Polyamory can come with many partners and many misconceptions. Newsy's Cody LaGrow asks a polyamorous unit what it's really all about.
By Cody LaGrow
Caroline is married to Josie. Caroline is also in a committed relationship with Adam. They share one house and two kids, and they all call the shots under the same roof. This is a polyamorous relationship.
Polyamory, the philosophy or state of being emotionally and sexually involved with more than one person at the same time, comes with many misconceptions. Caroline, Josie and Adam cleared up questions many may have about polyamory.
Newsy's Cody LaGrow: Do you think monogamy is unrealistic?
Caroline: "No. I hate the idea of polyamory and monogamy being pitted against each other. Obviously, one thing that makes polyamory different than monagamy is, in theory, you are having sex with multiple partners. But it's not just about sex. You are loving multiple partners. And that's really what polyamory is about. It's about love. And that expression of love usually leads to sex."
Cody: How often do you hear that you're having your cake and eating it, too?
Josie: "You hear it ... and that it's just different. I think a lot of people view us as these weirdos on the fringes of society, but to us, it feels weird to not have a choice. And just sort of default to monogamy because that's what everybody does."
Adam: "I found that monogamy, sort of, constrained my ideas about love. Like, I needed to find the one person for me. That is a huge thing to go about doing."
Caroline: "What do we in society call 'the one'? The one romantic person in your life, the one sexual person in your life, your best friend, the one person who is going to give you financial security, the one person who is going to give you family security, who you're going to have children with, who you're going to build all of these things with. And I think in a lot of societies and a lot cultures, we rely on more than one person to do that." ...
While it's tough to tell exactly how many people participate in a polyamorous relationship (that is, one that involves having more than one partner), it seems to be on the rise—or, at least, getting its time in the spotlight. According to a national Avvo.com study from June 2015, about 4 percent of the U.S. population admits to being in an open relationship, which equates to about 12.8 million people. Yep, million. So if you find yourself feeling curious about polyamory, and how to have a healthy polyamorous relationship, know that you're not alone—and read on to get the most important tips experts say everyone needs to know. (Related: 8 Things Men Wish Women Knew About Sex)
It's Not a "One Way or the Highway" Situation
First of all, there are many different kinds of polyamorous relationships, so it's important to know exactly what it is. "Polyamory is a state of open-heartedness and open-mindedness about having multiple simultaneous relationships," says Anya Trahan, relationship coach and author of Opening Love: Intentional Relationships & the Evolution of Consciousness. "Intimacy might mean sex and romantic connection, or it could mean a deep emotional or spiritual connection."
That open-mindedness is the key to a successful polyamorous relationship—and likely why so many people are now admitting to at least experimenting with it. "Many people across the globe are becoming wise to the [notion] that love is not bound by gender," says Trahan. When that happens, "we begin to question other things that are considered 'normal,' like the idea that the only way to have a healthy, intimate relationship is between only two people."
Which, if you stop to think about it, can make a lot of sense for someone. With approximately 38 percent of marriages ending in divorce from 2000 to 2014, according to the CDC, Trahan says a lot of people are broadening their horizons, so to speak. And Elisabeth Sheff, Ph.D., relationship consultant and author of The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships and Families, says it's a way for people to have more of their emotional and physical needs satisfied. "You're getting more needs met, and different needs met with different partners," she says.
It's Not Just About Sex
While it's easy to jump to the conclusion that people in polyamorous relationships love to have as many varied sexual experiences as they can, both Sheff and Trahan say that usually isn't the case. "Media tends to portray poly in a sensationalist way, unfortunately focusing narrowly on drama and sex," says Trahan. "But the poly people I know are deeply spiritual people, people who are compassionate, conscientious leaders in their community." Sheff agrees, noting that those practicing polyamory tend to crave more than sex in a relationship. Whereas people who tend to be a part of the swinging community, for example, are more focused on physical gratification, she says. ...
The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom’s Consent Summit is an all-day event of workshops and discussions on consent in Seattle. The NCSF Consent Summit is sponsored by the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival and the Foundation and Center for Sex Positive Culture.
Keynote Speaker for the Consent Summit, Tristan Taormino says, “It’s important enough to devote an entire summit to it!”
10 am – 6 pm on April 23rd
@the Center for Sex Positive Culture, 1602 15th Ave W, Seattle, WA
Panels: Consent & the Law Consent Activism: Past, Present and Future Affirmative Consent and College Campuses Workshops: Consent & Negotiation Consent in Power Exchange Relationships Train the Trainers: Teaching Consent
$50 - All day event with luncheon ticket for Keynote
$40 - All day event without luncheon
$35 - All day reduced price and students
$30 - Luncheon and Keynote ticket
$75 – All day event with luncheon ticket and Pay It Forward*
*Pay It Forward allows those who are economically advantaged to assist people who are not. It's a reminder to all of us that money can create barriers between us. If you need a scholarship to attend, please contact NCSF to find out more -
Now everyone can join in the NCSF Consent Summit! Watch the Keynote Speech, Plenary and Panels live online. You can ask questions and make comments via the chat function. RSVP to register for free online viewing:
The spiritual path will burn away all illusions, including the sexual kind. The good news is that something better is reborn in the ashes.
by JESSICA GRAHAM
Mel was tall and lanky with short dark hair, good tattoos, and a black motorcycle. I wanted her bad. Lucky for me I was in an open relationship with my partner and he was all for it. It had been a long time since I had gone for a bad girl like Mel. I figured since it was just going to be a fling, it didn’t matter that a truck full of red flags were dropped on the first date, the biggest of which was the dopamine rush coming on hard and fast like a fat line of cocaine after a long time sober. I knew I was in trouble the first time I smelled her salty skin and felt her nicotine stained fingertips on my throat.
I wasn’t practicing polyamory, per se, and my partner was my top priority. I’ve always been fluid when it comes to monogamy, depending on the relationship I’m in and how I’m currently feeling. I’m sure my poly friends probably cringe and call me a swinger. I prefer to think of myself as a free spirit. Since I wasn’t looking for another serious relationship, I needed to keep my feelings in check for the sexy butch I was drooling over. This meant getting mindful about lust.
You know the way it goes. Constantly checking your phone, even on the freeway, thinking you see the object of your desire everywhere you go, dreaming about them, the extreme highs and lows that come with seeing or not seeing them. The throes of a new relationship make most of us temporary drug addicts looking for the next fix. I didn’t want to get carried away with this culturally acceptable insanity. Lucky for me, as a meditation practitioner, I had all the tools to observe this crazy ride without climbing on it.
So I let the affair run its course (trust me, it burnt out quick—I’m not a kid anymore), while I deconstructed and carefully explored the activity of my body and mind. At first I fell into the lust trap and caused some trouble with my partner. But soon I was able to ride the wave of new relationship energy like a pro. It was absolutely comical how the chemicals would flood my system and my mind would start to swirl when I got a text from her. Pretty soon the experience became something I could just watch without getting involved in. Those sensations and thoughts were just impermanent activity and they were certainly not me. How could they be if I was witnessing them?
This wasn’t the first time I’d had the insight that I am not my mind or my emotions. Each time that insight deepens, I experience a period of disillusionment. It had happened with my career, with habits, and so on. Basically I see the emptiness in the experience and I “lose” it. That’s to say I lose my attachment to it and my ability to get a fix from it. When I saw through the self who viewed herself as an actor, my acting career crumbled. Once I knew that my enjoyment of a film or a big piece of chocolate cake was simply a collection of thoughts and emotions, I lost my taste for them as well.
This can be a painful and scary part of spiritual development. It can feel like nothing is enjoyable or meaningful. I often have meditation students report that they feel depressed and apathetic during this stage. My first meditation teacher sat me down after few classes and told me, “Meditation is going to ruin your life.” He wasn’t joking. The cost of waking up is everything. With each awakening I’ve “lost’ a little more, but I wouldn’t want to give any of it back.
So here I was getting mindful about the off-the-hook sexual attraction I had for Mel. I didn’t really consider that I was in the process of screwing up my sex life, just like I had once screwed up my career, and my love of cake. The road to hell is paved with good intentions I suppose. By the time my bad girl fling had run out of steam, my sex drive was plummeting overall. Sex just didn’t seem that important anymore. Thanks to good old mindfulness, sexual disillusionment had kicked in. ...
A sex bondage book author has pleaded guilty to sending obscene material to a 17-year-old girl from New York who wanted to be a “submissive” in his polyamorous family.
Charles Michael Segaloff, 59, of Lawton, told an Oklahoma City federal judge Friday that he would have been the girl's “dominant” in a type of “BDSM” relationship.
Segaloff has authored multiple books under the pen name Michael Makai, including "Domination & Submission: The BDSM Relationship Handbook" and "The BDSM Coloring Book: An Activity Book for Kinksters with Crayons," an FBI special agent reported in a court affidavit.
“BDSM” stands for bondage, domination, sadism and masochism. Polyamory is described as being romantically involved with more than one person at the same time.
Segaloff initially was indicted in January after traveling in December to New York to pick up the girl. He brought her to Lawton to engage in a "BDSM" sexual relationship with him and his 26-year-old girlfriend. The agent reported the girlfriend was "a submissive to Segaloff by choice."
Segaloff had been charged with traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a juvenile, kidnapping a juvenile, sex trafficking of a juvenile and enticement of a juvenile.
On Friday, Segaloff, instead, pleaded guilty to one felony count of sending offensive material to an individual under 18. U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton will choose Segaloff's punishment later. Records show Segaloff could face up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
A plea agreement also requires Segaloff to register as a sex offender.
Before the judge accepted the guilty plea, Segaloff was asked by a prosecutor to explain what he was admitting to in the case. Segaloff said he sent Facebook messages to the girl that suggested she be part of his "extended family."
The prosecutor said the communications were obscene and dealt with "BDSM" and polyamory.
According to the affidavit, the girl and Segaloff emailed for months about his erotic books and the polyamorous lifestyle. The agent reported the girl found Segaloff on Facebook because she was curious about the "BDSM" lifestyle.
At the time of the emails last year, the cultural interest and presence of "BDSM" had been increasing. This was, in part, due to the 2011 erotic romance novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" being made into feature film that released in February 2015.
The girl "stated she left New York because she believed she was coming to a better life with Segaloff and his girlfriend," the agent reported. "She was aware she would be entering into a polyamorous lifestyle and would be a submissive to Segaloff who would be the dominant.
"(The girl) stated that as the submissive, she is to do what she is told, as long as it did not make her feel uncomfortable." ...
CLARKSVILLE — Two roommates were found guilty of murder and two others were convicted of lesser charges Friday in the beating death of a BDSM "house slave."
Matthew Lee Reynolds and Alphonso Richardson were both found guilty of first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree murder and especially aggravated kidnapping in the beating and strangulation death of 39-year-old Shirley Beck. They could face life in prison, which means they would not be eligible for parole for at least 51 years.
BDSM "mistress" Cynthia Dianne Skipper, who kept Beck as a "house slave" was found guilty of lesser charges — two counts of criminally negligent homicide and especially aggravated kidnapping. She could have one to two years on the criminally negligent homicide but 15 to 25 years on the especially aggravated kidnapping charge.
Derek M. Vicchitto was found guilty of two counts of facilitation of second-degree murder and especially aggravated kidnapping. He could face eight to 12 years on the facilitation charge and 15 to 25 years on the kidnapping charge.
All had been charged with murder, murder during a kidnapping and especially aggravated kidnapping in the June 26, 2014, beating at the home they all shared at 108 Wilson Court.
The jury returned the four verdicts shortly before lunch Friday. They began deliberating Thursday afternoon after a three-day trial.
Beck was a "house slave" who did all the chores for the roommates, and, by her consent, was punished for doing anything wrong.
Things took a different turn in June 2014, when she was beaten by four hours by Reynolds and Richardson. Reynolds kicked and hit her at least 50 times using martial-arts style techniques. Richardson hit and kicked her and beat her with a metal pole while she was hanging from the ceiling. ...
Meditation and bondage might seem like strange bedfellows, but they actually pair together like milk and cookies.
When you hear the word "bondage," you probably think of pain, humiliation and degradation. You might also think of Dakota Johnson bent over a table getting paddled in Fifty Shades of Grey.
Well, there are more shades of bondage than that. One practice called meditative bondage has nothing to do with sex, violence, misogyny, or whips and chains. It’s about finding Zen, and it’s part of a growing trend I'm dubbing "New Age kink," which combines spirituality with sexuality.
"It's about providing containment for another human being, and it's a conduit for connection,” explains Orpheus Black, a sex educator who teaches private and group workshops in meditative bondage, as well as other aspects of BDSM. “It's a way to feel cared for and tended to, and a method to clear your mind and let go. It's similar to the reason parents have swaddled their babies for centuries — the containment makes them feel safe, secure and taken care of. This is the same idea."
In a meditative bondage session I witnessed, a clothed Orpheus Black stood behind his half-naked wife and "slave" (their words) of 20 years, Indigo Black, and slowly bound the upper part of her body. He tied her arms behind her back with a traditional Japanese bondage rope made of soft cotton. "I only bind as tight as a good hug; this is like an extended hug over time. It's loving, not painful," Black explains. He also sets a meditation timer, and participants typically start at just a few minutes before building up to the maximum 15 minutes. (Any longer and you might get a little numb in your extremities.)
"I only bind as tight as a good hug."
The way he tied and untied Indigo was loving. He caressed her slowly and gently with the soft ropes, letting the rope drape down her body. Once bound, he whispered positive affirmations in her ear with warm breath on her neck, and stroked her arms with a sensual, feather-like touch. "I'd tell her she's beautiful and remind her she's safe and cared for. While we don't engage in sex during this, this is great foreplay for sex and helps open your sexual energy," he says.
The last major element is anticipatory touch. "Where would you like me to touch you?" he asked his bound wife. "My arms," she replied. "This isn't about sexual touch. It's about sensual touch. I pause about 10 seconds before I touch her because that pause heightens the touch and gets her to be more present in her body," he notes. Through this process, you could see Indigo deeply relax and even sway a little as she stood there in a meditative state. When the meditation timer went off, he untied her. (Participants can ask to be untied at any time during the practice, though.) ...
TransferWise is known for its provocative publicity stunts — particularly those involving nudity.
In January 2015, the Estonian money transfer app sent a dozen nearly naked employees running through London to protest banks' "unfair exchange rates." It was at it again in February, leading a 200-strong underwear-only march through Wall Street in New York to celebrate their launch in the US.
Even the founders have had a go: Back in June 2014, Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann stripped down to their underpants along with dozens of employees in the City of London to illustrate how, they said, the banks “screw you by charging huge hidden charges.”
But TransferWise is less keen on risqué activities when they're not helping to promote the company.
Dimo Trifonov is the founder and CEO of 3nder, an alternative dating app. It focuses on polyamory, kink, and alternative sexual preferences, describing itself as a "way to date awesome people around you who are kinky, curious and open-minded." (It has also been described as "Tinder for threesomes.") It has 650,000 users — 70,000 of which are in the UK, where Trifonov is based — and handles 3 million messages a month.
However, 3nder's unconventional audience has caused problems for Trifonov, both in his professional and personal life.
TransferWise refused to let the company open a business account because of the "nature of [his] business," according to an email seen by Business Insider, with a customer-service representative classifying the dating app as "adult" content, Trifonov says.
And when a landlord discovered what 3nder is, he backed out at the last minute, refusing to rent to Trifonov, the app developer says. He claims the landlord said: "I don't want this champ in my property" — discriminating against him because of his non-monogomous lifestyle. Cluttons, the estate agents that Trifonov found the property through, did not respond to a request for comment.
Trifonov argues TransferWise is also guilty of "double standards" — presenting itself as progressive while acting just like the banks it seeks to supplant.