Non-monogamy can look different for everyone. For Cassie Martinson and Evan Shipley, it involves lots of communication, enthusiastic consent, and making a charitable contribution to the American Civil Liberties Union every time they sleep with one of their outside partners.
“When we first decided to open up our relationship, we wanted to make sure we were doing it in the most ethical way possible,” Cassie explained. “And to us, that extended not just to ourselves and our partners, but to humanity as a whole.”
Taking very seriously the ‘ethical’ part of ethical non-monogamy, they both agreed that they would donate $25 to the foundation each and every time they got it on with someone else.
“We talked a lot about respect and honesty,” said Evan. “But could we really consider our non-monogamy ethical if we weren’t also contributing to the defense of the individual rights and liberties of every person in the country in the process?”
“Simply fucking other people just wasn’t ethical enough,” he added.
Thus far, they’ve raised nearly a thousand dollars for the organization and report that their relationship, along with their commitment to fighting for the constitutional rights of all Americans, is stronger than it’s ever been. And they’re both quick to disclose the terms of their ethical non-monogamy to new partners.
“It only takes a minute, so I’ve gotten in the habit of doing it when my partner gets up to pee after sex,” Evan said. “I got the app on my phone, so I can do it even during that post-coital cuddle sesh.”
Both Cassie and Evan agree that it takes an extraordinary amount of trust to make this type of arrangement work.
“At first I couldn’t help but wonder if Evan was really making the donation he said he was,” said Cassie. “But plenty of open communication has ensured us that we’re both on the same page, ethics-wise.”
“We’re thinking of expanding into other charities,” she added. “And we’re totally open to crowdsourcing for some ideas.”