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 http://alifelessmonogamous.com

PW 463: The Game Changer

Franklin Veaux talk about his new autobiography, The Game ChangerGameChanger final front cover - full 

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1:00 Host chat

4:00 Poly in the News

9:00 Interview: Franklin Veaux on The Game ChangerFranklin Veaux author photo

Poly author and ethicist Franklin Veaux talks about his just-release autobiography, The Game Changer, including why he wrote it and what you can learn from his poly journey.

32:45 Happy Poly Moment

F writes in with a sweet happy poly moment about being accepted by his girlfriend’s mother over the holidays.

34:05 Thank you!

Charles and Sarah both donated this month. Thank you!

37:25 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com 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 Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Ask Minx: How do I own my shit when I’m depressed?

Minx podcasting headshot 2013Hi Minx,

My partner and I have been together for nine years and poly for almost two years. Because of my depression, I don’t always feel very sexual. While this wasn’t the reason we decided to become poly, my partner feels like he should have other partners during these times to sleep with to “fill in the gaps”, so to speak. However, during these moments in my depression, I’m usually feeling incredibly volatile, and it’s at these times I feel my worst and most replaceable (not just in our relationship but in all aspects of my life), and I physically can’t go through the constant panic and anxiety attacks that means for me. I know one of the biggest aspects in the community is “owning your own emotions”, but how do you see one’s troubled mental health playing into that for continued success in polyamory? 

Depressed and distressed

Dear D&D:

While it’s true that we talk a lot about owning your own shit, there is another issue at play here. In the case of health issues, I’d recommend a slightly different tack. And I’m using the word “health” instead of “mental health” because in truth, there isn’t much difference between a physical and a mental ailment. It’s all biology, right?

It’s rarely a good idea to use polyamory to fix a problem in a relationship. (We call this the “relationship broken; add more people” model.) It’s unwise and unkind to try to use other people to “fill in the gaps” in your current relationship–and it almost never works out the way you think it will! Instead, I’d recommend working on two things: first, on managing your own health and second, on developing coping techniques for your partner.

First, the issue of your health condition. We typically recommend addressing any relationship and any chronic health issues before opening up a relationship to polyamory. As with dating monogamously, the goal is to present your best self as well as a happy, stable couple to prospective partners. So take the time to address and stabilize your health issues before trying polyamory. Work with your doctor to better manage your depression. As LustyGuy always says, “Biology comes first.” Your depression isn’t currently well managed, and that will only make dating and polyamory unnecessarily difficult, for you, your partner and your new dating prospects. As you say, you currently have no control over your emotions, and that’s not a good position to be in when dating (or when your partner is dating). It’s OK—nay, essential—for you to take care of yourself first.

Once you’ve figured out how to manage your condition and have developed tried-and-true coping mechanisms for any depressive episodes, you’ll be able to consider dating and having your partner date. But for now, please take care of yourself.

Second, there is the issue of your partner feeling something lacking in your relationship. Even when your depression is well managed, the fact that your partner feels your relationship is lacking from time to time is a separate issue. Please work with your therapist and your partner to figure out a good coping strategy for your partner when you have a depressive episode. LustyGuy, L and I each have chronic conditions that arise on occasional (and often inconvenient) times, and we each have strategies for coping with them when they arise. We each are able to express support and love to our partners while revising our own plans accordingly and relatively painlessly. You and your partner should strive to do the same. And before you know it, you’ll be handling your condition like a pro, and your partner will be supporting you merrily all the way!

PW 460: Top five poly trends of 2015

47541500_sHow did the polyamory movement change in 2015? 

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1:00 Host chat

3:30 Poly in the News

7:00 Topic: Top five poly trends of 2015

  1. More nonfiction books gave us more poly voices to relate to.
  1. More poly news snuck into the mainstream, including being satirized in The Onion.
  1. Political pundits gave us air space in the wake of the same-sex marriage legalization announcement over the summer and dissenting Supreme Court judges, political pundits wondered whether the polyamorists would want marriage rights next, which brought polyamory as a topic to the dinner table.
  1. The poly movement saw more diversification, including gay polyamorists, over-60 polyamorists and trans folks. Additionally, the issue of emotional abuse inside our community was brought to light, and relationship anarchy gained momentum.
  1. Poly Weekly kicked butt! OK, maybe this is only #1 for me, but LustyGuy and I spoke at more events than ever before; we exceeded 50,000 downloads a month; we launched an email newsletter, and we even made the Buzzfeed list of top 40 places to learn everything you never learned in sex ed class!

16:45 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com 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 Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

Ask Minx: What’s the line between venting and gossiping?

Minx podcasting headshot 2013Minx:

My partner has a concern: that I will “run to” my other partners and gossip about him when things aren’t great in our relationship. I can admit that gossiping is one of my shortcomings. I find a lot of value in being open about my life and the things I am thinking about and struggling with, but I understand (in theory) that others want or need more privacy, that my venting might interfere with that privacy. So how do I find the line between venting and gossiping? Maybe seeing this in a new light will help me curb my behavior.

–Babbling B

A good general policy is not to talk about one partner to another, except to praise. LustyGuy is great at this–he is always singing L’s praises to me (and, presumably, mine to her).

Yes, it may SEEM like you should be able to vent harmlessly to your new friend/lover, who after all likes and respects your live-in partner, right? No. It doesn’t work that way. It ends up creating back alley alliances, fear, uncertainty and an environment of competition all around. After all, how could anyone trust you if they all know you’ll share the least flattering bits of your interactions with others, who don’t love them like you do?

Here’s a tip: make all your new partners aware of the no-venting-about-others policy and ask them to help you enforce it. In addition to training yourself to stop venting, train them to stop you when you start complaining and cut you off with, “this is not a conversation you and I are going to have” or “go tell him that” or just hand you the phone and say “call him!” If you need to get a poly-friendly therapist or have a non-partner friend as your established ventee, do so.

But your partners should only hear the best about each other from you. 

PW 459: How to avoid polysaturation

lolcatsdotcomwbmf1xra4ftvyg8tHow to avoid polysaturation–saying no 

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1:00 Host chat

We’ll be at InfinityCon in Atlanta in February!

1:45 Poly in the News

3:45 How to avoid polysaturation

Minx and Koe Creation talk about how to take care of yourself, how to say no and other tips for avoiding polysaturation.

30:00 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com 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 Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 457 My best friend just got married! Can we date now?

Is a new marriage the best place and time to introduce a poly l0ver?icanhazdatenao

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1:00 Host chat

  • Too much drama in your relationships? Invest in the Kicking Poly Drama on Its Ass online course, just $99 for one student or $169 for up to a three-person polycule!
  • Positively Poly Pointers As a thank-you for their investment and as motivation for ongoing skills development, KPD students and Poly Weekly Playmates will soon be receiving weekly email relationship tips!

2:50 Poly in the News

5:15 Topic: My best friend just got married! Can she and I date now?

A listener writes in to say he and his best friend, former lovers, want to start their sexual relationship back up now that she is recently married. But she hasn’t come out as poly to her new husband. What should our listener do?

11:20 Thank you!

Welcome, Michele, to the Poly Weekly Playmates!

12:00 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com 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 Blubrry.com. 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.

Feedback

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 polyweekly@gmail.com 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 Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 455: Help! My partners keep triggering my PTSD!

29956140_sHow do you deal with partners whose screaming matches repeatedly trigger your PTSD?

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1:00 Host chat

Poly in the News

3:50 Poly in the News

6:05 Topic: Triggering PTSD

A listener writes in to ask what to do when her partner and metamour have screaming fights that trigger her PTSD.

16:00 Feedback

R writes in with a LOT of great information on furries! Everything you wanted to know about furries but were afraid to ask!

21:00 Happy Poly Moment

Lean in Berlin shares an adorable happy poly moment.

22:45 Thank you!

Thanks to Anthony for his donation!

23:30 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com 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 Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

PW 454: Two new lovers: double the fun?

If you take two new partners at the same time, is it double the NRE or double the drama?rainbow_ice_cream_cat_meme-www.memegen.com

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1:00 Host chat

Want to find out about new episodes, classes and ebooks hot off the press? Sign up for our email newsletter.

1:30 Poly in the News

7:00 Topic: Is dating two new partners at the same time extra fun or extra jealousy?

  • A listener writes in to ask if it’s common to date two new people at once. Is more jealousy and insecurity a natural side effect of that situation?
    • It depends on the people involved.
    • What’s more important is what do YOU want and need. Does this situation work for you?
  • Alisha writes in to ask what to do: she wants to be her partner’s girlfriend, but he’s on the rebound from a 14-year marriage and feels he can’t be in a serious relationship. What to do?
    • Date your species.

16:30 Feedback

Herbalwise calls in to say he LOVES to date poly newbies!

20:00 Happy Poly Moment

Greg shares a happy poly moment as a sex worker deciding to expand his boundaries and getting love and support from his partners when he does!

21:45 Wrap Up

Questions? Comments? Feedback? Email polyweekly@gmail.com 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 Blubrry.com. Share this with a friend or write an iTunes review!

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