A birth story from a polyamorous quad

Offbeat Mama is a site that celebrates non-traditional families and parenting, but even still, it is pretty remarkable that they included a birth story from a man in a polyamorous quad. More than anything else, it is a moving story from the perspective of an awestruck partner. But there are a few moments where the particulars of being poly do shine through:

The next few hours were a blur. Aimee's contractions were almost non-stop at this point. Barbara and Aimee would harmonize through her contractions, and eventually we all took it up, taking turns being her physical and emotional support.

. . . Aimee started pushing at 3:58pm. Ian supported her upper body, Mich and I stood on both sides. The nurses faded into the background. Barbara helped with ice, but from here on out, our family was pretty much running the show. With each contraction, Aimee pushed, with very little coaching or encouragement. More fluid came out, more harmonizing happened.

. . . Our son entered into this world, caught safely in the hands of his father and his little mother together, while his Dad-E held his mother safe and strong. Afterward her three partners milled about in stunned pleasure, alternating between taking pictures and stares of pleased bewilderment. And lots of hugs and tears.

Unlike most articles posted on non-poly-focused sites, the comments section is full of folks praising the story and the family. There is even some discussion of poly-specific parenting and birthing concerns. Check it out!

“Poly and” intersecting identities

The blog Modern Poly recently wrapped up a truly interesting and insightful series they called "Poly And." It is a really wonderful, in-depth look at the ways in which a person's poly identity intersects with their other identities -- gender, race, religion, and political views.

In their Call for Submissions post, the folks at Modern Poly explained why they launched the series. Amidst all the media coverage about Showtime's Polyamory: Married and Dating reality series and the three-person relationship in the blockbuster movie Savages, the poly community was critical of the lack of diversity in the high-profile representations.

One of the biggest complaints so far from the polyamorous audience, tho, isn't that the portrayals are negative or false (which is a great first!)... it's that the relationships aren't really representative of us, because they're not diverse. They're white. They're pretty decently well-off financially. They're mostly straight. They're cisgendered, and for the most part, present in traditional gender roles. While what we're hearing form our fans is definite excitement that we have some positive portrayals in pretty high visibility right now, we're also hearing a lot of growing concern that people who have never been exposed to non-monogamy before will see it as something only the rich or privileged can have or do, and that's something we *are.*

But that's simply not true. And in the month of August, we will be incredibly busy proving it.

And that they did! Here are all the posts from the "Poly And" series!

Poly and Gender

Poly and Race

Poly and Religion

Poly and Politics

The poly connection to sci-fi and fantasy

PolyCamp is a small gathering held on British Columbia's Salt Spring Island. Non-monogamous folks come from Vancouver, Victoria, Duncan, and Seattle to camp, chat, and hang out in the orchard of Neptune Farm. In reporting on PolyCamp, Canada's gay and lesbian news site Xtra! focused on a common interest in the poly community: science fiction and fantasy.

Many poly folks came to polyamory via geek culture, and the author mentions the group's affinity for Star Trek, comic books, Joss Whedon, Magic: The Gathering, and sci-fi author Robert A. Heinlein. Mostly, the article relays conversations between people at the camp, letting them speak for themselves about the connection between polyamory and the alternative worlds in sci-fi and fantasy media.

"Science fiction and fantasy books brought me up, largely. Maybe people want to write about alternative relationships . . . And if you put it in a setting that's odd and weird, it's non-threatening."

An English graduate student from Victoria chips in: "That's how Star Trek got away with dealing with a lot of topics in the '60s."

. . . Campbell notices that the poly community collects an odd number of software engineers and fantasy-fiction fans. The Society for Creative Anachronism is full of poly relationships, he says. Fantasy and sci-fi conventions have polyamory panel discussions.

. . . A 1976 study by psychologist Jacquelyn Knapp found that polyamorous people do indeed have character traits in common. They tend to be individualistic, academic, nonconformist and stimulated by complexity. They like endless communication. They enjoy picking over every subject in dizzying detail. Polyamorous people are the nerds of love.

Read the rest on Xtra!.


An even-handed look at poly in Ashland

The Ashland Daily Tidings, a little newspaper from the town of Ashland, Oregon, recently published a positive article about polyamory. The piece gives a little background on the word "polyamory" and various poly lingo, differentiating it from polygamy and swinging. It mentions the mainstream attention non-monogamy has received recently, from the Brazilian triad to the 26th annual national retreat to the Showtime reality show.

The poly couple featured in the piece are 30-somethings Stefani Skidmore, a Southern Oregon University student working toward a master's in clinical psychology, and Jeff Altemus, a graphic designer. There are also quotes from an anonymous married couple and an associate professor in SOU's sociology department. The article begins:

You might not meet a more straightforward couple than Stefani Skidmore and Jeff Altemus. She checks with him first before she dates another man and he asks her directly if he can have sex with another woman.

The unmarried couple, who live together in Ashland, say being happy for your partner's bliss is an outcome of practicing polyamory . . .

In larger cities there are places such as the Center for Sex Positive Culture in Seattle where people who call themselves "conscientiously nonmonogamous" can find each other by attending "poly potlucks" and other events. In Ashland, people look for partners by posting on dating websites.

Read the whole thing on the Ashland Daily Tidings.