Polyamory is a neologism which denotes the concept of “multiple loves.” It has been independently coined by several people; one instance was Jennifer Wesp, who created the Usenet newsgroup alt.polyamory in 1992. However, the term has been reported in occasional use in the 1960s. Polyamory consists in having honest, usually non-possessive relationships with multiple partners. Persons in such relationships define themselves as Polyamorous.
Polyamory can include:
- Open relationships, which involves romantic partnerships that are not sexually exclusive
- Polyfidelity, which involves multiple romantic relationships with sexual contact restricted to those
- Sub-relationships, which denote distinguishing between a “primary” relationship or relationships and various “secondary” relationships
- Group relationships or marriage (group marriage), in which all of the involved parties consider themselves equally associated to one another — popularized to some extent by Robert Heinlein‘sThe Moon is a Harsh Mistress, in which the main character is in such a relationship.
- Relationship webs
Most practitioners of polyamory consider honesty to be an integral part. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is usually frowned upon, and many polyamorous people emphasize the value of communications to good relationships.
Unlike polygamy, polyamory does not necessarily involve marriage, although some polyamorous people are married. Unlike the general case of swinging, polyamorous relationships generally involve an emotional bond, though the distinctions made between swinging and polyamory are a topic open to debate and interpretation, and many people in both the swinging and polyamory communities see both practices as part of a continuum of open intimacy and sexuality. Most monogamous people definefidelity as restricting one’s sexual involvement to exactly one sexual partner; most polyamorous people define fidelity as not lying to your partners, and keeping the commitments you have made to them.
Quote from Torn Between Two Lovers, sung by Mary MacGregor:
- There’s been another man that I’ve needed and I’ve loved, but that doesn’t mean I love you less, … Torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool, loving you both is breaking all the rules.
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