Polyamory Reading Guide
Last updated 8 February 2020 (added footnote)
What is polyamory? According to the definition provided on the website More Than Two✱, polyamory is "the state or practice of maintaining multiple sexual and/or romantic relationships simultaneously, with the full knowledge and consent of all the people involved."
What is this webpage? This is a simple list of books and articles for people who want to find out more about polyamory and open relationships. If you're interested in people and events, maybe try companion page UK Polyamory Resources.
Have you actually read any of these? Half, at the last count. This list was generated through a discussion in the UK Polyamory facebook group in April 2016. My personal recommendations would be to start with something short such as Redefining Our Relationships by Wendy-O Matik or Designer Relationships by Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson, and then follow with the more comprehensive Rewriting the Rules by Meg-John Barker.
Why does it look so basic? Because simple solutions are often the most effective, but mostly because I'm not a web designer.
Ethical non-monogamy in practice
- Love Without Limits: Responsible Nonmonogamy and the Quest for Sustainable Intimate Relationships (Deborah Anapol, 1992)
- The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities (Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt, 1997/2009)
- Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits (Deborah Anapol, 1997)
- The Polyamory Handbook: A User's Guide (Peter J. Benson, 2006)
- Redefining Our Relationships: Guidelines for Responsible Open Relationships (Wendy-O Matik, 2007)
- Opening Up: Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships (Tristan Taormino, 2008)
- Polyamory in the 21st Century: Love and Intimacy with Multiple Partners (Deborah Anapol 2012)
- More Than Two: A practical guide to ethical polyamory (Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert, 2014)✱
- Eight Things I Wish I'd Known About Polyamory: Before I Tried It and Frakked It Up (Cunning Minx, 2014)
- Ask Me About Polyamory! The Best of Kimchi Cuddles (Tikva Wolfe, 2016)
- When Someone You Love Is Polyamorous: Understanding Poly People and Relationships (Elizabeth Sheff, 2016)
- Stepping Off the Relationship Escalator: Uncommon Love and Life (Amy Gahran, 2017)
- The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory: Everything You Need to Know About Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy, and Alternative Love (Dedeker Winston, 2017)
Academic, scientific and theoretical texts
- Breaking the Barriers to Desire: New Approaches to Multiple Relationships (Kevin Lano and Claire Parry, 1995)
- Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality (Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha, 2010)
- Understanding Non-Monogamies (Meg-John Barker and Darren Langdridge, 2010)
- The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships and Families (Elizabeth Sheff, 2015)
If you're interested in academic texts, try companion page Polyamory Research
Autobiography and personal stories
- Stories from the Polycule: Real life in polyamorous families (Elizabeth Sheff, 2015)
- The Game Changer: A memoir of disruptive love (Franklin Veaux, 2015)✱
- The Husband Swap: A true story of unconventional love (Louisa Leontiades, 2015)
Sex and relationships
- Nonviolent Communication: a Language of Life (Marshall B. Rosenberg, 2003)
- Hold Me Tight: Your Guide to the Most Successful Approach to Building Loving Relationships (Sue Johnson, 2011)
- Rewriting the Rules (Meg-John Barker, 2012)
- The Jealousy Workbook: Exercises and Insights for Managing Open Relationships (Kathy Labriola, 2013)
- Modern Romance: An Investigation (Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg, 2015)
- Designer Relationships: A Guide to Happy Monogamy, Positive Polyamory, and Optimistic Open Relationships (Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson, 2015)
- The Secrets of Enduring Love: How to make relationships last (Meg John Barker and Jacqui Gabb, 2016)
Gender and Sexuality
- Purple Prose: Bisexuality in Britain (Kate Harrad (ed.), 2016)
Kink and BDSM
- The New Bottoming Book (Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy, 2002)
- The New Topping Book (Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy, 2001)
- Power Circuits: Polyamory in a Power Dynamic (Raven Kaldera, 2010)
For more books, take a look at All 42 nonfiction books on modern polyamory on Polyamory in the News, or Best Books for Polyamory on Goodreads.
Sex and relationships
- FUCKED: on being sexually dysfunctional in sex-positive queer scenes (FUCKED collective, 2014)
- 2FUCKED 2FURIOUS: still sexually dysfunctional in sex-positive queer scenes (FUCKED collective, 2015)
- (re)bound(ary) (Jade Mars, 2016)
- Politics in Sex, Love and Relationships (PILSAR, 2016)
- Non Monogamy: Doin' it and Doin' it and Doin' it Well? (2007)
- Poly Oly Oxen Free! (Tops, 2010)
- Gender Fuck is My Boyfriend (Polyamory is My Girlfriend) (Lee Barley, 2010)
- Poly (Charlotte Cooper, 2010)
- Queer Poly Romance Novel pt.1 (Mudkip, 2010)
- This is About More Than Who We Fuck (and Who Fucks Us) #1 (morethanfckng, 2011)
- Poly Amor
- Juggling the Rainbow #1 - personal writings about non-monogamous relationships (2010)
- Juggling the Rainbow #2 - more personal writing on non-monogamous relationships (2012)
- Juggling the Rainbow #3 - even more personal writing on non-monogamous relationships (2012)
- No More Goddamn Poly Manifestos: a brief nonmonogamy zine
- Non Monogamy 101: a primer for questioning compulsory monogamy
- Nonmonogamy Basics
For UK-focused groups, see UK Polyamory Resources
✱ In February 2019, Franklin Veaux (author of The Game Changer, co-author of More Than Two and operator of the More Than Two website) was called in by a group of six his previous partners, alleging a pervasive and longstanding pattern of manipulation and serious harm. Eve Rickert, one of the survivors and co-author of the More Than Two book has not called for a boycott and has noted that she would suffer financial damage as a result of one. This web page originated as a place simply to list available books: I did not make editorial decisions over what to include or exclude. However, in the light of the allegations, I think it is appropriate that I include a warning about Franklin's books.
Whilst there is still valuable material in these books, it needs to be read in its proper context. I would recommend that anyone who has engaged with, or wishes to engage with, Franklin's work also familiarises themselves with Eve Rickert's reflections on the book, the survivor testimonies and Franklin's partners' accounts, and the survivor group's collective responses to the book. The Franklin Veaux Survivor Pod Public Sources & Community Responses contains a comprehensive list of links to documents and discussions related to the ongoing process.
Addendum: I have previously recommended More Than Two on this page, alongside Rewriting the Rules as a good starting-point for people new to non-monogamy, and the book formed a significant part of my own introduction to alternative relationship styles. Whilst I believe there is still much that is valuable in the book, I have not had a chance to re-read it with a critical eye in the intervening time and therefore do not feel it is appropriate for me to recommend it to beginners due to the close relationship between the book and Franklin's own approach to relationships. With that said, I am in no way an authority on relationship literature: s̶t̶r̶a̶n̶g̶e̶ ̶w̶o̶m̶e̶n̶ ̶l̶y̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶p̶o̶n̶d̶s̶ ̶d̶i̶s̶t̶r̶i̶b̶u̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶s̶w̶o̶r̶d̶s̶ throwing together a rudimentary web page on a free hosting service is no basis for a system of g̶o̶v̶e̶r̶n̶m̶e̶n̶t̶ community leadership. Caveat lector!
Something to add? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd particularly love to hear about more zines and other accessible forms of writing.