Polyamory is loving more than one person at a time, with the full knowledge and consent of each person involved. Polyamory is often called Ethical Non-Monogamy, as it comes with as set of values such as:
- Honesty (cheating is not polyamory)
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Personal growth
- Autonomy and self-responsibility
Swinging and Libertinism vs. Polyamory
Swinging and libertinism are practices around sexual exploration outside of the traditional couple, without the goal of creating an sentimental connection with the partners. Polyamory differs from both as it involves feelings of love or emotional connection, as well as possibly long term commitment with one’s partners. This said, there’s nothing that prevents a polyamorist from also being libertine or swinger if they like, polyamorous people generally being sex positive. Also, newcomers quickly realize there’s some overlap between the polyamorous community and the BDSM community. Those are also separate things, but they can also go hand in hand. Whatever rocks your boat.
Polygamy vs. Polyamory
Polygamy is a plural marriage, consisting of a man with several women (polygyny) or more rarely a woman with several men (polyandry). Polygamy exists in patriarchal societies, perpetuating gender inequalities by allowing men to have multiple partners, while women can’t. Gender equality is fundamental to polyamory, in which men and women have the same rights and all partners benefit from the opportunity to live more than one relationship or have more than one sex partner.
From Monogamy to Polyamory
Switching from one relationship modality to another doesn’t happen overnight. Rather, it’s a process, in which we gradually become aware of the beliefs we have integrated about love and relationships, which are not necessarily grounded in reality, but are very often myths perpetuated in mononormative societies and medias. For example, the idea that we are incomplete and we have to find a soulmate that will perfectly complete us. Or the belief that true Love can only happen with one person. It takes a lot of soul searching to dig out the deep roots of those beliefs and be at peace with the idea that we and our partners can love more than one person at the same time, and that our partners’ other relationships don’t make ours any less significant.
There are as many ways to live polyamory as there are polyamorists. My blog is meant as a guide in your discovery and your journey in polyamory, but don’t pretend to have all the answers. Our lives and challenges are unique, and so are the solutions that apply best to each one of us. Only you can determine if polyamory is for you, and if so, what type of polyamory suits you best.