Serena Anderlini's picture

The G Tales: Episode 2 - Three: Or, Why Is Mono Poly Too? (Part 2 of 2)

(Sculpture by Regina Reinhardt)

“Sounds like poly to me,” I confirm.

“Well, Dante knew about it back in the fourteenth century.”

“Oh,” I wonder, “what evidence do you have?”

“This sentence, ‘love, that releases no beloved from loving,’ nobody knows what he intended because it really means both.”

“What do you mean both?”

“It’s ambivalent, it means both the reciprocity of love, as in A loves B and viceversa, and the circulatory nature of erotic energies, as in A loves B loves C loves D loves E and so on. And all translators, readers, critics, theorists, have been baffled by it for centuries. Yet they all refer to it.”

“Oh, I get it, a literary trope.”

“You may say that. It’s more that the number three was in Dante’s mind, I think. He knew that perfect reciprocity is virtually impossible, that there is always some triangulation, even in the most perfect, most reciprocated type of love.”

lovemagician's picture

The Heart of Polyamory: A Book Worth Opening Up

My local polyamory support and networking group hosts a bi-monthly book discussion.   This has been a great incentive for me to read a variety of books related to polyamory.  Having historically not dedicated much of my life to reading (sadly, not even some of the books assigned in high school and college), a large percentage of the books I have now read are about aspects of consensual nonmonogamy. 

Though there is an ever-growing number of books on the topic written with varying degrees of expertise, one I am definitely recommending was our group’s most recent selection, Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino (2008).   A variety of relationship styles are addressed including partnered nonmonogamy, swinging, polyamory and monogamy/nonmonogamy combinations.  I particularly appreciate Taormino’s distinction of polyamory from other forms of nonmonogamy.  I am often frustrated by the confusion that is perpetuated by the over-use of the term “polyamory” when there are other descriptive terms that better capture a specific relationship type that truly is fundamentally distinct from poly (such as swinging).  Taormino does a wonderful job of fleshing this out.

Polyamory gets a lot of coverage in Taormino’s book and she also delineates as separate relationship styles solo polyamory (choosing not to have a primary partner while none-the-less being dedicated to polyamory), polyfidelity (a committed primary partnership with more than two people) and mono/poly combinations (an agreement where one partner is monogamous while the other is nonmonogamous).  I do not consider these relationship dynamics to be separate from polyamory; but by treating them as distinct and addressing them in their own chapter, Taormino is able to highlight the nuances of each.

Serena Anderlini's picture

The G Tales: Episode 2 - Three: Or, Why Is Mono Poly Too? (Part 1 of 2)

(Sculpture by Regina Reinhardt)


“The dichotomy between selfless and selfish love is deluded because affectional types of love are necessary for our survival as a species, and are therefore not as selfless as they are believed to be. It is self-defeating because all forms of love have an erotic component, the denial of which causes unhappiness and produces substantial amounts of hatred, often enough to defeat the forces of love.”  From Gaia and the New Politics of Love: Notes for a Poly Planet

“one must learn to love one before one can love many,” from Intimate Dialogs

“amor ch’a nullo amato amar perdona,” from La Divina Commedia

“love, that releases no beloved from loving” (Allen Mandelbaum tr)

The latest about G is that she’s not dead. She’s actually doing well, she tells me. Enjoying the summer, and thinking about numbers.

“Is mono part of poly?” she asks on the phone.

“How can it be,” I say, “if you’re mono you’re not poly. It’s either poly or mono. Don’t you know about those famous mono partners and the havoc they can cause, how they always manage to spoil the game?”

lovemagician's picture

Room For Growth

I usually spend Memorial Weekend at The Heartland Polyamory Conference (HPC) just outside French Lick, Indiana at Our Haven Nature Sanctuary--178 acres of sacred land where diversity isn’t just tolerated but is celebrated.  I was disappointed when I learned that the conference wasn’t taking place this year.  I would miss the heart-felt and thought provoking discussions among a diverse group of polyamorous and polycurious people from communities throughout the Midwest and beyond.

It is so helpful for polyamorists to come together and share about our experiences.  Most of us are learning as we go with limited access to information and support beyond books and the Internet, so sharing with one another about what has and hasn’t worked for us is very useful.  I’m lucky to have access to a very active local poly support and networking group, but I still love expanding my community and hearing from more perspectives.

In addition to the uplifting sense of community at HPC, the weekend affords me an amazing connection with nature.  I camp near a running stream in the clothing optional section (sunscreen and shade not so optional).  I feel an inspiring sense of freedom when I am there.

Last year, I had the opportunity to interact with people who were on the land but were not involved with the polyamory conference who happened to be swingers.  I found myself on the receiving end of assumptions because I’m bisexual and polyamorous.  Couples I had just met were inviting me to connect with them sexually.  I politely declined and tried to take the opportunities to educate them about how and why that is not in line with my personal pursuit of polyamory.  Yet my unwavering assertions were actively ignored, and I got to see how strongly stereotypes can influence people’s behaviors even when they are contrary to what is actually taking place.  I realized I had been naïve to assume that if I am honest and transparent that I would be believed.

Serena Anderlini's picture

Polyamory, Is It Possible? Interview with Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio

The following interview was recorded by Tatami RaiTre, Italian Public TV 
February 15th, 2009

Participants: Hostess Camilla Raznovich; Guests: Serena Anderlini, Michela Marzano, Ricky Tognazzi

Camilla Raznovich:  Good evening, Serena Anderlini, theorist and practitioner of polyamory, a topic about which she has written many books.  So, I’d like to understand how you figured out that you had a tendency to love more than one partner at the same time.

Serena Anderlini:  I figured it out because I loved the people with whom my partners fell in love.  If they fell in love with them, I fell in love with them too, and so I wanted to transform the negative energies of hatred, envy, jealousy, into a positive energy in which I was able to share this love.  It was a rather long path because one cannot easily transform a negative sentiment into a positive one, one has to go though a whole process of inner transformation, a spiritual process that makes one capable of embracing a type of love that is not possessive.  For me this is comparable to a father, or a mother, who have twelve children.  Will the twelve children be less loved?  No.  At times in these big families people love each other a lot, so why can’t this multiplicity also happen also in the area of partners, why?  Why is love for our children supposed to be altruistic and love for one’s partners egotistic?  Why?

CR: And at this time, how many partners do you have?

SA: I didn’t come here to tell you that. It’s none of your business.  (Applause.)

CR: But you have more than one at the same time?

SA: Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.

lovemagician's picture

Clearly Ambiguous

By Millie Jackson

Upon a foundation of honesty, mutual respect and consensuality, polyamory offers freedom to structure relationships based on the unique needs, desires and circumstances of those involved.  Given its complexity and diversity, you might ask:  “How, then, do polyamorists agree on the definition of polyamory?”  The answer is:  “We don’t.”

Some people, especially non-polyamorists, see polyamory more broadly as an umbrella term for non-monogamy that includes relationship structures such as polygamy and swinging.  Other people see polyamory as a subcategory of non-monogamy, with some overlap with other relationship structures depending on the intent of those relationships.

alan7388's picture

Slippery-Slope Poly Marriage? Some Realities

Let the weirdos have gay marriage, and next they'll want poly threesome marriages, and next they'll be marrying goats...

lovemagician's picture

A Body of Evidence


Something For Every Body

By Millie Jackson

Our body is a messenger.  Through an array of physical cues it tells us when it’s thirsty, hungry, tired, has to urinate, etc.  These are important clues that tell us what action to take.  Our body also communicates through symptoms when something is awry.  Unfortunately, many of us have been taught to ignore symptoms or to try to eliminate them.

Since there are no drugs, herbs, or supplements that will overcome poor diet choices and lifestyle habits, it is more productive to attend to your body’s needs versus trying to correct established imbalances.  You will save time, money, and energy listening to your body and identifying things that need attention before they become serious health problems.

lovemagician's picture

How I Got Into Polyamory and Polyamory Got Into Me


By Millie Jackson

The concept of polyamory intuitively made sense to me even before I had a word for it.  However, it seemed more like a futuristic utopian approach to loving than a viable option in the real world.

In the late 80’s, I had a relationship with two other women.  At the time, I didn’t have a context to grasp that this fun-loving trio was my first polyamorous relationship.  It felt very natural to me.  I wondered why more people weren’t having relationships like this, and why the three of us were being judged so harshly.  I was surprised that people even cared, and I didn’t understand why they felt threatened.

In the mid-90’s, I attempted to openly and honestly have two relationships at the same time, but the dramas that ensued fueled my doubts about this being a practical approach to relating.  Pursuing polyamory with proclaimed monogamists wasn’t working, no matter how much we liked each other and no matter how honest I was.

Serena Anderlini's picture

Gaia on SGB

Hey folks! 

Nice to meet you on SGB.  It was election week and I had to come up with an intro to my new book, Gaia and the New Politics of Love.  Everyone was excited about the imminent end of the Bush era.  The idea of the book is that we need a new politics of love to stay alive on this little planet we’re all stuck on!  We need to learn the arts of loving each other or else we will simply kill each other off until the last one of us humans is dead.  Ouch!!!  If that’s the case, I want to go first!

Notes for a Poly Planet, the subtitle says.  What’s a poly planet?  Well, that’s the planet we will have when the new politics happens.  We’re not sure yet, it’s a prophecy . . .
So, a new politics of love in both senses: a new way of managing the political aspects of love, and a new way of doing politics that is based on love.  That’s why I thought that a president born from a passion of love was a good foreboding.  Of course he is the president of an empire, and empire that accidentally still calls itself democracy.  But his mother and father must have had the hots for each other, don’t you think?!? 

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