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Polyamorous is a descriptive term typically used to describe a person, relationship, or community that is consensually non-monogamous.
The term is a blend of the Greek prefix “poly,” meaning many, and “amorous,” an old French word meaning “moved or motivated by love.”
Their emphasis on multiple love and relationships, rather than simply sex, separates polyamorous people and relationships from other consensually non-monogamous people, such as swingers and people in open relationships.
While the word polyamorous emphasizes the romantic connections between multiple people, sex is also a component of most polyamorous relationships. However, that does not necessarily mean polyamorous people want or engage in group sex. They might, but they may also be just as happy with one-on-one sexual encounters with their partners.
There is no one way to be polyamorous. Some people have closed polyamorous relationships, where they are involved with only people within a small network, while others are open to forming new relationships whenever they spark with someone. Some people are very open with who they are dating and what they are doing while others prefer a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach.
Consent is always key concept for polyamorous people and relationships. Polyamorous people understand and accept non-monogamy as a lifestyle choice. This makes the way they conduct their relationships different from cheating. There is no deception. In fact, many polyamorous people know and are friendly with their partners’ partners, and even their partners’ partners’ partners.
As with any relationship, communication is a cornerstone of polyamorous relationships. It’s important for polyamorous people to establish ground rules with their partner and discuss any jealous feelings they have to maintain happy, healthy relationships.
It is a myth that polyamorous people and polyamorous relationships are less committed than monogamous ones. Studies have shown people in polyamorous relationships are as satisfied with their relationships as people in monogamous relationships. While the agreements are different, polyamorous relationships can and often do have all the respect, trust, and love that monogamous ones do. Some polyamorous people even consider themselves married to multiple people, although these marriages are not recognized by law.