Last night I held a Poly 101 evening at a local bistro, in the hopes of encouraging the new and curious to come out and ask the questions they might be having about polyamory. I've been to similar sessions over the last few years and found them extremely helpful in sorting out some of my own feelings about practicing and identifying as poly, and one of the things I love about attending them regularly is the wealth of fresh perspective on "old" poly issues that new people bring to the table.
I was incredibly pleased to see over half a dozen new and eager faces last night; the discussion, which was a fairly loosely structured "what challenges have you encountered or do you expect to encounter in polyamory as a relationship style?" generated some awesome ideas for future, more focused discussion.
Some of the tantalizing topics touched upon were:
- the challenge of loving non-poly people
- different kinds of poly relationships
- does poly really "work"?
- what about commitment? are poly people into commitment? how does one define commitment in a culture where exclusivity is the accepted norm for a committed relationship?
- semantics (is an "open relationship" the same thing as polyamory?)
- how do poly partners reach agreements, and what about boundaries?
- jealousy, envy and compersion- secrecy, communication within relationships, and being "out" to the world at large -- varying levels of openess
I also provided a links list of online and local resources:
"Polyamory? What, like two girlfriends?", Franklin Veaux's extremely practical and thorough poly information and advice website. A must read: http://www.xeromag.com/fvpoly.html
"The Polyamorous Misanthrope", a terrific advice column/blog by an experienced poly practitioner:http://www.polyamorousmisanthrope.com/
"VanIsle Poly Yahoo list", where you can sign up to get news of all the latest events: http://www.vanisle-polyamory.com/
"Sex Positive Alternatives" (SPA), a Victoria-based Cyber Community Centre promoting events on Vancouver Island for consenting adults (19 yrs +) who practice alternative loving choices such as swinging, polyamory and Dominance/submission,masochism/sadism or variations there of and those who identify as heterosexual, bi-sexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, or transsexual:http://www.sexpositivealternatives.com/
"Jealousy and the Abyss", a really wonderful essay on how to look at jealousy as a tool for growth and self exploration rather than as something to be avoided: http://www.planetwaves.net/jealousy.html
"Polyamory, STDs and Safer Sex": http://www.serolynne.com/poly_stds.htm
"Polymatchmaker", more than just a matchmaking site, there are informative forums and links to all kinds of poly information worldwide: http://www.polymatchmaker.com/
"Sexual Integration and Free Association", Kiki's blog: http://kikimuse.blogspot.com/