Polyamory on Rise Among Divorce-Disgusted Americans

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Polyamorist Family Are 'Pretty Much Straight

As a somatic sexologist, Ma works with other couples to heal their physical problems with sex when talk therapy has failed.

She has DVDs and two websites, Sex Is You, and How To Love Openly about polyamory. With Hanauer, she wrote a book, "Red Hot Touch."

Ma said all three partners are "pretty much straight."

"Not all three of us have sex together, for sure," she said. "But if you look at the Kinsey scale, there is no black or white. I work with women and do very somatic work. It's [about] people, that's more who I am, not necessarily gender."

Both Ferguson and Hanauer date other women, but that doesn't mean their family is free of friction.

"Ian just called me this afternoon and he has another lover and partner," said Ma. "He wants me to be more inclusive and meet her. We will have a conversation."

They have an agreement that each is not allowed to see someone else unless that person is interested in polyamory.

"Ian loves to do things that trigger me," she said. "He loves to date monogamous women and that drive me nuts -- because it sets them up for a lot of pain… he's always creating drama."

Ma also has other important rules about their relationships. "The biggest for me is safe sex," she said. "I am a total germ-a-phobe. I want to know who they are having sex with. Being a sexologist, I am hyper aware of that."

The second rule is to "check-in" with the others when another relationship arises. "It's not like we can go have sex with someone," said Ma. "There is definitely a conversation. I don't give permission -- I am not his Mom -- but let's honor and care about each other and how we feel."

Meanwhile, Ma's son Eamon is doing well with this unconventional setting.

"Within our family it's great," she said about three parents raising a child. "Oh, my god, it works well. It's amazing to watch."

So far, there isn't much research on how the children of polyamorous families fare, but Elisabeth Sheff, a sociologist at Georgia State University, is conducting the first large study of these children. Her work reveals that they can thrive, if their families are stable and loving.

Ma said that she does worry about society will judge her son as he gets old enough to start school. "We live in a culture that doesn't support that," she said. "And we are not anti-monogamy."

"It's a concern," said Ma. "I think often that there are so many different families today. The modern family has stepdad and gay dads and two mommies. What is family and how do we explain that to children?"

Luckily, she said, their family lives in the Los Angeles area where "there are many different kinds of families."

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