Books on Polyamory: Criticisms from a POC Woman

Violet Beau
6 min readJun 8, 2023


Intro — Who I am and why I am doing this?

Hi I am Olivia Khan-Do. I have believed in non-monogomy before I knew the term. I grew up in a non-traditional family structure. Somehow I think this helped me break out of the assumptions that come along with the nuclear family. I feel I was raised by many adults and even children — not just my birth mum and dad. I spoke to my older sister about some things, my grand mother about other things and my foster mum about others. Together they gave input and shaped me into the person I am today. This followed into my dating life early on. I wanted my loves to be loved by others and to have their needs met in different ways just as I did in my family.

I found the poly world in my early adulthood and soon after I found people that joined me in that love. I now live and love a small group of people that I loosely refer to as my poly family. This is ever-changing and not always so easy to pin down. This group now includes the love of pets and recently children! In this time In have looked for advice and input from books and other resources. Below are the three most common books I hear about in the discussions around poly and non-monogamy. Here are some thoughts and criticisms I have of these books.

I think these books are all great starter points but I find it is always useful to note where some publications are not so strong so that one can create a full picture of the topic.

More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory

by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert

This book offers practical advice and insights into navigating polyamorous relationships. It covers topics such as communication, jealousy, boundaries, and ethical considerations.

Lack of Diversity

One common criticism of “More Than Two” is its limited representation of diverse perspectives and experiences within the polyamorous community. The book primarily reflects the authors’ personal experiences, which may not fully encompass the wide range of backgrounds and identities within the polyamory community. It would have been beneficial to include more diverse voices to provide a more comprehensive understanding of ethical non-monogamy. Furthermore the book does not adequately address the intersectional dimensions of polyamory, such as race, class, and disability, which can significantly impact individuals’ experiences within polyamorous relationships.

Oversimplification of Complex Issues

Polyamory is a complex and multifaceted topic that involves navigating various emotions, relationship dynamics, and communication challenges. Some readers have found that “More Than Two” oversimplifies these complexities, providing overly prescriptive solutions without addressing the nuances and individual differences that arise in polyamorous relationships. It would have been helpful to delve deeper into these complexities and offer a more nuanced perspective.

Limited Focus on Relationship Hierarchy

Another criticism is the book’s emphasis on relationship hierarchy, where one relationship is prioritized over others. This approach can be exclusionary and perpetuate power imbalances within polyamorous relationships. Offering more exploration of alternative relationship models, such as relationship anarchy or non-hierarchical polyamory, would have been valuable to provide a broader perspective.

Abuse by the Author

Unfortunately after the publication of the book one of the authors came out with reports of abuse towards her co-author. Many other ex partners of him came out with stories too. Please check this great Medium article for more detailed information about this. This book was half of Eve Rickert’s work and think it should still be recognised as such. I follow Eve’s youtube channel and her other work and you can too!

The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures

by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton

Considered a classic in the field, this book explores the philosophy of ethical non-monogamy and provides practical guidance for creating fulfilling and consensual relationships.

Lack of Diversity

Similar to “More than Two” this book primarily reflects the experiences of the authors and their immediate social circles, which may not fully encompass the wide range of backgrounds, identities, and relationship structures found in the non-monogamous community. Including more diverse voices and intersectional perspectives would provide a more comprehensive and inclusive understanding of ethical non-monogamy.

Focus on Couple-Centric Relationships

Some readers have criticized the book for its emphasis on couple-centric relationships, where primary partnerships are prioritized over other relationships. This approach can overlook the experiences of solo polyamorous individuals, relationship anarchists, or those who engage in non-hierarchical forms of non-monogamy.

Practical Guidance

While “The Ethical Slut” offers valuable philosophical insights and personal stories, some readers have expressed a desire for more practical guidance and tools for navigating the challenges of non-monogamy. Providing concrete strategies, communication techniques, and conflict resolution skills would enhance the book’s utility for readers seeking actionable advice.

Evolving Landscape

Published in 1997, “The Ethical Slut” has had a significant impact on the non-monogamy community. However, the landscape of non-monogamous relationships has evolved since then, with new perspectives, research, and discussions emerging.

Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy

by Jessica Fern

This book combines principles of attachment theory and trauma-informed care with polyamory. It explores how attachment styles and past experiences can impact polyamorous relationships and offers guidance on creating secure and fulfilling connections

Limited Representation of Polyamorous Experiences

“Polysecure” primarily focuses on the author’s personal experiences and those of their clients. This can result in a somewhat narrow perspective, as the book may not fully encompass the diverse range of polyamorous relationships and experiences. Including a broader range of voices, stories, and examples from a more diverse polyamorous community would enhance the book’s relevance and applicability.

Insufficient Exploration of Intersectionality

Again, as with the previous two books “Polysecure” does not adequately address the intersectional dimensions of polyamory, such as the impact of race, ethnicity, gender, and other identity factors on attachment styles and relationship dynamics. Incorporating intersectional perspectives would deepen the book’s analysis and provide a more comprehensive understanding of attachment in polyamorous contexts.

Need for Practical Strategies

While “Polysecure” offers valuable theoretical concepts and insights, some readers may find it lacking in practical guidance and strategies for navigating attachment dynamics in polyamorous relationships. Providing more concrete tools, exercises, and communication techniques would enhance the book’s utility for readers seeking actionable advice and skills.

Overemphasis on Attachment Styles

While attachment theory is a valuable framework, it is not the only factor that influences relationship dynamics in polyamory. The book tends to place a heavy emphasis on attachment styles as the primary lens through which to understand and address challenges in polyamorous relationships. It would be beneficial to explore and integrate other relevant concepts, such as communication, consent, boundaries, and relationship agreements, to provide a more comprehensive understanding of polyamorous dynamics.


Remember, reading books about polyamory can provide valuable insights and perspectives, but it’s important to approach them with an open mind and adapt the information to fit your personal circumstances and needs.

I will be hosting two Poly Speed Dating events through the Venice Project this summer in Berlin. I would love to see you there!

Friday 21 July 1900–2200 Eventbrite