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
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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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Masturbation Monday: More Than Two Book Review

more than two an ethical guide to polyamory

A Review of More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory

Or

Can Non-Monogamy Work and Can Any Book Actually Help People Get There?

First of all, let’s get this out of the way. I started exploring the concepts of non-monogamy, polyamory, and open relationships many years ago. You can read a plethora of articles on these topics from when I wrote for elephant journal way back in the day.

At this point in my life I can not claim to be polyamorous nor can I claim to be monogamous.

I am somewhere in the middle.

Recently, I even had a boyfriend for all of about ten days; we had made an agreement that we could still have random casual sex on occasion and that we could also explore group sex together if that sort of event became available. Unfortunately, we never got to that point before some incidents occurred in which we are now in different time-out corners (perhaps I’ll go into this a bit more after I’ve had more time to process it).

Anyway, I know quite a few polyamorous people and as someone who is trying to create my own relationship scripts, it’s interesting to see what and how other people do romantic and intimate relationships.

More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory is one of those poly-classic books. There are people who live by its every word; people who take certain parts and apply those; and some people who disregard all the information in it entirely.

I started reading it over ten weeks ago. I am pissed about how long it took me to get through to be perfectly honest. Mostly, because I had started the year attempting to read a book a week and now I am ten books behind. I won’t blame it entirely on the book itself. The summer heat didn’t help. Nor did my budding romance.

So here we are now, finally.

What did I think?

Is it worth the read?

Would I recommend it to polyamorous beginners?

What about non-poly people?

Yes and no to all of that.

The book is broken into five parts. Regardless of whether you’re non-monogamous, open, closed, polyamorous, gay, straight, pansexual, etc. I believe that everyone should at least read Part Two: A Poly Toolkit. This section is all about understanding the self, diving deeper into the art of communication, and living with integrity.

The authors (Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert) make many excellent points in this section of the book that resonate with improving any and all types of relationships.

What I’ve learned through my own experiences is that it doesn’t matter if you’re dating one person or 10; if you have weak communication skills you’re going to have weak relationships.

Communicating well is not easy either. I surely have plenty of work to do, but I’m at least acknowledging where I’m at; I can see the gaps. I can admit I’m not close to being perfect. More Than Two goes into communication failures and strategies + additional resources to help people continue to work on it.

If you are a polyamory beginner the book does offer decent information on many of the issues that are likely to arise. Personally, I think it’s a bit long and would recommend reading over the sections when you come to it in your reality as opposed to trying to cram all the information in your brain at once.

There are elements of polyamory that I am drawn to, such as creating a community of intimate friends, writing our own scripts of how relationships can work; sharing joy and love and dinner (clearly I’m hungry right now). But there are plenty of other things I am not drawn to; like the drama; all the talking and talking and talking; and the super-packed schedules trying to fit everyone in when there are only so many days in a week.

Perhaps I’m just a bit bitter right now because I’m having my own personal issues happening that are leaving me exhausted. Like, I can’t even get one relationship to work right, the thought of adding more to the pile makes me want to go live like a hermit in a cave somewhere far away. And you know, someone did write about a guy who did that, you can read my review of The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit on my other blog here.

What are your thoughts on More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory and / or polyamory in general. Comment below or send me an email to discuss in more depth!

Buy your own copy of  More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory here.

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