Relationship expert and bestselling author Tristan Taormino offers a bold new strategy for creating loving, lasting relationships. Drawing on in-depth interviews with over a hundred women and men, Opening Up explores the real-life benefits and challenges of all styles of open relationships - from partnered non-monogamy to solo polyamory. With her refreshingly down-to-earth style and sharp wit, Taormino offers solutions for making an open relationship work, including tips on dealing with jealousy, negotiating boundaries, finding community, parenting and time management. Opening Up will change the way you think about intimacy.
Tristan Taormino is an authority in the field of erotica and sexuality. Along with working as a feminist author, columnist, activist, and educator, she has been featured as Out magazines 100 Gay Success Stories of the Year and The Advocate's Best and Brightest Gay & Lesbian People Under 30. In addition to all of this, Taormino recently appeared in the E! Special "The Real 50 Shades of Grey."
©2008 Tristan Taormino (P)2011 Tantor
"This is the book you want to read if you're looking for a voice that is balanced, sensitive and sensible when tackling the thorny question of sexual boundaries in love relationships. Opening Up is sure to open up your mind." (Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity)
The narration was distracting, in that the narrator did "voices" to differentiate the various people's quotations. The voices were less bothersome than the characterizations - speaking slower or squeekier. The material is decidedly dry. I do not recommend it, nor will I listen to it again unless under duress.
While the material is well researched, the self selecting group that comprises the interviewed couples is heavily weighted towards BDSM, swingers, and PolyFidelity groups. As such, the book is heavily favored towards hierarchy, primary relationships, and unethical codependent behaviors such as hiring secondary partners through periodic returns to monogamy. PolyFidelity is an extremely tiny fraction of new Polyamorous people, and is evident by the ages of the people interviewed who are baby-boomers and generation x'rs. Many of the relationship styles in this book are considered unhealthy and unethical by current standards. The author replies heavily on outdated books and ideas from spiritualism books and texts from decades past. Polyamory has quickly evolved to mainly consist of SoloPoly and non-fidelity partnered Poly, with the later even losing favor. This book is now a very poor guide for modern nonmonogamists, with ideas of rules, 6 page written agreements, and lack of empathy for non-primary relationships. Coupled readers are better off reading "More Than Two" for a modern look at ethical partnered polyamory, and "The Ethical Slut" remains the top book for those interested in SoloPoly.
"Opening Up" presents some very useful perspectives on different types of polyamory, especially partnered polyamory. I can see why it is one of a handful of books most recommended for people considering opening up their relationships or who have already done so and are navigating the early days. By the end, I was convinced that polyamorous people are all around me. Just as everybody knows a gay person but might not know that they are gay, it is probably true that just about everybody knows a polyamorous person or couple without realizing it.
Tristan Taormino tries hard to be inclusive of all types of polyamory and ethical non-monogamy, but most of the advice in the book is geared towards partnered non-monogamy -- that is, committed two-person "primary" relationships with one or more "secondary" relationships. Even the title of the book evokes the idea of a monogamous couple "opening up" their relationship. There is certainly nothing wrong with that, but people more interested in other forms of polyamory might give this book a pass.
About the Narration: This book feels a bit like a large research paper, with facts, citations, and bullet lists. Admittedly, narrating a work of this nature is challenging, but even so I found the narration to be excessively flat and robotic. Ms. Perrin puts... pauses in... sentences, even where there is... no punctuation. At times, the unnatural cadence actually made me wonder if I was listening to a text-to-speech computer program rather than a live narrator. On the positive side, she is moderately successful at changing voices in order to set a quote off from the rest of the text. Overall, though, I found the reading style to be annoying.
This is a great book to help you navigate your relationships (open or otherwise). Lots of practical examples and helpful information to think through. The readers voice is a bit challenging to listen through the whole book, but I think that is to maintain clarity and refrain from any judgement inflection. OK on 1.25-2x speed.
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