Glen W. Olson and Terry Lee Brussel-Rogers

Jul 4, 2023

Fifty Years of Polyamory in America

A Guided Tour of a Growing Movement

Rowman & Littlefield 2022

Fifty Years of Polyamory in America: A Guided Tour of a Growing Movement (Rowman & Littlefield, 2022) is unique among the many books about polyamory because the scope of this book is the entire history of the polyamory movement. Instead of concentrating on the experiences of a few people exploring alternate lifestyles, it is an exploration of two generations of Americans, the people and the organizations they founded, what they have chosen to do, and how it has changed their lives and affected the culture as a whole.

Written in an entertaining and easily accessible style, the authors cover the history of alternative sexual relationship styles starting with a quick peek at colonial times, the Mormon and Oneida movements of the 1840s-70s, and modern day influences starting in the 1950s.

Polyamory, literally “many loves,” challenges the relationship norm: monogamy. As its name suggests, polyamory typically refers to emotional/sexual relationships that include multiple partners. Common applications of polyamory include open marriages, triad (three people), two-couple (four people) “marriages,” and larger groups like intimate networks. Swingers are a subset of non-monogamy who often identify as poly.

Throughout the course of Fifty Years of Polyamory in America, we explore the history of the polyamory movement: from clinical definitions and attempts at psychiatric treatment, to the advent of advocacy groups in the 1960s and ’70s, to contemporary practitioners and the future of the movement. A wide range of personal stories from advocates and practitioners guides the narrative to the modern day, highlighting the struggles and successes of the movement throughout the years.

Glen Olson is an author and historian of the polyamory movement and gives presentations on the history of polyamory and open relationships to interested groups. He is a retired fire captain, paramedic, and technical writer.

Terry Lee Brussel-Rogers is a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Life/Business Coach, director of Success Center Inc. since 1969. She has done poly relationship coaching and has taught sensitivity training and jealousy workshops since 1975. She lives in Winnetka California.

Frances Sacks is a graduate of Wesleyan University where she studied in the Science and Society Program.

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Frances Sacks is a graduate of Wesleyan University where she studied in the Science and Society Program.

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