In this episode, I am joined by Jonathan Kent to talk about his new book ‘A World Beyond Monogamy’. The book is a comprehensive look at non-monogamy. He interviewed people from all over the world to get their wisdom on living a non-monogamous life. The book covers everything from deep-dive definitions of types of non-monogamy (from monogamish to relationship anarchy) through to non-violent communication.
It is a large book that is meant to be dipped in and out of rather than read in one sitting. Jonathan and I spoke about how much bad advice there is around non-monogamy and how important it is to know your sources and to make sure the advice you get suits your situation. Sometimes it isn’t that advice is bad but rather that it is too general.
In A World Beyond Monogamy, Jonathan talks about coming out, dealing with prejudice, all of the different styles of non-monogamy, and the third section of the book he titled ‘Heffalump Traps’ to examine all the common mistakes and how to avoid them. One of the issues that comes up regularly is the concept of unicorns and unicorn hunting. Unicorns are single people (often women) who are looking for a relationship with a couple. Unicorn hunting is when a couple is looking for a single to join them. They might be looking for someone to join them once or multiple times or to join them in a relationship. There is considerable fuss in many non-monogamous communities about how single people end up being emotionally abused by unscrupulous unicorn hunters who don’t take their needs into account and use them primarily as sexual objects.
I point out that adults wanting to engage in non-monogamy need the skills to be able to advocate for themselves and take responsibility for themselves and that all the adults involved negotiate the encounter or relationship. If one doesn’t have the skills to be able to advocate for oneself, it is not a good time to be engaging in non-monogamy.
We both speak about how important negotiation and communication skills are and how important self-awareness is to having positive relationships of any kind.
One of the other valuable things about this book is the amount of expert input there is as well. Jonathan incorporated research, academic references and expert information along side the interviews with the people living non-monogamous lives.