Poly book nook: The Smart Girl’s Guide to Polyamory
An interview with Dedeker Wilson, author of the new book, The Smart Girl’s Guide to Polyamory
I began my journey into polyamory in 2010, and it changed my life. As I was first discovering non-monogamy and working out the kinks in my relationships and my communication, I was repeatedly disappointed and frustrated by the traditional advice that’s given to women about dating, relationships, and sex. So much of it is either focused on marriage and fidelity (e.g. articles on how to finally get him to commit and settle down; how to tell if he’s going to cheat on you) or on extremely passive and disempowering ways to get what you want (e.g. the right time to stop texting him so that he’ll be begging for more; how to take the best selfie for your Tinder profile). I wanted to write something that would empower the reader and open her up to the vast world of relationship choices beyond monogamous marriage with 2.5 kids.
As I grew more and more disillusioned with the traditional arena of dating advice, I grew enamored with the content and writing I was encountering in the polyamorous community. The poly community is full of articulate, intelligent women creating content, speaking out, and acting as community leaders. And surveys even showed that women were more likely than men to ask for an open relationship. I wanted to know why. I wanted to uncover what it was about nontraditional relationships that attracted not only myself, but countless other women. For a long time, openly non-monogamous relationships have only been represented and allowed within the masculine-dominated contexts of harem-building or collecting sister-wives. I wanted to understand how it was that non-monogamy had evolved to become a viable and appealing choice for women.
Who do you want to read this book?
It wasn’t until I actually went back and read my own book cover-to-cover once all was said and done that I realized that I had written the book I wish I could have read when I was in my late teens/early twenties. In my formative years, all of the dating advice that was coming from magazines, movies, my parents, and my religion consistently steered me in the direction of feeling disappointed, jealous, insecure, cut off from my own sexuality, and completely at odds with people of my own gender, and I was not alone in feeling this way. Anyone who is interested in changing the status quo around social expectations of how girls and women should conduct their relationships and sexual lives will find value in this book.
The book was written with the female experience in mind, but I aimed to make it accessible whether or not the reader was assigned female at birth, reads as masculine or feminine, lives outside the gender binary, or is a partner of someone who identifies in any of these ways.
Why would the Poly Weekly audience want to read your book?
I have such a deep appreciation for the polyamorous community at large. For the 7 years that I’ve been connected to the poly scene, it’s been priceless to be able to watch it grow and expand and to celebrate each small victory with like-minded people. Even though I had to include a lot of introductory information in my book to avoid alienating people who were totally new to this community, I couldn’t help but going down the rabbit hole of poly-geekery. I became particularly absorbed in researching the history of non-monogamous communities and uncovered this treasure trove of knowledge that you definitely won’t find in any history textbooks. Everything from the polyamorous practices of early Native American tribes to the early roots of swingers during World War II to the surprising number of historical figures in openly poly relationships that were later documented as infidelity or not acknowledged at all. For those people in the poly community who recognize that this is far from a new fad will have a lot to chew on in that chapter in particular.
What did you learn from writing this book?
I had the great honor of being brought into some very vulnerable spaces in the lives of every person that I interviewed. The women I interviewed for this book shared their triumphs, their challenges, their heartache, and their great joy. It opened my eyes to the fortitude, patience, sacrifice, and intelligence of the women who are brave enough to color outside the lines in their own relationships, especially in a world that is less than forgiving toward them. The women in the poly community can be a powerful influence–so needed considering the tenuous nature of women’s rights at this very moment around the world.
Dedeker Winston was raised to be a wholesome, born-again Christian conservative but later opted to be a sex-positive polyamory activist, relationship coach, reality-TV celebrity, and nude model. She currently provides one-on-one coaching services for people transitioning into non-monogamy. When she isn’t coaching, writing, or spending time with her multiple partners, she enjoys backpacking around the globe, playing video games, and obsessively applying lip balm. She is from Chico, California.