Tag Archives: swinging

1st Non-Monogamies Conference Lisbon-Portugal

Poly [etc!] in Portugal! 9/25-27/15 CfC deadline extended

NMCI Conference, Portugal, 9/25-27/15

Hey poly/open/non-mono researchers, activists, artists, and presenters! Are you in or near Europe — or would like to at least BE in Europe in September? This great conference is happening September 25-27 in Lisbon, Portugal. The Call for Contributions deadline has been EXTENDED to May 31!

Get your submissions in now to be part of the FIRST EVER Conference on Non-Monogamies and Contemporary Intimacies! https://nmciconference.wordpress.com/

 

Just want to attend the conference, without being a presenter? That’s possible too. Find out more about fees and registration here: https://nmciconference.wordpress.com/registration/

 

More Poly/Open/Non-Mono Conferences

Want to know about other upcoming conferences?  Check out Alan M’s great list of Poly Events, worldwide: http://polyevents.blogspot.com/

No matter who or how many you love, Love is ALWAYS ok!

~♥ Dawn

DawnInCellPhone

Contact me and we’ll set up a time to do a FREE consultation! I’m excited to help you create your own best life and love/s!

PS: Get ready for the conference with fun T-shirts and other products from my LoveOTB Zazzle store!

 

 

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©2015, Dawn M. Davidson

A selection of Venetian carnival masks

Abuse in (poly) relationships: A link roundup

[Photo above is of Venetian masks — what sort of masks might we be wearing in relationship? Is it possible to safely unmask abusers in our communities?]

Sometimes in polyamory (and other forms of “ethical non-monogamy”), there are things we need to talk about that aren’t much fun. Over the past few months, there’s been a conversation going on about one such topic, that of abuse and predators within the poly community. It’s a challenging conversation in part because people have a desire to separate themselves from it (e.g., “oh that’s not [polyamory/ethical non-monogamy/whatever]; that’s just [cheating/abuse/creepy behavior]”.) All sorts of relationships can be done healthily, or unhealthily. There are abusive monogamous relationships, as well as healthy ones, and there are abusive polyamorous relationships, as well as healthy ones. No relationship style has a lock on either “healthy” or “unhealthy.”

However, in trying to distinguish that not all polyamorous relationships are abusive — which is a normal and natural desire! — we can sometimes, unwittingly, create a situation in which people who are doing these “bad behaviors” can hide out, flourish, and have a perfect place in which to prey on their victims.  There are things about polyamory that make it sometimes more likely that abuse can happen, and there are other ways in which polyamory can complicate an already existing situation.  So how do we talk about this sort of thing, and what sort of response should the community have, when such situations arise?

This is the topic of an upcoming discussion in our local East Bay Poly Potluck community, As background for this discussion, I’m providing some links to discussions that have been ongoing all around the US on this topic in the past few months. There’s a lot I could say about a lot of them, but I’m mostly just presenting them as a list of links.  In a couple of cases there’s a tiny bit of commentary, drawn from the Poly Leadership Network list, where several lively discussions have been ongoing.  Mostly, though, I’m just presenting the links for you to read, digest, and make up your own mind about.

Please be gentle with yourself as you read these. Some accounts can be triggery. Please be mindful of the trigger warnings on some pages, if that applies to you. Take time, take breaks, go for walks; whatever you need to do to keep yourself grounded and safe.  It’s important reading, but equally important that you remain internally safe, as well as externally.

Continue reading

PantheaCon2014 Cover

Join me at 2 upcoming conferences!

Happy almost-Valentine’s Day! I have good news for folks who will be in the SF Bay Area over the next two weekends:  There are two upcoming conferences at which I’ll be appearing, and at which I’d love to meet up with you! PantheaCon2014 Cover

First up is Pantheacon, an awesome gathering of thousands of people from all over the world. Filled with all sorts of Pagans and people interested in and/or practicing various forms of “alternative” spiritualities, this conference every year over the Presidents’ Day weekend offers a dazzling array of concerts, workshops, dealer’s room, rituals, classes, books, costumes, and much, much more. I’ll be co-teaching a class with Francesca Gentille (on the topic of creating your own best relationship model), at 2pm Sunday 2/16, in the Church of All Worlds hospitality suite on the 2nd floor of the Double Tree Hotel in San Jose.  If you’re of a mind to join us for a day or a weekend, check out the link here: http://pantheacon.com/wordpress/ I’d love to see you there!

Next up is the 3rd International Conference on the Future of Monogamy and Non-monogamy, to be held this year February 21-23 in Berkeley, California. With multiple tracks including Academic, Clinical, Art & Folklore, and Public Education, this conference has something to offer almost everyone interested in polyamory, open relationships, and other related topics.  Kathy Labriola (my co-presenter for the Jealousy teleseminars last fall) will also be there. I’m scheduled in the Public Education Track on Saturday, and I’d love to see you there! Click here to find out more and/or buy tickets: https://sites.google.com/site/ipachome/

Whether or not we get to see each other in person soon, I wish you all the best for this Valentine’s Day season of love.

And remember:  No matter who or how many you love, Love is always OK!

~♥ Dawn

PS:  I’m still running my “winter specials” — reduced prices on coaching packages.  I’d love to help you and your loves have relationships that are sizzling hot, and truly fulfilling!  Call me or email to set up a time for your free 30 minute consultation. 🙂

love_outside_the_box_white_on_dark_t_shirts-r734308d7aa2c48a6a7a731d0498738ca_8nfnu_216PPS:  Need something for your Valentine(s)?  You might want to check out my Zazzle Store: (zazzle.com/LoveOutsideTheBox*). I’ve got lots of items for sale, including things with my logo (some are customizable!), and also stuff with the poly “pi flag” design, or other nifty things. Or just shop Zazzle through my link, and find awesome stuff for everyone you love!

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2014 Dawn M. Davidson]

Poly is Part of Our America

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It’s official:  Poly IS part of America!
… or at least part of “Our America.” 😉

Tomorrow, Tuesday March 5th, [with a rebroadcast on March 12th, and perhaps more; check listings here] a whole episode devoted to polyamory will appear on the show Our America with Lisa Ling (10pm Eastern on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.)

[Check here for an update on this post], with links to videos on poly parenting, and Loving More Non-profit.

Preview: Monogamy’s Not for Everyone (“I Love You & You…&You”)
(http://www.oprah.com/own-our-america-lisa-ling/Preview-Monogamys-Not-for-Everyone-Video)

 

First Look: Plenty of Love to Go Around (“I Love You & You…&You”)
(http://www.oprah.com/own-our-america-lisa-ling/First-Look-Plenty-of-Love-to-Go-Around-Video)

And Lisa Ling herself is clear that poly is not exactly the same thing as either swinging or polygamy… because she’s already done episodes on both of those. 🙂 [Hey, check it out! Reid Mihalko is front and center in his Sex Geek t-shirt in the promo pic for the Swingers Next Door episode!  Way to go, Reid. :)]

Robyn Trask of Loving More Nonprofit writes:

Loving More is very excited to announce an upcoming documentary on Polyamory. In August, 2012, we were contacted by producers from the show Our America with Lisa Ling. They were thinking of doing an episode on polyamory. We keep a list of people willing to talk to the press and TV media and set about helping them find families willing to be on camera. The more I spoke with the producers, the more interested they became in the Polyamory Movement and Loving More Nonprofit. We checked them out, as we always do, before forwarding the request. I spoke with Reid Mihalko who had worked with them on an episode about swinging. We watched the show on swinging along with several other documentary episodes of Our America and we were very impressed. We put them together with a family on the East Coast, a family of five adults all living together (Wes, Gina, Jessie, Shaun, Ginny). See their blog Polyskeptic.com

I had talked to one member of the family and to my delight they agreed to work with the Lisa Ling Show. They also filmed my family, Jesus (Chuy) my long term partner, John, whom I was in new relationship with (essentially filming a V-triad), and me as well as several people from our community here in Colorado. During the weekend Lisa did an interview with my sixteen year old daughter Marina, who has been raised in a polyamorous family. The show also found a triad in Vancouver, who I beleive all live together, to film as well. Essentially they have covered a nice cross section of polyamory in different configurations.

Working with the producers, crew and Lisa Ling, who is an award winning journalist, was a delight. We spent three full days filming at our home in Loveland, CO. Overall it was a fun experience and very different from other TV crews I have worked with. We were not able to announce it until now because we agreed to sign a nondisclosure.

We have no idea what the final film/documentary will show or how it will be edited. From experience both, in working with other television and media as well as the shows we have since watched on BDSM and a show on seniors in America, I am confident the show will be done well.

We are having a viewing party here in Colorado in north Denver. Email Robyn@lovemore.com if you are interested in the potluck/viewing party or to join Loving More Nonprofit on meetup groups Colorado. I know a few people elsewhere who are hosting a party or recording for people to see later [e.g., we’re hosting two viewings through the East Bay Poly Potluck and Discussion Group on 3/10 and 3/14; contact Dawn on her website (or by email at LoveOTB@gmail.com) for details!)]

Best wishes to all the families and poly groupings who appeared on this show.  It’s never easy to be this far outside the box (as I well know: e.g., [Nat Geo (cameo)] [Montel 2005 pt 1]). But with the risks, comes the possibility of creating a better world for all poly folks (and other relationship explorers.) Thanks to everyone involved for their part in helping it “get better” for polyamorous folks.

~♥ Dawn

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[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]

Definitions of poly/open relationships for therapists (and others)

There’s a (relatively) new article out about doing therapy with clients who are in various forms of open relationships, by Kevin J. Zimmerman, published in the Journal of Feminist Family Therapy. (NB: It’s written for an academic therapist audience, so non-therapists may not find it easy reading. Also, the link is to the publisher, where you can buy the article should you choose. I’m sorry, but I’m not at liberty to distribute a free link to the full article on this blog.)

I’ve barely begun it myself, but one thing that struck me is the excellent definition of terms at the outset of the article. Please note that these terms and definitions are the author’s for the purpose of the article– they’re not mine, nor are they meant to be considered to be “the only right way” to define these terms — but I found these descriptions of various subsets of the larger community to be succinct and quite useful, and thought I’d share.  I find them particularly interesting, given the ongoing discussions within the community/communities about the definitions of these words.  Enjoy!

[From p. 273 of the article: Kevin J. Zimmerman (2012): Clients in Sexually Open Relationships: Considerations for Therapists, Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 24:3, 272-289]

“Open relationship is an umbrella term that encompasses any relationship structure that is not monogamous. It is useful at the start to define some common relationship patterns that nonmonogamous clients may bring up in therapy. Partnered nonmonogamy refers to a committed couple that allows for extradyadic sex. Swinging is nonmonogamy in a social context, also referred to as “the lifestyle.” Polyamory allows for partners to have more than one relationship that is sexual, loving, and emotional. Solo Polyamory defines nonmonogamous individuals who do not want a primary partner. Polyfidelity refers to three or more people who have made a commitment to be in a primary relationship together. A monogamous/nonmonogamous partnership is one in which one person is monogamous and the other is not. Open relationships are different from infidelity or cheating because partners agree on the sexual boundaries of the relationship and there is no deception about sex. In this respect, successful open relationships typically involve individuals who privilege authenticity over conformity in their relationships.”

What do you think about the author’s definitions and statements here? I’m largely in agreement with him, though I have some small quibbles (e.g., I think “solo polyamory” could easily apply to people who do not have a primary partner, as well as those who don’t want one.)  I was particularly happy with his clear distinction between Polyamory/Open Relationships and Cheating, and with his definition of Polyamory:

Polyamory allows for partners to have more than one relationship that is sexual, loving, and emotional.

Seems like it hits the high points, though I think the concept of “honest” is important enough to include in the definition, if one is quoting it without the rest of the paragraph for context.  Here’s my own previously posted definition as one comparison point:

Polyamory is the belief in and/or practice of multiple loving relationships, with the full knowledge and consent of those involved.

So what does “polyamory” mean to you? Do you agree that “Open relationship is an umbrella term that encompasses any relationship structure that is not monogamous”? Or does “open” have a slightly different meaning to you, as it does to me? (See my blog article I’m Poly AND Open for more details.) Do you have any other comments or observations about how being open/poly/etc works for you, or what sort of things YOU think a therapist should know in working with you? How does the therapist’s understanding of these terms influence your comfort in the session/s?  Are these terms you’d find useful in discussing your own relationships/s with others?

As always, I’m happy talk about this stuff either here, or on my FB Page, Love Outside The Box. And if you’d like to go into greater depth about your own situation, I’m also happy to set up a private session with you (either a half-hour for free, or longer sessions on a sliding scale.)

May you always love boldly, safely, and well!

~♥ Dawn

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2012 Dawn M. Davidson]

 

swingset on a playground

I’m Poly AND Open

swingset on a playground

“Hey, who are you calling poly?”

Are those “fighting words” on the non-monogamous playground? Why, or why not?  Below I present some of my recent thoughts on this topic.  I’d welcome your input, should you choose to share either here, or in my FB Page.

Recently — both online and in person — I’ve become aware of a trend that I find deeply disturbing.  In the past week alone, I’ve heard multiple people say that while they identify as open, in open relationships, or in some other sort of ethically non-monogamous relationship, that they don’t identify as polyamorous in particular, “because poly people act as if they’re ‘better’ than swingers or those in other sorts of  ‘open relationships.'”  Honestly, I wish I didn’t know what the speakers meant, because I so much do not agree with this sentiment. Unfortunately, I’ve seen/heard it myself… and I’ve argued against it, ad nauseum.

For context, I strongly identify as polyamorous because that has been my community for 15+ years, as well as the way that I’ve felt about my relationships pretty much all of my adult life. I believe in the possibility and practice of multiple loving relationships, with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved. One of the things that drove me off the poly discussion lists early on, though, was the damnable, interminable arguments about poly vs. swinging! I think that the struggles of the poly community to identify as “not swingers” are largely due to the fact that when poly was starting to cohese as an identity in the early to mid-90’s, that was the response that many “non-poly” people would have: “Oh, you mean you’re SWINGERS?” And that would come with a whole set of assumptions that just weren’t true: about key parties, wife-swapping, sex, love, and so forth. So given that context, I think it’s natural that poly-folk would respond with, “no, we’re not swingers, and here’s why.” It’s understandable.  I’ve even said it myself.  And I now see that this way of responding — at least without a lot of context — can cause unnecessary division amongst our communities.

I do think, as some folks have mentioned in some of these online discussions, that a large part of the problem comes from the US puritanical ideas about sex (as being bad, “dirty,” and/or “immoral” in any context other than procreation), and from accepting the frame that the “moral majority” has given us (see George Lakoff‘s work for more about frames.) One of the struggles of the poly community over the last 10-15 years has been to open the minds of others to the idea that we were creating a new (or arguably renewed) paradigm that wasn’t in opposition to monogamy,” NOR was it “the same as swinging,” “just a different word for polygamy,” or even the same as “open marriage” (which already had an established meaning as well.) We were trying to create something altogether different, based on fundamentally different ideals and thoughts.

So a large part of what I see some of the leaders doing here — in particular those who prefer not to identify as polyamorous, but instead as “open” —  is actually continuing this process–i.e., attempting to create an identity and form a community around the ideas of openness, honesty, and not limiting one’s number or kind of partners. I see the needs and struggles of people who identify in the manner that these folks have described — “open,” “open relationships” and/or “fluid”–as being more similar to one another (and therefore also to polyamory) than they are to the monogamous paradigm at large. It bothers me to see finger-pointing and division where I feel we should be sharing experiences and tools. I have always  felt this way, even when we were still arguing over poly vs. swinging in the late 90’s. This is nothing new, in my opinion; it’s just that now we’re having the conversation about “open relationships,” instead of “swingers.”

My personal experience of the term “open relationships” is that it’s a better term than “open marriage,” but that it’s still saddled with the history of the O’Neils’ book from the 1980’s. The farther we get away in time from its publication, the more the term “open relationship” can come into its own, discarding the older assumptions about marriage as the only legitimate context for a sexual relationship, for instance. That said, for a long time the only people I saw using that term “open relationship” were closer in practice and ideology to swingers: they had a dyadic relationship as the core assumption, which then was allowed to be “open” to other satellite relationships of some sort. In other words, first you had to have a relationship (singular) in order to “open” it.  It has been a very specific style of relationships that is NOT what I see as “polyamorous”, which involves more potential styles of relationships than a couple-centric model (e.g., a closed polyamorous triad marriage isn’t what I’d call ‘open,’ but it certainly does contain more than 2 people, which makes it not monogamous either.)

Of course, that is NOT the definition or practice of the open relationship community/ies that I see some of our local organizers suggesting, and it’s not what I’ve seen the people of this community actually doing either. What’s being developed here is a far more open usage of “open,” if you will. To reiterate, those I’ve interacted with in our local “open” community seem to be attempting to create an identity and form a community around the ideas of openness, honesty, and not limiting one’s number or kind of partners, as well as to create an atmosphere of openness in thought, and of questioning former limiting assumptions. I think that’s great, and appropriate, and I support it wholeheartedly.

What I don’t support is the idea that somehow polyamory is NOT “open” by definition, and that people who identify as “open” or being in “open relationships” are de facto “more enlightened” than “poly” people. I think that’s just continuing the whole idea of “we’re better than you” (because we’re “newer” or because we’re younger, more open-minded or not stuck in the past, or because we’re open and you’re not, or whatever…) and I think that’s BS. My own reaction to reading “hey, who are you calling poly?” was to be pissed off at polyamory being cast as something bad to be — I heard it as an insult, and I heard it as tacitly assuming that because I identify as poly that I obviously would engage in these sorts of negative behaviors that these people had encountered in the past. (Just in case it needs pointing out, if that’s really what happened — and I certainly might have read more into it than was really there — then that’s prejudice, and it’s not ok.)

So to reiterate: while I emphatically do NOT think that poly people are somehow “more enlightened” or “better” … I don’t think that people who identify as being in “open relationships” are somehow “better” either.  We’re similar in some ways, and different in others, and that leads to diversity.  While that can be challenging sometimes (differences can lead to conflict!), it’s also good, in my opinion, since it allows for more thought, more questioning, and more challenge to the status quo, which means that at the very least we’re not doomed to repeat the past for ever and ever. It may not be better, but at least we won’t be bored. ;^)

Related to that, I also don’t happen to see poly as a “subset” of open relationships, though I can understand that perspective. I see it as an overlapping set. I guess I can agree with those who have suggested that polyamory is a subset of the whole idea of “open”, and that both “open relationships” and “polyamory” are different ways to be open about love and relationships.

Others in these conversations have suggested that “open” describes a relationship, and that “polyamorous” describes a person. And that therefore, one can be both “polyamorous” (have multiple loves–of whatever kind) AND “open” (open to new people in relationship — and possibly open to new ideas and ways of relating in general.) That works for me, too.

So… what works for YOU? How do you identify, here in the Uncharted waters of love and non-monogamy? Poly, open, swinger, or something else? Or do you prefer to Love Outside the Box(es), and love without labels? Whatever your preferences, I hope you find something of value here, and are happy in your choices.

With love,

~♥ Dawn

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©2012, Dawn M. Davidson

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OPEN-SF Conference June 8-10 — Join me!

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OPEN-SF

Yes, I will be presenting at the upcoming OPEN-SF Conference! Join me for what promises to be an AWESOME conference with some very unusual presentations and offerings. Not limited to “polyamory,” this conference invites and embraces all sorts of “open” and ethically non-monogamous relationships: Open marriages; open relationships; polyamory; swinging; sex-positive/sluts; friends-with-benefits; non-exclusive D/s relationships, and more! If you’re not exclusively monogamous (in some way or another), and you are open about that (with your partner/s, and possibly with others in your life), then this conference will have something to offer you.

If you register now, it’s only $60 for the whole weekend. And confidentially (and partly to help move you to register ASAP), the conference organizers are finding this all enough work that this conference may never happen again, or possibly only every few years.  So if you like what you see, vote with your feet and your wallets!  Make it a success, in numbers, in connections, and financially… and let them know that you love them for doing it!

I’ve included a slightly edited version of what I just got in email, so you can see all the awesome perks that registering now will get you. You know you want to!

Hope to see you in June!

~♥ Dawn

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We have just announced our session lineup!  With this conference, we really wanted to do something different from previous poly/nonmonogamy conferences, and we have accomplished that.  In addition to the usual nonmonogamy skills workshops, and some new and advanced skill sessions, we have included a number of workshops, lectures, and panels that focus on the intersections between nonmonogamy and other groups or movements.  In addition, there are a number of sessions on sexuality (threesomes!  D/S in the bedroom!  fisting!) and various sessions that incorporate movement or the creative arts.

Check out the sessions and presenters here:
http://www.open-sf.org/sessions.html

There’s no time like the present to register!  Not only should YOU register if you haven’t yet, but now is the time to get that recalcitrant friend on board!   Let them know that registering (currently $60) gets them the following things:

*  Access to over 35 excellent conference sessions on a variety of topics!
*  Two amazing keynote presentations!
*  Free entry to a Poly Speed Dating event and the Love Triangle dance club during the weekend.
*  Reduced entry to a special edition of the Friday Pink play party, and possibly another play party.
*  Reduced entry to a Cuddle Party on Sunday.
*  Access to various other social events at the hotel, yet to be announced!

Also, if you want a room at the hotel, now’s the time to book.  The Holiday Inn is close to full and we’ve lined up a backup hotel for the overflow.  Check out hotel information here:
http://www.open-sf.org/location.html

Love,
The OpenSF Staff

 

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©2012, Dawn M. Davidson

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Are Poly Relationships “Healthy”?

Stained Glass Capital Letter There’s been some really interesting discussion in a poly list I’m on, on the topic of definition/s of polyamory, and how we as “poly leaders” represent polyamory in speaking to the media and public.  Shall we just say this discussion has been spirited. ;^) I thought I’d share with you all some of my thoughts on this topic.  This section in particular is discussing some concepts related to polyamory and health, and how the two are and are not related, and how “mainstream society” judges those who transgress its boundaries.  I’ve edited this piece somewhat from my original post, mostly for clarity, and to add some links.  Enjoy.

~♥ Dawn

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I spend some time hanging out in the Health At Every Size (HAES) community. There’s a large (pun not intended, but appropriate!) overlap with other related communities, e.g., Body-Positive, Fat-Acceptance, Size-Advocacy, etc.  I’ve seen VERY similar conversations there as we’re having here [about how to define and speak about polyamory], up to and including a venn-diagram of the overlapping groups (thanks Franklin [Veaux], for your[ Map of Non-Monogamies]!

One of the issues that is often brought up is that of “health,” since of course one of the main accusations of the fat-phobic culture is that “Fat is defacto UNhealthy and that fatties R gonna ruin our healthcare system, cost society eventy-billion dollars, and infect us all with TEH FATZ Oh NOOOOOEZ!! (so it’s OK to shame them, marginalize them, preach to them, punish them, and ostracize them for their own good)!” [It’s also popular to shame fat people “for the sake of society,” and “for the sake of the children,” of course.] Different groups deal with that differently (e.g., advocacy groups usually focus on the RIGHTS of fat people to exist and have fair treatment; Body-positive groups usually focus on affirming that ALL sorts of bodies have beauty, irrespective of health-status, etc.).

My favorite version of addressing the health concerns is in the HAES community, which holds (among other things, and paraphrased):
1) You cannot judge a person’s health by looking at them,
2) All people have a right to health, regardless of body shape and size
3) Health includes more than weight or other physical markers; it definitely includes MENTAL health
4) No one has a right to dictate to another person what “health” means FOR THEM.

I think that this group has some really good things to model for the polyamory community, in dealing with the public perception of polyamory (or other forms of ethical non-monogamy).  The parallels are obvious, at least to me.  [For one thing, an awful lot of people think that polyamory is defacto UNhealthy and that slutty people R gonna ruin our healthcare system (with all the “extra” people), cost society eventy-billion dollars (from STIs), and infect us all with TEH FATZ Oh NOOOOOEZ lead us all down the slippery slope to moral bankruptcy — so  it’s OK to shame polyamorous/non-monogamous people, marginalize them, preach to them, punish them, and ostracize them for their own good!” It’s also popular to shame polyamorous people “for the sake of society,” and “for the sake of the children,” of course. (Is this sounding familiar yet??)]  So to borrow from the HAES model:

1) You cannot judge the health of a person’s relationships from the outside
2) All people have a right to have relationships, regardless of their form
3) Healthy relationships include more than just duration; happiness and fulfillment are definitely part of a healthy relationship, regardless of length
4) No one has a right to dictate to another person what a “healthy relationship” means for them.

While I definitely agree that it’s possible to include “health” as a piece of the ideal concept of polyamory (e.g, “polyamory can be a healthy relationship choice“), the idea that we can possibly know whether someone ELSE’S relationship is healthy (analogous to judging “someone who is eating fast-food 24-7 and sleeping little” as unhealthy based only on appearances) is entirely bogus, so let’s not get into relationship-shaming, OK? That includes [not] labeling swingers as unhealthy, people who “aren’t committed,” or folks whose relationships don’t even contain sex, or are “all about the sex.”

So ultimately, I’m with those here who are advocating that we write and speak about polyamory in positive terms, as one possible healthy relationship choice among many, and that we steer clear of placing our own judgements, fears and projections into the mix.

[More on this last in another post, soon….]

∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥ ∞ ♥

[© 2011 Dawn M. Davidson]

Request for “Poly Reveal” Stories

Dear poly friends:

Do you or someone you know have a story about “coming out” about poly[/open/non-monogamous] to your primary/monogamous partner?  Are you/they willing to share that story with others? Joreth of The Inn Between is collecting these stories to show as examples to people who are beginning their poly journey from this sort of place.  See her contact info and more information below.

Thanks!

Dawn

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Joreth InnKeeper <joreth@techie.com>
Date: Tue, Oct 4, 2011 at 11:43 AM
Subject: [PLN] Poly Reveal Stories
To:

 

I’d like to collect a series of stories of people who discovered that they were interested in polyamory while currently involved in a monogamous relationship.  I’d like to hear about how you discovered you were interested in polyamory and how you brought up the subject to your spouse or partner, how they handled it, and maybe even how the transition went.I discovered polyamory while I was completely single, so this is not a topic I can speak on with any authority.  I’d like to hear the experiences of people who have gone through this.  I’d like to turn this collection into a public resource somehow, maybe as a collection of essays, or maybe just using examples woven into my own narrative.You can send them to me privately [… joreth@techie.com].  If you do not want to be named publicly, you can use a pseudonym or “anonymous”.  If you do not think you are a good writer, you can send me your story and ask me to re-write it on your behalf.  If you would like credit for your story, please include what name to attribute it to and include any other attributions you wish, such as website URL.We often talk about “coming out” to family, but we rarely talk about coming out to our long-term partners.  Usually, I only hear it in the context of newbies currently going through it, and rarely do I hear about it after everything has been resolved, so that newbies can see possible outcomes for their own journey.

~Joreth

joreth@techie.com

RIP Deanna Silverkrow: Another life that will never get better

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I thought today’s post would be the second one discussing reasons for having Agreements. I had it all written, posted, formatted and scheduled. But I’ve delayed it for day, because today I got some very bad news, and I need to write about it. It’s a bit long, but I feel that’s fitting in some ways, to balance out a life cut short.

 

The work of the individual, of the soul, is to engage in conscious integration, compassion, and internal dialogue, in order to bring these parts into harmonious interaction and balance.

A couple of years back, I was in a 9 month training program called Shamanic Soul Coaching™, created by Francesca Gentille.  This method is her own, created from her own personal experiences, and her experience with a number of other psychological and shamanic systems (e.g., Inner Voice Dialogue, Gestalt, Shamanic Depth Psychology, Shamanic Soul Retrieval, Jungian Psychotherapy, and Caroline Myss:Sacred Contracts.)  It also bears some resemblance to another system that Francesca did not study, called the Internal Family Systems Model. Each of these systems can work well for some people; each of them have their own flavor and particular applications. One thing all of them share, is that they agree that within each individual there are multiple parts to the Inner Reality. The work of the individual, of the soul, is to engage in conscious integration, compassion, and internal dialogue, in order to bring these parts into harmonious interaction and balance. It’s a journey that most people never complete, because there’s always some small way in which we can improve ourselves, treat others and ourselves more kindly, or communicate more clearly and compassionately. That said, as we engage in this work, through sessions with others, through training, and through our own daily practices, we gradually heal our traumas, and we become more whole and complete, happier, more alive, and more able to share our own gifts and talents with the world. Not an easy journey, but highly worthwhile.

Two years ago, I spent nine months in this training with a very special group of seven students. We became familiar with each others’ traumas; we grew to know each other well, and to understand our strengths and weaknesses. I consider my fellow students to be part of my “tribe,” and I care deeply about each of them. Two of them, “Deanna” and “Lilith” (the names by which they were known in their community), immediately took their training and followed their hearts to establish New Pagan Journeys, a pagan community and store in OR. I admired their courage in pursuing their dreams and passions so fully. On the way to Loving More‘s Poly Living conference in Seattle last year, I arranged a layover, and managed to see their store—though I almost missed my flight to do it! Deanna’s calm and good humor while facing the intense traffic was amazing, and we shared smiles in the sunshine of the drive, despite the tension.  It was the last time I would see her.

Today I found out from one of our fellow journeyers that about a month ago Deanna had taken her own life.

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