Polyamory is hard. Absolutely no one with non-monogamous relationship experience will argue that. However, most people who've tried and succeeded at a polyamorous relationship will also tell you that the benefits and overflowing love can make up for the difficulties that you may face. No matter what permutation your polyamorous relationship takes, experiencing open love, being able to be with multiple partners, or enjoying lots of sexual expressions can easily start to seem worth the occasional argument, overscheduling, or dealing with bouts of jealousy.
However, learning to manage those difficulties is a learned skill. Just like how you've probably learned the best time to approach your partner about money (definitely after the first cup of coffee!) or how you've learned the proper way to format business communication, learning a brand new way of dealing with and excelling at open communication takes exactly that: learning. Like many things you're just starting to learn, most people can start to hit a few hiccups in their polyamorous set-up - even when they started their open relationship with the best intentions.
Unlike with monogamy, however, it can be a lot harder to find advice about how to navigate a relationship that involves more than two people. While the Internet offers a plethora of new options that weren't available generations ago, much of the advice you'll find is anecdotal. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but look, if you wanted to learn how to knit a blanket, you'd listen to someone who's knitted over 300 of them - not someone who saw a YouTube video on knitting once. Learning good communication methods and how to deal with jealousy requires expert advice. Choosing to do your research and read what the experts have to say (and then putting it into practice!) has the highest likelihood for success.
While books about polyamory still aren't hitting the best-seller list, these are some of the most well-known books about having a harmonious poly relationship.
"Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships" by Tristan Taormino
If you're still new to open relationships and polyamory or just want to figure out whether it's something you want to pursue in the future, this book by Tristan Taormino is a must-have. It explains the nuances of various types of open relationships and then delves into the tips and tricks for navigating non-monogamy. Written for those who are still new to non-monogamy or just starting to consider it, the book spends a lot of time on how to open up, how to deal with some of the road blocks, and how to design a relationship style that works best for what everyone is looking for. This book isn't weighed down by too many abstract concepts or lengthy discourse - it gets straight to the point. Plus, it's interesting and easy to read.
"Eight Things I Wish I'd Known About Polyamory: Before I Tried It and Frakked It Up" by Cunning Minx
If you aren't much of a reader or are just looking to learn the basics of being in a non-monogamous relationship, this book by Cunning Minx is a good place to start. It's less than 100 pages and it gets to the point. This book doesn't go into depth about all of the permutations of non-monogamy. Instead, it focuses on the most common forms of polyamory with practical tips about how to practice poly.
"More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory" by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert
For those who want a more in-depth and technical look at polyamorous relationships, this book by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert is a good choice. It's a heavier read than any other book on this list, and it focuses more on thoroughly explaining concepts and helpful communication and life strategies for people who are already involved in polyamory. The information is interspersed with short stories from polyamorous people and each chapter ends with questions designed to promote self-reflection. This book is a good read for those who already have a grasp of the framework and set-up of polyamory and want to learn more about the underlying concepts or improve their current set-up.
"The Ethical Slut" by Dossie Easton
Back when non-monogamy was only a whispered secret, this book by Dossie Easton was one of the few practical resources that most people could find. While many people still enjoy it as a good book, some readers agree that its approach is a bit dated and it focuses a bit more on the sexual aspects of non-monogamy instead of the relationship and romantic approaches. While this book is known as one of the first educational resources out there, the book is mostly written from the author's personal view of polyamory, and it may not offer an exploration of all of the permutations that an open relationship can take. Even so, it's considered a classic.
"Designer Relationships" by Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson
Let's round out this list with a fantastic book about all types of relationships, not just more-than-two types. Written by Mark. A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson, this book explores all types of "contemporary" relationship styles including monogamy, swinging, open relationships, romantic polyamory and sexual polyamory. While it isn't a huge "how to" guide, it offers a practical look at multiple types of relationships and offers communication and relationship tips and tricks that are likely to be helpful to any type of relationship.
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