PW 466: A Life Less Monogamous, a new fiction novel

Finally, a novel about non-monogamy!life less monogamous cover

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1:00 Host chat

  • Join our email list by going to
  • We’re working on a dating profile ebook
  • Also a how-to ebook on writing your own user manual for the fall
  • Kitty Chambliss has a podcast: Loving Without Boundaries

3:30 Poly in the News

More poly news coverage based on the recent OKCupid change allowing couples to link their profiles whilst searching to date others

7:15 Interview: Cooper Beckett about his new fiction novel, A Life Less Monogamous

Cooper Beckett joins us to discuss his new fiction novel about new non-monogamists, A Life Less Monogamous. Use code MINX for a 10% discount! Our text interview with Cooper is here.

30:00 Happy Poly Moment

An asexual lesbian writes in to share her happy poly moment.

32:45 Wrap up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Q & A with A Life Less Monogamous author Cooper Beckett

life less monogamous coverCooper S. Beckett is the founder of Life on the Swingset &  host of its swinging & polyamory podcast. He speaks and teaches classes on pegging, swinging, polyamory, play parties, and non-monogamy. He is a graphic and web designer, photographer and voice over artist; has been a guest expert on Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast and is the announcer of Tristan Taormino’s radio show Sex Out Loud. He has written two books, My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory and A Life Less Monogamous and is working on two more, The Big Book of Swinging, and Approaching The Swingularity.

Why did you decide to write A Life Less Monogamous? 

Procrastination. I was supposed to be writing The Big Book of Swinging, a how-to manual, and I came across the opening chapter of an unfinished novel about swinging, based on a screenplay I’d written before I started Life on the Swingset. I decided to give the NaNoWriMo method a try and see what came of it. A month later I had a pretty solid draft, containing what I think is some of my best writing on the subject of non-monogamy.

Whom do you want to read this book?

I think I have the makings of a book with enormous crossover appeal, outside our non-monogamy communities, into the world at large. Like 50 Shades, but well written and understanding the community it’s about.

Why would the Poly Weekly audience want to read your book?

I believe it contains many universal truths about relationships, jealousy, desire, and exploration, and doesn’t just go the sex route with swinging, instead it recognizes the very real bonds we create with our partners and playmates in this style.

What did you learn from writing this book?

Some mistakes are made by our newbie couple over the course of their journey, and in the original screenplay, I went hard in one direction as to “fault” but as I wrote this, I realized that the opposite was actually true, and I came to a much deeper understanding of culpability and the gray area that surrounds almost all conflict. Seems deep, I know, but it was a pretty wonderful bit of catharsis.

What’s next?

I’m prepping production on an audiobook version, though the My Life on the Swingset audiobook nearly killed me. As for next projects, though, I’m going to try and knock out a quick and short non-fiction book about sexy vacations, before returning to this novel’s characters for a semi sequel that takes place on a sexy vacation in Mexico.

About A Life Less Monogamous

We all come to a point in our lives where we finally ask the ever-looming question, “Is this all there is?” And most of us coast along afterwards, just accepting that the answer to that question is probably, “Yes, this is it.” Sometimes, though, we’re lucky. Sometimes we run into the right people at the right time.

Ryan and Jennifer are at that point in their marriage, asking that question. Luckily, tonight at a friend’s holiday party, they’re about to run into those very right people at exactly the right time. Bruce and Paige have successfully crossed the Rubicon into the realm of “what else there is.” They’ve discovered delights and a way of living that Ryan and Jennifer have only ever dreamed about.

Their secret? Bruce and Paige are swingers. And very soon now, thanks to a chance meeting and a new friendship, Ryan and Jennifer will close their eyes, clasp hands, and jump into the deep end of life, exploring the untold wonders of sexuality. Hedonistic pleasures that they can’t even fathom yet, threesomes and sex parties and a deep connection with friends and with each other. The swinging lifestyle.

Today is the day they proclaim: “There is more.” Today is the day they change their lives. 

To find out more and pre-order the book, visit

PW 458: Waking up your erotic side with Amy Jo Goddard

Is your erotic life fully open?AJG-author-photo-ByShelbySharieCohenPhotography©

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1:00 Host chat

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1:35 Poly in the News

4:30 Interview: 9 erotic elements with Amy Jo GoddardCOVER_WomanOnFire_Goddard

Sexpert and sexual empowerment coach Amy Jo Goddard shares some of her secrets to waking up your erotic elements to have the sex life you’ve always wanted! Elements: Voice, Release, Emotion, Body, Desire,Permission, Play, Home and Fire.

Her book Woman on Fire: 9 Elements to Wake Up Your Erotic Energy, Personal Power, and Sexual Intelligence was released on September 29th. Ask your local bookstore to carry it or but it via her site.

34:45 Happy Poly Moment

Listener L writes in to share a happy poly moment about opening up her relationship to polyamory.

42:00 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 456: Stories from the polycule

Dr. Elisabeth Sheff talks about her new poly anthologyStories from the Polycule

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1:00 Host chat

Poly in the News

Interview: Elisabeth Sheff on Stories from the Polycule

Dr. Elisabeth Sheff talks about what inspired her new anthology, Stories from the Polycule.


R calls in to ask how to give herself permission to enjoy loving someone else without feeling so weird and guilty. Minx’s advice:

  • Don’t worry/expect that it will/won’t feel like with your existing partner—it won’t, since it’s a different person.
  • Acknowledge and accept all your emotions, even the negative ones. It’s OK to feel guilty, confused, happy or sexy.
  • Embrace the new relationship like a second child—see what personality the relationship develops, all while making sure the existing relationship is being nurtured as well.
  • If you still feel off after several months, you might just not be all that into that person.

Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email or call the listener comment line at 802-505-POLY. And hey, why not attach an audio comment to that email? 🙂 Check out PolyWeekly at Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Q & A with Stories from the Polycule author Elisabeth Sheff

Dr. Elisabeth SheffElisabeth Sheff is an educational consultant and expert witness serving sexual and gender minorities. Her new book, Stories from the Polycule, is a delightful anthology that brings together stories, poems, drawings and essays created by real people living in polycules. Children describe life with more than two parents; adults share what it’s like to parent with more than one partner. We hear from triads, solos, people who have felt polyamorous their entire lives, and people exploring poly for the first time.

This is a slice-of-life anthology of essays and stories on poly dating, parenting, loss and life. Far from a poly how-to book, SftP is easily consumable infotainment, easy to thumb through for the insights that are relevant to you right now.

Why did you decide to write this book? 

The amount of information about polyamory has skyrocketed in the last few years, but too little of it presents a well-rounded view of what it is actually like to live in a poly family. Sex and sensationalism are the rule for TV shows about polyamory, and the raft of new how-to books and memoirs on polyamory by definition provide a limited view because they focus on one person/group’s experience.

Stories from the Polycule is composed of selections written by many different people in poly families, so it is in their own voices. I wanted a book that could give many little peeks in to a range of poly families to show the true diversity of poly experience, outside of sexy hot tub scenes or dramatic relationship blow-ups. Or in addition to sex and drama, because those are in the Polycule as well, but also much more.

Whom do you want to read this book?

The main audience is people who are curious about poly families and want a realistic view of what they are like on a day-to-day basis, warts and all. Readers who are looking for a sugar-coated view of poly family life as idyllic and effortless will be disappointed. Those who want to read short and approachable vignettes from poly families — how they come together, what happens with their lives, and what sustains or drives them apart – will be quite pleased with the variety of stories, poems, drawings, and cartoons in Stories from the Polycule. It is the kind of book you can sit and read for several hours, or leaf through and read a few stories here and there.

Stories from the PolyculeWhy would the Poly Weekly audience want to read your book?

It is the first book of its kind to tell (some of) their stories, in their own voices. Stories from the Polycule also would be a great tool to introduce polyamory to family members, friends, kids, and adults of all stripes who might need to know about polyamory but shy away from reading long, complicated, or academic books. Because people can leaf through and find what interests them, Polycule can provide a nice slow introduction to begin with and lots more detail later, once the conversation has progressed.

What did you learn from writing this book?

It was my first edited anthology, and I was thrilled by how easily it came together once I had the submissions. It was a real challenge to get submissions, and I had to keep recruiting for a long time before I felt like I had enough to make the book. Each time a submission would come in, it was like opening a birthday present to find out what cool surprise was inside. I loved reading each one, and felt connected to the larger poly community through their stories. Even so, the submissions were trickling in and I was afraid the book would not come together.

At that point I learned not to despair, because help arrived in the form of Eve Rickert at Thorntree Press who aided me in reaching a larger audience to get the word out about submissions. With her help, I got a flood of great stuff at the end, and it really rounded out the book very nicely. So the hardest part was definitely getting the submissions–after that, it all just fell in to place beautifully with hardly any effort on my part. The selections almost sorted themselves in to the six chapters that compse the book.

Why do you study and write so much about polyamory when you’re not poly yourself?

I originally started investigating polyamory as a personal relationship option for myself when, as an undergraduate, I accidentally fell in love with a man (“Rick”) who had told me from the beginning that he did not do monogamy. We discussed it for several years, and when I was in graduate school near the end of the 1990s, I heard an interview with Ryam Nearing (then editor of Loving More Magazine), and my brain exploded. She was talking about exactly what Rick and I had been discussing ad nauseum these several years, and it had a name–polyamory! Not only that, when I looked them up online, it turned out there was a public informational meeting about it in a nearby public library. Rick and I attended that meeting and began hanging out with those folks, just checking out their scene. They were cool, friendly, outdoorsy, open-minded liberals and we fit right in and had fun at their events.

The more I knew about polyamory, the more interesting and frightening it became. As an intellectual, I tend to intellectualize things that frighten me, and I was scared shitless of actually having a polyamorous relationship. In addition to continuing to try to figure it out for myself, I realized no one had researched it yet and recognized an opportunity to both assuage my own fears and do a groundbreaking dissertation on this cool new group. I ended up writing the dissertation and continuing that research for 15 years, which eventually turned in to a book, The Polyamorists Next Door.

Along the way Rick and I tried polyamory with fairly disastrous results (the long story is in Chapter 5 of the Polys Next Door or short version on my Psychology Today blog), with me dragging my heels and making outlandish rules to manipulate the appearance of openness with the reality of monogamy, and him constantly pushing for more. After 15 years together, Rick and split up, and now neither of us identify as polyamorous.

While I do not assume that another serious poly relationship would end with the same disastrous results I experienced with Rick (from what I hear, I could expect an all new cast of potentially disastrous results J, said only partly in irony–or would it be sarcasm?), I am not eager to have another try at polyamory for other reasons like low sex drive, busy schedule, love of time alone, and having my needs well met already.

Even though polyamory does not appear to work for me at this point, I am deeply convinced by the empirical evidence generated through years of research that it can work quite well for some others. Furthermore, poly families have a demonstrated ability to provide happy, loving, and supportive environments for children. Not all poly families are perfect and they certainly can make mistakes like all families, but it is important to me that people understand that polyamorous families are not pathological by definition–they can be wonderful!

The stigma and discrimination poly folks face in daily life and the court system are unconscionable, but not novel or unusual. Sex and gender minorities of all sorts are routinely disadvantaged by negative social views that are unfounded in reality and instead reproduce and reinforce prejudicial or ignorant stereotypes. When the-powers-that-be (for instance, the Child Protective Services officials or judges in family court) use those stereotypes to make decisions about custody or employment, it deeply offends my sense of fairness and I am driven to produce research that demonstrates the empirical status of the family. Some poly families are messed up and probably should be deprived of custody of their children–only with a real investigation that finds significant distress outside of just relationship non-conformity. In other words, people should lose their kids if they are neglectful or abusive parents, not simply because they are polyamorous. I want to help good parents of all kinds–poly, kinky, vanilla, and all–keep their kids by using data to counter hysteria. That is why I study polyamorous families.

Why did you leave academia? What have you been doing since then?

When I first started out as an assistant professor, academia was still ruled by the adage “publish or perish.” Economic downturns from 2008-2011 changed the financial climate for everyone, and universities faced massive budget cuts. In response to significant budgetary shortfalls, universities across the United States made enormous changes in everything from staff and policies to course schedules and facilities. Part of these changes included making “external funding” (meaning getting a research grant from a funding agency outside of the university itself, like the National Science Foundation or the National Institutes of Health) a requirement for tenure. I tried hard to get a grant, but had very little success finding grants that would be appropriate to fund my research or getting the grants for which I applied. That meant that I perished, even though I published, and I did not get tenure at Georgia State University.

I have kept a toe in academia since then, teaching as an adjunct or visiting professor at Oglethorpe and Emory University. My consulting business, Sheff Consulting Group, helps others navigate academia, with advice on choosing programs or dealing with departmental politics, and writing consultations that help to shape articles, select target journals and prepare for submission or address R&R critique. I also work as an expert witness, testifying on behalf of sex and gender minorities who are experiencing discrimination or a challenge to custody of their children.

Currently I am working on my third book, Sex and Gender Diversity in an Internet Era, a book that introduces the general public to the wide and potentially confusing world of transgender, intersexed, genderqueer, kinky, pansexual subcultures that have blossomed since the unconventional folks could find each other online. I thought about calling it WTF is LGBTQIA+, but I thought that a publisher might take me more seriously if it was a more serious title.

Dr. Elisabeth Sheff is an educational consultant and expert witness serving sexual and gender minorities. She is the author of The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships and Families as well as numerous academic and legal articles about polyamory, gender, families, and sexual minorities. Sheff has given more than 20 radio, podcast, print, and television interviews with sources from Radio Slovenia to National Public Radio, the Sunday London Times to the Boston Globe and Newsweek, CNN to National Geographic Television. By emphasizing research methodology and findings in her presentations, Dr. Sheff offers the kind of public intellectualism that encourages audience members to think critically about gender, sexualities, and families. She lives in Atlanta with her wife, their children, dog, cats and the small wild animals the cats bring in.

Poly Weekly book club meets WEDNESDAY, MAY 6th

Ready for the next book club, sure to be fun? This one is a bit different–go see the new play here in Chicago, All My Love, and we’ll discuss next month!

When: Wednesday, May 6th 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Where: Lido’s Caffe, 122 N Marion St, Oak Park, IL 60303, (708) 660-0060, one block from the Harlem Green line stop; meters and lot parking available
What: All My Love, playing at the Theater Building
Who: anyone who is poly or poly-curious, whether you’ve read the book or not. Or who just likes great gelato!

Come on out and join us; we always have a great time!

NOTE: If there is interest in continuing the club after I leave the state in June, let’s please talk.

Poly Weekly #183: Three poly must-have books

This week Poly Weekly #183:three poly must-have books.

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0:00 Introduction and host chat
Intro, under-18 warning and re-direction to; 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

3:00 Caller asks Minx for book suggestions, poly and non-poly.
Minx talks about her choice of books and why she chose them. (Listed below.)

19:20 Happy Poly Moment of the week!
Reid called in and left a message about his happy poly moment. Reid was happy to see his girlfriend’s girlfriend feel comfortable being affectionate in front of him.

21:00 Tom talked about inviting his wife’s love interest into their poly family.

22:40 Listener Feedback
Goose and Gander mailed in thanking Minx for the support

Three poly must-have books:
Opening Up
The Ethical Slut
The Myth of Monogamy

Three relationship must-have books:
If the Buddha Dated or The Fear Book
Why We Love
Getting Things Done

Sci-fi poly fun books:
Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series
Spider Robinson’s Callahan Chronicles

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email 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 Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

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