"Love is 1 man, 3 women and a bed built for 5"
Remember the bit on the Beatles' Abbey Road album about Polythene Pam — "She's the kind of a girl, who makes the News of the World / Yes you could say she was attractively built."? The weekly News of the World is England's original trashy tabloid, full of celebrities and porn stars and scandals. It's one of the papers on which Rupert Murdoch built his empire. Depressingly, with a circulation of 3.4 million (as of 2006), it is the largest-circulation English-language newspaper on Earth.
This Sunday morning Britons are waking up to find, in its magazine insert Fabulous, a very positive (if breathless and bedazzled) feature article on a longterm poly quint living together in Cornwall. Including a sixth person who's living outside the house, they've been together for 7, 10, 15, 20, and 20 years.
Love is 1 man, 3 women and a bed built for 5
Alexandra Manning believes she’s found the secret to a perfect relationship – have four lovers! Fabulous delves under the covers of one polyamorous love-in...
By Jill Foster, Nov. 29, 2009
Sharing our lives with one other person is enough for most of us to cope with. But when 37-year-old Alexandra Manning goes to bed at night, she climbs under the duvet with four - yes, four - of her many lovers.
Because Alexandra is not interested in being a one-man woman... far from it. Her complex love life is a mind-boggling tangle of relationships with both men and women.
"I find that the more I love, the greater my capacity to love becomes," she explains. "When I care for someone, I want to share them with someone else to show how wonderful they are."
...Alexandra's romantic liaisons have been unconventional ever since she met her first true love 20 years ago....
...Today, Alexandra lives with Robert and her three girlfriends, who they've met over the last 15 years - Susan, 33, Carol, 34, and Lucy, 37. They all share a large three-bedroom house in Cornwall - and a vast home-made bed that sleeps five.
...It's an unusual set-up, but one which works for all concerned, insists Alexandra.
"I know it seems strange to most people, but I don't believe monogamous relationships are natural," she says.
Alexandra's story provides a fascinating insight into the extraordinary world of polyamory, the practice of being in more than one intimate relationship at a time with full consent on all sides. Unlike polygamy - which refers to multiple marriages, and usually involves several wives sharing one man - polyamory crosses both genders.
..."We're individuals who love each other equally. We have relationships with people outside the group, but at the core are four wonderful people who I adore....
"No one believes me when I say arguments never crop up, but they don't. If anyone felt jealous, we'd talk it through. We have one rule: complete honesty. If someone feels left out, they must say so. That way we can change things," she explains.
...Alexandra is open about her personal life and says her parents have been supportive of her unusual choices.
"From the moment I first slept with a woman, I knew I'd never go back to sleeping with just men," she says. "Sex with a man is like a big showy thunderstorm, but sex with a woman is like an ocean - there's a depth and subtlety that doesn't exist with a man."
..."We all share a bed most nights, but if someone wants to be 'coupley' - say, if I want to be on my own with Carol or Susan - the two of us will sleep in the guest bedroom," says Alexandra.
"But often, the five of us share the big bed in the main room. It's lovely being able to turn over and snuggle up to a different person. We tend not to have sex in the bed at night because everyone joins in, and then you get exhausted through lack of sleep! Instead, we'll have sex in the afternoon or early evening in one of the other rooms."
..."We've been a fivesome for so long, it would feel odd to be with just one person, man or woman. I couldn't imagine life any other way."
"I think there's something inherently unstable about a couple," adds Robert. "A bunch of people living together makes more sense."
..."The only thing I dread is when we get old and start dying, as we'll see our support network dwindle [says Alexandra]. But we don't need to think about that yet. Having sex with so many people suits us all perfectly. I can't imagine life any other way."
Read the whole article (Nov. 29, 2009).
Thanks to Leigh, whose early tip allowed me to post the first comment!
Update next day: Judging by my Google hits, the article has been republished in Ireland, Poland, Hungary, India, China, and God knows where else.