Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reflections on Impact of July 2009 Newsweek Polyamory Article on Opposition

The July 29, 2009 Newsweek article on polyamory got a lot of attention, including that of many defenders of traditional marriage. As one might imagine, they were none too pleased. It went quite viral and was blogged about and reported on far and wide both by those who are neutral on the subject and by those who are anything but. The article includes this anemic quote from Glenn Stanton, the director of family studies for Focus on the Family:

"This group is really rising up from the underground, emboldened by the success of the gay-marriage movement."

In some instances it has been rather entertaining to witness reactions from staunch defenders of traditional marriage. The Reverend Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said about the article:

"Perhaps the best way to understand this new movement is to understand it as a natural consequence of subverting marriage. We have largely normalized adultery, serialized marriage, separated marriage from reproduction and childbearing, and accepted divorce as a mechanism for liberation. Once this happens, boundary after boundary falls as sexual regulation virtually disappears among those defined as 'consenting adults.'

The ultimate sign of our moral confusion becomes evident when virtually no one appears ready to condemn polyamory as immoral. The only arguments mustered against this new movement focus on matters of practicality. Polyamory is certainly not new, but this new movement is yet another reminder that virtually all the fences are now down when it comes to sex and sexual relationships. What comes next?"

What comes next?  Hopefully freedom from societal condemnation and being fairly treated on the job and by family courts and child services agencies!

The best other spokespeople from the opposition could do to discredit poly families was to refer to studies commissioned by and conducted by advocates for traditional families and marriage (about same sex marriage, not polyamory, the 2004 Heritage Foundation Study) as flimsy proof that what we do is harmful for children.  It's as though their only hope for taking the wind out of our sails is to hope that poly relationships aren't stable enough to offer a stable home environment for children, a sardonic approach if there ever was one. 

The article did manage to strike a nerve in commenter Baring-G, when the entire article appeared on the conservative Christian website Virtue Online:

"Please pardon me as I run to the bathroom to throw up! If Polyamory is where our Western Society is heading (and logic dictates that it is),then our society is collapsing. LORD HAVE MERCY! Lord, bring us a spiritual restoration before it is too late. 'Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people." Let us pray that the people of the West repent and turn back to God.'"

What we who have embraced our polyness see as entirely reasonable and healthy can indeed look like the sky is falling to others. The truth can hurt when these folks realize that their perspective on the issue doesn't match reality. In this case the truth is that the opposition is pretty much impotent when it comes to denying us our right to live a life of romantic sexual relationship freedom. May it ever be so.  As the oft-seen bumper sticker says:


Newsweek Names "Family" Poly Video One of Its 2009 Top Ten







What great news!! Terisa Greenan, creator of the Family webseries, and the video about her and her real-life poly family that accompanied Newsweek online's July 29, 2009 polyamory article has been named an editor's choice of the top 10 NEWSWEEK videos in 2009!  To them I send a big "HUZZAH!" along with many thanks for taking risks (privacy, livelihood, child custody) that most would quite justifiably refrain from taking.  It takes great courage to invite the media into your life and family when you're a poly person.  It can have unintended consequences, but this family handled themselves admirably, and the article turned out very well indeed.

So what does this recognition say about the growth of interest in polyamory in 2009? Quite a lot, actually. The Newsweek article is probably the most widely-read mainstream article ever written on the subject. It was referenced far and wide over the internet by mainstream journalists and religious conservatives (who were none too pleased, of course), and it sparked no fewer than 727 comments on the article on the Newsweek website.  It has certainly helped raise awareness of polyamory, in great part due to the positive example set by Terisa, Larry, Scott, Matt, and Vera.  We owe them our thanks. 

If you've never seen the "Family" web series, you can see it in its uncensored entirety here.  After concluding its first season on October 31 it's on haitus just now but is to return in 2010.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Questioning Monogamy

I'm really loving how Tiger Woods's extramarital affairs have inspired a variety of writers to write columns that question monogamy.  (For your very own "Question Monogamy" t-shirt, go here.)    For example, two online articles published today make some especially interesting points.  Huffington Post brings us Jay Michaelson's It's Not Just Tiger: Monogamous Marriage Is An Anomaly , and Newsweek Online just published my girl Jenny Block's The Case Against Monogamy - Why is everyone so surprised about Tiger Woods? When it comes down to it, monogamy doesn't always work.

What I love about all this is that it is drawing attention to the notion that because monogamy is so difficult for many to make work over the long term, everyone needs to wise up to the fact that monogamy should be an intentional choice, not something people do just because they think they're supposed to. 

Other polyamory advocates and I have been saying this very thing for a long time.  None of us contends that monogamy is wrong, or bad, or uncool, or especially inferior.  We just want people to know that they have another legitimate option, and that for some polyamory may work better and be more ethical than monogamy. 

Whatever way people arrange their intimate lives, committing to monogamy by rote because it's what we are "supposed" to do is clearly a bigger risk than most people realize and can result in tremendous heartbreak for those who find it more difficult to stick with than they anticipated.  It's also a mistake for those who hope they can give it lip service while sneaking around behind their monogamous partner's back, which appears to be Tiger Woods's bankrupt strategy. 

Though we polyamorists are often villified for our choices, I am proud to say that I will never cheat on a partner, and neither are any partners likely to cheat on me, because none of us has to.  We make relationship agreements we can stick to, and if we find we no longer can, then we talk with our partners and renegotiate the rules of the relationship.  In this way trust is maintained.  Jenny gets it SO right when she say of her partnerships ....

"We love each other and want to be together, but monogamy is not the cornerstone of our partnership—trust is."

May it some day be so for everyone, no matter what their relationship choice. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tiger Woods's Affairs and the Latest Episode of Celebrity Infidelity

Of course, Tiger Woods's extramarital relationships are THE big news right now.  I came across this cartoon just as I was musing about the similarities with the South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford affair that broke in June of this year.  Though not identical in that Sanford appears to have genuinely fallen in love with his mistress, while Woods seems to have connections that are more sex-based, couples can and do negotiate agreements that permit either or both.  (Another of my posts on the Sanford story can be found here.  This one includes political cartoons.)

And of course, we have no idea what agreement may exist between Tiger and Elin Woods, or how she as a European views infidelity.  They are said to be in counseling together, though today's news is that Elin may have purchased a home in Sweden on an island reachable only by ferry and gone there with the children.  If so, Tiger's situation may sadly mirror Governor Sanford's even more closely, i.e. resulting in the breakup of the family.  It seems pretty clear that Tiger's sexual relationships weren't conducted openly with Elin Woods's knowledge.  Still, wouldn't it be better if they had some sort of agreement that permitted connecting with others so long as trust isn't broken?  Trouble is that I doubt there's any wife who'd not be outraged by being subjected to the media frenzy surrounding this story and very concerned about protecting her children from prying eyes and hurtful comments.

It would seem that even the most talented, successful and wealthy among us share the same relationship challenges as we regular people.  When it comes to faith and trust in marital relationships, the playing field is even for all of us.  No one is exempt from having to be accountable for breaking relationship agreements.  A lot of pain and difficulty could be avoided if the Woodses, like Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, agreed that sexual flings were OK so long as commitment to the marriage is genuine and not undermined by intimacy with others.   

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Support Scarleteen and Comprehensive Sex Ed for Teens

One of the causes I consider very important is comprehensive sex education for minors, and putting an end to abstinence-only sex ed, which is both irresponsible and ineffective. I'm passionate on this subject because I don't want to see any of today's youth be led down the f***ed up road I was led down, where I was given zero positive messaging about sex and some very damaging sex-negative messaging that it took many years to correct so that I could have a healthy sex life and happy relationships.

My friend Heather Corinna founded and runs the Scarleteen website which furnishes comprehensive sex education and related resources to thousands of kids who would otherwise get their sex ed the old fashioned way - either from their ill-informed friends or from elders who are too uncomfortable or too blinded by their own skewed values to manage to do more good than harm.

Like so many sex-related non-profit groups, Scarleteen is run pretty much completely by the passionate commitment of one or more people to whom the subject means a great deal, and in this case that person is Heather. Scarleteen's budget is meager and doesn't provide much in the way of financial support necessary for someone like Heather to be able to devote the huge amounts of time and effort it takes to provide the services she provides. If it were better supported, it would be able to do even more to help today's teens. Without Scarleteen, they would be left pretty much in the dark, abandoned by our society to ignorance and having risky sex and all the dangers that implies.

So I urge you to please join me in supporting Scarleteen. I'm sending in a $100 donation now - won't you do what you can, too?

Thanks!

Call for Intervenors - Canadian Polyamorists Set to Challenge Anti-Polygamy Law

We US poly activists will surely be watching this case very closely. If you are poly and Canadian, please consider responding to this call - you have an opportunity to make history here both legally and socially and help ensure relationship freedom for yourself and your brother and sister Canadian polyamorists. And though this won't set a legal precident here in the US, its success will surely be helpful in working toward global acceptance of our kind of relationships.

Although this is no laughing matter, I couldn't resist including this campy picture and a link to the Onionesque article that describes it.  These three are Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper and his supposed second and third brides. 

But back to business.  Here's a hearty "huzzah!" to the Canadian poly activists who are undertaking this important effort.

--------------------------------------------------------------

Call for Intervenors

November 13, 2009

Court case: Upcoming BC Government’s Court Reference on the Criminalization of Polygamy and Group Marriages

The BC government will shortly put a question to the Court to test the constitutionality of section 293 of the Criminal Code of Canada which criminalizes people who practice polygamy or enter into any kind of “conjugal union” (i.e. a common-law marriage) with more than one person at the same time. Intervenors will have as little as 3 weeks to respond with court applications and affidavits.

It is important that polyamorists who are interested in being married to more than one person, or are living with more than one person, make the court aware of their interests and the legal arguments that the law is unconstitutional, because it infringes their Canadian Charter rights of association, religion (i.e. Wiccan or Pagan), equality, and the life, liberty and security of the person. It is not appropriate for a law which criminalizes loving, committed, consensual relationships to remain on the books, even if it is not presently being enforced. The more polyamorous interveners there are, the more strongly the court will hear this position.

PLEASE ENSURE THAT THIS CALL IS PLACED ASAP TO ALL CANADIAN POLYAMOROUS GROUPS AND LISTS TO WHICH YOU BELONG.

Who are we?

We are individual members of the Vancouver polyamory community and are active members or coordinators in Vanpoly (www.vanpoly. ca), who have joined together to coordinate an intervention by polyamorists so that the court can hear our stories and arguments. We have experience in organizing politically and legally. One of our members has offered to act as pro bono legal counsel and has successful experience in mounting constitutional challenges to Canada’s criminal code. We are also liaising with other civil and legal rights groups who are also following the BC government closely in this matter.

What are the steps in the process?

First, and as soon as possible, we need to identify potential intervenors and get their stories. When the government asks the court about the legality of this legislation, we want to be ready to finalize the sworn statements of intervenors and apply to the court within the 3 week period. If our application to the court is accepted, we will then prepare legal arguments in support of the above position, that it is not appropriate for a law which criminalizes loving, committed, consensual relationships to remain on the books. It is expected that this process will need to go very quickly.

Qualifications of an Intervenor

We are in immediate need of identifying as many potential intervenors as possible so that polyamory can be properly represented.

If you are a Canadian Resident:

1) currently living with multiple partners in a conjugal (marital or marital-like) relationships, or

2) have engaged in polyamorous relationships either in the past or currently AND have a desire to live with multiple partners in a conjugal (marital or marital-like) relationships in the future

then we ask you to email us.
While we are interested in hearing from ALL people who fit the above criteria, we are especially interested in having at least one female in a MFF (male-female- female) grouping.

What would it mean to be an intervenor?

1. You would need to give legal counsel some facts as to your polyamorous lifestyle which would be written up in a statement, which you will be asked to swear on oath is true. This statement would be filed in court. Your name and your address along with the statements in your affidavit would then be public. However, you would NOT need to name your partners.

2. You may find that your name and other information in your affidavit is in the news. You would NOT need to speak to media or answer their questions as you could refuse to respond to any media enquiries.

3. You would NOT need to incur court costs. You would need to pay for the affidavit to be sworn if you are in a city other than Vancouver. (If this is a concern, please advise and we will look for donations toward the cost.)

Who do I contact for more information or to offer to be an intervenor?

Please email Melly at ms.mellyn@gmail. com.

Thank you for your attention to this.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Monogamy vs. Polyamory Debated on CNN.com Live

Within the last week CNN.com Live hosted an excellent debate on monogamy, polyamory, and human instinct. Representing the polyamorous viewpoint by telephone were Family web series creator Terisa Greenan and one of her partners, Scott Campbell. Terisa and Scott did an excellent job of answering questions and clearing up some common misconceptions about polyamory.

By the way, you can see the most excellent season finale of "Family" at the link I just provided complete with de rigueur cliffhanger ending. Fun seeing Chris Bingham of Bone Poets Orchestra and Gaia Consort before that, who with his partner in love and music, Sue Tinney, write and perform the fine Family soundtrack.

Back to the CNN piece. Also in the clip is Nisa Muhammad of the Wedded Bliss Foundation. I must say that though some of her statements are fairly accurate, much of it is, at least from my experience and personal perspective, total crap. But I admit that I'm biased. Still, she almost by rote makes all the BS claims put forth by the marriage movement, i.e, those determined to perpetuate the fairy tale that does so much damage by creating false expectations about marriage and monogamy, that is that traditional monogamous marriage, preferably between one man and one woman, is the only legitimate option, the only way to find sexual and emotional fulfillment in a relationship.

Also interviewed but sadly not included in this clip other than their images are Drs. David Barash and Judith Eve Lipton, a married couple, researchers and authors of books that include The Myth of Monogamy. What they had to say went a long way toward debunking the notion that monogamy is "natural." I appreciate their candidness and their willingness to take the risk of saying what is true but also controversial. I particularly appreciated their affirming that monogamy and polyamory are both choices, neither perfect but both legitimate.

According to Barash's Wikipedia page, he "has been named one of the country's '101 Most Dangerous Professors,' by right-wing writer David Horowitz." Sounds like my kind of guy.

Here's the clip CNN.com is making available - enjoy!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Polyamorous Personal Development Guru Steve Pavlina and Wife Separate

After posting very candidly to their very popular personal development website early this year about their decision to open their marriage, I'm sorry to say that author and personal development guru Steve Pavlina and his wife, Erin, have decided to divorce.  Steve cites polyamory as part of the reason in his recent blog post entitled Separation.

Steve says that the communication demands were too much for them to handle.  Yes, there is a big investment of time and energy up front when a married couple transitions to an open marriage.  I imagine both are very busy people from what I see of their work, and they are raising two young children, so maybe they underestimated how much time and emotional energy would be required to accomplish what they intended. It's easy to do.

But that's not all of it. Steve writes that the poly path and the emotional intimacy and self-examination required along the way revealed truths that pointed them toward separating as the best course.   So it sounds like polyamory didn't kill the marriage, it just revealed flaws and truths that now point them in different directions. 

This is one of those situations that makes a good example of why I say that polyamory isn't for sissies.  Not that the Pavlinas are sissies, certainly not.  I mean that it's not for the faint of heart because growth does indeed happen, and sometimes with it, change that is unpredictable.  Still, theirs is a good example of how polyamory can serve to further us on our paths to living an authentic life, even when that involves the pain of ending relationships in order to establish new relationships more suitable to who we are.   

In any case, I wish Steve and Erin well as they continue to pursue their own paths to fulfillment and happiness.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Army Disciminates Against Bereaved Poly Family, ACLU Saves the Day

I was dismayed but not surprised to have learned just yesterday,  via an alert subscriber to a poly email list focused on poly southerners, about the following story reported there.  It well illustrates that Don't Ask Don't Tell is not the only discriminatory military law that needs to be put out of our misery.

Apparently a long-term M/F/M/F poly quad with several children was doing what I've believed for a long time could be an entirely sensible solution to the burden of extended isolation and loneliness partners of deployed servicemen and servicewomen regularly have to endure. Both men were in the Army stationed at Ft. Campbell, KY, which straddles the Tennessee/Kentucky state line.

Tragically, one of the men has been killed in combat. As if this grieving family hadn't already been through enough, in the process of assigning survivor benefits the Army learned about the quad arrangement, decided to deny benefits to the widow and insisted on paternity testing to find out which man fathered the children - AND, the surviving husband in the quad faced a dishonorable discharge and loss of his career.

In the civilian world, it is my understanding that legally the father of a child is whomever is legally married to the woman who gave birth to the child. Of course, the Army operates under a different code, specifically the Uniform Code of Military (In)Justice ("UCMJ"), and it was unwilling to pay benefits to a soldier's legal child if he was not the biological father of the child.  It was reported that the widow admitted that the quad was never really sure which man is the biological father of which children because they never worried about such things.

It was also said that the Judge Advocate General office declined to get involved in defending this family. However, the good news is that the ACLU was very happy to step in and quite effectively resolved the problem, partly by threatening national media attention. Due to the ACLU's efforts the widow will get her full benefits as will all of the fallen soldier's children. Hooray!  The status of the surviving husband's threatened discharge was not mentioned, but hopefully the ACLU was able to prevent that as well.  .

Of course, this was a difficult story to keep quiet, and the remaining triad continues to experience various kinds of oppression from locals bigots so is planning to move out of the area.

I don't know whether the soldiers in question were enlisted or officers. It's long been my understanding that the UCMJ's morality laws against adultery were much more aggressively enforced as to the behavior of officers than they ever were as to that of enlisted soldiers. Someone I know who knows about such things told me within the last year that the Army is no longer prosecuting adultery, having higher priorities for which to use its resources, yet here this story is. It may be that once the family configuration was disclosed, the Army believed it was compelled to enforce it's laws.

As the practice of polyamory continues to gain popularity, more such situations may well arise. The ACLU has many more resources than does the polyamory community, so we can only hope that it will continue to step up and help out. As for the rest of we polyamorists, it would be a good idea to write the ACLU a check for as much as we can afford and make it clear the reason for the donation.

I'm sending them $100 right now. How about you?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Abstinence Only Sex Ed Funding Rears It's Irresponsible Head Again

If you, as I, oppose taxpayer-funded abstinence-only sex education, you'll be disappointed to learn that on last Tuesday night, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) pushed through an amendment in the Senate Finance Committee authorizing $50 million in funding for abstinence-only programs as part of Health Care Reform - despite over 10 years of evidence that these programs do not work.

By a razor-thin vote of 12-11, the Senators on the Finance Committee gave conservative ideology a victory over science and common sense.

Please take a moment to tell your Senators it's time to stop these programs once and for all!

In fact, Advocates for Youth worked with coalition partners around the country, and October was  launched as National Sex Ed Month of Action. Their hope was - and is - to build support in Congress for the REAL Act and comprehensive sex education.

It's been a 10-year fight to end funding for these harmful and ineffective programs. President Obama has called for their elimination. Democrats in the House and Senate have held firm through budget negotiations.

This fight has been long, but - with the end in sight - it is more important than ever that we all make our voices heard.

Ask your Senators to strip the Hatch Amendment from Health Care Reform. It's easy to do, just fill in your info and click send, the letter is already written for you. Don't let 12 Senators undermine sex education in the United States!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Practical Polyamory is one of The Daily Reviewer's Top 100 Sex Blogs


I am pleased today to learn that this blog has been recognized by The Daily Reviewer as one of it's Top 100 Sex Blogs based on reader votes.  I don't consider this blog a sex blog, but it's certainly sex-positive, and I'm happy for the award regardless.  I am also honored to be included in the fine company of Cunning Minx's Polyamory Weekly, Heather Corinna's Scarleteen (sex ed info for teens), Ask Dan and Jennifer, Susie Bright's Journal, and the Savage Love Podcast. (Click the award above to see all of the winners.) Interestingly, there only seem to be 40 blogs listed in this category - maybe they're still soliciting suggestions.

The Daily Reviewer reviews and rates blogs on a huge variety of subjects, not just sex, and since the award can only be had via reader votes, I'm now going to impersonate an American Idol contestant and thank all my fans for the honor of this award.  (A trip or a cash prize some day maybe??? - Naah, forget it, such a suggestion might seem ungrateful...) 

Joking aside, I really do appreciate the readers who went to the trouble of making the recommendation and pledge to continue to bring you the best social commentary and polyamory information available.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Primetime Polyamory on NBC's Parks and Recreation


And so the mainstreaming of polyamory continues.   According to a review in today's LA Times, last night's season premiere of Saturday Night Live alum Amy Poehler's NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation includes the revelation of a character in a poly family.  The reviewer says:

Intern April (Aubrey Plaza) ... introduces Leslie (Amy Poehler) to her boyfriend, who also has a boyfriend, perhaps the first functioning polyamory on network prime time.

The only issue I have so far is that when April introduces Leslie to Derek and Ben and explains their relationship, Leslie says she hates Ben.  It's probably the script writers' attempt to be funny but certainly no joke to those who know what works for poly relationships and what doesn't, and in this case the latter would be outright hatred for a partner's partner.

Here's the clip with the oh-so-fitting name "It's not that complicated!"  Keep watching to see this threesome at the gay bar Bulge where they honor Poehler's character, Leslie, for something that's made her the gay community's reluctant hero. 

So stay tuned, boys and girls!  And the full episode will probably become available on the show's website at some point.

Woodhull Explains Position on Controversial Abercrombie T-shirts

A few days ago I posted a blog entry about a "buycott" call from the Woodhull Freedom Foundation to buy a certain group of rather silly sex-focused Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirts, or at least let the company know it has the support of the sex-positive community, as a result of conservative/religious extremist attacks on the product. After doing so I received comments both here and on my facebook entry where the blog entry also appeared that expressed strong opinions that the shirts were tacky, sexist, and generally objectionable, this time from within the sex-positive community instead of religious conservatives.

Woodhull has posted an explanation on carnalnation.com, which says in part:

Like our past BuyCott efforts, our A&F BuyCott stirred a lot of emotion. Some of our constituents were quick to write (thank you!) and call to my attention the history of A&F, including successful lawsuits against them pressing charges of racism and sexism. This will remind me to keep a closer eye on A&F and other companies to detect such unacceptable behavior.

At the same time the issue on this occasion wasn’t the t-shirts or the retailer. The issue is that, popular or not, offensive or not, appropriate or not, the t-shirts are about sex and sexuality. Are they tasteless? Probably! Certainly a lot of people including many sexual freedom advocates think so. But does A&F have the right to market them? Woodhull says YES!

And that’s what the alert was about.

The attack on sex that fueled the assault on A&F was not stupid. It came from a well-oiled, well-researched, thoroughly entrenched message machine. It knew where to strike. It knew that there’s not much point in waving the hysteria flag around a shirt with pictures of flowers on it ...

You can read the entire commentary on carnalnation here.

MTV's True Life: I'm Polyamorous

The poly world is all abuzz about the latest episode of MTV's True Life reality show, which features New York poly activist and attorney Diana Adams, her partners Ed and Kerry, and Jim, Chris and Thomas, a gay male triad living in Charlotte, NC.  To hear from Diana about the experience of opening her love life to the world, see her recent blog entries.

MTV, as well as the polyamorists featured, has done a good job of representing not only what polyamory is, but also some of the common issues that arise and must be resolved, like jealousy, time management, fear of loss, untruthfulness, etc.

What makes this particular broadcast media event so special is it's reach - literally millions of young adults watch this series, with women age 18-25 being its primary audience.

As for Jim, Chris and Thomas, these guys live in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a local news station did a feature on their poly relationship recently.  And woo hoo!  It even includes a reference to Loving More.

It's particularly noteworthy that instead of condemnation from local Christian conservatives, the condemnation they experience comes from the gay community itself for what apparently some see as a misrepresentation of gay relationships.  More and more we are seeing media events that tell the stories of gay polyfolk, and I have to wonder just how much longer the same-sex marriage movement leaders will be able to get away with continually dismissing (and dissing) polyamory as irrelevant.  Slippery slope or not, we are here, we are everywhere, (sound familiar?) and our numbers are increasing. 


For more commentary on this program, see Alan's indepth analysis on the Polyamory-in-the-News blog. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

In Dallas? Support Jenny Block This Thursday in Nightline Face-Off!

The following is a plea for support from author Jenny Block as she prepares for a live taping of a high profile debate with those who oppose polyamory and open marriages.  Please pass it along to anyone you know who may be able to show up and cheer her on. 

------------------------------------

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I've been invited to participate in a debate about adultery and the Ten Commandments for an episode of Nightline, airing on September 24.

The best news is that you're invited to be a part of the studio audience.

The taping is being held this Thursday, September 17 at 6:30 p.m. at:

Fellowship Church
2450 N Highway 121
Grapevine, TX 76051-2002
(972) 471-5700

Also on the panel are Pastor Ed Young of Fellowship Church, Noel Biderman of ashleymadison.com, and Jonathan Daugherty of Be Broken Ministries.

I sure would love to have your support and to see your smiling faces in the audience. Plus, you can ask questions and appear on the show too!

Looking forward to seeing you there!

All the best,

Jenny

Love and Light at Loving More Annual Retreat

Once again we had a delightful weekend celebrating and learning and loving at the Loving More National Conference Retreat at Easton Mountain Resort in Greenwich, NY.  It was wonderful to spend time with old friends and meet many new ones, including many people from countries outside the US.  This was our fourth year at this beautiful location, and it now feels like a home away from home.  As always, the food was healthy and delicious and the freshest of fresh, since much of the produce is grown in the garden out back. 

I especially enjoyed meeting the beautiful Leonie Linssen, a poly educator and community organizer from Holland, who attended her first polyamory conference there.  It is delightful to know that interest in polyamory isn't only growing in the US but also in many countries around the world.  Leonie and I have much in common, and I look forward to continuing the friendship we established at the conference.

The programming was terrific and covered many common subjects important to happy and healthy polyamorous relationships.  I had the pleasure of presenting a program called Polyamory in Media's Spotlight with Alan M of the Polyamory-in-the-News blog.  Alan backed me up with additional commentary and many live displays of internet pages featuring articles and videos under discussion.

As always, Robyn Trask and Jesus Garcia, along with the excellent assistance of Robyn's sister, Ginni Trask, and Robyn's son, David, did a fabulous job.  It was a well-run event.  These folks put their hearts and souls into their conferences, and the participants are the lucky beneficiaries of the professionalism that keeps Loving More conferences running smoothly.  If you'd like to see Robyn's own comments as well as a picture of some of the attendees, check out her latest Loving More blog entry.  (That's me in the picture wearing a black t-shirt and a big smile just a bit right of center.) 

The next Loving More polyamory conference is Poly Living February 19-21, 2010 in Philadelphia.  Plan now to join us and help me celebrate my birthday.  It's rumoured there may be chances to administer a good birthday spanking in exchange for a modest donation to Loving More.  Wow, is there anything I won't do for my cause!?!?

Monday, September 14, 2009

WilmerHale Earns HRC Foundation Corporate Equality Index Perfect Score

Many of my friends have heard me rave about WilmerHale, the law firm where I am employed. In addition to it's preeminent pro bono program, one of the reasons I love it is it's commitment to workplace equality.  It also manages to combine both those focuses by devoting the time and energy of some of the best legal talent in the country to helping advance marriage equality and repeal the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy that discriminates against LGBTs who are serving our country in the military.
 
Today it was announced that for the second year in a row the firm has received a perfect score of 100 in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI) survey for 2010 and labeled it amongst it's "Best Places to work."  "Legal work in this country is deeply rooted in our nation's core values of equality and justice for all, and law firms continue to set the gold standard for treating their LGBT employees fairly" said HRC Foundation President Joe Solmonese in a  recent press release.

It seems that law firms in general are strong leaders in creating environments that are welcoming to LGBT employees. As an out bisexual woman, in the ten years I've been employed at WilmerHale I have never had the slightest concern about my job security due to my sexual orientation.  I'm also out at work as polyamorous, and likewise, I've come under no pressure or scrutiny for being so.   

So if you're LGBT and seeking work in a law firm where you'll feel welcome, check us out, and if you apply, please let them know that I proudly referred you.  For even a lifelong employer you can't go wrong.  Openly gay WilmerHale paralegal Brian Boyer, who passed away a week ago from cancer, worked for the firm for 36 years.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Abercrombie & Fitch Pitches New Silly T-Shirts To America's Youth Angering Religious Right

UPDATE:  After a variety of comments on this post both here and over on my facebook profile where it was cross-posted,  I'm now convinced that this is a far from ideal set of circumstances to choose for a buycott on behalf of sex positivity.  Many thanks to all those who have offered sound and important observations. 

Woodhull's work is generally very good and worth supporting.  On rare occasions we activists can and do miss the mark, usually, or at least in my own case, due to haste to get a story out and move on to other pressing matters.   - Anita

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Thanks to the Woodhull Freedom Foundation for the heads-up on this one.

Join the BuyCott! Call Abercrombie & Fitch at 614-283-6500 (press "0" for a live person) and let them know you support their right to sell and their customers' right to buy their "sex can be fun" tee shirts.

Abercrombie & Fitch  is being attacked by the religious right for selling these three tee shirts as part of its "New College" line of T-shirts.


Abercrombie & Fitch does not merely sell a popular line of clothing - they sell a lifestyle. And because A&F clothing is popular among teens and college kids, the influence of their sex-as-recreation lifestyle is widespread. If you feel like encouraging this lighter side of sex and showing the religious right that this is a free country help the BuyCott--buy one or more of these shirts.

FACTS!
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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention reports that Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year- almost half of them among young people 15 to 24 years of age.

In the past decade more than one billion dollars in federal funding has been doled out for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. In contrast, there has been no federal funding at all for comprehensive sex education. Thus the raging STDs?

Whether you buy a tee shirt or not drop a note to your local school board, state legislators, and your Congress member and Senators, encourage them to fund comprehensive sex education!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Camilla of The Daily Loaf on Jealousy and Polyamory

As many people know, I am a frequent presenter at poly and alternative sexuality conferences on managing jealousy in polyamorous relationships. I'm always interested in hearing others' perspectives on the subject, and today the online publication Creative Loafing has published a very good column on the subject. (I am also flattered to be mentioned as a resource.)

I also love the graphic they've added. No, it doesn't always look like this - but we do have our blissful moments!



From the article, here's a great example of a wise strategy for sorting out one's own feelings when jealousy is making itself felt. Kudos to Camilla (and thanks for the props!)

Now, I sometimes hold off on talking to the lover in question until I can answer two questions:

a) What am I actually pissy about?

b) Why am I pissy about this?

Once I can answer those two questions, I’m more likely to communicate my feelings better. That’s not to say that answering those two questions results in smooth sailing. Mr. Chaotic is still jealous/envious of the amount of time The Puppy gets to see me. The Puppy and I are still prone to mistranslating the other’s concerns as jealousy. We’re just better at dealing with it now than we were years before.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Polyamorous Misanthrope - "I Thought We Were POLY"

To all of you out there who are still learning about boundary setting, what expectations are appropriate and what are not, check out The Polyamorous Misanthrope/Goddess of Java's latest blog post, very good advice.  She has a gift for sorting out the subtleties of such situations.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Monogamy Men to Fight Dominant Culture

Monogamy Men to Fight Dominant Culture

Former Reagan-era appointee Patrick Fagan said in Amsterdam that two competing cultures of sexual morality are contending for the surrounding society. It is time for monogamy men to fight for what is right.

From Spero News by Austin Ruse dated today, August 20, 2009

Patrick Fagan, family scholar at the Family Research Council, told the
World Congress of Families last week in Amsterdam that there are two competing cultures of sexual morality and that both have a profound effect on culture and public policy. Fagan called one culture “monogamous” and the other “polymorphous” and he warned that one is “snatching” children from the other.

Fagan told the audience that “the culture of the traditional family is now in intense competition with a very different culture. The defining difference between the two is the sexual ideal embraced [by each].” He described an “elegance in the simplicity of the ideals behind the two cultures: monogamy and polymorphous serial polygamy, or ‘polyamory' for short.“
You can read the rest of the article at the link above. I am aghast at the lengths to which we are being demonized, and by a highly-visible, ostensibly intelligent, well-educated man who evenso obviously knows nothing about polyamory. He credits (or discredits) us with infinitely more power than we as a community or movement desire or will likely ever actually have. And the very idea that we are somehow "snatching" children from the monogamous overculture is simply absurd.  That said, I do believe it is possible that as future, more open-minded generations come along, more and more people will recognize the wisdom of having an alternative to monogamy, because that's what works better for some - not all - people. This is not information that can feasibly be withheld from children. Still, nobody's snatching anyone's innocence. Shedding light that badly needs to be shed is more like it.

There's a very good analysis of this statement here written by Austin Open Relationships Examiner Sadie Smythe.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oh the Irony! Parenting Video Parallels Polyamory

Update: Twice now the video below has disappeared from YouTube. I've just discovered it on another diaper company website. Should the video below disappear yet again, you can (hopefully) also see it here.
-------------------------------

My daughter, who is the mother of two small children and to whom I am out as poly, just sent me this video. I am amazed and delighted, though also a bit bemused. Many a poly person has under analogous circumstances had a very similar conversation with a significant other. Of course, not adding a new partner until existing partners give their consent is a much better and more ethical strategy, but that would ruin the gag here.

The video originally appeared on a diaper company's website in the UK (not anymore) and also appears on a second diaper company's site. Surely only a poly or poly-aware person would choose this approach for an educational video for parents who are working out how to introduce a child to a new sibling. It would seem that someone at the diaper companies (or their ad agencies) sees it as a cool way of attracting today's generation of parents with young children.

Could it be that polyamory really is beginning to infiltrate western mainstream culture to such an extent as this???

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tristan and Colten Got Married!

Tristan Taormino and her partner, Colten, were married the first weekend in August in the Catskills. They are two of my most favorite people, and I'm so happy for them, especially since Tristian is lesbian and Colten is transgendered. It's good to see people I've known a long time finally have the right to make their union legal.

Amongst many, many other things, Tristan is the author of the polyamory guide book Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, in which I had the privilege of playing a minor role and which I reviewed when it was published in 2008. I still highly recommend it to anyone who wants to figure out what poyamory is all about and how it might work for them and their partner/spouse.

Colten is Tristan's tireless partner in business as well as love and juggles an amazing amount of work that supports Tristan's various endeavors and their joint endeavors.

Congratulations and much love to Tristan and Colten!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Gaylen Moore on The Importance of Being Naughty: Exploring the Science of Erotic Diversity

Gaylen Moore is a graduate student in Cleveland who writes for examiner.com and styles himself the Cleveland Open Relationships Examiner. A few days ago he published a most excellent article, the title of which I reference in the title of this post. I highly recommend that you spend the time reading it. It isn't very long, he includes the latest scientific findings on what it is that drives us to pursue love and sex, and he puts much about the chemistry of love into proper poly context, if you will. The following two paragraphs are particularly enlightening:

One very interesting thing to know about prolactin [a hormone produced by both men and women during sex]: Scientists have discovered that proactin triggers stem cells in the brain to produce new neurons! If you see a headline saying "Sex makes your brain grow" – you can bet that prolactin is star of the show. People seeking treatments for victims of stroke and degenerative diseases like Huntington's, Parkinson's, and Alzheimers are hopeful that this research will lead to new treatment options. Advocates of more sexually liberal lifestyles are hoping that the good news about prolactin might lend credence to the belief that lots of good sex is a good thing, and thus liberal sexual lifestyles should not be stigmatized by prudish cultures. This is where polyamory, swinging, and "hot monogamy" come in.

The basic problem with long-term monogamy is that after a few years with the same person, the frequency of sex dwindles down to a trickle. If, in fact, an active sex life is good for your physical and mental health, then it seems that traditional monogamy might not be the best choice for long-term health. The problem with long-term monogamy is well-known to science, and there is even a term for it: the "Coolidge Effect." Scientists (who, as we know, love to study rats) have observed that after a lot of copulation with a particular female, a male rat will lose sexual interest in her. But if a new female comes along, he’ll perk right up and be happy to service her. It is well-known that the same effect applies to humans – and not just to males. Both men and women find it difficult to maintain a high level of sexual interest in their long-term mate. (If you have never heard the joke that is said to be the origin of the term "the Coolidge Effect," click here.) The problem generally is not that couples no longer love each other; the problem generally has more to do with the complex chemistry of sexual desire.



Love that Coolidge effect story, one that always amuses me whenever it is referenced.

I've written here before about the role of brain chemistry in how we love. I've sung the praises of research anthropologist Helen fisher, who continues her quest to understand how we love, and why. To more fully understand his premise, be sure to view the video at the bottom of Gaylen's post of a segment of Dr. Fisher's presentation at the TED conference in 2008 - it will be 16 minutes well spent. She will help you understand what it is about sexual and romantic love that drives us to such distraction as for many of us it in large measure is the source of our humanity and what makes our lives worth living.

As a polyamory advocate and educator, I sometimes find it vexing to try to explain what it is about we poly people that makes what we want a valid choice, especially to those who disapprove of us. There is more evidence to confirm what many of us know, that we polyamorists are frequently condemned for being naturally who we are. Understandable to a point, especially when one considers that who and what we are flies in the face of everything westerners have been told they ought to be.

If you agree with the evidence at hand (as do I), then despite the vehement disagreement even amongst polyamory advocates as to whether polyamory is choice or identity, it is clear that though some may choose polyamory and be just as capable of choosing and being happy with monogamy, for others of us polyamory is indeed who we are in the most human biological terms.

Our greatest hope for finding acceptance and understanding from those who require proof positive is the work of researchers like the awesome Helen Fisher. Perhaps the time will come when our preference for keeping long-term lovers while adding new ones instead of choosing serial monogamy will be better understood and even embraced by a more significant segment of society. Certainly it will if Helen Fisher has anything to do with it. One can always hope.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

O'Reilly Weighs In on Polyamory - Again

Thanks to "Family" web series actor Ernie Joseph for the tip on this. Bill O'Reilly and his guest commentators, "Culture Warriors" Gretchen Carlson and Margaret Hoover, take up the debate about polyamory and same-sex marriage. Hoover has a lot more on the ball than the other two, especially when she points out that polyamorists aren't interested in legal marriage. (This is not to say that there is zero interest in it, but there's very little at this point in time.)

After viewing a clip from Family in which a discussion takes place about who is going to sleep with whom that night, Carlson first poo poos O'Reilly's claim that Oprah has called Terisa Greenan to talk about an episode (she did), calls the clip ridiculous and claims that "most Americans believe this is ridiculous, tawdry." She also says she doesn't believe polyamory will become a trend. Clearly she isn't up on her poly facts as to how widespread the practice is today.

Hoover also flatly states that what polyamorists want is to be able to live their lives as they want to, and even O'Reilly agrees that as long as it's behind closed doors, he being all libertarian and all, whatever. But he then goes on to conflate polyamory and plural marriage as a way of proving that the subject should be taken seriously.

Update on Newsweek Polyamory Article

It seems that Newsweek caught so much heat from the leaders of the (Save Traditional) Marriage Movement as a result of last week's indepth article on polyamory that the subtitle "America's Next Romantic Revolution" has been removed from the article and is replaced with the words "Polyamory—relationships with multiple, mutually consenting partners—has a coming-out party."

Clearly the article has struck a nerve. With all the debate it has fostered and counter-articles it has inspired, polyamory, until now something the conservatives kept an eye on but did not take as a serious threat, has been catapulted into dead center of the culture war as it relates to the desperate attempts being made to shore up societal value for traditional marriage.

This is not to say that I see no value in monogamy and traditional marriage. For those who want it and feel it works for them, then by all means have at it. It's a fine choice for many people. I just want people to know they have a legitimate alternative that works better for some.

It will be interesting to see if the article makes it into the print magazine. We were told last week when the article was published to the website that chances were fairly good for that happening in a few weeks. I hope Newsweek sticks to it's guns and doesn't yield any further to pressure.

Polyamory on FindLaw




This guy gets it right in this FindLaw article as the law applies to polyamorous relationships.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Polyamory Targeted in Wall Street Journal Op-Ed

As a result of last week's Newsweek article we polyamorists are being placed front and center as the culture war rages on. In today's Wall Street Journal, Robert P. George has authored an op-ed piece entitled "Gay Marriage, Democracy, and the Courts: The culture war will never end if judges invalidate the choices of voters." in which he first attempts to persuade the reader that if the courts and not the voters are permitted to define marriage, the culture war will worsen and marriage will become abortion's twin issue and yet another never-ending cause of societal discord.

Next he attempts to convince the reader that marriage's only truly important purpose is for procreation. I find this amusing, because I know there are fairly large numbers of stable poly households where children are thriving on the added resources supplied by having more than two parents. I stayed with such a family just a week ago, and their kids are bright, loving, healthy, and happy. Everything parents hope to create and provide to their children is present in greater amounts than any two parents can provide.

George says:

If marriage is redefined, its connection to organic bodily union—and thus to procreation—will be undermined. It will increasingly be understood as an emotional union for the sake of adult satisfaction that is served by mutually agreeable sexual play. But there is no reason that primarily emotional unions like friendships should be permanent, exclusive, limited to two, or legally regulated at all. Thus, there will remain no principled basis for upholding marital norms like monogamy.

A veneer of sentiment may prevent these norms from collapsing—but only temporarily. The marriage culture, already wounded by widespread divorce, nonmarital cohabitation and out-of-wedlock childbearing will fare no better than it has in those European societies that were in the vanguard of sexual “enlightenment.” And the primary victims of a weakened marriage culture are always children and those in the poorest, most vulnerable sectors of society.

Candid and clear-thinking advocates of redefining marriage recognize that doing so entails abandoning norms such as monogamy. In a 2006 statement entitled “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage,” over 300 lesbian, gay, and allied activists, educators, lawyers, and community organizers—including Gloria Steinem, Barbara Ehrenreich, and prominent Yale, Columbia and Georgetown professors—call for legally recognizing multiple sex partner (“polyamorous”) relationships. Their logic is unassailable once the historic definition of marriage is overthrown.

Is this a red herring? This week’s Newsweek reports more than 500,000 polyamorous households in the U.S. (Emphasis mine.)

So, before judging whether traditional marriage laws should be junked, we must decide what marriage is. It is this crucial and logically prior question that some want to shuffle off stage.

Because marriage has already been deeply wounded, some say that redefining it will do no additional harm. I disagree. We should strengthen, not redefine, marriage.

Mr. George is Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and founder of the American Principles Project. Interestingly, as I read the referenced principles, I was strongly impressed with just how interpretive they are of the Constitution. To the extent he defined those principles - and I gather he is their primary author - it's as though his academic accomplishments entitle him to make such interpretations for the rest of us. Isn't that what he objects to the courts doing???

Sorry, it doesn't matter how smart and accomplished a person is. To me it's about personal integrity, and being willing to admit to one's own biases, at minimum. Here's yet another person people are inclined to believe because of his stellar academic accomplishments. He may be well equipped to understand the issues via his legal background, but it still doesn't make him right.

Friday, July 31, 2009

BIG NEWS! New Issue of Loving More Magazine Online and FREE

Loving More® Magazine's first online issue, The Road Less Traveled, has been published to the Loving More website, and viewing it is free! Soon by signing up for free on the website, you will be able to view each new issue, the articles and other resources. This will include live links and video of a diverse group of people telling their poly stories, plus a video message from Loving More Executive Director Robyn Trask. My book review in this issue makes it worth your while all by itself! (Grin)

For almost 20 years Loving More has been the only magazine dedicated exclusively to polyamory. Over the years the magazine has covered all different styles of polyamorous relating for both those new to polyamory and those who are poly veterans, where you will find information on poly families, parenting, sexuality, dealing with jealousy, finding compersion and much more.

Paid supporting Loving More members (including subscribers with a current membership) will soon receive an e-mail with a PDF, printable version of The Road Less Traveled plus instructions for downloading it and the free player that enables them to view it digitally. Paid supporting members will also receive an annual printed compilation issue of the magazine to keep their print collection current.

Other great things are happening at Loving More, including a new blog, its National Polyamory Retreat September 11-13, 2009, and the Poly Living hotel-based conference in Philadelphia February 19-21, 2010. Coming soon is the (paid members only) Loving More Community Connections web-based chat and 3D virtual environment. So keep an eye on Loving More, where big changes are afoot that will make Loving More paid membership a terrific value.

Loving More Non-profit
970-667-5683

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Newsweek Article on Polyamory

UPDATE: Regarding my discussion below about comments to the following article, as my friend Alan points out in his comment to this post, please know that there are also many positive comments with a "live and let live" tone to them, and many other civil, rational ones made by poly people who explain and clarify. It's not easy for me to shrug off the negative ones, they bring out the determined advocate in me, but balance is still very important. Thanks to Alan for reminding me to focus on the positive, too. I guess that's what happens when I write up such a post late at night after 12 hours on the road on a trip that should have taken eight!

Here's my original post - read on.

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Newsweek has just published an excellent poly article on its website entitled "Only You. And You. And You." Publication in the magazine to follow. "Family" web series writer and director Terisa Greenan and her partners are featured.

I'm quoted at the end of the first page - interesting how Glenn Stanton (Focus on the Family) and Andrew Sullivan (same sex marriage proponent and critic) prove my point. Sullivan arrogantly makes it clear that poly interests aren't nearly as important as his and reduces us to irrelevancy. Stanton warns the faithful that we need close watching. We polyamorists didn't ask to be dragged into the same sex marriage debate, and polyamorists are overwhelmingly supportive of same-sex marriage, but both sides are still taking their issue frustrations out on us and show no signs of stopping until the same-sex marriage question is finally settled. Wouldn't it be refreshing to see Sullivan, Freedom to Marry Executive Director Evan Wolfson, etc., figure out a way to stop being so hypocritical? But alas, being so isn't politically expedient.

There's a lot more to the article than the polyamory-as-political-football issue, so enjoy!

Comments that follow the article are all over the place. I encourage you to leave your own poly-supportive comments but ask that you do so in a voice of calm reason - that's what will be more likely to win over the undecideds than something more combative in tone.

There are many hateful comments, which is par for the course as these articles go. I haven't read them all, but this one really stands out to me, I think because it is a perfect example of religious extremists being so sure that they're way is the only way:



Now I know for certain we are definitely in the last day's. All like sheep have gone astray, each after his own way. This is not judging people, it's a warning. Because of what you're doing, nothing but a bunch of fornicator's like rabbit's, you will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. But then, why would you want any part of heaven? That's not where your heart is. But you will get what's coming to you.

I've been working with the media on articles like these for many years now. I'd think I'd be used to the comments by now, but it's still surprising to me at times just how it is that people honestly and openly loving more than one person at a time (instead of the status quo of cheating) is so disturbing to so many people. We polyamorists just want to go about living our lives and to be treated fairly.

We advocates still have a lot of work to do to correct outrageously mistaken assumptions if article comments are any indication of how widespread knee-jerk reactions about us are, i.e.:



"It may be exciting for them but it's not love. They can't have the intimacy you get from a relationship with one person. If they do get something close to that with one of their partners then the others are not having it."


"... this just sounds like people too afraid to really love someone, trying to pretend they don't care."

"... this lifestyle choice is for a dominant personality and a bunch of passive clingers. Strange."

"...this behaviour is not masculine. Men are dominant and possesive by nature. Any man who is ok with his girlfriend/wife sleeping with another guy on a regular basis is not a man."

Some are incredibly convoluted in their attempt to explain us away, i.e.:



"There are people who are reverting back to prehistoric times. Some social classes of homo sapiens seem to be de-evolving into homo-erectus. These social classes are beginning to exhibit many of the social characteristics of lower animal life forms, i.e. getting closer to the origin ancestors instead of continuing to evolve into higher intelligence."

and



"I see polyamory, polygamy, and gay marriage as socially destabilizing. Polyamory in particular reminds me of a radioactive element -- constantly forming and reforming into new elements, always decaying."


And some are just plain mean-spirited:



"It's even lamer than swinging. They talk about each other's feelings after humping each other. By the way, the lady in the picture is no prize. I think she got the better end of the deal with the two sorry dudes fawning over her. I am guessing one or both of them suffers from Asberger's syndrome and are socially awkward. It's also wimpy that they all moved to Seattle because one guy got a job with Microsoft and the others glommed on, as he was to be their primary meal
ticket."




"These type of freaks make me ashamed to be a Liberal."




"Usually, older (35+) or uglier women have more boyfriends. Guys will do a lot of little things for easy sexual pleasure."



Here are two videos included in the article:



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Family Web Series Creator On Seattle Local News, Oprah Interested

I've posted here before on Terisa Greenan's wonderful web series called "Family", about a Seattle male female male triad's trials and joys. There are now 15 Family webisodes on Youtube, and Terisa and company continue to crank them out as the number of hits on Youtube continue to soar - 81,000+ so far.

Today KOMO in Seattle has published a news article and video about it that is basically fair and sensible. You can read the article, which seems to be pretty much the video piece word for word.

Well-known author and matchmaker, Dr. Pepper Schwartz is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle and has in the past acknowledged that the human tendency to desire more than one partner is natural. So, I'm disappointed at the tone of her comments on the video. Of course, who knows what else she said that didn't make it into the story. What she says is true in some cases, but far from all, and the main reason what she says IS true is that people still need to gain the skills to make it work.

The editing made Terisa sound a little flaky in one instance, though I know that not to be the case. Who can blame her if perhaps she was coming from that giddy place poly people find when they have such an abundance of love in their lives? It's pretty heady stuff and an experience her nasty commenting critics will perhaps never have. How unfortunate that many people can't (or won't) look outside the monogamy box, even if for only a moment, when evaluating a story like this one.

T and I had dinner with Terisa, Scott and Larry last month, along with her third and his wife and child. She and I had spoken by phone but never met, and I found her and the rest of the family to be delightful. Terisa is a warm, sincere, smart woman - and, of course, talented!

The family on which "Family" is based did a great job and deserves our thanks for being willing to expose themselves to public opinion as they have. Many of the comments at the end of the article are pretty vicious, much as they were for Jenny Block when she first came to the attention of the public over a year ago when her book Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage was published. The very idea that either Terisa or Jenny are simply greedy sluts as alleged by commenters in both cases is laughable, yet people insist on making sweeping assumptions about their motives. It seems to come from a place of defensiveness, one into which I wish we had more scientific insight. This is not new, but it continues to amaze me how easily this kind of thing pushes people's buttons, and not in a good way. It just goes to show how far we still have to go to gain tolerance and awareness for polyamorous people and families.

I am delighted to hear that Oprah found Terisa. Her producers have been promising for some time now to devote one of her shows exclusively to the topic of polyamory. Robyn Trask of Loving More has in the past fielded requests for poly participants in other Oprah episodes where what was being discussed really wasn't polyamory. She educated the producers so that they now understand what polyamory is, and I'm glad to see that their interest is still strong.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

News Article and Video on Wisconsin Polyamory Group

Check out this well done TV news piece (both article and 3 minute video) on polyamory that features the leaders of the Young Milwaukee Poly group. It is very fairly reported, something we activists work hard to help happen. It's not entirely in our control, but more and more the media treats the subject of polyamory legitimately without denigrating us or spinning the story to make us look like a bunch of flakes.

Kudos to Young Milwaukee Poly!

Next up, an article on polyamory in Newsweek which we hear will be out on July 27. Yours truly was interviewed on the role polyamory plays in the same sex marriage debate. For info and my thoughts on that question, see this post.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Declaration of Independence and the Fight for Sexual Relationship Freedom



On this day of celebration of freedom in the United States, I received this inspiring video from a friend. It is excellent and worthy of 15 minutes of our time on Independence Day. In it, the actor Morgan Freeman sets the stage by describing the setting and circumstances in which the Declaration of Independence was prepared, signed and publicized. He then introduces a large and diverse group of our finest actors, from Kathy Bates to Mel Gibson to Kevin Spacey to Whoopie Goldberg, who then read the Declaration of Independence. Yes, it is patriotically inspiring, but I am also inspired by the words of the document in that they remind me of our duty to resist that which oppresses us.

I resist the tyranny of a one-size-fits-all standard of sexual loving relationship. I also resist the negativity that taints our views about ourselves as sexual beings. I will continue to resist until the day comes when resistance is no longer necessary. And I hope I will see the day when those whose preferred form of consenting adult romantic relationship and/or sexual expression does not subject them to the tyranny and oppression of those who believe that their way is the only way. Therein lies our ongoing struggle.

I am but one of a large and growing number of leaders who carry on this fight. Yet the fight is also being carried out by all of those who live their lives according to how they self-identify, oppression notwithstanding. Simply by having the courage to live a life authentic to who we are, we carry on the struggle for sexual relationship freedom. We are to be congratulated for doing so.

I wish you a happy, meaning-filled Independence Day. May it be grounded not just in patriotism but also in the fight for freedom of consenting adults to discover and to practice the intimate relationship structure and mode of sexual expression that best meets their emotional and human needs free of governmental, societal or institutional coercion or favoritism.