Dec 14, 2020 | Where to Begin

Great Books on Non-Monogamy

Those looking for resources on the topic of non-monogamous relationships have throughout time felt empty-handed; only up until very recently have quality resources become available for those who are interested in being in a non-monogamous relationship or those who are simply curious about the topic in general. Prior to the last two decades, books or any publication written about non-monogamy were shunned by the general public and were often suppressed by publishers who did not want to deal with any liabilities from the controversy of the topic. 

For the most part, these newfound resources have been books. And yet, if you go to a bookstore to try to find the best books on the topic of non-monogamy, you are likely to fall short. This is because these books are most often in the “relationships” book section, and this section almost always puts books about monogamous relationships on display; as a result, the books on non-monogamy more often than not get allocated to the obscure shelves, making it difficult for those who are interested in such books to find them in their book store excavations. 

This article will list and describe some of the best books on the market regarding the topic of non-monogamy. These are all great resources that serve multiple important purposes; two of these important purposes include informing the reader on the topic of non-monogamy so they can navigate it themselves if they are interested in practicing non-monogamy and to help reduce the stigma surrounding non-monogamy, through education. 

The Ethical Slut, Third Edition: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, and Other Freedoms in Sex and Love by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton

If you are looking for the total beginner’s guide to sexual freedom, this book is for you. The Ethical Slut can really be thought of as the quintessential starter’s guide to non-monogamy. The book starts you from scratch, by defining often misunderstood terms like “polyamory”, “open relationship”, and “triad” amongst many other terms. The structure of the book begins by dispelling myths about non-monogamy, it goes over how to get started practicing non-monogamy if you are interested, and finally, it helps navigate you through common challenges that can come up in non-monogamous relationships. Especially if you don’t know much about non-monogamy, The Ethical Slut is the book for you. 

Marriage and Morals by Bertrand Russell

The famous British philosopher Bertrand Russell was one of the main and earliest proponents of open marriages in the early 20th century. In advocating for open marriages in his book, Marriage, and Morals, he lost his teaching position at The City College of New York and was widely panned by the culture at large. Nonetheless, Marriage and Morals is still a profoundly worthwhile read even today for those who are interested in non-monogamy. Specifically, it is a profoundly great book for those who are truly interested in going against the grain regarding traditional manners of romance and relationships. Often, when we are attempting to destigmatize non-monogamy, those who are opposed to such efforts provide moral reasons for their opposition. Russell’s book provides a powerful bulwark against such arguments, illustrating that there are plenty of moral problems in traditional modes of romance and relationships and that such moral problems do not exist within non-monogamy. Especially if you are interested in the history of non-monogamy and are interested in fighting against the stigma of non-monogamy through logical argumentation. Russel’s Marriage and Morals is the book for you. 

What Love Is: And What It Could Be by Carrie Jenkins 

Carrie Jenkins, another philosopher, exquisitely details the origins of the concept of love and how it has become so narrow in recent centuries. If you are interested in polyamory in particular, What Love Is: And What It Could Be is a go-to book for you. This is because Jenkins’ in this book provides ample evidence that, from a biological and societal standpoint, polyamory is as natural for human beings as monogamy is. The premise of Jenkins’ book, is that conventionally speaking, the way that we talk about the word “love” doesn’t quite capture the essence of that term. More recently, however, with inclusion and acceptance of historically neglected forms of love –for instance, homosexual love– Jenkins seeks to inscribe polyamory as part of the complexity of the concept of love, to better understand the word “love” as a term. 

Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Tristan Taormino

The title of Tristan Taormino’s book is quite straightforward. If you are looking for guidance on how to conduct and sustain an ethical open relationship (which is a relationship with multiple sexual partners), Taormino’s Opening Up is the book for you. This book will help you with the beginning stages of open relationships, communication skills, and how to tackle potential challenges that might arise down the line in an open relationship. 

More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory by Franklin Veaux

Similar to Tristan Taormino’s Opening Up, Franklin Veaux’s More Than Two is the definitive guide on how to conduct and sustain an ethical polyamorous relationship (which is a relationship with multiple committed romantic partners). Just like Taormino’s book, Veaux’s book will help guide you through the beginning stages of polyamory and it will help you develop the necessary communication skills to ensure that it is an ethical and sustainable romantic endeavor. Finally, Veaux’s book will help by providing you strategies for potential problems that might arise down the line in a polyamorous relationship. 

The above five books will give you all of the information you need to know about almost all forms of non-monogamy. Whether you are someone who is looking to practice non-monogamy yourself, or you are simply someone who wishes to understand the topic better, any of the above books can help immensely. Finally, it will be helpful to share this list of books with your friends and family who aren’t too familiar with non-mongamy. Education is the first pillar of fighting the stigma against non-monogamy and these books are without a doubt the most astute educating tools you can find for fighting said stigma. 

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