Yes, I’m still working on this book. Preview of chapters done so far

Still making progress, even though I’ve been rather quiet about it. I’d hoped to be blogging more here, but it’s enough just to focus on finishing the editing process. I’d originally hoped to publish this book by the end of 2015. The editing process is proving to be much more involved than I anticipated, and also life intervened. But I’m nearly done with this editing. Parts 1-5 are edited, I’m one chapter shy of editing Part 6, which will bring it to a total of 21 chapters edited so far. Part 7 will be 5-6 short-ish chapters, And then I […]

Trust, the antidote to jealousy

Karen, a reader of this blog, wanted to know what people who responded to my survey had to say about jealousy and trust in unconventional relationships. (You can suggest a topic, too.) Jealousy is a painfully intense, complex emotional reaction that can cripple relationships — and it happens in traditional relationships, as well as unconventional ones. Because intimate relationships are often where we are most vulnerable, yet we never really know what will happen in any relationship. “It’s a super vulnerable feeling sometimes to trust the present and not worry about the future.” — Colleen: queer, partnered and open to […]

“Asexual relationships give me the freedom to be myself” — Marie’s story

One of the best surprises of my survey on unconventional relationships were the many thoughtful responses I received from people who are asexual — that is, they experience little or no sexual attraction. Sex typically plays little or no role in the deep bonds of love and commitment that asexual people form in relationships. I treasured these responses because they made me think very, very hard about the nature of intimacy, connection, and relationships. Asexuality is a rich and varied part of the full spectrum of human sexual expression. Nearly 9% of my survey respondents indicated that they fall somewhere on the asexuality (“ace”) […]

Themes off the Escalator: What do you want to hear about?

Over 1500 people responded to my survey on unconventional relationships. They had a lot to say, and I’m sure you don’t want to wait for my book to start hearing some of it!  As I finish editing and publishing the first book from this project, I’d like to start publishing on this blog a few times a week, quotes that are especially interesting and meaningful. I’d like your help. What topics would you like to hear about? Please help me select some key voices and topics from my extensive library of quotes. shows polyamory is about people, not just couples/families

In recent years, mainstream media coverage of polyamory (a popular approach to consensual nonmonogamy) has been increasing. But usually, it focuses on the forms of polyamory that resemble conventional monogamy in significant ways: Family-style polyamory, where more than two adults with overlapping intimate relationships also live with (or at least very near) each other and function as a family unit. Couple+ polyamory, where an established (and usually formerly monogamous) couple “opens up” to allow other relationships, but their primary relationship is assumed to be the top priority — and other partners and relationships are presumed to defer to this. But then […]

Project progress: 3 rules that are helping to shape my book

I’ve been busy, busy, busy revising my original manuscript for the first book in the Off the Escalator series — slimming it down from a gargantuan 105,000 words to around 60-70,000 words. For awhile I was really struggling with how to do this, especially how to better manage integrating quotes curated from over 1000 surveys. But I think I’ve got a handle on those problems, and I’m making tons of progress.

Monogamy: What does it mean to you?

Monogamy is perhaps the most visible hallmark of the Relationship Escalator (intimate relationships that follow social norms). But what is monogamy, really? The definition of monogamy really comes down to what the people involved in a monogamous relationship want it to mean. Under current social norms, monogamy refers to some substantial level of exclusivity between two — and only two — partners, in terms of physical and emotional intimacy. …But when you really talk to monogamous individuals and couples about this (as I often do), it turns out that what is and is not allowed under that agreement varies quite widely.

Ashley Madison and the problem of compulsory monogamy

If you ever doubted what a nuclear-grade hot button monogamy is in mainstream society, look no further than the fallout from the Ashley Madison hack. Last week, the cybercriminals who stole the user list of this website (which helps people in exclusive relationships arrange secret sexual hookups with other partners) made good on their threat to post all of that information online. This unleashed the worst in nearly everyone — paranoia, finger-pointing, moralizing, predation, despair, and even some possible suicides. I’m pretty sure this deluge of the dark side of humanity wouldn’t have been so massive if monogamy was not […]

Asking big questions about marriage: Rei’s story

Here’s another story from a reader, about how they transitioned from a legal marriage to refocus on friendship — by asking some pretty big, scary questions. Stepping back from the top of the Relationship Escalator without severing a strong connection of friendship is still unconventional; the Escalator is still supposed to be strictly a one-way trip, with no pausing or stepping back. However, I’m glad it seems to be becoming more common for people to find ways to step back from this ride without blowing up their relationship. (I’ve done it, as have readers Colin and Jamie.)

New poll reveals strong stigma against ethical nonmonogamy

According to recent poll by YouGov1, only one in four U.S. adults believe that polyamory2 is “morally acceptable.” The majority (56%) believe that polyamorous relationships are “morally wrong,” and 18% aren’t sure. Meanwhile, in the U.K., people are just slightly less intolerant. There, YouGov found3 that just over one third (35%) of British adults find polyamory morally acceptable; while a slight minority (47%) consider it morally wrong, and 19% aren’t sure A high level of public disapproval in both countries helps explain why nearly one third of respondents to my Off the Escalator survey4 on unconventional relationships said that dealing […]