Polyamory is nothing new, but the norms around it are shifting. We know Gen Z is open-minded when it comes to sexuality, and with this shift comes an increased acceptance of alternatives to monogamy. 10 million people in the U.S. now identify as polyamorous, according to Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, author of The Polyamorists Next Door .
As polyamory heads mainstream, dating sites like OKCupid are starting to accommodate the preferences of those seeking multiple partners (though there is certainly still a stigma). Here are 3 things to know about polyamory.
Polyamory Is Not Just About Sex
The motivation to be polyamorous is not always about sex with multiple partners; it can be about addressing the reality that some partners meet certain needs better than others, emotionally or physically.
Arielle Greenberg wrote about her experience in Elle magazine: “We love each other and we want each other to be happy, and part of being happy means getting our needs met. We want to support—not stand in the way of—one another getting our needs met, even if those needs involve reconfiguring our partnership.”
Polyamorous Relationships Are Diverse
A polyamorous arrangement might be purely physical, purely emotional, both, or somewhere in between. In the same way, the structures of these relationships can also vary, as partners might agree to prioritize everyone in the relationship equally, or they may choose to designate “primary” partners over secondary or tertiary ones.
Polyamorous Relationships May Be Good For You
Just like any relationship, in order to ensure the relationship doesn’t become a breeding ground for jealousy, a healthy polyamorous relationship requires copious amounts of clear and honest communication.
In fact, monogamists might be able to learn from them. Professor Bjarne Holmes, a psychologist who studies polyamory, notes that the level and precision of communication in polyamorous relationships is so exemplary that “[polyamorists] are potentially doing quite a lot of things that...if people who are practicing monogamy did more of, their relationships would actually be better off."