- Carl and Kenya Stevens have spent more than half of their marriage having relationships with other people
- The couple has three children, who all know about their parent’s lifestyle
A polyamorous couple have revealed what it's really like to be in a marriage with three people
Carl and Kenya Stevens have been happily married for 22 years.
But for more than half of their time together they have both had multiple lovers.
The couple from Asheville, North Carolina, quite literally practice what they preach by sharing their relationship, which has been the model for their coaching business, a ‘love academy’ called JuJuMama.
Carl, 46, and Kenya, 42, modern love therapy sessions reveal exactly what it’s like living as a polyamorous couple - in and out of the bedroom.
Kenya said: “Carl and I have been open for 12 years. We enjoy it so much that we support other people coming into this lifestyle. We deal with every kind of problem, from people cheating on their spouse, people who want to open their relationship and people who want to learn how to relate to one person."
A 2016 study carried out in the US, on two nationally representative samples of single individuals, found that one in five people had practiced polyamory.
And with relationship dynamics evolving, Carl and Kenya use their own experiences to help others wanting to dip their toes in the polyamory pool, which they freely admit is not easy.
Carl said: “Kenya and I met on a blind date. She matched a vision I had of the woman I was going to marry. - I was very physically attracted to her. I wanted to have sex with her right away.
Kenya: “It was love at first sight. We got engaged eight weeks later. Then we moved in together, within three months we were living together. By the next summer we were married. So less than a year after we met we did have our wedding."
But 11 years later, Carl admitted to falling in love with another woman.
Kenya said: “Carl came home and told me he was falling in love with another woman at his job and I was distraught. He and I had spoken about polygamy - that is one man many women. I have never agreed, I felt like if the man has many partners then the woman should be allowed to have other partners as well. I told him if we’re going to do this, then I’m going to do this too.”
Carl added: “I’d heard of men dating other women, but women dating other men when they’re already married was completely foreign to me. But the more I thought about it, I said maybe it does make sense for equality. If I want something, then Kenya should be able to have that same thing."
Instead of breaking up, Carl and Kenya decided to both became free to have multiple lovers.
Kenya admitted: "Discussing polyamory was extremely difficult at first. There were a lot of arguments, a lot of emotions. It was really challenging.
Whilst accustoming to their new way of loving, the parents also came out to their three children, Senbi, 19, Sanu, 16, and 12-year-old Kaheri.
Kenya said: “From the time that we opened, we told our children. And it meant that mummy and daddy could love more people and they just got it. They didn’t have any issues with polyamory."
Their 16-year-old daughter Sanu appreciates her parent’s liberal lifestyle, especially when it comes to sex and relationships.
She said: "My childhood was pretty normal, it was nothing out of the ordinary for me. Maybe just because I was raised the way I was.
"My parents first gave me the talk when I was seven-years-old. That is when they first mentioned it to me. I wasn’t interested in talking about it until I started puberty.
Sanu’s younger brother Kaheri agrees, and will think about being polyamorous when he’s older.
He said: "I would not go into something which is clearly not as good as what my parents have. Further down the line I will definitely consider doing the poly thing, 100 percent.”
Carl and Kenya have never looked back since becoming polyamorous and they firmly believe opening their marriage has made them stronger.
Kenya said: “For me, open relating and polyamory benefits my relationship in numerous ways. Opening our marriage to polyamory has made our marriage stronger because we can actually tell the truth.”
Carl agrees: “We are very open and honest with each other. For the first time in our lives I felt like we were able to be completely transparent on all levels.”
The duo actively looks for multiple partners on Tinder and openminded.com, and have even had each other’s lovers living in the family home.
Kenya revealed: “Carl’s girlfriends are interesting. I get along with his partners who have so much common sense they don’t try to push me out of my place, but for the others it is more challenging."
Carl said: “In terms of Kenya’s partners, I tend to always get along with them. We are not buddy buddy all the time, but I do get along with them. I think she picks really good guys.”
Kenya added: “I meet most of my guys on Tinder. Most of the men I date are younger, why not? My husband is older than me so I already have an older guy. I need a younger man.
I don’t put a limit on the number of partnerships I have. I have partners here in Asheville, I have partners in other cities. I have my husband. I don’t know how many partners I have.
When Carl and I have sex it’s very healing, it’s very energizing. But when I have sex with a new partner it’s like fireworks and craziness. It’s just two different things.”
Carl and Kenya believe in the lifestyle so much that they have turned it into their livelihood - by launching a “love academy” and becoming relationship coaches that teach people all over the world about polyamory.
With the world of polyamory becoming increasingly more mainstream, Carl and Kenya believe it’s for the best.
Kenya claims: “What is the future of love? The future of love is community. Humans need community and we’re creating the new culture. We’re creating the future of love.”