Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, Volume 11, March 24, 2008


Opening Up: Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships

By Tristan Taormino

Cleis Press, 2008, 290 pages

Click on cover to buy this book from Amazon.com for $11.53

Review by David S. Hall

I have had the opportunity to review a galley copy of Tristan’s new book, and I found it to be a great addition to the literature on relationships. I have known her work for several years and met her at various meetings, and I am impressed by the many capabilities this delightful woman has, including creating and directing sexual education films, writing a syndicated column for Village Voice called “Pucker Up” and several other sexually oriented books. She also maintains an open relationship, and travels extensively to speak to interested audiences nationwide.

Opening Up is the result of a great deal of research on her part and over one hundred twenty responses from people and groups who are involved in responsible non-monogamy. She integrates their stories with the specific details of what she understands of the wide variety of practices that constitute open relationships. In my opinion, she has not missed anything important in this comprehensive guide. It is not a “how to” book, but an encyclopedia of possibilities to help people structure relationships that don’t follow the socially approved model. The examples she provides from the interviews put these ideas in a meaningful context.

She includes checklists for the readers to use to see if open relationships are useful in their specific situation and view of life. These also help you make sure you have not overlooked something important. Just like monogamy has failed for many people, so have open relationship. There are many approaches to relationships and the seeker will find many suggestions in the wide varieties discussed, as well as specific examples from people who have attempted (both successfully and not so successfully) to live lives with more love in them. She crams a lot of information into 290 pages, and keeps it bright and interesting. The chapter organization is clear and progressive from the Introduction, “Opening Up to the Possibilities: Challenging Monogamy and Revolutionizing Relationships” through a wrap up on “The Future of Relationships”.

Whether you are just considering opening your relationship, or trying to find a solution to a problem in an existing open relationship, or just curious how people manage these relationships, this is the book for you.

Return to Front Page