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The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory: Everything You Need to Know About Open Relationships, Non-Monogamy, and Alternative Love

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  336 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Here is an intelligent and comprehensive guide to alternative to monogamy offering relationship advice that might change your ideas about sex, love, and relationships.

This practical guidebook will help women break free of the mold of traditional monogamy, without the constraints of jealousy, possessiveness, insecurity, and competition. The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory i
Paperback, 280 pages
Published February 7th 2017 by Skyhorse
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Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a frequent listener of the Multiamory podcast, of which the author is a co-host, much of the content in the book was familiar ground to me. I say that not as a complaint but as a compliment: the podcast as a whole has consistently delivered at providing practical, even-handed, and thoughtful commentary on topics relating to polyamory and non-monogamy. This translates well into the written form as well.

Other mainstream books on polyamory are often criticized as being either too rah-rah (The E
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
I wish this book had existed 15 years ago when I was first introduced to non-monogamy but was too terrified to try it!

Dedeker is thoughtful, honest, funny, and intelligent, and she brings these qualities- as well as her years of experience- into this gem of a book.
Jessica Kiefer
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the book everyone who's considering a non monogamous life should read before entering a relationship, read while they ate in one and read if it ends. ...more
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, sex
Finally, a book I can actually recommend to people on this subject! Don't be fooled by the marketing to "girls": this is a book that people of all genders can enjoy and learn something from on the topic of romantic relationships generally and nonmonogamous relationships specifically.

There were a lot of gems of wisdom in this book -- I've thought so many times about "keeping my side of the street clean" that that bit (on page 71) was worth the price of admission alone -- and it's a better fit for
Amanda Reynolds-Gregg
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Really loved this book. I've been slowly and steadily researching the world of nonmonogamy and this book was extremely informative. While it is very similar in style to the Ethical Slut, it did strive very early on to be inclusive and also didn't necessarily put the emphasis on poly hierarchy, fairly sharing the pros and cons. The author maintains a familiar but clearly informed tone throughout, sharing her own experiences as a way to teach at several points. I especially am interested in solo p ...more
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
it is a pretty great book and i’d definitely recommend it to everyone who is interested in polyamory or any other form of non-monogomy and also to those with close friends who are polyamorous. it is quite focust on people who are already in a romantic relationship, but much less than in ‘the ethical slut’ for example and race is only discussed at the end in the context of intersectionality, but i’d still recommend listening to it / reading it. i’ve learned from it and i’m sure i’ll revist it soo ...more
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good overall look at the world of polyamory - probably the softest hand of any of the books I have read on the subject. Not as insistent in its author's views as More Than Two, I was able to sit with ideas different than what I believed more easily. I enjoyed reading this as a good exercise of mentally running through the major issues that come up in poly. Not earth shattering, but I enjoyed reading it. I recommend this in concert with Ethical Slut and More than Two for a balanced outlook on t ...more
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: english, non-fiction
Good resource. A helpful and important book on poly relationships. Spends some time describing the basics, and also dives in deep — exploring the history, theory, philosophy and controversy around polyamory.

The use of inclusive language suffers a bit from trying too hard (e.g. saying "gender self-identity" instead of just plain "gender") and at times ends up accidentally excluding people in the process when the descriptions get overly narrow, but I appreciate the effort.
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book written in clear, easy to understand language with real life scenarios for reference. Reading this made me realize that I'm not necessarily willing to be in a true poly relationship but really helped me with my own personal style regarding romantic relationships and communication within those.
Highly recommended.
Amy Bergeron
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
It's decent! Written for beginners in an accessible tone. Doesn't offer much to people who've already read core poly books and have been living the poly life for awhile. ...more
Meg Merriet
Nov 25, 2019 rated it did not like it
My friend convinced me this was worth reading to understand alternative lifestyles. I had already read Ethical Slut, and had found that text interesting and insightful. This book, however, is riddled with logical fallacies and fails to convince. Also, Dedeker Winston is possibly the most anti-feminist feminist ever to reach such an enormous audience of progressive individuals. For someone who wants to shatter norms, she herself is prone to thinking in binaries (i.e. good/bad, right/wrong). In he ...more
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very nice overview and practical introduction into polyamory. I like the premise that just as monogamy, polyamory isn't good or bad, but it's good to figure out what works for you rather than simply doing what's expected of you.
It gives practical insight into how to deal with jealously, time management, sex, communication, how to tell people this is your preferred lifestyle etc. For someone who's interested to explore how people manage relationships, this is a balanced insight with pros and con
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I initially was very excited to start this book even though I heard about it on Polyamory Weekly when it was set to be released. I was happy to find it for free at my library both as an eBook and audio book, I started the book but found that it was easier to listen to it. I normally like the voice of the person reading it but I don't know how I felt about the person who read it.
She read it like she was reading a steamy sex novel and not a nonfiction book about non monogamy and alternati
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is great for anyone who is thinking about polyamory, but also contains many tips and advice for people in all sorts of relationship structures-including monogamy. Her chapter on jealousy was particularly informative and anyone looking for more in-depth information should check out the Multiamory podcast. I particularly liked the conclusion where Dedeker describes how polyamory isn't a revolution in the sense that it's not trying to replace existing paradigms, but is instead an evolutio ...more
Annie Frazier
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This might be my favorite polyamory book ever!! I didn't find it to only (or even mostly) applicable to 'girls'- I think it's applicable to anyone, and the occasional stories are centered on women's experiences. Part memoir, part guidebook, part analysis of polyamory's cultural context. LOVED. CAN'T RECOMMEND ENOUGH. ...more
Rowland Hill
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Polyamory For The Uninitiated

Well thought out and presented information about polyamorous relationships. All aspects of initiating, developing and maintaining relationships are covered here. The challenges of nontraditional sex roles and connections are laid out along with precepts for managing the many questions such relationships provoke.
Jeff Schumacher
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful, quick guide to polyamory.

Dont be fooled by the title. Whether you're just starting to explore polyamory or those who have been polyamorous for a long time can benefit from Dedeker Winston's contribution.
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've seen The Smart Girl's Guide to Polyamory before, but it was after realizing that the author was from one of the members of the Multiamory podcast I've been listening to that got me to pick it up. Dedeker Winston is incredibly knowledgeable of non-monogamy and healthy relationships. Don't be fooled by the title; this is vital reading regardless of gender. The book doesn't feel like a textbook but contains researched thought-out useful information and many practical guidelines. It helps estab ...more
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Although I'm fairly well-versed in the topics and terms discussed in this book at this point (it is more of an introductory text), I still always appreciate brushing up on my knowledge or potentially seeing topics from a slightly different point of view. I think this is my favourite book on polyamory that I've read to date, largely because Dedeker is an excellent writer. And similarly to her and her co-host's Multiamory podcast, even individuals who have no intention to practice polyamory will l ...more
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audible version of this today. I've been listening to the podcast that Dedeker is on (Multiamory) for about a year now, and finally got around to check her book out.

I found a lot of things in the book that I had already learned and listened to in the podcast. It's a good book to start learning aspects of polyamory.

I'd say this is a good book (and podcast) to get into even if you're in a monogamous relationship (like I am). It's taught me things that I have been able to practic
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fairly comprehensive introduction to the wide world of nonmonogamy that makes an excellent first book for people new to alternative lovestyles. More experienced folks might find the content repetitive with other similar reads, but even as someone who's been actively nonmonogamous for fourteen years, I still found gems of insight worth sharing and having conversations about with my partners and friends. Winston's writing style is approachable and personal, which makes the book feel more like I ...more
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a delightful read, though, being a guide, it was very much written for people who are just dipping into the polyamorous waters. While poly veterans might not learn anything revolutionary during their read, there were plenty of moments where I found myself cringing as I remembered past mistakes and smiling as I relived my old "ah hah" moments. I especially enjoyed the personal anecdotes from Dedeker and the quotes from other non-monogamous folk, which were sprinkled throughout the text.

Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, kindle
20190912 ◊ I've got a love-hate relationship with this one. Some chapters are like nails on a chalkboard, while others have given me the most poignant and helpful insight on polyamory that I've ever read. I recommend this book for the "Pre-Reqs" section in particular, and advise reading the rest with a light touch. Maddeningly, there are nuggets of wisdom sprinkled throughout pages of overwrought, millennial self-consciousness. This book exemplifies the phrase "take what you like and leave the r ...more
Alaina Partridge
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: polyamory
I listened to the audiobook... the content was good, but the narrator was so very dull it was impossible to pay attention. It taught me a valuable lesson to listen to the sample before I purchase. Some books are better read myself... I will be purchasing this in paper form so I may reread it and retain more.

I was extra disappointed by the reading because I listen to the Multiamory podcast and would have enjoyed hearing Dedeker read her own book.
Jason Warren
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful (for boys too!)

Dedeker's writing, as I expected from her eloquence on the Multiamory podcast, is clear and conversational. She has a wonderful grasp of how polyamory intersects with other areas like race, gender and culture. Don't be fooled by the title, this is vital reading no matter what gender you identify as.
Jan 05, 2021 rated it liked it
I wish this book left room ideologically for monogamy to be healthy and non-jealous (this book poses polyamory as the only solution). Good book for anyone who is curious or wanting to understand people they know and love, but it's not the most fitting relationship guide for everybody. Then again, none of them are one size fits all! ...more
Patrick Stein
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m not sure who I’d recommend this to. It is a bit advanced for an intro and a bit shallow for anything beyond. It touches on lots of stuff and contains lots of “how I did it bad” anecdotes that may be useful for beginners.
Camilla Leurs
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: personal-growth
Good book with clear explanations and realistic descriptions. Both suitable for new and experienced polyamorists. Also discussed other alternative relationship styles. Is very inclusive and supportive.
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
While much of this was repetitive I enjoyed the more in-depth view this author took and her intentions to fully flush out certain ideas for the sake of clarity. There was some new terminology in this book for me and she quoted some great resources as well.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting book describing a different way of viewing relationships. she goes into a lot of detail about various things and ways of living this lifestyle. Someone I know is polyamorous, and so I thought I would get to know a little bit more about the culture and what it actually means.
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