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Our Sierra Black and Her Open Marriage on 20/20

By carolyncastiglia |

sierra black, open marriage, polyamory, 20/20, raising kids poly

Sierra Black and her loved ones.

I just watched Strollerderby’s own Sierra Black on 20/20, sharing the story of her open marriage with America. As Elizabeth Vargas noted in the piece, this isn’t the first time Sierra has shared her life publicly; in more than one post online Sierra has talked about what it’s like to raise her children with a husband … and a boyfriend … and a girlfriend. And yes, she has faced much criticism as a result. But when watching Sierra’s relationship profile on TV just now, I realized how incredibly stable her unusual family is.

The best part of the expose, I thought, was listening to Sierra’s elder daughter Rio describe her parents’ open marriage. From ABC News:

You might think Sierra and Martin’s daughters think their parents’ arrangement is unusual, but when “20/20″ anchor Elizabeth Vargas asked their daughter, Rio, if she thought her family was different from other families, she replied, “Not really.”

Rio’s definition of an open marriage was fairly precise, for a 7-year-old: “Your parent or one of your parents is dating a different person that’s not part of your family,” she said.

Vargas proved herself a bit conventional during the interview process, asking questions like, “Aren’t you just committing adultery?” The obvious answer is, of course not, though Sierra and her husband Martin gave an even better retort. “As Martin put it, ‘There’s no cheating.’ Sierra added, ‘We are committed to being an open book with each other, and it’s all based on a really high degree of love and trust.’”

Precisely. The difference between an open marriage and a marriage filled with infidelity is that those couples in an open marriage are *open* with each other about their desires and the way they act on them. There’s communication, dialogue, even bargaining amongst those involved about the types of behaviors that are acceptable to all parties and those that are off limits. I don’t doubt that more marriages could benefit from that kind of honesty.

To learn more about Sierra and her extended family, visit ABC News.

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About carolyncastiglia



Carolyn Castiglia is a New York-based comedian/writer wowing audiences with her stand-up and freestyle rap. She’s appeared in TONY, The NY Post, The Idiot’s Guide to Jokes and Life & Style. You can find Carolyn’s writing elsewhere online at and The Huffington Post. Read bio and latest posts → Read Carolyn's latest posts →

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6 thoughts on “Our Sierra Black and Her Open Marriage on 20/20

  1. Manjari says:

    We only have 2 kids, but sometimes I think we could use and extra mom and an extra dad around here.

  2. carolyncastiglia says:

    Haha I hear that! I’m looking for a boyfriend/babysitter.

  3. Rosana says:

    I will never agree to an open marriage, there is just no way. However, I understand when Sierra’s daughter does not see her family as different from others. We are on the outside, looking in, she is inside that family surrounded by her loved ones and living good and bad experiences day after day, like us. I am sure that as long as kids feel loved and protected by their parents, their family structure does not really matter.

  4. Amanda says:

    Even if your spouse knows about it and is ok with it, it is still adultery and it is morally wrong, at least in my opinion.

  5. Linda, T.O.O. says:

    I don’t care and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to hear about this, espeically your own children. I don’t share the personal details of my sex life with mine and I’m having a hard time picturing a scenario where it would be appropriate.

  6. Rob says:

    I thought the show did a great job on a telling the story of adults living there life the way they wanted too.They were very well spoken and they seemed to be average Americans. They told the children what they needed to hear for their age group. No details were mentioned. I am polyamorous as well. I live with my girlfriend, aka my life partner, and her husband. We share the same house and and all the expenses. Life is good.

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