Review of the book Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma, and Consensual Non-monogamy

attachment theory

When I moved away from Denver to a small town in the middle of nowhere Kansas I had to register to vote in my new state of residence. When I did so I went from democrat to undeclared, not because I had suddenly gotten swayed by the republicans but that I felt like I didn’t really align with mainstream politics on either side. Perhaps my views were generally too radical or anti or interesting that they didn’t seem to fit in with either party and I didn’t want to be associated one way or the other. 

I say this, because this not fitting in thing is also how I feel about the whole monogamy v. polyamory debate. 

If someone were to ask me, I really find myself fitting in well with either ways of being, but there can be good (and bad) ideas on both sides. 

attachment theory

What draws me back to concepts of polyamory and consensual non-monogamy is not the actual practice of it, but the theory, the root of philosophy– which to me is that each relationship that a person is in with another person should be unique and designed together– instead of following some sort of standard script you essentially write the story together. That’s what lures me. 

From a practical standpoint, there isn’t really enough time, resources or interest for me in consensual non-monogamy. I think having close friendships and one intimate secure romantic relationship (when and if I find it) will be plenty for me, but I’m certainly open to ideas on how to have healthy, happy, meaningful connections and growth. 

Hence why I keep coming back to books on consensual non monogamy… not because I want to be in an open relationship necessarily but because I have found that people in the poly world give much better relationship advice regardless of how one practices their romantic connections. 

I think this is a pretty accurate assessment after reading the book Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma, and Consensual Non Monogamy by Jessica Fern.

Fern starts by talking about the different types of secure and insecure attachment styles that people typically fall into and the dimensions of those attachments in relationship to boundaries, actions, ways of being etc. 

From there, she takes us through concepts on consensual non-monogamy and why understanding attachment theory is important in these (and really all types of) relationships. 

In the third section, Fern gives practical tips and suggestions for creating better security in relationships but also, what I found to be the most important, security with the self. 

This was one of those books that I think anyone, regardless of whether they’re monogamous, single, polyamorous etc. could benefit from reading to better understand themselves, how they attach and get actual methods for creating better security. 

There were some key takeaways for me:

It’s healthier to turn toward conflict–no matter how healthy the relationship there will be times of disharmony. “It’s not that we have ruptures, it’s how we repair them (192).” Realizing that there’s a problem and solving the problem, that the relationship is more important than the problem itself. 

“…for adults, a securely attached romantic relationship takes approximately two years to really solidify.” (139) Like, damn, okay, that’s way longer than I would have guessed, which I think just highlights how we’ve all sort of lost patience with each other but perhaps that’s a topic for another day. 

“In monogamy, if two people do not align in their desires to be attached at a secure level or one person is unable or unwilling to step into secure functioning then the relationship usually ends…”(146).   Oh, well, when you put it this way this certainly makes so much sense. 

Overall, I found the book useful, though I’m left wanting more and I can’t quite place what it is exactly I’m wanting. I do like how she suggests we take what we need and leave the rest, I guess that’s sort of what I do already as someone undeclared in politics and in love.

Want to buy the book? Here’s the link to Polysecure.

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Thoughts on The Heart Principle: A Book Review of Sorts

Ready for a Modern Day Romance?

I don’t often read romances but I thought I’d take a break from some of the intense reading I’d been doing on trauma and complex PTSD and mindfulness and treat myself to something a bit lighter and thus I chose The Heart Principle

I’m still debating if it was the right time to pick up a book like this after coming to a dead end on a romantic possibility of my own, one that had caused a lot of emotional turbulence, sadness, and fear. Reading about other people falling in love and having the best sex of their life can certainly induce hope but can also cause feelings of envy and a deepening of that loss. 

I have to say overall I was pleasantly surprised by all this book managed to do. 

the heart principle book review

The author Helen Hoang, did a great job of interlacing the story with legit human issues such as the emotional toll of caring for a loved one when they become ill, the ups and downs of therapy, living on the autism spectrum, and even some light touches on race in America all while following two people as they fall in love. 

I know how hard it is to sit down and write a book, so I’m not here to go through and nitpick, but I did find a couple of things that felt slightly off. It’s probably because I am not super aware of the standards that come along with romance novels but I noticed that every time genitalia was mentioned in the story she used the word, ‘sex,’ such as:

‘He felt the wetness of my sex as he slid his fingers deeper inside.”

Is it against the rules to use vulva? Pussy? Penis? Cock? Are those words too aggressive? Jarring? Un-sexy where romance is concerned? It’s not that big of a deal I just found it off-putting and I like the idea of modern day romances being as sex-positive as possible. 

Which leads me to my only other critique. And SPOILER ALERT. The guy she’s dating at the beginning of this book wants an open relationship. She agrees to it because she doesn’t know how to say no. I actually like the premise because again, it’s one of those legit human issues many people in the dating world go through, but is that really what they were doing in the book? 

I know that there are a plethora of reasons why people choose to have open relationships as well as the type of open relationships people agree to have, but once he said he was going to sleep with other people she just went back to her apartment and lived her own life and never really talked to him again until he showed up at her parents house. Like, if you’re in an open relationship you’re still having relations with each other right? They weren’t separated. Yet, they didn’t do anything to keep their relationship going. She wanted out but would she have gotten back together with him if she didn’t find an out through another, better guy? 

Which leads me to my final thoughts—the best and also most unbelievable (in a good way) part of the book, Quan. Where does one find a man like that? I hope that by Hoang writing a character like him she has in turn manifested men like that into real life because damn. Not only is he physically hot, he has a successful job, a solid support system of family and friends, a car and a motorcycle, hobbies that he enjoys by himself and with others, and most importantly kindness, patience, and generosity. Of course Anna would want to be with him over the insensitive narcissistic open relationship dude. I WANT to be with him and he’s a made up person. 

I understand that this is a romance and the guy is supposed to be a FANTASY but I’m still holding on to a glimmer of hope that people like him exist because everyone deserves to have that kind of love in their life. 

Anyway, if you’re looking to get swept away in a tale of finding true love within yourself and in your relationships while tackling all that life throws your way this is a good one to go with. It almost makes me want to start dating again. 

Buy the book for yourself here

Or join the Book of the Month Club and read along with what I’m reading every month! 

Tits Out Tuesday: Why Are We Scared of Young Adult Sexuality?

children and sexuality discussion from book review all the ugly and wonderful things

The Odd Feelings That Arise Regarding Kids and Sex


All the Ugly and Wonderful Things Book Review

I just finished this work of fiction called All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, it was the 2016 Book of the Year Winner and the author Bryn Greenwood was raised and still lives in Kansas, which is pretty cool since I am from there myself.

Anyhoo. In this book a 10 year-old-girl and a 22-year-old-man fall in love with each other.

The author does a pretty good job at getting a well-rounded perspective on the situation, coming from multiple character points of view, yet the entire time I felt incredibly queasy.

I kept waiting for something to happen that I didn’t think would happen, like them parting ways for example, and yet the relationship kept developing fuller, deeper, creepier.

Now, I get that in other cultures many women marry right around the time of puberty. I suppose this makes sense in at least a biological way. I mean, what defines womanhood more than the ability to have children? (I am not saying having children makes someone a woman nor am I saying only humans who have periods are women, I know there might be some outrage here about this. I’m saying the ability to create and give birth is one major defining characteristic of feminine power.) Whatever, that’s not what this is about anyway.

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What this is about is how awkward and weird it is in the United States today for anything like a tween and an adult having sex / getting married to happen.

There are laws put in place by the government that dictates the age of consent.

It’s unfortunate that they can’t instead dictate the age of emotional intelligence with regards to sexual consent because that would actually make way more sense. For example, I’m sure there are some incredibly smart / self-reflective / emotionally mature 15-year-olds who could handle a romantic relationship with someone way better than some 45-year-olds could. And yet, many people would argue that no, a 15-year-old is not fully developed and thus cannot make those kinds of decisions.

I personally think it’s all situational and cannot be defined or boxed into a sweeping generalization based on age.

Should a 10-year-old and a 22-year-old fuck?

Nah. Prob not.

But if they wait ten years then 20 and 32 isn’t as weird. The whole life-experience thing really helps with these scenarios.

One thing I do think we’re missing culturally though is the understanding that children do have a sexual nature. Sure, they are not fully developed but how many kids strip their Barbies naked and have them rub against each other? How many dry hump their stuffed animals or play “doctor” (do they still call it that?) with each other when they’re supposed to be napping?

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Should they be shamed for this exploration? Shaming seems to be a pretty typical route in America when I’m wondering if there isn’t a better way to educate them at their level on understanding this secret adult world a little bit more? Wouldn’t this help with communication in the future when they’re old enough to explore? Wouldn’t this help them perhaps NOT get into some weird sex thing with someone twice their age?

Of course, the characters in this book had a slew of other fucked up things happen to them and thus the relationships that were created were way more complicated.

I get why so many people have hang-ups about sex. Our childhoods were a big part in shaping us into the weird prudish sluts that so many of us are.

Honestly, I’m just trying to come to terms with the uneasiness I felt from this story. Has anyone else read it? Here’s a link to All the Ugly and Wonderful Things if you haven’t and you’re interested in giving it a whirl. Would love to discuss either the book or some of the above topics, feel free to leave your comments below or email me directly.