Poly Relationships

This FAQ was created with the help of Ignacio Rivera

    General Info:
  1. What does polyamorous mean? Is it the same as swinging?
  2. What are the advantages/disadvantages about being in a poly?
  3. What about jealousy?
  4. Is there/can there be commitment in poly relationships?
  5. Is there a greater concern for practicing safer sex?
  6. Can/should a non-poly be in a relationship with a poly person?
  7. Is it one person in several relationships or several people in one relationship?
  8. If someone is poly, is it safe to assume that she would not insist that her partner(s) be monogamous?
  9. In hetero examples of poly (Mormons), it seems like the husband is having all of the (sexual) fun while the wives/women wait their turn. Is it the same with lesbians?
  1. What does polyamorous mean? Is it the same as swinging?
    _____Polyamory literally means "many loves." It comes from the belief that it is possible to love more than one person romantically at one time. It doesn't necessarily mean that you are having sex with more than one person.
    _____Swinging is friendly sex in a controlled environment where emotional attachment is discouraged. It used to be called "wife swapping". In contrast, polyamorous relationships might or might not be sexual, but they are loving. Swinging is to polyamory as a one night stand is to falling in love. Polyamory is not primarily about sex, itís about freedom of choice in loving relationships.
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  2. What are the advantages/disadvantages about being in a poly?
    _____The advantages are that you can experience different types of people rather than trying to find that one person who has all of the qualities you want-the perfect person. You can learn from/ build on/ experience the wonderful things from one person and enjoy other qualities from another person.
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  3. What about jealousy?
    _____Most polys experience some jealousy now and then, but they don't let it control their lives. Jealousy is like fear or any other unwanted emotion: something to be dealt with and put behind you. When dealt with honestly and unflinchingly, jealousy loses much of its power. Many see jealousy as a signal that something needs investigation and care, much as they would regard depression or pain.
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  4. Is there/can there be commitment in poly relationships?
    _____Of course there can be commitment. Most people think that being Poly is all about having sex. Polyamory, to me, is an umbrella term that encompasses many types of "relationships." Within Polyamory one can have emotional relationships, sexual relationships and more. The possibilities are endless. Poly people create the relationships that work for them. If done right, it is very honest and up front.
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  5. Is there a greater concern for practicing safer sex?
    _____In this day and age everyone should be concerned with safe sex practices. The person who has a partner, cheats and or has casual sex with others, may not identify as poly but it doesn't mean that she should be more or less concerned with safe sex than a poly person. People in monogamous relationships should be as concerned as we are.
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  6. Can/should a non-poly be in a relationship with a poly person?
    _____It depends. The non-poly person should enter the relationship knowing that her partner is poly. These kinds of relationships are a bit difficult but can work. Everyone takes control of what they want, relationships are negotiated and if you're lucky everyone feels good. If it doesn't feel good, it shouldn't be.
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  7. Is it one person in several relationships or several people in one relationship?
    _____There are many variations and family structures. Some may be quads (four people in a relationship), Triads (two main people who add a third), a single person who enters into several relationships or a single person who is poly but essentially monogamous with one person and has the option of forming other relationships with others. One does not have to be participating in various relationships to identify as poly. It is simply the core belief that one can love many.
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  8. If someone is poly, is it safe to assume that she would not insist that her partner(s) be monogamous? ("I can sleep with others, but you can only sleep with me.")
    _____ If someone is really poly, it would be ridiculous to pressure a partner into staying or being monogomous. The very structure or essence of poly life is about communication and the ability to NOT control another. Being monogomous would have to be the want or need of the person herself not the desire of the poly person.
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  9. In hetero examples of poly (Mormons), it seems like the husband is having all of the (sexual) fun while the wives/women wait their turn. Is it the same with lesbians?
    _____Polygamy is the practice of having one dominant man with many wives and potentially more children. Polyamory is about allowing fully equal respect and freedom of the heart and soul for all partners allowing intimate love of others without domination in ownership or jealousy.
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Other Poly Resources:
Loving More magazine
Poly Resources and Faqs
Sacred Space Institute
The Alt.Polyamory Cultural FAQ
Dark Rose

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