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You might picture a romantic relationship as two people committed exclusively to one another — also known as monogamy. Consensual non-monogamy, on the other hand, involves relationships with more than one person, with the consent of everyone involved. Polyamory is just one of the ways to practice consensual non-monogamy. You may have also heard of other forms, like open relationships and swinging. But this is a common misconception. Cheating includes deception and betrayal, like if you and your partner have agreed not to have sex with other people, but your partner breaks that promise.
The difference between cheating and polyamory is that people who are polyamorous have shared agreements about sex and relationships with other people. In fact, one research study showed no difference in relationship satisfaction between people who are monogamous or consensually non-monogamous. Commitment for monogamous people can mean expressing love by putting time, trust, and respect for shared agreements into a relationship with another person.
Commitment for a polyamorous relationship could mean the same — just with a different set of agreements. If having threesomes all the time sounds exhausting to you, then you should know that plenty of polyamorous people would agree with you. For example, a woman might have sexual relationships with two different men, but enjoy sex with only one of them at a time.
Polyamory is defined as practicing or being open to intimate relationships with more than one person. While every polyamorous relationship is unique, people in healthy polyamorous relationships share many of the same values, including:. Some ways they might build trust include communicating about new partners, practicing safe sex, and keeping promises. Open, honest, and frequent communication is essential for maintaining multiple relationships in a healthy way. Taking on new partners, engaging in new sex acts, and entering new commitments all requires consent for everyone involved.
The same goes for polyamory. Monogamous couples can certainly spice things up with some variety in the bedroom, but some people desire more than monogamy can offer. If you prefer mixing things up with different types of sex with different types of people, then polyamory could be your thing. You and your partner s must have a genuine interest in exploring additional relationships for polyamory to work. For example, if sex with other people is what you want, tell your partner so, and together the two of you can work through any feelings that come up about it.
Talk about why polyamory is right for you — though mentioning what your partner could get out of it can help, too! The more informed and in touch with your feelings you both are, the stronger foundation you have for moving forward. Establishing and maintaining polyamorous relationships requires ongoing communication. Are you excited about going on first dates again? Are you OK with your partner building a deep, long-term relationship with someone else, or would you prefer if they kept things casual? Do you want to know the details if your partner has sex, just the fact that your partner had sex, or not hear about the sex at all?
How would you feel if your partner introduced another partner to their family, to your kids, or to the public via social media? Physical boundaries can include sexual acts, displays of affection, and how you share space together. For example:. Or you might be OK with your partner cuddling in private, but not holding hands with someone else in public places. How do you feel about different types of sex, like oral sex, anal sex , one-time sex with a stranger, or BDSM?
Is sex with other people OK only with barriers like condoms? You can find online groups of people who practice consensual non-monogamy worldwide, around the country, or in your local area. You can also meet people in person, like by ing polyamorous MeetUp groups in your region. By adding polyamory to your profile, you can find others who might be interested. There are even a few services out there just for polyamorous people, like PolyMatchmaker.
You can also check out the More Than Two website , as well as other sites like:. Maisha Z. Find Maisha on her website , Facebook , and Twitter. Setting boundaries is about giving yourself agency and empowerment. Here are exercises, questions, and methods to try when setting boundaries with…. There's no right or wrong way to cuddle, but these common cuddling positions can pave the way to an epic cuddling session.
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Polyamory is just one form of consensual non-monogamy. It simply means…. It all comes down to four key values. Share on Pinterest. How to bring it up with your current partner. How to establish ground rules. Emotional boundaries to consider. Physical boundaries to consider. How to navigate the transition. Terms to be familiar with. If you want to learn more. Your Guide to Sexual Consent.
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