Facts & Info

Polyamory Vocabulary and Definitions

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I had a sacred lover from New York who taught me a word that I don’t know exactly, but it started with the letters “krep”, and it meant “reaching one’s limit for polyamorous possibility, and choosing to stop creating connections.” I loved her for many many reasons, including teaching me what an “expanded orgasm” is and feels like, but she also taught me all kinds of amazing new things, and I cherish her soul for it dearly!

Polyamory has taught me new levels of human interaction and creative connection that delves far beyond the traditional monogamous bond that many people choose as the final level of their union with other humans.

Polyamory, like other extra-traditional realms of human connection in life, has its own vocabulary for communication and connection. And polyamory has expanded my mind and my heart a million times more amazingly than any other aspect of adventure or use of energy in my life, due to its unparalleled ability to introduce educational angels and insightful acquaintances into my soul and safe spaces in my heart. Every new relationship teaches something new in the world of poly!

Here are some words that I think are important to constantly use, or be aware of, in polyamory. I will use each word in a sentence in a polyamorous context, just to define its meaning the best I can. Let’s have fun talking about what polyamory means.

1. Appreciate (verb) -ated; -ating 1: to value justly, 2: to be aware of, 3: to be grateful for, 4: to increase in value; appreciation (noun)

“I hope my lovers appreciate how hard I work on keeping my schedule balanced enough to spend time with all of them as often as I can!”

2. Attention (n) 1: the act or state of applying the mind to an object, 2: consideration, 3: an act of courtesy, 4: a position of readiness assumed on command by a soldier; attentive (adj); attentively (adv); attentiveness (n)

“I don’t mind when you pay attention to all the other attractive men in this sex club, baby. I know you love me. Have fun tasting the eye candy!”

3. Attraction (n) 1: emphasis is on basic attraction or chemistry as the basis for getting involved in a relationship. You discover if your values and life plans are harmonious or not after emotional and sexual attachment are already established, 2: the act or power of attracting; esp. personal charm, 3: an attractive quality, object, or feature, 4: a force tending to draw particles together

“This is the moment I confess I have an attraction to your sister’s best friend. She is a dream woman to me. Do you mind if I ask her on a date?”

4. Bright-eyed Novice [BeN] (n): a person who has just discovered Polyamory. Handle at your own risk as they tend to date as if eating at a buffet, they are still unaware of the amount of energy and work they will need to make their relationships work and have not yet refined their communication skills.

Example of something a BeN would say: “I love more than one person and I don’t care who knows it !”

“I don’t like judging people, but that kind of reckless behaviour is more typical of a bright-eyed novice than a mature, open-hearted man, yo.”

5. Compersion (n): the feeling of taking joy in the joy that others you love share among themselves, especially taking joy in the knowledge that your beloveds are expressing their love for one another, the term was coined by the Keristan Commune in San Francisco which practiced polyfidelity. Kerista disbanded in the early 1990s.

“It’s not something we are taught when we are kids, but the moment we learn what jealousy is, we should learn about it’s opposite emotion, compersion, because it’s way more cool than jealousy!”

6. Cowboy (n) : a male person who believes that alternative relationships are unstable, and consciously or unconsciously tries to pull one of the partners off into a monogamous relationship with them. Refers to “cutting a filly out of the herd.” Cowgirl: a female cowboy.

“Yo, that dude’s trying to be a cowboy and I don’t appreciate it. No man will rope in my freedom, no matter what he thinks he can do for me!!”

7. Dysfunctional Relationship (n): impaired relationship that is neither growth oriented, nurishing or supportive of its members

“Honestly, my neighbors dysfunctional relationship is so damn disruptive, my pet cat is even starting to meow about it! They need therapy!”

8. Love (n) (v) 1: strong affection, 2: warm attachment, 3: attraction based on sexual desire, 4: a beloved person or persons, 5: unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for others, 6: cherish, 7: to feel a passion, devotion, or tenderness for, 8: caress, 9: to take pleasure in, 10: loveless, loved, loving, lovable (adj)

“This relationship is everything I could dream for, angel woman! We are love!”

9. Open Relationship (n): an agreement among the members in which the partners decide that they can have sexual relations outside of the relationship. Partner have agreed that they can have sexual relations independently of each other

“We spent seven years in an open relationship, and it was magnificent. The only reason we broke up is because she got jealous about me being friends with a woman I didn’t even kiss!”

10. Polyamory (n): is the nonpossessive, honest, responsible and ethical philosophy and practice of loving multiple people simultaneously. Polyamory emphasizes consciously choosing how many partners one wishes to be involved with rather than accepting social norms which dictate loving only one person at a time. Polyamory is an umbrella term which integrates traditional multi-partner relationship terms with more evolved egalitarian terms. Polyamory embraces sexual equality and all sexual orientations towards an expanded circle of spousal intimacy and love. Polyamory is from the root words Poly meaning many and Amour meaning love hence “many loves” or Polyamory

“Why don’t they teach this word in middle school? Polyamory is the best thing to happen to my relationships since I learned how to put on a condom!”

11. Sex Negative (adj):  person with the belief that sexuality in general is dirty or distasteful to including their own sexuality

“All that sex negativity comes from him being repressed by his super religious parents, that’s all. I hope he figures that shit out one day, for real!”

12. Sex Positive (adj) : a person who is comfortable with own sexuality and sexuality in general

“I love people like her! She’s happy, she’s confident, she’s nonjudgemental, she’s sex positive… dammit, is she an angel from outer space?!”

13. Trust (n) (v) 1: to place confidence, 2: to be confident, 3: entrust, 4: to permit to stay or go or to dosomething without fear or misgiving, 5: to rely on or on the truth of, 6: to extend credit to, 7: assured reliance on the character, strength, or truth of someone or something, 8: a basis of reliance, faith, or hope, 9: confident hope, 10: financial credit, 11: a property interest held by one person for the benefit of another, 12: a combination of firms formed by a legal agreement; esp. one that reduces competition, 13: something entrusted to one to be cared for in the interest of another, 14: care, custody syn confidence, dependence, faith, reliance

“I can’t be in a relationship where I don’t trust them when I’m not there. That’s basically babysitting my boyfriend, and trust me, I ain’t doing that!”

14. Value (noun or verb) 1: something (as a principle or ideal) intrinsically valuable or desirable, 2: to consider or rate highly, prize, esteem, 3: to rate in usefulness, importance, or general worth, 4: a fair return or equivalent in money, goods, or services for something exchanged, 5: to estimate the monetary worth of, appraise, 6: the monetary worth of a thing; also relative worth, utility, or importance, 7: an assigned or computed numerical quantity, 8: relative lightness or darkness of a color, luminosity, 9: the relative length of a tone or note; valueless (adj) valued (v) valuing (v) valuer (n)

“She should value the open heart and generous vulnerability you are extending to her every time you see her. Why does she ignore that? Sigh.”

15. Touch (n or v) 1: a light stroke or tap, 2: the act or fact of touching or being touched, 3: the sense by which pressure or traction on the skin or mucous membrane is perceived; also a particular sensation conveyed by this sense, 4: mental or moral sensitiveness, tact, 5: a small quantity, hint, 6: a manner of striking or touching, esp. the keys of a keyboard instrument, 7: an improving detail, 8: distinctive manner or skill, 9: the state of being in contact, suggestion, suspicion, tincture, tinge, 10: to bring a bodily part (as the hand) into contact with so as to feel, 11: to be or cause to be in contact, 12: to strike or push lightly, esp. with the hand or foot, 13: disturb, harm, 14: to make use of, 15: to induce to give or lend, 16: to get to, reach, 17: to refer to in passing, mention, 1 : to affect the interest of, concern, 19: to leave a mark on; also blemish, 20: to move to sympathetic feeling, 21: to come close, verge, 22: to have a bearing, relate, 23: to make a brief or incidental stop, influence, impress, strike, sway.

“A relationship without touch is like sunshine without heat or water without temperature, or even air without clarity. Touch is the reason we love!”

There is no end to the body language we will learn in our polyamorous lives. Keep that tongue busy!! Ha ha ha!!

Thank you to the Polyamory Society for these terms.

And If you know other words you want to share, please write them in the comments section below…

In love,
Addi Stewart

Put this vocabulary into action: 10 Polyamory Conversation Starters!

Tell us what you think!

Tell us what you think!

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