Despite having a long history among humans, monogamy is not the only option for those seeking a stable, healthy relationship.
Ethical non-monogamy and polyamory are not new concepts, but in recent years they certainly have become more accepted, or at least they are more talked about. Ethical non-monogamy, colloquially called an open relationship, is the practice of having more than one partner. For some, this looks like having a primary partner while also being able to play (usually sexually) with others. This can also look like polyamory: actively having multiple relationships.
If you are considering entering a poly or non-monogamous relationship (or if you’re already in one) here are four great resources to help you navigate your relationship.
The Ethical Slut
The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships and Other Adventures, written by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy, is a great place to start. Both Easton and Hardy are non-monogamous and have wonderful insights and exercises for those beginning to explore life outside of monogamy.
“For anyone who has ever dreamed of love, sex, and companionship beyond the limits of traditional monogamy, this groundbreaking guide navigates the infinite possibilities that open relationships can offer. Experienced ethical sluts Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy dispel myths and cover all the skills necessary to maintain a successful and responsible polyamorous lifestyle–from self-reflection and honest communication to practicing safe sex and raising a family. Individuals and their partners will learn how to discuss and honor boundaries, resolve conflicts, and to define relationships on their own terms.”
Sex at Dawn
Sex at Dawn: How we Mate, Why we Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships, by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha is a look at monogamy over the years. It delves into the question: is monogamy a natural human behavior? Sex at Dawn is a brilliant look at how and why humans act the way we do in relationships and why we may not have the best systems in place.
“In this controversial, thought-provoking, and brilliant book, renegade thinkers Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá debunk almost everything we “know” about sex, weaving together convergent, frequently overlooked evidence from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality to show how far from human nature monogamy really is. In Sex at Dawn, the authors expose the ancient roots of human sexuality while pointing toward a more optimistic future illuminated by our innate capacities for love, cooperation, and generosity.”
The Poly Pocket Series
In September, my absolute favorite online publication (besides HelloFlo, of course), Autostraddle, began a series entitled “Poly Pocket.” Poly Pocket is a series of articles that discusses polyamory in all its forms. The first article is an interview style piece in which two married women discuss their polyamorous relationship. This article is particularly awesome because the two women are very open about their communication styles, something very important when considering non-monogamy.
Everything You Need to Know About Polyamory
Okay, I couldn’t make this list without including a HelloFlo article. A while back I interviewed a good friend, Audrey, about her poly relationships both with her primary partner and her two other partners. Audrey has some brilliant things to say about jealousy, comparison, cheating, and sexuality.
And there you have it, four great resources for all things non-monogamous!
Image courtesy of Getty Images.