lovemagician's picture

The Heart of Polyamory: Show Me the Love

By Millie Jackson

I am a literalist when it comes to polyamory—a self-proclaimed poly-purist.  Since the word contains “amory” from the Latin “amor” meaning love, love is literally a defining characteristic of polyamory.  A common definition for polyamory is the concept of being open to having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time with knowledge and consent of all partners involved.  There are other styles of non-monogamy and various ways to engage in open relationships that are not polyamorous.

Though we often contrast and compare polyamory to monogamy, the truest comparison would be between polyamory and mono-amory—the arguably rare state of loving only one partner throughout a lifetime. Another challenge with comparing polyamory to monogamy is that a relationship can be truly monogamous but devoid of love.

Polyamory is a love-style more so than a life-style. One of my pet peeves as an activist for polyamory is when the word is used to describe emotionally disengaged encounters. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own approach to relationships and to how and why they have sex, but calling it polyamory doesn’t make sense if it is not amorous. Obviously, we aren’t going to immediately be in love with everyone we date. It doesn’t usually work that way for monogamists or polyamorists, but polyamory is about having the intention to cultivate an emotional relationship. I would love to see clearer distinctions made among different forms of non-monogamy so myths and misunderstandings are not perpetuated.

book of blue's picture

Orgasm, Intimacy, Self and Relatedness at Burning Man


Photo by Eric Francis.

It is some months after these events; I’ve lost count.  Not so many, let’s see—this was in September, and now it is November—so just under one season ago. It seems so distant and it seems like last week at the same time.

I remember that night as Siobhan and I walked across the playa. It was a journey on the surface of a different planet than the one we had come from, and neither of us forgot the image of the city as a temple complex. I described it when I had settled down a little. My description resembled both a feeling and a visual she experienced at the same time.

Fun Sway, who said she would be back to try that thing, thanked us for sharing the experience, and she plunged into the night. I was one to one with Siobhan and aware of the warmest space of acceptance by another person, safe and embracing. She didn’t need to speak to me and I didn’t need her too. This encouraged me to hold my silence and let so much that I was feeling swim around and find its world within me.

Annabelle River's picture

A Poly Perspective on Celebrity Scandal

I was at my boring desk job today, and my co-workers were talking about the Tiger Woods scandal in my earshot.  They know a lot more than I do about the Tiger Woods scandal, because I haven't read a single article past the headline - because I really don't care.  I don't play or watch golf, and most athlete/Hollywood celebrity scandals are tediously interchangeable, and Tiger Woods and I just don't have much influence over each other's lives.  I don't feel a need to start caring about him now; if you're reading this outside of the U.S. and don't know what I'm talking about, Google him.

But one of my co-worker's more incredulous comments made me cringe with silent frustration: "And he's married to a supermodel!! And he cheated on her anyway!"

Okay, so here's the thing about sex with more than one person: Sometimes it really has nothing whatsoever to do with the original partner.  I'll admit, of course, sometimes it does.  Sometimes people first fall out of love with their "primary" significant other for any number of examples of incompatibility, and they stick around a doomed relationship either because they're too afraid to be alone until they find the next partner, or because they're too afraid to hurt the other person's feelings (which invariably backfires), or because of habit.  Then they lie to their partners or spite them, which is where the real betrayal happens.  I take it (from osmosis) that Tiger Woods lied to a lot of women, which makes him a liar.  The women who trusted him have every right to feel outrage toward a liar, and I wouldn't begrudge any self-righteous co-worker banter over that.

lovemagician's picture

The Heart of Polyamory: Not Half the Parent You Used to Be

By Millie Jackson

A common argument against polyamory is that it is not a healthy life-style for the children involved. I have never found this argument to hold up. Although I do not have children, I have been involved with people who do. What I have witnessed are very content children getting a lot of positive attention. They are being raised in a diverse and accepting environment while witnessing communication, negotiation, and a team mentality. Often times, they are completely unaware that their “extended family” includes partners of their mommy and/or daddy.

The same guidelines of what is appropriate in regards to what children see and hear about sex are basically the same whether parents are monogamous or polyamorous. How parents portray sex and relationships to their children and how they approach conversations about sex varies greatly from one parenting style to the next. A room full of parents who are proclaimed monogamists will disagree, perhaps passionately, on when and how to approach these topics with children. There will, similarly, be a variety of approaches among polyamorous parents too. Keep in mind that there are not wild orgies happening in front of the children. Nobody should be having sex in front of children regardless of the family dynamics.

lovemagician's picture

Something For Every Body: Happy "Thanks-giving"

By Millie Jackson

Gratitude is a great remedy for discontentment.  Being grateful produces positive results because it sets into motion an uplifting appreciation for life.  Thankfully, living with an attitude of gratitude is an option we all have regardless of our circumstances.

Happiness and contentment can be found in the moment when we are not constantly looking for new things to come along and “make” us happy (job, car, relationships, clothes, toys, etc.).  What we don’t have can appear far more desirable, while what we do have can seem worth less--the proverbial “The grass is always greener on the other side”.  By experiencing gratitude for what we have, we can avoid the pitfall of “not knowing what we had until it’s gone”.

Health and wellness are great examples of aspects of ourselves that often are taken for granted until a crisis is experienced.  It is this disregard for our bodies that can result in lack of appropriate care that precipitates some crises.

lovemagician's picture

The Heart of Polyamory: Poly--Unsaturated

By Millie Jackson

Knowing your limits is an important component of any healthy relationship but is especially true for living a successful polyamorous life-style.  Compared to the built-in rules associated with monogamy, the individual freedoms afforded in polyamory could lead some people to behave like “kids in a candy store” (which certainly is their prerogative).  For me, polyamory is about the quality of relationships more so than the quantity.

Polyamory espouses the idea that love is abundant; but for most of us time, energy and money are not. There are only twenty-four hours in a day, and we do have to sleep.  Polyamory also espouses the idea that having additional partners enhances existing relationships rather than detracts from them.  That can take some prudent time management and often takes dialoging, negotiating and compromising. A team mentality is helpful if not essential.   Polyamory doesn’t function well when approached as “every person for themselves”.

Annabelle River's picture

Havelock Ellis and Olive Schreiner: A History Mini-Lesson

For all the increasing mainstream news coverage of polyamory, most articles still take the perspective of "exposing" something very new and innovative.  Which I understand, because most people haven't heard of us.  I've had a lot of positive coming-out experiences to a lot of open-minded people, but I've never come to out to anyone outside the BDSM Scene without having to explain what "polyamory" actually means.  Certainly the campaign for visibility is a relatively recent phenomenon.  The word was only coined in 1990, and The Ethical Slut only published in 1997.  Before that, the terms "polygamy" oddly classified us with authoritative patriarchies (like Mormons), or phrases like "open relationship" inappropriately trivialized our "secondary" partners. Even "open relationships" get sensationalized as a modern phenomenon; a recent CNN article claims, "The 1970s introduced the concept of 'open marriage.'" (Emphasis mine.)

Annabelle River's picture

Adventures of a "Bad Girl" with Sinus Congestion

In the cultural binary between "good girls" and "bad girls," I definitely spent my formative years as a "good girl":  I got straight A's, mostly didn't drink or smoke pot until college, and I was too insecure to act on my slutty fantasies.  But then I became a sadomasochistic polyamorous adulteress who writes about sex on the internet, which I'm told now qualifies me as a "bad girl."  So today I was waiting in line at Walgreens to buy Kleenex for my runny nose (you know, the way that "bad girls" do) and I was highly amused to see that this month's issue of Cosmopolitan proclaims on its cover: "Bad Girl Issue: For Sexy Bitches Only."

The magnificent Evil Slut Clique has already intelligently skewered the November 2009 issue of Cosmo (as they've done to previous issues), and I should confess that I didn't actually spend $4.29 to bring the magazine home to quote it more accurately.  But considering my own "bad girl" credentials - and the long line to buy Kleenex - I caved to my curiosity and flipped to find out which "bad girls" made the honor list.  And there in the top left corner of the page was Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, First Lady of France, and a reference to her infamous quote, “I‘m monogamous from time to time, but I prefer polygamy and polyandry.”

lovemagician's picture

The Heart of Polyamory: Breaking Up is Hard to View

By Millie Jackson

Why is it that we refer to relationships as long-term or short-term?  I don’t hear the expression medium-term used even though that probably characterizes most relationships better than saying long or short.  Granted, these are relative terms.  Someone who doesn’t tend to stay in relationships very long might consider one year to be long-term.  Others might be more likely to characterize a one year relationship by saying “we weren’t together for very long” or “we were only together for a year”.

This isn’t meant to be a debate about what constitutes short, medium or long-term. It is a pondering of why we are not taught how to break-up.  Given the reality that most people have several relationships throughout their life-time, it seems that breaking-up is a basic skill that we all need to learn.

book of blue's picture


Rocks, moss and lake, Harrison, Maine. Photo by Eric Francis.

You might ask how this is possible. Sometimes I wonder, but at the time it’s obvious; it’s an experience of embracing reality; and an experience of love. Compersion is not about sex or sexual pleasure, or at least that is not what makes it possible; it’s about love that embraces every feeling, and every aspect of relationship.

For me this experience would not have been what it was, were I not deeply in love with her, as deep as in any monogamous relationship. I am adventurous and flirtatious and there are many people I love and share erotic energy with on some level. Yet the part of me that loves, what I call the devotional ray, loves completely. I was going to correct that to ‘aspires to love’ but the experience I have is of the feeling moving through me rather than me doing something.

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