Opening Up

Tristan Taormino

Opening Up



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Tristan Taormino suggests that the traditional concept of marriage is becoming increasingly irrelevant, since the very idea of lifelong monogamy pretty much sets us up for failure from the start. People commit to monogamy only because it is what is expected of them by society: we are told that when we find our life partners, we will live happily ever after, but this fairy tale does not live up to reality. It is no coincidence that many monogamists end up cheating on their partners. There is, however, an alternative: to opt for an open relationship. Opening Up puts forward a strategy for creating fulfilling, lasting, and loving relationships, and explores the benefits and challenges of all kinds of open relationships.

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Analysis and key concepts


Traditional marriage is collapsing, because monogamy sets us up for failure, and the idea that one person can perfectly complete us for the rest of our lives is unrealistic and even damaging


There is no formula for non-monogamous relationships, so non-monogamy requires extremely strong communication skills


Polyamorous relationships are no less committed than monogamous ones: the only difference is that the agreements are made privately between the partners, rather than the public vows made in traditional marriage


Although jealousy is a factor in non-monogamous relationships, many of them are based on ‘compersion’, which is the pleasure and gratitude we feel when we see our partner getting on well with other people


Coming out as non-monogamous can expose us to prejudice, but keeping it a secret also has hidden and harmful effects that create a rift with our loved ones




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Discover an alternative to monogamy.
  • Explore a new approach to relationships.
  • Achieve a more fulfilling love and sex life.
  • Lead a more genuine and honest life.
  • Break out of our daily routine.

Tristan Taormino is an author, columnist, editor, and sex educator. In addition to Opening Up, she has also written True Lust: Adventures in Sex, Porn and Perversion, as well as Down and Dirty Sex Secrets, and The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women. She is also the editor of the Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology series Best Lesbian Erotica. She is a columnist for Village Voice and Hustler’s Taboo, runs the adult film production company Smart Ass Productions, and is a director for Vivid Entertainment. She has been featured in numerous media outlets including The New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, New York Magazine, Men’s Health, Playboy, HBO Real Sex, CNN, MTV, and The Discovery Channel. She teaches at several universities and gives seminars all over the world on sexuality and gender, homosexuality, alternative relationships, and feminism. She lives in upstate New York with her partner and three dogs.

Publishing house:

Cleis Pr