Brits making open relationships work

Arianne Cohen has been in an open relationship for three years, so in this story she wrote for Britain's The Guardian, she begins with the tale of her relationship. But she also profiles several other poly configurations.

Cohen lets the folks speak for themselves, so the article is chock full of quotes from people in various types of open relationships, as they discuss the logistics of their relationships and how being open works for them.

Cohen muses:

This seems to be a particularly British take on non-monogamy: comfort with the act, mixed with a compulsive need for privacy. Doing it? Fine. Speaking about it? Never. Claire struggles to articulate this side of her life. "It doesn't come up terribly often, because most of the people to whom I might be describing it already know. I guess if I was describing it, I'd say 'open'. Of our larger friend group of 25, it's not new. Maybe a third are currently in open relationships." I asked Claire if anyone had ever reacted badly. "Not recently, and possibly not ever," she says. Her advice for other potential non-monogamists is straightforward: "Think first. Discuss first. Don't be an idiot. Rules of life, really."

Read the rest on The Guardian.

Don’t miss the OpenSF conference in June!

Have you registered for OpenSF yet? The OpenSF Conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway in San Francisco, June 8-10, and I'm keynoting! A description of the conference:

OpenSF is a vibrant new Bay Area conference, bringing together like minded people ready to share, explore and dialogue on creating acceptance of the non-monogamy community. OpenSF will have a diverse and rich menu of workshops, interactive seminars and after hours socializing. OpenSF strives to be welcoming and accessible across a range of backgrounds including race and ethnicity, sex, gender, sexual orientation, size, age, class and economic access, and physical and mental ability. Our goal is to create a conference where people find wonderful knowledge and experiences and forge amazing new connections.

Read all about the conference's sessions, presenters, and special events (such as a play party and speed dating!).

Register now and be sure to also follow the conference on Twitter.

Love without boundaries

Writing for New York's The Indypendent newspaper, Ichi Vazquez recounts how becoming polyamorous has changed her life for the better. Vazquez grew up believing in the restrictive boxes that women are often forced into, and for a long time, she accepted that that was just how things were.

I was raised to believe that there were only so many ways I could behave when it came to love. I was told no sex before marriage -- wait because the right man will eventually sweep you off your feet. I was told cheating is wrong but if your husband does it, work on your marriage anyway. I was told not to dress too provocatively, and that I should only be with one person -- anything else wasn’t moral.

These social rules governed the way I looked, felt and interacted with others. But when you don’t know that it is your birthright to love and express your emotions in whatever way your heart desires, how is one supposed to discover that there are infinite choices?

But five years ago, Vazquez moved to New York City, discovered polyamory, and began tossing out those old restrictions and becoming the woman she wanted to be. In the process, aside from learning new things about love and relationships, she has learned to live honestly and make her own happiness.

Discussing which rules I wanted to follow in my relationships gave me a greater sense of freedom, empathy and empowerment -- not just in my connections with others, but also within myself. I was an equal on a team, a life adventurer -- not a subordinate or a passive participant. For the first time, I truly felt like I was living out subconscious curiosities that were coming from the deepest recesses of my heart.

. . . The point is to design your own safe space where you can express intimacy and love with whomever you want and not have outside forces dictate the "right" or "wrong" way to do this.

As women, we have long battled these forces -- manifested as sexist political debates, cultural norms or even friends and family who don't understand us. By taking control of our hearts and sexuality and seeking others who are like-minded, we can take control of the most precious gifts of self-expression and sharing we have.

Read the whole thing in The Indypendent.

Media opportunities for UK poly folks

Do you live in the UK and want to participate in an art or media project? Bobbu at Polytical recently received a couple requests for UK poly folks for upcoming projects.

The first project is a portrait and still life photography project by Emli Bendixen, a London-based editorial photographer hoping to document the modern family unit. She is especially interested in the "many shapes" that families can take; one of her latest photoshoots for the project can be seen here. Bendixen can be contacted by email, phone, or Skype -- see her contact page for the info.

The second project is a TV documentary from North One Television producer/director, Ida Bruusgaard. Bruusgaard is creating a program about marriage, and hopes to include a polyamorous family as an example of an alternative to the traditional idea of marriage. Bruusgaard writes,

I’m interested in debunking the myth around the 'traditional' nuclear family. It seems to me that the idea that two people should be able to find indefinite happiness within their own four walls without much support / input / pressure taken off them by other adults, is in fact a very new phenomenon. Our homes used to be more open, with family members, neighbours and friends more intimately involved in our business. It makes me wonder whether 'privacy' and 'space' for married couples can cause isolation and trouble as much as being of benefit to a marriage.

I would love to find polyamorous people who are either married or in long term-ish relationships to feature in the documentary. I realise that a polyamorous lifestyle can be a sensitive subject, but I'd like to think it’s a chance to get a very positive message out there which will resonate with our viewers in ways they may not have expected.

Bruusgaard's contact info can be found on the Polytical post.

If you are interested in either of these opportunities and live in the UK, get in touch with Bendixen or Bruusgaard!