Multiple sexual relationships throughout human social evolution have always existed, only they have regularly remained in the realm of the secret and intimate because they belong, according to moral doctrines and customs, to the shifting territory of the immoral.

Among morally accepted behaviors and behaviors considered immoral, polyamory is a recent term that seems to qualify, in the light of contemporary sexual freedom, the negative content that has been given to sexual relations between three or more people.

What is polyamory?

That said, polyamory is a popular way of mentioning, without pejoratives, a sexual and loving behavior that is increasingly widespread around the world. Polyamory is another option to the traditional monogamous marriage system . The main feature of this form of love union is that it is carried out in common agreement between the parties involved.

More specifically, polyamory is a form of loving and sexual union between adults. In practice, more than two people have affective and sexual relationships simultaneously. It has the same responsibilities (characteristics and commitments) of a monogamous relationship, only that these are between more people.

With the suggestive name , consensual, ethical and responsible non-monogamy , it is intended to give it the appearance of a perfectly possible and necessary relationship in contemporary society.

In any case, behind such a name hides a declaration of freedom and subjectivity , a proclamation that defends the autonomy of relating (both sexually and lovingly) with various people in a conscious, consensual and ethical way.

It could be said that polyamory is the reinforced sum of the best of infidelity (the breaking of the sexual routine that a single partner supposes) and the idea of ​​“friends with rights” (consensual free sexual relations).

In English it is called polyamory and the term appears socially in 1990 , although consensual relationships between various people have existed since the human being has self-awareness. There are polyamorous families with children raised by different parents, who are related in this way in the same household.

These relationships are based on a general principle: love should not be restricted . This implies the establishment of a family with several fathers and mothers, where values ​​such as intimacy, respect, honesty, loyalty, communication, agreement and detachment are postulated.

Supporters of this alternative relationship think that it is a responsible form of union that combats infidelity. Polyamory can arise from a monogamous relationship as a way to solve the need to explore other sexual and affective needs without having to lie and be unfaithful. For this reason, it is affirmed that polyamory is based on honesty and assertive communication.

However, polyamory is embraced by couples with certain lifestyles. The few statistics that exist in this regard show that there is a greater willingness among homosexual people to form a relationship of this type. Without a doubt, individuals are required to have a more open conception of life as a couple.

Of course, the prevailing secularism in contemporary Western societies has facilitated an anti-dogmatic perspective, weakening the influence of more conservative discourses, such as that of the Catholic Church, contrary to non-monogamous forms of union .

Furthermore, the statistical data suggests that polyamorous groups tend to be more educated and cultured. There is no data on their socioeconomic conditions to support the idea that the richest are those who prefer this type of relationship. The love and sexual life in the polyamorous relationship rules out, by definition, the scenes of jealousy , so common in traditional relationships.

What are their types and characteristics?

Although apparently the polyamory system, with its rules and characteristics, is very well defined, there are at least four types of manifestations of polyamory. It is up to each person to determine which is the most interesting.

The so-called hierarchical polyamory is made up of a main relationship within a group of aggregate relationships. The individuals in the main relationship may establish limitations to the other partners, in terms of relating sexually with other individuals within and outside of the polyamorous union.

Another form of relationship is polyfidelity: it is the experience of polyamory within a particular group of individuals. The agreement ensures that sexual relations will only take place between its members.

Individuals can also form polyamorous relationships where free love and anarchy prevail. Although there is some kind of consensus and manifestation of commitment, relationships are generated without specific expectations. The bonds or commitments are developed or not in the process. The freedom of selection and the format of the relationship itself is up to each person.

For their part, geometric arrangements are well-structured forms of polyamorous groups. The characteristic of these multi-loving manifestations is their relational organization linked to the number of their members.

In this sense, when they share sex with each other and there are three of them, they make up a trio. In triadic relations, one functions as the axis and it is the one who maintains an equidistant position with the others. When there are four, the relationships are exchanges of couples with couples.

One word that always resonates in the minds of polyamorous people is communication. In all cases, the formats depend on it. There will be groups that will prefer to determine and arrange certain days to be all together, as there will also be others who prefer to alternate in order to cohabit in pairs in an identical way .

Similarly, freedom allows you to leave everything to the toss of a coin, between heads or tails, although knowing that relationships will always be distributive. The possibilities are so wide that there are groups under the same roof, like others that are only neighbors. The polyamorous people who only get together to travel should not be forgotten .

In short, it is possible to speak of conventional polyamorous relationships. It seems that equitable ties in polyamory are more widespread than hierarchical relationships. With this, none of its members is more relevant than another.

In practice, ladders are avoided, which could generate rivalries and jealousy among group members. Each couple or individual is aware that they add and contribute their particular gifts in the harmony of the polyamorous bond.

Popular opinion on polyamory

First of all, it seems that polyamory is not for emotionally insecure people, much less jealous and mentally squared off. It is not for people with traditional beliefs.

Quite the contrary, those who wish to enter polyamorous relationships have to shed any conventional and taboo moral ties on their sexuality and notion of love. Of course, this does not mean that in polyamory there are no ethical and moral principles, what happens is that its implementation occurs within a new system of agreements.

In short, if you feel attracted to these unconventional forms of loving relationships, you should know that it requires, first of all, an open mind and a communion with yourself, to redefine your sexuality and access to life. herself.

In multiple relationships you will surely find other barriers and conflicts that do not exist in a monogamous relationship. For example, the distribution of guardianships when there are children, multiple financial obligations, activities of the home, the exercise of the roles of fathers and mothers, etc.

Curiosity about these relationships can be a start, but it is not enough. Psychological maturity implies appropriating the doctrines of polyamory, which implies a high dose of communicative capacity and empathy. In fact, it is a relearning when monogamous couples make the transition to polyamory.

The most difficult thing in adults and mature people is to change their behaviors and social conditioning , ingrained since childhood. However, the human mind is known to be highly malleable and capable of relearning when motivations are strong enough.

One of the criticisms that polyamorous people make of apparently monogamous unions is that couples tend to be more unfaithful and, therefore, more insincere. In contrast, infidelity and falsehood are not necessary in polyamory. It is up to you to consider the pros and cons.

Basic Recommendations

Jealousy does not exist in polyamorous relationships . And in case any of the members feel any trace of jealousy, they openly discuss it to solve it.

In traditional relationships, although communication and trust are also important, jealousy commonly appears because in the moral and affective contract there is no place for another person. In part, this is why jealousy, anger and rejection occur due to the suspicion that the couple is sexually and emotionally involved with another person. 

In polyamory, the ideal situation seems to be given, because there is no room for jealousy. The affective contract in polyamory must necessarily go through internalizing and making our own other emotions , such as detachment itself.

It is not that the person stops loving their partner, but that he or she then deprives him of a special state of happiness knowing that his loved one is having a good time in the arms of another. And, since it is reciprocal, there is nothing to reproach.  Psychologists say that such a phenomenon is called “compersion.” It is a kind of empathic happiness, as opposed to the displeasure and anger that jealousy generates.

If one attends to the concept of jealousy according to psychology, in polyamorous relationships people succeed in replacing or suppressing the fear of losing the loved one. Moreover regardless of gender or sexual tendency , they are capable of feeling love and sexual desires towards two or more people and of giving love and sexual pleasure in the same measure.

Polyamory is in practice an exercise of freedom (and, as has been indicated, of detachment), where reasoning and multilateral agreement between its members prevail over any selfish emotion.

Differences between polyamory and infidelity 

One topic that attracts the most curious is the handling of sexuality between three or more people. Extramarital sexual relations in a monogamous union are regularly clandestine and unsafe , not only because they are considered forbidden loves, but also because the subjects tend to neglect the need for safe sex.

In the context of polyamory, there seems to be a consensus on the use of condoms or protection in general, in order not to put the health of any of its members at risk .

The agreement allows the formation of closed groups of three or more individuals to control the transmission routes of sexually transmitted diseases. That is, its members agree to a kind of group polyfidelity in their love life and sexual activity.

Is the polyamorous relationship a form of orgy? No, because there are rules and limits; orgy-style sexual debauchery does not normally characterize formal polyamorous relationships.

Polyamory requires, of course, a greater expenditure of psychic and physical energy to maintain good communication, which transcends traditional behaviors. Therefore, these relationships need more attention to be sustained over time.

On the side of taste and sexual understanding, the bonds established in polyamory are as important and just as necessary as in monogamous couples. Attraction and empathy is a requirement in both forms of love relationship.

Social pressure against these alternative forms of relating does not stop manifesting itself, although more and more younger generations tend to accept and even experience it .

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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