What a great pleasure to spend the better part of Friday with the lovely and whipsmart Tristan Taormino and Colten. (I want my own Colten–can I have one? Please, please, please?) Full photo set is posted to my Flickr, but a few choice shots here:
Lunch after the interview:
The reading at Women and Children First:
The crowd at Women and Children First:
For more info and to discuss the book, visit her blog and forums at www.openingup.net
Hello, all! If you haven’t already had the chance to hear Tristan Taormino speak on her book tour, go ahead and get a copy for yourself to discuss with your partner(s) and friends. It’s unlike any other book on poly to date. Instead of sharing personal anecdotes and experiences, Tristan based the book on interviews with over 120 people of all orientations and relationship styles in order to easily lay out the non-monogamy options and choices available to you today.
The book reads more like a textbook than a self-help book, with tons of information on how and why you might choose each type of non-monogamy. Tristan also devotes time to subjects other books haven’t covered in detail, such as being a solo polyamorist and choosing a mono-poly combination for your relationship. I can’t wait to discuss this with the PW book club!
If you’d like to read and discuss this book, we’re going to try an online Poly Weekly book club discussion on Saturday, July 12th, 3:30 p.m. Central. Save the date; more details later. Click here to order your copy!
She speaks of universal qualities to look for in a poly partner:
You want someone who is self-aware, with strong communication skills, good boundaries, and a clear sense of who they are and what they want… Trust your instincts and avoid people who will bring negative energy, a destructive agenda, unresolved baggage or lots of drama to your life.
Excellent advice. I’ve always tended to have a penchant for those with lots of life experience, anyway; I figure that if they’ve lived through a lot, then my shit isn’t going to faze them at all. This is why I don’t tend to be attracted to the 20-year-olds. Not that they don’t have their own wisdom and positive energy, but I’ve never understood wanting to date younger than me. Unless the person has lived an extraordinary 20 years, I’d like to let him simmer for another 10 years or so and then see who he is.
Get your shit together
And her second bit of advice rings true for me as well. We had an interesting discussion at the Poly Weekly Book Club a few months ago spurred by a statement in Anapol’s book about resolving psychological and drug issues before entering a relationship. Personally, I think that’s a good idea anyway; it goes under the category of “get your shit together before you try to be attractive to someone else” in my book. However, some folks with ongoing pscyh issues took exception to the caveat, and understandably so. I believe we settled on any psych issues being under control–for example, if you suffer from depression, it’s probably not a good idea to go out and date until you get your meds at a level that keeps you feeling you most of the time. If you have a drug or alcohol abuse problem, um, yeah, I’m going to go with the assumption that you’re not going to be a very supportive or drama-free partner for anyone else until you can take care of yourself.
I suppose this is all a way of saying that you should be kind to yourself first. If you’re wounded or confused, take the time to explore that and feel good about yourself. If you need a vacation, take one. Meditation helps some people. If you need to adjust your meds, spend time with family or see a therapist, do it. Nothing wrong with taking care of yourself first.
I was once told that the sexiest thing I ever wore was confidence. The confidence was hard-won at that time, and I only had it because I’d taken nine months to work on myself. But when I was ready? DA-AMN, girl, but I was on FIRE!
The new Polyamory Weekly #153: Listener Feedback Frenzy is up! Direct download is at Poly Weekly #153
Subscribe now with iTunes one-click!
Please Digg this podcast at Digg’s PW podcast page!
0:00 Introduction and host chat
Intro, under-18 warning and re-direction to www.scarleteen.com; friend me on Twitter and answer questions about what you want on the show, call 206-202-POLY with comments or discuss your own topics at the forums at http://forum.polyweekly.com.
Broom Street Theater has just opened its run of Multiple O, based on The Ethical Slut, which runs through June 8th
5:30 Listener Mail
Amul comments on the poly roundtable from Conflation “you do the thing you’re scared of, and you get the courage after, not before”
9:15 Chrysallis shares his coming-out story
11:05 Steve Eley comments on the Sexy Shenanigans episode and historical non-monogamy about William Moulten
13:00 Lea, a family therapist in California, asks about the connection between engineers/geeks/role-playing gamers and poly; if you need a poly-friendly therapist in California, visit First Street Therapy
17:20 Jacob from Texas sends in Torchwood spank for the Minx!
18:40 BravoTango and bringing “metamour” to the community; why no one wants to discuss polygyny and polyandry
23:55 Feedback on #150: Five Places to Meet Poly People
- Nobilis agrees on being friendworthy before dateworthy; met his first poly family in the SCA
- Adam mentions Snuggle Parties and trance dance events as places to meet people, including LoveTribe
- Quidis adds swing parties to the list
32:35 Jacob from Texas comments on Graydancer’s reading of “Pressure” for Escape Pod and my own reading for Podcastle, “For Fear of Dragons“; this gives me a chance to pimp out both podcasts–Escape Pod for science fiction and Podcastle for fantasy; I also just did a reading for Pseudopod, the horror podcast
39:50 Jamie in Mississippi says it’s illegal to start up a poly group there!
41:50 Bubba wrote in to ask about poly seniors
44:00 Helen Fisher spoke on love and monogamy again at TED; download the video here
Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the listener comment line at 206-202-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? Check out PolyWeekly at polyweekly.libsyn.com. Thanks for listening!
Want Poly Weekly for your very own? Get the Best of Poly Weekly collection from PodDisc.com
Our intro and outro music is courtesy of Pacemaker Jane, “Good Suspicions”
Ever wonder what it would be like if The Ethical Slut were a narrative story, like a play? Writer/director John Sable has created a live theater version of this poly classic, now playing at Madison’s Broom Street Theater, May 2-June 8, 2008.
Carol and Chris are the typical middle-class urban couple. They’re married. They’re in love. The each have a girlfriend on the side.
Adapted from “The Ethical Slut” by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy, Multiple O tells the story of one couple’s mis-adventures as they learned how to create a healthy non-monogamous lifestyle the hard way – by making every mistake in the book.
This show contains significant amounts of nudity and sexual content. No one under 18 will be admitted.
Time to visit Amazon and check out the next Poly Weekly book club selection!
This month, we decided to read something more personal: Eros, the memoir of bisexual poly activist and recent guest to Poly Weekly, Serena Anderlini-d’Onofrio. (Click the link to purchase from Amazon)
When: Wednesday, May 7th, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: The Center on Halsted, Chicago, IL, on the second floor white couches
What: Eros, a Journey of Multiple Loves book discussion–please come even if you haven’t read the book!
This month’s Poly Weekly Book Club was GREAT! We had about seven people in attendance, and we finished up discussing Ravenscroft’s Polyamory: Roadmaps for the Clueless and the Hopeful. We discussed the books pros, cons and talking points:
* Book didn’t have much structure; rambling and hard to read
* Font was tiny and hard to read
* Author’s tone didn’t capture interest
* Author could be condescending
* Book was a more pratical guide to poly and answered common questions
* Sections on how to argue, welcoming change, finding a poly support network and more were dead-on with their advice
* Gives lots of examples and anecdotes
* Doesn’t sugar-coat anything
Overall, while the book wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, most of us found something useful, and many of us went crazy with underlining many sections of the book.
So, NEXT BOOK!
Anapol’s Polyamory: the New Love Without Limits.
We’ll meet on Wednesday, April 2nd, 6:00-9:00 p.m. at the Center on Halsted, second floor, white couches, to discuss it. And if S still doesn’t have a job, he’ll bring yummy snacks again! (Those peanut butter cookies were to die for!)
Almost forgot to post the reminder!
We discuss Ravenscroft’s Polyamory: Roadmaps for the Clueless and the Hopeful TONIGHT, Wednesday, February 27th, at the Center on Halsted in Chicago, 6:00-9:00 p.m., on the second floor by the white couches.
FREE to attend and talk–come on out!
Gathered for this weekend’s seminar at A Woman’s Touch in Madison, a rough draft:
10 Things to Be Prepared for When Negotiating Polyamory
- Become a different person. Adopting a poly mindset and lifestyle in a monogamous world can be a transformative process. The level of communication, self-examination and brutal honesty with yourself and your partners required for healthy poly relationships is very high and tends to provide a challenge to even the most secure and open of people. As you explore and develop poly relationships, you will most likely discover things about yourself and your partners that will fundamentally change how you think and quite possibly who you are and how you view the world. As with any relationship in which long-term love is involved, you will change.
- Welcome change and personal growth. If you crave stability and are most comfortable in a world with minimal change, you probably don’t want to be poly. In fact, you probably don’t want to be in a relationship at all, because exposing yourself to another person’s life will most assuredly change yours, no matter how stable you believe that person to be. Be prepared to find out more about yourself, your fears and your capacity to love than you ever wanted to know. Be prepared to drag your fears and insecurities out into the open, hear the same from your partners, and grow by learning how to accept and cope with your own fears as well as your partners’.
- Remain friends with past partners and metamours. The non-monogamous community isn’t all that large at the moment, although we’re growing. Unlike with monogamy, it will be unlikely that you’ll be able to break up with someone and never see him or her again. Tribes and personal networks tend to be interwoven, and you will probably have to deal with interacting with people who have hurt you (or whom you have hurt) in social situations for years to come. Heck, one or more of your partners might still be dating that girl or guy you broke up with! You will have to learn how to negotiate an amicable breakup without making any of your friends and partners take sides. Be prepared to learn how to heal and take care of yourself while respecting your former partner and his/her current relationships.
- Experience unflattering, powerful explosive emotions. Even if you think you’re not a jealous person, you will experience jealousy at the most unexpected of times and places. You’ll probably also feel insecure, petty, uptight, varying shades of “weird,” envious, angry, hurt, irritated and annoyed. Be prepared to describe honestly whatever you’re feeling as you’re feeling it. Be prepared to ask for help in processing what you’re feeling, and be open enough to trust that your partner will still love and support you, even when you’re experiencing unflattering emotions. At some point, you’ll probably discover that something you discussed rationally and thought you’d be totally OK with ends up freaking you out and sending you into a fit of unreasonable, unexpected emotion. This is normal. Be prepared by adding an asterisk to all relationship discussions: … and I reserve the right to freak out at any time. Don’t expect to be coddled and given in to for having emotions, but do create a space where they can be discussed safely.
- Negotiate as a process, not a set in stone thing. When you first consider diving into polyamory, it’s a great idea to have discussions about how you’d feel if something or other happened. You’ll probably go through a lot of imagined scenarios and guess at how you’d feel and make a few (or a lot) of rules to govern you and your partners’ behavior in those cases. These discussions are a great jumping-off point, but be prepared for everything you discuss to change when dealing with real, live people. As they say in the military, “no plan of attack survives contact with the enemy.” People fall in love or lust unexpectedly, and suddenly, the rules will need to change in order for you or your partners to be happy. You might set a rule about not falling in love with partners only to discover six months later that you yourself are struggling to admit that your casual romance has become something deeper. Or you might have a caveat about partners moving in with you that needs to be rediscussed when your partner’s girlfriend becomes a closer part of your poly family. Fluid bonding agreements may need to change; child-rearing might be open to new discussion as well. Keep in mind that what is most important about your relationship negotiations is the process of discussing them, not the set-in-stone rules you end up coming up with. The rules will end up changing; be prepared to see their establishment as a fluid process of communication, not something to be set in stone and forgotten.
- Have every assumption challenged. With a traditional relationship structure such as monogamy, it is common (and relatively harmless) for participants to make some basic assumptions about what concepts like “fidelity” and “monogamy” mean. Sometimes, those definitions aren’t discussed at all; they simply remain as tacit concepts floating at the back of the relationship unless and until something happens to challenge them, which might be never. If you’re venturing into polyamory or some branch of non-monogamy, however, be prepared to have every assumption about basic relationship concepts challenged. Think you know what “sex” is? Ask your partner; you might discover that your definitions of what constitutes “sex” or “sexual contact” are vastly different. How about “cheating”? “Fidelity”? “Love”? Being “OK” with something? How about what constitutes a “healthy” or “successful” relationship? When “only” and “forever” are no longer the markers of a relationship’s success, how will you define your relationships’ relative success?
- Talk about everything. Be prepared to discuss and communicate about things you never thought you’d have to. Be prepared to have different discussions about the same issues as life and love change around you. You’ll have to be brave enough to bring up unflattering emotions and strong enough to be patient and loving when your partners do the same. Be prepared to create a safe space for your partners to tell you things that are difficult or unflattering to admit, and then find another space in which you can be brutally honest in return. Lack of conflict isn’t necessarily the sign of a healthy relationship, but lack of intimacy will cause its slow demise. Getting into the painful emotions in a safe space is a type of intimacy, and it can bring you closer to your partners than you ever thought possible.
- Have a sounding-board. Polyamory is not a traditional relationship structure. You will not know how to deal with the issues that arise; my gods, how could you? I promise that you do not have all the skills and information that you need to have a successful poly relationship right now. So it’s of utmost importance that you have support. Talking to just your partner isn’t enough; you will need the voices of friends and people who have been through this before to give you insight so that you can make your own, informed decisions. Be prepared to reach out to the poly community, whether it be online or in real life, and create a sort of sounding-board of poly-friendlies that you can run your questions or issues by. Again, simply talking to the person you’re sleeping with isn’t enough. Monogamous types ask their girlfriends, buddies and best friends what they think; they kvetch and ask for advice over coffee. Even if you’re not out publicly as poly, be prepared to do the same. Find a community, listen and ask questions, and choose a few folks you trust as your advisory board. If you can, find a poly-friendly therapist, too.
- Ask for reassurance when you need it. Be prepared for this to be a wonderful but tough journey of self-discovery. If you haven’t got the message yet, non-monogamy can be gut-wrenchingly tough to negotiate. There will be times when you feel weak or vulnerable; be prepared to ask for reassurance when you need it. Sometimes your partners will know and be able to tell when you need reassurance and offer it unasked, but sometimes you’ll need to be explicit. Just ask.
- Be the bad guy. Relationships might be wonderful and healthy for six months, five years or 18 1/2 years. And then, after whatever period of time, there might come a time when all the communication in the world won’t make the participants happy or healthy. Be prepared to have the courage to acknowledge that things aren’t working and to be the bad guy and end the relationship. No one wants to be the bad guy; that’s why people do things such as act weird and distant so that the other person will get annoyed and break up with him/her. Please don’t do that. Being open, honest and vulnerable extends to ending the relationship as well. Do your partner(s) the honor of respecting what you had by respecting the end of your relationship as much as its duration.
Have you joined in the discussion on the Poly Weekly forums yet? No? Well, why NOT? Amy Gahran has already got some interesting threads going…