Zayna and Jonathan talk to authors Lori-Beth Bisbey, Anita Cassidy and Meg-John Barker about the challenges of writing both fiction and non-fiction that either focuses on or touches on consensual non monogamy. Lori Beth and Meg-John are both therapists. Lori Beth has written fiction, memoir and self-help, recently publishing Dancing the Edge to Reclaiming Your Reality (a guide for survivors of gaslighting and trauma). Meg-John is probably best known for the iconic Rewriting the Rules but has also written a pile of others including Life Isn't Binary, and Gender, a graphic guide. Anita is the author of the novel Appetite and runs the website Alethya, a community for people interested in pursuing conscious relationships.
We're joined by therapist and author Jessica Fern to discuss attachment theory and the lens it gives us onto consensual non-monogamy monogamy.
Attachment theory grew out of the work of researchers John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. It began as a study of childhood attachment to primary caregivers and evolved into a framework that helps illuminate the dynamics of close relationships through life. It tracks people's attachment styles on two axes, self esteem and sociability and broadly divides those styles into four quadrants - secure, avoidant/dismissive, anxious/preoccupied and fearful.
Jessica's book polysecure considers CNM in the context of attachment theory and, together with Jonathan and Zayna, she explores what it has to tell us.
This is how we wish people had talked about sexual health when we were growing up. We're joined by three very entertaining sexual health professionals. Firstly Amanda Jeffrey, Head of Sexual and Reproductive heath at METRO an equalities and diversity charity that promotes health and wellbeing to anyone experiencing issues relating to gender, sexuality, diversity, equality, or identity predominantly across London and in the SE of England. Also by Kate Oliver, from Illinois, President of the Kinder Foundation, which sometimes describes itself as the Amazon of sexual health. Finally by Peter Greenhouse of the BASHH; the British Association for Sexual Health & HIV.
We're focusing on sexual health in the context of consensual non monogamy but frankly this programme is full of good advice for anyone. It's also a scream. I'm guessing that if you're a sex educator, especially one talking about sexual health, you quickly get tired of po-faced conversations and wish you could get real.
So here we go - the tldr version - sex involves manageable health risks but is fun, life affirming and joyous and mostly the risks can be minimised. Jettison the shame. Stuff happens. And, after we've been over-run by right wing anti-vaxxers and mask refuseniks is anyone going to take lectures from these people about chlamydia? Thought not. :)
What is intimacy? For many people it's the thing they most look for in a relationship, a sense of closeness that comes from being both vulnerable and accepted. So what has this got to do with swinging? As it turns out, quite a lot. Sharing sexual experiences with a partner that involves people outside that relationship brings some couples closer. Listen to Liam and Kate from Toronto (@MonogamishMarriage) and Cooper S Beckett of Life on the Swing Set talk about how swinging has deepened their relationships. Oh, yes, and we step off the path for a moment to discuss bisexuality in swinging. It a funny, poignant, thought-provoking episode. Do tune in!
Zayna and Jonathan get personal this month and talk about insecurity with help from Jamie in Singapore and from Kevin Patterson, author of the excellent book Love's Not Color Blind who joins us on the line from Philadelphia.
Almost everyone has to deal with insecurity whether they're monogamous or non-monogamous, but within CNM there can be extra pressures because our partners are free to date other people and we compare ourselves unfavourably to their other loves.
Jamie talks about insecurities arising out of trust issues with a former partner, Kevin speaks about imposter syndrome, Jonathan about the experience of being an adoptee and Zayna about feeling less-than in her professional field.
Polyamory isn't all triads (throuples) quads and poly families. Lots of people do polyamory solo and are their own primaries. Zayna and Jonathan talk to Eunice in London and Kelli in Seattle about the great things about being SoPo and also the challenges - 'who turns up at the hospital?', social pressure to get on the relationship escalator and lack of representation in the media. It's just a great discussion. Tune in!
Zayna and Jonathan welcome psychologist and intimacy coach Dr Lori Beth Bisbey, and UK Polyday organisers Charlotte Davies, Morgan Grey and Eunice Hung for a wide-ranging discussion about some of the things that sometimes trip people up when they explore consensual non monogamy. We talk unicorn hunters, couples' privilege, communication, self knowledge and more!
Released to mark the International Day of Consent - November 30th - Zayna and Jonathan ask Jenny Wilson, of campaigning group Consent Culture, and author, psychotherapist and mentor Meg-John Barker to walk us through the vital issue of consent. It's a great listen - two really switched on people who have thought long and deep about what we need to focus on when we're looking for consent.
To launch our foray into the world of consensual non monogamy we start by looking at some of the terms you'll find used in CNM.
Jonathan and Zayna are joined by Daniel Cardoso. Daniel is a research fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University, whose field of study is CNM activism in both his native Portugal and in the UK.