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Five Books You Should Read If You’re Curious About Polyamory

“How do I tell my long-term partner that I want us to stay together and see other people?”

I asked myself that question not long ago, hoping to move to a polyamorous relationship with my partner of four years, and I’m not alone. We all have questions about sex and love, and as we move towards new definitions of the word “relationship,” those questions become more complex.

For many, it’s hard to imagine having multiple relationships at the same time with the consent of everyone involved—there are the perpetual questions of jealousy, emotional well-being and sexuality.

Love will always be tricky—sex, romance and friendship must be in perfect synchronization to hit the sweet spot that makes relationships work. Bringing more than one partner into the mix makes things trickier. Whether you want to try it out or are just looking to satisfy your curiosity, these authors open the curtain into the liberating, exciting, and often complicated world of polyamory. 

More Than Two

Widely viewed as one of the bibles of polyamory, More Than Two provides a concise guide for people who want to open up their relationship by undoubted experts: Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert draw from their experience in a polyamorous relationship to steer curious poly hopefuls in the right direction. The key word in the title is “ethical,” and the authors explore the importance of communication and consent. For those of you who expect polyamory to work like it does in pop culture, here’s one pearl of wisdom: It’s not all orgies and sex on demand, but it can be.

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The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory

Another bible for nontraditional relationships, Smart Girl’s Guide To Polyamory weaves interviews and advice from women about everything from dealing with jealousy and insecurity to building self-awareness. Winston gives thoughtful insight into what it means to be part of a relationship that will prove helpful even to those of the monogamous persuasion.

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The Art and Etiquette of Polyamory

When couples first consider opening up their relationship, they often don’t realize how much work it takes. Luckily, Francoise Simpere has thought of everything: Is it okay to ask my partner to babysit while I’m on a date? Should we create a dating schedule? The book addresses some of the most important parts of poly lifestyle from cultural, scientific and psychological viewpoints. It also answers the basic questions that most people have when considering a polyamorous lifestyle—how to maintain commitment without exclusivity, nurture trust and deal with jealousy.

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Polyamory in the 21st Century

Deborah Anapol takes a look at nonmonogamy through history, doling out personal experiences to support the polyamory movement. Her work as a therapist shines through the book, which relies on research and facts to prop up polyamory not just as a personal choice, but also as an objectively possible lifestyle. Flip through these pages for an honest, non-judgmental look at polyamory within a psychosocial context.

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Ask Me About Polyamory

A collection of Tikva Wolf’s popular Kimchi Cuddles webcomics, Ask Me About Polyamory takes a lighter approach to gender and sexuality. Wolf draws from life experiences, giving readers a peek into the fun, difficult and messy sides of polyamory through simple comics. While not an in-depth guide for beginners, Ask Me About Polyamory is entertaining and honest. This book is best for those who want a window into polyamorous life rather than a roadmap. 

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Dancer, prancer, comet, and sometimes vixen. When she's not writing, Pranay can be found wandering art museums and forests, or scavenging local cafes for freshly baked goods.