Polyamory: Some Info and Resources, Including Several Recent Books

Polyamory: “Having simultaneous close emotional, and possibly sexual, relationships with two or more other individuals with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned. Deborah Anapol

Although not an all-inclusive list, featured below are some resources on the topic of polyamory.

The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures (2009) by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy has been endorsed by the likes of comedian Margaret Cho (a self-described proud ethical slut), sexologist Annie Sprinkle, and musician David Crosby. This book has also gotten rave reviews from Deborah Anapol, author of  Polyamory in the 21st Century (2010) as well as a groundbreaking earlier book subtitled “The New Love Without Limits” (1997).

Another resource, which is mentioned in a recent article in The Atlantic by Olga Khazan (“Multiple Lovers, Without Jealousy”), is Elisabeth Sheff‘s The Polyamorists Next Door (2013).

Based on 15 years of research, Sheff’s book reveals many significant findings. Some, as gleaned from Khazan as well as from an article by Arin Greenwood, The Huffington Post, are presented below:

  • Poly relationships involving more than three persons are less likely to exist or survive than those with three.
  • “Polys” are more likely to be liberal and well educated.
  • Polys are less likely to practice religion but when they do, it’s usually paganism or Unitarian Universalism.
  • “Open relationships” are different from polyamory, as in the latter all partners are as significant as any.
  • Polyamory very commonly starts with a straight couple seeking a single bisexual woman, a practice known as “hunting the unicorn.” But Sheff, according to Khazan, “cautions that once said unicorn is caught, ‘the men are sometimes not as well-tended as they hoped to be. During the actual sex, the women get interested in each other, and the men describe it as ‘not all that.’” (I’ve heard of this in my own therapy practice repeatedly.)
  • According to Greenwood, Sheff states: “Poly families’ shared characteristics include a focus on communication and honesty, emotional intimacy with kids and adults fostered through communication and honesty, sexuality kept private among the adults so kids don’t see it even though they can ask about it if they want — and they never want to know, like any other kids, the kids in poly families do not want to know about their parents’ sex lives — dealing with stigma from society and families of origin, challenges deciding to be out or not depending on family circumstances, location and sharing resources so that people get more attention, free time, money, rides, help with homework or life issues, and love.”
  • The kids are generally well-adjusted and get loads of adult attention. Downsides for the kids include having to deal with loss when there are breakups, excessive supervision, and overcrowding in the home.

Just out this week is More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert. It’s already received high praise from members of the polyamory community.

Much info is also available in the FAQ section of their More Than Two (Polyamory from a Practical Perspective) website. Topics include rule-setting, dealing with jealousy and insecurity, sexual health issues, and other things to consider. In addition, you can click on various topics listed in the right hand column, such as considerations regarding coming out of the closet.

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