Book 1 Endnotes

Many of the endnotes for Book 1 in the Off the Escalator series, Stepping Off the Relationship Escalator, cite sources that can be found online. In order to keep the links to these sources up-to-date, so readers can easily check them out, they are presented here rather than within the book.

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  1. The precise origin of the term Relationship Escalator is a bit of a mystery. By the time I started writing about this topic in 2012 (on my blog, I’d been hearing it in conversation for at least a couple of years — especially among people who practice polyamory and other kinds of consensual nonmonogamy. Google Trends tracked the first online mentions of the term in 2012.
  2. An interview with Jackie Stone, creator of the polyamory-themed web series Compersion, was featured on episode 498 of the podcast Polyamory Weekly, Dec. 21, 2016.

  3. Compersion, a fictional web series about being black and polyamorous, launched in 2016.

  4. The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet (1952-1966) was a classic American TV sitcom featuring a highly traditional nuclear family.

  5. Fewer than half of U.S. kids today live in a ‘traditional’ family,” Pew Research, Dec. 22, 2014.

  6. The Monogamy Hangover,” by relationship coach Mel Cassidy, Aug. 31, 2016.

  7. “Marry Me,” song by Dolly Parton, on the album Little Sparrow, Sugar Hill Records, 2001.

  8. Many cheat for a thrill, more stay true for love,” Jane Weaver,, April 16, 2007. Also, in 2016, Statistics Brain published a compilation of infidelity statistics from various sources.

  9. At least with cheating there is an attempt at monogamy: Cheating and monogamism among undergraduate heterosexual men.” Research by Eric Anderson, University of Bath, England. Published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Vol 27, Issue 7, 2010.

  10. Example of sex/relationship advice celebrity Dan Savage’s axiom on cheating, “Sometimes you do what you need to do to stay married and stay sane,” can be heard on the Savage Lovecast, Magnum Edition podcast, episode 517, 1 hour 10 minutes in, Sept. 20, 2016.

  11. The Wisdom of a Broken Heart: How to Turn the Pain of a Breakup into Healing, Insight, and New Love. 2010 book by Susan Piver.

  12. The High Price of Being Single in America,” by Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell. Published in The Atlantic, Jan. 14, 2013. This article documents how “over a lifetime, unmarried women can pay as much as a million dollars more than their married counterparts for healthcare, taxes and more.”

  13. The term singlism was coined by social psychologist Bella M. DePaulo, who researched this phenomenon extensively and has published several books about it. See: Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After (2007), and Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Stop It (2011).

  14. Scientific evidence that contradicts the conventional wisdom that monogamy is more “natural,” at least for women, is presented in the 2011 book Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships, by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha. See also: Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature, 2012 book by Agustín Fuentes. Several data sources are cited in the article “Data should smash the biological myth of promiscuous males and sexually coy females,” by biologist Zuleyma Tang-Martinez, published in The Conversation, Jan. 20, 2017.

  15. Monogamy’s Law: Compulsory Monogamy and Polyamorous Existence. Scholarly treatise (over 100 pages) by Elizabeth F. Emens, Columbia Law School. Published in the New York University Review of Law & Social Change, Vol. 29, p. 277, 2004.

  16. Compulsory Monogamy and Sexual Minorities, by essayist, activist and educator Pepper Mint. Presented at the International Academic Polyamory Conference, 2013.

  17. How to Define Emotional Infidelity: Different Types of Cheating,” by Seth Myers, Psy. D. Psychology Today, June 22, 2011.

  18. President Bill Clinton uttered the now-infamous phrase “I did not have sexual relations with [Monica Lewinsky]” during a press conference, Jan. 26, 1998. Historical retrospective, U.S. News & World Report, 2013.

  19. Prevalence of Experiences With Consensual Nonmonogamous Relationships: Findings From Two National Samples of Single Americans,” by M.L. Haupert, et al. Published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, April 20, 2016.

  20. 1 In 5 People Date Non-Monogamously, Says Wide-Ranging Survey — Finally.” By Mariella Mosthof, published in Bustle , Aug. 26, 2016.

  21. In my survey, some participants did use the term open to describe their own relationships. I’ve preserved this when quoting them directly. However, elsewhere in this book, I use the more precise term consensual nonmonogamy. This is because, in my survey, it became clear that some people’s definition of “open relationship” allows for cheating, which usually does not involve all-around informed consent from everyone in the network.

  22. The Fewer the Merrier? Assessing Stigma Surrounding Consensually Non-monogamous Romantic Relationships.” Terri D. Conley, Amy C. Moors, Jes L. Matsick, and Ali Ziegler, University of Michigan. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, Vol. 13, No. 1, pgs. 1–30, December 2013.

  23. Fear of the Polyamorous Possibility,” by Elizabeth A. Sheff, Ph.D., published in Psychology Today, Nov. 4, 2013.

  24. More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory, 2014 book by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert.

  25. Relationship Bill of Rights,” by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert, 2014.

  26. Opening Up, 2008 book by sex educator Tristan Taormino, Chapter 5, “Partnered Nonmonogamy.”
  27. Kasidie is a membership-based website that describes itself as “the adult community for sexually adventurous people.” Members use this site to connect with each other for swinging, swinger parties, erotic events and more, with a focus on having fun.

  28. The Lifestyle: A Look at the Erotic Rites of Swingers, book by Terry Gould, 2010.

  29. Are Swingers Freaky and Deviant?” by Edward Fernandes, Ph.D. Psychology Today, Oct. 9, 2013.

  30. Scarlet Ranch is an adults-only swinger club near Denver, Colorado. Membership page lists prices for single females, couples and single males.

  31. Desire Riviera Maya Resort is an adults-only, clothing-optional Lifestyle resort in Cancun, Mexico.

  32. Women, Swinging, Sex, and Seduction,” by Edward Fernandes, Ph.D., published in Psychology Today, Nov. 13, 2013.

  33. Meet the Monogamish,” column by Dan Savage, The Stranger, Jan. 4, 2012.

  34. What is Polyamory?” History of the term, and of various poly styles and movements. Published by Loving More, a U.S. nonprofit group supporting polyamory and relationship choice.

  35. The Polyamory in the News blog, by Alan M., tracks mainstream and niche media coverage of polyamory.

  36. Polyamory Weekly, podcast hosted by Cunning Minx with various co-hosts.

  37. More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory, 2014 book by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert.

  38. The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships and Families, 2013 book by Elisabeth Sheff, Ph.D.

  39. In the culture of polyamory, unicorn hunter tends to be a derisive term. A common critique of unicorn hunting is that this practice, while typically well-intentioned, tends to be unfair, unrealistic and sexist. In a 2012 educational essay, “So, Someone Called You a Unicorn Hunter,” David Noble offered advice for how couples can approach polyamory in a less ethically fraught manner.

  40. Safecalling is a buddy-system strategy to protect the physical safety of sex workers, people who do online dating or sexual hookups, and people who commonly face dating violence (such as trans people). Explained in “Safe Dating, the Silent Alarm, and Signs of Predation,” a 2008 post in the Trans Group Blog.

  41. Batman and Robin (also known as the Dynamic Duo) are a crime-fighting superhero and his young protégé, both male. Part of the DC Comics universe, these characters were introduced in 1949.

  42. Thelma and Louise, 1991 adventure film about the close friendship between a waitress and a housewife who go on the run together after one of them shoots a rapist.

  43. Star Trek, U.S. TV series that aired 1966-69. The three male protagonists (Captain Kirk, First/Science Officer Spock, and Dr. McCoy) shared a close and often contentious platonic personal bond that fueled the drama in many episodes.

  44. Cagney & Lacey, U.S. TV drama that aired 1983-88, about two female police detectives who cooperate closely in their work and personal lives.

  45. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969 U.S. film about two male Western bank robbers/con artists on the run from the law. A third partner in this relationship is Etta Place, a female schoolteacher who is both lover and partner-in-crime to both male protagonists — a rare instance of polyamory in mainstream entertainment.

  46. Sex and the City, U.S. TV series 1998-2004 about the close friendship between four women in New York City.

  47. Apartners Live Happily Ever After, in Places of Their Own,” by Bella Di Paulo, Ph.D. Published in Psychology Today, April 5, 2016. Also, as this book went to press in early 2017, director Sharon Hyman was creating a documentary film, Apartners: Living Happily Ever After, Apart.

  48. The live-apartners: How one million couples live in separate homes,” by Steve Doughty, published in The Daily Mail, Sept. 30, 2010.

  49. Market Values in Cohousing,” by Jim  Leach, Founder/President of Wonderland Hill Development Co. (Boulder, CO), and Chairman of CoHousing Partners. June 20, 2012.

  50. Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After, 2007 book by Bella DePaulo, Ph.D.

  51. Romance in America2006 study by the Pew Research Center.

  52. Single by Choice,” by Janelle Nanos, published in Boston Magazine, January 2012.

  53. Polygamy and Wife Abuse: A Qualitative Study of Muslim Women in America,” 2001 paper by Dena Hassouneh-Phillips, Ph.D., School of Nursing, Oregon Health Sciences University. Published in Health Care for Women International, 22:735–748.

  54. There is a popular belief that religiously-motivated patriarchal polygamy (where one man has multiple wives, all of whom are sexually exclusive with him alone) is inevitably abusive toward women and children. This is often true, but not always. Some women, as well as men, find this approach to intimacy and family to be fulfilling and supportive, as well as in alignment with their personal values and spiritual practice. The HBO TV drama Big Love (2006-2011) portrayed the ups, downs and nuances of such relationships. Also, since plural marriage is illegal in most western countries, stigma and risk place additional stresses on polygamous families.
  55. More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory, 2014 book by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert. See Ch. 10. “Rules and Agreements.”
  56. You Say Morals, I Say Ethics: What’s the Difference?” By Paul Walker and Terry Novat, University of Newcastle. Published in The Conversation, Sept. 17, 2014.

  57. More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory, 2014 book by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert. See Ch. 3, “Ethical Polyamory,” under the subhead “On the Subject of Rights.”

  58. The term sneakyarchy was coined by Keiren Stephenson in a discussion in the Facebook group Solo Polyamory, Jan. 14, 2016.

  59. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, 1989 cult classic comedy movie.

  60. The expression, “Don’t be a dick,” became known as Wheaton’s Law after actor and author Will Wheaton used this theme for his keynote speech at a major video gaming expo. Wheaton recounted this story in a 2013 interview on the online news show The Young Turks.

  61. According to Wikipedia (Jan. 16, 2017), a Hobson’s choice is, “A free choice in which only one option is offered. Because a person may refuse to accept what is offered, the two options are taking it or taking nothing. In other words, one may ‘take it or leave it.’ The phrase is said to have originated with Thomas Hobson (1544–1631), a livery stable owner in Cambridge, England, who offered customers the choice of either taking the horse in his stall nearest the door or taking none at all.”

  62. “Love Is Not a Pie,” part of the 1993 collection of short stories by Amy Bloom, Come to Me.

  63. Difference Between Equity and Equality,” unattributed explanation published in, date unknown.

  64. More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory, 2014 book by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert. See Ch. 13, “Empowered Relationships.”

  65. Loving More is a leading U.S. group supporting polyamory and relationship choice.

  66. The Short Instructional Manifesto for Relationship Anarchy,” 2006, by Andie Norgren, who coined the term relationship anarchy.

  67. Romantic-coded behaviors are things that people do which are commonly perceived as expressing romantic feelings or intent. An extensive list of examples was published in 2016 on a blog celebrating Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week.

  68. Asexuality in the DSM-5,” posted in the Asexuality Archive, Oct. 20, 2015. Includes images of relevant DSM-5 passages.

  69. A squish is a label adopted by some people in the asexual community to refer to a platonic crush — a strong desire for emotional (but usually nonromantic) intimacy, sometimes coupled with a strong desire to spend time or communicate with the object of this attraction.

  70. Hir and ze are two gender-neutral pronouns, which some people use to overcome gender bias in language, or to refer to someone with a gender identity that is neither male nor female. See Wikipedia guide to gender-neutral pronouns.

  71. Joan Price has authored books and other information about sex for people age 50 and older.

  72. The Sessions, 2012 film that offers a nuanced portrayal of a severely disabled person (who is also a devout Roman Catholic) who learns to enjoy sexual intimacy with help from a professional sex surrogate.

  73. The Big Chill, 1983 film about a group of baby-boomer college friends who reunite after 15 years when one of their group suddenly commits suicide.

  74. Introducing a new term to the poly lexicon: Comet.” Posted to the Reddit Polyamory forum in 2016, as an unattributed repost of an essay that originally appeared on Fetlife, a social network for kinksters.

  75. Relationshit was defined in the Urban Dictionary, March 1, 2005.

  76. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” song by Paul Simon from the 1975 album, Still Crazy After All These Years.

  77. Serial monogamy is the practice of only having one sexual/romantic relationship at a time; where after one monogamous relationship ends, another may begin. Historically, monogamy was often construed as limiting oneself to having only one sexual/romantic partner during one’s entire life. But these days, serial monogamy is commonly accepted as the social norm. See: “Americans Prefer Serial Monogamy to Open Relationships,” opinion piece by sociologist Andrew J. Cherlin, published in the New York Times, May 21, 2013.

  78. Gaslighting is a technique to manipulate, or to deflect confrontation or personal responsibility, by invalidating someone’s memory or perceptions. Further explanation: “A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not ‘Crazy,’” essay by Yashar Ali, published in The Huffington Post, Aug. 23, 2013.

  79. “Anticipate,” from the 1993 album Like I Said, by Ani DiFranco, Righteous Babe Records.

  80. In the context of intimate relationships, emotional attachment refers to when someone values existing intimacy, and they also strongly desire for that bond to continue, usually in its current form. Thus, they may experience emotional pain or difficulty if that relationship ends or significantly shifts form, or if it becomes less mutually valued. See “What Is Attachment,” by Kendra Cherry, published on VeryWell, Apr. 5, 2016.

  81. Gender spectrum resources: “Gender Revolution,” a special issue of National Geographic magazine, January 2017. See also “Explainer: What Is Genderqueer?” by Jessica Kean and Rillark Bolton, published in The Conversation, Oct. 25, 2015.