‘I don’t generally use hierarchical terms in my poly-dynamics’ says Joelle – one of several co-habiting residents of an eco-homestead in Portland Oregon.
‘I have four ‘sweeties’.
No this isn’t an episode of Portlandia – Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen’s loving pastiche of the US city’s hippy-dippy ways – this is the very real world of ethical non-monogamy.
In the first episode of Louis Theroux’s Altered States (BBC2) a three-part series exploring ‘the new ways Americans are approaching some of humanity’s oldest dilemmas’ Theroux meets couples – ‘throuples’ and beyond – who have opened up their relationships in an attempt to escape the stifling boundaries of monogamy.
Some it seems have done so with more success than others.
Amanda – Nick and Bob – Dungeons and Dragons-loving IT workers are in a three-way relationship – although Nick and Bob aren’t romantically attached.
Theroux – a glint in his eye, encourages the trio to demonstrate their night-time spooning ritual.
Heidi and Jerry meanwhile – opened up their marriage 12 years ago.
Heidi has a new fiancé – Joe – Jerry is yet to find another partner.
Joelle and her aforementioned sweeties though seem to have the most complicated dynamic of the lot – largely because one of her partners – Matthias – is expecting a baby with his girlfriend AJ.
‘It’s not for the faint of heart’ says Matthias – as Theroux cracks eggs for breakfast – squinting sceptically at them all.