Opening up - book by Cleis Press Inc. - review by Harlot O

Opening up

Book by Cleis Press Inc.

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Opening up to Non-monogamy.

Very simply, this is a clear, concise reference guide to open relationships (in their many and varied forms). It avoids preaching tones and overly academic wankery, making it accessible to all readers who are considering 'opening up' their relationship, and need a little guidance in negotiating how that will best work for them (and for their partner/s).
Brilliant resource & beginners guide.
Clear, concise and well-written.
Not for those already practising healthy non-monogamy.
Rating by reviewer:
extremely useful review
Like The Ethical Slut, this is a book for absolute beginners and those who are already practicing non-monogamy won't necassarily get much bang for their buck. Taormino takes a straight-forward approach to creating healthy open relationships in three sections:

Section one deals with 'choosing an open relationship'. After dispelling common myths about non-monogamy (non-monogamy is unnatural, the same as cheating, only for those with mental health issues, etc), she asks you to consider your own circumstances and why opening up may or may not work for you and your partner/s. With frank discussion on consent and boundaries, Taormino includes simple and fun exercises for you to complete and reflect upon.

Section two is particuarly useful as a resource when discussing or writing about open relationships with a multitude of open relationship styles (swinging, polyamory, partnered non-monogamy, etc.) broken down and explained in a clear and easily digestable way. Don't know your polygamy from your polyamory? This section will be of great use to you.

Section three is where you'll be doing your hardest work, if using this book as a guide to opening your relationship. It may seem rigid and structured and, well, boring to structure 'a relationship contract', but this reinforces the idea around being open and honest with your partner/s and your self. Taormino explains how essential these building blocks are when opening up—without honesty and trust and structure, how will you move from societally 'safe' and approved monogamy into an open relationship? The chapter on managing jealousy and other negative emotions is vital reading for everyone, and I think this is where monogamous partnerings could benefit from a book like this one. Opening Up challenges you to question your jealousy and emotional responses to your partner and their actions, and to work not only on your relationship, but on your self as well.

Whilst not being completely exhaustive (how could it be), this guide goes further than any other I have seen to detail the nitty gritty—finding or creating communities with similar interests and life views, negotiating open relationships where children are involved, and the all-too-important legal and safer sex issues of open relationships.

Taormino includes a resource list which is rather US-centric, but a good starting point for anyone looking for further information or community-building.
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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This review was edited by
  • tim1724 tim1724
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  • Ansley
    Great review, thanks!
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