It's clear the tides are turning when an advice columnist openly discusses the concept of polyamory in response to a reader's question. In her column for the Canadian Huffington Post, columnist Colette Kenney fields a question from a woman who has been married for 22 years but has become interested in exploring non-monogamy. Kenney first responds:
Thanks for your question. I will admit that because my readership is not necessarily the polyamorous type I was torn about whether or not I should answer your question. But when I reflected on how I would answer it, I realized there are actually some really great points that are good for all kinds of relationships -- poly or otherwise.
She goes on to explain how vital communication, honesty, and forgiveness are -- in both poly and monogamous relationships. In equating the two, she is effectively normalizing polyamory, which is very refreshing. Plus, she finishes her column with some very kind words.
I will openly and happily admit that I am not polyamorous myself, nor do I ever think I could handle the head-and-heart ache of entering into such a relationship. But I will say this: I commend anyone who successfully navigates these kinds of relationships. For to do so, I believe, requires saint-like patience, forgiveness, acceptance, trust, and non-attachment.
Read the whole column at the Huffington Post.
This advice column in the Montreal Mirror caught my eye when it mentioned Opening Up. Sex advice columnist Sasha, who has been writing her column for 17 years, received a letter from a reader. In it the reader expressed concern over one of Sasha's previous columns.
The letter in the original column was written by a man who was perplexed by his partner's penchant for watching him have sex with other people, which Sasha labeled a "cuckold fantasy." In the newest column, the concerned reader writes to Sasha:
There's a relevant term my wife and I came across while further exploring this particular fantasy. It's called "compersion," and we found it in Tristan Taormino's book Opening Up . . .You might want to research it.
Sasha then responds:
I've read Tristan’s book and I think it contains a lot of really important information about exploring different relationship models. But as I understand it, compersion is not the same as fantasizing about your partner fucking someone else and wanting all the gory details to expedite your own fantasies. Compersion is often defined by polyamorists as the opposite of jealousy. One of the distinguishing qualities of compersion might be the profound relief you feel that you're actually not exploding with jealousy at the idea of your partner having sex with someone else. While you may very well be happy for your partner, you are also happy that you aren’t feeling like you want to collapse from heartache. It's the wondrous sensation of a truth being revealed to you that defies the one you’ve been told all your life. And it is extra awesome because you sought that truth out on your own, despite some pretty intense obstacles.
It is important not to lose sight of the true definition of compersion, which Sasha has deftly and eloquently laid out here. Compersion is a very unique concept that should be kept separate from fantasies and fetishes. However, advice columnists should also keep open minds about situations that could veer into the non-monogamous, which is what the letter-writer seems to be pointing out to Sasha.
Read the whole column here.
In The Daily's advice column, a reader writes in with a conundrum: his girlfriend is away overseas for three months, and she has confided that she is yearning for sex. Strikingly, the columnist does not give the expected advice column answer. Instead, the columnist picks up on the building resentment within the relationship, and prescribes a serious conversation about monogamy and fidelity.
This isn't about you being right or her being wrong, and this certainly isn't about doing the normal thing. This is about coming to terms with your petty jealousy, addressing her potential lack of integrity and recognizing that you're in a self-made prison of unexamined monogamy.
. . . So many people are in a constant struggle — to cheat or not to cheat — and it never occurs to them that in order to cheat, they have to accept a set of rules before they can break them.
Why accept the rules? Why not make your own? . . . Being true and faithful in a relationship has no inherent connection to how many sexual partners you have. The connection is self-imposed.