PW 308: Poly in the Month of Love

Being poly in America February 2012–how did the world treat nonmonogamy this Valentine’s Day?

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1:00 News and host chat

  • Thanks for your patience with the audio—think we’ve fixed it

4:20 Topic: Being poly in February 2012 for Valentine’s Day

Poly in the media and how love and relationships are being viewed for this year’s Valentine’s Day.

22:10 Feedback

  • Musqurat calls in to correct my assertion that the word “polyamory” was coined by Morning Glory Zell. In fact, she used the word “polyamorous;” the word “polyamory” was first used by Jennifer Wesp in the Usenet group in 1992.
  • Fred writes in to share that he found his identity as a monoamorist who likes occasional play with others.

25:10 Wrapup

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!

Gingrich: Don’t destroy non-monogamous family values

Today, the news broke that one of Newt Gingrich’s ex-wives is going public with the information that he had once asked her for an open marriage.

I really can’t speak as to the repercussions of this publicity on his political career, such as it is. I suspect that the folks who like Gingrich will continue to like and defend him, and those who don’t (I count myself among those) will use this as fodder to denounce his suitability as a Republican presidential candidate.

What is worth commenting on is Gingrich’s reported approach to open marriage. According to the story in the Washington Post, Marianne Gingrich, Newt’s second wife, reports that after conducting a six-year affair with Callista Bisek, Newt proposed an open marriage in which he would be partners with both Marianne and Callista.

Marianne turned down the offer, and Bisek became Gingrich’s third wife.

This case is high-profile because of Gingrich’s potential presidential candidacy and perhaps also because of his steadfast promotion of family values, which presumably do not include having a long-term affair. Additionally, as the Post points out:

The House speaker who pilloried President Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky was himself having an affair at the time.

So there is a strong element of hypocrisy to the situation as well.

Newt, yer doin’ it WRONG

But even that isn’t what bothers me most here, on this blog devoted to polyamory. What I’d like to tell Gingrich is that open marriage and other forms of non-monogamy are not your back door for when you get caught. Non-monogamy in its many forms takes a tremendous amount of communication and work to ensure the happiness of all parties involved, and it is most decidedly not an escape hatch for a guy caught with his trousers down.

What Gingrich offered his wife Marianne wasn’t an option; it was an ultimatum: share me or get lost. And I can assure you that almost every instance of the “relationship broken; add more people” approach has failed. This was not a conscious decision made with the full knowledge and consent of all parties involved; this was a cheater backed into a corner seeking to extract himself from an unhappy marriage.

And in that, he succeeded. It just annoys me that he used a proposal of open marriage as a blunt object to rid himself of his second wife. Just cheat, divorce, remarry your mistress and be done with it. Don’t drag our hardworking model of non-monogamy into it. Some of us actually work at this, and you’re sullying the institution of non-monogamous marriage.

Poly Weekly Book Club: Pagan Polyamory

Thanks to everyone who came out last night. We had 13 people, including some new faces, all hotly discussing issues brought up in Jenny Block’s book Open: Love and Sex in an Open Marriage. Plus, we created a new word:

kalosexual–those who get turned on by honesty!

Use it; love it; spread it around!

When: Wednesday, November 5th, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Lido’s Caffe, 122 N Marion St, Oak Park (near Harlem Green
line stop, street and lot parking available) , at the back room
What: Raven Kaldera’s Pagan Polyamory

Pagan Polyamory

Please come out to chat even if you haven’t read the book; we always have interesting discussions!

Please RSVP so we’ll know to expect you; thanks!

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Poly Weekly #173: Jenny Block is “Open”

This week Poly Weekly #173: an interview with Jenny Block, author of “Open: Love and Sex in an Open Marriage,” who shares her own story and struggles of being “normal” and polyamorous..

Download the episode directly!

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

1:40 Minx gives us a brief introduction for Jenny

3:15 Minx asks how Jenny has been received in her book tour.  Jenny talks about how surprised she has been how positive the response has been.

4:10 Jenny talks about some negative comments she received after being on a television show.

5:15 Jenny talks about how strange it is that society accepts cheating a lot more than honest, open relationships.

7:55 Minx asks if we are used to cheating but maybe not so used to open marriages.

10:20 Minx asks Jenny “what is normal?” in reference to Jenny considering herself normal in her book.

11:20 Jenny says maybe “average” is a better word.  That you wouldn’t be able to tell her her lifestyle at the PTA meeting.

12:10 Jenny talks about the difference in poly/open people.  Not everybody looks the same.

13:00 Jenny and Minx talk about people who feel the need to watch and respond to things they don’t agree with or support.

15:45 Minx asks Jenny about gaining weight and how it affected her relationship.  Jenny talks about how losing the weight did not have the result she was expecting.

17:30 Jenny talks about differing libidoes in commited relationships.

18:54 Minx asks if we are blaming the wrong things for our relationsihip failures.  Jenny talks about how much harder fixing what is wrong than blaming the wrong thing can be.

19:45 Jenny and Minx talk about people’s expecations of relationsihps and how unreasonable they are.

21:50 Minx asks for Jenny’s comment to straight open marriages (i.e. not bisexual).  Jenny talks about how monogamy doesn’t really fit us as a species.

24:30 Jenny talks about expectations and her own opening up experiences with her husband.

25:09 Minx asks Jenny how the conversation went when she wanted to open the marriage.  Jenny talks about her original cheating on her husband and how the lying is what affected him.

Jenny Block’s Open

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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Our intro and outro music is courtesy of Pacemaker Jane, “Good Suspicions”

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