New zine – queer relationships

I just spent the whole weekend and two excellent events on relationships: Queer polyday in Leicester, and the Polyamory, Consensual Non-Monogamy and Relationship Anarchy day in Manchester.

For my bits of the days I put together a zine bringing together some of my thoughts on relationships from the last decade or so, and asking what I hope are a useful set of questions about our relationships – whether or not we see ourselves, or our relationships, as queer.


The zine takes as a starting point the word queer, and the different possible meanings of that term. Then it applies these different meanings to relationships to ask the question ‘what does a queer relationship look like?’ Particular it explores the cultural acceptability of different kinds of relationships, different relationship labels, the idea of relationships being on multiple dimensions, and what it’s like to shift from the question of what relationships we have, to how we do them.

You can download the zine here. It prints out best in booklet form, but fine to read it as a pdf on an e-reader or computer also.

Savage advice on monogamish relationships

Dan Savage did this presentation to the Festival of Dangerous Ideas on monogamy, non-monogamy and monogamish relationships. Lots of interesting ideas in there, and he quotes Rewriting the Rules at the end! How to make sure that our relationships – of whatever kind – are not ‘disasters waiting to happen’.



Guardian post on monogamy

There’s a piece by me on the Guardian Comment is Free website in response to today’s news about research on evolutionary theories of monogamy.

So monogamy works for some animals. Doesn’t mean it’s ‘natural’ for us
We cannot resist evolutionary research on monogamy but biology is only part of how humans connect

There has been a good deal of press coverage surrounding a research study that addressed the question of how human monogamy came about, from an evolutionary perspective. This suggested that males in monogamous mammal species remain with female partners to protect their families from other males, who would otherwise kill the young and mate with the females.

This is no doubt an interesting study, as is other recent evolutionary research highlighting how unusual monogamy is across animal species (reported in the book Sex at Dawn). However, more interesting to me is the focus of such research – and the journalists who report it. If we are genuinely interested in human monogamy, I wonder why our main focus is how it evolved in animals.

It seems that this reflects our current cultural preference for internal explanations of human behaviour. We seem drawn to neuroscience and evolutionary biology to address our questions, rather than to the social sciences or philosophy for example. Undoubtedly the ways in which humans evolved, and the ways in which our brains and bodies now function, are part of the picture of how we relate to one another. However, there are clearly many more contributing factors than that. We require a biopsychosocial approach, rather than one that engages with biology alone. Read more…

Feminism and (non)monogamy

I did a podcast interview last week for Feminist Current about whether monogamy was compatible with feminism. The podcast deals with some of the historical context of monogamy and its implications for women. It also covers the feminist potentials of non-monogamy and the question of whether open forms of non-monogamy – such as polyamory – operate for the benefit of men and/or whether they have potential as a relationship style which is suited to other genders.