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Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships Paperback – May 1, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 152 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"A luscious smorgasbord of non-monogamy as an opportunity for breaking free of one-way models of sex and love. Taormino's discussion is remarkably nuanced and balanced--and encourages readers to proceed with their eyes wide open." -- Jack Morin, PhD, author of The Erotic Mind

"Bold advice for explorers of open relationships. Comprehensive, clear, and grounded in practical realities, this book is one of the best to come along in a long time!" -- Deborah Anapol, Ph.D., author of Polyamory: The New Love Without Limits

"Courageous, stunningly thorough and inspiring. If you need a pathfinding guide for evolving your relationships, this is it." -- Daphne Rose Kingma, author of The Future of Love

"If you are looking for an everyday, run-of-the-mill relationship guide, this introduction to the world of nonmonogamy is probably not for you. Village Voice sex columnist Taormino, who has authored or edited a handful of guides on physical relationships (e.g., The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex For Women), sheds light on the various types of open relations and shares tips on how these relationships can most successfully be maintained. Those put off by the book's premise shouldn't be: this is not so much an espousal of nonmonogamous relationships as it is a comprehensive guide to the phenomenon, offering numerous firsthand accounts from those involved in open relationships. With its modern twist on conventional relationships, her latest title would be best suited for contemporary nonfiction collections."---Carolann Curry, Mercer Univ. Medical Lib., Macon, GA -- Library Journal--July 2008

"Superbly informative, sympathetic and literate." -- Dr. Gloria Brame, author of Different Loving

"Taormino cuts through all the utopian theory and gets down to what people really need: the nuts and bolts of how open relationships work. I want to give Opening Up to everyone I know who asks, 'How do you do it?'" -- Susie Bright, author of Best American Erotica Series

"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: Unlocking Erotica Intelligence

About the Author

Tristan Taormino is an award-winning author, columnist, editor, and sex educator. She is the author of True Lust: Adventures in Sex, Porn and Perversion, Down and Dirty Sex Secrets, The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women and editor of the Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology series Best Lesbian Erotica. Her popular Village Voice column "Pucker Up" is nationally syndicated. She runs her own adult film production company, Smart Ass Productions, and is currently an exclusive director for Vivid Entertainment. Tristan has been featured in over 250 publications including The New York Times, Redbook, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Entertainment Weekly, Details, New York Magazine, Men's Health, and Playboy. She has appeared on HBO's Real Sex, The Howard Stern Show, Loveline, Ricki Lake, and on CNN, MTV, and The Discovery Channel. She lectures at top colleges and universities, where she speaks on gay and lesbian issues, sexuality and gender, alternative relationships, and feminism. She teaches sex and relationship workshops around the world.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Cleis Press; First Edition edition (May 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157344295X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573442954
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Harper J. Tobin on July 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
A number of good and okay books on nonmonogamy and polyamory have been published in the last several years. I read most of them: some were focused on particular forms of nonmonogamy; others dominated by a spiritual bent, others were just poorly written or edited. Some were downright Pollyanna-ish in their superficial treatment of the challenges of open relationships, occasionally reeking of smug superiority over less-evolved monogamous couplings. None of them was the perfect book I wanted to recommend to the curious, the novice, the baffled and disapproving. This is that book.

Among the book's chief strengths is its breadth. Taormino conducted over 120 interviews with a diverse sample of the nonmonogamous - people of varying ages, sexualities, and (most of all) approaches to relationships. This variety is highlighted by six chapters on different types of open relationships, discussing each types particular advantages and challenges and sharing the experiences of individuals, couples, and group relationships.

The later chapters tackle particular issues and problems common to open relationships, from the emotional (managing jealousy, coming out) to the practical (safer sex, legal and financial protections). Taormino moves beyond the platitudes common to discussions of nomonogamy - "Communicate! Be Honest! Own your feelings!" - and provides concrete advice on how to approach difficult conversations, disentangle emotional reactions, develop and follow agreements, and respond to change.

The book's heavy use of quotations and anecdotes from interview subjects, and its effort to be accessible and inclusive, result in an approach that mutes the distinctive voice and focus on sexual exploration that mark Taormino's other work as an author, editor, educator and pornographer.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book after running into several folks over a ten year period that were into polyamory--having more than one lover at a time.

To be honest, I was half way between fear and weariness in my emotional take on this book. Fear? I was and am monogamous so fear for sure; but weary of judging my two or three friends who were oriented this way with multiple lovers. I felt their honesty and candor and approach to sexual integrity was scoring far better than mine. Not to mention more often! Yes, finding more integrity in their relationships than many of my church friends, some of whom were defending to the death their long dead marriages; lifeless, dry, sexless "relationships".

With Taormino's interviews of 100 plus folks in alternative relationships, a few things stood out for me as a traditional type married and sometimes churchy guy. All of us could learn a good deal from Tristan's book here on the matter of communication and honesty. I've learned from this title what a joy it is, for example, to have permission from a spouse to notice hot ladies in the street or market. And to have talked out before such events just where the jealousy thing begins and ends and to simply be able to feel free as a man to appreciate the life force around me. Yes, feel good.

Relationship with self? Yes, important. I decided to come out erotically with my thoughts yet with the blessing of my monogamous spouse. Communication and honesty! Saying out loud who you are and what you want, what you desire. That's what this book was about for me.

Opening Up will open up a few closed minds. This doesn't have to mean that if you are into traditional marriage that you have to dial down your commitment to monogamy or start groping ladies in elevators.
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18 Comments 324 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
Tristan Taormino has done it again. Her flair for intelligent, engaging journalism takes a hotly debated subject and demystifies it in a pragmatic, yet charming manner. As a relationship counselor, specializing in alternative affairs, I have, by this time, given all of my initial order copies of Opening Up to clients and friends. This easy to read primer holds priceless value to anyone involved in an intimate liaison and is not only for those in or contemplating open relationships. Taormino's talent for translating thorough research into entertaining reading is made even more beneficial through her use of checklists, guides, definitions and practical advice on etiquette, negotiation and more. What could have easily been just another boring, clinical look at alternative relationship models is presented in a vividly human way and accentuated via the many personal experiences which can be found throughout the book. By shattering countless misconceptions, fabrications, myths and rumors about open relationships, Taormino also brings to light the fact that monogamy is a choice and not an expectation. As well, this delightfully honest author clearly communicates her deep understanding that there is no "right" model. Opening Up vividly illustrates, through tireless research, skillful writing and real life accounts, that all manner of relationships require periodic reevaluation highlighted by meaningful, sincere communication and negotiation in a fearless, loving environment. In her inimitable style, Taormino gently urges the reader to awareness that these are key elements for success in relationships of any kind.Read more ›
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