Women in Relationships with Bisexual Men: Bi Men By Women is yet another triumph for Dr. Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli. In her ongoing quest to examine the borderlands between/around dichotomous positions, Pallotta-Chiarolli has produced a sophisticated discussion of the intersections of sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, class, and social institutions like healthcare and religion. Defying the misrepresentation and erasure of bisexuality that is all too common in most research, Women in Relationships with Bisexual Men provides a lavish view of the multifarious ways in which bisexuality expresses in relationship, and is impacted by social hierarchies. Refreshingly approachable for a work so rich with complex ideas, Women in Relationships with Bisexual Men is a must-read for anyone interested in sexuality, intersectionality, sex and gender minority families, and theory.
I recently read Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson’s new book Designer Relationships and loved it! A deceptively modest little book, it is short enough to read in one long sitting or several shorter ones. Do not be fooled by the demure length, however, because Michales and Johnson pack some huge ideas in to this pint-sized readers’ treat.
Designer Relationships is such fun to read in part because what it contains, and in part because of what it does not. Written in a very direct and approachable tone, the book is filled with information and straightforward explanations of complex ideas. I mean big, big ideas about love, freedom, happiness, and personal fulfillment. While I was reading I had to stop every once in a while to reflect on my own thoughts about what they had written — the mark of a truly interesting book, in my opinion.
Missing from Designer Relationships is the holier-than-thou attitude all too common in some other books on polyamory or alternative lifestyles. This refreshing omission means that Johnson and Michaels discuss the details of the various relationship options they identify, without privileging one over the other. Their main point is that people have choice in how to structure their relationships, and thoughtfully negotiating a consensual relationship that truly works well for those people involved means that one size does not have to fit all.
If you are looking for a thoughtful and informative discussion of the various ways in which people can structure their relationships, without blame, shame, or judgement, then Designer Relationships is the book for you.
The wonderful folks at Dating Skills Review do an entertaining podcast, and we had a great chat about skills that work on polyamory and monogamy, too. You can find the podcast at https://www.datingskillsreview.com/ep-101-successful-polyamory-strategies-elisabeth-sheff/
Please join me at Charis Books and More in Atlanta at 7:30pm on Friday October 23 for the release of my new anthology, Stories from the Polycule: Real Life in Polyamorous Families. I will speak briefly about the book and attendees will have time for questions.
If you already have a copy of the book, feel free to bring it for me to sign. If not, you can pick one up at Charis and I will be happy to sign it for you if you like. While you are at Charis, be sure to peruse their shelves overflowing with excellent reads of all sorts.
Book Release Party
October 23, 2015
Charis Books and More
1189 Euclid Ave, NE Atlanta, GA 30307
Stories from the Polycule just got a great review from Publishers Weekly, and I am thrilled! Thanks to all of you who helped to make that project a reality, now we can all watch it fly.
I just returned from the Woodhull Alliance for Sexual Freedom’s annual Summit and had a fantastic time. This is my second trip to the Woodhull Summit so I knew to expect some great conversation with interesting people, and I was not disappointed. Seven great things keep running around in my head as I reflect on the Summit, and I offer them here as a countdown to my very favorite moment of the event.
6. HUMAN RIGHTS ARE SEXY
Generally I have become quite bored with sex, because I see too often see it portrayed as something only available to young, slender, conventionally attractive people and focused on selling everything from toothpaste to cars. Unless I look hard, it is difficult to discover positive and diverse portrayals of sexuality that are respectful of the people pictured. This Summit reminded me how interesting sex can be when smart and creative people use a framework of consent and respect to push the boundaries of the Puritanical envelope that confines so much of society in the US.
5. HERO WORSHIP
As a major nerd, I love to geek out to smart people’s ideas and this Summit was full of them! From Charlie Glickman and Tamara Pincus to Nancy Polikoff and John D’Emilio, I was in smart and sexy heaven hearing my intellectual heroes talking about big ideas.
Each of the sessions I attended elegantly wove in awareness of the ways in which race, class, gender, (dis)ability, age, nationality, and other social factors shape the ways in which people can access and express their sexualities.
3. EYE CANDY
There were so many stunningly gorgeous people dressed in exotic and enticing attire that sometimes I had to just stand back and appreciate the crowd. With such an electric and convivial atmosphere, I found myself becoming much cuter than I have been in a long time.
2. BRAIN CANDY
Smart is the new sexy, and this was one sexy ass event! From an institute on aging and sexuality to parsing the social and legal distinctions between sex work and sex trafficking, each session was loaded with super smart people saying interesting and enlightening things. I love to learn, and the environment at the Woodhull Summit is saturated with fascinating people saying remarkable things that tickled my brain in new and exciting ways.
1. JAW DROP
My very favorite moment of the Summit came on Saturday night when the Summit goers shared the bottom floor of the Hilton with a ball for Army Computer Intelligence officers. It was easy to tell who was with which crowd – Summit attendees in corsets and fetish wear, and Army officers in uniforms with women (wives it seemed) in stunning ball gowns. Walking from the elevators through the Army ball lounge area back to the Summit ballroom was an experience, with both groups eyeing each other with interest. When the sizzling queen of smart porn, Nina Hartley, walked through the throng of military uniforms it was quite entertaining to watch recognition dawn on some of the men’s faces, and their jaws literally dropped as she passed by. Nina’s sassy humor won out and she ended up taking photos with some of the officers. In my own mind, I played a scene of the men recognizing another porn star and regular feature at the Summit, Buck Angel. Buck pioneered his own special quadrant of transgender porn and is famous as the man with a pussy. I did not see any of the Army officers recognize Buck, but in my imagination they all knew exactly who he is.