Sidebar Index:

  • What is polyamory?
  • Things to keep in mind
  • Why do people practice polyamory?
  • What is polyamory?

    There is no single definition of polyamory, but the consensus among people who study and/or practice it seems to be that polyamory is “honest, open, responsible non-monogamy” that involves being open to more than one simultaneous romantic, intimate, or deep emotional relationship (these are usually but not always expressed sexually), and in which all parties have full knowledge of the arrangements and participate of their own free choice.

  • Top of the page

  • Things to keep in mind:

    Romantic or Deep Emotional Relationships

    This refers to a variety of kinds of relationship, and also pretty clearly does *not* include certain kinds. Certainly, being “in love” with someone can be the kind of relationship people include in polyamory. Sexual relationships where there is a deep emotional connection are also included. In this context, deep can mean emotionally intense, or it could also mean the kind of depth that comes from knowing someone for a very long time, and having learned to trust them implicitly; there may not be intense feelings about this person all the time, but you know they have your back, and you can count on them to be there for you. They are the people that you think of as a permanent part of your intentional family.

    There are other kinds of relationship that can constitute part of a polyamorous situation, such as a peer relationship with someone you feel bonded to, that you take into account when you are making life plans, and who you have deep emotional sharing with—but for whatever reason, it is not a sexual relationship.

    Usually, we do not think of certain kinds of relationships as being part of polyamory: swinging, casual “pick-up” sex, true seduction, “friends with benefits” where the benefits are the main part of the friendship, and many other arrangements where the main purpose of the connection is the sex. We aren’t passing any judgment on any of these arrangements, and we support any fully consensual choices that individuals make about their sex lives, but these are not what is usually meant by “polyamory”. A classic poly joke is that “with swinging, you get sex; with polyamory, you get breakfast.” Most polyamorous relationships that have been established for more than a few months involve many activities other than sex, and the sexual activity plays much the same role as it does for most people in monogamous relationships.

     

    Commitment

    There is commitment in polyamory, but it is a commitment to honesty, to openness, and to the good of the other person. It does not necessarily imply any particular kind of commitment, or even an ongoing connection. Some poly relationships involve people who only see each other occasionally, and may not communicate much in between times, but have a strong emotional connection that they treasure.

     

    Knowledge

    This does not necessarily mean that every person involved necessarily knows about every other person who may be connected in some way. This can happen especially when people are involved in an “open network” type of polyamory. It means that each person knows the general parameters of the relationship styles that they have chosen to be involved with.


    Free choice/ Consent

    Many definitions of polyamory involve the word consent. This does not normally mean that each person involved specifically consents to the involvement of each other person. It means that each person freely and knowingly consents to participating in this kind of relationship style.

  • Top of the page

  • Why do people practice polyamory? What are the benefits?

    Many people assume that the sexual variety is the main reason for being polyamorous. This can be a benefit, but it is rarely one of the main ones. In some ways, polyamory, first and foremost, is a way of building an extended family, a tribe, a network of people who care deeply about each other. There are many other benefits as well, but to my mind, this is the most important.

    Another reason people practice polyamory is that they are big-hearted people who simply love *lots* of other people, intensely.

    Some people believe that they are "wired" poly, and would find a monogamous relationship to be inauthentic for them. Others find that they can be quite happy relating in either a monogamous style, or a polyamorous one.

    Polyamory is not just monogamy plus more. The practice of polyamory differs from so many basic monogamous patterns that it takes time to absorb the implications and figure out how to translate those into day-to-day relationships. For most folks, this is not a simple process. It can be very important that if you are in a poly situation, that you connect yourself to the polyamory community in one or more ways.

    One good way to conceive of polyamory is to use the friendship model instead of the romantic model. In a sense, polyamory is simply all the possibilities and patterns that might happen in a caring friendship, with the possibilities of sex and romance added in as *features* of the friendship-- as opposed to the sex and romance being the *basis* of that connection.

    Another benefit of polyamory is that for some people, it can take the issue of sex “off the table”. If one person in a relationship winds up spending time with a third person, the existing partner doesn’t worry that they might have sex. It is already an option, and either they will or they won’t—and both outcomes are OK.

    In some groups of polyfolk, it is often very hard to tell who has a sexual relationship with whom—because they are all very cuddly with each other, with a level of physical affection that is rare except for people in a sexual relationship. But since it is OK for any of the folks there to develop a sexual relationship if they want, they don’t have to be in one to have lots of touch and affection. It is just as OK *not* to be sexual with others as it is to be sexual with them. So two people might spend all evening cuddling, kissing, even flirting heavily—and have no intention of taking it any farther. There is a lot *less* pressure to be sexual in many poly contexts than there is in the larger society. And a choice not to be sexual with someone does not necessarily diminish any other aspect of the relationship.

  • Top of the page
  • Welcome to the Polyamory Information Page!

    There are many wonderful sites on the web for information about polyamory. This page is meant as a short list of some of the best of them. This site is a “front door” for people just finding out about polyamory, and want to know where to start, or for those who are involved with someone who is polyamorous. Each of these resources listed here will have many more links to other resources that address particular issues or concerns.

     

    New Poly Event!

    As a center for information about polyamory, we’ve also gotten lots of input from the polyamory community about what resources were *missing*.  The main lack was for an event that brought together a strong focus on connecting deeply with other polyfolk that also had an emphasis on developing the tools to do polyamory successfully. 

    Now we have created an event to meet those needs.  Learning the skills needed for successful polyamorous relationships, building connections with other people at the event, creating the extended network that offers much of the richness of polyamory, and diving deeper into your existing relationships are all part of the experience. 

    Intimacy building - communication skills - dance - celebration - cuddle time sacred touch - creating your tribe - gender exploration - sharing circles bonfires - seven-minute dates - radical honesty - connection games - great food

    Click here to learn more about this event!


    Websites:


    Modern Poly –

    www.modernpoly.com

    The people at Modern Poly have taken on some major projects and done a great job on them. They have put together lists of poly support groups and an interactive map for the US and elsewhere: www.polygroups.com

    This is is a collaboratively created, online listing of polyamory groups. It is an interactive map-based wiki to help people find where to go (geographically) to meet other polyfolk, to find discussions and support groups on polyamory, and to identify activities, events, and businesses that are poly-friendly.

     

    Modern Poly has also created a list of commercial resources that sell polyamory-related materials and memorabilia: http://www.polythings.com/


    Loving More

    www.lovemore.com
    This is a good general site for learning about polyamory. They publish the online magazine Loving More, they put on conferences and retreats for polyamorous persons, and they give workshops, retreats, and other support to the polyamorous community. They also host the LoveList email discussion group; see the section on e-lists below. They are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and donations to them are tax deductible.



    More than Two

    www.morethantwo.com
    Franklin Veaux’s writings on polyamory are entertaining and don’t mince words! He covers many topics about polyamory, and will someday publish them in book form, he says. In the meantime, you can get some excellent advice and information at his site.
    He has some fabulous graphics on related topics as well. Be sure to see his
    Map of Non-mongamy: http://www.xeromag.com/nonmonogamy.html

    (which makes clear that polyamory is just one of many alternatives to monogamy, and not the only one that is ethical).


    Poly in the media/polyamorous percolations/polyamory in the news!

    http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/

    Alan has an amazing website that since 2005 has been tracking articles, essays, videos, and other media that are about polyamory and its changing role in the world. Absolutely fascinating-- both the material that he finds, and his comments on them!

     

    Solo Poly

    http://solopoly.net/

    A site just for folks who aren't in/aren't seeking primary-style relationships.

  • Top of the page

  • E-lists / Discussion Groups


    Expansive Loving

    http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/expansiveloving
    One of the most active and insightful of the email discussion lists on polyamory is Expansive Loving, hosted by Tara Shakti-ma. It describes itself as being focused on spiritual polyamory, but the term “spiritual” is meant in a very broad sense, and most atheists would find themselves completely comfortable with any of the discussion that goes on there. This is a great place to “listen in” on polyfolk talking among themselves, and a wonderful resource for people who are seriously considering polyamorous relationships, or who are in the early stages, and want advice and shared experiences.


    Loving More LoveList

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LovingMore_lovelist/

    The LoveList is perhaps the largest active polyamory discussion list. Lots of people there with decades of experience in polyamory. Anyone raising a question there is sure to get many thoughtful, knowledgeable responses.

     

  • Top of the page

  • Meeting Poly People


    Local Groups –

    meetup groups:

    www.meetup.com

    Put in your location, and search on "polyamory". You may need to set your location to the nearest city, and set the radius at 100 miles, which is the largest they allow.

     

    Directory of local poly groups

    Poly support groups are great places to learn more about what polyamory *really* is. Most of these groups are very friendly to newcomers, and aren’t interested in “converting” anyone. A common saying among polyfolk is “Fish in your own pond. Mate with your own kind.” So if you aren't that kind of fish, no one will try to hook you! :-)

    www.polygroups.com

    As we mentioned above, this directory of local groups is a project of Modern Poly.

     

    EVENTS—

    There are very frequent poly-specific and poly-friendly events all over the US and in many other parts of the world; it would be hard to find even a single day that didn’t have a poly event somewhere.  Alan’s Poly in the Media site has one of the most comprehensive lists of poly events, though there are far too many for anyone to list them all.  These events range from a lunch-time or evening get-togethers to multi-day events to intensive workshops and more.

     

    http://polyevents.blogspot.com/

     

    Online sites -

    PolyMatchMaker -

    www.polymatchmaker.com

    This is the only dating site that I know of that is dedicated to polyamorous people. There have been some controversies over the years about how it is managed, but overall is a worthwhile resource. There is a "matching" service at PolyMatchMaker; however, many people find the discussion forums to be the most valuable part of the site.

     


    OKCupid -

    www.okcupid.com

    OKCupid is a general-purpose dating site, but its matching algorithms are so good that if you are poly, you will mostly get matched with other people who are poly or at least open to it. And it is completely free for most users.

    OKCupid does not have a relationship status for "polyamorous". When you first register, it may even seem that they are not "poly-friendly": the only relationship options they give are "Single", "Seeing someone" (here for friends)" or "Married (here for friends)". However, there is a "secret" status option! Once you have registered, and if you have chosen "Seeing Someone" or "Married", it says: " You’ll appear as Available if you are looking for dates.  Update the “I’m looking for” essay in your profile." Once you select one or more of the dating options, your status will show as "Available" the next time you log in.

    The first time I tried OK Cupid, the first five matches included my two nesting partners and a former lover that I am still very close with. Others I know have had similar results, so their system is pretty impressive.

    To get the best results from OKCupid, answer *lots* of questions—that’s how they make their matches. Answer at least 300; more is better. It doesn't take long, and you can answer more at any time. Only answer questions that *particularly* resonate for you—skip any that seem unclear, or where none of the answers jump out at you).

    Then do a search by "Match %" -- most of those folks will be poly or open to poly relationships. Then do another search by "Friend %". For me, I've found that anyone with less than an 80% rating is very unlikely to be a good match.

    Your profile is important as well. It doesn't change who they match you with, but it *does* affect whether someone who sees your profile will be interested in communicating with you.

    They have many other features, including surveys, personality tests, etc. While these may be fun, they have *no* effect on who you get matched with.

  • Top of the page
  • Books on Polyamory:

    There are many books on polyamory that have been written in the last 20 years.  Two of the best general books for someone who wants to learn more about polyamory would include The Ethical Slut, Second Edition, by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy, and Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, by Tristan Taormino.  There are many other good books as well; many of them have more specific focuses.  Alan, of Poly in the Media, has compiled a (hopefully) complete list with descriptions and links:

     http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/2012/12/book-about-polyamory-all-31-since-1992.html

  • Top of the page
  • Regional, National, & International Poly-friendly Groups

    These organizations are not specifically focused on polyamory, but a significant number of their participants are polyamorous, and *all* relationship styles are welcomed and honored.

     

    Network For a New Culture

    www.nfnc.org

    www.cfnc.us

     

    Human Awareness Institute

    www.hai.org

     

    SCARLETEEN

    http://www.scarleteen.com/

    There is not currently any resource focused on polyamory for teenagers, but Scarleteen is a fantastic resource about all issues relating to sexuality and relationships for teens.

     

  • Top of the page
  • Polyamorus/Monogamous Relationships:

    For monogamous people who have a poly partner:

     http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PolyMono/

    To Subscribe, send a blank email to:

    PolyMono-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

     

    For polyamorous people who have a monogamous partner:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/livingpolymono/
    To Subscribe, send a blank email to:

    livingpolymono-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

     

  • Top of the page
  • Counseling

    Resources for those in polyamorous relationships who also are seeing professional therapists who may not be informed about polyamory:

    Informative letter: What Psychology Professionals Should Know About Polyamory

    WORKING WITH POLYAMOROUS CLIENTS IN THE CLINICAL SETTING :

    http://www.ejhs.org/volume5/polyoutline.html

     

    About Us:

     

    This site was created and is maintained by Michael Rios (www.michaelrios.com), Jonica Hunter, and other volunteers, under the auspices of the Center For a New Culture, a 501(c)(3) non-profit (donations are tax-deductible).

    We don't intend this to be a complete list in any sense. All the resources listed here are ones that we have personal experience with, and are highly regarded by many polyamorous people. Anything on this website has been highly recommended by at least a dozen people who are widely known in the polyamory community as organizers, educators, and counselors. There are many excellent sites and resources that are *not* listed here. We have chosen a few of each type of resource for people who are just learning about polyamory, and want to know where to start.

     

    If you think that a particular resource should be added to our list, please send it to polyinfo@cfnc.us. We will submit this to our advisors, and if the vast majority of them think it is essential, we will add it. Please don't be offended if we don't include it-- our intention is to keep this list as short as possible!

     

    We are also very grateful for any feedback about our site or the resources listed on it. We would love to hear about which ones you found valuable, or not, or any other comments you may have. Send to:

    polyinfo@cfnc.us

  • Top of the page