It’s Called “Polyamory”

By Kendra Holliday | September 8, 2017

It’s Called Polyamory, by Tamara Pincus and Rebecca Hiles (Thorntree Press)

There’s a new non-monogamy book coming out October 6, and guess what? I wrote the Foreword!

It’s Called “Polyamory”: Coming Out About Your Nonmonogamous Relationships, by Tamara Pincus and Rebecca Hiles (Thorntree Press).

Below is my Foreword. You can pre-order the book now.

………

The year I came out was one of the most challenging in my life.

I was a divorced, white, bisexual cisgender woman who shared custody with my ex-husband. It was 2010 in St Louis, MO, the belt buckle of the bible belt. My daughter was 10. I owned my own home in a quiet suburban neighborhood. I had just gotten a new job at a non-profit organization.

I thought I had the best of both worlds – by day I was a dutiful employee with good posture, proper grammar, and dressed from head to toe in layers of conservative clothes. By night, I was a live nude sex blogger, anonymously documenting my polyamorous life, never putting my face or name to the blog that’s motto was: “Be open and honest.”

2010, the year I came out. Photo by Jennifer Silverberg for the RFT

I was already out to my partners and daughter, but not to my family and the community.

Through a technology glitch that connected my identity to my blog, my employer discovered my online musings, and it inflamed them. The top blog post at the time featured a threesome story with our girlfriend.

When they fired me, it was swift and severe. I hadn’t even had a chance to take off my coat when I walked into the office before the boss summoned me, her face a mask of fury.

Alarmed, I followed her to the room, where she closed the door and turned on me, icy eyes ablaze.

April 27, 2010 was the last time I was successfully slut shamed.

“WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?” she hissed. “You’re acting like a 14 year old!”

I left the building, cheeks flushed, heart racing, completely stunned and cut loose. In an instant, I went from being a model employee to a monster.

Later, my employer emailed me:

“We simply cannot risk any possible link between our mission and the sort of photos and material that you openly share with the online public. While I know you are a good worker and an intelligent person, I hope you try to understand that our employees are held to a different standard. When it comes to private matters, such as one’s sexual explorations and preferences, our employees must keep their affairs private.”

For months, I searched my soul, unable to decide whether I wanted to legally change my name and get a job at Target or Starbucks, or fully own my sexuality and mission and put my name and face to my sex-positive activism.

By the fall, I had made up my mind. National Coming Out Day was Monday October 11, 2010, and I was going to come out nationally, irrevocably, with no turning back.

The month leading to my coming out was full of anxiety and planning. My teeth hurt from constantly clenching my jaws in my sleep.

I collaborated with an adult toy company I had been doing reviews for, as well as the local alternative weekly newspaper.

Amidst interviews and photoshoots, I struggled financially. I was out of work and aimless.

Before the local story came out, I went to my daughter’s school and informed them of the upcoming publicity. They assured me that they would never punish a student for a parent’s behavior.

When my story was released, the shit hit the fan.

Me on the cover of RFT, Oct 2010. Photo by Jennifer Silverberg

I was on the cover of the magazine, nude and draped like Aphrodite on the half shell.

For two weeks, everyone around me freaked out.

And then, it got worse.

Parents at my daughter’s school were horrified with me, so I was kicked out of my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop. One of the leaders wrote me: “I’m sure you’ll understand that in light of recent events you will not be invited to participate in Girl Scout programming, and somebody else will assume the role of Cookie Captain.”

I was not fit to be around cookies, much less children.

And then my daughter was expelled from the school. We were told it was because they didn’t have the proper resources for her.

Rumors swirled. My social media posts were reported and censored. PayPal banned me for having adult content. Detractors claimed I had sex with animals, was an attention seeking whore, and that my child was in danger.

My ex-husband was beyond furious and shamed.

But I’m wholesome, I swear! Photo by Jennifer Silverberg

He sued me for full custody.

I was broke, desperate, and now had to hire a lawyer and invest thousands of dollars to protect myself. And then I had to educate my lawyer on polamory and sex-positive culture.

On the verge of losing my daughter, my house, my reputation destroyed, I was told to move out of town – I didn’t belong here.

Running out of options, I shaved my head bald as a performance art legal defense fundraiser.

I was invited to tell my story at ideaCity, a Toronto based speaker series. My topic was motherhood and sexuality. My story tanked – there were people in the crowd of 700 who gave my talk a resounding thumbs down. Other people pitied me.

Unemployment ran out. I was going to a food bank weekly for a grocery bag of expired canned food to eat and cleaning houses and figure modeling for cash.

As the Winston Churchill quote goes, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Or, a page from Samuel Beckett, “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”

Life got very dark for me. I almost lost everything. But I wasn’t alone. Throughout the entire ordeal, my partner remained loving and supportive, as well as my lovers and sympathetic friends.

Kendra Holliday will help you work the kinks out!

And then, in 2011, I found a job with a company that cared more about my work abilities than my personal life.

Soon after, my ex-husband dropped the custody case, a week before it was to go to trial.

My daughter was enrolled in a school system that did not judge her and provided the resources she needed.

I co-founded a local organization called Sex Positive St Louis with three other people.

Now, my organization has more than 3200 members.

In 2015, I was able to quit my day job and focus full-time on sex and relationship consulting.My daughter is 16 now, and identifies as panromantic asexual polyamorous. She is a peer counselor among her LGBTQ friends. We have an amazingly close relationship.

My family accepts me for who I am. They are proud of my accomplishments and attend my events.

Incredibly, my ex-husband and I are active co-parents and on good terms. We hold family meetings and attend school functions together.

I’m self-employed and able to travel and buy anything I want at the grocery store.

I’m hired to speak at local universities on non-monogamy. I’ve been featured on several sexuality podcasts. Local therapists refer their clients to me. I host spectacular play parties and educational talks. People travel from all over the country to spend time with me and enlist my services.

I am fully integrated and respected. My relationships are thriving. People admire my courage and look to me for guidance. What used to be a detraction – a polyamorous sex goddess – is now an ATTRACTION.

Lady Lascivious Liberty! BE FREE!!!!

My award-winning, creative sexuality blog is a source of PRIDE. Now, I can TRULY be open and honest.

And now I REALLY have the best of both worlds – a rich and beautiful life, full of comfort AND exciting adventures.

When I’m out and about, people will approach me and ask, “Hey, are you the sex-positive lady?” And then they thank me for my courage.

But wow, what an uphill battle!

Back then, there was no book like this when I was in the process of coming out. I wish there had been! I took a leap against all odds – but you don’t have to.

You have this resource, this guide to coming out, on your own terms, at your own pace. No need to cut off your hair to spite your face.

Co-authors Tamara Pincus is an AASECT certified sex therapist who will show you the way and Rebecca Hiles is a Sex and Relationship Coach.

To be sure, all our actions have consequences. The reason why people hold back is because they are afraid of change. They are afraid of rejection, of punishment.

I am here to tell you that if you forge a path into the unknown, you might face adversity, but if you keep true to yourself, if you keep going, you will get past the valley of darkness and come out on top.

We all have a choice to be honest with ourselves. It takes courage.

Courage is doing the right thing, even when we’re scared.

Replace the fear with love.Read on for talking points, different perspectives, and the tools and resources you need in order to successfully come out on your own terms as polyamorous.

Let this book be your guide, your voice of reason.Your ticket to freedom.

– Kendra Holliday, Writer & Editor of The Beautiful Kind, Co-Founder of Sex Positive St. Louis, Passion Midwife, Hardworking Lady of Leisure, Lover of Many

Comments

Dan 2017-09-10 11:13:24

Thanks Kendra. I so needed to read your story just this morning. My wife got mad 2 months ago, moved out and outed me as poly to my church. I guess I should thank her but it still feels like a huge betrayal as we were poly and kinky together for 5 yrs. married 10; and now she lives with church people and I’m alone. I’ve ordered the book and I’m waiting, too, for YOURS. You remain my hero. With your encouragement I’ll keep going.

Reply

    Kendra Holliday 2017-09-10 18:51:36

    ohhhh fuuuudge. I’m SO sorry that happened to you! I can’t stand the hypocrisy. I hope someday you are able to “thank her” for the pain and suffering you are enduring now, as it will get you to a better place.

    Reply

    Stephen 2017-09-14 01:33:47

    Hell hath no fury I guess.

    I hope you find the strength to carry on through Kendra’s experiences.

    Note: Break-up girls always point out what they suddenly consider to be flaws after they leave. For instance, my penis is perfectly wonderful until they’re on their way out and start screaming “YOU SMALL DICK MOTHERF*CKER!!”

    Don’t let the bastards bring down your true self. You do you. The rest can suck it.

    Reply

Joan Price 2017-09-10 23:27:57

Stunning foreword! I knew most of your story, but there were parts that were new to me. I admire you so much, Kendra. Thank you for guiding others with your candor.

Reply

    Kendra Holliday 2017-09-11 08:30:10

    I am always so honored when you read my blog. Thank you for being such an amazing role model to me.

    Reply

Kayla 2017-09-11 08:26:10

Always amazed by your story. ❤

Reply

    Kendra Holliday 2017-09-11 08:29:41

    Aww thank you dear! xo

    Reply

mark 2017-09-11 10:32:04

Your forthrightness has always been inspiring. It is a very well written forward; the book is timely and should help many. Congratulations.

Reply

Mat 2017-09-13 16:25:37

This was such a great read. You and your story are amazing. It’s possible I might even have been a little wet near my eyes by the end of this post.

Reply

    Kendra Holliday 2017-09-13 17:18:48

    Aww thank you! And to think of what else has been wet…. 🙂

    Reply

Stephen 2017-09-14 01:38:31

I don’t know if saying it too much dampens it, but your blog is well written, inspiring, and heartwarming. As I said in the other comment, your long process has given you strength, which you pass along to us.

Sexually I’m as vanilla as it gets, but your writings have empowered me in other aspects of my life as well to just be myself with pride, stop allowing shame to fill me, to drop those who don’t care to be around me with positivity, and to be proud of who I am.

I’m intensely proud of you, Kendra. But I’m mostly thankful you exist. Your blog means more to us than I think you can possibly imagine.

Reply

    Kendra Holliday 2017-09-14 06:14:56

    This comment takes the cake! Thank you Stephen. I appreciate your loyalty and support. I imagine a lot of people have this sentiment, but you take the time to tell me. And you bring up a good point – this isn’t just about sex. It’s about being BRAVE and REAL.

    Reply

Chris 2017-10-02 14:33:41

“Sweet are the uses of adversity.” (William Shakespeare)

Life is certainly never free of adversity, but you’ve managed on the other side of the worst to create a kind of comfort in your own skin that is thoroughly refreshing and admirable.

Reply

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