Saturday, September 27, 2008


The following is from the fabulous folks with Polyamorous NYC who are about to hold the biggest polyamory pride weekend-long celebration ever held next weekend. If you're in the northeast, travel by Amtrak may be both convenient and affordable. Fuel prices don't seem to have impacted Amtrak like they have the airline industry and prices at the pump.

Birgitte writes:

Our POLY PRIDE WEEKEND is only one week away and things are really heating up, folks. We have had an explosion of media requests recently and hope that all of this added attention will help create awareness about polyamory. We are expecting the largest crowds by far this year and hope that you can join us!

Whether you are poly-friendly, poly curious or polyamorous, POLY PRIDE WEEKEND will be a place to meet like-minded people as well as hear top poly and relationship experts and some great talent. Mark your calendars now, for a weekend of events not to be missed!

If you wish to purchase heavily-discounted advanced tickets and haven’t already done so, please do. Our ticketed events have an attendance ceiling and we won’t be able to accommodate you if we are sold out.

See event descriptions below. Save between one-third and one-half off the admission price and purchase online here.

We can also use some more great volunteers for our events. Volunteering is one of the best ways to actively network with other polyamorous people and get involved with an organization that is growing by leaps and bounds! Volunteering can be a powerful and life-changing experience. If you are interested in helping us with our events, please email Lyndell Moore, our POLY PRIDE Producer.

Here is a breakdown of our POLY PRIDE WEEKEND EVENTS:

Friday, October 3rd, 2008 from 7:30-10p.m.

The Super Massive Cuddle Party is on Friday night, October 3rd from 7:30-10p.m. (doors close at 8p.m. and late-comers will not be admitted) at the LGBT Center at 208 West 13th Street(between 7th and 8th Avenues) in room 101. We are expecting to break our record from last year of hosting the largest-ever official Cuddle Party in the world! Yes, will be a party with everyone in their pajamas but, a whole lot more. Besides being a great event to network and meet like-minded adults, it is also a powerful communication and boundaries workshop. Yes, I have actually seen these parties be transformational experiences for people as well as an amazing space to make new connections, etc. If you haven't ever experienced an official Cuddle Party, than this is the one to go to....if you are a Cuddle Party regular, than this is the motherload of all Cuddle Parties. For more info about what a Cuddle Party is, log onto:

Saturday, October 4th from 12-6p.m

The (FREE) POLY PRIDE DAY Rally and Picnic in Central Park is on Saturday, October 4th from 12-6p.m. on the Great Hill(entrance on 106th Street and Central Park West). We are expecting to have the lawn filled with poly curious, poly-friendly and polyamorous people all coming together to experience an historic day of dynamic poly speakers and talent from across the country. The Rally will start promptly at noon. This one-of-a-kind-event is only happening in New York, folks and POLYAMOROUS NYC has organized a speaker and talent line-up that the polyamory movement has never before seen together in one place. If you have already been to a POLY PRIDE event in past years, get ready for something extraordinary and if you haven't ever been to our POLY PRIDE DAY and want to see the future of the exploding Alternative Relationships and Polyamory Movement, than this is your event. For more info about all of our speakers and entertainment acts, log on to our website at:

Saturday, October 4th 9p.m. until 1:00 a.m.

The POLY PRIDE DAY AFTER-PARTY on Saturday, October 4th will be from 9p.m. until 1:00 a.m. will be at The River Room at River Place, 650 West 42nd Street. It's an exciting loft-style venue overlooking the Hudson River with a romantic indoor/outdoor space, a multitude of saucy cabaret and entertainment acts and a slammin' DJ to dance to.....Possibly the largest poly-friendly, poly-curious, polyamorous party of it's kind in New York City. If you ever wondered where all those great poly people in the New York area and beyond are, discover them at this event. We are expecting close to 300 attendees and yes, there will be no better place in town to meet like-minded poly people than this event.

Sunday, October 5th will be from 12:30-2:30p.m

The (FREE) Read and Sign Event on Sunday, October 5th will be from 12:30-2:30p.m. at the famous and infamous, Bluestockings Bookstore on 172 Allen Street(between Stanton and Rivington).

Folks, this will be the biggest POLY Author Read and Sign event ever! and no where else will you get this many important poly authors from across the country(including Puerto Rico) all assembled in the same place reading from their books. POLYAMOROUS NYC is seriously proud to have all of these important authors all in one place for the first time ever! We would love you to join us for this dynamic event. Admission is free! (if you want to make a contribution to the hat, though, it would be greatly appreciated).

Meet and hear from authors of some of the most prominent books about polyamory out today. Sensual recollections, practical insights, and recounting of history are just three of the aspects of polyamory to be explored through readings and honest discussion: Authors Serena Anderlini, Peter Benson, Kelli Dunham, Barbara Foster, Jaime Grant, Cunning Minx, Leanne Wolfe, Jenny Block and Tristan Taormino read from their fiction and nonfiction writings. Highlights include selections from Taormino's new book Opening Up: A Guide to Creating & Sustaining Open Relationships and anticdotes from Block's nationally recognized book Open: Love, Sex & Life in an Open Marriage.

I hope that you all can join us!

Passionately Yours,
Birgitte Philippides
Polyamorous NYC

Call a Friend

I never expected in a million years to get something from my fundamentalist Christian dad that I could use here, yet here it is:

"My wife and I were watching 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' while we were in bed.

I turned to her and said, 'Do you want to have sex?

'No!' she answered.

I then said, 'Is that your final answer ?

'Yes!' she replied.

Then I said, 'I'd like to phone a friend.'

That's the last thing I remember.

Darn woman..... she has absolutely NO sense of humor!"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dolly Parton's Open Marriage?

"If we cheat we don't know it, so if we do cheat, it's very good for both us. I don't want to know it, if he's cheating on me. If I'm cheating on him, he wouldn't want to know it. And if we do, if that's what's making it work, then that's fine too.” - Dolly Parton, quoted speaking of her 30+ year marriage to her limelight shunning husband Carl Dean while opening a children's school in Rotherham, UK, December 5, 2007

What???? I don't know for sure, but if this is really true, I'm going to be one happy Dolly-lovin' woman. Who knew Dolly and Carl have a don't ask don't tell relationship? She's very careful to speak hypothetically, so this may or may not be actually true, but it sure seems like she's thought a lot about it.

I'm not condoning cheating, not at all. That said, I've always thought that polyamory would be a potential problem-solver for showbiz types with strong marriages.

I grew up in the next county over from Dolly. I used to be ashamed of her, I'm ashamed to say, but that was when I was young, stupid and caught up in the culture of rock and roll. As she and I both got older and she became so successful, I came to recognize her for the authentic, shrewd, open-minded and talented woman she truly is. I saw her concert in Fairfax, Virginia earlier this year. It was great. It was also entertaining to note the huge range of fans in the audience, from drag queens to young families with kids to a full row of geriatric folks in wheelchairs.

There have long been rumors that Dolly is having a lesbian or bisexual affair with her best friend, assistant and traveling companion, Judy "Sissy" Ogle, much like similar rumors about Oprah Winfrey. I'd sure love to know if it's true. Maybe she'll write an update to her original memoir that will be published once she's gone - which I hope won't be for a lot of years. She's 62 y.o. What with Cloris Leachman appearing on Dancing with the Stars at age 82, anything's possible for older women these days.

Fox's Morning Show with Mike and Juliet Gives Open Marriage Nay Sayers Last Word

Update on Friday, September 26, 2008:

Late yesterday after receiving my e-mail letting her know that her portion of this segment had been excluded from video of the rest of the segment posted on the show's website, Jenny Block contacted the show's producers and asked them to play fair and post her segment of the program. To their credit, they agreed, and you can now see it here. You can see the second part wherein nay-sayer, uninformed guests get the last word, here.

Original post:

This morning Jenny Block, author of Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage and pictured to the right with guest couples therapist Dr. Diana Kirschner, was a guest on Fox TV's daily live Morning Show with Mike and Juliet, where hosts Mike Jerrick and Juliet Huddy, pictured below, engage in discussions with guests about hot topics in pop culture, women’s health, fashion, parenting and relationships, and general entertainment.

Unfortunately Fox, like some other talk shows, set up open marriage to discredit it. In the beginning all went well. Jenny did a fabulous job - no surprise there. She spoke intelligently and articulately about her life, her relationships, and got out a lot of great messaging about how open marriage can work and is a valid choice. Juliet asked respectful questions, including some of the usual "but what about" questions that come to people's minds when they first hear about such relationships. So, at the beginning people who saw the live segment heard much positive messaging about open relationships.

Mike actually pointed out that open marriage does work for some people, at least for Jenny and for a poly couple that was seated in the audience and briefly interviewed. (Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get their names.) The wife said she had had a relationship with a girlfriend that recently ended. Both she and her husband came across well, presented themselves well visually and had a pragmatic demeanor when answering questions. Definitely a positive.

The producers of this program spent the last two days thoroughly canvassing polyamory community leadership to find two couples willing to be guests. They sought a couple whose story mirror's Jenny's, i.e. a couple who opened their marriage at the wife's request due to the wife's bisexuality. Finding that couple wasn't so difficult, but they also sought a couple for whom an open relationship didn't work. I respectfully declined to help with that part of the search, since I personally don't see how providing people for whom polyamory didn't work is in our community's best interests. There are already plenty of people who believe polyamory can't work, why would we help perpetuate that myth?

Evenso, the person the producers found to serve that purpose was Jennifer Gates, author of Survivors of an Open Marriage. Gates blamed inability to control emotions as the reason her open marriage nearly ended – after ten years of it being open, BTW. It is still intact today, though now closed and monogamous.

It's too bad that Gates and her husband didn't have the kind of resources now available - like Jenny Block's book, for example - to guide them through dealing with the emotional challenges of polyamory. Many, many polyamorists know that for those who are serious about it - as Gates and her husband clearly were for ten years - emotional challenges don't have to result in broken hearts.

It's also too bad that it is only Gates' story and the very negative opinions of Dr. Diana Kirschner that Fox has decided to make available on their website. More on that below.

So when asked to respond to Gates' story, Dr. Kirschner said, "Usually this whole thing is a recipe for disaster. There is competitiveness, jealousy, very limited time and affection, time for sex, and all these resentments start. The head says we think we can handle this but other feelings take over and you get a run away train effect and a lot of people get their hearts broken."

If I had been there to respond, I’d have said that this isn't necessarily so for those who have or are willing to develop great relationship skills and whose existing relationships are solid. Failure IS NOT inevitable. This is where Dr. Kirschner may wish to update her understanding of this subject.

Juliet then asks Kirchner, “What happens 10, 20, 30 years down the line? Two people are agreeing to do this and they’re adults, then you start to blur the lines of love and monogamy and communication and loyalty. What’s going to happen to the state of marriage, the culture, in 30 years?"

Kirchner’s response: “It’s interesting. Of course the divorce rate is very high, and that’s with just two people. Can you imagine with three people, how much more complicated that is, whose going to be left out, who’s going to get a broken heart?”

So there it is, the conservative party line that says that open relationships are dangerous and further weaken marriage, an already seriously weakened institution. And that may be true to the extent that people don’t have access to education that has the power to result in a positive outcome and MORE happiness than monogamy brings for many people.

Mike asks, “Does open marriage ever work?" and Kirchner responds, “Yes, for some people, but by far for the vast majority of people it backfires completely."

And that’s it - the uninformed opinion got the last word. Fox has chosen to post on its website only the second half of the open marriage segment. The entire first half which includes Jenny’s interview is excluded, with only the part that says that open marriages don't work included. Of course, this *is* Fox we're talking about here, and it seems that Fox doesn't have the integrity to include the whole story, not if it sets them up for accusations by their conservative viewership of promoting or sanctioning open marriage.

For another review of this see Joreth's blog post.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Katy Perry is Going to Hell

Pop singer Katy Perry is in big trouble with The Rev. Dave Allison and his 100 member Havens Corners Church in Columbus, Ohio. Apparently Rev. Allison decided to emphasize what he considers to be the Bible's unambiguous stance on homosexuality with the most visible method at hand, i.e. the church's sign, by playing off the lyrics of Perry's hit pop song.

Poor Katy - and her future was looking so doggone bright, what with her ginormous hit "I Kissed and Girl and I Liked it" song topping the charts all over the world. I've had it on my Chocolate for months. I mean, it's got such a great beat and is so easy to dance to! (... she says as she channels Dick Clark - no, wait, Dick's not quite dead yet.)

You can read the Columbus Dispatch's report here.

Lord Jesus, thank you for giving me such a fabulous opportunity to use the the graphic below once again.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Loving More East Coast Conference - Fabulous!

I had a really great time attending and participating in the Loving More East Coast Conference. We were once again at the lovely Easton Mountain Retreat, where the meals included a lovely bounty of fresh, homegrown vegetables and the chocolate chip cookies were to die for. Above are the smiling faces of some of the participants.

The weather was hot on Friday, rainy on Saturday - we were all in workshops anyway - and crisp and clear on Sunday. As always, the energy at this retreat was lively and loving. We had a good number of people in attendance who are new to polyamory, and all we veterans did our best to make them feel comfortable and make sure they know they were amongst friends. I always love meeting new people and helping them in whatever way I may.

Above are some of the presenters - that's me in the front row between Eric Francis, the fellow with the drum, and our keynote speaker, the dynamic Diana Adams, Esq., NYC polyamory activist and Poly Pride 2008 co-organizer. (Watch this site for more on the upcoming Poly Pride celebration October 3-5 in NYC!) I presented my signature "Making Peace with Jealousy" program and co-facilitated a general polyamory relationship issues discussion with Robyn Trask. We got into some heavily emotional stuff, but I think it was good work and helped several people there get a handle on relationship challenges with which they were grappling, which was the point of that workshop.

Above are the Loving More staff who worked so hard to make this conference such a pleasure for the rest of us. From left to right, they are the lovely Elise, book vendor extraordinaire, shuttle driver and everyone's helper, Mark, the sweet and sassy Amira, who is Loving More's office manager; Loving More Managing Director Robyn Trask; and Robyn's partner Jesus Garcia, who has a wonderful amount of energy for filling in whatever gaps exist so all comes off seamlessly. Kudos to these amazing people for creating an event that surely everyone present came away from feeling energized and even more connected to the larger polyamory community.

Polyamory Research and CARAS

I recently agreed to serve as a member of an Institutional Review Board ("IRB") at CARAS - the Community-Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities. The polyamory IRB's role will be to review and approve research proposals applying NIH standards for researchers using human subjects. In doing so we can better assure that members of the polyamory community who are asked to participate in studies and provide research data can do so with confidence.

More specifically the polyamory IRB will be responsible for certifying that the proposed study will be conducted so as not to do any harm to the study participants. CARAS's goal is to be the important link between researchers and study groups made up of community volunteers so researchers can find the study participants they need and participants can be assured that there are adequate controls in place so they will be comfortable with what they are getting into.

I'm very excited about this. There is a lot of interest in this realm of research these days, and it's about time - we need to know a lot more about how our polyamorous relationships work and how they don't when they don't and why. We especially need more scientific evidence about how children do in poly families, since family courts tend to decide against poly parents absent concrete scientific evidence that children are not being put at risk.

CARAS has been working on putting the right people in place to launch itself into this vital work, and its directors are just about there. Approvals from NIH must be granted, i.e. proof that the various review boards for BDSM, swinging and polyamory are all suitably trained and qualified, and then we'll be up and running.

It is extremely gratifying to see that what was no more than a fond wish five years ago is coming to fruition, that there are both qualified researchers interested in studying our alternative sexuality communities, and that there are professionals out there who are putting together the approval apparatus to facilitate making it happen. In addition to CARAS and its work, as well as informal groups of researchers interested in studying swinging and BDSM, for at least a couple of years now there has been a very active yahoogroup focused on polyamory research where many academic researchers, student researchers, polyamory advocates and other interested persons continue to gather, network and share papers that they post to the files section of that group. You can find out about the poly researchers group here.

2008 Top 100 Best Sex Bloggers - Hint: I'm One!

Rori of the Between My Sheets blog recently published a list of what she considers to be the 100 best sex blogs in 2008. What an enormous project that must have been. I greatly appreciate her hard work and commitment to honoring and including bloggers whose focus is in the realm of sex and relationships, especially since this very blog made the cut. Thank you to Rori for the honor! Very cool indeed.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hate Speech and TVUUC on Bill Moyers Journal

Although some may not consider hate speech as precisely related to polyamory, I believe that it is from the many, many hateful comments routinely made about polyamory where articles on polyamory are published in mainstream online fora. For example, Jenny Block, author of Open: Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage, has been called a slut, unfit mother and much worse for opening her marriage and telling her story, even in comments on the very liberal Huffington Post (read Jenny's thoughts about this here) and women's love and sex focused Her article on Tango has consistently ranked as one of the top three most e-mailed articles on that website, with it being the number one most e-mailed for most of that time. There are 230 comments on it on that site and still counting. Fortunately some are supportive, but there are plenty who gleefully hide behind their on-line anonymity and indulge in hate speech they'd never have the nerve to use and never get away with if they were speaking to Jenny face-to-face.

And I can't tell you how many times I've seen similar hate speech used in response to articles published on polyamory in places like the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Chicago Sun-Times, etc. These mainstream newspapers are routinely excoriated for focusing on the topic. When the Washington Post published an indepth article on polyamory in February of this year, commenters hotly criticized the Post specifically for the length and visibility of the article. What ticked them off the most was that a large portion of it was positioned on the page opposite the comics section, thus resulting in accusations of "exposing children to unwholesome, anti-family content." Oh puleeze! Give it a break already. (And while you're at it, I recommend reading Judith Levine's excellent book Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex.)

Anyway! I consider all forms of hate speech to be an irresponsponsible abuse of the right to free speech. In further connecting the dots on this subject, you may recall that I posted here several weeks ago about the horrendous, hate speech motivated shooting at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in my home town of Knoxville, Tennessee.

Tonight the PBS program Bill Moyers Journal examines "Shock Jock" media and it's role in the TVUUC shooting. I cannot say how much I applaud Moyers' and PBS's courage in taking on this topic and such right-wing media personalities as Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and (holding my nose) Ann Coulter.

The PBS website blurb on the program is as follows:

What happens when America's airwaves fill with hate? BILL MOYERS JOURNAL takes a tough look at the hostile industry of "Shock Jock" media with a hard-hitting examination of its effects on our nation's political discourse. The JOURNAL traveled to Knoxville, where a recent shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church has left the pastor asking what role hateful speech from popular right-wing media personalities may have played in the tragedy. "A lot of people are hurling insults from the safety of television studios, the safety of radio studio, the safety of cyberspace," says Rev. Chris Buice, "So that's a void in our community — the chance to be in the same room and to have these exchanges and remember the humanity of the person on the other side.

Chris Buice and Bill Moyers are my heroes! You can check your local listings for the time this airs here. I'd love to have your comments, so please stop by after you see this important program and tell me what you think

Post show update: You can see the video of it here.