Opening up - book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Emma (Girl With Fire)

Opening up

Book by Cleis Press Inc.

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Opening Up Page By Page

I would highly recommend it to anybody considering pursuing an open lifestyle, as well as those already in an open relationship. Not only does the author inspect problems associated exclusively to open relationships but many that apply to monogamous relationships as well. The main focus lies in not restricting yourself to the boundaries associated with labels and encourages discovering an arrangement that works for you instead.
Addresses many if not all aspects of Non-monogamy
Handy worksheets
Real life examples of succuss
Can be a lot to take in.
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review

About author

Tristan Taormino is an award winning author, an editor, a columnist, a director and a sex educator. As an author and columnist she is well known and she has been featured in over 250 places; from Playboy and Cosmo to HBO, Ricki Lake, and even The New York Times she is well respected for her advice and opinions regarding everything sex related. She has columns in both Hustlers' Taboo and The Village Voice as well as owning her own production company and being an exclusive director for Vivid Entertainment. On top of all of this, she is an award winning author who has written such books as Pucker Up: A hands on guide to Ecstatic Sex, The Ultimate Guide To Anal Sex For Women, and The Best Lesbian Erotica series.

Content / Style / Audience

This book is written as a how-to resource, and though the level of information and the exercises bring it perilously close to being a text book it's written so well that it is hard to walk away from.

As far as audience goes, I think that this book would be great for just about anybody. The main focus is on not restricting yourself to boundaries set by a label, but rather to find your own path what you are most comfortable with, and what works in your individual relationship. In the book you will find everything from exercises designed to help you create authentic relationships, ensure safer sexual encounters and examine the effects of changes in the dynamics of your relationships to checklists on the whos, hows, wheres and whats of your personal agreements. Though it may not be a lifestyle or sexual choice that everybody would make, this book certainly contains enough information on the whys and hows of open relationships to educate those who just don't get it.

The Sections and chapters included in this book are

Section 1

Chapter 1 - Pilots, Parties and Polyamory: A Brief History
Chapter 2 - Myths About Nonmonogamy
Chapter 3 - Is An Open Relationship For You?
Chapter 4 - What Makes An Open Relationship Work?

Section 2

Chapter 5 - Partnered Nonmonogamy
Chapter 6 - Swinging
Chapter 7 - Polyamory
Chapter 8 - Solo Polyamory
Chapter 9 - Polyfidelity
Chapter 10 - Monogamous/Nonmonogamous and Mono/Poly Combinations

Chapter 11 - Designing Your Open Relationship
Chapter 12 - Jealousy And Other Intense Feelings
Chapter 13 - Compersion
Chapter 14 - Common Challenges And Problems
Chapter 15 - Opening Up Again: When Something Changes
Chapter 16 - Coming Out (Or Not): Finding Community, Creating Families
Chapter 17 - Raising Children
Chapter 18 - Safer Sex and Sexual Health
Chapter 19 - Legal And Practical Issues
Chapter 20 - The Future Of Relationships

There is also a resource guide which provides a list including books, events and conferences, organizations, online groups, research and activism etc.
  • Who / How / What
    [ ? ]
    Who might this product be best for? How is it best used? What are the best circumstances or situations for using this product?
    • Already in or interested in learning about open relationships
    • Those interesting in beginning
  • General
    [ ? ]
    Other tags that are useful and descriptive for this product.
    • Instructional / educational


Though the cover image of the book is simply a couple holding hands, and the main title is fairly broad the secondary title is A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships. This means that unless your friends and family are fairly dense, or you have already come out to them, this is not likely a book you want to leave out on the coffee table. The book is sold in paperback and the cover and pages though not impenetrable are substantial so f you are a total book nut like me you will appreciate that they do not bend and crease at every movement.
    • Not very discreet cover
    • Soft cover
    • Well made


I am a monogamous person, and have no inclination otherwise; I was however curious about open relationships and I like to be well informed on most things so I figured this was a good place to start. Not being interested in actually engaging in an open relationship I found this book a little more difficult to get into because it is a How To. Fortunately Taorminos writing is so fluid that it was usually harder to put down once I started reading than it was to pick up. I Came out of it feeling like I had learned volumes about nonmonogamy as well as a lot of very helpful advice on problems that arise in almost every relationship, monogamous or not.
Follow-up commentary
Though this book is not really aimed towards monogamous people (which I am, yes that's right, I am ALL monogamous people), I still find it incredibly helpful, I think that it is really a book that ALL of us should own. It is an all encompassing how to on relationships... it just happens to focus on areas that apply only to poly relationships as well.
This product was provided at a discounted price in exchange for an unbiased review. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.
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  • Alys
    Great review! I'm looking into writing a few book reviews, and I'd be pleased if my first book reviews can come close to this one
  • Emma (Girl With Fire)
    Aww thanks! I am always freaked when I write my first review on a new type of product. A lot can be said for reading random reviews for the same type of product though.
  • Kayla
    Good review. I actually really liked reading this book. It was really informative.
  • Emma (Girl With Fire)
  • Emma (Girl With Fire)
  • Sex'?'Violence
    Very descriptive review.
    Well done!
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