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Polyamory / What is it?


is a greek root meaning “many,several”

Amory is a latin root meaning “love”

the most important thing is that all relationship structures are valid as long as they work for you and they are not harming anyone & everyone is on the same page about what the structure is, but it’s also okay for that to shift over time. It’s okay if you’ve never been in a polyamorus relationship before and think that’s something you identify with. But it’s also valid to identify as poly and then you wake up and decide you want to have a monogamous relationship. There is no fixed box or answer for it, it’s whatever you’re comfortable with.

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“Polyamory” has a rich history, and it’s something many people practice. In fact, it was the fourth most searched relationship term on Google in 2017. Still, there are a lot of misconceptions out there about what it means to be polyamorous. As defined by MerriamWebster Dictionary, polyamory is “the state or practice of having more than one open romantic relationship at a time.” However, many people who identify as polyamorous have clarified that while polyamory can be about romance or sex, that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be. The root word “poly” comes from Greek, and means “many,” while “amorous” derives from the Latin word for love — so at its core, polyamory simply means to have many loves or to practice loving many people. how many people you have the capacity to love and be with in various ways in your life. It doesn’t require you to already have an existing relationship. Open relationships are usually more about having a primary partner and then other sexual partners outside of that.

“Polyamory focuses on the relationship aspect, whereas open relationships often focus more on having different sexual partners,” Glover said. “But obviously people can redefine these differently to mean different things. And I think there’s a lot of misunderstandings. A lot of people interpret polyamory as an open relationship. But polyamory might mean someone doesn’t want to have a romantic relationship at all, they just want to date.” You can go back and forth between monogamy and polyamory. If you think that monogamy, which is defined as the practice or state of having a relationship with only one partner, might not be for you, that’s valid. Monogamy doesn’t work for everyone. Just because you want to try out polyamory or non-monogamy doesn’t mean you can’t still identify as single. “You can be poly minded and currently be single. Similar to how you can be bi, but currently dating someone of the same sex,” Dillon explained. .

Polyamory / History

When did it all start?

FIRST WAVE/ NINETEENTH CENTURY TRANSCENDENTALISM Polyamorous identity did not exist during the nineteenth century, but this initial expression of non-monogamy had a profound influence on later poly/non-mono thinking and communities. There were several groups of people who practiced a multiple partner relationship style in the United States in the mid-to-late 1800s, most influenced by the Nineteenth Century transcendental movement. Brook Farm was an “experimental free love community” populated by “Quakers, Shakers, Mormons, and other charismatic leaders who roamed up and down the east coast preaching” a doctrine that “challenged conventional Christian doctrines of sin and human unworthiness.” John Humphrey Noyes founded the Oneida community in 1848. Noyes established a system of “complex marriage” in which “each male was theoretically married to each female, and where each regarded the other as either a brother or a sister” This rejection of monogamous marriage was intended to offer an alternative to “the monogamous relation [which] fostered exclusiveness and selfishness, and worked to counter communism”. Children similarly lived together in a communal children’s house. Parents were not permitted to show special affection to their own children, but were instead mandated to treat all children of the community equally. Finally, Nashoba was a free-love community established in 1862 by Frances Wright, a wealthy Scottish immigrant. Wright formed a large communal farm “bringing together both free blacks and whites to work and make love.” She opposed the racist trend at the time, and declared “sexual passion the best source of human happiness”.

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SECOND WAVE/ TWENTIETH CENTURY COUNTERCULTURES The 1960s and 1970s represented an important period in the evolution of identities that allowed increasing sexual and gender latitude. Feminists included sexual issues such as the repeal of abortion laws and access to safe, legal birth control to their larger agenda of gender equity. Gays and lesbians began to question the hegemony of heterosexuality, and, together with feminists, exposed gender roles as socially constructed. Finally, social and economic conditions contributed to an increase in autonomy for women and sexual minorities, especially gays and lesbians. Industrialization, shrinking families, and the separation of sexuality from procreation enabled women to bear fewer children and gays and lesbians to develop urban enclaves. Polyamory evolved as a direct result of the sexual revolution and intertwined with the alternative sexual forms previously discussed, especially the bisexual and free love movements. Like other aspects of polyamorous community, the history of the movement has some points of contention. Polyamorous Communes Specifically polyamorous communes evolved in the late 1960s and early 1970s. John and Barbara Williamson established the Sandstone community in Los Angeles after the Kirkridge Sexuality Conferences which “served to network polyamorous clergy, researchers, writers, and artists on the East coast” Sandstone was “the encounter-group oriented love community in Topanga Canyon,” California, and included such eminent counterculturalists as Betty Dodson and Sally Binford.

Polyamory / History

THIRD WAVE/ IMPACT OF THE INTERNET alternative sexual styles such as polyamory have increased with the advent of Internet technology, which facilitates communication between geographically disparate people seeking support for alternative relationships. In recent years, the Internet has proved an especially important site for community building among marginalized populations. Sexual non-conformists have populated the Internet in droves, forming personal and sexual connections online. The impact of the worldwide web on the polyamorous community would be difficult to overstate. From dating, to discussing jealousy, to asking for advice, much polyamorous relating occurs “online.” The extensive network of Internet communication spawned an impressive number of polyamorous websites, some of which I list at the end of this piece.

It includes not only a bulletin board, but also a chat room, frequently asked questions (FAQ), stories, advice, events, “the love list” (a summary of conversations that transpired on the electronic discussion board that was emailed to list subscribers), and personal ads for those seeking others to engage in polyamorous relationships.

Polyamorists also linked to other related, but not explicitly polyamorous, websites., a guide to alternative sexoriented sites on the web, is a favorite among web-savvy polyamorists, as is LiveJournal. com – a free site that allows writers to create journals online and choose to make their writing available to select others or to anyone visiting the site. LiveJournal lists over 100 relevant “community” matches, and over 1300 users interested in polyamory. Sites that contain information about swinging In addition to providing polys with a may overlap with polyamorous sites, and the convenient way to create community, communities share personal ads at http:// give each other advice, and find partners, The polyamorous presence the Internet has also significantly on the web is diverse, and serves as a vital impacted how polys interact with other component of community and participation. sexual minorities. Specifically, polyamorists intersect significantly with bisexuals and This new wave of resources to the community kinksters, or people who practice BDSM exploded the movment back into the spot light (formerly known as sadomasochism), and and with people looking for ways to become overlap with both groups online and in more modern people are experimenting, person. developing new ideals. Evolved relationships are sprouting into all different scenarios all Polyamorous Websites that matters is what works best for you. While polyamorous websites are too numerous to adequately list here, I have included some of the more important ones as examples of online community. Lovemore. com is Loving More magazine’s website.

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The Internet Changed Everything

Polyamory / History

It’s estimated that 4 to 5 percent of people living in the United States are polyamorous or participating in other forms of open relationships and 20 percent of people have at least attempted some kind of ethical nonmonogamy at some point in their lives.

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Top Cities In The US 1. San Francisco 2. Portland 3. Boston “The cities I have seen the largest poly communities include San Francisco; Portland, OR; Boston; Tampa, FL; Chicago; Vancouver, BC; and Orlando.” — Franklin Veaux

Polyamory / History

Monogomy (/mə-NOG-ə-mee) is a form of relationship in which an individual has only one partner during their lifetime — alternately, only one partner at any one time (serial monogamy) — as compared to non-monogamy (e.g., polygamy or polyamory).

Polygamy (/pə’li-əmē/) Polygamy is the practice of having more than one spouse. Polygyny is the specific practice of one man taking more than one wife: it is a common marriage pattern in some parts of the world. In North America polygamy has not been a culturally normative or legally recognized institution since the continent’s colonization by Europeans.

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Open Polyamory / Variations


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An open relationship is a form of nonmonogamy, which is an umbrella term for any physical or romantic partnership that is not predicated on exclusivity. There are many versions.

Polyamory / History

Fundamentalist Mormons (FLDS) Mormon fundamentalism (also called fundamentalist Mormonism) is a belief in the validity of selected fundamental aspects of Mormonism as taught and practiced in the nineteenth century, particularly during the administrations of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, the first two presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Mormon fundamentalists seek to uphold tenets and practices no longer held by mainstream Mormons (members of the LDS Church). The principle most often associated with Mormon fundamentalism is plural marriage, a form of polygyny first taught in the Latter Day Saint movement by Joseph Smith, the founder of the movement. A second and closely associated principle is that of the United Order, a form of egalitarian communalism. Mormon fundamentalists believe that these and other principles were wrongly abandoned or changed by the LDS Church in its efforts to become reconciled with mainstream American society. Today, the LDS Church excommunicates any of its members who practice plural marriage or who otherwise closely associate themselves with Mormon fundamentalist practices.

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Don’t get confused... FDLS plural marriage is a form of polygamy but the majority of polygamous people in the United States practice polygamy with no religious motives but more so personal preferences.

Polyamory / What is it?



After attending a polyamorous event in San Francisco the city with the largest polyamourous population in the United States, questions were asked and comments were made about what being poly really means to these individuals. Many topics brought up were the opposite of what many monogomous people would presume.

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In a lot of ways, it makes sense that polyamory is the place where new and old San Francisco come together. In recent years, polyamory has cropped up increasingly in mainstream media. Research suggests it may be the next sexual revolution, with one recent estimate pegging the number of open polyamorous families in the U.S. at more than half a million. In San Francisco, the tech community has long been a part of the scene. More recently, the polyamory researcher Elisabeth Sheff noted that the majority of polyamorists are well-educated white, middle- or upper-middleclass people who often work in technology, education, or health care. “There is a historic relationship between San Francisco and self discovery and renewal,” said Andrew. “In tech and in polyamory, there is this whole idea of reinventing everything.” Carol Queen, a sexual historian and co-founder of San Francisco’s Center for Sex and Culture, said the influx of techies to the local sex scene may be a necessary evolution of the community. “There has been a poly community in San Francisco that in many ways was ready and waiting for this new wave of San Franciscans to discover it. In order to thrive and move into next century, the poly community kind of has to meet that community.”

Polyamory / What is it?

“My biggest pet peeve is when I am going through a break up with a partner and my monogomous friends try to sympithize with me by saying “atleast you have other partners” excuseme what? Partners are not objects and are NOT interchangeable thank you very much. Break-ups still suck...”

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Everyone’s sitation is unique and can’t be compared

Polyamory / What is it?

We all started somewhere Being poly is different for everyone but we all had that first experience or ideal that propeled us into our lifestyle. It’s important to know you are not on anyone’s timeline but your own.

A Story They both don’t talk about it for the next few weeks. But every time they go out, they notice other people and wonder how they’d feel about their partner being with them. They feel revolted, like a burning ball of primal fury was forming in their stomach. But they also notice people that they’re attracted to, and realise that it would be kinda sorta fun to know what it’s like to be with them as well. I mean, that wouldn’t at all change the way they feel about their partner, right? Right?! 2 months later they’re in bed watching Rick and Morty on Netflix. Rick makes Morty reflect on his mortality once again. Usually, they’re not affected by this. But this time, it made them internalise their own mortality and how the pursuit of enjoyment is what really matters to them. And what is life but to embark upon new endeavours. “So, uh, I know this might seem out of the blue and all, and I get it if you’re not comfortable about it at all and I won’t bring it up eve- “Are you thinking of trying it as well? The… poly thing?” Both their eyes light up. It’s been too long since they both knew what were on each other’s mind. Suddenly, they feel… connected again. “But where do we start? How do we go about doing this?”

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Polyamory / History

“My original game plan was marry my husband experience our lives and retire on a beach somewhere watching sunsets” My husband and I have been happily married for 3 years and married for 8. We are a typical story met at a college party hooked up a few times and boom he asked me on a real date. We dated and things got more serious and then got married. We always thought we were happy because we did what all other “normal” couples were doing but something was missing. Don’t get me wrong the sex was fantastic but emotionally we were wondering if there was something more. I don’t like lables but would have considered myself bicurious in college before I met my husband and a part of me still wonders what would have happened if I explored that more than I did. After many many many discussions we decided to start dating someone. Yes a married couple was going out on dates with a single ready to mingle non - monogomous extreamly sweet gal. She brought a lightness and excitment to our relationship that we never knew we were missing. After a year she moved in with us in our home we haven’t dated anyone else but she has other partners outside of our polyque. I don’t thing polyamory is right for everyone. I just think opening up your mind to the concept of it being funtional for others will help you understand it better. If you decided to try it along the way I won’t blame you :) - Annonomous

“My game plan is still the same just with other friendly faces joining us”

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Polyamory / Variations

We are all different

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You can’t define any type of relationship. There isn’t a webster definition spelling out how it should be aslong as there is love the rest is up to you to decide not anybody else.

Polyamory / What is it?

I am a 43-year old polyamorous man who is currently in a relationship with a monogamous woman they stated “My experiences are quite varied going between monogamous and polyamorous relationships,” I was married at 19 in a traditional monogamous relationship, which ended in divorce 16 years later due to his spouse cheating on me. He would go on to have a brief monogamous relationship afterward that also ended in cheating. “During this span of my life, jealousy ruled my mind. The thought of my significant other sleeping with someone else drove me insane.” It was after my second breakup and a series of sexual explorations that he began to realize he could care for someone and they could care for him, regardless of who was sleeping with whom. Following that realization, I began exploring polyamory, and found that the jealousy stemming from his years of bad relationships began to subside. When I met my current partner, she decided to try polyamory too — but after eight months, it became clear to me that it wasn’t something she actually wanted. Since then, my partner and I have decided to remain monogamous with each other, and we have now been together exclusively for four years. When asked to address stereotypes about polyamory, I would say “Many people think polyam is just an excuse to cheat, when it’s not. It’s about having the ability to care for multiple people, and sex is just one aspect of it.” Remember to treat people the way you would want to be treated.

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My self-esteem skyrocketed

“Many people think polyam is just an excuse to cheat, when it’s n ot. It’s about having the ability to care for multiple people, and sex is just one aspect of it. Remember to treat people the way you would want to be treated.”

Polyamory / What is it?

The stigma behind the polyamourous lifestyle needs to go. Simply understanding the lifestyle and what it means to people should be enough for it to be okay. We are all people we all have feelings and we all have struggles in our relationships. For many this is a solution.

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“Instead of pretty in pink I am pretty and poly�

Colophon Paper


Textual Sources

Economy Print from Blurb

Rockwell Open Sans The Establishment Personal Interviews


Photography Sources

Envato Elements

Profile for Mo Wirz