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People who practice polyamory say the lifestyle can be rewarding

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Antoinette and Kevin Patterson thought they’d stop dating other people once their relationship got really serious. They didn’t.

Maybe, they said, after they got married.

When that didn’t happen, they assumed after they had kids. Not then, either. Today, Antoinette, 35, and Kevin, 38, still date other people. The parents of two continue to identify as polyamorous, meaning they maintain multiple relationships with the consent of everyone involved.

“I quickly and very early on realized that monogamy was just not my jam,” Antoinette said from her home near Philadelphia. “I struggled with it from Day 1. It was not something I was able to do.”

Polyamory, once portrayed as the sole realm of sexually open hippies, has a very real place in modern life, with participants from all walks of life navigating a complicated web of sex, relationships, marriages and friendships among those who are in love or lust with romantic partners often dating each other. Logistics are difficult (enter elaborate Google calendars), jealousy happens, and there’s a coming-out process for people in polyamorous relationships that can open them up to criticism and judgment.

But those who make it work say the benefits of living and dating openly outweigh the drawbacks.

Antoinette, a physical therapist, and Kevin, a writer, now say polyamory is a fundamental part of who they are. They both have upper-back tattoos depicting a heart and an infinity sign, a symbol and a constant reminder, Antoinette says, that they’re “doing this poly thing forever.”

Now, it’s about convincing others that rejecting monogamy doesn’t make them all that different.

“I’m not trying to freak the norms,” said Kevin, who wrote a book about polyamory and race. “Like, I have a Netflix queue. I drive my kids to school every day. I am the norm.”

In addition to her husband, Antoinette has a boyfriend. Kevin can’t say exactly how many people he’s seeing because it’s always evolving. Sometimes it’s five. Other times it’s a dozen. For three years, he has dated Kay, who is pansexual and open to all gender identities. She practices what’s called “solo poly,” meaning she isn’t in a primary relationship with anyone.

Facing a stigma

The words polyamory and nonmonogamy encompass a variety of relationships, including married couples in open relationships, people who practice solo poly, and people in “triads” or “quads,” which are multiple-person relationships where everyone is romantically involved with one another.

Terri Conley, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Michigan and an expert in sexuality, said the general interest in swinging and nonmonogamy that took shape in the early 1970s died down in the ’90s with the HIV health crisis.

Since then, the idea of “consensual nonmonogamy” has re-entered the public consciousness, and there’s a slowly growing acceptance of it. Meanwhile, the internet has allowed members of this niche community to coalesce, forming active presences on social media and fostering meetup groups in cities across the country.

“We live in a culture that very much values and prizes monogamy, and anyone who deviates from that is often stigmatized,” said Justin Lehmiller, an assistant professor of social psychology at Ball State University in Indiana. “My sense of it is that the stigma is lessening, but it’s still there.”

Some studies suggest that 5 percent of Americans are in consensual nonmonogamous relationships, but as many as 20 percent have been in one at some point in his or her life. And though the reasons why someone chooses polyamory vary — some say it’s a deep-seated part of their sexual orientation, others say it’s more of a relationship preference — the consensus among experts is that it’s not a fear of commitment.

On the contrary, said Conley, “These are people that really like commitment.”

“I’m not polyamorous because I’m avoiding commitment,” Kevin Patterson said. “I’m making commitments with multiple people.”

Jealousy and joy

Shallena Everitt has two spouses. When she tells people she has a husband, Cliff, and the two have a wife, Sonia, the first question is almost always: “How does that work?” She responds simply: “It works like any other relationship. It’s just more people.”

Shallena, 40, identifies as bisexual. She and Cliff have been married for 18 years and have two children. Four years ago, they met Sonia. The three fell in love and in April had a commitment ceremony — a de facto wedding for the polyamorous triad, although Sonia’s marriage to Shallena and Cliff is not legal. They now live in a blended house along with Sonia’s three kids, and the relationship among the three of them remains open.

“A lot of people say, ‘How can you love more than one person?’ ” said Shallena. “You love them for different reasons and they bring different things to you.”

While some polyamorous people admit that they deal with jealousy, others say they feel joy when their romantic partners are happy in other relationships.

Tiffany Adams, a 30-year-old nurse, identifies as polyamorous and pansexual. Today, she has three romantic partners: Phillip, Dan and Huey. She said feeling truly happy for her partners can help keep her jealousy in check.

“When my partner tells me they met somebody and they really like them or that their new partner told them they love them, it makes me feel really good,” she said. “I think having those things can counteract any jealous feelings.”

Paul Beauvais, a 44-year-old IT architect, said some people assume he has it great, especially when he mentions he went on dates with “both” of his girlfriends during the weekend. But while Beauvais says he loves being polyamorous, he makes sure to add that the practice includes all the “not so great” parts of a relationship, too.

“Polyamory is really based on the idea that we shouldn’t be running relationships in a resource model,” he said. “Love is not a scarcity.”

Complete Article HERE!

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Women Got ‘Married’ Long Before Gay Marriage

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Two women in the 1890s

In 1880, on the first anniversary of her marriage, author Sarah Orne Jewett penned a romantic poem to her partner. “Do you remember, darling, a year ago today, when we gave ourselves to each other?” she wrote. “We will not take back the promises we made a year ago.”

Jewett wasn’t addressing her husband—she was writing to her future wife, Annie Adams Fields. Over a century before same-sex marriage became the law of the land, Jewett and Adams lived together in a “Boston marriage,” a committed partnership between women.

They weren’t the only ones: For several years near the turn of the 20th century, same-sex marriage was relatively common and even socially acceptable. These women shared kisses, hugs and their lives—but today, few remember these pioneers of same-sex relationships.

Though homosexuality was taboo during the 19th century, intense and romantic friendships among women were common. At the time, women were encouraged to exist in a sphere separate from that of men. Public life, work and earning money were seen as the purview of men.

Two young women, 1896.

This ideology isolated women from the outside world, but it also brought them into close contact with one another. As women were viewed as devoted, asexual and gentle, it was acceptable for them to do things like kiss, hold hands or link arms, and openly express their affection for one another. At newly founded women’s colleges, for example, students gave one another bouquets of flowers, love poems and trinkets and openly declared their love. Having a crush on another woman wasn’t blinked at—it was expected and considered part of women’s college culture.

A group of New England women took this concept one step further by “getting married.” Though they didn’t commit to one another legally, they combined households, lived together and supported one another for the long term. These independent women pushed the boundaries of what society deemed acceptable for women by attending college, finding careers and living outside their parents’ home. But since they did so with other women, their activities were deemed socially acceptable.

In 1885, novelist Henry James explored the phenomenon in his book The Bostonians. The novel, which pokes fun at independent women, features a relationship between Verena Tarrant, an outspoken feminist, and Olive Chancellor, who becomes fascinated with the fiery speaker. They form a partnership and move in with one another, but when Verena decides to marry Olive’s cousin the relationship falls apart. The popular novel is thought to have contributed to the use of the term “Boston marriage,” though James never used the phrase in his book.

Michèle André and Alice Sapritch in “The Bostonians”, the drama adapted by Jean-Louis Curtis from Henry James’s novel.

Boston marriages offered equality, support and independence to wealthy women who were determined to push outside of the domestic sphere. They also offered romantic love: Though each relationship was different, women often referred to one another as husband or wife, kissed and hugged, wrote passionate letters when they were apart and shared beds. However, this was not necessarily seen as sexual in the 19th century since women were assumed not to have the physical desires of men.

Were these women lesbians in the contemporary sense of the word? Though we can’t glimpse into the bedroom behaviors of people of the past, it’s certain that many of the women in romantic friendships and Boston marriages did share sexual contact.

For some women, Boston marriages were used as a front for relationships we’d see as lesbian in the 21st century. As historian Stephanie Coontz tells NPR, “a pair of women who actually had a sexual relationship could easily manage to be together without arousing suspicion that it was anything more than feminine affection.” But for others, sex didn’t appear to be part of the equation. Rather, Boston marriages offered something even more appealing—independence.

Ironically, the practice faded as people became aware of lesbianism. At the turn of the century, the concept of “sexual inversion” made it possible to categorize relationships that had once been considered socially acceptable as sexually deviant.

Though Jewett and Fields lived together for over two decades, Jewett’s publishers seem to have edited out telling details from her letters to Fields, a society chronicler, to prevent readers from assuming they were lesbians.

It would take 100 more years for same-sex marriage to be legally accepted in the United States. But even in death, the commitment and love of same-sex partners from the 19th century lives on, like that of American novelist Willa Cather and her longtime companion, Edith Lewis. The pair lived together as committed partners for almost 40 years—and now they’re buried together in a New Hampshire cemetery. If that isn’t love, what is?

Complete Article HERE!

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Fun Where The Sun Don’t Shine!

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Hey sex fans!

It’s our first Product Review Friday of the new year. So HURRAY for that!

This week we have another wonderful product from our good friends over at We-Vibe. As you probably know, they have been part of this review effort since 2008 when we reviewed our first product of their line. Since then we’ve happily reviewed several of their others.

To keep track of all our reviews of the amazing products coming from We-Vibe, use the search function in the sidebar of DrDickSexToyReviews.com, type in We-Vibe, and PRESTO!

Back by popular demand, here are Dr Dick Review Crew members, Jack & Karen, to show and tell.

We-Vibe Ditto Vibrating Butt Plug —— $75.42

Jack & Karen
Karen: “Back by popular demand? Well, that one way of looking at it.”
Jack: “We begged and begged, is more like it.”
Karen: “We were so happy to be invited back to the Review Crew after so many years in the wilderness. And to come back just in time to review a marvelous We-Vibe product; well we were over the moon.”
Jack: “Hey, why not tease our audience with some of the particulars before passing judgment?”
Karen: “Sorry! It’s just that I love this little thing; I couldn’t help myself. Let me catch my breath and begin with the packaging, which I love. Whoops, I did it again.”
Jack: “OK, time out for you. I’ll do the packaging. Like all We-Vibe products the packaging is first rate, stylish, but understated. A nice petite cardboard box featuring an image of the Ditto opens to reveal your Ditto and it’s remote. A USB charger cable, a small packet of lube, instructions and a storage bag are nestled under the toy.”
Karen: “Oh My God! I said when I first saw it. It’s a butt plug!”
Jack: “My wife is so freakin’ clever!”
Karen: “This would be my first foray into the world of anal pleasuring and I was a wee bit nervous.”
Jack: “But she persevered!”
Karen: “You’re so funny. Listen, I don’t want to get ahead of myself again. So I’ll slow down. You already know that the Ditto is rechargeable, since Jack mentioned the USB charger cable. Well, it’s super easy to charge and charging it for 90 minutes will give you 2 hours of playtime. The Ditto is made from smooth, seam-free velvety, latex-free, nonporous, phthalate-free, and hypoallergenic silicone with a matt finish. It’s totally waterproof too. And since this is gonna go where the sun don’t shine, so to speak, the water based lube sample packet will come in very handy. You’ll want to stock up on water-based lube if you don’t have a cupboard full, like we do, because every time you use the Ditto you’ll want to use some. Remember, your butthole isn’t like your vagina; there is no natural lubrication down there.”
Jack: “The Ditto is quite petite. It has an insertable length of approximately 3 inches and a circumference of just over 3.5 inches making it, in my opinion the perfect plug for someone who in interested in investigating anal play. While it was too petite for me, it was perfect for Karen. The Ditto is remote controlled and there’s an app for it too. We downloaded the We-Vibe Connect app from our app store. We then turned on the bluetooth function on our phone, pressed the power button on the Ditto, which is found on the base of the toy, and PRESTO. Once the app finds the Ditto it will buzz to life. The app is fantastic because you can see battery levels, choose patterns and speeds and you can even make your own patterns. The Ditto comes preset with 10 modes so, even if you don’t have a smart phone, you can still enjoy the delightful sensation the Ditto offers right out of the box.”

Karen: “Don’t forget about the remote! The remote is the bomb. It’s what makes the Ditto so much fun to use by one’s self or with a partner. It is a small battery powered remote and lets you move back and forth between vibration modes and allows the user to adjust the intensity of the vibrations. Another thing, most butt plugs on the market have a round or anchor shape base, but the Ditto has this unique L-shaped base. I think the L-shape makes the Ditto more comfortable to use and more secure once it’s in place.”
Jack: “I know Karen has already mentioned this, but it bears repeating. If you’re new to anal play, please use a generous amount of lube. Be sure to lube up both your ass and the Ditto before inserting it. And GO slow. So many people try anal play for the first time, do something wrong, like going too fast, or not using enough lube, and they hate the experience. Thus ruling out all future bum fun and pleasure because they weren’t careful. Don’t let that happen to you. I promise you; do things right and you will be in heaven as soon as the vibrations start.”
Karen: “Yep, that’s what happened to me the first time out with the Ditto. After a few sessions of solo play, I was ready to partner up with Jack. Jack wore a much larger plug and I had my Ditto. It was grand. Jack said he could feel vibrations from the Ditto through my vagina. What fun!
Jack: “Because the Ditto is waterproof and made of silicone it’s super easy to clean. Mild soap and warm water does just fine for everyday cleaning. But you can also wipe it down with a lint-free towel moistened with peroxide, rubbing alcohol or a 10% bleach solution to sanitize for sharing. But get this; we wanted to see how well this thing was made so we dropped it into a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes to actually sterilize it. It stood up that like a pro. Then we ran it trough the dishwasher and that didn’t phase it either. This thing is made to last.”

Karen: “Remember, you can only use a water-based lube with a beautiful silicone toy like this. A silicone-based lube would mar the finish, and you certainly don’t want that.”
Jack: “The Ditto delivers deep, powerful, and rumbly vibrations. They are amazingly strong for such a small toy. I was actually quite surprised.”
Karen: “The sweet little drawstring storage pouch that is included in the package makes the Ditto perfect for travel. I am so stoked about the innovative design, its power, and how quiet it is. It gets my highest recommendation.”

Full Review HERE!

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A Stylish Vibe For Beginners

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Hey sex fans!

It’s Product Review Friday once again. And, like the last three weeks, you can see them HERE and HERE and HERE, we welcome a new manufacturer to our review effort. This week it’s another German company, OVO Lifestyle Toys.

I’m delighted to welcome back to this review effort one of the founding members of the Dr Dick Review Crew, Joy and her oh so charming wife, Dixie.

F12 Vibrator Fuchsia —— $52.69

Joy & Dixie
Joy: “We’re BACK!”
Dixie: “And we’re back as married ladies. In the near three years that has passed since our last reviews, we got hitched. Joy got down on one knee, no easy task for her, and proposed. After I said, yes, I had to help her to her feet.”
Joy: “So, OK, I’m a romantic at heart, I’m just not built for all the more traditional romantic gestures.”
Dixie: “To tell the truth, not much really changed in our lives after the wedding, but we scored some kick-ass wedding gifts. Joy got some power tools, of course, and I got a load of stuff for the kitchen. We even got a couple of sex toys. All our dyke friends know how much we loves our sex toys.”
Joy: “And ya know what’s better than sex toys? Getting sex toys for free in exchange for doing reviews here on Dr Dick Sex Advice and Dr Dick Sex Toy Reviews.”
Dixie: “Which brings us to why we are here today. We’re here to tell you about the F12 Vibrator Fuchsia from OVO Lifestyle Toys. Here it is in all its handsomeness.”
Joy: “Or, here SHE is in all her beauty.”
Dixie: “You say tomato, I say tomahto.”
Joy: “I want to start our introduction with the packaging, if that’s alright with you. F12 Vibrator Fuchsia comes in a nice gift package. But my first thought was…are you kidding me with the name? Fuchsia if fine; it is, after all, the color of the thing. But F12?? You gotta be kidding me. Someone is falling down in the creative department, if you ask me.”
Dixie: “I second that. But, you’re right the box is nice.”
Joy: “The packaging consists of a white embossed slip-sleeve featuring a full-sized image of F12 Vibrator Fuchsia. The outer sleeve tells you just about everything you need to know about the vibe inside. It has four programs, three speeds, a contoured texture, it’s waterproof, it’s battery operated, and it comes with a 15-year warranty. Under the slip-sleeve is the pearl grey box that claps shut with magnets. Inside that there’s a black and clear plastic clamshell insert sorta deal that holds the vibe in place. It’s attractive without being ostentatious. There’s also a OVO product catalog and ‘quick start guide’ included.”
Dixie: The F12 Vibrator Fuchsia vibe is covered in a luscious, high-quality, latex-free, nonporous, phthalate-free, and hypoallergenic silicone. Silicone is our material of choice for insertables. But don’t forget you must always use a water-based lube with a silicone toy like the F12. A silicone-based lube would mar the finish. The F12 comes in just this one color, as far as I know, but it has some nice gold detailing.”

Joy: “Like I just said the F12 has four vibrating programs and three speeds. The vibrations are the buzzy kind not the rumbling kind. The two-button control panel is easy to handle and operate. There’s an on/off button under the silicone skin. The “+ and -” button accelerates the speed through its five settings. And it is remarkably quiet.”
Dixie: “The F12 is about nine inches long. The insertable portion is about six inches long. It’s a pretty traditional shape for an insertable, but the contours are nice.”
Joy: “I can’t help but thinking how retro the F12 is. I mean it’s battery operated for god’s sake. I can’t even remember the last toy we reviewed that was battery operated.”
Dixie: “But it’s waterproof, so there’s that. And come to think of it, there are probably lots of women, particularly older women, who may not have the capacity or the know-how to use a USB recharger.”
Joy: “I hear ya. That is actually a really good point. And the fact that F12 is waterproof makes it perfect for bath time. And who doesn’t like to get off in the bath?”
Dixie: “Because it is made of silicone and its fully waterproof it’s so easy to clean. Mild soap and warm water does just fine for everyday cleaning. But you can also wipe it down with a lint-free towel moistened with peroxide, rubbing alcohol or a 10% bleach solution to sanitize for sharing. And it should be shared!”
Joy: “The packaging states that the F12 is ‘curved for added g-spot pleasure’. I know that g-spot pleasuring is a real buzz word (you should pardon the pun) in vibes these days, but I’m gonna challenge OVO on this claim. I think there’s not nearly enough curve to the F12 to make it an effective g-spot vibe.”
Dixie: “I totally agree with Joy. At the same time, one size or one shape does not fit all! Each of our bodies is different; what will work for me, won’t work for Joy and visa versa. There are so many variables — insertable length, curve of the shaft, and on and on.”
Joy: “Exactly! I have another quarrel with the promotional materials of F12. The claim the F12 is ‘earth-shatteringly powerful’. I beg to differ! While the F12 has many nice features; take it from me, it is most assuredly not ‘earth-shatteringly powerful’. The F12 doesn’t really have enough oomph to get me off. But then again, I am not the intended audience for the F12. I’m thinking the F12 is geared toward a woman, or a couple new to sex toys.”
Dixie: “And I can’t recommend the F12 for butt play either. There isn’t a flared base on it to make it safe for anal play. So all you guys and gals out there experimenting with anal sex, you’ll have to look elsewhere for a pleasure product.”
Joy: “Let’s recap, shall we? F12 is body-safe, healthy, waterproof, moderately powerful, and super quiet.”
Dixie: “When we were working on this review we searched the net for info about the F12. One of the things we discovered is that there is a wide price range for this product. We saw it for as little as $35 and as expensive as $50. I don’t know what accounts for that disparity, but I encourage you to shop around if you plan to buy.”

Full Review HERE!

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What it feels like to have more than one partner

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One woman opens up about the benefits of polyamory

Tired of conventional romances, sex coach Beth Wallace embraced polyamory – being in more than one relationship at a time – and has reaped the emotional rewards

Beth Wallace

By Beth Wallace

I‘ve been in relationships with women and men over my adult life and I guess from my teens onwards, I didn’t have that traditional heterosexual ‘normal’ perspective on relationships.

The idea that you meet someone, marry them, have kids and stay together until the day you die, that works for some people, but I think it’s a relationship choice that’s largely born out of societal norms and expectations. If you throw out that rule book of what a relationship ‘should’ look like, then what goes in its place?

“Polyamory means quite simply having a loving relationship with more than one person at a time, or being open to having a love relationship with more than one person at a time. Imagine a monogamous relationship and then imagine that with several people.

“In previous long-term relationships I’d talked with partners about the idea of having sex or relationships outside the primary relationship but it had never gone beyond the conversation. Then in my 40s I met a man who was already in an open relationship and if I wanted to be in a relationship with him then I had to be okay with how his life was already set up. That took a while to get my head around. We would be out for dinner with 12 or so people including his wife and he and I would leave together to be with each other for the night and she was fine with it. It made me question all the societal norms around relationships and this idea of how we’re supposed to behave. It redefined for me what love is.

“In my experience, polyamory is something like being gay, lesbian or bi, it’s an orientation, it’s who I am, not something that I do. It’s not something I can just switch off. If you’re a polyamorous person who finds it easy to love and be intimate with, and find a connection with, lots of people, you can’t switch that off just because someone isn’t okay with it, because then you’re going to feel like you’re not being true to yourself.

“People make a lot of assumptions. One of the most common reactions I get from women is that they think the men I’m involved with ‘just want to have their cake and eat it’. I find that very insulting because they’re assuming the male in whatever group of people it is the one calling all the shots, which isn’t my experience. Some people also assume I must be very sexually aggressive – I’m aware of some married friends who started holding their husbands a lot closer when I came out of my last relationship! But if someone is in a monogamous relationship then I would never cross that boundary. Polyamorous people are obsessed with talking about boundaries – which is hilarious because monogamous people tend to think we have none!

“In fact there’s so much discussion around boundaries, and time planning that goes on, there’s often more talking than sex. People assume being polyamorous is all about getting as much sex as you can, but it’s not like swinging or open relationships which tend to be more about sex, being polyamorous is about having a full -on relationship.

“It can be a logistical nightmare. Three relationships at once is my max. Recently I was seeing three men, two in Ireland and one outside the country. Each relationship offered me something different. With one of them, we had lots of fun. He was quite a bit younger than me and it was a very fun-based relationship where we laughed a lot and did fun, stupid things. The second guy was quite a bit older and we would have very deep meaningful conversations about life and spirituality, he brought out the philosophical aspect of my personality. The other guy was an artist who brought out the creative side of who I am.

“It can be the most emotionally challenging and difficult relationship to be in, because it really forces you to be vulnerable and deal with insecurities and excruciating jealousies. But, done right, polyamory can teach you to be an excellent communicator, very self-aware and good at listening. It also offers a very deep love for people that transcends what a relationship ‘should’ look like.

“It’s something I would say to somebody early on, because for a lot of people that would be a deal breaker. I’d tend to say ‘this is who I am, if I’m interested in someone else and I feel there’s a connection and something I want to explore, I’ll talk with you about it, but I don’t need your permission to go ahead and do anything’. That doesn’t necessarily go down very well. Most people would think that the majority of men would be super on-board with it but actually my experience is that they’re not. They might be okay with the idea of you having occasional sex outside the relationship but they’re not comfortable with an ongoing relationship. I think societal ideas of relationships are tied up with ownership, this idea that ‘you’re my woman and I don’t want ‘my’ woman having sex or being in a relationship with someone else because that makes me feel less of a man’.

“I’m not saying I would never be in a monogamous relationship, but if someone was to demand it of me, I’d be out the door. A couple of years ago I was with a guy and it got to a point where he said ‘well, you know eventually this has to stop’ and my response was ‘basically you’re saying I have to change who I am and you don’t actually love me for who I really am’ and the relationship ended.

“I’m single at the moment and happy with that. It’s hard to meet like-minded people and I find that quite a lot of openly non-monogamous people in Ireland already know each other.

“People might think that being polyamorous means you have to be in relationships, that you can’t be on your own. But I’ve found that polyamory has made me tackle my own insecurities and realise love isn’t about possession or control.

“I’ve learned not to cling on to people. Just because a relationship ends, doesn’t mean it didn’t work out. I think having the idea that there is ‘The One’ can be quite dangerous. It piles a lot of expectation on to one person and one relationship and no one person can give us everything.

“I think Ireland is becoming more open to non-traditional relationships. My family has mixed feelings about me being polyamorous varying from ‘sure whatever, if it works for you, great!’ through to ‘don’t talk to me about it’. Most of my friends are absolutely fine with my choices, although I reckon a few think ‘Oh Beth just hasn’t met the right man yet, she’ll settle down when she does’ – good luck with that!”

Beth runs a relationship course on polyamory see bethwallace.org.

Complete Article HERE!

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