Tips & Advice

Polyamory Definition: What is Polyamory?

polyamory definition

If you are a member of you probably already know the meaning of polyamory or have an idea, but there is often some confusion around this term and a few that are similar. So let’s clear things up!

‘Polyamory’ comes from the greek word ‘poly’ which means ‘many’, and the Latin word ‘amor’, for ‘love’. So polyamory is basically many loves.  Polyamory is not a very specific term but is generally agreed upon to refer to the practice of having mulitple intimate partners with the full consent of all involved. That means if you have two sexual relationships on the go and consider yourself a polyamorist, you are honest with both of these partners and they know about each other whether or not they are involved with the other or not. Got three women on the go and none of them know? That is NOT polyamory.

best described as consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy..

So polyamory, or ‘poly’ is best described as consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy and this emphasis on honesty is really the defining characteristic which sets it apart from other forms of non-monogamy such as cheating. The arrangements of any particular polyamorous relationship can vary widely and really depend on the philosophies of the parties involved. Polyamorists typically believe that exclusivity with a partner is not necessary to have a deep and meaningful relationship. With this definition in mind I would say that those dating multiple partners openly are poly, as well as those in ongoing relationships with multiple partners together or apart, and even someone who seeks out threesomes or triad relationships would be considered poly.

Let’s briefly look at a few (but not all) different types of polyamory:

triad: three people who are romantically involved, possibly a couple plus a third
quad: four people who are romantically involved, often two couples
mono/poly relationship: one person in the relationship is monogamous but accepts the other’s polyamory
polyfidelity: multiple romantic relationships where sex is restricted to those within the group (like a group marriage)

And just to distinguish polyamory from some similar terms..

polygamy: a marriage that includes more than 2 partners.
polysexuality: attraction towards multiple genders

Keep in mind that there is LOADS of great information on the net regarding polyamory and the wikipedia page in particular is excellent. If you are curious to know more I suggest you start there and see where it leads you.

What does polyamory mean to you? How do you practice polyamory in your life?

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