Thank you so much for consenting to do this interview. Please introduce
yourselves and give us a little background of the work you have done for
the Poly Community.
LG SAYS: I go by Lusty Guy for my work with Poly Weekly and have been
active in the sexual community of interest since the 1990s, when I formed
one of the first sex-positive adult video production companies. Currently
I co-produce and often co-host, the long-running podcast, Poly Weekly.
MINX: I go by Minx, and I’m the creator and host of the Poly Weekly
podcast, with over 500 episodes in production. I’m a sex educator and
What do you feel is the best advice you can give to someone who is new to
LG SAYS: To thine own self be true. You will find a host of sources out
there certain that their way to do Consensual Non-Monogamy (CNM) is the
only way. While it is true that if everyone hasn’t consented you are doing
it wrong, that’s about the only way to do it wrong. After that, as Minx
says, poly is a custom job so build the relationship behavior set that
works for you and your partners, rather than conforming to some internet
idea of the ideal way to do things.
MINX: Be kind to yourself. As with all relationships, you’re going to make
mistakes, you’re going to get hurt, and you’re probably going to hurt
other people. Do your best to minimize that last one, own your shit, and
learn from your mistakes. There’s not one right way to do poly or mono or
anything else; there’s just the way that works for you and others in the
What are some common misconceptions about poly? How can we help to
mitigate these false stereotypes?
LG SAYS: Don’t worry about others’ misconceptions, they will always be
there. Live your best life, let others nurse their own ideas, and move
forward with integrity.
MINX: Just understand that any stereotypes exist due to a lack of
exposure. The more of us that come out and share the details of our lives,
the less power those stereotypes will have. And it’s working–poly
relationships have got more and more positive coverage in major
publications in the last five years, and fewer people are asking me what
poly is when I come out to them.
What are some red flags when dating a new partner?
LG SAYS: Watch how they handle conflict and people who have less power
than them, in that instance. The famous example is to observe how they
treat the wait staff/service people at businesses you visit but how they
treat kids and animals is another good indication. Pay attention to the
stories they tell, are they always the person who does no wrong and is
done wrong by the world? If so that is a red flag to me as we all make
mistakes and if we never tell stories of them we’ll never learn from them.
MINX: I love to ask people about their exes; I think the stories we tell
about our past relationships show a lot about who we are. If they talk
about the lessons they learned, I’m intrigued. I believe every experience
we have makes us who we are today. If they dismiss their ex and call them
“crazy,” I usually end the conversation. Not only is that an insult to a
partner they once loved and spent time with, but it shows a lack of
introspection and compassion, both of which I find necessary for a
successful relationship of any kind.
Do you feel that mono/poly relationships can work? If so, why? If not, why?
LG SAYS: In my experience mono/poly relationships work, i.e. they
contribute to making everyone invovled better versions of themsevles,
about as often as gay/straight relationships work, which is to say not
very often. But, I also want to say that my opinion of a relationship
doesn’t matter at all, it’s only those who are in the relationship who can
really know if it is, ‘working,’ or not. The rest of us can go hang.
MINX: Agree with Lusty Guy. It’s often difficult (but not impossible) for
everyone in a poly-mono relationship to be happy. The only times I’ve seen
it work is when both people are extremely secure and have rock solid
self-esteem and strong communication skills.
What are the biggest mistakes one can make when living the poly lifestyle?
How can one avoid making these errors?
LG SAYS: The same mistakes that one can make when living a monogamous
lifestyle. Lying to oneself or others tends to produce negative outcomes
when one is poly or mono. Trying to be someone we are not just about never
works out. Now having said that there are mistakes that are more common
among poly folk, such as trying to create a specific, written, list of
rules that will govern everyone’s behavior. That just about always ends
up being a map to the things the folk will argue about.
MINX: Lusty Guy took my answer! Seriously, the things that break up poly
relationships are the same things that break up mono relationships. A lack
of honesty, lack of communication, or lack of empathy will destroy
relationships every time. If the relationship isn’t making the people in
it better versions of themselves, it’s time to rethink it, regardless of
whether it’s poly, mono, or anything in between.
I agree with LG that the inclination to make a lot of rules is a classic
poly blunder. Telling adults what to do usually doesn’t work out
well–have you ever tried to tell a grown-ass adult what they can and
can’t do? How did that work out for you? If you must have guidelines, they
should be assume individual agency and be based on mutual respect. A
guideline of “let’s avoid surprises” is general, respects everyone’s
agency, and supports open communication, for example. A rule of “no
sleepovers” is just begging to be broken and nitpicked to death–what is a
“sleepover”? Is that here past 2 AM? 3 AM? What if we weren’t sleeping?
What if it was snowing? What if we were in different rooms? What if there
was no sex?
What are the different forms of poly that you know about?
LG SAYS: Too many to list. In the final analysis, there are as many forms
of poly as there are people who claim the label and I have to admit to
being a bit bored with the, “what term do you use and how do you define
it,” conversation in anything other than the context of getting to know a
MINX: There are as many types of poly as there are people who practice it,
much like monogamy. However, if you want to know the most common
configurations, Tristan Taormino’s Opening Up has a good list to get you
started thinking about what might work for you. But everyone ends up
customizing their relationship to their needs and situation–and let’s not
forget that changes over time. There are poly folks who end up in
relationships that appear to be monogamous for one reason or another, and
there are mono-identified folks whose circumstances land them in poly
What is/are the difference(s) between being poly and being in an open
relationship? Is there a difference in your opinion?
LG SAYS: The difference will vary from speaker to speaker. Personally I
don’t really care and have used the terms interchangeably. I tend to
prefer to ID as CNM these days, or open, because of the frequency of gate
keepers in the poly online community but I use the term, “poly,” as a
convenient shorthand as well.
MINX: Being in an open relationship more often refers to a primary couple,
usually (but not always) heterosexual, who each have other partners, and
the relationship is often (but not always) hierarchical. The term
“polyamory” is a bit more all-encompassing, as it can refer to a solo poly
practitioner, a quad, a triad, a vee, a polycule, or an intimate network,
in additional to a couple who has other partners. The broader umbrella
term is “consensually non-monogamous,” or CNM, which many folks use in
lieu of the older term “polyamory” due to its alternative connotations.
In your experience, what is the crossover between kink, BDSM, and poly?
LG SAYS: Huge. I see lots of shared membership between the kink, BDSM,
poly, CNM, science fiction, gaming, fantasy, and comic communities.
MINX: Once of the first classes I created was on where to meet poly
people, as everyone kept asking. The answer? Kink conferences, sci-fi
conventions, Renaissance faires, bisexuality events, and pagan circles. I
remember going to my first poly camping event and meeting a mortgage
broker, who was so excited to meet me! Not because of the podcast, but
because my day job is marketing. They just wanted to meet a poly person
who wasn’t quite so alternative. Nowadays, we have OK Cupid and other
dating apps that just let us specify our relationship configuration, so
you don’t necessarily have to be part of an alternative community to find
poly folks unless you especially want to.
For you, what are the pros of being poly? What are the cons?
LG SAYS: Living honestly is the major pro of being poly, IME. Being true
to myself is a core value for me, which is to say I seek to minimize or
eliminate the difference between my inner state and my outer actions. My
inner state is far from monogamous and the very short time I have tried to
behave that way (in my early 20s) was a disaster. Being openly
non-monogamous gives me integrity.
In terms of cons I got bumpkins. There is the social pressure to conform,
and legal risks in terms of job and kids that I know some folk face but
none of that has ever been an issue for me personally. It’s all good for
MINX: For me, being poly enables me to be my best self. I didn’t have a
close family growing up, and building out my friends and family of choice
has been fulfilling and empowering for me. There are loads of other
advantages–having three adults in the house to manage chores, social
engagements, and finances (especially in expensive Seattle) is huge–but
that’s certainly not why I’m poly!
Do you have any advice for coming out as poly to friends and family?
LG SAYS: Just do it and don’t let your guesses of how folk will respond
guide you. My trans spawn recently came out to their grandfather, my
father in law, who the family has conspired to keep in the dark about all
kinds of things for fear that he wouldn’t accept them. But he accepted his
non-binary grandchild just fine. Not everyone will, mind you, but give
everyone a chance to be a better person than your fear tells you they will
be. Relax, don’t make it a big deal because they will mirror your
emotional state while you come out, and do it. (He said while supporting
the notion that everyone’s closet is their own and if you choose to stay
in it I support that as well.)
MINX: Check the backlog of Poly Weekly–we’ve talked about it quite a lot!
Here’s the condensed version: (1) only you get to decide when to come out.
Some folks have concerns about employment or custody of kids and can’t,
and we all need to respect that. However, the closet is toxic, so if you
can come out, do. (2) Your friends’ and family’s reactions are about them,
not you. You’ll likely hear some bewilderingly uninformed and negative
responses from them. (My mother still, for some inexplicable reason,
believes I live in Lusty Guy’s and L’s garage. No idea why.) Remember that
they own their reactions; you do you. (3) Major holidays are often already
fraught with family tensions and are therefore not the best times to come
out. Pick an ordinary day and meet one on one or with just a small group.
What do you feel are the next steps for the Poly Community at large? How
can we help facilitate this as a society?
LG SAYS: I think the best thing individual members can do for the larger
CNM community is to live the best life they can, in as open as way as they
can. Come out of the closet and show to the majority community that we’re
here, we’re just like them, and we aren’t going away.
MINX: With the coverage polyamory has been getting over the last few
years, we are well on our way to normalization. It was even mentioned on
the Big Bang Theory lately as a throwaway line. My dream is for poly to be
just as valid a relationship choice as being mono, getting married, not
getting married, having kids, or not having kids. The more people that are
willing to come out and talk about what their poly lives look like, the
closer we get to that state.
What are some essential tools that you use to keep your poly lifestyle
LG SAYS: Shared electronic calendars are huge as are all tools that help
communication. Chat, video conferences, and so on. Doing whatever
introspective activity works for you (meditation, journaling, counseling,
conversation, whatever) so that you can know what you want and effectively
communicate it while accepting what others want is vital.
MINX: Communication, self-awareness, humility, listening, self-esteem, and
What new projects are you currently working on? Where and when can we view
MINX: Most of our projects are on the back burner while I focus on my day
job. For the moment, I’m happy producing the podcast and teaching at
national and international events with Lusty Guy.
LG: My new projects are mostly wrapped up in the diving space. That and
chasing wild boar around.
Any closing words and/or advice?
LG: Let everyone be the experts on themselves, and be the expert on
yourself. If your partners tell you they want or need X don’t second guess
it. Accept that they know themselves better than you do and ask for the
same treatment in return.
MINX: Forgive yourself for experience shock. Many folks have researched
and embraced poly on paper but ran into unexpected emotions when they were
dealing with real, live human beings. Don’t beat yourself up for how you
feel; just accept the unexpected or unflattering parts of you and approach
them as opportunities for self-examination.
Cunning Minx is the sultry-voiced producer and host of the wildly popular
Polyamory Weekly podcast, in continuous production for 13 years. Referred
to as “The Terry Gross of polyamory,” Minx shares tales from the front of
responsible non-monogamy from a pansexual, kink-friendly point of view
through the podcast, her book Eight Things I Wish I’d Known About
Polyamory, speaking engagements, and online communication courses. A kinky
boobiesexual, Minx founded the show as a resource for the poly and
poly-curious to form a community, share experiences, and help guide each
other on their journeys of poly and kinky exploration. Find her on
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Lustyguy Polyweekly, has been around the sex positive movement since the
late 1980s. He worked for about five years at Seattle’s Lusty Lady, ran an
adult video production company that filmed only people in actual
relationships, and for the past five years has been a regular co-host and
co-producer on Polyamory Weekly, Cunning Minx’s podcast on polyamory,
sexuality, and communications.