How to relate ethically and politically: adventures beyond labels

Monogamy, monogamish, polyamory, relationship anarchy, solo polyamory, non-hierarchical polyamory, triad, unicorn, polycules, poly quads, co-dependency…

All of these labels have had a time and place in my life; they’ve allowed me to explore different ideas and assumptions around relationships. But increasingly, I feel like they can often stand in the way of understanding how we actually practice relationships.

It doesn’t matter how many people you fuck, or who; how many people you write love letters to, or how you rank people or don’t rank people in your life. None of these labels, or any number of people you are intimate with will describe a more or less radical, ethical, or in any way a “better” – more political or ethical way of doing relationships. Continue reading “How to relate ethically and politically: adventures beyond labels”

The politics of heartbreak – Uri Baruchin

Navigating the perfect shit-storm: the politics of heartbreak

Last year, Meg-John Barker and I co-facilitated a PILSAR session about the ethics and politics of heartbreak.  Here is a zine-sized taster of some things that came up. In an order that, like heartbreak, will not always make sense:

Just like love intersects with multiple aspects of our inner world, external contexts and power structures, so does heartbreak. Exploring this subject together with the group we were specifically interested in heartbreak and not just break-ups/transitioning, because of how it strips you of power and forces you to confront your ethical choices and question them. Continue reading “The politics of heartbreak – Uri Baruchin”

Assumed monogamy and its discontents – Hollis Robin



What is monogamy? No, really, this is a genuine question. If we go down the biology route, we find it to be a life-long pair-bond between two members of a species. The animal in question reaches sexual maturity, finds a mate and that’s it. Even a cursory glance at our species will show you that definition doesn’t apply to us. It’s close though, we do pair-bond to a point. In my experience, we reach sexual maturity, find a mate and stay with them until the relationship ceases to function. Then we cut them out of our lives, find a new mate and repeat this process indefinitely, punctuating it with occasional bursts of promiscuity. This is an extremely broad generalisation of sexual behaviour and it should be noted that it is based on my experiences living in the UK as a white, middle class person. Continue reading “Assumed monogamy and its discontents – Hollis Robin”