Review: Opening Up

I have a few poly friends and to me it’s never seemed that appealing.  Many of them have suggested a book called Opening Up, by Tristan Taormino.  Good Vibrations was kind enough to send it to me to review.

The Run Down:

  • Toy Type:   Adult Instructional Book
  • Author:   Tristan Taormino
  • Publisher:   Cleis Press
  • Pages:   346
  • Size:   8.5″ x 5.5″ x 1″
  • Price:   $16.95
  • Pros:    Fairly discreet cover; Well organized and written;  Covers everything I could think about; Very detailed and has interviewee experiences
  • Cons:   Very long (but makes up for it by being very detailed)
  • Overall Rating:   5/5
  • Recommended: Yes

opening up by tristan taorimino

The book

The cover is very tame and has an image of two people holding hands.  It also says “Opening Up A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships”.  The spine of the book also has the same image and text.  There is nothing really sexual about the book and would probably be fine to keep on a bookshelf.  However, if you’re really shy, it should fit into most bedside drawers.

I was surprised at just how large a book it is, it’s actually over 300 pages long.  It’s not a book that you need to read cover to cover though.  The book is divided into three sections:  Choosing an open relationship, Styles of open relationships, and Creating and Sustaining your relationships.   There is also an introduction and a section of appendices.  The appendices include the references for each chapter, a section about the interviewees in the book, and a section about the author.  There is also a fairly detailed resource guide with lists of books, organizations and directories, and more.

The first section talks about  choosing an open relationship.  It starts off by talking about the history of the various types of open relationships and then goes into myths about nonmonogamy.  I found the history to be fairly interesting, but many of the myths I already knew.  It also talks about if an open relationship is right for you and how to make one work.  I think it does a very good job at explaining why people choose open relationships and how to seriously think about entering one for yourself.  I also liked that it talked about how to make an open relationship work, since it’s not something I’ve really thought about.

The second section covers the various types of open relationships.  There are six general types covered: partnered nonmonogamy, swinging, polyamory, solo polyamory, polyfidelity, and monogamous/nonmonogamous and mono/poly combinations.  It is stated several times that these are not the only ways to have an open relationships, these are just the most common arrangements out of the interviewees.  Each chapter ends in a profile that talks about how some of the interviewees have their open relationship arranged, which I found helpful to see how real people actually make things work.  They also talk about benefits, and potential issues and conflicts of each type.  I think the most interesting chapter for me to read was on Solo Polyamory.  I’ve never considered myself poly, but currently I am not seeking a relationship because I am too busy with school and most likely moving come the spring and have no clue where.  However, I am still seeing multiple people with no real commitment other than the occasional hookup.  It was interesting to see this exact thing spelled out in a chapter and to find I’m currently poly without thinking about it.

The last section covers topics to help you create and sustain your relationships.  The first chapter in this section talks about designing your relationship and it has multiple checklists you can use to determine what you want out of the open relationship.  I think this is a great idea and if you’re seriously considering it, go over the check lists with your partners.  It also covers the two big topics that I think of the most when I think of open relationships:  jealousy and other challenges and problems.  I’ve had several relationships with a single person which had their fair share of issues.  So being able to manage multiple relationships each with their own issues is something that you really need to learn about.  There’s also a chapter on raising children, which I honestly skipped since I have no intentions of having any, but it should be very helpful if you have children and want to open up your relationship.  Another chapter I loved was the chapter on safer sex.  They cover various types of safe sex practices as well as STDs.  Safer sex is something you’ll really want to consider if you’re opening your relationship up to multiple sexual partners.

Overall, I have really enjoyed reading Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships.  An open relationship has never been something I’d really considered, but this book really helped introduce them to me better in a positive light.  The challenges and issues are well described as well as the benefits and it really helps you figure out what you want so you can get the most out of your relationships.  So if you’re considering it, or have friends and just want to look more, I highly recommend picking up this book.

*This review was sponsored by Good Vibrations, the product was sent to me free of charge to provide my honest opinion with no form of compensation*

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