Zine Review: Non Monogamy 101: A Primer for Questioning Compulsory Monogamy

Non Monogamy 101: A Primer for Questioning Compulsory Monogamy
Adelaide Barton

Non Monogamy 101 is a black and white, about 11cm X 18cm sized zine about examining monogamy and monogamous assumptions, non-monogamy practices, and ethical approaches to non-monogamous relationships.

This zine is exactly what I was looking for. Exactly.

Non Monogamy 101 opens up with a quick side note about how real, ethical non-monogamy is a relationship in which all partners have informed consent. Anything else is cheating. And with this clear and concise start, I knew I was getting into the kind of zine I’d been looking for when I started exploring this topic.

From there we dive into the intro – a piece about how the hack and data dump of the Ashley Madison affair website brought up a number of conversations for Adelaide regarding monogamy, views thereof, and assumptions based on those views. It’s only a deeper dive after that as Adelaide explores how non-monogamy is actually an umbrella term, how non-monogamous relationships are definitely not anything new, and how monogamous assumptions

I could go on and on all day about all the information in this zine. It’s absolutely fabulous. History, what modern non-monogamy looks like, responses from people as to why they engage in non-monogamous relationships. There’s so much to learn!

I loved being introduced to these new-to-me terms like ‘primary partner’ and ‘unicorn’. I love that it acknowledges the hard work involved in complex relationships. What I especially adored was the “Harmful Love Myths Debunked” that shed a light on thoughts and judgements borne purely of a society that values monogamy above all as if love is this finite resource that can only work in one way.

I love the aesthetic of this zine (to the extent that I want the colour version as well). It’s full of text information, but the way the clear handwriting, the easily noticed emphasis, and all the little elements like drawings and speech bubbles come together into something I enjoy while *not* feeling talked down to.

There’s a phrase I picked up a long time ago, and I don’t even remember where it was from, but it’s this: “We don’t yuck anyone’s yum.” Isn’t that fabulous? I feel like this zine does a spectacular job of not only showing what non-monogamy is but also that there are so many different ways to do it – and no one should stand in judgment of how informed, consenting adults lead their romantic and sexual lives.

Non Monogamy 101 is a fantastic reference and educator on the world of non-monogamy in a form that feels a lot more personal and a lot less intimidating than your standard book. If you’re merely a little curious or looking to move forward with a non-monogamous lifestyle, then do yourself the favour of picking up this zine.

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