Read More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory Online

Authors: Franklin Veaux

Tags: #intimacy, #sexual ethics, #non-monogamous, #Relationships, #polyamory, #Psychology

More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory

BOOK: More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory
8.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub















A practical guide to ethical polyamory



Copyright © 2014 by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert





All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the publisher except in the case of brief quotations in critical articles and reviews.




e-book edition v1.0

Thorntree Press, LLC

PO Box 301231

Portland, OR 97294

[email protected]


Cover illustration by Paul Mendoza

Interior illustrations by Tatiana Gill

Cover design by Vanessa Rossi

e-book design by Tatiana Gill

Substantive editing by Alan M. MacRobert

Copy-editing by Naomi Pauls, Paper Trail Publishing

Proofreading by Roma Ilnyckyj


Publisher's Cataloging-In-Publication Data

(Prepared by The Donohue Group, Inc.)


Veaux, Franklin.

    More than two : a practical guide to ethical polyamory / Franklin Veaux, Eve Rickert ; foreword by Janet W. Hardy.


    1 electronic resource : illustrations

    Issued also in print.

    Includes bibliographical references and index.

    ISBN: 978-0-9913997-2-7 (ebook)


    1. Non-monogamous relationships. 2. Sexual ethics. 3. Intimacy (Psychology) 4. Electronic books. I. Rickert, Eve. II. Hardy, Janet W. III. Title.



HQ980 .V43 2014eb






















Foreword by Janet W. Hardy




1   Starting the journey

2   The many forms of love

3   Ethical polyamory


4   Tending your self

5   Nurturing your relationships

6   Communication pitfalls

7   Communication strategies

8   Taming the green-eyed monster


9   Boundaries

10   Rules and agreements

11   Hierarchy and primary/secondary poly

12   Veto arrangements

13   Empowered relationships

14   Practical poly agreements


15   How poly relationships are different

16   In the middle

17   Opening from a couple

18   Mono/poly relationships

19   Sex and laundry

20   Sexual health

21   Poly puzzles

22   Relationship transitions


23   Your partners' other partners

24   Finding partners

25   The rest of the world

Last words: Love more, be awesome





Our supporters


It was around twenty years ago that my co-author Dossie Easton and I spoke to a roomful of Mensa members about what was then generally called S/M. We'd already written and published
The Bottoming Book
The Topping Book,
and taught a bunch of workshops and done a bunch of public scenes, so we were used to being outrageous in front of audiences. We had fun.

But afterward, a friend told me about a conversation she'd overheard. "Did you hear about that S and M presentation this afternoon?" she mimicked, in a voice high-pitched with shock. "There were these two women giving it…and they were talking about stuff they'd done
…and one of their boyfriends was
right in the room!

That's how unaware the world was of polyamory, and other monogamy alternatives, back then. And that's when we knew we needed to write a book about poly. The first edition of
The Ethical Slut
was published in 1997, and we were both pretty startled by the virulent reaction it got—far more virulent, much to our surprise, than we'd gotten for our BDSM titles. As we made the circuit of morning-drive radio shows and local-access cable television, we heard from the woman who said she'd "go upside his head with a frying pan" if her husband ever dared propose such a thing. Another woman told us we were the cause of the decline of Western civilization, and that our book should be banned, and we should be tied up and whipped. (We were able to restrain our giggles until the commercial break.)

When you're writing in a context like that, most of your job has to do with gently prying open your reader's mind, casting a bit of light on unexamined prejudices and making space for new ways of thinking. Even if we'd wanted to suggest some practical guidelines for how to make poly relationships work better, we had a relatively small database of experience and wisdom to work from—basically our own lives, and those of our circle of queerish, kinkyish, San Francisco-ish friends, whose needs and circumstances were quite different from those of the average American reader. So we stuck, for the most part, to first principles, and left the nuts and bolts for other writers.

We had no idea, way back then, that we and our little book were about to climb a gigantic wave of interest in polyamorous lifestyles.
has outsold all our other books put together, by a handy margin. It went on, a decade and a half later, into a larger, more slickly published edition from a major publisher, with exercises and practical information in addition to the basic principles.

But we're still only two writers, with our own backgrounds and prejudices. We're proud to have helped create a world, the world of polyamory, that's big enough and various enough to
different opinions, ideas and approaches from ours.

I've traveled the world teaching Ethical Slut workshops. When I ask my attendees about the biggest problem they've encountered doing polyamory, they've usually responded by naming something to do with logistics (time, space, attention) or something to do with jealousy. And these are indeed thorny issues…but I'd argue that they're really symptoms of a deeper problem. Imagine that you're a monogamous person, having the kinds of relationship problems that monogamous people have: jealousy (yes, they feel it too), boredom, "bed death," whatever. What do you do? You call a therapist, you ask your friends, you watch
Dr. Phil,
you go to the bookstore and pick one of the dozens of titles aimed at teaching monogamous people how to be better at monogamy.

But if you're a poly person? Where do we poly people get our answers? If we're lucky, we may live in a major city
be Internet-savvy
know the word
so that we know what term to search on
have life circumstances that enable us to go to a poly munch or meetup. For the rest of the world, though, there are websites and books. And not nearly enough of either.

Many people, sad to say, attempt polyamory without knowing anyone who has done it successfully and is willing to talk about it in public. Many have little or no access to the small but growing body of wisdom that successful polyamorists have accumulated and shared. Which is why it's past time for
More Than Two.

I've e-known (if that's the word for someone you know on the Internet but have never met) Franklin Veaux for a long time now; his co-author Eve is new to me. They are both experienced and articulate polyamorists—Franklin's poly website (now dates back to 1997, the same year that the first edition of
was published.

I am pleased to say that I disagree with Franklin and Eve on a few points (if you want to know which, you'll have to read both of our books). But, honestly, I'd be worried if I didn't. There are as many ways to do poly as there are people doing it, and beyond the basics of disclosure and consent, there's no "right" or "wrong" way—there are only things that have worked for some people and other things that haven't worked for others. Monogamous people get to decide whether to listen to advice from Dr. Phil or Dr. Laura or any of the other relationship "doctors" that fill our radio waves and TV screens; poly people should have the same opportunities to listen to different advice and make their own choices.

Different authors have different styles. Dossie and I have been described as "big sisters" (if your big sister is a slutty kinky aging hippie); Franklin and Eve are more like "wise neighbors"—think of the guy on the other side of the fence on
Home Improvement,
calm and wise and funny. Dossie and I write primarily about the sexual aspects of poly; Franklin and Eve are more interested in the day-to-day living part. Dossie and I like to indulge ourselves, just a little, in high-flown realms of abstraction and idealism; Franklin and Eve like to keep their feet on the ground.

You'll probably find yourself relating more to one style than the other, and that's just exactly the way it should be. The more people who open their minds to the infinite possibilities of poly, the more space there will be for new books (can
Polyamory for Dummies
be far in the future?), new opinions, specialized publications, personal gatherings and more.

Someday, perhaps, there will be as many resources and role models for poly people as there are today for monogamists. I'd like to live in a world where my grandchildren-to-be can watch
The Bill and Joan and Pat Show
as matter-of-factly as I watched
The Brady Bunch.
Well, my great-grandchildren, anyway.

And books like
More Than Two
are one of the ways that will happen. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.



Successful polyamory is a group effort. So perhaps it's fitting that the efforts of a great many people went into creating this book. Without their help and support,
More Than Two
would not exist. Writing this book was a long road, and a lot changed between the first draft and what you're reading now. Substantive editing was done by Alan M. MacRobert, who not only worked very hard to turn our draft into lucid prose, but filled in gaps, contributed ideas, and challenged us to address ideas and constituencies we'd overlooked.

Shelly DeForte contributed her wisdom and insight through written contributions to chapters 3, 7, 9 and 15, among others. Pepper Mint provided important contributions to the section on LBGTQ communities in chapter 25, as well as valuable feedback on an early draft. Sophia Kelly, Aggie Sez and two anonymous reviewers also provided feedback on several key chapters. The members of the poly women's discussion group in Vancouver, B.C., provided valuable feedback and discussion of ideas. We're also grateful to Janet Hardy, co-author of
The Ethical Slut
and poly pioneer, for supporting the book by contributing the foreword.

You'll find many stories throughout this book, both ours and other people's. These stories help illustrate the many lessons we've learned on our journey. The names you'll see other than ours are pseudonyms, and we have changed or removed some identifying details to maintain anonymity. We have taken care to choose stories we were involved in directly, stories that at least one participant has given us permission to use, or stories that were disclosed to us more than ten years ago and were not disclosed in a confidential setting.

We're grateful to Paul Mendoza for the beautiful cover illustration, and to Tatiana Gill for the interior illustrations. We're also tremendously lucky to have had a first-rate production team, who provided fantastic work on a very tight production schedule: Naomi Pauls, who copy-edited the manuscript; Vanessa Rossi, who designed the cover; Mari Chijiiwa, who designed and typeset the interior; Roma Ilnyckyj, who proofread the book; and Krista Smith, who prepared the index and provided detailed research and fact-checking for chapter 20. Any errors that remain in the book are our sole responsibility.

We received generous sponsorships for writing and production from Kenneth R. Haslam, MD, curator of the polyamory collection for the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, and from Alan M. MacRobert and Ola Rozenfeld. The balance of the project was funded by a crowdfunding campaign, made successful by the support of many people who provided either material support in the form of rewards, or publicity in the form of a platform for our ideas. These people included Greta Christina, Abzu Emporium, Kendra Holliday, Louisa Leontiades, Alan MacRobert, Cunning Minx, Christopher Ryan, Aggie Sez and Elisabeth Sheff. Of course, we could not have completed this project without the 455 people who contributed to our campaign; those who contributed $25 or more are listed
, and the rest are credited

BOOK: More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory
8.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

McAllister Makes War by Matt Chisholm
Witches Protection Program by Michael Phillip Cash
the maltese angel by Yelena Kopylova
The Children's Blizzard by Laskin, David
SEDUCTIVE SUPERNATURALS: 12 Tales of Shapeshifters, Vampires & Sexy Spirits by Erin Quinn, Caridad Pineiro, Erin Kellison, Lisa Kessler, Chris Marie Green, Mary Leo, Maureen Child, Cassi Carver, Janet Wellington, Theresa Meyers, Sheri Whitefeather, Elisabeth Staab
Zero by J. S. Collyer
Dance of the Years by Margery Allingham
The Home for Wayward Clocks by Kathie Giorgio