People who are perhaps polycurious or new to poly tend to be thirsty for any resource they can get their hands on (I know I was, and I see this a lot at our meetup events). What books should I have my boyfriend read so he gets polyamory? Where should we turn to get advice? How accurate is the Showtime series as a portrayal of “real” poly? Are there any examples of poly in the mainstream culture that are good? Where do you meet people to date? To commiserate with?
I think this would be a great place for people to post THEIR suggestions too.
Here’s my list with comments–
What book speaks to you depends a lot on who you are, but here’s a rundown of what they are and what I think they have to offer:
1) Polyamory in the 21st Century, by Deborah Anapol
-This is my favorite Intro to Poly book for a broad audience. Most people choose Ethical Slut, but I think this speaks well to a broader audience.
2) The Ethical Slut, by Dossie Easton, Catherine A. Liszt
-This is usually referred to a LOT as a source for polyamory, but I felt like it didn’t speak to me as well at the beginning of poly as it does now. I think it’s a great book, but for me it was intimidating for a first poly book.
3) Sex at Dawn, by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá
-This is an anthropological study into non-monogamy, so if you lean toward someone who likes to read pop non-fiction, it’s a good read. Much less of a How To book, and much more of a book to answer “are we naturally monogamous?”. As much as I love it, I will say that the writers take an advocate’s stance, and as a result it can get a little browbeating to people who may not agree with everything. It comes across as more biased than most scientists would like. That said, I’m an overall fan.
4) Opening Up, by Tristan Taormino
-If you are a couple, and you are thinking about opening your relationship, but are unsure of how you want to do that, this is your book. It goes through many forms of consensual non-monogamy, not just polyamory. So want to know the difference between swinging and polyamory and which one might fit you best? This is the one you want.
5) The Polyamorists Next Door, by Elizabeth Sheff
-I’m in the middle of reading this so I can’t make a judgement call yet, but so far it seems like a solid academic text. It even starts with a whole glossary of terms, some of which she coined (my new favorite is polyaffective). It might end up being a good book to give to those special family members in your life who you are coming out to and have never heard of the term “polyamory” before. It is a bit dry and written to be as objective as possible, so it lacks in compassion, humor, and first-hand experience, but if you are a stickler for getting as unbiased of a perspective as possible, I would say this is your book.
1) Polyamory in the News: http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/
-This is a fantastic website that gives you pretty much every mention of polyamory in mainstream media, usually with really excellent commentary and perspective from the poly community:
2) SoloPoly: http://solopoly.net/
-A GREAT blog for people who are coming at this, well, solo. I don’t know of another resource that caters to them in this way, and it’s fantastic. (And for people coming at this as a couple, this post is the most important one people can read about “secondary” relationships: http://solopoly.net/2012/11/27/non-primary-partners-tell-how-to-treat-us-well/)
3) Tumblr Poly Tumblogs (admittedly, I got these from Josie since I’m not really a tumblr person): http://polyamoryspider.tumblr.com/polyblogdatabase/; http://psychophancy.tumblr.com/post/75300124272/non-monog-blogs
4) Specific essays on various blogs that are important:
–Pepper Mint’s website has a fantastic ‘Poly 101’ handout: http://freaksexual.wordpress.com/2008/03/22/practical-nonmonogamy-tips-ii/
–And also an essay that’s must-read for dudes on Poly from a guy’s perspective: http://freaksexual.wordpress.com/2009/11/05/nonmonogamy-for-men-the-big-picture/
–From SoloPoly, a must-read for couples ‘opening up,’ on how to treat secondary partners: http://solopoly.net/2012/11/27/non-primary-partners-tell-how-to-treat-us-well/
–And for anybody digging deeper, pretty much all of the essays on More Than Two, Franklin Veaux’s site, are wonderful. These are being collected into a book but are still available online:: http://www.morethantwo.com/
COMMUNITY AND ADVICE
Sometimes, poly is hard. Just like monogamy. Or work. Or parenting. Or a new diet. But with those other things, there are scores of places to turn to for advice or role models or motivation or consolation. Not so much with poly. Probably the hardest thing about being poly can be the feeling of isolation–it feels like no one knows what you’re going through. Friends and family might be a little too ready to point the finger at polyamory as being the problem instead of looking what might be a bigger cause, so confiding in them feels like you’ll just end up defending your decision instead of getting any comfort. So where do you go?
-I have already been on here raving about our poly friendly therapist, and I honestly think everyone opening their relationship should have one. Clearly my life is filled with examples of amazing people who did it without that support so who am I to say, but I’m a huge therapy advocate. We found ours through this amazing website called Kink Aware. It has lists of professionals who are aware of and have experience with all kinds of non-monogamous and ”sexually deviant” lifestyles. Instead of going to an uneducated couples therapist who may try to jump to the conclusion that opening your relationship is a sign that something’s wrong, I suggest going to one of these (unless, of course, you already have one that you like and want to continue with).
2) Support Groups
-Chicago Polyamory Meetup Group (CPMG) hosts a regular support group that is fantastic.
-I went to an “Open Relationships” workshop two years ago at The Pleasure Chest, and it was amazing. They also gave out a list of resources, and of course the person giving the presentation was polyamorous herself and was a great resource.
-Obviously, I host one and I’m biased, but meetup groups are a great place to meet people face-to-face and ask them questions. Any veteran I’ve come across at a meetup is open and happy to share their experiences with newbies. Some meetups will have more veterans than others, so try a few different ones to get a feel for each.
-Believe it or not, it’s not just for dating! Yes, many people on there are all about dating, but that doesn’t meant they don’t also want friends or help out. I met many people through OKC who didn’t work out as a certain kind of partner, but I’ve definitely kept as friends. Find some veterans on OKC and message them to ask them about their experiences and if they wouldn’t mind talking with you about them.
That’s about all I’ve got for now! Any poly veterans want to leave their two cents??