A BOOST TO OPEN MARRIAGE: Newt and Callistas story.

  • A BOOST TO OPEN MARRIAGE: Newt and Callista’s story.

I tend to think this is one of those bogus New York Times trend stories, but the feature writer still did dig up some people who said that revelations about Newt Gingrich’s desire for an open marriage back in the days when he was boinking Callista while married to another had done wonders for those who think “polyamory” is hunkydory. The experts hasten to explain that polyamory is NOT adultery — in their world view. I think I’d suggest hashing that out with a spouse before, not after, embarking on such a course.


If nothing else, Marianne Gingrich’s allegation, which the candidate has denied, provided an unexpected publicity bounce for advocates of open relationships, who have long been trying to paw their way out of the cultural margins.

“We could never afford this kind of a public-relations opportunity,” said Anita Wagner Illig, an organizer of the Polyamory Leadership Network, an online organization advocating nonmonogamous relationships. She was interviewed by the BBC and Washington’s ABC news affiliate after the statements by Marianne Gingrich, and traffic at ModernPoly.com, an advocacy Web site promoting open relationships, spiked nearly 30 percent in the weeks that followed.

The Internet has facilitated the practice, article says. Well. I don’t know if I’m buying. Know any polyamory practitioners around Arkansas?

All of which raises this question: How many people are actually trying this? Even academics who study sexuality have no idea, since most practitioners remain in the closet, fearing bias, said Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, an assistant professor of sociology at Georgia State University and author of a forthcoming study on polyamory in America.

And good luck finding out from the subculture’s leadership, which is loosely organized at best, said Ms. Illig of the Polyamory Leadership Network. And no wonder, she added. “We don’t have much time for it with multiple partnerships to see to.”