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Polyamory has been practiced by various cultures around the world for thousands of years. Current definitions of polyamory include:

“The practice, state or ability of having more than one sexual loving relationship at the same time, with the full knowledge and consent of all partners involved”;1 “the philosophy or state of being in love or romantically involved with more than one person at the same time”;2 “the state or practice of having more than one open romantic relationship at a time.”3

The sourced articles below describe some of the values, beliefs and challenges specific to polyamorous relationships, as well as provide some explanations of identity labels that fall along the gender/sexual identity spectrum.

Footnotes: 1. urbandictionary.com, accessed 4/2/2018; 2. dictionary.com, accessed 4/2/2018; 3. merriam-webster.com, accessed 4/2/2018

  1. What Is The Difference Between Bisexual And Terms Like Pansexual, Polysexual, Omnisexual, Ambisexual, And Fluid?

    “Identity labels like pansexual, polysexual, omnisexual, and ambisexual also describe a person with homosexual and heterosexual attractions, and therefore people who have chosen those labels are also bisexual.”

    Online Resource, bisexual.org, accessed on 3/2/2018

  2. 7 People Share What Valentine’s Day Is Like In A Polyamorous Relationship

    “But along with the extra work comes extra love, too. We talked to seven poly people about how they manage to show multiple partners they care on on V-Day. Here’s what it’s really like, and how they make it work.”

    Kristin Canning, womenshealthmag.com, 2/7/2018

  3. Cheating And Consensual Non-Monogamy

    “Consensual non-monogamy (CNM) is an umbrella category that covers a range of relationship styles that describe openly conducted multiple partner relationships. … In polyamory – at least ideally — all of the partners are all aware of and consenting to be in their web of multiple partner relationships. Real life it is not always so neat, though, and people cheat within polyamorous and other CNM relationships.”

    Elisabeth A. Sheff, PhD, CASA, CSE, psychologytoday.com, 12/24/2017

  4. The New Math Of ‘Consensual Nonmonogamy’

    “Journalists and academics are ignoring polyamory’s dark implications.”

    Alan J. Hawkins, nationalreview.com, 12/5/2017

  5. What Everyone Should Know About Pansexuality

    “It is not equivalent to bisexuality, because it’s broader in scope.”

    Ritch C. Savin-Williams, PhD, psychologytoday.com, 11/6/2017

  6. Choice In Consensual Non-Monogamy

    “Polyamory and other forms of consensual non-monogamy (CNM) are, at the most basic level, about choice. Because there are few contemporary role models and even fewer people who grew up in CNM households, most people who get into CNM relationships must actively choose them.”

    Elisabeth A. Sheff, PhD, CASA, CS, psychologytoday.com, 9/18/2017

  7. What It Means To Be Pansexual

    “The concept of pansexuality has been around since the days of Sigmund Freud, but it took a shout-out from Miley Cyrus to bring it back into vogue for the 21st century.”

    Emanuella Grinberg, cnn.com, 8/1/2017

  8. 5 Things You Need To Know About Pansexuality

    “So what is pansexuality and how does it differ from other LGBTQ identities?”

    Brittany Anas, womenshealthmag.com, 5/23/2017

  9. “Is An Open Marriage A Happier Marriage?”

    “What the experiences of nonmonogamous couples can tell us about jealousy, love, desire and trust.”

    Susan Dominus, nytimes.com, 5/11/2017

  10. What It’s Really Like To Be In An Open Relationship

    “Is monogamy really the best option?”

    Taffy Brodesser-Akner, cosmopolitan.com, 1/16/2016

  11. What Is Pansexuality? 4 Pan Celebs Explain In Their Own Words

    “From Miley Cyrus to Jazz Jennings, more and more celebrities and people on the ground are coming out as pansexual. By coming out as pan, they are helping raise visibility to the various identities that co-exist under what’s know as the bi (or bi+) umbrella. In honor of BiWeek, GLAAD is exploring what pansexuality means to the people owning the label.”

    Daniel Evans, Programs Intern, glaad.org, 9/23/2015

  12. 6 Rules For Doing The Whole Open Relationship Thing Right

    “Having sex with someone besides your partner seems like it would automatically top the ‘things that count as cheating’ list, right? Not so if you’re in an open relationship.”

    Zahra Barnes, womenshealthmag.com, 4/1/2015

  13. Seven Forms Of Non-Monogamy

    “Exploring the wide world of extra-dyadic sexual relationships”

    Elisabeth A. Sheff PhD, CASA, CSE, psychologytoday.com, 7/22/2014

  14. Multiple Lovers, Without Jealousy

    “Polyamorous people still face plenty of stigmas, but some studies suggest they handle certain relationship challenges better than monogamous people do.”

    Olga Khazan, theatlantic.com, 7/21/2014

  15. Does Polyamory Work?

    “When readers or audience members at a live talk ask me if polyamory works, I answer that, just like any other relationship, it depends on the people involved and how they handle themselves.”

    Elisabeth A. Sheff PhD, CASA, CSE, psychologytoday.com, 11/12/2013

  16. New Sexual Revolution: Polyamory May Be Good For You

    “What swinging couples and committed polyamorists can teach monogamists about love”

    Mimi Valdes, scientificamerican.com,2/14/2013

  17. Can Swingers Have A Happy Marriage?

    “… but don’t count on swinging to save a bad one.”

    Temma Ehrenfeld, psychologytoday.com, 12/27/2012

  18. Swingers: Mentally Healthier Than Monogamous Peers

    “Men and women who swing may have some important mental health strengths.”

    Seth Meyers, PsyD, psychologytoday.com, 9/27/2012