Poly 101 : The Book List

Composed on the 06th of July in the year 2014, at 07:07PM. It was Sunday.

This is the first post in what will be an ongoing series. I don't intend to write them contiguously. They will likely be interspersed with my other posts. I realize this will sacrifice continuity if you're trying to read "poly only" posts. One day I may have a tagging system to work around that. Until then please realize that not everyone will want to read that way and I certainly don't want to write that way. I like being able to write where my thoughts take me.

On the subject of polyamory1 there are a lot of books already written by very talented and insightful people. I recommend starting your learning with these authors. It's these books that have led me to where I am today and while I do have ideas, tools and wisdom to share you'd be better served getting it all from the horses mouth.

The Basics

The Ethical Slut2

by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy

This book is a must read for everyone. It contains a lot of good ideas around relationship structures, boundary setting and communication. It's also a fairly easy/quick read. As with any "self help" book, you likely won't agree with everything written but will probably find enough usable tools to make it a worthwhile read.

I keep a number of these on hand and loan them out to both friends and new potential lovers. "What's poly you say?", Here's a book you need to read before we go any further. :) ....no seriously, read it.

Against The Stream3

by Noah Levine

This isn't a poly specific book. It's a "how to" Buddhism book written by an ex-crack head gutter punk who's now a Buddhist teacher. I enjoy Noah's take on the dharma and find him to be fairly relatable. FYI he and I don't see completely eye to eye on open relationships. That's fine by me; there's still a lot of great stuff in this book.

This is the other book I loan to newbies; friends and lovers alike. While learning about and exploring the idea of non-monogamy a lot of shit will come up for you. You'll delve into a lot of dark scary places looking for answers. Buddhist present mind awareness skills will help give you some breathing room to decide: Is this how I really feel about X? Do I need to do anything about this feeling other than feel it? Where does this feeling come from? How can I keep myself from reacting and allow myself to greet the situation with kindness and compassion. Yup, that's right, not all feelings require action regardless of what your mind may tell you. It's a massive help to have some tools to sort that out.

Opening Up4

by Tristan Taormino

If you're looking to open up your relationship this book is a worthwhile read. It's also great if you're interested in reading about a variety of relationship structures. Once you deconstuct your ideas around relationships and their supposed shape it can be quite a challenge to build them back up in a shape that works for you. Having some ideas on what other folks have done to lead them to successful and happy lives can come in handy. Granted you're not them and what works for them may not work for you but it's a way better starting place than staring at the blank canvas that is your poly life and thinking "Fuck me, where do I go from here?".

Additional Reading

The New Love Without Limits5

by Deborah Anapol

The Ethical Slut can read a bit like hey, here's how to fuck everyone! While there's nothing wrong with that fantasy it can turn some folks off from the underlying message(s). American clinical psychologist Deborah Anapol's book The New Love Without Limits tends to spend more time focusing on the idea of many heart connections (regardless of how you end up expressing them). Both books are good reads and both books are worth while purchases. I'd loan this book out more but I've not had it returned from the last time I loaned it out and it's out of print at the moment.

Sex At Dawn6

by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha

Why is it that monogamy doesn't feel right for so many of us? How can it feel so natural and normal to love more than one person at a time while our society shuns the idea and shames us into closing off our hearts and bodies to others or pushes us to sneak around in an unethical way? This book explores the evolution of our sexuality from an anthropological standpoint. The main thesis is that monogamy is a relatively new social construct; which explains why it fits so many of us so poorly. It found it to be a good investment of my time. It's a great read, though not a quick and simple one.

For the next article in this series click here.

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1Polyamory: The practice, desire, or acceptance of having more than one intimate relationship at a time with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved






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