping with him for a week at a time.

As well as obtaining rights to health insurance, polyamorous families also try to obtain recognition for their situation in order to add third (or fourth, or fifth) party to pensions and inheritance plans, for example.

Specialists are divided as to the validity of polyamorous civil partnerships. The public notary Fernanda Leitão believes that they are supported by a 2011 Supreme Court decision which equated homosexual civil partnerships with heterosexual marriage.

The lawyer Luiz Kignel disagrees. He says that the number of polyamorous unions is negligible in comparison to the number of heterosexual and homosexual couples, and as such, there is no indication of social change on this issue.

The original: PortugueseEnglish (January 26, 2016).

Once again, these "certificates of polyaffective union" are not legally recognized multi-marriages; they are the people's own notarized declarations that they meet the qualifications for being in a civil union. Normally in Brazil this creates a civil union on the spot. But whether this is true for multi-unions has not been tested in court.


If Brazil is becoming more aware of such relationship possibilities, some credit goes to GNT TV and its documentary series "Free Loves" ("Amores Livres") that began last August. Here's an article about it that appeared in an end-of-year roundup on December 30th, on the news-and-entertainment site Catraca Livre. With help from Google Translate:

Polyamory: series tells the story of non-monogamous relationships

To portray different types of relationships that go beyond the standard "romantic love", GNT launched in August of this year a documentary series about polyamory, directed by João Jardim. Titled "Amores Livres", the program tells the story of non-monogamous relationships. It is available to watch online.

The 10 episodes of the series bring thinkers on the subject to give their testimony, as well as reports from people in various types of amorous setups.

The program's goal is to show that any form of love is worthy, whether polyamory, open relationships, polygamy, relationships virtual or long-distance, group sex, abstinence, and even the option of monogamy.

The original: Poliamor: série online conta a história de relacionamentos não monogâmicos (Dec. 30, 2016).

Carolina writes, "I'm a Brazilian reader of your blog. GNT is a Brazilian channel [associated with the O Globo newspaper] and I've found it interesting that they did this, considering that poly is not a big thing here and that most people are very traditional when it comes to relationship configuration."

You can watch a long video clip from each of the ten episodes for free at GNT: Amores Livres. The full 20-minute episodes are available for pay online.

Note: When you open a foreign-language site in Chrome, look for the tiny Translate icon (two squares) that appears in the very top-right corner.


Also: At the end of the Catraca Livre article above are links to some poly docu-videos hosted on that site:

Documentaries talk about polyamory and its endless ways to say 'I love you'

Documentary shows day-to-day polyamory practitioners


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January 26, 2016

"Harmful Myths the Ethically Non-Monogamous Community Needs to Address," and more

Earlier this month, in a roundup of mostly super-sweet stories extolling the poly movement, I promised another side of the picture.

First, here's a bread-and-butter account of standard problems you're likely to face in the best of circumstances: Polyamory is Hard (Aug. 16, 2014), by Russell of Polytripod.

I was talking to my therapist the other day.

Actually, it was couples therapy.

And, actually, I brought this up twice because, in all honesty, I have two sets of therapists: one I see with my partner/girlfriend and the other I see with my wife.

Polyamory is hard. Which, I think, should be pretty obvious in that I'm seeing two therapists but that's not the point.

...There's the routine stuff:

– Constant (endless) communication
– Questioning assumptions that you have about love and relationships
– Calendaring and scheduling
– Expectations management
– Emotional processing — sex, love, jealousy, guilt, regret, etc.

Then there's the long-term, extended stuff:

The legal differentiation between partners (example: a "wife" affords a legal distinction over a "partner"), leading to a whole rat's nest of issues concerning wills/probate, medical care, rights over your assets, etc.

Re-thinking the roles of "husband, wife, partner" — and the promises those titles imply....

Breakups and ending/transitioning relationships that've lasted for years.

Challenges surrounding space, distance, travel, and cohabitation. Not everyone wants to live together; not everyone likes the same kinds of personal space. Those are some tough compromises.

Embracing inequity. Poly's inherently unfair. My wife has made sacrifices that enable me to spend time, energy, and resources on my partner, which often excludes her. Meanwhile, my partner isn't around me as often as my wife, and, doesn't attend family travel, and I'm not always around, which excludes her, creating her own set of sacrifices. Resolving those inequities is a full-time preoccupation.

Retirement and security....

Combining or separating the finances of multiple people, how to communicate and work with cash flow shortages, new financial expectations, etc.

Realizing that you can't ever make everyone happy. Instead, poly is a lifestyle of compromises where everyone doesn't get exactly what they want: there's only so much time, so much space, and so much of you to go around.

...It hurts that I can't give everything to both of my partners and make both of them 100 percent happy at the same time. It's a constant process of compromise, learning, re-tooling my skillets, and managing expectations.

And I think anyone just getting into polyamory should know that it's hard. In fact, just last week, I was at a bar on Mississippi Avenue with a bunch of enthusiastic poly-newcomers. I was kind of a Debbie-downer in that crowd, but I think it's real. Poly looks pretty good on paper, especially if perceived in the context of short-run, but everyone should be prepared for the long-game, and what that means in their lives.


However, I was thinking more of this grimmer piece by Michón Neal on harshness that polys with minority identities face: 5 Harmful Myths the Ethically Non-Monogamous Community Needs to Address. It appeared at Everyday Feminism last November 11th.


...But there’s also a bit of a problem. In my experiences with the polyamorous community, I have encountered very little that strikes me as ethical.

And I’m not alone in this.

I’ve known people and seen articles about people who are so fed up with the lack of ethics in non-monogamy that they no longer identify with it — and I’m tempted to be one of them.

For a community that prides itself on offering healthier solutions regardless of relationship orientation, the practice of it seems to be more of a burden than a blessing when it comes to certain marginalized people, as pointed out by the article linked above.

There are some deeply ingrained myths about non-monogamy that actually exclude many people with varied experiences — especially those of us who have intersecting marginalized identities (minorities of minorities, as I like to call myself).

I am a genderqueer black person who practices relationship anarchy. I have been non-monogamous all my life, even before I knew the terms for it. I am aromantic, pansexual, left-handed, synesthetic, kinky, atheist, and sapiosexual. I have invisible mental and physical illnesses, am neurodiverse, a survivor, poor, and a parent.

...So when I critique make these criticism of the lack of ethics in ethical non-monogamy, I am coming from 27 years of personal experience, education, and intersection.

Having been at the center of assumptions... I’d like to help unpack those that make the non-monogamous community a rather unethical place to be.

1. Not Everyone Transitions into Non-Monogamy

I very strongly believe polyamory is inherent to my nature.... Yet, to this day, pretty much all of the community’s stories focus on romantic, white, cis people who’ve transitioned into non-monogamy.

Instead of feeling like I’m part of the community, I ended up feeling more alien than ever.

...When I recently stated that, due to several men in the poly community explicitly ignoring my gender, sexual preferences, and desire for friendship by immediately asking for sex or to explore their fetish with me (and in one case actually being raped by one of these men — who then claimed it couldn’t be rape since I was poly), I would pretty much avoid cis and straight men, I was told that my experiences were too political to be shared in that group.

It exploded as others who’d been fetishized empathized and the rest simply wanted to return to talking about how awesome it was to feel compersion for the first time....

2. Disastrous First Relationships Are Considered Normal, But Aren’t

...Many popular poly stories and guides, like More Than Two, The Game Changer, The Husband Swap — reference at least one non-monogamous experience that either ended in disaster or was extremely unhealthy. This is usually regarded as a problem arising from non-monogamy rather than the influence of monogamous and romantic culture on our practices, as well as arising from the transition.

Even Franklin [Veaux], who has always been non-monogamous, felt so guilty about his needs and desires that he allowed many of his relationships to end prematurely due to insecurities, veto power, and couple privilege. He remained with his wife far too long in an attempt to cater to her desires and it wasn’t until decades later that his relationships were able to be built on a healthier foundation.

Actual ethics starts at the root and that is where we should begin. These problems need to be addressed before deciding to be non-monogamous instead of afterwards....

3. The Reality Behind the Statistic

Most people in the polyamorous community may only be familiar with other minorities via statistics rather than actually listening to us.

People like me seem to only exist as shadows or impossibilities in the community. The thought leaders like Franklin Veaux, Aggie Sez, and Elizabeth Sheff can really only give information based on broad generalizations....

...The books in The Cuil Effect Project, my writings on Postmodern Woman, the site Queer Black Voices, and the site Polyamory on Purpose are good places to start if you want to get a feel for the actual experiences of intersectional marginalized identities, emotional intelligence, and healthy relationships versus toxic ones....

4. ‘Drama-Free’ Polyamory Excludes Me

And speaking of health and options: I’d be considered one of those “drama-filled” people polyamorous folks try to avoid, not because I cause drama, but because I encounter so much trouble by nature of my marginalized identities. Being with me requires one to deal with heavy issues every single day.

I’m not the fun type of polyamorous and so am usually avoided.

In practice, “drama free” polyamory ends up meaning that the new person doesn’t come between the established couple, it means they don’t rock the boat, and it usually means parents, differently-abled, and other races are off limits....

5. There’s Community Support Unless You’re Invisible

Those I’ve talked to who feel that they were born polyamorous or who are in minority categories often feel they have nowhere to turn to for advice or information on their experiences....

...And if our partners are abusive, it’s much harder to leave because we have fewer resources.

...Polyamorous people say it’s not about the sex and that polyamorous people don’t face discrimination, but that’s just not true if you’re not white and straight. Those of us most likely to face legal or dire situations are also those least likely to receive help.

6. Abuse Isn’t a Personal Problem — It’s an Epidemic....

Go read the whole article (November 11, 2015). She has a Patreon campaign to support her queer and poly fiction writing.


From a different place, counselor and popular YouTube advice-giver JP Sears delivers a warning about the potential of an open relationship to wreck a couple (16:05). I have obvious answers to some of his assumptions, but he's often on target, and he's representative of much opinion that's out there. Short version: "You have to be a master at your first relationship"; it needs be rock solid before opening it, and he's never seen one that is.

Here he falls into into the dumb therapist's mistake — therapists who were gazing out the window during the class about sample bias — by assuming his clients represent everybody. In reality, all of his clients showed up because they had a problem serious enough for them to seek paid help.



January 23, 2016

Poly blizzard decisions, in the Washington Post

In its blizzard coverage, the Washington Post publishes a story about the burst of dating behavior that, data indicate, happens as people get snowed in. Polyamory comes up.


...For Jack*, 29, it’s a little bit of both. He’s in a polyamorous relationship, and his primary partner, Kate*, whom he’s been seeing for nearly two years, is out of town for the weekend. While she’s away, he has options.

There’s the polyamorous woman he hooked up with Wednesday night. She lives two blocks from him in Washington, an easy trudge even in two feet of snow, and is the likeliest candidate to keep him warm over the weekend. Then there’s the other woman he’s dating — but she lives in Arlington. “She and I have been talking about how we want to spend the weekend playing around in the snow, but seeing as how bad it is, she’s going to stay in Arlington,” he said. “I would have loved to spend this awesome weekend with someone who I am much more close to emotionally, than someone I just met.”

Still, he’s bummed, because he likes spending snow days with Kate. “I built my very first snowman with her,” he said.

And having to make this decision is raising even bigger questions for Jack, who has been worrying about his relationship with Kate and “whether or not this is something I even want to be doing — whether I’m seeing these other partners because I have the opportunity to, and not because I want to.”...

The whole article: Milk, bread, and 7 boxes of condoms: How D.C. prepares for a blizzard (Jan. 21, 2016).

If you're wondering, couldn't those three have just gotten together?, yeah me too. In my opinion, the defining thing about "polyamory" — as opposed to the broader category of open relationships or just free dating — is an understanding that to some greater or lesser degree, we're all in this together.


January 20, 2016

Steve Harvey Show: "Polyamory, New Way to Love or Just Plain Crazy?"

Want to see a poly family represent well on TV? Watch Brooke, Jane and Adam breeze happily along for 12 minutes on today's Steve Harvey show.

Steve Harvey is a popular daytime talk show that's broadcast on many NBC stations. Harvey acts impressed by the three, and Dr. Laura Berman follows up by describing how millennials have a wider choice of relationship models available to them than previous generations did, so they have a better chance of finding what's right for them — if they're up for the levels of honesty and communication that polyamory demands.

The triad show off pix of their kids and tell what a great household they have for raising them.

Part 1 (7 minutes)

Part 2 (5 minutes)

The segment's blurb:

Growing Trend Of Polyamory

Steve has tackled the topic that has a lot of people raising their eyebrows. It’s a growing relationship trend across America — Polyamory, meaning more than two people in a romantic relationship with each other. The idea is as curious as it is controversial, but Steve has talked to three people in a relationship with each other and no question is off limits! Sex and relationship therapist DR. LAURA BERMAN joined the conversation with insight as to why polyamory is trending among millennials.

You may remember Brooke (with a different hairdo), Jane and Adam from a spate of profile articles last April in U.K. tabloids and the New York Daily News.

Okay, so they're young, white, slim and hot. I guess we have to take what we can get.


Update the next morning: Uh-oh, there's more to this story! Greenfizzpops went poking further and comments,

If you go to the article about this interview on Adam's website, the video promising to teach you more seems very much like teaching pick up artist (PUA) techniques to unicorns hunters. www.donotlink.com/hydy.

I caution against supporting pua techniques.

Turns out Adam runs a dating-techniques-for-men business (along with Brooke and Jane). With an emphasis on manipulative, creepy-sounding techniques for unicorn hunting. This is from the front page of his website linked to above:

Adam Lyons is a well known dating coach. Not only has he been voted #1 in the world for his craft for multiple years, he has written articles for AskMen.com and featured in a number of documentaries such as “The Rules of Seduction” on Channel 4. He is widely regarded as a top expert in attraction and seduction.

He now runs a popular dating company with his two partners, Brooke and Jane, implementing their successful coaching program where they guide people in how to develop, create and maintain their ideal relationship whether they are single looking for love or currently in a relationship looking to improve the quality (monogamous or polyamorous)

...One of the biggest questions this throuple gets asked... is how polyamorous and monogamous couples can add another girl to their life. Even the most well intentioned and charming couple can make a few mistakes that trigger something known as the “creep alarm.” This prevents any type of wooing from happening and cuts the interaction short before it can actually develop.

That’s why Adam created this special video for you that answers this question and teaches you to…
   Get past a girl’s creep alarm…
   Trigger the chemical that makes her fall in love…
   and get her inner voice working for you instead of against you…

Read the comments to that post. The JJ Roberts in the mudfest there is the author of Sex 3.0, used in a rival relationship-advice business. These men seem to know each other too well. Roberts goes on a rant about how unattractive Brooke is with her half-buzzcut (WTF?), and how can a guy who poses as an expert in attraction allow his woman to look like that (WTF?).

That batch of tabloid articles about the triad last April gives more of their backstory. I should have done more homework.

If you've never heard of PUA training, here's the xkcd's comic's famous take. If you're not up to speed on how PUAs are regarded generally, a typical tale: I Dated An Ex-Pickup Artist.

More update: In a hot reddit thread after the show, Adam (AFCAdam) explains his position:

The PUA industry split in half.
Half moving towards aggressive tactics and manipulation (look at gunwitch method... Warning it's unpleasant)
The other moved towards self improvement and becoming attractive (look up the art of charm)
We've evolved and changed.
PUA fragmented.
I identify as a dating coach.
We get customers based on people wanting to get laid sure.
But then again...
So does tinder, Match.com etc.
The difference is we teach them that focusing on getting laid doesn't work.
You need to focus on empathy.
Being a real person.
Having goals. Encouraging your partner to have theirs.
I educate people in this.
Teach them these techniques.
I'm still evolving too.
Still learning more.
And continuing to teach and help others.
I've lost count of the amount of men if changed develop into actual caring people, who lead healthy communicative relationships.
As I said. The media gets this, my students and clients get this.
My girlfriends get this.
The only people who currently don't.
Are the polyamory communityX
That continues to judge and insult our family.


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January 18, 2016

Cosmo: "What It's Really Like to Be in an Open Relationship"

Flip open the issue of Cosmopolitan that confronts you at the grocery checkout this month (left), and you'll find an article misleadingly titled "The Swing Set." The online version has a more accurate title: "What It's Really Like to Be in an Open Relationship."

It tends to assume that non-monogamous people come in couples and create rules and more rules (send your letters), but even so, the story introduces its readers to things worth knowing.

Is monogamy really the best option?

By Taffy Brodesser-Akner

...For the uninitiated, consensual nonmonogamy rarely looks the same in any two situations. There are the polyamorous relationships, in which people openly have multiple romantic or sexual partners. There are open relationships, in which a primary couple seeks outside sex or companionship but always returns home to each other. There are swingers, who experiment with other couples, often together or somehow equally. There are other ways to be monogamish, but those are the main ones. And there's overlap in those definitions because that's the point: This is people making it up as they go along so that their relationships stay fulfilling.

So think fast, because whether or not you want to examine the state of monogamy in America, ignoring it may no longer be an option. Is it sweeping the nation? Maybe, maybe not....

OpenMinded.com launched last April, and within a month, it had more than 8,500 registered users. By September, there were nearly 152,000. Of those people, 75 percent are paying and active users....

Multiple partners has often been considered a male fantasy, but as women grew stronger in their ability to earn and survive on their own, they more readily dared to explore their own fantasies.

It's not that monogamy is so bad. It's just that we're living a whole lot longer than we used to, and we meet more people (partly because of the internet). As Sheff puts it, "I've got a full stomach and a roof over my head, and orgasm doesn't necessarily mean pregnancy, so let's play."

...All the people I interviewed have sets of rules. So many rules that their rules have rules. But there is something inside some of the women I spoke with that isn't about needing another partner. It's about needing not to be confined by their primary one.

"I feel kind of guilty when I break a rule," Kate says, acknowledging that she'd hate it if she found out her husband has such secrets too. "I sometimes justify it like, what he doesn't know won't hurt him. But then, I'm like, that's such a horrible thing to think."

What polys get right

In her research, [Terry] Conley divides her subjects into two groups: The first includes the polyamorous, "people who agree they can love more than one person at a time," and also swingers, people who might swap a partner or do another couple-based activity. The second group are people who are in an open relationship, meaning that the other partners are always external.

Both groups rate their satisfaction as good, but the first group — the polyamorous and swingers — does better on measures of trust and commitment than the open-relationship people. Conley says monogamous couples could learn some things from them. "A lot of strategies used to help struggling married couples — empathy, speaking clearly about needs — are strategies polyamorous groups promote as far as keeping everyone in your triad or quad or whatever happy," says Conley.

But even people in open relationships can seem more secure than those in monogamous ones, she says. Let's say the big fear is that your partner will find someone else. Well, what if your partner finds someone, has sex with that person, and still returns to you? "That's tremendously flattering," she says.

And from a sexual-health lens, here's an interesting thing: Conley's research finds that people practicing consensual nonmonogamy use condoms far more often than monogamous people who cheat....

The whole article (online Jan. 16, 2016. February 2016 print issue.)


January 15, 2016

"OkCupid and the mainstreaming of polyamory"

SBS, Australia's version of public radio and TV, posted this trendspotting think piece on its website today.

I'm quoting it at length because it illustrates that the world is coming to see that polyamorous relationships are a real thing, that people do them successfully, and that they'll increasingly be a part of society's future.

OkCupid and the mainstreaming of polyamory

Comedian Brydie Lee-Kennedy looks at the shift in popular culture regarding multiple partners.

By Brydie Lee-Kennedy

When was the first time you heard someone use the word “polyamory” in conversation? Or just “poly”? How about “open relationship” or “non-monogamy”? Chances are, it was some time in the last couple of years, as less conventional relationships have moved into the mainstream consciousness.

...In recent years... the concept and practice of open relationships has become demystified as more and more people realise that it is, for many, a viable and fulfilling lifestyle choice. Pop culture and the media have certainly contributed to this shift. There’s been thinkpiece on top of thinkpiece on the issue (of which I suppose this is one, but bear with me) and personal essays of non-monogamy enthusiasts have been published everywhere from Vice to the New York Times.

...Strangely, as the rest of the world has started to embrace non-monogamy as a valid relationship choice, dating apps and websites have been slow to catch-up. On apps like Tinder, users are free to mention that they are in an open relationship and looking for other partners but there are no checks in place. The user may simply be looking to cheat, as their primary partner would have no way of confirming their claims on the app itself. For this reason, many other users may shy away from matching with this person, for fear of being party to infidelity.

...And even when a user is telling the truth about being in an open relationship, mainstream dating sites and apps have typically not allowed people to view or contact every person involved to make sure things are above board.

OkCupid, one of the stalwarts of internet dating since its launch in 2004, has now designed a feature specifically for its polyamorous and non-monogamous users....

It is also an extremely welcome move for the polyamorous community. Non-monogamy takes many forms and the rules of relationships will differ couple to couple (or triad to triad or polyfamily to polyfamily etc.). But probably the most important and valuable tenet in any relationship is respect and trust.

So OkCupid’s new feature is not only another step on the road to normalising alternative relationship models. It is also a valuable tool for polyamorous people who wish to maintain the highest standards of openness and transparency with all of their partners.

Read the whole article (January 15, 2016).


Polyfolks embraced OkCupid years ago because you can custom-tailor your searches to find matches regarding particular things that are highly important to you. If you know how; it takes some knowledge and effort.

Since my post last week about OkCupid's new poly-partner linking feature, I've found another guide to using OkC for poly dating: at Tristan Taormino's extensive Opening Up website for her book of the same name. It may be a bit dated but here it is, along with the others I've cited for quick reference:

In-depth guide to poly dating on OkCupid (at OpeningUp.net).

● A briefer version at PolyInfo.org (scroll down to the OkCupid section).

● Get the Chrome plugin extension that streamlines things: OkCupid for the Non-Mainstream User.

● If your partner(s) are also on OkCupid, you can link to them simply by double-bracketing their OkC names in your profile. For instance,  "My other partners are [[UserName]] and [[Username]]."  (With their permission, of course.)