NCSF on TwitterSubscribe to the NCSF RSS FeedNCSF Blog

NCSF Headlines


Stay in Touch. Stay in the Know.

Naughty in N’awlins names Grand Marshals for Sexual Freedom Parade 2017

on Thursday, 22 June 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, NCSF News

Set to take place at 6pm, on July 5, 2017 in New Orleans, the Sexual Freedom Parade brings awareness to the current fight for sexual freedom issues: from discrimination to custody issues, as well as archaic laws outlawing sex toys, non-monogamy, and sex work. The Sexual Freedom Parade is sponsored by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF), which is committed to creating a political, legal and social environment in the U.S. that advances equal rights for consenting adults who engage in alternative sexual and relationship expressions.


This year’s Sexual Freedom Parade will be the largest in the U.S. with more than 1,000 participants, a Brass Band, floats and dance troupes. The route will start on Iberville, behind the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel and then head south before turning left on Chartres St. The parade will then take a left onto St. Louis and then a right onto Bourbon St. After marching for four blocks on Bourbon St, the parade will turn right on St. Ann and then again on Royal St. before heading back to the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel for a Sexual Freedom Party. 


Everyone is encouraged to wear all white!


Bob Hannaford, organizer of the annual Naughty in N’awlins convention, is pleased to announce the following list of Grand Marshals that will ride on different floats in the Sexual Freedom Parade. “It is an honor to have such a diverse and inspiring list of leaders in the sex positive community come together to support this historic parade,” said Hannaford.


Sexual Freedom Parade Marshals


Keira Harris: Volunteer Director, National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. “In an ideal world, I would not be afraid to show affection to both of my partners in public, my husband’s girlfriend would be able to get the same insurance benefits that I get, and my way of life would be normalized to the point that I wouldn’t require a kink aware professionals database to find an understanding and unbiased professional for services I need,” says Harris.


John & Jackie Melfi: Bloggers from and authors of the book “The Swinging Lifestyle: Questions You Are Afraid to Ask”. Their blog covers a variety of issues facing non-monogamous couples in today’s society and answers questions that people might have about the relationship model. They also own Colette, the largest chain of swinger’s clubs in the US.


Dr. Zhana Vrangalova: A NYC-based sex researcher, writer, and educator with a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University, where she studied how different aspects of sexuality (especially casual sex/promiscuity and mostly heterosexuality) are linked to health and well-being. She is currently an adjunct professor at the NYU Psychology department where she teaches Human Sexuality.


Kenneth Play: An international sex hacking expert/educator, former top fitness professional, and private celebrity fitness and sex-ed coach. He co-founded the globally-recognized intentional sex-positive community, Hacienda Villa; he teamed up with Dr. Zhana Vrangalova to work on The Casual Sex Project; he’s been a featured presenter for the Sexual Health Expo (SHE) and New York University; and his projects have been featured in GQ, Vice, Elite Daily, Thrillist, Refinery 29, Playboy, and Cosmopolitan. His mission is to bring hands-on sex education accessible to a mainstream audience. 


Holli & Michael: This dynamic couple has starred on Playboy’s hit show “Swing”, they have a daily radio show on Playboy Radio and they own a club in Las Vegas called Sensual that caters to open couples. They speak about Consensual Non-Monogamous Relationships at conferences and conventions around the world and coined the word "LivingSexy" as well as the phrase: "a secure me creates a strong we."


All of the Grand Marshalls are available for interviews, along with Bob Hannaford, organizer of Naughty in N’awlins, the largest alternative lifestyle convention for couples in the world. With over 1,000 couples, this event is a full takeover of one of the French Quarter's biggest hotels. There are workshops, seminars, private Bourbon St Parties, industry entertainment and nightly erotic theme balls.

8 Things Every Woman Should Know Before Trying Kink

on Thursday, 22 June 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Let your kink flag fly, ladies.

Huffington Post

By Alanna Vagianos

Kinky sex can be a bit intimidating: it includes everything from bondage to BDSM and role play. Fortunately, you don’t have to jump into a life of sadomasochism to try out kink (you totally can if you’d like, though).


HuffPost spoke with Babeland co-founder Claire Cavanah to get some tips for women who want to get into kink (also known as “kinky play”) but don’t really know where to start. Stepping outside of your comfort zone in the bedroom can be hard ― and, for women, sometimes even harder. After all, letting your sexual freak flag fly isn’t part of your average girlhood experience.


But, never fear, Cavanah said trying new things is natural to a person’s sexual development. “Novelty is fun,” she said. “We’re always growing and changing. You don’t reach the end of your sexual development unless you forget to keep going or you put an artificial limit on it.”  


Cavanah’s first piece of advice to anyone new to kink is, well, you might like it. “I would start with accepting that you might be into it,” she said. 


So, if you’re new to kinky play and don’t know where to start, scroll below to read a few handy tips for your next sexual escapade.   


1. “Kinky sex” is different for everyone. 


It’s a form of “playing,” Cavanah said. It’s everything that falls outside of the confines of having sex simply to orgasm, which means it can take many different forms. Kink is an umbrella term that includes everything from sadomasochism (SM) to bondage, fantasy, sensation and toy play.


SM is finding pleasure in inflicting pain or receiving pain from your partner, while bondage is when you tie your partner up or your partner ties you up for pleasure. To bring it back down a notch, Cavanah said, sometimes simply bringing a vibrator into your sex life with a partner can be kinky. 


“Kinky is in the eye of the beholder,” Cavanah said. “It reflects what your values are and what you like to do.”


2. Communication, trust and consent are key. 


Communication is key for any sexual activity, but it’s even more important when stepping outside of your sexual comfort zone. You should always have a full conversation with your partner about what you are and aren’t comfortable with.


“If you don’t take care of your inhibitions or your worries beforehand then you probably won’t have a very good experience,” Cavanah explained. “If you’re going to try this with your sweetheart ― even if you know them well and you’ve been with them a long time ― you still have to communicate what your limits are and how you will express those limits.”


Kinky is in the eye of the beholder.


3. Make sure you set boundaries beforehand. 


If someone’s tying you up, you’ll probably want to be on the same page beforehand. Setting ground rules and boundaries (such as agreeing on a safe word) will be the difference between kink “working and not working” for you, Cavanah said. 


One great way to start the boundaries conversation? Try out lists like the “Yes/No/Maybe” list, Cavanah said. The list comes in different variations depending on the sexual escapades you’re looking for. The list is an exercise you and your partner can use to see what you both like and don’t like and what you’re willing to try. 


“It’s a really great conversation starter and it’s very illuminating about where you and your partner’s desires overlap,” she said. ...



I Peeked Into India’s Secret World Of BDSM, And This Is What I Found

on Thursday, 22 June 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Youth Ki Awaaz

by Shambhavi Saxena 

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me,” croons Rihanna on her 2011 single, “S&M”. The song alludes to a variety of practices like bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism. Or “BDSM” for short. These practices have existed since the time of the French aristocrat Marquis de Sade and Austrian writer Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, from whose last names we got S&M. Today, BDSM’s rapid popularity might well be courtesy of E. L. James’ “Fifty Shades” trilogy. But in India, it continues to be dark-side-of-the-moon kinda territory. However, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.


The BDSM Community In India


Their numbers may be small, but there is a thriving and ever-expanding community of ‘kinksters’ all around us. To get that point across is The Kinky Collective (KC), a close-knit community of BDSM practitioners active in New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Ranchi, and Bombay. I set out to meet some of the core members, and find out what it’s like to be a BDSM practitioner in a country known for multiple clampdowns on sexual expression.


Shiv* and Priya* are the first couple I meet, and they patiently walk me through everything kink. Shiv explains kink can be something as simple as covering your partner’s eyes during sex, or something more complex involving role-play and ropes. Now, defining BDSM and kink is the easy part. What’s hard is confronting the many myths about them.


“As with the LGBTQ community, people think BDSM is a curable disease rather than an orientation,” says Shiv. And this is four full years after the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) rectified this view. In the same vein, Priya explains how many people assume kink is connected to childhood abuse, which then manifests as ‘sexual perversion’ in adults.


This tendency to pathologise non-standard sex (read: peno-vaginal baby-making) is just one among many ways that BDSM is stigmatised. According to Priya, another major myth is that kink is abusive. She says “I think that’s because people automatically associate kink with pain.”


And though many of us make this association based off a stray lyric about “whips and chains”, it just isn’t true. “People don’t have to be masochist or sadist to be involved in kink,” argues Shiv. “Somebody has a foot fetish – where is the pain?”


The BDSM Playbook

BDSM actively breaks out of society’s prescribed format for sex — heterosexual intercourse where men get the glory, and women are lucky to finish at all. So it’s no surprise that KC has members who are trans, gay, cisgender, and straight. But when Shiv and Priya mention two kinksters who identify as asexual, BDSM takes on a whole new dimension. “It’s not about sex, it’s a power exchange,” says Shiv. “I’ve been part of week-long sessions where I didn’t have the benefit of sex at all!”


When asked if BDSM could be independent of sex, Mira*, one of KC’s longest-standing members, agrees with a laugh: “What is typically considered sex is the least interesting part of BDSM. It’s passé! The real charge is with power exchange or pain.” And it’s Priya who reminds me that penetrative sex is a ‘hard limit’ for a lot of people.


If that’s the case, what ­does one end up doing during play? Spanking, flogging, using gags and blindfolds, and speech and clothing control – those are your basics. Then there’s “edge plays” – higher risk activities that involve asphyxiation, drawing blood, using fire, needles, bondage and more. Of course, doing any of this safely requires learning the ropes – often literally! So KC organises a numbers of skill building workshops. Their bondage workshops teach you all the basic knots, where to tie them, and for how long. They also collaborate with kinksters from around the world – like in 2015 when they invited a couple from Belgium to teach needle play. ...

Children's Books For Parents Who Want Their Kids To Understand Polyamory

on Thursday, 22 June 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Your Tango

by Miko Technogeisha

Whether you're poly or just want to give them a view of a bigger world.


There are many of you who, like me, are trying to raise children in a society that often is not particularly accepting.


Society, books, and movies haven’t exactly paved the way to widespread acceptance of the notion of ethical non-monogamy.


In the case of my own relationship, we may have opened up our marriage late in the game, but we’d always been open-minded about sexuality and gender roles, and we've been trying to keep the standard, narrative-driven drivel to a minimum since the birth of our first child.


It was easier in the early years, and then the real challenge began in preschool.



The other little girls had been fed a non-stop diet of “Someday my prince will come,” which our daughter decided to embrace wholeheartedly. Then a couple of years later a similar thing happened to our son.


Once they entered school, gender roles were assigned and adhered to. So was the notion of dyadic relationships, with the inevitable, “First comes love, then comes marriage, the comes the baby in the baby carriage.” 


I didn't feel it would be enough to tell them this wasn’t the only option in life. I needed backup. I needed to come up with resources that go against the standard narrative and offer positive views on non-traditional families and relationships. It was difficult, but I did find a few solid alternatives.


Trying to find books, TV shows or even movies with non-traditional families was not as easy as I had hoped.


Most are geared toward LGBT families — not polyamorous families, and certainly not families with parents who swing. They are still a good way to start as a way to introduce the concept of non-traditional families and to celebrate our unique differences.


Books like The Family Book and It's Okay to be Different by Todd Parr offer basic examples, as does ABC: A Family Alphabet Book and 123: A Family County Book by Bobbie Combs. 


And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, Mini Mia and her Darling Uncle by Pija Lindenbaum, Daddy’s Roommate and Daddy’s Wedding by Michael Willhoite, along with Heather Has Two Mommies and Mommy, Mama and Me by Leslea Newman are all great books specifically about life with gay and lesbian parents. ...

Pornhub Is the Kinsey Report of Our Time

on Thursday, 22 June 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

The streaming sex empire may have done more to expand the sexual dreamscape than Helen Gurley Brown, Masters and Johnson, or Sigmund Freud.

The Cut

by Maureen O'Connor

Waking up on a Sunday morning, I received a text about what happened after I left the previous night’s party. “Everyone got high and we played truth or dare. Ted and Ivan docked.”


“Are you serious?” I replied. “I thought that only happened in porn.” Defined by Urban Dictionary as “the act of placing the head of one’s penis inside the foreskin of another’s penis,” docking is an act that, until that fateful night, nobody at the party had attempted or witnessed firsthand. (Or so they claimed.) But once you know a thing is a thing, sometimes you can’t get it out of your mind. And in a fit of libidinous boredom, or idle curiosity, or lust, or who even knows why anyone does anything anyway — you do that thing. Because that thing exists, and so do you. At some point, someone had to.


On the internet, there is a maxim known as Rule 34, which states: If you can imagine it, there is porn of it. No exceptions. And now that we are solidly into the age of internet pornography, I believe we are ready for another maxim: If there is porn of it, people will try it. (Maybe we can call it Rule 35.) And if people are trying that thing, then inevitably some of them will make videos of that thing and upload those to the internet. The result: an infinitely iterating feedback loop of sexual trial and error. Once upon a time, someone would try something new on film and it would take years to circulate on VHS or DVD through a relatively small community of porn watchers. But today, even the mainstream is porn-literate, porn-saturated, and porn-conversant. For a sexual butterfly effect to take place, you don’t even need to try that thing with your body — you can watch it, text about it, post jokes about it on Tumblr, chat about it on Grindr, masturbate while thinking about it, and type its name into so many search engines as to alter the sexual universe. There is such a thing, now, as a sexual meme — erotic acts and fantasies that replicate and spread like wildfire.


For we are living in a golden age of sexual creativity — an erotic renaissance that is, I believe, unprecedented in human history. Today you can, in a matter of minutes, see more boners than the most orgiastic member of Caligula’s court would see in a lifetime. This is, in itself, enough to revolutionize sexual culture at every level. But seeing isn’t even the whole story — because each of us also has the ability to replicate, share, and reinvent everything we see. Taken as a whole, this vast trove of smut is the Kinsey Report of our time, shedding light on the multiplicity of erotic desires and sexual behaviors in our midst.


Some of these memes can jump into the real-world sex lives of the people watching them. In recent years, a number of sexual memes, ranging from the slightly risqué (spanking) to the more outré (docking) to the simply rude (motorboating), have even landed in the real-world sex lives of people I know. “Is learning to squirt a feminist thing now?” asked a female friend who read a how-to article on a blog. When another friend voiced frustration with hookups who kept “slapping” her vulva during sex, I reacted with horror. “I think they get it from porn,” she said. “But where do the porn people get it?” I asked, arriving at the chicken-or-egg question of our time: Do we fuck this way because of porn, or does porn look like this because it’s how we fuck — or would fuck, if our asses were that firm, our penises that priapic, and we knew how to tie such elaborate knots?


As long as there has been porn, there have been people worrying that porn is damaging sex. I’m not here to join that debate. The deeper we go down the internet-porn wormhole, the more it seems narrow-minded to understand porn exclusively in terms of what kind of sex it “teaches” us to have. Because in the streaming era, the amount and diversity of porn we watch exponentially outpaces that of the sex we have. Porn is bigger than its real-sex analog, and the difference isn’t just volume: The porn we see is weirder, wilder, and more particular than what most of us will ever have — or want — in our own lives. An expansive erotic landscape unto itself, pornography exists adjacent to and in constant conversation with real sex — but is much more capricious and capacious and creative. Pornography is more than a mere causal agent in the way we screw. It has also become a laboratory of the sexual imagination — and as such, it offers insight into a collective sexual consciousness that is in a state of high-speed evolution.


The speed of that evolution may be best observed in the deluge of sexual memes that depart from traditional real-world sexual behavior. In addition to acts like pussy-slapping and ball-squeezing — which could theoretically be included in some crazily updated version of The Joy of Sex — the new generation of sexual memes includes a new set of narrative memes. Pornographic scene-setting, erotic situations, and role-playing are being reinvented, and imaginations have expanded to accommodate a never-ending supply of novel stimuli. Some of these memes seem to live almost entirely within the realm of porn. (Does anybody enjoy being searched by the TSA?) Some may have real-world origins, but have undergone so much reimagining as to approach derivative art. (When homemade-porn versions of the video game Overwatch spiked last year, had there been a preceding spike in dirty talk in the headsets of Overwatch players?) And others are only acceptable when they don’t have real-world analogs. “Is it me or is there way too much stepdaughter porn lately?” a straight man recently asked. He was right, and it doesn’t stop there: In the U.S. in 2015 and 2016, the most popular search term on Pornhub was “stepmom.” Though he said he was “immensely insulted” by the genre, that didn’t prevent him from watching. “If I ignore the title and the girl looks hot, I open it.” And no, “stepsister” porn has not made him feel any different about his sisters, and I can go to hell for asking. ...


Female Cop Being Punished For Her Dominatrix Past? Gross. Sensationalized Reporting of It? Also Gross.

on Saturday, 17 June 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

The Mary Sue

by Teresa Jusino 

Being a professional dominatrix is completely and totally 100% legal (though laws regulating it vary from state to state). This is an important fact to remember as we look at the case of New Jersey sheriff’s officer, Kristen Hyman. **CW: Brief description of consensual BDSM activity**


Hyman was recently sworn in as a member of the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, but is now facing a disciplinary hearing because of a job she held in her past. From 2010 to 2012, Hyman was a professional dominatrix. She not only saw clients, but she also starred in, according to The New York Post, “some steamy, R-rated bondage videos” in which “she’s seen wielding items ‘such as whips, and kicking the groin area to inflict pain upon the recipient. In most cases the recipient is naked and/or bound.'”


When her bosses at the NJ Sherriff’s Department became aware of the videos, six days before Hyman was set to graduate from the police academy, she was suspended without pay “because the sheriff’s office said her past, which she failed to disclose, is an embarrassment to the force.” According to, “She was also accused of neglect of duty and other causes for disciplinary action after an internal affairs investigation, which was triggered by allegations about Hyman’s past.”


So, apparently there’s more to it than just the fact that she was a dominatrix. But those things weren’t what caused the NJ Sheriff’s Department to panic and look into her in the first place. Those other “causes” weren’t even on the radar. It was her being a dominatrix that got her in trouble, and they were just lucky to find other stuff to accuse her of, too.


Hudson County Superior Court Judge Mary Costello reinstated her, allowing her to graduate and be sworn in, but she still has to face a disciplinary hearing—for something that happened long before she got this job—on June 27th. She’s currently working with modified pay.


Why? To “protect the integrity of the department.” You know what else would protect the integrity of the department? Not making a big legal fuss over this so it gets written about everywhere.


The fact that she was a dominatrix was completely legal, and she did absolutely nothing wrong. Furthermore, she has emphasized that in the videos she was in she was never nude, never engaged in sex, everything was staged and consensual, and that while she was paid for making the videos, she doesn’t currently get any residuals. “[T]he proliferation of video and audio records … and or the promoting on social media … has resulted in the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office being the subject of inquiry and ridicule among law enforcement,” isn’t Hyman’s fault. It’s the fault of those who are doing the ridiculing.


Yet they’d rather capitulate to the “ridicule” of their fellow officers and take someone’s job away than just get on with it and let a new officer do her job. What is this, elementary school? Are we not equipped to handle “ridicule?” BOO HOO, THE OTHER POLICE CAPTAINS ARE LAUGHING AT US. WAAAAAH!


Also, as do many other police departments all over the country, I’m sure that NJ police have plenty of other, more valid reasons to be ridiculed and thought of as having less integrity: like their internal affairs divisions dismissing 99% of misconduct cases against NJ Police Officers (for shit they do while on the job), for instance.


The only thing this has to do with is a distaste for BDSM activity. Which, you know what? If that’s not your thing, fine. But you don’t get to fire people for what they get up to in the bedroom, especially if they aren’t breaking any laws. She was not. Nor was this even something she was doing while an officer.


Part of what gets me about all of this is that she’s being criticized for not disclosing the fact that she was a dominatrix when giving her work history. GEE, I WONDER WHY SHE’D CHOOSE TO WITHHOLD THAT. MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE SHE KNOWS PEOPLE WILL OVERREACT TO SOMETHING THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HER JOB PERFORMANCE AND DISCRIMINATE AGAINST HER OR SOMETHING.


No one puts every job that they’ve ever had on a resume. You pick and choose what puts you in the best light and shows off your specific qualifications for the job to which you are applying.


I know what some of you are thinking. But no, Hyman having been a dominatrix doesn’t mean she’d “be good at this job, because she knows how to use handcuffs,” or anything else like that.


Which brings me to the other thing that pissed me off about this. The fact that The NY Post reported this in a sensationalist way that is hurtful to the many normal, sane, average people out there who might engage in BDSM or other kinky activity, perpetuating the very negative stereotypes that allow for workplaces to think it’s okay to fire someone for consensual activities in their private time. ...

Former dominatrix fights to keep job as sheriff's officer

on Saturday, 17 June 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

NJ Journal


Should a former dominatrix who appeared in bondage movies for pay be allowed to work as a Hudson County sheriff's officer?


That's a question that is expected to be answered when newly sworn-in sheriff's officer Kristen Hyman, of Bayonne, attends a disciplinary hearing on June 27. 


The county Sheriff's Office suspended Hyman without pay on May 26, six days before she was scheduled to graduate from the police academy, saying she failed to disclose that she made bondage videos and saw clients privately for money.


The sheriff's office cited her activities, roughly from 2010 through 2012, as conduct unbecoming a public employee. She was also accused of neglect of duty and other causes for disciplinary action after an internal affairs investigation, which was triggered by allegations about Hyman's past.


In citing the reasons for her suspension, the sheriff's office noted "the proliferation of video and audio records ... and or the promoting on social media ... has resulted in the Hudson County Sheriff's Office being the subject of inquiry and ridicule among law enforcement."


Hyman hired attorneys James Lisa and Peter Willis, who successfully argued that that she had done nothing illegal, she had already completed all the requirements to graduate and it was wrong to suspend her prior to a disciplinary hearing, Lisa said. Hyman declined to be interviewed for this story.


Kristen Hyman is sworn in during a June 8 ceremony for 27 new officers at the William J. Brennan Courthouse in Jersey City on June 8, 2017. Pictured with her are county Freeholder Anthony Romano, left, and Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari.

Kristen Hyman is sworn in during a June 8 ceremony for 27 new officers at the William J. Brennan Courthouse in Jersey City on June 8, 2017. Pictured with her are county Freeholder Anthony Romano, left, and Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari.


Hudson County Superior Court Judge Mary Costello lifted the suspension and ordered Hyman's reinstatement, allowing her to graduate with her class on June 1. She is currently on modified duty, her attorneys said.


The sheriff's office also opposed Hyman being sworn in with her 26 classmates on June 8, but hours before the ceremony at the Brennan Courthouse in Jersey City the sheriff's office withdrew its opposition. ...

Polyamorists Are Secretive, Stigmatized, and Highly Satisfied

on Saturday, 17 June 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

So says the largest study on polyamory to date.


by Justin Lehmiller

People seem to be more interested than ever in polyamorous relationships: Google searches for the subject are on the rise, there are headlines about it on a regular basis, and it's all over television, from reality shows like Polyamory: Married & Dating to the scripted series You Me Her. 

But while polyamory has clearly captivated the American public, it has yet to capture the attention of scientists. Virtually no studies on it have been published in major journals, and those that do exist tend to be based on very small samples, thereby limiting our ability to draw firm conclusions.


The result is that, scientifically speaking, we don't actually know all that much about polyamory, including the degree to which all of these media depictions are accurate. It's for this reason that a few of my colleagues and I got together recently and conducted what is—to our knowledge—the largest scientific investigation of polyamorous relationships to date.


We surveyed over 3,500 adults online who identified as polyamorous. For the purpose of our study, we defined polyamory as "the practice or acceptance of having multiple simultaneous romantic relationships where everyone involved consents." Participants took a massive survey about their relationship experiences that, on average, took about an hour to complete. We just published the first set of results from this study in the journal PLOS ONE , and here are some of the key takeaways.


Stigma is still very much alive. 

Polyamory's moment in the media spotlight might give the impression that the stigma associated with it has faded; however, that's not the case. Recent studies have found that there's a pervasive belief that monogamy is superior in almost all ways to consensual nonmonogamy—and our data bear this out as well.


We asked our participants about the degree to which they felt their relationships were accepted by their families and friends, as well as the extent to which they tried to hide the fact that they had multiple relationships. What we found was that polyamorists didn't necessarily feel as though all of their relationships were equally accepted and, further, the relationships that were less accepted tended to be kept secret.


Most of our participants had one partner they had been with longer than others. People tended to be "out" about these relationships and, for the most part, felt that they were pretty well accepted. By contrast, relationships with newer partners were more likely to be kept secret and a lot less likely to be accepted, especially by family.


The relationships vary more than people think. 

Media depictions of polyamory often give the impression that we're talking about just one thing. For instance, viewers of You Me Her might walk away thinking that all poly relationships are "thruples" or triads in which three people are romantically involved at the same time.


While there are certainly a lot of triads in the polyamorous community, that's not necessarily the most common arrangement. In our sample, it turned out that the most commonly reported relationship structure was a "vee," which is different from a triad in that one person has relationships with two people who aren't involved with each other. Furthermore, most of our participants indicated that one of these partners was a "primary" partner in the sense that they tended to share more of their life—like their home and finances—with this person, but not the other.


Though most of our participants made a primary/secondary distinction, not all polyamorists believe in relationship hierarchies. Moreover, vees and triads are just a couple of the many forms poly relationships can take. For instance, sometimes these relationships extend well beyond three people total. In short, there are a ton of different ways to "do" polyamory.


They resist being easily categorized. 

People who are polyamorous don't just shun traditional relationship labels and practices—they also have a tendency to shun binary notions of gender and sexuality, meaning they don't divide the world into just male/female and gay/straight. In fact, compared to all other studies of sex and relationships I've ever conducted, our poly sample yielded the highest rates of both non-binary gender identities (like genderqueer) and alternative sexualities (like pansexual). ...

[12 3 4 5  >>