Poly in Your Pocket: Poly Podcasts To Go
by April Darling
We live in a world where information, and often misinformation is just a key swipe away. When we hit a rough spot in the road, we turn to our friend, the internet for assistance. While everyone has spent long hours at night on those medical sites researching symptoms, this also applies to more significant issues in life — things like our basic foundations, sexuality, and relationships.
Going into our Poly issue and full speed into Polytopia, I began to wonder where people find information about alternative lifestyles. My first stop was a mix of online searches, a quick link to a few local meet-ups and this new to me thing called a “podcast.”
These podcasts became a great way to give the poly life a trial run so to speak via real people living their lives. It’s a simple download to become a fly on the wall to a full range of topics. Join me as I get to know two poly pairings from the Pacific Northwest with something to share with the world about the joys and challenges of polyamory.
Joshua & Bella from “Talk Your Poly Off” and “Hot Tub Poly Talk”
For those in the alternative lifestyle community in and around Oregon and Washington, there is a good chance you have run into Joshua & Bella. They currently operate 14 Facebook groups under the umbrella of Pacific Northwest Polyamory. Their groups cover everything from the basics to kink and just about everything in between.
Beyond the groups they host, the pair also started to get a lot of requests for advice when it comes to best practices for ethical non-monogamy. While Joshua has been a part of the first group since it was started in 2013, Bella was reasonably new to the group as she joined in 2017.
Their idea for a podcast was launched as they searched for a platform to create content to address some questions that come up over and over again. “Talk Your Poly Off” began as a place to discuss poly issues in a more formal setting while they enjoy a more playful and casual interview platform in “Hot Tub Poly Talk.”
The podcasts act as an extension of the work the pair is already doing in the community to educate and inform about polyamory. This included working to dispel many of the underlying assumptions tied to non-monogamy. One of the biggest myths they have found is that anything beyond monogamy is based on just sex.
As Bella shared, for her the fact that polyamory is tied more to the ability to form multiple emotional relationships speaks to her more than just wanting to have a variety of sexual partners. There is a more profound need for a connection.
Whether it is within the podcast or any of the online groups, the pair emphasis what they called the CARE Model. This is built on the idea that they strive for Community, Awareness, Resources, and Education for all alternative lifestyles that include polyamory and ethical non-monogamy.
When speaking about being open in their poly lifestyle, Bella and Joshua also shared that there is a widespread idea in the general public that being poly is just a cover to cheat. This is outside of what most within the lifestyle would define as being the communication piece of ethical non-monogamy.
Bella and Joshua not only talk about the poly lifestyle just about any chance they get, but they also live it together daily. They recently celebrated two years together after Bella found Josh via one of his online groups.
While they have been partnered for two years, each has been poly in some form or another for many more years. Joshua shared he felt a pull as a teen to practice non-monogamy and never looked back. Bella discovered the poly world after a divorce years ago left her yearning to redefine how she formed relationship bonds. Even before she had the word poly to describe the way she was feeling, she knew there had to be a way to connect with more than one person in a loving relationship at the same time.
For both Joshua and Bella, creating the safe place they have for the poly community in the Portland/Vancouver area filled a gap they both needed. The podcasts made their reach go even further.
Podcast listeners also enjoy the fact that the group has created a social group that meets in person as well. Whether one is looking for resources about alternative relationships or hoping to meet others who practice the poly lifestyle, there is something for everyone within the work that Bella and Joshua do.
Because they understand that many people coming into the poly world have to take things at their own pace as far as coming out to friends, coworkers, and family, many of their resources and events are offered in a secure setting. Podcasts are provided without charge, and their monthly events are held at a local business that closes to the public for the privacy of the group members.
The podcasts can be found on Spotify, Stitcher, and iTunes. They can also all be accessed directly on their website www.pacificnorthwestpolyamory.com.
For those wanting to attend the next social event, Renegades Bar in downtown Vancouver hosts the group the 3rd Monday of each month. The March event takes place on Monday, March 18th at 6:30 PM. This will be their St Patrick’s Day event.
Josh & Haven from “Play Party Podcast”
While many who are in the poly lifestyle report feeling like they have been poly their whole lives, this was not the case for Josh with the Play Party Podcast. He came from a very different world that brings a unique perspective to their podcast.
Josh was raised in the very conservative Midwest, and struggled for many years with a variety of issues tied to his religious upbringing not lining up with his personal beliefs. About ten years ago, Josh relocated to the Pacific Northwest and happened upon the writings of Dan Savage.
For the first time, Josh had the words to describe his sexuality and began to see there were options beyond traditional monogamy. Josh credits Savage’s column “Savage Love” with his self-discovery and sees Savage as a crucial part of the discussion about ethical non-monogamy. He hopes one day to be able to have Savage as a guest on their podcast.
While Josh needed to relocate to find his way into the poly world, Haven shared that she felt like this was always her place. Haven shares the joy she sees in Josh as he connects with their small polycule. She equates the sum of those connections to a pool of best friends with a deeper connection.
Josh and Haven did not set out to start a poly podcast, but fell into it much like our other pair. Josh was asked to appear as a guest on a friends podcast where he happened to mention his partner, Haven. This started a conversation about ethical non-monogamy and led to the pair appearing on the podcast.
The initial interview sparked a flurry of daily contacts about the lifestyle, and the pair saw a chance to share as they learned. This is where Play Party Podcast was born.
Josh was drawn to the content side of things while the technical side of the podcast was something Haven took to naturally. The podcast subjects tend to alternate between check-ins about their poly world and subject matters that impact alternative lifestyles.
One example of the issue based podcast that they have produced is a two-part series on emerging issue tied to recent changes in the laws linked to sex workers and the media. This series is set to release in March.
Beyond the podcasts, this dynamic duo can be found both hosting and supporting some interesting causes and events. When Josh is not creating web content for their podcast, he can be seen hosting the monthly “Clown Cup” at Seattle’s Jupiter Bar.
Back in 2003, Josh started a pro wrestling company and set out to find a villain. He created his alter-ego Ronald McFondle. As much as he tried to make this villain someone everyone could hate, he created a loveable but gross character. This new wrestling persona garnered enough attention that there was even a movie made about him, “Body Slam: Revenge of the Banana.”
While Josh saw this creepy clown as a way to engage wrestling fans, a fear of clowns is not all that unusual. Haven was for a long time afraid of clowns. She even delayed meeting Ronald. The meeting did take place and went well enough that Haven now has her adorable clown persona.
Just as their teaming together to do the podcast seems to work, Haven’s clown persona Bubbly Miss McFondle softens the harshness of Ronald Mcfondle. As Haven shared “Once you go clown you never turn one down.”
The Play Party Podcasts can be found on their website at www.theplaypartypodcast.us. You can catch up with Bubbly and Ronald at the Jupiter Bar in Seattle on the 4th Wednesday of each month. Their alter egos Josh and Haven also host a play party at The Velvet Rope every other month. Their next Portland event will be on Friday, April 12th.