How do we resolve relationship conflicts in a way de-centered from heteronormativity?
For these questions and more, polyamory pundit Andre Shakti is here for you.
I'm Andre Shakti, and I'm a professional slut.
I'm also a queer white cisgender feminist in her late twenties living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I make my living through an often chaotic combination of pornographic work, stage performance, professional domination, and freelance journalism, as well as sex education and private coaching. I've presented internationally, from kink events and sex toy stores to Ivy League stadiums and intimate private parties, and have been featured on numerous podcasts such as The Whorecast, Sex on the Brain with Amory Jane, Life on the Swingset, Manwhore Podcast, and Sex Gets Real. I've co-chaired several sexuality-based conferences, most notably Sex Down South in Atlanta, GA, and was a key player in the destruction of Prop 60 in California this past November.
Most importantly, I've been ethically non-monogamous for eight years. Providing information, comfort, and counsel around polyamory to individuals, couples, triads, and quads has consistently been my highest-priority passion, which is why I started my I Am Poly & So Can You advice column via Harlot Magazine in January 2016.
Unfortunately, while Harlot initially broke the digital mold in both unapologetically intersectional content and ethical business practices, its lifespan was short, and it folded after eight months. I pitched I Am Poly & So Can You to over a dozen major publications in the aftermath and was routinely turned away. Meanwhile, the demand for an accessible, reliable, organically-evolving resource around navigating non-monogamous relationships only grew. In the span of January 2017 - February 2017 alone, I received a total of forty-nine separate inquiries in my social media inboxes from folks all over the world seeking my input on their unique poly situation(s). That's when I knew that if no one else would carry I Am Poly & So Can You, I'd find a way to make it viable on its own.
I introduce to you: IAmPoly.net, the official (and permanent!) home of I Am Poly & So Can You.
According to an August 2015 poll by YouGov, only one in four U.S. adults believe that polyamory is “morally acceptable.” The majority (56%) believe that polyamorous relationships are “morally wrong,” and 18% aren’t sure. Such high levels of public disapproval help explain why many individuals in unconventional relationships say that dealing with social stigma is one of the biggest problems of alternative intimate relationships. This stigma is directly responsible for the disgraceful lack of representation and information around non-monogamy in our country, and it continues to pervasively harm us and our relationships with others.
Why is education around non-monogamy so critical?
- Without education around self awareness, emotional IQ, and communication skills, the potential for abuse in relationships increases, even if it was not intended. It’s the case with any relationship, but compounds in poly arrangements due to the complex emotional entanglements of multiple individuals.
- For unlearning toxic cultural scripts and narratives, and as a way of learning to have non-possessive relationships and cultivate non-attachment.
- To expand vocabulary for both internal and external dialogue about feelings related to polyamory.
- For learning to set boundaries and make relationship agreements
- To demonstrate that monogamy is not compulsory, and “jealousy” is not a dirty word.
- Because learning to recognize, articulate and differentiate between your assumptions, needs, and preferences is a useful practice regardless of the type of relationship(s) you are in. Looking at options for consensual non-monogamy makes the invisible assumptions of monogamy more visible, and available for questioning and discussion.
- Because providing information outside of structures that have prohibitive inclusivity or accessibility issues is in itself a radical act. Any "alternative" relationships are not taught in standard U.S. education systems, shown in media outlets, or casually normalized through mainstream culture. All of these structures teach monogamy, whether intentionally or not. Because these values are so entrenched in existing systems, increasing access to information about options is simply responsible and a way to fight oppressive structures.
So please, join me in creating and celebrating a vibrant community of relationship revolutionaries! Become a patron of I Am Poly & So Can You!, and get all the non-monogamy advice you can swallow (or spit - we don't judge).
All My Love,
"The life of a freelancer means if you can get funding for a project, that money basically pays for time you don’t have to spend looking for other work."
- Tina Horn of Why Are People Into That?!
Special Thanks To: Jetta Rae Robertson, Sinclair Sexsmith, & Breanna Perry