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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 March 2, 2021 3:57 PM anonymous
Having Issues with your Profile Picture? October 25, 2020 5:20 PM anonymous
Types of Non-Monogamy June 2, 2016 7:17 PM anonymous
Frequently Asked Questions March 2, 2021 3:52 PM anonymous
About Polyamorous Living in Toronto October 28, 2020 9:56 PM anonymous

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