An unprecedented exploration of polyamory and gaslighting, from an award-winning journalist chronicling her first open relationship with unflinching candor as she explores this fast-growing movement
“[A] sincere and curious reckoning with the cultural messaging we all receive about gendered expectations and power dynamics in romantic and sexual relationships.”—NPR
Can we have both freedom and love? Comfort and lust? Is a relationship ever equal? And is the pleasure worth the pain?
When Rachel Krantz met and fell for Adam, he told her that he was looking for a committed partnership—just one that did not include exclusivity. Intrigued and more than a little nervous, Rachel decided to see whether their love could be open and coexist with the freedom to date other people. Could they strike an exquisite balance between intimacy and independence, and find a way to feel passion for one another once the honeymoon phase ended?
For Open, her extraordinary debut memoir, Rachel interviewed scientists, psychologists, and people living and loving outside the mainstream as she searched to understand what non-monogamy would do to her heart, her mind, and her life. From exploring Brooklyn sex parties to the wider swinger and polyamory communities, Rachel and Adam attempt to write a new plot for their love story. But as the miscommunications and power imbalances mount, Rachel finds herself anxious, emotionally isolated, and seeking solid ground in a relationship where the rules seem to be ever-shifting. In Open, Rachel casts new light on the unique ways coercion and gaslighting manifest in open relationships, and finds herself wondering what liberation really looks like.
With an unflinching eye and page-turning storytelling, Open is groundbreaking in both its documentarian approach to polyamory and its explicit subject matter. From debilitating anxiety spirals to heart-opening connections with the men and women she dates, Rachel puts her whole self on the line as she attempts to redefine what a relationship is—or could be.
About the Author
Rachel Krantz is a journalist and one of the founding editors of Bustle, where she served as senior features editor for three years. Her work has been featured on NPR, The Guardian, Vox, Vice, and many other outlets. She’s the recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, the Investigative Reporters and Editors Radio Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award, and the Peabody Award for her work as an investigative reporter with YR Media. Open is her first book.
“Open is . . . neither a manifesto of polyamorous ideals nor an argument against it. Instead, it’s Krantz’s sincere and curious reckoning with the cultural messaging we all receive about gendered expectations and power dynamics in romantic and sexual relationships in general . . . The highs and lows of a first non-monogamous relationship prove the perfect canvas on which to explore these fundamental questions . . . [Krantz’s] vulnerability . . . is precisely why the memoir works so well.”—NPR
“[Krantz’s] breathtaking honesty in probing the serious downsides of polyamory while eschewing outmoded patriarchal codes of morality should allow for an overdue dialogue about what makes any relationship work.”—Los Angeles Times
“A sexy, messy, necessary look at polyamory.”—The Advocate
“Heavily researched and incredibly vulnerable.”—Shondaland
“Generous and fearless . . . Open is an insightful and compassionate reminder that nonmonogamy—like any other intimate relationship—is only as viable as the humans involved make it.”—Bitch
“Open is a smart, original, ambitious, and deeply absorbing memoir, in part because Krantz wants no less than to help us rethink the concepts of love, sex, and power as we know them. She succeeds by bringing us deftly and irresistibly into her most intimate pains and joys, stretching our understanding of what commitment and autonomy mean.”—Dr. Wednesday Martin, author of Untrue and Primates of Park Avenue
“Seamlessly shifting from a critique of evolutionary biology to the first touch of his hand on her thigh, this polyamorous coming-of-age story crackles with equal parts erotic energy and searching commentary. A perfect guide to our new world, the only problem I had picking up this book was putting it back down. ”—Terrence Real, bestselling author of Us: Getting Past You and Me to Build a More Loving Relationship
“Krantz offers an unflinchingly honest account of the highs and lows of non-monogamous relationships, beautifully illustrating the ways that opening up one’s relationship can offer tremendous freedom and painful imprisonment. Open is a necessary addition to the canon of intimate memoirs, one I desperately wish I’d had access to when I was coming of age.”—Lux Alptraum, author of Faking It: The Lies Women Tell About Sex —And the Truths They Reveal
“I stayed up all night reading this book, and when I was done, I felt I’d lived another life. Open investigates what we hope for from our romantic partners and how eschewing conventions might help us attain those things—and the pitfalls we might face if we choose a less traditional path.”—Cara Blue Adams, author of You Never Get It Back
Open is a feat of tremendous candor and vulnerability, and to call it unputdownable would be an understatement.”—Liv Stratman, author of Cheat Day
“Titillating . . . Krantz sweeps readers into a narrative that seduces and educates in equal measure . . . [Open] offers an alluring and insightful look at a life lived outside of conventional structures.”—Publishers Weekly