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About Polyamory

An insight into the lifestyle

 

First, there are no rules. Nobody owns the copyright on polyamory. You get to build your own to fit you and your dearloves.

One thing that comes up in every conversation about polyamory is communication. If there is any basic building block, this is probably it. If you can talk about your hopes, you're on the way to realizing them.

If you're in a relationship already, and have not talked about how you feel and what you want, and you're asking the question "How do I start doing this poly stuff?", you may have some qualms about talking to your partner. What you do will have to be determined by your own ethics and your own situation; chances are that if you ask on the newsgroup, many poly folk will suggest you talk it over with your partner, and they may point out that even if you two do not decide to live polyamorously, you may very well increase the intimacy level in your monogamous dyad by having the discussion.

polyamory based love

 

Sometimes, in the course of human events, one needs to go back and clarify one's definitions.  For the term and concept "polyamory," now seems like just such a time: Sex at Dawn has brought the idea of humans as a non-monogamous species into the mainstream, Canada's case against polygamy has brought polyamorous families to the forefront, and people who are interested in multiple intimate emotional entanglements are still struggling to differentiate themselves from swingers.

But polyamory can mean so many things to so many people that some people are struggling to make sure the definition doesn't become too broad.  The Polyamory Paradigm blog, for instance, finds that poly-tantra activist Janet Kira Lessin's descriptions of six-way orgies at the Poly Living Conference seem more swinger-like than poly-like.  Alan at Polyamory in the News has expressed concerns that with the gradual mainstreaming of polyamory, people will try it in uninformed and dishonest ways and make the lifestyle look naive and impossible to those being exposed to it for the first time.  Even Deborah Anapol, pioneer of polyamory in the '80s and author of the original Love Without Limits, allows for the labeling of open or potentially open marriages as "new monogamy."

 

No single written definition of "polyamory" has universal acceptance. It is generally agreed that polyamory involves multiple consensual, loving relationships (or openness to such), but beyond that the term is as ambiguous as the word love itself. 

Some object to the idea that one must currently be participating in multiple relationships to be considered polyamorous. Others would consider their relational outlook polyamorous, regardless of whether they happen to be single or in an exclusive relationship at the time. A relationship is more likely to be called "polyamorous" if at least one relationship is long-term, involves some sort of commitment (e.g. a formal ceremony), and involves shared living arrangements and/or finances, but none of these criteria are necessary or definitive.

 

Polyamory is a hybrid word: poly is Greek for many and amor is Latin for love. It has been independently coined by several people, including Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart whose article "A Bouquet of Lovers" (1990) is widely cited as the source of the word, and Jennifer Wesp who created the Usenet newsgroup alt.polyamory in 1992. However, the term has been reported in occasional use since the 1960s, and even outside polygamous cultures such relationships existed well before the name was coined; for one example dating from the 1920s, see William Moulton Marston.

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