to try to describe Wendy O-matik in a line or two would be to do her and her inspiring work injustice
Please check out her website.
1. Please tell us what a revolutionary activist of the heart is, and can anyone be an activist of the heart?
Loving openly and freely in this day and age is a political act, whether you are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual,
transgender, or pansexual. Before you can change or improve the world, real change starts from within yourself.
When you can radicalize what's in your mind, body, spirit, and heart, then you can change the world with
everyone you come in contact with. Radical Love, as described in my book, Redefining Our Relationships:
Guidelines for Responsible Open Relationships, seeks to challenge patriarchy, the media, and our coerced social
constructs of a relationship by imagining a non-hierarchical approach to love. As you redefine larger concepts
like love, intimacy, sex, and relationships for yourself, you begin to disrupt the shackles of status quo that limit
and restrict us from having healthier and more satisfying connections. To love openly and without limits is
revolutionary because it challenges the social fabric of conformity and status quo. To love radically is to take
control over your right to love who you want, how you want, and as many as you desire, so long as respect and
honesty are at the core.
2. Can you please tell us a little about your book, "Redefining our Relationships: Guidelines for responsible
open relationships." What was the inspiration and
impetus for you in writing this book?
Being in a healthy, responsible open relationship for 13 years is what inspired me to write my book, as well as a
lot of encouragement from friends. Despite the ending of that relationship, we spent a great deal of time
negotiating what our relationship could be, or could have the potential to be, if we put our hearts and minds
into it. We laid down a foundation of trust based on mutually agreed upon rules that helped us to grow and
evolve as a couple. We have shared lovers, supported each other in having outside lovers, as well as encouraged
our friends to forge relationships that better suited their lifestyles, particularly in the late 80’s when many of us
had no real role models to follow.
My book, in part, is an attempt to dispel the misconceptions around open relationships and offer insight into an
alternative view. It is my hope that my book reflects both the struggle inherent in living an alternative lifestyle as
well as the work that still needs to be done in order to be more accepted by society for doing things differently.
I’ll be the last one to advocate one type of relationship over another, monogamy versus non-monogamy. What I
am most interested in is planting the seeds of autonomy. We have choices. We have options. Carve out your own
lifestyle. Imagine your own ideal relationship. Radicalize your life and challenge yourself to have deep,
meaningful relationships with anyone who you feel is important to you—including your parents, siblings,
friends, lovers, pen pals, and neighbours. If “open” includes cuddling, kissing, and heartfelt communication,
then work that into your life. If open means sexual liberation, then be honest with yourself and your partner(s),
and figure out how to achieve this. Love is a revolution that starts in the privacy of your home and touches
everyone you love and come in contact with.
3. Do you see monogamy and fidelity as a social trend, is it deeply programmed in our cultural and social
upbringing to believe that monogamy is a glue that holds marriages and relationships together?
Monogamy is the dominant social paradigm. It the most popularly prescribed relationship structure in American
culture. I believe that some people are hard-wired for monogamy and others are not. Unfortunately, most
people don’t even consider their options. What I have also come to learn is that it is not the nature of the
relationship that will guarantee that your relationship will hold together over time. The skyrocketing statistics on
the rate of divorce and infidelity in America is enough to convince anyone that there are no guarantees. The
truth is, most people would rather conform to the dominant social structure rather than risk experiencing
something different or unpopular.
4. One of the possibilities I see in having an open relationship is as more people explore, redefine and
challenge what can be a loving relationship, women and men will both be empowered as this gives them
decision making power out of gender defined roles. Do you see women and men as needing to compromise
positions to make an open relationship responsible and loving, without jealousy taking over?
(I’m not really clear on your question but I would like to address the topic of jealousy, if that’s okay) I think of
jealousy as a guidepost emotion, an opportunity to gain access into our deeper self (possibly our wounded self).
Using the analogy of an onion, everyone feels different degrees of jealousy. When you peel back the layers of
the onion, when you really take the time to re-examine where the emotions around jealousy are stemming from,
then you expose a much deeper inner core of personal issues, like insecurity, disappointment, fear of losing
someone, fear of abandonment, and even co-dependency. Jealousy is a unique window into what's going on
inside us. Most people revert to blaming the other person, and never take the time to really look within. I truly
believe that examining the roots of your jealousy, without blaming and punishing others, and with lots and lots
of practice, can lead to longer, more healthier, and more fulfilling relationships.
5. Eastern studies were something that you did in University. Culturally, Malaysia and Singapore have had a
strong emphasis on the marriage front. In traditional Chinese culture, men are able to have many concubines to
produce a male heir to keep the family name and lineage alive. Although we have come a long way from that,
the traditional role of the Asian women in most societies is still seen as the mother, nurturer, and caregiver, tied
down to the domain of the household and family. Younger people are exploring their sexuality in different ways,
for example, having one night stands, and having more
than one relationship, without the involving partners knowing. This I have observed from the relationships that
the people around me are having. I have not met many people practicing open relationships. When presented
with the idea, the dilemma was that the stigmatization from society as that being 'abnormal' was too much of a
culture is one of a lot of 'pride', 'facesaving' 'guilt' and the generally 'hushhush' approach to sex. In your studies
and your travels in Asia, what have you observed and your views and your comments about how open
relationships, radical acts of love and a re education about sexuality can take place?
When we expand our notions of what a relationship is or has the potential to be, then we begin to see how every
meaningful connection, platonic or sexual, is a relationship, including friends, family, pen pals, even your pet.
Patriarchy dictates that the only relationship that matters is your primary partner, or whoever you’re having sex
with. This implies an unsaid hierarchy, as if your sexual connections are more important than your friendships
and family. When you commit to honoring all your relationships, whether you are intimate with them or not,
then you indirectly begin to think and act outside the box, outside socially prescribed notions of a relationship,
outside what your parent's instilled in you. This is revolutionary. You may discover that you would prefer to
make life-commitments to your friends. You may decide to make a pack with your best friend to grow old
together, to take care of each other's children, to be committed like life-partners.
6. Can you tell us about your experience of being in the punk community?, you said that there was often
'exclusion'...Did you grow up listening to punk rock music?
I grew up in Southern California, working class parents, public schools, and in the heart of track-home hell and
social conformity… a perfect breeding ground for my subversive lifestyle and anti-establishment mentality. I
identified with the punk/alternative scene that vocalized the anger and outrage that I was feeling through lyrics
and music. I felt a common bond with other punks who were interested in politics, locally and globally, and who
also felt a need to express themselves in creative ways in order to feel more empowered and connected in our
common struggle against government and social pressures to conform.
Particularly in the punk scene, where I saw a lot of men dominate the scene, what better place for a woman to
stand up to speak her truths. It's scary and it's frightening, and yet I feel like I need to be there. Women are not
encouraged or supported to speak out in public spaces or events. Women are often silenced, which is all the
more reason for me to break down these social constraints and be vocal. It’s important for young people to see
women stand up and speak out against injustice. It's also a part of my survival, activism, and sanity.
7. What are you listening to at the moment, and what's your favourite band or music at the moment?
I’m listening to the soundtrack of “Garden State.” I love so many different kinds of music that it would be
impossible to list only one. But I will say that a band from Iceland, “Sigur Ros,” is who I listen to the most when
8. You have performed your spoken word in many non-traditional venues and in front of many different
audiences and have been holding radical love workshops. Are there vastly different reactions in audiences? Do
you have a favourite audience? And what has been your favourite performance so far?
Spokenword and workshops are two very different things with completely different audiences. With spokenword,
my audience tends to be young people who are interested and usually supportive of an outspoken, angry
woman speaking her truths without apology or shame. Relationship workshops tend to be people interested in
learning more about polyamory and alternative lifestyles; it’s a support group environment. I love performing
and I love talking about radical love with complete strangers. My favorite performances are through the Ladyfest
events that happen globally. I’ve performed at Ladyfest London, Ladyfest Melbourne, Australia, Ladyfest
Auckland, New Zealand, and Ladyfest San Francisco.
9. Describe yourself through the eyes of your best friend.
Here’s what my very best friend, Adrienne Droogas, wrote about me recently in her own words: “Revolution
comes in many forms. Through the things that we do and the words that we say, we can all strive to create a
revolution within our hearts and the world at large. Wendy-O Matik is a special kind of revolutionary woman.
Through her book, Redefining Our Relationships, she explodes the stereotypical relationship norm that binds
and suffocates us all. With her poetry, she exposes a rawness of emotion and provocation of thought that is
intensely inspiring. Wendy-O has traveled the world doing workshops, poetry readings, and discussion groups
with a dedication that few in the punk scene have been able to maintain. With passion, determination and
strength, Wendy-O is working on burning this system down.”
10. Your views on:
a) Goddess Religion, Witchcraft?
b) Religions in general
c) Do you personally ascribe to any form of spirituality?
This question would take me months to articulate, so I will be brief. I consider myself deeply spiritual. I believe
in Nature. I believe in the intrinsic interconnectedness of all living and non-living entities. We are all one. I do
not prescribe to any one religion but do believe that there are kernels of wisdom to be found in all sacred texts,
stories, and dreams. Meaning and spirituality can be found in everything, so long as you are open to it.
11. What are you reading at the moment, and some of your favourite writers, books, spoken word artists?
I’m currently reading 3 books:
Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur—the story of a woman Black Panther revolutionary.
A Language Older than Words by Derrick Jensen—a frightening wake up call to the perilous future of the planet.
Poems of Nazim Hikmet—a Turkish political prisoner and in exile for his writing.
I have too many favorite writers to list, but here’s a few: Emma Goldman, Marge Piercy, Arundati Roy, bell hooks,
Derrick Jensen, Paulo Freire, and all political writers and revolutionary thinkers past and present.
12. After continual pressure from Lesbian and Gay groups and other people who support them, to the Singapore
government who rejected their applications to throw a party, the Singapore press published an article that
linked these Parties that were thrown in the past to the surging number of New Aids cases in Singapore.
Included in the article was also an opinion from a Singapore woman the unhealthy influence this has on the
younger people in society. Blatant homophobia coupled with pressure of traditions and religion force many
people to remain in the closet or immigrate. How can we best empower ourselves and arm ourselves against the
hurt of being attacked, abused and humiliated,
Your views and comments too?
Empowerment and personal safety can only come in numbers and solidarity. Networking with other minority
groups is key to building a solid, mobilized community. So often single-issue groups isolate themselves without
seeing their critical and vital connection to other groups. Our survival is dependent upon coalition building on
our interconnectedness, our common struggles, and our willingness to support each other through social
change at every step.
13. Your views a) beauty
b) Suicide girls
This is another one of the massive questions that deserves a lengthy, in-depth response, so I will be brief.
Labels are limiting and yet we depend up on them to articulate our ideas and to express ourselves. Make a
commitment to yourself to re-educate and empower yourself against adopting any single social trend. Redefine
what beauty means to you, not what society or your magazines or the media try to convince you. Think for
14. gender, porn and casual sex.
I can’t possibly address these huge concepts in just a few words. But for the record, I am sex positive, pro-
gender-blending, anti-censorship, and definitely not into one-night-stands. But everyone is different.
(Please include my website so people can email me):
Wendy-O Matik is a freelance writer, poet, and radical performance artist and the author of Redefining Our
Relationships: Guidelines for Responsible Open Relationships (Defiant Times Press). As an educator, role model,
and spokesperson for the polyamory community, Wendy has become a revolutionary activist of the heart. Since
the release of her book, she has taught over 40 Radical Love & Relationship Workshops globally, excavating
important social trends and reshaping the future of alternative relationship models for the 21st century. As an
activist for social change, Wendy is pushing the boundaries on firmly rooted notions in mainstream society on
relationships, love, gender, and sexual politics. Visit her website at www.wendyomatik.com.
Love & Revolution,
**Ultimately, love will prevail in the creation of a new paradigm for life in which Kindness and Respect are the
ruling principles of our world rather than greed, capitalism, and war. –-Anna Martinek Brait, Full Belly Farms