As the owner of this site, I have seen a great many people join, but not know much about what polyamory is all about.  There seem to be as many different ideas about the concept of polyamory as there are people on the site.  I decided that I wanted to clear up the confusion, and define the various concepts of the polyamorous lifestyle.

First of all, polyamory falls under the broad category of "Ethical Non-Monogamy".

Ethical non-monogamy is defined simply as having relationships of some sort outside of your primary relationship, in a way that all parties know, and consent, to the relationship boundaries being fluid.  Cheating is when a person steps outside their relationship for physical or emotional partnership, without the consent or knowledge of your primary partner.  We don't consider this to be ethical, and ends up hurting at least one of the parties involved.  

Under the umbrella of ethical non-monogamy, we have a number of different relationship styles.  Most commonly, we hear about swingers.  Swinging is generally thought of as a couple that wants to "spice things up in the bedroom", and has sex with other partners outside of their relationship, but look at it as a purely physical thing.  In swinging, emotional attachment or love isn't usually an option.  

Polyamory happens when the heart gets involved.  Poly people believe that we are capable of loving more than one person at a time, without damaging the loving relationship we feel for our other partners.  It's similar to the way a parent can love all of their children, and not just one.  

This isn't to say that there isn't a sexual aspect to polyamory.  Poly people, by and large, are open about their sexuality.  Love is our primary relationship purpose, but in many cases, sex isn't far behind.  We enjoy showing our partners that we love them, and do so in ways that are romantic, loving, sensual, or any other way we can show our love to them.  The primary component to our relationships, however, is love.  Without love, we're back to swinging.

Polyamorous relationships come in many different shapes and sizes.  They can be small and closed, like a man living with two wives (or woman living with two husbands), or they can be open and fluid.  In my case, my partner and I live with our kids, and my partner and I each have a girlfriend, each of which are married to really great guys, and they have relationships outside of us.  We like to call ourselves a "polycule".

There are, of course, subsets of polyamory.  Polygamy, where one man has multiple wives, has been in the news and all over TV lately with shows like Sister Wives.  Polyandry, the opposite, is where one woman has multiple husbands.  

It's important to point out that polyamory does not have a religious basis.  There are polyamorous Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Pagans, and atheists.  All nationalities, ethnicities, and sexualities are represented.  We strive for equality in all our relationships.  

Polyamory is a huge topic, with a wide range of ideas and writings.  This is by no means a comprehensive explanation, but I do hope it helps many of you find your way through poly.
Posted by camrosecouple on 07/29/2014 05:42 PM