Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous, Blog Hiatus, and Personal Stuff

I keep saying I’m going to start posting snippets from Safer Sex on my Patreon page. Time to finally get my shit together and do it. For the next several weeks I’ll be sharing sections from Safer Sex for the Non-Monogamous 3 times a week. These will be Patron only posts and the snippets won’t be final drafts. So expect typos and such, but they’ve been through first round edits so the general content shouldn’t change much between now and publishing.
I am, as usually, running behind schedule. But if I can keep on my current pace I can be ready to send the manuscript out my sensitivity editor in June, for an early August publication. So I’m not yet at my goal of a book every 6 months, but I’m getting closer.
Re: the blog.
As predicted, custody shit has stirred up all my mental illnesses, so posting went to hell. Rather than scramble to catch up, I’ll be writing/editing posts as I can and holding them to build back the buffer I lost a couple month ago. Once I have a two week buffer again I’ll resume posting on the website.
And since I mentioned custody shit–let me just say that it is going far better (and fast) than I expected. Court in is two weeks, so fingers crossed!

The Polyamorous Home First Review

The Polyamorous Home is now up for preorder as an ebook. I’m working on getting the paperback up. In the meantime, Dr. Elizabeth Sheff just shared her review with me. Check it out:

Review of The Polyamorous Home by Jess Mahler

With a great discussion of individual versus group needs and lots of helpful examples, Mahler’s new book The Polyamorous Home is a thoughtful and informative look at how polys can structure their living arrangements. From negotiating boundaries, sharing a kitchen or bathroom, working out finances, managing holidays, and dealing with changes like the onset of a disability, to personal/relational space, sleeping arrangements. legal hassles, solo poly homes, sharing housework, and exit plans, The Polyamorous Home is chock full of useful tips for new and long-time polyamorists.

Elisabeth Sheff, author of The Polyamorists Next Door (2014), Stories from the Polycule (2015), and When Someone you Love is Polyamorous (2016).

 

The Polyamorous Home by Jess Mahler

Book Review: The Game Changer by Franklin Veaux

I’ve been debating what to do with this post for over a year, long before the accusations against Franklin became public. The truth is, that while there is a still a lot to learn from this book, the more I learn about abuse and come to terms with the abuse I survived, the more I recognize the abusive nature of the relationships Franklin describes in this book.

I’m leaving this post up, unedited, because fuck re-writing history.

But I’m also going to add a link to the website where the accusations against Franklin are being documented, including the women he wrote about in this book. Polyamory #metoo

If/when Franklin’s Accountability Pod makes a similar site/posts an official response, I’ll try to remember to link that here as well.

Updated 3/18/2020:

Survivors have given up on the transformative justice process and published their stories here. As they rightly say, “Franklin published his stories so the world could read them and share in his narrative account. We are taking an opportunity to do the same,…”

Franklin’s Pod never made any official public statements AS a pod, but the survivors have collected public responses, including some from Franklin and his pod.


the game changer by franklin veauxI had hoped to post a joint review here, as monogamous friend volunteered to read The Game Changer with me and share their thoughts and reactions. Unfortunately that didn’t work out so without further ado, here is my take on The Game Changer.

You that “watching a train wreck in slow motion” feeling? I lost count of how often I got that reading this book. As someone whose been (more or less) involved in poly for over a decade now, I’ve made most of the easy mistakes. Franklin would start a new section with something like “and we decided this, and had no idea how we were setting ourselves up for disaster.” And I would already be mentally tracing the lines of disaster, shaking my head and thinking “Yup, I remember being that (naive/foolish/culturally brainwashed/oblivious).”

This is why I wanted a monogamous (or at least inexperienced poly person’s) take on The Game Changer. it must be a completely different read for those of us who haven’t been around the block long enough to see those disasters coming a mile away.

I won’t go into the details of Franklin’s story here. I will say that the title is fitting. There is a Game Changer in the story, and after the change hits, the game is no longer recognizable as what it once was.

In spite of the almost complete lack of surprise in any of the major “plot twists,” I had trouble putting the book down. As usual, Franklin has an engaging writing style, a way of working humor, self awareness, and bulls-eye insight into his narrative that makes for an engrossing read.

It seems that we, as a culture, understand that if we leave kids to teach themselves math or history or literature, few people will end up being good at those things. So we have developed formal systems of education to teach people, to help them become productive members of society. But we don’t teach them communication, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, or many other skills we need to become fully formed human beings. We leave kids to figure that stuff out on their own. The results are about what we might expect if we left them, say, to deduce the laws of algebra by themselves. The difference is that most of us need interpersonal skills a lot more than we need algebra.

If Franklin’s writing suffers from any flaw, it is a tendency to take a US-centric view, which has occasionally been criticized in his advice on polyamory. However in a memoir, that kind of cultural focus is not just expected, it is required.

Perhaps the most important thing I took away from The Game Changer is a new perspective on the poly approach to honesty and communication:

Self awareness is a prerequisite for open and honest communication. We can’t tell others the truth of our feelings and needs if we refuse to face them and admit them to ourselves.

The Game Changer by Franklin Veaux will be available on September 23, 2015, from Thorntree Press.

Trans Poly Fic/Pics

Okay folks, wrapping up this short series with some trans polyamory stories and webcomics. I won’t be covering bisexual poly because I had to wade through a couple hundred bisexual poly books to find what’s on the lesbian and trans poly lists, so I don’t think any bisexuals are having trouble finding themselves represented in poly fic! Anyway, here’s the (sadly short) list of trans poly fics and pics:

Tales of MU by Alexandra Erin, this fun webserial is set at Magisterius University where high fantasy meets higher education. At least one trans woman character (I stopped reading several years ago, so it’s possible other trans characters have popped up since). Also got mention on the lesbian poly list, due to the heavy focus on f/f(/f/f/f/f) relationships. There are (or were) a couple of males scattered around as well.

Kimchi Cuddles by Tikva Wolf, “A webcomic spreading awareness about poly, queer, and genderqueer issues in the most hilarious way possible” I’ve never gotten into Kimchi Cuddles, in spite of its great rep in the poly community. Anyway, it includes a trans (or perhaps several trans) characters, lots of poly situations, and a bunch more too.

First by Jacob Louder, description includes queer and trans characters, and suggests lots of non-monogamous sex. Came up on “polyamory trans” search.

Roller Coasters by Kris Ripper, first chapter has some really sweet interactions between poly cis man and genderqueer person who don’t seem to know what to make of each other but have a lot of fun in and out of bed. Description suggests the book centers around these characters, and some dealings with poly guy’s boyfriends.

The Peacock Notebook by Kira Elliot, tagged polyamory and transgender. Description makes the poly very clear, no details on any trans characters.

 

If you know of any other fics or pics with trans poly characters/themes/plots, please share them in the comments. I tried to filter out books that fetishize trans characters. Suggestions in the comments which appear to fetishize trans will be removed. I usually don’t moderate comments that heavily, I’m making an exception in this case.

 

Poly Gay Fic

So, I rounded up a short list of gay polyamory fiction, but to be honest I didn’t have to try that hard. I’d say it took nearly three hours to gather the lesbian polyamory fic/pics list at the beginning of the month, this list took less than an hour. Not too surprising when the Goodreads Best Gay Polyamory Romance list has over 300 items. So all in all, if you can’t find anything you like on this list, just dig around a bit, I’m sure you’ll find something!

 

Evergreen by Racheline Maltese

Misfits by Garrett Leigh

The Forgotten Prince by Kelex, description notes two men from a “Triad” being sent to find the prince who is their destined mate. Destined mate stories usually hit coercion/rape notes so read with caution.

Above the Dungeon by SM Johnson, as the name implies, BDSM themed. M/m/m.

Beyond Complicated by Mercy Celeste, based on the description and several reviews, involves consensual adult incest.

The Scientific Method series by Chris Ripper Another BDSM themed, starts off F/m, moves to M/m, and ends up M/M/m by book 4.

Tales of the Thessali Harem series by Danielle Summers tagged gay fourway sex

Lone Wolf Chronicles by Alastair Anders gay shifter romance, tagged polyamory and orgies

 

Lesbian Polyamory Fic/Pics

Recently PolyLesbian on Twitter shared their frustration with how little representation of lesbian poly folk she has found in fiction. So for the next few weeks I’ll be posting links to all the ______ polyamory fiction and comics I can find. Not sure how many _______s I’m going to hit, but definitely gay and trans. Possibly asexual, kinky, PoC, and others. Feel free to contact me with suggestions. I haven’t read all of these, inclusion in the list is based on search tags, book reviews, and synopsis found on various book sites.

Here’s the (disturbingly short) lesbian polyamory link list. Please add your own links in the comments!

SchpogArt webcomic — Lesbian trio finds some mistletoe. Due to being in a place where I need to keep my comp screen SFW, I didn’t check out much of SchopArt’s other stuff, but the little I saw seems like it might have more along this line somewhere.

Just some nice threesome pics

Forsaking All Others by Kathleen Knowles

Rymellan 3: The Triad by Sarah Ettritch (Debatable, description sounds coercive)

Big Damn Heroines Anthology, tagged “polyamory,” Goodread’s review describes one of the stories as “A trio of warrior-wizards…”

Jiai Jouwa series by Hildred Billings, tagged polyamory/open relationship

Third by Q. Kelly, Description includes two not-so-happily married women and a third woman who enters into a romantic relationship with them (amid time traveling insanity.)

Tales of MU, by Alexandra Erin, delightfully explicit fantasy web serial set in a girls’ college dormitory. I’d qualify this one as more pan/omni-sexual but most of the characters (up to where I’ve read) are women, there’s plenty of F/F action and lots of women in multiple relationships.

Horrors of the Parasitic World: A Love Story by Anya Schwartz, described as two women decide to open their relationship

Links are in no particular order. I have not read the majority of the books mentioned and am basing their inclusion on reviews, tags, and book descriptions. Links, with occasional exception, go to the location where I found the book. None of the links here are affiliate links.

Polyamory Book Review: The Husband Swap

The Husband Swap, by Louisa Leontiades
The Husband Swap, by Louisa Leontiades

This week I had the chance to read an advance reader copy of the second edition of The Husband Swap, by Louisa Leontiades. The Husband Swap is the story of Louisa’s journey into polyamory, and her first poly relationship, a quad between herself, her husband and another couple, Morten and Elena.

It was a difficult, and somewhat triggering, read for me. Louisa’s painful and love-filled journey through her first polyamorous relationship called up many memories of my own quad and our time together. Like my own family, Louisa’s quad does not survive itself, but is torn apart under the pressure of the incompatible personalities, including some who may simply have been unsuited to polyamory.

This is not a happy poly story. This is not a tale of how polyamory works, or how much more “advanced” polyamory is. Fans of HEA romance will likely be disappointed in both the ending and the brutally simple way Louisa tells her story, without the dramatics or flair of plot-driven fiction. Fans of polyamory will likely be disappointed in the ending of the relationship, the failure of the book to flag-waving paean to the wonders of poly life.

Perhaps that is why, like More Than Two, this is a book that polyamory needs.

The Husband Swap is the tale of Gilles and Louisa, Elena and Morten. It is the story of Louisa’s discovery of herself. It is a memoir of polyamory—the good, the bad, and the ugly. The unvarnished truth of what happens when polyamory doesn’t work.

And of starting again.

 

I would recommend this book to anyone look for a good story involving polyamory, and to poly newcomers for an open-eyed look at some of what can go wrong in a poly relationship.

 

The Husband Swap by Louisa Leontiades will be available May 1.

(This post contains affiliate links)