"Special Arrangements: The Changing Face of the 21st Century Relationship"
discussion panel on non-monogamy and polyamory with Sunny Bates (moderator), Reid Mihalko of http://ReidAboutSex.com, Diana Adams, Esq. of http://www.DianaAdamsLaw.net, and Esther Perel of http://www.EstherPerel.com/
Sept 30th, New York City
Sunny: Welcome. I’m Sunny Bates and delighted that you are all here tonight. This is our first standard talk of the season. I think we’re all really interested in this subject of what the future of relationships look like and is there something beyond monogamy. We have a great group of people tonight to explore this, both from a philosophical, from an actual practical perspective and then from a therapeutic perspective, but I promise it won’t hurt a bit.
Starting from my very far left, your right, is the wonderful Ester Perel who many of you probably know, it seems to be. She’s one of the world’s most original and insightful voices in exploring couples and sexuality cross-cultures. She’s fluent in nine languages. She’s a Belgian native and she speaks on emotional and erotic intelligence, work life balance, cross-cultural relations, conflict resolution, identity of modern marriage and family. She’s a TED favorite, her talk has over 2.5 million viewings and rising every day.
Ester: That’s enough.
Sunny: That’s enough. I could go on and on and on couldn’t I? I won’t. I’ll stop now. Next to Ester we have Diana Adams who is an out and proud polyamorous queer bisexual, New York City based attorney, activist, and educator. She’s a fierce agitator for sexual civil rights and nontraditional families. An advocate for clients who wish to start families with intention and legal stability. Diana also represents parent and child custody cases whose nontraditional sexuality may be turned against them in court.
Then we have Reid. You got to have a man here right. Reid Mihalko, who’s a sex and relationship expert. My mic is bouncing back and forth. I don’t know if I’m doing something or … okay. Who’s a sex and relationship expert and to date he has amassed over 150,000 conversations with men and women about sex and relationships. He’s got an art school degree from Brown University, a personal favorite because both my girls are there.
Reid: Go Browns.
Sunny: He founded an internationally acclaimed nonsexual communication workshop called Cuddle Party. He’s thrown an orgy for Emmy nominated journalist Lisa Ling on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
This is such an interesting and charged conversation. I want for both of you to start with this. How did you come to polyamory? How did you come to your world as it stands right now in your work?
Reid: Do you want to go first or do you want me to go first?
Sunny: Yeah you do it. You’re right next to me.
Reid: I get nervous when I speak. Everyone take a deep breath and just go ohhhhhh. Thanks.
My mom and dad love each other very, very much. My brothers and I watched them. We’d catch them making out in the kitchen and stuff like that, but their inability to communicate eventually kind of tanked their marriage even though they stayed together. My mom became an alcoholic. My dad tried to fix it by working more, which is what my mom didn’t need. They eventually ended up losing everything and living in their van. That kind of set me off on how do I not be like them?
Then in college, I fell in love with two women at the same time. I was deeply in love with …
Sunny: But you were in high school the first time.
Reid: Yeah. My first high school love. She and I were still dating in college and I fell in love with a woman in my art class who had a brown eye and a blue eye at the same time. Fascinating.
Sunny: Falling into her eyes.
Reid: It was crazy. I didn’t know how to reconcile it because culturally speaking it must mean that I wasn’t really in love with Lauren or that I wasn’t ready to settle down. There was a lot of cultural stigma. That was the beginning of me trying to figure out like, what the fuck. My genius was, if they just met each other. They would get how awesome they were and it’ll all work out somehow. I went to my roommate, he was my karate instructor at the time. I’m like, “Sensei I’ll just have them meet each other and they’ll get it.” He looks at me and he goes, that is the stupidest fucking idea [inaudible 00:04:26].
Sunny: He’s right.