History of Sex – Part 238 – Polyamory

Posted on: February 23rd, 2017 by Madison Lake No Comments

Polyamory (from Greek πολύ poly, “many, several”, and Latin amor, “love”) is where men and women may have more than one partner with adult consent of all partners involved. It could be described as “consensual and responsible non-monogamy”.

Let’s discuss this.

Human sexual relations has always been a curious and, at times, ‘hot’ topic of discussion, often with varying degrees of moral judgement attached. There are those who believe we can only love one person and/or that two people ‘in love’ should be committed for life. Then there are those who cannot understand how that is possible, and kiss many frogs before settling, but they still settle for one.

For those polyamorous players, one lover is not enough. However, the term swinger or player, which is often used to describe someone who lives a polyamorous lifestyle, is actually looked upon as quite different in the two communities. Polyamory tends to be more emotionally driven, whereas swinging tends to be purely for sexual pleasure.   

Some would define polyamory as a relationship practice, while others think it an orientation or identity, like sexual identity. With polyamory, there are two types of relationships: an open relationship, where the partners involved are free to seek sexual or romantic encounters outside of their defined group, and a closed polyamorous relationship, where they keep their relationships within the chosen group of lovers.

There is documented proof of a Christian religious community in America during the 1800’s where they believed in free love. Any member of the commune was free to have (consensual) sex with another. Exclusivity and possessiveness were unacceptable. The Oneida Community, as they were called, believed it was the responsibility of the commune to raise the offspring from these relations communally. To take things a step further, women past childbearing age would act as mentors to adolescent boys and older men often introduced young females to sex. The elders became religious role models for the younger generation. When you think of ‘free love’ in the ’60’s, perhaps the Oneida were ahead of their time, but polyamory and other forms of non-exclusive relationships, has been going on since the dawn of man.  

Many polyamorists believe fidelity as being faithful to the agreements made in their relationship rather than sexual exclusivity. As mentioned previously, the practice of polyamory includes open relations or multi-partner ones, which can differ in levels of closeness and commitment. Polyamorists generally base commitment on things other than sexual exclusivity. Trust and honesty or growing old together are ideas that set polyamory apart from other forms of open relations.

What are your thoughts? Please comment on this blog and let’s get a conversation going.


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