Recent posts

Compulsory Monogamy Going Mainstream?

Perhaps I should clarify: compulsory monogamy is already mainstream. It’s already the norm, and a largely unexamined one at that. What I mean to discuss here is how the idea of compulsory monogamy is now under discussion in the mainstream, thanks to its application to The Hunger Games movie franchise. This essay, Compulsory Monogamy in The Hunger Games, by Mimi Schippers, PhD, has been picked up by The Huffington Post and Jezebel. Meaning, it’s now reaching a lot of readers. Continue Reading →

Amelia Earhart… Was Non-Monogamous?

The story about Amelia Earhart’s marriage negotiation letter is making the rounds on Feministing, but it was reported over five years ago on a polyamory blog, too. The basic gist is that before accepting her suitor’s marriage proposal, she let him know that her work came first, and required that they not adhere to “midaevil [sic] code of faithfulness.” Click on either of the links to see a scan of the original 1931 letter for yourself. Continue Reading →

Book Review: What Does Polyamory Look Like? By Mim Chapman

Psychologist Alice Kahn Ladas introduces “What Does Polyamory Look Like?” as “delightfully lighthearted, inclusively descriptive, and relevantly self-revealing,” and I agree with this assessment. For anyone interested in learning about open relationships – possibly to practice them, counsel people in them, or understand friends or family in them – this book offers a helpful overview of the basic forms this lifestyle can take. The first two chapters contain simple introductory material about polyamory, which the author defines as “a lifestyle based on the belief that it is not only possible but also perfectly normal to love more than one person at the same time.” In distinguishing polyamory from swinging, Chapman writes that the former allows more freedom to develop emotional intimacy with others while the latter emphasizes sexual intimacy. This distinction may not be universally accepted (I’ve seen polyamory used as the umbrella term under which swinging falls, for instance), but it’s the author’s right to define terms as she’ll use them throughout her work. Continue Reading →

Open Marriage In The News

As is often the case, topics in the news prompt people to think about the concepts being discussed and possible to evaluate them in a new light. Currently, thanks to Newt Gingrich, the spotlight is on open marriage. The concept of open marriages or open relationships is far from new, however. It’s simply that most people in open relationships do not see the benefits to being “out” about them, much as gays and lesbians remained closeted (and some still do) out of legitimate fears of retaliation from people in their communities. One of the reasons, too, that open relationships are not widely discussed is that they’re difficult to label and define. Continue Reading →

Are Multi-Partner Relationships Good For Kids?

More and more people are identifying as non-monogamous or polyamorous, meaning that they ethically pursue multi-partner relationships. The effect of such relationships upon children, however, is the subject of vigorous debate with potentially harsh consequences. This article reports on some of the studies thus far, both rigorously researched and informally carried out. However, there hasn’t been a lot of research done on this topic, partly because it’s been under most scholars’ radar, and partly because poly parents are reluctant to speak to anyone “official” for fear that they’ll be judged unfit as parents. As the author points out, there is a “common perception that children in poly (and nonheterosexual) families are at higher risk for sexual abuse than those in monogamous families,” which is actually unfounded, but must be considered by anyone in these situations. Continue Reading →

Benefits Of Non-Monogamy For Animals

Recent research from Indiana University suggests that female birds who mate with males outside their monogamous pairing are conferring reproductive advantages upon their offspring. This long-term study measured reproductive success by noticing that the offspring of promiscuous female birds went on to have more offspring of their own. The interesting take-home points here are that not all species are monogamous, and that non-monogamous behavior appears to be beneficial in some circumstances. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

Queer And Poly Relationships: Good For Straight Marriages Too?

According to this article, the social and emotional practices of same-sex couples, such as staying close friends with exes, provide examples of “many unconventional relationship constructs— unconventional for opposite-sex marriages, at any rate—that same-sex couples are likely to import into the institution of marriage. And that’s not necessarily such a bad thing.” Because there are very few concrete models for how same-sex or non-monogamous relationships should work, the people involved in them must be more inventive, less constricted by gender roles or societal norms, which may well lead to innovative relationship strategies that could benefit everyone. As summarized in the Polyamory in the Media coverage of the article, “If you don’t buy into the myth that One Right Person exists who has to be your everything, then you don’t have to shun a person you loved as a Totally Evil Mistake if things don’t work out. In poly, you don’t have to extremify.” Continue Reading →

The Importance Of Fluid Bonding

What, you may ask, is fluid bonding? And why should you care? Fluid bonding frequently comes up in the context of non-monogamous or polyamorous relationships, but it’s just as important for monogamous folks, because it entails discussion and negotiation of acceptable risks, intimacy, trust, and pleasure. Fluid bonding, at its most basic, is the agreement to share bodily fluids with someone. You and your partner(s) discuss what makes sense to you in terms of sexual health and emotional intimacy. Continue Reading →

Judgmental (And Inaccurate) Misconceptions About Non-Monogamy (Part I)

The opening sentence of an article titled Non-Monogamy: Do Open Relationships Work? is “Non-monogamy is about one thing–sex.” If that’s true, does it mean that monogamy is not about sex? Or that non-monogamy can’t be about things other than sex? Sadly, this poorly written article continues with the sex-negative rhetoric, lumping all non-monogamous (also called polyamorous or poly or open) relationships into one nymphomaniac category that the author, working on assumptions rather than research, opposes to The One True Way, Monogamy. Continue Reading →

Romantic Love, Marital Monogamy, And Swinging

I was lucky enough to attend a lecture at the Kinsey Institute recently, titled “The Tyranny of Two: Are Love and Non-Monogamy Incompatible?” by Curtis R. Bergstrand. What follows is a summary of my hastily-penned notes, which I think are interesting regardless of one’s engagement in swinging, and which are also mostly a plug for Bergstrand’s book Swinging in America: Love, Sex, and Marriage in the 21st Century (because we only really skimmed the surface of Bergstrand’s research in the presentation, and I definitely wanted to know more by the end!). Continue Reading →