A Quick Guide to Polyamory

Polyamory is the new pink. Not quite, but it is the latest way in which people are opening up and exploring different types of relationships. Open relationships are more popular than they have been in decades (we can thank the original “free love” counterculture for this) and polyamorous relationships are taking the idea of the open relationship to the next level.

Don’t know what a polyamorous relationship is? Don’t worry, we got you. Polyamory is defined as an intimate relationship involving multiple partners, with the consent of all partners involved. Think of it as a committed relationship involving two or more people, in which all of these partners have intimate relations and commitments to each other.

Often mistaken with polygamy, which is the act of being married to multiple people at one time and totally illegal, polyamory is more about the exploration of relationships and how they can evolve in different ways than anything. In fact, many open and/or polyamorous relationships are even more communicative and intimate than a standardly monogamous one in many ways because they have to be.

If you’re still unsure how polyamory works, but are most certainly curious, then you’re in luck because we have a quick guide just for you.

Isn’t That Cheating?

No, it isn’t! Because polyamory accommodates the existence of multiple partners in a relationship, there isn’t actually cheating involved. Actually, having a polyamorous relationship can combat the possibilities of cheating because the people involved are likely getting their emotional and sexual needs met on multiple levels.

Polyamorous couples, throuples, or the like are communicating their needs all the time; in order for this type of relationship to work, there needs to be explicit honesty among partners. If one partner wants to bring another into the relationship, it’s something that all involved will have to discuss. By the time a partner has any type of romantic or sexual dalliances with another person, they’ve likely discussed this possibility thoroughly with their partner(s).

Group Sex Isn’t Always a Factor

Some people think that polyamory is just a disguised usage of terminology for regular threesomes or group sex. That’s not really the case. Whereas in some polyamorous relationships there is more precedence put on a group dynamic, many polyamorous relationships don’t even involve group sex.

If that is something you’re interested in exploring, then you might be better suited in opening up your relationship in a different way i.e. just for threesomes or group fun. Depending on the polyamorous structure that’s decided on, group dynamics might not even be a factor in a chosen non-monogamous relationship.

So, if you’re just looking for group sex, you’re better off just asking for it!

Polyamory Isn’t Sex Addiction

There’s a connotation that comes with polyamory that has people thinking that polyamorous couples are really just sex addicts trying to make a more traditional relationship work. This is definitely not the case. If you talk to a polyamorous couple about how their relationship functions, you’re almost guaranteed that they’ll tell you more about their feelings than the sex.

Sex is still a private part of a relationship, even for polyamorous couples. It’s actually insensitive to assume that a polyamorous couple is just a pair of sex addicts, it’s simply judgmental and untrue. No matter the couple, it’s in poor taste to ask about their sex life unless they’ve given you the go-ahead, and even so, many couples keep that part of their relationship very private. Don’t pry!

Polyamory Isn’t a Fear of Commitment

Many studies show that polyamorous relationships have proved to be just as stable and satisfying as monogamous ones. In some cases, more so. That said, polyamorous couples just have a different set of rules that they must adhere to. While their relationship doesn’t look the same as a monogamous one from the outside, there’s just as much love and commitment involved on the inside.

In fact, polyamory involves several levels of commitment, so it’s safe to say that those who are polyamorous are even more well-versed in how to keep a relationship sacred and nourished.

The Four Values in a Healthy Polyamorous Relationship

Many healthy polyamorous relationships rely on four key values in order to sustain it:

  1. Trust

This is perhaps the most important part of any healthy relationship. If you don’t trust your partner, or they don’t trust you, then the relationship will inevitably fall apart. But if you actively make the trust factor in your relationship essential, then you’re on your way to a healthy, loving, and serious relationship. This is just as important in polyamorous relationships as it is in monogamous ones.

  1. Communication

Communication is also a key factor in any committed relationship. Polyamorous relationships require communication on steroids. It’s vital to know where your partner stands in terms of what they want inside and outside of the relationship as well as what they are not satisfied with. There’s so much communication in fact, that polyamory might not be for people who are annoyed by talking about their feelings too much.

  1. Consent

This is the big one! Consent is imperative in any relationship or intimate encounter. If someone has not given their consent to be touched or to engage sexually, then you should not proceed. Consent is majorly important in polyamorous relationships because as a couple you need to make sure that you have the consent of your partner to engage with someone outside of the relationship. There should be consent on behalf of everyone involved in the relationship.

  1. Mutual Respect

If you’ve decided to enter into a polyamorous relationship with your partner, know that there is a wealth of maturity and mutual respect in order to preserve it. This means respecting your partner, but also your partner’s partners. This will be one of the hardest tests (seeing your partner with someone else or knowing that they are), so think deeply regarding implementing polyamory into your relationship.

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