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Types of Non-Monogamy

As part of our Chat and Learn repertoire, we've discussed the topic of other non-monogamous labels besides polyamory. Below is a list of different types of labels or acts that people have come to classify as non-monogamous, in no particular order. (Please note- cheating is listed only because it is a form of non-monogamy; it just isn't an ethical form)



Monogamish - Coined by Dan Savage - Mostly monogamous with some wiggle room when it comes to the terms of their fidelity.


Open Relationships - open can be described in 3 ways
1) open versus closed poly - where people are or aren’t able to date others
2) open versus closed relationships - the difference between monogamous and non-monogamous
3) open sexually and/or emotionally - encapsulates a wide variety of non-monogamous structures


Polyamory - more than one committed relationship


Egalitarian Polyamory - lack of hierarchy, upholds autonomy of all participants. Egalitarian polyamory is more closely associated with values, subcultures and ideologies that favour individual freedoms and equality in sexual matters


Hierarchical Polyamory - the recognition of a primary relationship which receives conscious privilege over other relationships, where hard decisions may defer to the needs of the primary relationship.


Solo-Poly - more than one committed relationship with no hierarchy or primaries assigned


Relationship Anarchy - coined by Andie Nordgren - the practice of forming relationships of all types (sexual, romantic, platonic, familial) which are not bound by societal norms or rules but rather focus on what the people involved mutually agree on. There need not be a formal distinction or importance between sexual, romantic or platonic relationships.


Sensual Friendship/Passionate Friendship - a nonsexual relationship that does include intense emotional attraction based on love


Poly Sexual - attraction to more than one gender. Sometimes confused as having multiple sexual partners.


Cheating - lack of communication (withholding/omission), lying/lack of honesty (not ethical but still non-monogamous)


Poly Affectionate - the desire for affection with more than one partner without sexual involvement


Mono-Poly Relationships - where one partner is monogamous and one partner is polyamorous


Polygamy - the practice of taking more than one spouse


Polygyny - the specific practice of one man taking more than one wife


Polyandry - the specific practice of one woman taking more than husband


Serial Monogamy - practice of having one mate at a time but more than one in a lifetime


Watching Porn - (controversial) some people believe that watching porn is an act of non-monogamy


Intentional Living Communities - a planned residential community designed to have a high degree of social cohesion and teamwork which may include non-monogamous relationship structures.. They typically share responsibilities and resources. Can also be called Communes or Multi-partner Co-habitation


Kinky Play Parties - parties organized for BDSM play, not necessarily sexual. Partner pairing is usually based on matching skill sets of interest. I.e. person looking to be spanked paired with person willing to spank.


Attending and/or participating in activity in sex clubs/bathhouses


Sexual Play Parties - having sex in a private or public party with someone who may not be your committed partner


Rope Family - a group of people which enjoy participating in rope bondage together


Commerce - Paying for emotional or sexual services


Closed Group Swinging - a group of people who swing together but not with others outside of the group. Friendships are valued


Hard Swap Swinging - having sex with someone other than ones partner


Soft Swap Swinging - having sex with ones partner in the same room as others


Conscious Relationships - a relationship where people make their own rules and agreements instead of adopting societal norms. Can be both monogamous and non-monogamous


Poly Fidelity - a closed relationship between three or more people where no dating outside of the group occurs


Triad - a relationship between three people


Quad - a relationship between four people


Pack }
Poly Network }
Poly Tribe }
Polycule }
All ways to describe a close network of people connected in one form or another ie romantic relationships, friendships, metamours or all of the above


Unicorns - a single bisexual person (usually a female) who interacts with a married couple, usually male/female couple


Dating Around - dating more than one person but not committed to anyone in particular


Friends With Benefits - friends who introduce sex into their friendship but do not wish to escalate the relationship


No Strings Attached - sex without ongoing commitment to continue the arrangement or escalate the relationship


Casual Sex - sex sometimes with an ongoing commitment to continue the arrangement with an agreement not to escalate the relationship


Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell - an agreement to have a non-monogamous relationship without discussing the particulars. Difficult to ensure consent is involved


Cuddle Slut - someone who enjoys affection from others that doesn’t include a sexual component or any commitment of ongoing relationship


100 Mile Rule - an agreement where parties can engage in non-monogamous activities when either 1) they are 100 miles apart from each other or 2) 100 miles outside of their primary home base


Voyeurism - watching someone (not necessarily ones partner) engage in sexually charged acts


Exhibitionist - wanting others (not necessarily ones partner) to watch you engage in sexual charged acts

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
RSVP Management and No Show Policy January 18, 2017 3:53 PM anonymous
Having Issues with your Profile Picture? August 15, 2016 1:40 PM anonymous
Types of Non-Monogamy June 2, 2016 7:17 PM anonymous
Safer Space and Member Behaviour Guidelines July 24, 2018 9:47 PM anonymous
Frequently Asked Questions February 26, 2018 6:40 PM anonymous
Membership Rules February 4, 2016 3:55 PM anonymous
Fees and Dues September 25, 2016 8:55 PM anonymous
Polyamory and Open Relationships Resources December 5, 2016 7:05 PM anonymous
Other Toronto-Area Groups, and How Ours Compares July 20, 2015 1:59 PM anonymous
About Polyamory Toronto February 4, 2016 3:39 PM anonymous

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