Tag Archives: Dr. Eli Sheff

The Polyamorous Home First Review

The Polyamorous Home is now up for preorder as an ebook. I’m working on getting the paperback up. In the meantime, Dr. Elizabeth Sheff just shared her review with me. Check it out:

Review of The Polyamorous Home by Jess Mahler

With a great discussion of individual versus group needs and lots of helpful examples, Mahler’s new book The Polyamorous Home is a thoughtful and informative look at how polys can structure their living arrangements. From negotiating boundaries, sharing a kitchen or bathroom, working out finances, managing holidays, and dealing with changes like the onset of a disability, to personal/relational space, sleeping arrangements. legal hassles, solo poly homes, sharing housework, and exit plans, The Polyamorous Home is chock full of useful tips for new and long-time polyamorists.

Elisabeth Sheff, author of The Polyamorists Next Door (2014), Stories from the Polycule (2015), and When Someone you Love is Polyamorous (2016).

 

The Polyamorous Home by Jess Mahler

Book Review: When Someone You Love Is Polyamorous by Dr. Elizabeth Sheff

book review when someone you love is polyamorousA few years ago, I said that with Dr. Sheff’s The Polyamorist’s Next Door we finaly had a book to share with friends and family trying to understand polyamory. Dr. Sheff has done herself one better.

When Someone You Love Is Polyamorous is a clearly laid out book that introduces the basic concepts of polyamory in simple, easy to understand language. Topics include advantages and challenges of polyamory, why are people polyamorous, and children in polyamory.

Dr. Sheff doesn’t sugarcoat the problems in polyamory, including the lack of diversity among people willing and able to be openly polyamorous. She does lay out clearly what polyamory is, why it works for some people, and why it isn’t cheating or religious-style polygyny. I especially appreciate Dr. Sheff’s taking the time to explain why many poly folk want to “come out” to friends and family, and how friends and family can be supportive.

There are two things I would have liked to see in this book. The first is an explicit acknowledgement of the variety in polyamory. Dr. Sheff does describe several different ways people structure polyamorous relationships. Still I would have liked to see something like “Every polyamorous relationship is different. What you see in TV or the media may not be anything like the relationships your loved ones form.”

The other I would have liked to see addressed is abuse. You’d think “non-abusive” would be covered under “ethical” “honest” and “consensual.” But I’ve known a number of people who believed a poly relationship had to be abusive or coercive. Best to grasp that bull by the horns. “People who don’t understand polyamory may fear their loved one is being abused. The vast majority of polyamorous relationships are non-abusive and abuse seems to occur in polyamory (about as often/slightly more often/slightly less often) than in monogamy. If you have specific concerns about the way your loved one is being treated in their relationships, don’t focus on polyamory. Instead talk with your lloved ones about the specific issues that concern you.”

Those two points aside, When Someone You Love Is Polyamorous is a well written and useful book. I recommend it for anyone considering coming out to their friends and family, or anyone who has come out but is having trouble getting their loved ones to understand and accept their relationships.

Review of: The Polyamorists Next Door, by Dr. Eli Sheff

Before I get into the actual review, I owe Dr. Sheff a major apology. She sent me an early copy of her manuscript before it was published and asked for my input, and I promised to get back to her as quickly as possible. I never did. Part of that was just life exploding on me, but mostly I forgot how god damn long it takes me to read this kind of book. I’m used to tearing through fiction and history books, but popular science books routinely take me a year or more to read. So, over a year later, I am finally getting back to Dr. Sheff, and everyone else, with my thoughts on this amazing book.

Sorry Eli.

A Polyamory Book for Monogamists

There is a lot of fascinating information in The Polyamorists Next Door, and many polyamorists will enjoy reading it to see the results of Dr. Sheff’s studies of polyamory. Poly parents will find interesting (and useful!) information in the sections on children raised in poly families.

However at the end of the day, this book isn’t written for us. Instead, it is the book polyamory has needed for decades. A book written not for people who want to be polyamorous, but for monogamists who want to understand polyamory. You know the question that pops up in every poly forum eventually “What book can I get for my (parents/friends/siblings/friends) to help them understand polyamory?”

The answer is:

This one

Brace for Science-Speak

This is not a coffee table book. This is not light reading. This is a book written by a professional researcher. And it shows. Books like this take me so long to read because academics and researchers are really good at writing for other academics and researchers. Unfortunately, the writing style used in academics and research is not what the rest of us are used to. Complex sentences are the norm in this book. Reading it, there were many times when I had to stop and re-read a seemly simple sentence. “I know every word in this sentence, it is perfectly grammatical. Why can I not understand what she is saying?!”

I did, eventually, figure it out.

Let me clear say: this is not a criticism of Dr. Sheff’s writing. This is the norm for popular sciences books (as well as philosophy, and several other fascinating subjects). Some professions just seem to lead to a very complicated writing style. (Bill Bryson has written the only popular science book I could easily read–because he isn’t a scientist, he’s a journalist writing about science. See the difference?)

If you enjoy popular science books written by actual researchers you’ll find The Polyamorists Next Door right up your alley. If this style of writing is new to you, it may take you some time to adjust. Take it slow, and you’ll get through.

Well Worth the Read

This isn’t a book review blog, so I’m not going to give The Polyamorists Next Door any kind of star rating. I will say that it is a very valuable book that the poly community has needed for a long time. I think it is well worth picking up a copy. Read it, then add The Polyamorists Next Door to your personal lending library. Share with friends, family, and anyone else who is willing to learn more about polyamory.

(This post contains affiliate links)

The Polyamorists Next Door, now on Amazon

Hey folks, the amazing Dr. Eli Sheff’s new book, The Polyamorists Next Door, is out now on Amazon.

“It is the first book to use empirical evidence from a 15-year study of polyamorous families with children to explore this rapidly-growing relationship style. Hot off the presses, it is the perfect gift for the reader/seeker/counselor/teacher in your life.”

I’ll be getting a review up later this week [edit: Here’s my review], in the meantime, I highly encourage you to go order a copy now. If not for yourself, then for the people in your life—family, friends, professionals—who could benefit from learning a lot about the reality of poly families.

Marriage and monogamy are not what they used to be, and today many couples are opting to start families before getting married, or deciding not to get married at all. At the same time, gay couples in states that recognize same-sex marriage are getting married in droves. Some people prefer non-monogamy and have relationships that include swinging and polyamory. The landscape of American marriage and relationships is changing, and a variety of family systems are developing and becoming more common.The Polyamorists Next Door introduces polyamorous families, in which people are free to pursue emotional, romantic, and sexual relationships with multiple people at the same time, openly and with support from their partners, sometimes forming multi-partner relationships, or other arrangements that allow for emotional and sexual freedom within the family system. In colorful and moving details, this book explores how polyamorous relationships come to be, grow and change, manage the ins and outs of daily family life, and cope with the challenges they face both within their families and from society at large. Using polyamorists own words, Dr. Elisabeth Sheff examines polyamorous households and reveals their advantages, disadvantages, and the daily lives of those living in them.While polyamorous families are increasingly common, fairly little is known about them outside of their own social circles or of the occasional media sensationalism. This book provides information that will be useful for professionals with polyamorous clients, educators who wish to understand or teach about polyamory, and especially people who wish to better understand polyamory themselves or explain it to their potential partners, adult children, or in-laws.

(This post includes affiliate links.)