Books

Below is a list of non-fiction books about polyamory and their synopses. Click on the title to link to a page where you can get more information about the book and to purchase it.

The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy

The essential guide for singles and couples who want to explore polyamory in ways that are ethically and emotionally sustainable.

For anyone who has ever dreamed of love, sex, and companionship beyond the limits of traditional monogamy, this groundbreaking guide navigates the infinite possibilities that open relationships can offer. Experienced ethical sluts Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy dispel myths and cover all the skills necessary to maintain a successful and responsible polyamorous lifestyle–from self-reflection and honest communication to practicing safe sex and raising a family. Individuals and their partners will learn how to discuss and honor boundaries, resolve conflicts, and to define relationships on their own terms.

More Than Two: A practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory 

Can you love more than one person? Have multiple romantic partners, without jealousy or cheating? Absolutely! Polyamorous people have been paving the way, through trial and painful error. Now there’s the new book More Than Two: A practical guide to ethical polyamory to help you find your own way. With completely new material and a fresh approach, partners Eve Rickert and Franklin Veaux wrote More Than Two to expand on and update the themes and ideas on their popular website.

Open: Love, Sex & Life in an Open Marriage by Jenny Block

Finally, a book about open marriage that grapples with the problems surrounding monogamy and fidelity in an honest, heartfelt, and non-fringe manner.

Jenny Block is your average girl next door, a suburban wife and mother for whom married life never felt quite right. While many books on this topic presuppose that the reader is ready to embrace an “alternative lifestyle,” Block operates from the assumption that most couples who are curious about or engaged in open marriages are in fact more like her—normal people who question whether monogamy is right for them; good people who love their spouses but want variation; capable parents who are not deviant just because they choose to be honest about their desires.

In Open, Block paints a down to earth picture of how an open marriage can work, and specifically why it works for her and her husband. In dissecting other people’s strong reactions to her choice, she explores the question of why cheating is more socially acceptable than open marriage. In part, she concludes, the lack of models for successful functional open marriages is such that the general public is not yet equipped to handle treating it as anything other than abnormal.

Open challenges our notions of what traditional marriage looks like, and presents one woman’s journey down an uncertain path that ultimately proves that open marriage is a viable option, and one that’s in fact better for some couples than conventional marriage.

Opening Up by Tristan Taormino

In a society where many people feel dissatisfied with monogamy and dishonesty in relationships runs rampant, Opening Up offers a bold new strategy for creating loving, lasting relationships. Relationship expert and bestselling author Tristan Taormino gives readers practical advice on how to craft responsible, fulfilling nonmonogamous relationships. Refreshing, accessible, and jam-packed with information, Opening Up dispels myths, explores the real-life benefits and challenges, and helps readers decide if an open relationship is right for them. It offers strategies for making an open relationship work, including tips on communication, negotiation, jealousy, boundary setting, and conflict resolution. With her trademark down-to-earth, sex-positive style and sharp wit, Taormino covers different styles of open relationships from partnered nonmonogamy to solo polyamory as well as topics like coming out, finding community, and parenting. Woven throughout the book are the diverse voices of real people—from a woman with two husbands and a suburban swinger couple to polyamorous parents and a gay male triad—who candidly share their struggles, fears, hopes, and the secrets of their success in open relationships.

Polyamory in the 21st century by Deborah Anapol

Unlike other books on this topic, Polyamory in the 21st Century weaves together research and facts to provide an informed and impartial analysis of polyamory as a lifestyle and as a movement, and to place it in a psychosocial as well as an historical context. Anecdotes and personal experiences allow the reader to develop a better understanding of polyamory and the people who practice and enjoy it. Anapol addresses the practical, the utopian, and the shadow sides of this intriguing, mysterious, yet often threatening lifestyle. It honestly addresses difficult issues such as the nature of commitment without exclusivity, balancing personal needs with loyalty to a partner, evaluating beliefs about love and relationship, the impact of polyamory on children, and the challenges that arise when one partner wants monogamy and another prefers polyamory. Without judgement, she explores this increasingly common practice, and reveals the true nature of a lifestyle that many do not understand.

Polyamory: Roadmaps for the Clueless and Hopeful by Anthony Ravenscroft

Tony Ravenscroft leaves behind the speculation, the guesswork, and the Utopianism that only confuse the discussion. Polyamory: Roadmaps for the Clueless & Hopeful begins from the absolute basics of intimate relationships, and clearly lays out the pitfalls and problems that await everyone who embarks upon this difficult and highly rewarding way of life.

Polyamory (the book) is for everyone with any interest in the subject. Whether you’re merely curious, or already embroiled in a complex responsibly nonmonogamous life, you will find a greater understanding of what is going on. Even if you are happily married for the rest of your life, you will improve your relationships with the other people in your life.

Even a book this large can only hope to answer half your questions. Tony Ravenscroft does that, and shows you how to find your own answers for the rest.

Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What it Means for Modern Relationships by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha

Since Darwin’s day, we’ve been told that sexual monogamy comes naturally to our species. Mainstream science—as well as religious and cultural institutions—has maintained that men and women evolved in families in which a man’s possessions and protection were exchanged for a woman’s fertility and fidelity. But this narrative is collapsing. Fewer and fewer couples are getting married, and divorce rates keep climbing as adultery and flagging libido drag down even seemingly solid marriages.

How can reality be reconciled with the accepted narrative? It can’t be, according to renegade thinkers Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha. While debunking almost everything we “know” about sex, they offer a bold alternative explanation in this provocative and brilliant book.

Ryan and Jetha’s central contention is that human beings evolved in egalitarian groups that shared food, child care, and, often, sexual partners. Weaving together convergent, frequently overlooked evidence from anthropology, archaeology, primatology, anatomy, and psychosexuality, the authors show how far from human nature monogamy really is. Human beings everywhere and in every era have confronted the same familiar, intimate situations in surprisingly different ways. The authors expose the ancient roots of human sexuality while pointing toward a more optimistic future illuminated by our innate capacities for love, cooperation, and generosity.

With intelligence, humor, and wonder, Ryan and Jetha show how our promiscuous past haunts our struggles over monogamy, sexual orientation, and family dynamics. They explore why long-term fidelity can be so difficult for so many; why sexual passion tends to fade even as love deepens; why many middle-aged men risk everything for transient affairs with younger women; why homosexuality persists in the face of standard evolutionary logic; and what the human body reveals about the prehistoric origins of modern sexuality.

In the tradition of the best historical and scientific writing, Sex at Dawn unapologetically upends unwarranted assumptions and unfounded conclusions while offering a revolutionary understanding of why we live and love as we do.

THE GAME CHANGER: A MEMOIR OF DISRUPTIVE LOVE

To make an open marriage work, Franklin and Celeste knew they needed to make sure no one else ever came between them. That meant there had to be rules. No overnights, no falling in love, and either one of them could ask the other to end an outside relationship if it became too much to deal with. It worked for nearly two decades—and their relentless focus on their own relationship let them turn a blind eye to the emotional wreckage they were leaving behind them.

The rules did not prepare them for Amber. “I have a question,” Amber would say. And whatever came next would send a wrecking ball through Franklin and Celeste’s comforting illusions. Amber was the first of Franklin’s polyamorous secondary partners to insist on being treated like a person, and the first to peel back the layers of insecurity and fear that surrounded their relationship.

Amber was a game changer. A game-changing relationship is one that uproots and redirects your life. It overthrows your assumptions about who you are and why. It awakens you to possibilities you’d never conceived of. It disrupts. And it is the unspoken elephant in the attractive showroom of polyamorous relationships. This book is the true story of a game-changing relationship that changed not only Franklin and Celeste’s lives, but the face of the modern polyamory movement. A game-changing relationship can happen to anyone. How will you handle it when it happens to you?