Polyamory and Swinging

"Ethical non-monogamy" is the proper-sounding appelation for those relationships which bring together multiple partners with openness, honesty and trust. Swinging, polyamory, open marriage, menages a trois -- all fit under this umbrella term.

The remarkable thing about ethical non-monogamy is the tremendous commitment partners make to the ideal of openness, honesty and good communication. Without this, it's only old-fashioned infidelity with the corresponding guilt and resentment.

Many are finding new freedom and depth in their relationships by opening them. Current research shows that between 30% and 60% of married people in the United States are unfaithful at some time during their marriage. Polyamory advocates suggest that open communication between spouses might open the way for more creative solutions to relationship unhappiness.

The books recommended below offer a roadmap to exploring the terrain of open relationships.

Recommended Books on Polyamory and Swinging

The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures by Dossie Easton and Janet W. HardyThe Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures

For anyone who has ever dreamed of love, sex, and companionship beyond the limits of traditional monogamy, this groundbreaking guide navigates the infinite possibilities that open relationships can offer. Experienced ethical sluts Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy dispel myths and cover all the skills necessary to maintain a successful and responsible polyamorous lifestyle--from self-reflection and honest communication to practicing safe sex and raising a family. Individuals and their partners will learn how to discuss and honor boundaries, resolve conflicts, and to define relationships on their own terms. 2009, Celestial Arts, 2nd edition

Insatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men who Love Them by David J. LeyInsatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men Who Love Them

Clinical psychologist Ley forges into new territory to examine the long-lived, but little-known "hotwife phenomenon." In extensive interviews with couples, Ley discovers educated, successful individuals with strong, healthy marriages in which wives are allowed, and expected, to sleep with other men. These couples demonstrate high degrees of communication and mutual respect while also asserting that the lifestyle, initiated by the wives, has strengthened their marriages. Well-written and thoroughly researched, Ley's survey of an evolving marriage lifestyle highlights qualities vital to any relationship, especially honest and consistent communication. 2009, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Insatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men who Love Them by David J. LeyThe Jealousy Workbook: Exercises and Insights for Managing Open Relationships

Kathy Labriola has spent many years helping people in polyamorous relationships to understand and manage their jealousy. The workbook is a compendium of the techniques and exercises she has developed, as well as tips and insights from the polyamory community?s top educators, therapists, and authors. These accessible, simple techniques are designed to be easily implemented in the event of an intense jealousy crisis, and are even more useful if applied over a period of time before a crisis occurs. 2013, Greenery Press

The Lesbian Polyamory Reader: Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy, and Casual Sex by Marcia Munson and Judith StelbournThe Lesbian Polyamory Reader: Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy, and Casual Sex

In reading The Lesbian Polyamory Reader, you'll quickly discover that the steps toward love and happiness are as easy as 1, 2, 3, and maybe even 4 or 5. And you'll find that if your own lesbian relationship lies outside the "traditional monogamous couple" model, you're definitely not alone. You'll explore many multifaceted and multifarious love relationships, each one applicable to your own liking, if you so choose. You'll find successful models of relationship styles--regardless of your own orientation--from cover to cover, and you'll discover the pleasing polyphony in the many, many female voices of authorities on love and love relationships. 1999, Routledge

The Lifestyle: A Look at the Erotic rites of Swingers by Terry GouldThe Lifestyle: A Look at the Erotic Rites of Swingers

Almost everything you wanted to know about swinging sex, but were afraid to ask. As a member of the Lifestyle, Gould brings swinging out of the closet as he argues that consenting adults should not be denigrated for engaging in private behavior that harms no one. Through a history of the Lifestyles Organization and interviews with swingers (mostly married couples), Gould depicts a world refreshing in its sincerity, openness, and normality in spite of such apparent contradictions as swinging Mormons or Republicans. The view that emerges of the Lifestyle is one of hedonism, but an ethical hedonism in which individual choices are respected and boundaries never crossed without permission. 1999, Vintage Canada

Love in AbundanceLove In Abundance: A Counselor's Advice On Open Relationship

Beyond the basics of polyamory lies a complex web of negotiations, agreements, pitfalls and rewards. Kathy Labriola, a relationships counselor who has worked for many years with singles, couples and groups in polyamorous and open relationships, sets forth some of the realities of alternative lifestyles: dealing with some of the common relationship-disrupters, managing jealousy, choosing compatible partners, combining BDSM with polyamory, distinguishing between sex addiction and polyamory, and much more. 2010, Greenery Press

Insatiable Wives: Women Who Stray and the Men who Love Them by David J. LeyMore Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory

Expanded from the popular polyamory website morethantwo.com, the authors of More Than Two share their hard-won wisdom and philosophy about polyamory, as well as their hurts and embarrassments. They underscore the importance of engaging in ethical polyamory and guide readers through the thorny issues of jealousy and insecurity with the aim of encouraging loving partners to work consistently and conscientiously on both their relationships and themselves. 2014, Thorntree Press

The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People by David P. Barash Ph.D. and Judith Eve LiptonThe Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People

Monogamists, this husband-wife team says, "are going against some of the deepest-seated evolutionary inclinations with which biology has endowed most creatures, Homo sapiens included." Barash, professor of psychology at the University of Washington, and Lipton, a psychiatrist, note how rare monogamy is in the animal kingdom. One could not have been so sure about humans until the advent of DNA fingerprinting, which makes it possible to "specify, with certainty, whether a particular individual is or is not the parent." And a "key point" is that women as well as men stray from monogamous relationships. The argument leads one inevitably to ask why monogamy exists at all and why human societies show such concern about it. Barash and Lipton suggest that it may occur as a means for males to minimize the risk "that someone else's sperm will fertilize the eggs of a given female" and that society's many strictures against adultery arise because monogamy is not automatic "but needs to be enforced and reinforced." (Scientific American review) 2002, Holt Paperbacks

The New Intimacy: Open-Ended Marriage and Alternative Lifestyles by Ronald MazurThe New Intimacy: Open-Ended Marriage and Alternative Lifestyles

The close of the 20th century has witnessed the minority status of the traditional family in America. On the threshold of a new millennium, now is an opportune and urgent time to give voice to the intimacies of alternative lifestyles, including open marriage. Traditional monogamy is still the prize for countless adults searching for meaning and love in their lives. That search is honored by myriad religious and societal supports. It is to non-traditionalists, to those ready for new life and love affirmations, that this book is offered with joy. The evolution of human consciousness prepares the way for the unfolding of our universal polyamorous potential. Let the pioneers be unafraid to move beyond the ancient limits of relationships to the new intimacy of responsible erotic freedom. May the new millennium be the end of pleasure-phobia. 2000, iUniverse

Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage by Jenny BlockOpen: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage

Jenny Block is your average girl next door, a suburban wife and mother for whom married life never felt quite right. In Open, she paints a down to earth picture of how an open marriage can work, and specifically why it works for her and her husband. In dissecting other people's strong reactions to her choice, she explores the question of why cheating is more socially acceptable than open marriage. Open challenges our notions of what traditional marriage looks like, and presents one woman's journey down an uncertain path that ultimately proves that open marriage is a viable option for her life. 2008, Seal Press

Open Marriage: A New Life Style for Couples by George and Nena O'NeillOpen Marriage: A New Life Style for Couples

This is the classic that revolutionized the way Americans see marriage. It has sold more than 35 million copies and has been translated into 14 languages. 1984, M. Evans and Company, Inc

Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan TaorminoOpening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships

Relationship expert and bestselling author Tristan Taormino offers a bold new strategy for creating loving, lasting relationships. Drawing on in-depth interviews with over a hundred women and men, Opening Up explores the real-life benefits and challenges of all styles of open relationships—from partnered nonmonogamy to solo polyamory. With her refreshingly down-to-earth style and sharp wit, Taormino offers solutions for making an open relationship work, including tips on dealing with jealousy, negotiating boundaries, finding community, parenting, and time management. Opening Up will change the way you think about intimacy. 2008, Cleis Press

Polyamory in the 21st Century: Love and Intimacy with Multiple Partners by Deborah AnapolPolyamory in the 21st Century: Love and Intimacy with Multiple Partners

Polyamory means having simultaneous close emotional, and possibly sexual, relationships with two or more other individuals with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned. The growing practice of polyamory in the U.S. indicates a significant shift in the way marriage and intimate relationships have evolved over the last few decades. This is a completely rewritten and updated version of Anapol's groundbreaking first book on the topic. Written with the benefit of thirty years' experience Polyamory explores in depth the "love without limits" phenomenon about which she wrote so eloquently and which has opened the way for thousands of people who are now living and thriving in ethically nonmonagomous situations. 2010, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.

Polyamory Many Loves: The Poly-Tantric Lovestyle: A personal account by Janet LessinPolyamory Many Loves: The Poly-Tantric Lovestyle: A personal account

Join Janet in her juicy journey of sacred sexuality. She explores pair dating, a woman/man/woman threesome, man/woman/man triads, quatrads, networks, and finally, a polyamorous pod. Janet shares her innermost thoughts, feelings, spiritual epiphanies and erotic experiences as she learns the ways of many-lover loving with increasing skill and grace. Her trials and triumphs teach all who would tread the path of polyamory. Janet's amorous experiments lead her to blend All-Chakra Tantra -- her variety of sacred loving -- with polyamory -- relating to contemporaneous multiple lovers. The synthesis Janet creates is the PolyTantric Lovestyle. The polytantric lovestyle heals emotional pain and social separation for individuals, pairs, and groups and will, Janet believes, be therapeutic for the world as well. 2006, AuthorHouse

Polyamory: Roadmaps for the Clueless & Hopeful by Anthony D. RavenscroftPolyamory: Roadmaps for the Clueless & Hopeful

Polyamory: Roadmaps for the Clueless & Hopeful begins from the absolute basics of intimate relationships, and clearly lays out the pitfalls and problems that await everyone who embarks upon this difficult and highly rewarding way of life. This book is for everyone with any interest in the subject. Whether you're merely curious, or already embroiled in a complex responsibly nonmonogamous life, you will find a greater understanding of what is going on. Even if you are happily married for the rest of your life, you will improve your relationships with the other people in your life. 2004, Crossquarter Publishing Group

Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda JethaSex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality

Ryan and Jethá's central contention is that human beings evolved in egalitarian groups that shared food, child care, and, often, sexual partners. Weaving together convergent, frequently overlooked evidence from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality, the authors show how far from human nature monogamy really is. The authors expose the ancient roots of human sexuality while pointing toward a more optimistic future. With intelligence and humor, Ryan and Jethá show how our promiscuous past haunts our struggles over monogamy, sexual orientation, and family dynamics. They explore why long-term fidelity can be so difficult for so many; why sexual passion tends to fade even as love deepens; why many middle-aged men risk everything for transient affairs with younger women; why homosexuality persists in the face of standard evolutionary logic; and what the human body reveals about the prehistoric origins of modern sexuality. 2010, Harper

Sex, Love, and Marriage in the 21st Century: The Next Sexual Revolution by Timothy Perper and martha CornogSex, Love, and Marriage in the 21st Century: The Next Sexual Revolution

These 22 honest, authentic stories tell of the unconventional paths pioneering church leaders and spiritually-aware women and men have taken in their quest to link their sexuality with their spiritual needs. Some might see in these unorthodox explorations only tales of promiscuous couplings. But these are not stories of wild thrill-seekers. These are tales told from the core of their being about their deeply felt need for genuine, responsible love and intimacy within a spiritual context. 1999, iUniverse.com

Swinging in America: Love, Sex, and Marriage in the 21st Century by Curtis R. Bergstrand and jennifer Blevins SinskiSwinging in America: Love, Sex, and Marriage in the 21st Century

Significant social science research suggests that the standard of monogamy has become a destructive force both on marriages and parenting, and that nonmonogamous relationships actually provide a more viable blueprint for relationships today. This highly readable book represents a huge step forward not only in the analysis of swinging but in questioning our strictly monogamous view of the family. The authors present a thorough review of the extant theory and research on the topic of swinging, a topic that has not been widely investigated in recent years. Incorporating their 2000 study, they not only looked at the responses of almost 1,100 swingers, but added a much needed dimension - a control group in order to compare swingers with non-swingers. 2009, Praeger

Three in Love: Menages a Trois from Ancient to Modern Times by Michael Foster, Barbara Foster, Letha HadadyThree in Love: Menages a Trois from Ancient to Modern Times

If longevity is the proof and ménages à trois is the pudding, then Three in Love is an appropriate recipe for this classically suspect concoction. Claiming that their own 16-year relationship is as valid an arrangement as marriage, the authors offer their defense with a mild dose of psychology amidst examples of famous threesomes--the more familiar (Lord Nelson and the Hamiltons, June & Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin) as well as some surprises. 2000, iUniverse

The Threesome HandbookThe Threesome Handbook: A Practical Guide to Sleeping With Three

A step-by-step guide to realizing the American dream, The Threesome Handbook gives tri-curious men and women the inside scoop on threesomes. Victoria Vantoch offers practical and humorous advice for couples and singles who are interested in exploring new territory. In the book she covers the perks of three: hotter sex, more love; strategies to prevent freak-outs, jealousy, and general messiness; how to find the perfect third; discovering your inner queer; when a ménage turns into love; how to create a successful triad relationship; communication skills for couples; knowing when to break it off, and much, much more. 2007, Da Capo Press

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