Review: 4 Books That Redefine Traditional Relationships

January 1, 2014
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Following on from her article about whether open relationships work, Lola Lovely reviews four books that take a deeper look at relationship dynamics.

So you’re toying with the idea of an open relationship or you are already in one and want to know more about non-monogamy. Either way, trying to hack it on your own is never easy. We’re here to recommend some read and tested books that are redefining traditional relationship paradigms. Some of the books help you to navigate your own open relationship, and some offer you an open-ended debate on humans and how we navigate relationships (especially if you’re new to the Non Monogamous world). Either way, they’re a good read!

Opening Up

Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships
First up on the list is an easy to read guide by Tristan Taormino on how to open up your relationship. This is probably my favorite book because of the clear and easy way Taormino writes. I feel safe reading it and my questions about non-monogamy are answered not only by Taormino but also by hundreds of men and women she interviewed for the book.

The Ethical Slut

She doesn’t sugarcoat non-monogamy as if it is going to be smooth sailing and easy. She offers real life benefits and challenges that come from wanting to open up your relationship. I love how she defines different open relationship terms from swinging to partnered non-monogamy and doesn’t lump everyone in one category. A great start on opening up as it not only offers insights but also exercises that you and your partner can do together.

The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures
The grand-mama of open relationship books! This is the first book on OR that I read – recommended to me by a friend when I knew what I wanted in a relationship but didn’t know how to define it. Turns out, there is a whole community already there!

Sex at Dawn

Written by famous polys Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy this books covers all you need to know about polyamory. It teaches you how to have honest communication, practice safe sex, raise a family, deal with jealousy and much more. The only thing is that it covers mostly polyamory and doesn’t leave room for other types of openness like Opening Up does. If you’re sure polyamory is your thing, then this is a great book to read.

Mating In Captivity

Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships
A much newer book on the market compared to those on this list. Considered a controversial book because it debunks (or tries to) the myth of monogamy. Using years of research Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá explore and expose the ancient roots of human sexuality and give us a more optimistic future of our capacity for love.

Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence
Not exactly a book on open relationships but nonetheless an interesting read. Esther Perel explores the paradox of domestic partnership and sexual desire, why do married or partnered people have less sex and how to bring lust home so to speak.
A different view on why we behave the way we do when it comes to domestic sex, it’s never really suggested that one should have an open relationship but it is certainly hinted at that it could be a way to spice things up or fulfill partners in a marriage or relationship. An easy read, this book is funny and witty.

Have you read any of the books above? Or are you going to? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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