Polyamory Politics

NOTE: Description in progress…

This collaborative study group will discuss various aspects of polyamory, a contested term generally referring to open ethical non-monogamous relationships. Topics for discussion will likely include the history of monogamy and its alternatives; relevant material from psychology, sociology, anthropology, and other social sciences on relationships, sexual identity and practice, and "human nature"; political perspectives on monogamy, polyamory, free love, the nuclear family, intentional communities, and other parts of the terrain; online and face-to-face polyamory communities; connections and disconnections between polyamory and other sex-positive communities such as swinging, LGBT, and BDSM; related efforts to enhance personal growth, interpersonal communication, intimacy, sexuality, etc.; common issues such as jealousy, insecurity, safety, stability, scheduling; and legal and other considerations. If interested, we can attend various local polyamory events as a group.

Course details depend on student interest.

Among the many books on polyamory and related topics are these:

  • The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures by Dossie Easton & Janet W. Hardy (Second edition, 2009) - updated classic
  • Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino (2008) - very useful
  • Sex At Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jethá (2010) - reviews evidence disproving notion that humans are "naturally" monogamous
  • Polyamory in the Twenty-First Century: Love and Intimacy with Multiple Partners by Deborah Anapol (2010) - new book by early polyamory advocate, a clinical psychologist with decades of experience as participant and observer

The instructor's personal interest in polyamory is consistent with his academic work in critical psychology as well as in anarchism, but he is not a therapist. Although some personal discussion is likely, it is not required and this is not a relationship-counseling or therapy group. The class is open to students regardless of relationship status, goals, or assumptions.

Method/Procedures: collaborative study group
Schedule: Tuesdays at 7 pm for 90 minutes beginning October 19th, for 8 weeks
Location: Brighton, MA
Fees: none unless class is too large to fit in a living room
Teacher: Dennis Fox


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