Are Polyamorous Relationships Healthy Ones?
While polyamory is taboo for most of America, a large number of people are finding that it works for them. In its simplest form, polyamory refers to nonmonogamy, or having more than one serious partner at a time.
The practice is described in depth by Peter J. Benson in his book, The Polyamory Handbook: A User's Guide. His book, about the very non-traditional relationship style, explores conflict resolution, relationship agreements, sexual hygiene, legalities, and, of course, kids and finances. He states that polyamory is "the practice of having emotionally and sexually intimate relationships with more than one person simultaneously, openly and honestly, keeping one's primary partner or partners (or dating partners) informed of the existence of other intimate involvements, and acting only with the agreement of all concerned."
Is Polyamory Becoming More Popular?
"It may be more available today," says Nan Wise, a sex therapist and sex science researcher. Polyamory can work in many different ways, she says, but the defining feature is that "it is a conscious decision, discussed with a partner." It's important for anyone who wants to be polyamorous to tell a potential partner at the start of a relationship that he or she doesn't intend to be monogamous, Wise says. "If you are a single person, let your partner know your preferred style before you get too deep into a relationship," she advises. "If you are married, it's up to the two partners to decide."
Wise goes even further to differentiate between people who are polyamorous and those considered "swingers". "Swingers will have sex with people and never know their names," she says. "But in polyamory, you have people who are couples and have primary partners, but then they have secondary partners on top of that."
And, she adds, the idea that polyamorous people are promiscuous is misleading. "They are very interested in the relating, the conversation and the connection," she says. "Polyamorous people tend to keep their relationships over a long period of time."
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.