Polyamory is a neologism which denotes the concept of "multiple loves." It has been independently coined by several people; one instance was Jennifer Wesp, who created the Usenet newsgroup alt.polyamory in 1992.
However, the term has been reported in occasional use in the 1960's.
Polyamory consists in having honest, often non-possessive relationships with multiple partners. Polyamory can include:
- Open relationships involving romantic partnerships that are not sexually exclusive
- Polyfidelity involving multiple romantic relationships with sexual contact restricted to those
- Sub-relationships, which denote distinguishing between a "primary" relationship or relationships and various "secondary" relationships
- Group relationships or marriage, in which all of the involved parties consider themselves equally associated to one another
- Relationship webs
Most of those who practice Polyamory consider honesty to be an integral part. "Don't ask, don't tell" is usually frowned upon, the value of communications to good relationships is emphasized by many Polyamorous people or practitioners.
Unlike polygamy, polyamory does not necessarily involve marriage, although some polyamorous people are married. Unlike the general case of swinging, polyamorous relationships generally involve an emotional bond, though the distinctions made between swinging and polyamory are a topic open to debate and interpretation, and many people in both the swinging and polyamory communities see both practices as part of a continuum of open intimacy and sexuality. Most monogamous people define fidelity as restricting one's sexual involvement to exactly one sexual partner; most polyamorous people define fidelity as not lying to your partners, and keeping the commitments you have made to them.
Quote from Torn Between Two Lovers, sung by Mary Macgregor: There's been another man that I've needed and I've loved, but that doesn't mean I love you less, ... Torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool, loving you both is breaking all the rules.
See also: safer sex, open marriage