Monthly Archives: January 2017

Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit Still Accepting Proposals

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Do you have something to say about the intersection of sexual freedom and social justice? If so, then please consider submitting a proposal for a panel or workshop at the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit scheduled for Washington DC August 3 – 6, 2017. Proposals are due by Monday February 6. For more information click here

 

http://eepurl.com/cx6Jsv

 

 

 

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Aging in Polyamorous Families: New Post on Psychology Today

 

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The first in a two part series, my newest post on Psychology Today explores aging in polyamorous families.  You can find it at https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-polyamorists-next-door/201701/aging-in-polyamorous-families

 

 

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Guest Post on Polyamory: Sexual Orientation or Lifestyle?

Susannah Summer’s guest post muses about polyamory as a sexual orientation and/or a lifestyle.

 

Born this way- Polyamorous as an orientation vs. life-style choice

About a year ago, after months of anguish and fighting every time my partner brought up the prospect of another female, I came to the realization that I needed to ask him to close our relationship.  I have been under a tremendous amount of stress for about 3 years now.  Last year around this time, a particularly bad crisis hit my business that required I muscle every ounce of my emotional, spiritual and physical strength to fight it.  I began working 12 hour days– every day.  I went 7 months this past year without a day off.  It was hard.

Lucky for me, my wonderful partner understood and could perceive that I was correct in my assessment that I currently do not  have the emotional depth and fortitude to actively practice polyamory and he agreed to the closure.  For how long?  Good question.  We do not know.  YIKES!  DOES THIS MEAN WE ARE NOT REALLY POLY??

We have had several discussions lately about why being poly is harder for me– I’m much older and lived in a monogamous marriage for 18 years, whereas he’s been practicing polyamory since the age of 14 and has NEVER been monogamous; I grew up in a very strict, conservative home where I was told that sex is a sin outside of marriage whereas he was handed pornographic novels at age 13 by his liberal thinking mother–” Here son, read this!” A number of factors have led us to very different places on the poly spectrum.

 

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I recently had an epiphany moment when having a conversation with a transgender friend about whether or not being trans is a “choice” or if transgender people are just born that way. We were discussing my friend’s daughter, who has been exhibiting signs of being trans since she was only 2 years old.  Now as a 9 year-old, she looks, acts and dresses like a boy. She/he has been my most convincing piece of evidence that being transgender IS NOT A CHOICE for some people. It is who they are. I realize I may be stepping on the line of not being PC here, folks….please have mercy on me if I’m using words that are offensive to you. This conversation about my friend’s daughter led me to say, “Oh, my God….J was born this way!”.

 

My friend laughed at the way my face lit up as the thought of polyamory being an orientation struck me.  It made me consider my own ideas about poly?  Is this my orientation or is this more of a lifestyle choice for me following the stifling experience I had in a long-term marriage?

 

I know that I was NOT born poly. I had never heard that word before I was 41.  I knew as a college student that I liked men– a lot– and I often had more than one partner, all of whom knew of one another and a couple were even friends. But, I thought I was a slut. I thought this because I had been told that this is what girls who slept around were. When I left my marriage about 4 years ago, I told my first partner (who happened to be J) that I would not be monogamous with him. But, it was a lifestyle choice for me. J could never be happy in a long-term monogamous marriage like the one I had for so long. However, that is not true for me, even now. I could just as easily be happy in a monogamous marriage/long-term relationship if that situation were presented to me and I decided to go for it.

 

So, where does this leave us?  

I think with more questions than answers at this point:

 

*If one member of a poly couple/triad or more has a poly orientation but the other(s) do not, what will this mean for their relationship? What challenges will they face? How will they deal with them? Is their relationship destined to fail?

 

*How can the orientation poly person help the life-style poly person better navigate the poly world? Is the orientation poly person inherently more capable of higher functioning in a poly relationship- i.e. less jealousy, more open to the benefits of being polyamorous?

 

For now, J has agreed to our closure. But, I feel guilty about it. I struggle with my feelings around this almost every day. I want to be okay with him experiencing meaningful relationships with others. I want to trust him enough to let him make his own decisions and not have them be hindered by what I feel I can or cannot handle emotionally. I want to be happy for him when he expresses interest in someone else he’s met.

 

So, what do I do? For myself? For my own understanding and growth?

 

What does he do? Just wait? Help me find ways to de-stress and find more balance in my life so I can become more emotionally stable?

 

DOES THIS MEAN WE ARE NOT POLY?

 

I believe the answer to that is no.

 

We want this for our lives and we hope that someday soon we can re-open our relationship. But, for now, we need to keep each of us healthy and that requires this sacrifice. For this time. For this place. And that’s just how it is.

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Help Music School Survive Discrimination Against Polyamorous Owners

The message below comes from my trusted colleague Dave Doleshal:

 

SAVE THE MUSIC SCHOOL OWNED BY POLYAMOROUS PEOPLE!
 
Sue Heale is currently embroiled in a nasty legal battle because of her involvement in a polyamorous relationship, and she is urgently seeking donations to help cover her mounting legal costs and to save her music school.
 
 
Sue built up a very successful music school, but after some of the employees who worked there discovered that she was living a polyamorous lifestyle, they sought to use her involvement in polyamory as an excuse to violate their employment contracts, destroy her school, and take her students into their own private practices. The case has drug on for three years. Sue has already prevailed in one phase of the battle, having won a child custody court case in which an ex-husband attempted to take away her children – specifically because she was involved in polyamory. However, after carefully weighing the evidence, and listening to both sides of the story, the judge decided that involvement in polyamory per se in not sufficient grounds for denying custody of children. The judge ruled in favor of Sue, and she was allowed to keep her children. It looks like Sue has a good chance of winning thus second phase of the case – if she can raise sufficient funds to pay for her ever-rising legal bills.
 
Sue Heale was a featured speaker in the Polyamorous Activism Conclave held in Berkeley, California, last February. She will be featured speaker at this event again this year (Feb 12, 2017):
 
 
This Polyamorous Political Conclave is held each year in connection with the International Conference on the Future of Monogamy and Nonmonogamy. Sue will also be a featured speaking at this year’s conference:
 
 
Sue is a respected member of the polyamory community. I personally know Sue and her partner Josh, and I have followed this case for nearly a year. Sue and Josh are very good people, and they deserve as much support from the polyamory community as we can possibly give them.
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The most recent round of the legal struggle went badly. However, the struggle continues, and it is still possible that Sue can ultimately save her music school from destruction, but it will take money to accomplish that. If we lose this battle, that will be reinforcing the status quo which presumes that if a person is polyamorous, that justifies them being discriminated against, abused, and being denied basic protections under the law.
However, if we WIN this battle, this will be a small (but valuable) step towards establishing the principle that even polyamorous people are entitled to decent treatment and equal protection under the law.
 
 
Please check out the written description and brief video presentation about the case, and PLEASE donate generously
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Regards,
Dave Doleshal, Ph.D

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