Note: I do address the topic sex a fair bit in this post, so if that is something you're not comfortable with, steer clear <3
What is polyamory?
Polyamory is a type of relationship in which one has multiple partners. A person in a relationship of this kind is considered to be polyamorous.
So what should I know about polyamory?
People have a lot of wrong ideas about polyamory because it's not a topic that is discuss openly or often. I'm going to go over a few of the misconceptions people have about polyamory.
- Polyamory is the same thing as polygamy
Polygamy is a fairly outdated word for a man with many wives. Polyamory is not about marriage and it can include romantic/sexual interactions between ALL parties, not just one central person with many partners.
- Polyamory is just an excuse for cheating
Polyamorous people practice consent just the same as monogamous. All romantic/sexual interactions that any party has are known and allowed by all other people involved in the relationship. Polyamory is NOT someone cheating and telling their partner they need more than one person because they are polyamorous. It is not a sexual/romantic need it is a relationship type, and often a lifestyle. You can prefer it but it should always be practices with open communication between all parties.
- Polyamory is just a fancy way of saying open relationship
Not all polyamorous relationships are open. You could have 5 people all in an exclusive relationship with each other (meaning they aren't allowing any members to date or have sex outside of those 5 people)
- Polyamorous people are just sex-crazed
Polyamory isn't all about sex. Sex is a part of a poly relationship just as much as it is a part of a non-poly relationship. Not all members of the relationship are necessarily sexually active with each other.
- So... orgies?
It is a possibility but it is not a necessity, or a thing to assume is common. As I said before, polyamory is not all about sex. The sexual dynamic between multiple people may be verry different than it is between two people but it's not anything super crazy.
- Polyamory isn't all that common
It's a lot more common than you'd think. Research has shown that in the us around 4-5% of couples practice "consensual non-monogamy"
- You can't have true feelings of love for more than one person
Though this is the societal standard and it is what we're told, it isn't true for everyone. Polyamory isn't for everyone, but we should acknowledge those who it does work for.
Okay, what else?
Now that we've gone over all that, I'd like to talk about the wide variety of ways that people can practice polyamory. There are ways that relationships can differ case by case. These variables are: Sexual interaction, romantic attraction, and open/closed sides.
- Sexual interaction
When you have several people in a relationship, it's important to know that they may or may not all have the same sexual dynamic between them. You could have 3 people in a relationship where only two of them were sexually active. You could have one person that everyone is sexually active with but they do not have sex with each other otherwise.
- Romantic interaction
This follows most of the things I've said already about sexual attraction. Usually everyone has someone in the group that they feel romantic attraction to but it's not a necessity.
- Open/closed sides
In a polyamorous relationship, it isn't a given that everyone has the same restrictions. You could have 4 people who are all in a relationship where only one of them has sexual/romantic interactions outside of the group. You could have a group where you're allowed to date outside the group but not allowed to have sex. All these rules are determined by everyone in the group and where there comfort levels are.
How people choose to set labes for themselves and the people in the relationship can be complicated. If you come accross polyamorous people and don't know what terms they prefer for something, just ask! We don't bite :P
My goal for this post is that more people will have a better understanding of what polyamory is and to know how broad that term really is. There is no one right way to practice polyamory <3