Opening up - erotic book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by bodymodboy

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Opening up

Book by Cleis Press Inc.

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Textbook of Polyamory

Want to know how to better your own relationship, let alone start opening yourself up to new ones? This is the book for you, undoubtedly.
Published:
Pros:
Exercises, tons of information, and tools for all relationships.
Cons:
There are absolutely no cons of this book.
Rating by reviewer:
5
extremely useful review
While Dossie Easton and Catherine A. Liszt wrote the acclaimed "Polyamory Bible", I think the new one taking the poly world by storm is Taormino's "Opening Up". This book is filled with so much information, that I have to break this review up in different sections of why it's so great! I could never have learned how to have a successful relationship, let alone a polyamorous one, without the ideas and teachings of this book.

Don't let the academic-like research interviews she did to write this book drive you away; this book has a very relaxed tone, like she's casually talking to you over coffee and doughnuts. She starts with the common deconstruction of how society enforces a monogamy fairytale, and the insecurities with the idea of an open relationship. After a brief introduction to the possibilities of the open relationship, such as swinging, polyamory, and a history overview of the movement, she hits you with the question outright: "Is an open relationship for you?"

With a self-evaluation that really shakes you up to explore your views on things, and a bit of insight as to why some people choose this lovestyle, she lays out the facts about what makes an open relationship work. She doesn't sugar coat it, it's a lot of work because many people already lack communication skills, let alone applying it into a relationship with just one person but now many! But she doesn't discourage you, she uplifts you rather. She also has little exercises, which is a nice emotional "check-in" for yourself to take a break from what you absorbed and really think/write/talk about it. By the fourth chapter, you learned what really makes any relationship healthy, let alone multiple ones.

Section 2 is almost like a cheat-sheet guide into all the various kinds of relationships within this lovestyle: Partnered Nonmonogamy, Swinging, Polyamory (my favorite!), Solo Polyamory (for the current singles, but poly.), Polyfidelity, and then the mixed Monogamous/Polyamorous Combo. It allows you to explore the different types, find what resonates with you, and provides you with a real life story of an individual/group that identify with this type of relationship. It makes it feel more real and personable that way.

Within each piece, she has a small vocabulary section of common terminology that goes on in the community regarding these relationships; so if you finally go to a poly-meeting, you won't be confused when folks say "I'm in a triad/V/mono-poly, etc".

So Tristan gave you all this information, now what? She then gives you the tools to apply what you just learned: defining your relationship. She goes over things you probably never thought of when looking for what you view as an ideal match, and then some! Later, she goes over the common mishaps that happen within (but not limited to!) open relationships, such as: jealousy (and anger, resentment, etc), new relationship energy (dubbed NRE by veterans), how to communicate, cheating (yes, there's cheating even in open relationships!), and what to do when things change, you're raising kids, the legal issues of being in a polyamorous relationship, and coming out and finding community.

Of course, as a sex guru, Taormino also discusses safer sex practices and the obvious need for routine testing. At the end, she gives you resources of various books that are absolutely invaluable, websites, podcasts, and online community groups. She gives the statistics of her research amongst her interviewees.

Tristan Taormino wrote such a moving book. It is the perfect piece: inclusive to all orientations and genders (even the non-conforming ones), had tons of information, and has a down-to-earth tone that makes the possibility seem less scary. Let yourself be shocked, angry, worried, and all those other feelings when your partner hands you this book, but read it, and if you still feel like this is a strong "No.", then you still have learned the tools to make your current relationship better. You do not need to be polyamorous to benefit from this book. Tristan Taormino has made such a wonderful, inclusive, and informative book.
Experience
I purchased this book when I felt I was ready to go into a relationship with the idea that I would be polyamorous. I was single for quite some time, mostly to reflect on myself and grow, and I could not possibly have the most awesome relationship I have now without this book. I still read it every now and then for a refresher when old feelings and insecurities come up.
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Comments
  • LucyLemonade
    LucyLemonade  
    Great review, I may have to pick this book up to use as a resource for one of my sexuality papers.
  • bodymodboy
    bodymodboy  
    @CuriousKitten Thank you! And most definitely use Taormino as a resource, she has great experience and knowledge, and she has a lot of books listed from academics like "The Myth of Monogamy".
  • Caleb
    This is a good review, I want to get this as a gift to a friend.
  • Airen Wolf
    Airen Wolf  
    Thanks for pointing out that this book is good for ALL types of relationships...being non-monogamous doesn't mean that you face different relationship dynamics, it means you face them more often and in stronger measures. Even monogamous people will benefit from the exercizes and lessons of this book!
    Thanks for the review!
  • bodymodboy
    bodymodboy  
    @Airen I am so honored you commented on my review! Thank you! I am glad you agree; everyone can benefit!
  • TinyTease
    TinyTease  
    Great review! I really enjoyed it. Sounds like this book really goes hand in hand with The Ethical Slut. I'm really, really going to get my hands on both of these. I know I and a few friends could really benefit from all of the information!
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