Thursday, October 25, 2012

Is Polyamory an Alternative to Cheating? Not so says Charlie Glickman

Charlie Glickman is a polyamorous sex educator in California whom I very much respect, and I read with great interest his recent blog entry provocatively entitled "Polyamory Is Not an Alternative to Cheating." 

My own path to polyamory, which I describe in my lengthy comment to the blog entry, resulted directly from seeking an alternative to cheating and traditional monogamy - I experienced cheating in about every way imaginable in my earlier adult life, and there came a point where I wanted nothing more to do with it.

Charlie's premise, which you will see, is that polyamory is an alternative to monogamy, and that the alternative to cheating is honesty, communication and abiding by our agreements.  I can't argue with that logic certainly, yet for me personally, discovering polyamory as a better alternative to cheating was a very compelling reason for me to embraced it.  So for me, polyamory is indeed an alternative to cheating.  Charlie's explains his thinking this way:
I think that what bothers me about the “poly isn’t cheating” message is that it seems to play into the “poly means you’re more evolved” meme that floats around in some self-satisfied circles. I know from personal experience that it takes a lot of practice to be open about your desires and to quickly and smoothly process the challenges that arise. And when there are multiple relationships, there are more plates to keep spinning, so it does require more grace and skill. But at the end of the day, we’re all people and any of us can be tempted to break our rules. So even if being successfully poly does mean that you have more practice at using your relationship tools, that doesn’t excuse becoming smug about it any more than being a skilled dancer gives you permission to think that you’re a better person than a newbie.
Now I absolutely cannot argue with the fact that the poly-as-more-evolved meme has a lot of problems, largely that it tends to alienate people who choose monogamy.  More importantly, it tends to alienate people we should be raising awareness with so they understand that what we do is ethical and maybe even not what they think at all.  But alienating them makes that job a lot more difficult.  I actually cringed when I heard one of the cast members of the Showtime series Polyamory: Married and Dating say this very thing.  From an advocacy perspective it does we polyamorists no good at all, and it's ethically wrong in that it is a great example of the sort of thing that marginalizes others within communities and societies everywhere. 

What I like most about Charlie's blog post is that he is speaking as a respected leader about the importance of following standards of conduct that though difficult to follow in some instances, nevertheless assure those who follow them of having a lot more love and happiness in their relationships and a lot less pain and suffering over the long run than those who don't follow them.

So kudos to Charlie!  It would be wonderful to hear and see more polyamory advocates and community leaders follow his example.  Doing so may cause some to feel uncomfortable because they know they need to do better by themselves and their partners than they do.  There are certainly plenty of them out there who need to up their game from an ethical perspective.  If they squirm a little knowing they don't meet the standards leaders recommend, that's OK with me.  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Still Interested in Kamala Devi's Journey Beyond Monogamy?

If you missed yesterday's revolutionary call on love and liberation, here's the link to listen to it now free of charge.   It will only be available for the next week.  

If you live in southern California or will be in the area next week, Kamala is hosting a no-strings-attached open house on Oct. 23rd at 6:45 p.m. at the beautiful, sensual space and home she shares with her loves that you may have seen on Showtime's Polyamory: Married and Dating.  Experience her most powerful teachings on love and liberation!   

Pre-register here for the entire live Journey Beyond Monogamy course teleclass.  Note that the $100 discount for this course ends tonight, October 18 at midnight.Kamala Devi phone coaching  

You may wish to mark your calendar for these upcoming events:

October 25th, San Diego Poly Potluck with guest speaker and Sex at Dawn co-author Christopher Ryan, Ph.D.

October 27th, Evolve Your Sexuality, with Kamala Devi and bestselling Sex at Dawn co-author Christopher Ryan, Ph.D. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Romney's Binders Full of Women: All My Wives

might be the internet's biggest takeaway from last night's Obama Romney debate.  (Mitt's language skills certainly leave something to be desired!)  So naturally someone connected a couple of dots and came up with a Mitt binder labeled "All My Wives," Mitt being Mormon and all, not that he actually has more than one wife.  That we know of. 

Still, I prefer Polygamy Porter's long-time marketing approach.
"Why Have Just One! Bring Some Home to the Wives!"
(That's Joseph Smith there in the beard.)

But back to those binders full of women. 
For sheer laughs, I enjoyed these especially.  Thanks, MSN!   

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Free Love and Liberation Teleconference Tomorrow!

The more I get to know sex and relationships coach Kamala Devi of Showtime's Polyamory: Married and Dating, the more impressed I am with her approach to open relationships and the expertise and philosophy she has to share.  So I recommend without reservation her free Love and Liberation Teleconference which takes place less than 24 hours from now tomorrow, October 17, 2012 at 12PM PDT.  More than 250 people have signed up.  She's also going to give those who sign up a recording of the teleconference to share with loved ones and review again themselves. 

Participating in the free teleconference does not obligate you further.  However, you can find out more about the entire Beyond Monogamy series Kamala is offering and what it can do for your poly life - at an impressively affordable price, I must say - and sign up for the free telecon here

I think you will find that it's worth your time.  This is an opportunity for more in-depth learning about how to create happy poly relationships than you get from 90 minute in-person workshops.  Kamala is quite a resource. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Come Out and Celebrate EVERYONE'S Freedom to Love!

Happy National Coming Out Day, Y'all! 

Thirty years have passed since I first became aware of my attraction to women as well as men, though I didn't come out as bisexual until much later when I came out as poly in the mid 1990s.   Since then, as an educator and activist I've made many LGBT friends who feed my spirit and enrich my life.  Some are mentors, some are colleagues, and some are good friends.  Though there is still some remaining ground to cover as regards LGBT rights, the movement has  come a long way, something everyone, GLBTs and allies, including polyamorists, can  celebrate today.   

As someone who finds value in stepping back and observing the bigger picture, I feel grateful for the work LGBT activists have done over the years to make this day possible.  I know, whether intended or not, that it can't help but facilitate better acceptance of families of choice in whatever form they take, including open romantic sexual relationships between more than two of whatever gender and orientation. 

But let's also remember what today is also about - coming out and being out.  Many of us are able to be out as polyamorous because much of the wider culture has learned that not everyone wants, needs or desires the same thing when it comes to love, sex and relationships.  There has never been a better time to come out as polyamorous!  It is important not to hide your love away behind irrational fears of retribution.  On the other hand, if you know absolutely that the risk of losing a job you can't easily replace or parental rights, take caution.  No one has the right to ask you to take potentially damaging risks of that magnitude.  Even if it isn't good timing for coming out just now, it's a worthy goal to which to work toward when the time is right. 

I was delighted to arrive at work today to find this message in my email in box. I am proud and grateful to work for an employer that takes such matters seriously and values social justice and inclusiveness. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Black Rose XXV and Monogamy in the Scene

I had the pleasure of having dinner this past weekend with the fabulous Mollena Williams, she of the clever catch phrase "It ain't just the hair that's kinky."  We were both educators at Black Rose XXV, a very well attended BDSM educational and play event here in Washington, DC.  And she is quite the leather celebrity, having served as International Ms Leather 2010.  People practically bow when she walks by.  She is funny and approachable. 

Mollena has been a BDSM educator for many years who now includes a class on being monogamous in the scene in her offerings.  I met her when she was speaking on this at The Floating World a couple of years ago and was shocked and dismayed at her reports of being marginalized and treated disrespectfully because she chooses to be monogamous and is not ready to jump into a group situation just because someone else wants to a taste of her lusciousness.  (And she IS luscious, make no mistake.)  Since that time I have been talking about that issue when I speak on polyamory and open relating at kink events, because it doesn't matter the setting or the situation, the last groups who should be discriminating against people within their own community are sexual minorities.  We all have to stick together!

Black Rose is the local BDSM membership organization in DC, and after a haitus of a few years, their fabulous team of organizers once against gave a high quality event with great educational programs and a lot of fun events in addition to their awesome dungeon space.  When I arrived on site someone greeted me almost immediately, guided me to my classroom, and made sure I had everything I needed for my class that was due to start soon.  Same thing the next day with my second class.  Now that's something I wish all event organizers would take a clue from.  It makes a huge difference when there is an extra pair of hands around, class starts in ten minutes, the projector isn't as simple to work as expected, and I still have to go pee.  So THANK YOU BLACK ROSE (specifically Alex McGeorge and Danielle) for making things easy for me.  I am proud to be a resource for open relating educational programs for this highly-respected organization. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Showtime's Polyamory: Married and Dating

I am a fan of quite a few adult-themed Showtime series like Californication, Dexter, Weeds, Shameless, House of Lies, etc.  When about ten days before its premiere Showtime, which had been entirely silent until that point, finally ran the following teaser about its polyamory documentary reality series, Polyamory: Married and Dating, I just happened to be watching. 

I jumped up and cried "Wow, it's Showtime!" I immediately ran to my computer and checked the Showtime website for more info, and there was nothing there.  But it didn't take long for that to change.  I was more excited about it than any other media event that has ever taken place. 

We polyamory advocates have known for a long time that a poly reality series was being pitched in Hollywood but that the networks were skittish about offending viewers and sponsors.  As time passed and media interest in polyamory grew and grew and grew, Showtime finally decided to go with it.  Thanks to the marvelous cast and courageous producer Natalia Garcia, Showtime came up with a real winner that has done more to raise awareness and start conversations about polyamory than anything that has gone before it.
A lot was riding on this show.  Cast and crew held a fair amount of the fate of the polyamory movement.    There were a couple of statements putting down monogamy that we actavists could have done without, but it wasn't was due to malice or a lack of awareness of the sensitive nature of such statements.

Many congrats and thanks to Michael, Kamala, Jen, Tahl, Anthony, Vanessa and Lindsey for having the courage to show their lives to people who may well have never known there was another option for intimate relationships! 

Alan of the Polyamory in the Media blog reports a recent conversation with Natalia Garcia about the series's future and learned that Garcia is actively seeking poly families to appear in a second season of this show.  Please do contact her if you are interested, and contact me so we can help you put your best food forward on behalf of the polyamory movement when your turn comes.