Battling breast cancer with multiple partners

Allena Gabosch is a polyamorous woman and the founder of Seattle's Center for Sex Positivity. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she turned to her partners for support and comfort. In "Breast Cancer and Polyamory: A Story of Non-Monogamy, Love and Commitment While Going Through Chemo," Rachel Rabbit White interviews Gabosch about the ups and downs of dealing with cancer as a poly woman.

Gabosch quickly found that being poly was a huge asset in her fight against breast cancer. Her partners were able to comfort each other. Gabosch became much closer with her partner's primary, Sophie, who treated her with an array of herbal remedies and vitamins, and she bonded with Sophie's daughter as well. She was always surrounded by love.

The most incredible part was I never went to the oncologist, to chemo, or to surgery without one or more of my partners with me. When I went in for the lobectomy . . . As they were wheeling me away, I showered each lover in kisses. The nurses did look at each other, like, 'well this is strange.'

There were other unforeseen benefits as well. When Gabosch's sex drive diminished, she did not have to worry about whether her partners' sexual needs were being met. Gabosch even met a new partner, right in the middle of her battle.

Dealing with cancer only strengthened Gabosch's belief in polyamory.

In both cancer and love, for me it is about not being at the whims of society and what you are supposed to do, but being proactive and finding what really works for you, and I think being poly has a lot to do with shaping that idea.

. . . I learned a lot about love and commitment and how committed these people truly are to me. One of the ideas people have about polyamory is “well you guys don’t know how to commit, that is why you are poly” I always knew that wasn’t true but here I was really seeing it, my partners were so committed to me, 100 percent . . . I never lacked for attention for my entire cancer experience, and that is a powerful place to come from.

This interview is an ultimately uplifting reminder of the shortness of life and the importance of support and love. Read the full interview in SexIs Magazine.

Female boxer: polyamorous?

Listening to Weekend Edition on the local NPR station today, I heard an interesting piece, "'I Am A Boxer': Fighter In The Ring, Lady Outside It," about female boxers who hope to make the U.S. Olympic Team for women's boxing. The first woman profiled was Bertha Aracil, a 29 year old amateur boxer. Talking about Aracil, reporter Marianne McCune said this (emphasis mine):

When I met her she was living in a basement apartment in the Bronx with a man and a woman she called her husband and her wife. They were cooking for a band of nieces, nephews, and sisters, part of a big family of Cuban immigrants. Aracil is 5'9" with jeans, boots, she says that her many tattoos tell the story of who she is.

Whoa, what? That's right. Not only was Aracil clearly open about her nontraditional and nonmonogamous (polyamorous?) relationship, but the NPR reporter treated it as completely ordinary, just part of the profile. Unfortunately, this little item is missing from the written piece on, but you can download the audio of the segment here.

Triad on National Geographic’s “Taboo”

An equilateral triad family from the San Francisco area was recently profiled in National Geographic's show Taboo, in an episode entitled "Odd Couples." The family consists of two men and a woman who have been together for 17 years and are raising a teenager.

In 8 seasons of the show, National Geographic has turned the spotlight on many anthropological practices, such as voodoo, body modification, and initiation rituals, while also tackling topics that are merely unusual, such as strange pets and peculiar foods. Filming of the family took place last June, and there was trepidation over how the segment would be edited.

Thankfully, the family was treated respectfully. Alan M. describes the segment:

What a sweet portrayal it turned out to be, from start to finish! Cuddly kindness and family warmth; intelligence and thoughtfulness -- and such a steady smooth flow was evident among these people after their 17 years together. There was some mostly good commentary by a few talking-head experts (Helen Fisher, Peter Singer, Elisabeth Sheff). The 15-year-old in particular was articulate, perceptive, and proud to have so many good parental figures. The show went on for nearly 20 minutes including commercial breaks. It ended with them making a trip to Redwood Forest National Park (above), where they have an annual ritual of renewing their wedding vows.

Check National Geographic's schedule for air times. The episode cannot be found online at the moment, but you can watch a 3-minute preview on National Geographic's website.