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  • polyamory based love

    Just what exactly is polyamory, anyway?

     

    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."

  • Scope of the Term "Polyamory"

     

    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.