#041: POC and Poly with Ruby Johnson

September 24, 2018

Ruby Johnson, sex therapist and educator, joins us to discuss the challenges people of color face in the poly community and in their non-monogamous relationships. We talk with Ruby on what is happening now in polyamorous community, and ways we could make it more inclusive at the individual, community and leadership levels. We also talk about the various groups Ruby has worked with and started to bring awareness to this subject, some of the myths and stigmas causing problems for people of color in the poly community, and common challenges that interracial poly groups and couples face when navigating their relationships. 

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Resources Mentioned:

Show Notes:

[0:57] Ruby Johnson is a Sex Therapist, Educator, on the Board of Directors for the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom, and wrote the foreword for Love’s Not Color Blind: Race and Representation in Polyamorous and Other Alternative Communities.

[2:13] Open and honest communication is necessary when uncovering the reasons for desire discrepancy. When Ruby works with folks surrounding this issue, one of the first pieces she looks at is obligation sex and the psychological effects of the “poly agony”.

[5:41] During orgasms, your brain looks very similar to being heroin or cocaine. The same holds true for the beginning stages of a relationship with a new person – a term referred to as the “pink cloud.”

[8:51] The DesireMap has allowed us to have all the communication about what we want to do and when we want to do it, and not miss any opportunities or read signals incorrectly.

[11:44] Ruby shares her journey of taking on a leadership role within the poly community. This led her to link up with Kevin Patterson, as they had a shared feeling of wanting more advocacy, diversity and inclusivity in the community. Their close friendship enabled her to write the foreword for his book Love’s Not Color Blind: Race and Representation in Polyamorous and Other Alternative Communities.

[16:59] Consent, coercion and negotiation are topics that light Ruby up, and ignite her passion for research and education.

[18:30] Ruby discusses the issues and challenges surrounding herself and others that arose from speaking on the issues and the real problems in their community. There was stifling of thought, misrepresentation of facts and inability to relate.

[24:57] Representation of leadership in the poly community is not equal to the number of people of color actually in the poly community. There can also be racism, classism, sexism in poly groups, especially in the virtual community.

[33:14] Ruby explains why race, gender and class has replaced the term privilege in her language.

[40:09] To make a shift, you first start with the individual consciously taking note and owning up to their prejudices and biases. From then, they can work with others to have pride in their community, debunk perpetuated myths and make inclusiveness and belonging more attractive.

[47:42] One of the biggest myths in the poly community that Ruby hears personally is that there are no people of color in the poly community, or that someone of color would be poly because they are trying to be white.

[51:36] Our cultures and our past lead into how we are able to express our relationships and parts of ourselves.

[52:18] Ruby shares her personal story of navigating her community in an interracial relationship first, and as polyamorous later. She experienced outright racism and loss and is able to use this experience for her own work in leadership and education.