Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Media Alert for the Polyamory Community

LovingMore is doing its best to get this message out to as much of the poly community as it can, and we appreciate your giving it your attention. As you can imagine, this incident is one of great concern in terms of how it may color public opinion about polyamory.

Anita Wagner
Member, LovingMore nonprofit Board of Directors

Robyn writes:

I thought this was important news that the poly community should know about. I was contacted by a reporter this week who is doing a story on a murder/suicide in North Carolina involving a poly triad. I have no idea what spin the media will put on this because, of course, these kinds of things never happen in monogamous relationships. I want everyone to be aware of this tragic news. It involved a married couple who, according to the wife, were living together with a woman for five years in a triad. The young woman who was 20 left the couple last week. The man, who was 34, went after her over the weekend, killed her and himself.

See the article in the Raleigh News & Observer.

This is a real tragedy that will most likely be played out as polyamory gone wrong. If what the wife is saying is true then they moved this girl in when she was 15. I pointed out to the reporter this was not your typical polyamory triad and did my best to give him information about polyamory and what it is about. I also let him know that Loving More does not condone 29 year old adults dating 15 year olds. I did point out that it can be a challenge to find therapy and help for poly people in rural areas with no support, especially when there are no therapists familiar with this relationship style.

With polyamory so much in the media there is the possibility this will be picked up nationally, especially to those who condemn polyamory. We all know this kind of tragedy happens in monogamous relationships, too.

If anyone is contacted about this by the media please let us know and feel free to call if you need help in answering them.

You are welcome to copy this message and pass it on to others.


Robyn Trask
Loving More

Poly-Related "Giving Back" Activity: Volunteering for CARAS

I volunteer for and support several organizations whose mission involves serving the polyamory community. Thank you for considering the following about one of them, an exciting organization doing work essential to the wellbeing of the polyamory community, amongst others - the Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS). Note at the end there is a ringing endorsement from a local poly community organizer, Marly Davidson.

Thanks also for permitting me to post it here. I promise not to be a nuisance and appreciate everyone's patience.

This from CARAS board chair Jonathan Krall:

The Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS) is dedicated to the support and promotion of excellence in the study of alternative sexualities, and the dissemination of research results to the alternative sexuality communities, the public, and the research community.

We hold monthly staff meetings in the Washington DC metro area and are in need of volunteers. This is an opportunity to work with a team of bright and dedicated volunteers who are helping to bring a community voice to research and to assist researchers with work that is important to the BDSM, swinger, and polyamory communities.

*** Media Expert ***

Work with staff to produce one news release each quarter and no more than one per month. Send out by fax, hardcopy, or e-mail as needed to major news outlets in North America.

*** Development Program Director ***

Keep track of volunteers, action items and produce reports for the ED (informal, monthly) and for the board approx quarterly). Attend monthly meetings in DC. Keep up with e-mail (average 1 messages per day).

*** Webmaster ***

Get our web page on track within the Expression Engine content managment system, set up paypal (or similar) for subscriptions and donations, and deal with SQL database info to securely handle donor and subscriber info.

*** Community Outreach ***

CARAS serves the swing, polyamory and BDSM communities, as well as subcultures, such as related queer or sexworker communities. We could use volunteers from all of these communities to come to our meetings, learn about CARAS, and spread the word about what we are doing.

Other volunteer opportunities are available in the DC area, especially for people with computer skills. If you can attend a monthly staff meeting, please come out and find out more about us.

Also: CARAS has its corporate headquarters in the San Francisco Bay area--volunteer opportunities are available there as well (Contact:

Thanks kindly for your attention. :)



Jonathan Krall
Board Chair
Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities

Recommendation of CARAS volunteer Marly Davidson:

Good Poly People,

I recommend to you the Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS). I am on the east coast staff (it's national) and attend monthly meetings in the DC area, volunteering alongside academics and community leaders from the various alternative sexuality communities (BDSM, poly, and swing, and related subcultures). Jonathan Krall, PhD, a member of our DC-area poly organization, the Chesapeake Polyamory Network, is the board chairman.

You can read about CARAS, join, sign up for the listserv, participate on the forums, and volunteer as staff and/or as research subjects. There are several positions open for volunteers, especially if you have computer skills. I helped staff their booth at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting in NYC a couple weeks ago and enjoyed hanging out with them and talking with graduate students and academics who are doing research on these communities.

The staff meetings are a blast, and since it's designed to support researchers of BDSM, poly, and swing communities and put them in touch with these communities, the subject matter is always interesting. CARAS is committed to involving community members so the research protocols ask the right questions. If you want more information, contact me at Thanks for your interest!

Marly Davidson
Emeritus Board Member
Chesapeake Polyamory Network
Washington DC metropolitan area

Monday, August 27, 2007

From Polygamy to Polyfi in Order Categorical

Wow, I became giggly myself when reading sheelangig's post parodying "A Modern Major-General" from the Pirates of Penzance. She invites comment and says it's presently a rough draft. She was inspired by having seen something similar on the internet in the past, could no longer find it so wrote up one herself.

Rough draft or no, I say, good show!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Join me at LovingMore East Coast Retreat September 6-9

Join us for an enriching and educational weekend at Loving More's 2007 East Coast Polyamory conference and retreat. The annual East Coast National Conference is held at the beautiful Easton Mountain Retreat Center in upstate New York. Enjoy hiking on 175 acres, soak in the hot tub, relax in the sauna, and enjoy the wonderful food and
hospitality of the Easton Mountain Staff.

The regular member registration price is $465 for the four day three night retreat.

Price includes:

Three nights shared lodging
Delicious Meals (breakfast lunch and dinner)
Use of Easton Mountain facilities

Three day two night option is also available for $360 for Friday evening through Sunday. We offer a $35 discount for people who choose to campout.

Special offers available:

• Group Discount when three or more attendees register together
receive $30 off each registration (good only for the full
Thursday-Sunday) .
• Work Exchange; on a budget? Work three hours helping the staff and
attend for only $325

Register at or contact us 303-543-7540,
lovingmore@lovemore .com

This is a chance to immerse yourself in polyamory community, connect with wonderful poly people from the US and overseas and make new friends. Have fun sharing knowledge, and support and escape to a magical place called Loving More.

This is the perfect place to learn for people who are polyamorous, new to poly, poly curious, or just exploring relationships.


• Connecting with people of like mind from across the country
• A place to be your authentic self
• Exploring possibilities in relationships
• Music, dance and play time
• Community building
• An opportunity to explore outside your comfort zone in a safe environment
• Heart and mind expanding workshops taught by trained professionals

Our experienced trained facilitators bring years of knowledge in relationship skills, communication, personal growth and sexuality that build relationship skills weather your single, coupled or have many partners.

To see a list of the wonderful presenters and presentations go here.

Am I poly or mono if I am in a monogamous relationship?

Someone on the LiveJournal polyamory community posted this common question, as follows:

As my currently monogamous relationship grows, I am wondering how this affects my poly identity. My current partner is not poly, and that's not a problem for me. I'm trying to figure out [how] to negotiate my own identity. Because poly is something I can enjoy and grow from, I do see it's value and don't eliminate it as an option... but it isn't intrinsic to who I am or what I need. Does that mean I'm not poly? Am I a poly poser? :) Does anyone else shift between poly and mono relationships and if so do you always identify as poly?

I don't think this person is a poser at all. There is nothing inauthentic about her situation from what I can tell.

Indeed, many poly people see polyamory for themselves as an identity. I believe that being a poly person is not about what (or who - *g*) we are doing at any given time, but instead think it's more about what matters to us and what we are open to.

My personal definition of a polyamorist is a person with the desire and ability to love more than one person at at a time with openness and honesty with all involved. I don't consider a failure to embrace polyamory as essential to one's life to equate to a de facto monogamous identity. I can identify as a polyamorist and still choose under some circumstances to be in a monogamous relationship. A polyamorous nature and a monogamous relationship are not mutually exclusive.

Over the 12 years I've been a poly person, for a variety of reasons I've been through periods of time where I had only one partner. I'm not someone who collects partners simply because I'm a poly person. I approach my relationship configurations primarily from a perspective of what needs are or are not being met by the relationship or relationships I already have. If an important need arises and is going unmet, it is important to me that I be free to connect with others who might meet it.

It's also important to me to be able to act on a strong attraction if one comes along, since from my perspective, that person's entry into my life is a gift from the universe. But that doesn't happen all that often. If my needs are being met with my relationship(s) as they exist at present, I don't tend to go around looking for new partners.

Another way of putting it I've seen is that just like people who are gay don't stop being gay just because they aren't in a relationship with a same-sex partner, neither do poly people stop being poly people merely because they only have one partner, or none at all. I suppose this analogy works for me because I do identify as a poly person in terms of polyamory being an essential component of who I am. But I think it also applies to people who don't see themselves this way, so long as they still appreciate the benefits of polyamory and consider it an option.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Join Me at Dark Odyssey Summer Camp!


Hey everyone! I will be at Dark Odyssey: Summer Camp 2007 this year and you should, too! It's an incredible experience like no other I've ever had in terms of exploring freedom of sexual expression in a safe, sex-positive, clothing optional environment.

Below are all the details. Hope to see you there.



Imagine a vacation which brings together sexuality, spirituality, education, and play in a fun, diverse environment where fantasy becomes reality.

Dark Odyssey: Summer Camp 2007, a journey of sexual exploration for the spiritual and creative sex-positive communities returns for its fifth year. It will be held at a secluded, two hundred acre retreat in Northern Maryland. Our mission is to cross-pollinate ideas and concepts between diverse groups of individuals who desire to explore different areas of sexuality. The Dark Odyssey Community is truly multi-sexual, welcoming people of all genders and sexual orientations. We welcome people interested in everything from sex, Tantra, and BDSM to polyamory, swinging, Paganism, and spirituality; attendees come from all over the world and identify as sex-positive activists, nudists, LGBT, shamans, Masters, slaves, leatherfolk, genderqueers, sex bloggers, crossdressers, body modifiers, radical faeries, and perverts.

The event, from September 12-17, 2006 will feature top-notch sex educators, relationship experts, SM masters, and spiritual teachers from around the world, including:

Barbara Carrellas * Bear * Beth and Preston
Bobby * British "Lucky" Paul * Captain Beatrice & Benedick
Del * Dossie Easton * Felice Shays
Fräulein Rottenmeier * Helen Boyd * Jacq Jones
Jefferson * Jim Deuder * Jon and Carin * Lee Harrington
Levi Halberstadt * Lolita Wolf * Marcus
Margo Eve & Elkor * Mark Michaels & Patricia Johnson * Michelle Zee
Nina Hartley * Reid Mihalko & Marcia Baczynski
Sarah Sloane * Scherzoid * Sir C * Susan B
Suzanne SxySadist * SwitchMe
Tristan Taormino * Whittney Matlock

Go HERE to browse the complete list of presenter's bios.

And over 75 of the most unique, exciting workshops anywhere, with an emphasis on hands-on demonstrations, including:

The Art of Partnership: Creating Partnership within Relationship
Beyond Bowed Heads: Rituals for Dominance and submission
Binding Intentions: The Art of Rope Magic
Border Crossing: Challenging Boundaries, Connecting Bodies
Bridging Romantic Differences
Delight in Difficult Dominance
Designing your Poly Lifestyle
Discipline and Awareness: How To Enhance Life And Play With Body/Mind Techniques
Japanese Rope Harness
Making Your Move: a Flirting Class
Making Poly/Mono Relationships Work
Pain: Plight-Punishment-Pleasure
Playing in the Dark: Journeys Through Humiliation
Radical Ecstasy
Spiritual Body Modification
Trans-Sex & Identity
Uneven Libidos: When Your Partner Isn¹t as Sexual as You
Urban Tantra


Sex: Lick her, Cocksucking, Anal Play, Fisting, G-spot, Threesomes
Identity: What Labels Give Us, What Labels Take Away
Relationships: 'Ethical Sluts' Workshop by author Dossie Easton
BDSM: Ecstatic Caning and Pick-Up Play for Bottoms
Spirituality: Energy Pull Ritual and Walking the Path of Ordeal
And An Entire Track of Classes & Events Devoted to Fireplay

Go HERE for classes and descriptions.

In addition to workshops, Dark Odyssey features creative social activities, nightly special events, erotic rituals, lakeside bonfires, the Sex-O-Rama playspace, and a 10,000 square foot fully equipped dungeon open for play around the clock. Legendary special events include:

Body Beautiful * PT for Perverts * Night in Flames
Energy Pull Ritual * Garden of Carnal Delights * Cupid's Gambit
Fucking Machines Show * Cigars & Chocolate * Cuddle Party
Perverts' Potluck * Fire Spinning * Petting Zoo * Pajama Party

All this happens in a fun camp environment at a retreat with great accommodations: forty cabins with real beds, full bathrooms, hot water showers, and electricity; two swimming pools, canoeing, and hiking; plus, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a midnight snack included.

Unlike a typical conference event, where you have to pay for registration fees, hotel room costs, plus meals, Dark Odyssey is an all-inclusive event.
Current registration rates are good through August 20 (then prices go up), but you can register up until September 12. When you register, don't forget to check to see if you are a member of any of our Participating Groups which entitle you to a group discount on the registration rate!

Dozens of community organizations have signed on as participating groups in Dark Odyssey, and we add new groups every day. Check the website to see if your group is one of them, and you'll be entitled to a registration discount. If your group would like to be added to this list, please contact

Visit the DO website for more details. We hope you will join us for this exciting event!

Best Regards,

The Producers of Dark Odyssey:
Tristan, Greg, Karri, and Colten

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Polyamorists, Swingers and Swollies

A respectful discussion of the very common question about the differences between polyamory and swinging is happening at present on my local CPN e-mail list. Here are my thoughts on the question.

Swinging is an entirely valid choice in terms of lifestyle, and for some years now I've been asking polys who denigrate swinging to be more tolerant and accepting. I also say that polyamory and swinging are a continuum. But as practiced by considerable numbers on both ends of the spectrum, there are fairly considerable differences in the two in my observation. This is intentionally NOT to say that one is better than the other, only that there are significant differences between enjoying occasional recreational sex and returning to a day-to-day mainstream monogamous existence - which many swing club regulars and swing convention regulars do, and their numbers are considerable - and committing to a heart-based long-term relationship model like polyamory where we share more of our day-to-day lives.

The observed overlap between the two is when polyfolk also engage in recreational sex. To my mind this makes them both swinger and poly, or "swollies" as my poly activist friend, Ken Haslam, refers to them. Likewise, some folks who identify as swinger and enjoy recreational sex do indeed develop long-term bonds with their swing partners. If it isn't against their personal relationship rules to fall in love, sometimes they do, and IMO it is at this point that swingers become swollies.

What I am not comfortable with is the erasing of the definitional lines entirely, as some wish to do by labeling all of the above as polyamory. The problem with that is that making distinctions is useful when describing clearly existing differences in behavior, especially for we activists who are called upon to explain them. For many polyfolk and many swingerfolk, the differences are considerable. As to how they identify, for those who engage in both the lines are clearly blurred. (How's that for an oxymoron?)

We don't have specific numbers, but my observation after spending many years in the poly community and a considerable amount of time getting to know the swing community is that the majority of swingers are interested in recreational sex for fun and friendship but otherwise live dyadic monogamous day-to-day lives. The majority of polyfolk, OTOH, approach their non-monogamy with the intention to connect emotionally and interact with their SOs more seamlessly, whether they begin the relationship with sex or wait a while. Both work. Both are valid. But in terms of the behavior of the majority, they are different.

One person participating in the discussion on the CPN list talked about the pejorative risks of defining oneself by what one is not. That's an important issue, especially in light of the historical tendency of some in the poly community to hastily assure people they are not swingers in very judgmental tones, as if recreational sex with those with whom they are not otherwise partnered is a bad thing. Yet I disagree that saying that I am not a swinger is in and of itself inappropriate. I believe that it is valid to define myself by who I am not so long as I demonstrate respect for those who are what I am not. This is because I rarely engage in recreational sex with people who are not already my relationship partners. When I do, it is with someone I already know and feel affection for. It is exceedingly rare that I do it with someone I've just met. When that has happened, it has been because there was a rather instantaneous chemistry between us that held great promise for something much deeper. So it's not that I judge lighter forms of sexual connection as improper or inappropriate, only that I personally don't find them very gratifying, so I don't do them. That makes me different - not better, just different.

Though for the majority of participants polyamory and swinging are apples and oranges, both are fabulous, juicy fruit and absolutely valid choices that deserve to be respected, both community to community and by those who do not practice either one. Some of us choose one or the other, and some of us choose both. I see no need to call them both "polyamory" and consider doing so an exercise in creating more confusion rather than eliminating it. What would be especially useful is an overarching term that encompasses both swinging and polyamory, but nothing of that sort exists to my knowledge.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Jealousy and Murder in Pennsylvania Muslim Polygamous Family

Of course, this woman is innocent until proven guilty, but if the charges are accurate, wow, what a great example of what exactly not to do if you want your spice to get along with each other. I also find it interesting that she is wearing a full burka with only her eyes showing - I wonder if she wears it all the time or whether in this case it serves to protect her from the media's prying eyes.

Bigamist's First Wife Charged With Killing Him on Eve of Trip to Impregnate Second Wife

Monday, August 6, 2007

East Coast Polycamp

My partner, T, and I ended our move week by going to east coast polycamp for the weekend. This was the ninth year this event has been held at Yokum's Indian Village Campground at Seneca Rocks, West Virginia. It was so wonderful to see my polycamp poly friends. It's a sort of "Same time next year" gathering and family friendly. Polyfolk from Massachusetts to North Carolina brought their kids and we had potluck dinner cookouts in the picnic pavilion.

During the day people get together and go hiking, horseback riding, canoeing (water levels withstanding) and caving if we have an experienced caver present to lead and see to safety issues. On Saturday several of us went over to the lovely Seneca Rocks Discovery Center and heard a traditional bluegrass group perform. To my delight, they included Rocky Top in their set, which warmed this Tennessee girl's heart.

We also had a very nice adult group discussion on polyamory and relationship issues. That was a nice mix of experienced polys and poly newbies looking for all the info and support they can get - good for them.

This particular polycamp was blessed with an abundance of variety in terms of those with whom we shared the campground. On Friday night a group of Mennonites held an open air revival in one of the pavilions, which was probably the quietest revival I've ever witnessed, and being a southern girl, I've witnessed a few. In an ironic turn of events, on Saturday PETE' Fest was held, featuring "WV and VA's hottest Metal/Punk/ and Alt. Rock bands." Thank goodness we were camped at the opposite end of the campground, which made the sound level bearable. Some in our group weren't so well situated. This event went on from 4PM to midnight. Surely the wildest screams ever heard at Seneca Rocks took place on Saturday. We sat around the campfire Saturday night with heavy metal music in the background, and T's kids and our friends B and S decided that the screams were coming from the "Yokum yeti". It was a hilarious! And last but not least, there were lots of bikers around in anticipation of a huge bike rally that starts today in Canaan Valley about 20 miles away, so lots of bikers were staying in the cabins and motel.

Next year will be our tenth anniversary, so I imagine a lot more planning and promoting will take place as we try to make it the biggest and best east coast polycamp yet.

For those out west, there is a wonderful west coast polycamp held in the Seattle area this next weekend, August 10-12, 2007.

Oddly enough, our drive up to polycamp began by our witnessing a serious traffic accident which happened right in front of us - had we been two cars ahead, we'd have been hit head on instead of the unfortunate fellow who was. T and I jumped out of the car and ran to assist the injured. I have recently updated my CPR/First Aid training and was prepared to offer that kind of help, but it wasn't needed.

Both vehicles had only one occupant, and both had on seatbelts and their air bags had deployed. As a result, both were conscious and talking and seemed to have only minor injuries, despite the serious nature of the accident. T called 911 and we stuck around to comfort the injured until help arrived and to give a witness statement.

The man who caused the accident by crossing the center line appeared to me to be impaired, though I didn't smell alcohol on him. But the police removed an almost empty bottle of vodka from the vehicle, which certainly told the tale. Since T's teenagers, ages 15 and 17, were with us, it was a very graphic lesson on the perils of drinking and driving, one they both seemed to take quite seriously. They're both good kids, but such an experience still helps to bring home the point.

Our New Home

Life has gotten away from me lately, so I haven't posted here in a while. T and I just moved into our new home last weekend - whew! What a lot of work, both preparing and executing, but we're in and unpacked - all we have to do is hang pictures. We were fortunate to have T's two teenagers with us all week, and they were a tremendous help. I love the house - not at all what people think of when they think of a modular home. It's drywalled throughout, and you really can't tell any difference between it and a regular home. We have an 8' X 30' deck on the front, and the hot tub is on order. We plan to do a lot of entertaining, including hosting regular poly events.