By Kendra Holliday | August 15, 2013
This is a guest review from Erica, a recent graduate of Psychology. Also, we’re offering a giveaway of this book to one person in the U.S., so if you’d like to enter, please leave a comment on this post and we’ll choose one winner at random!
Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, by Tristan Taormino
“It’s no secret that traditional monogamous marriage in America is in serious trouble– and has been for quite a while. Marriage rates have declined, divorce rates have increased, and infidelity is epidemic. The number of articles, books, talk shows, and therapy sessions devoted to “bringing back the spark” in a couple’s relationship is staggering.
While some resort to cheating, serial monogamy, or “starter marriages,” a growing number of people have opted to create satisfying, lasting partnerships another way—by opening up their relationships. Unlike monogamy, there are no scripts or models for these alternative relationships, so people in them can struggle without guidance, advice, or role models.”
Tristan Taormino, award winning author, columnist, editor, and sex educator, delivers a rather thorough and insightful inside view of the workings of non-monogamous relationships in her book Opening Up.
A straightforward thought provoking guide for those considering non-monogamy, those struggling to upkeep a non-monogamous relationship, or those simply curious folk – Opening Up covers a wide range of obstacles and pleasantries to prepare for should you dare to step outside the box of “normality”.
Step by step, Taormino lays out for us the building blocks vital to constructing a healthy relationship no matter the style you choose – even if that ends up being monogamy. Without pushing an agenda or claiming a particular relationship style superior, Taormino represents well the many different existing relationship styles so that readers can come to decide on what’s best for us.
I will admit that I was slightly disappointed by the simplicity of the information provided. Having been in an open relationship for only one year now, I had already thought through and considered most of what Taormino recommended for poly couples to ponder. And while I could firsthand relate and confirm that her suggestions were valid due to my own personal experiences with them, it did make the read slightly duller than I had originally hoped.
I would therefore, primarily suggest this book to open minded individuals who aren’t poly but are interested in learning more about different ways of being intimate, secondly to individuals who are considering a non-monogamous relationship but haven’t yet been in one, and lastly to individuals who have struggled with being in non-monogamous relationships but still don’t think monogamy is for them.
Those of you who have happily and successfully been living non-monogamous lifestyles for a while now are likely to find this less helpful. However, I will qualify that by saying there is likely at least some aspect in the text that you haven’t considered already. As mentioned previously, Taormino is very thorough.
The most enriching part of this book for me, that I think anyone would enjoy regardless of how much or little they know about polyamory was the plentitude of case studies, and quotes from couples who were interviewed by Taormino during her research for this book. She ends every chapter with a detailed case study of a couple as it relates to the theme of that particular chapter and scatters exemplary quotes throughout the text. Hearing from a variety of different individuals about their personal experiences with poly was both enjoyable and enlightening.
As a whole, I flew through Opening Up with plenty of underlying and thoughtful pauses. I’d certainly recommend it as a good starting point for exploring individuals and as a good relationship guide for those of you seeking good council for your various relationship styles.