Navigating the dating world can be difficult for anyone. The lines between relationships, romance and sex blur together as we try to create structures that work for us. Polycurious, a Bushwick-based podcast hosted by Fernanda and Mariah, delves into these topics to try to bring clarity on how we can pursue our desires ethically, whether we are in a monogamous or non-monogamous relationship.

The prefix “poly” is the Latin term for many. When used by itself, it is often understood as an abbreviation for polyamory — a relationship structure that involves multiple partners based on romantic and emotional connections. However, that is only one of the relationship dynamics covered in Polycurious.  

“If we actually think about it in technical terms, the podcast should have maybe been called ‘non-monogamous curious’ or something like that, because it really explores all types of non-monogamy. So poly, by itself, it just means many,” Fernanda told Bushwick Daily. 

The first season, which ended this past June, interviews non-monogamous couples as an introduction to non-monogamy and to show what non-monogamy looks like for many different people, whether it be through a swinger community, a friends with benefits situation, casual sex, polyamory or some other dynamic.

Dr. Zhana, a sex researcher and consultant who also created the Open Smarter Course to help you decide your ideal relationship style, also makes an appearance to discuss her own journey, among other topics. 

Over the span of 13 episodes, the podcast introduces terminology that many might not be familiar with, including compersion, metamours or what it means to have a primary or secondary partner. The podcast also follows Mariah’s own journey in non-monogamy, the stigma around it and her transition from one type of relationship into another. In one of the season’s episodes, Fernanda interviews her partner who chooses not to pursue non-monogamy despite having a partner who does.

“After having so many people opening up to me and to the audience, I felt like I needed to do the same,” said Fernanda. “I think that people would really benefit from learning about different types of relationships and relationship structures, not because I’m an advocate for following that — a lot of people are more comfortable with monogamy and that’s okay— but I think that there’s a lot of stigma and a lot of misinformation about these types of relationships.” 

For Mariah, having these types of conversations is what allowed her to begin to navigate and understand what non-monogamy means for her. “The more I had conversations, the more I learned how much variety there is out there and that there is no one way that works for each couple or each individual. So I think it is important that this information is shared,” she said.  

“I think it is the ebb and flow of how relationships can go in general, not only in polyamory or non-monogamy but also in monogamous relationships,” Mariah continued. “There are problems in every relationship. There are fights in every relationship. And I think it’s important to kind of remember that when you are trying to work through some of the harder things that are very unique, that’s just because the support isn’t necessarily there. And that’s what we’re hoping to help with.”

The hosts also provide book and podcast recommendations for those who are interested in learning more about non-monogamous relationships. Additionally, they look forward to inviting more professionals in the field to discuss relationship structures as well. 

“I think [listeners] could just look forward to kind of being part of a conversation that they might not be able to have right now. You know, not a lot of people are comfortable having these conversations, or they don’t know who to talk to about them, how to start the conversations or where to go,” Mariah said.

“I must say that one big difference between non-monogamous and monogamous relationships is that, simply because you have more people that you are relating with, that’s going to bring, not necessarily more issues, but it’s going to bring more responsibility,” added Fernanda. “For me, my relationship with my primary partner has been healthy and has been good, but having other partners or having other people that I need to respond to, attend to, spend my energy on, has been wonderful. But also, there is added energy and labor. It means more work. It’s more fulfillment in your life. It’s just more relationships to deal with.”

Polycurious is currently looking for interviewees for its second season, which will be released in February of next year, who are just beginning to dip their toes in the non-monogamous world. The co-hosts also shared that they would like to hear from more individuals with children and gay couples to have a more diverse range of interviewees. Feedback and questions (even if you don’t want to be featured in the podcast!) are welcome as well. 

You can follow Polycurious on their Instagram account or email them directly at [email protected]

To hear more of Bushwick Daily’s interview with Polycurious, which includes Mariah’s and Fernanda’s own understandings of boundaries and what they’ve learned during the podcasting process, stay tuned for their bonus episode to be released in November.

All images provided by Polycurious. 

Featured image: Fernanda (left) and Mariah (right)

The Polycurious logo was designed by artist Camila Fabian

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