What is a polyamorous relationship?
The traditional belief is that every person should seek a single soulmate and commit to that person completely. Some individuals believe that it is unrealistic and unfair to expect the fulfillment of emotional, sexual and financial needs from one person. This thought process is the basis for polyamory. Numerous studies show that around four to eight percent of the population in the United States is in a polyamorous relationship.
Polyamory, or consensual nonmonogamy, is the practice of having multiple intimate relationships, with the full knowledge and consent of all parties involved. It is generally not gender specific. Anyone can have multiple partners of any gender. Polyamorous relationships require consent, open-mindedness, immense trust, communication skills, clear boundaries and mutual respect without feelings of jealously.
Polyamory differs from other types of open relationships, such as swinging (couples having casual sex outside of the relationship, without being emotionally attached). Polyamory may often be confused with polygamy. Polygamy is being married to more than one person at the same time. Polygamy involves marriage to multiple people of the opposite gender, whereas polyamory involves both married partners having the freedom to have relationships outside their primary relationship. Polyamorous relationships are not illegal, but polygamy is illegal in many parts of the world, including the United States.
A social stigma is associated with polyamorous relationships. Therefore, it is often practiced privately and may be kept secret even from close friends and family out of fear of being judged. Polyamory is not a sexual orientation, but more of a lifestyle choice.
Some polyamorous people have a primary relationship and engage in casual relationships with others with consent from the other partner. Some may introduce a secondary partner, which requires the primary couple to agree on a set of rules, such as date times and the type of intimacy allowed. Some relationships start out as polyamorous, while others may become polyamorous after being together for a while. Each couple may have their own set of rules. However, if one partner wants a polyamorous relationship and the other doesn’t, then it could be threatening to the relationship.
The reason why polyamorous relationships are not very common is that they do not follow the traditional social, cultural or religious construct of relationships. Polyamorous relationships need a lot of work and may benefit from counseling from time to time. Polyamory is not a personality disorder or a malady. It is simply an alternate way of life.
The concept of “cheating” does not exist in polyamorous relationships because both parties involved in a polyamorous relationship are required to be completely honest about their other relationships.
Ultimately, being in a polyamorous relationship comes down to the people involved in the relationship. It may work for some people, but it requires partners to be open and transparent.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Archives of Sexual Behavior
The Journal of Sexual Medicine
Top What Is a Polyamorous Relationship Related Articles
Men's SecretsWhat do men really want you to know about them? For better intimacy, learn these 18 secrets guys wish you Knew about sex, love, and marriage.
30 Reasons Why People Have SexSince ancient times, the reasons people have sex have been assumed to be few and simple. However, several proposed theories suggest reasons to perform the carnal act may be larger in number and psychologically complex.
Contraceptive Measures after Unprotected SexContraceptive birth control measures after unprotected sex include: emergency hormonal contraception (the morning after pill), and emergency IUD. The morning after pill is not meant to be a long-term contraception. Once the emergency is over, a woman should consult with her physician so that an appropriate contraceptive method can be chosen if the woman continues to be sexually active. The emergency IUD can provide a woman with long-term contraception. Emergency IUD insertion does however, increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Female Sexual ProblemsFemale sexual dysfunction symptoms can limit a woman’s sex life. Female sexual dysfunction treatment aims to address any psychological and physical causes of the problem. Sometimes doctors prescribe drugs to treat female sexual dysfunction symptoms.
Is It Normal to Have Sex Every Day?Sex is known to be a proven stressbuster that elevates your mood instantly, and yes, it is completely normal to have sex every day. There are phases in life when you have sex more frequently.
Sex & Love QuizRelationships, sex, and love! Could it be that what motivates physical attraction in us may be all in our minds? Take the Sex & Love Quiz to challenge yourself on healthy human sexuality!
Sex-Drive KillersNoticing a lack of intimacy with your partner? Here we explore how stress, lack of sleep, weight gain, depression and low T can cause low sex drive in men and women.
Sexual Problems in MenMale sexual dysfunction can be caused by physical or psychological problems. Common sexual problems in men include erectile dysfunction (impotence or ED), premature ejaculation, and loss of libido. Treatment for sexual dysfunction in men may involve medication, hormone therapy, psychological therapy, and the use of mechanical aids.
Female Sexual ProblemsSexual dysfunction refers to a problem that arises during any phase of the sexual response cycle, preventing an individual or couple from experiencing sexual satisfaction. Physical, medical, and psychological conditions may affect sexual functioning, resulting in inhibited sexual desire, inability to become aroused, lack of orgasm, and painful intercourse. Treating the underlying physical and psychological problems usually resolves most female sexual problems.
Sexual AddictionThe term sex addiction describes the behavior of someone who has an unusually strong sex drive or sexual obsession. Sex and thoughts of sex dominate a sex addict's thinking, making it difficult to work or engage in healthy personal relationships. Sex addicts may engage in exhibitionism, voyeurism, prostitution, compulsive masturbation, or cybersex. Treatment for sex addiction includes individual counseling, marital and/or family therapy, support groups, 12-step recovery programs, and in some cases, medications.
Benefits of SexHow would you like a stronger immune system or better sleep? Action between the sheets can help you get all of this and more. Read on to discover the surprising health benefits of sex.
Sexual Response Cycle (Phases of Sexual Response)There are four phases to the sexual response for men and women. Couple do not usually reach each phase at the same time, and they are dependant from individual to individual. The four phases of the sexual response cycle include phase 1, excitement; phase 2, plateau; phase 3 orgasm; and phase 4 resolution.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are among the most common infectious diseases in the United States. STDs can be spread through any type of sexual activity involving the sex organs, the anus or mouth, or through contact with blood during sexual activity. Examples of STDs include, chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhea, granuloma inguinale, lymphogranuloma venereum, syphilis, genital herpes, genital warts, trichomoniasis, pubic lice (crabs), and scabies. Treatment is generally with antibiotics; however, some STDs that go untreated can lead to death.
What Are the Chances of Getting Hep C Sexually?Hepatitis C spreads by contact with an infected person’s blood. Although uncommon, hepatitis C can be transmitted through sexual activity, if the person has genital sores and cuts. It can also be transmitted during menstruation. However, just 2% of hepatitis C cases are sexually transmitted.
What Happens to Our Bodies During Sex?While engaging in sex or during masturbation, your body undergoes physical and emotional changes known as the sexual response cycle. You need to know the body’s response toward each phase of the cycle to enhance the relationship or identify the cause of sexual dysfunction.