Todays topic! Practicing Ethical Non-Monogamy! I personally identify as non-monogamous, I am in a relationship with my primary partner. He identifies as romantically monogamous but sexually polyamorous. I say non-monogamous as a whole because I’m open to discovering all types of relationships – platonic, romantic, sexual, non-sexual kink, kink relationships, you name it! I’m open to it all. So let’s dive into it:
Now, I’m sure we all have heard the words – monogamous, polyamorous, ethical non-monogamous, or even relationship anarchist. If you haven’t, they are all terms describing relationships with agreement and consent from all partners involved. The best definition of non-monogamy I found reading PairedLife was:
“Nonmonogamy is a blanket term covering several different types of interpersonal relationships in which some or all participants have multiple marital, sexual, and/or romantic partners. This can be contrasted with its opposite, monogamy, and yet may arise from the same psychology”
- Ethical Non-Monogamy: Relationships involving the partners creating a set of rules or guidelines about what is or is not okay to do with someone who’s not part of the primary relationship. Applying your moral principles to know what is right and wrong to do, not hurting each other, etc.
- Swingers: Mainly married couples, or someone who has multiple sexual relationships outside of their primary romantic relationship(s). Swingers usually don’t have emotional connections to people outside of their romantic relationship(s).
- Open Relationships: Used to describe non-monogamous relationships that aren’t polyamorous, meaning that people are allowed sexual experiences outside of their relationship but not love or romance.
- Polyamory: The word “polyamory” literally mean “many love”. Polyamorous relationships are different because the intention of partners in a polyamorous relationship is not only to have sex outside of their primary partnerships, but also to find love. There are many variations of polyamorous relationships, some are closed and some are open to others joining.
- Fluid Bonding: Only having sex with a partner without using protection, is called fluid bonding. You may not have heard the term before but if you have constant unprotected sex with one person, you are fluid bonding. Many monogamous couples do this but don’t call it such.
- Relationship Anarchist: They believe that there should be no rules or expectations in any kind of relationship, nor that any one type of relationship holds precedence over another.
- There are so many other types of non-monogamous relationships, it’d take up majority of this blog post describing them. At the end of this read I listed some of a few blog that have resource pages dedicated to this topic.
As you should know now that, there are various types of polyamorous relationships you can form. In order for a non-monogamous relationship to work there must more than two partners involved, if that hasn’t been made clear. I recently learned that “triad” means all three of the partners are romantically or even sexually involved with each other. And “vee” means one partner is romantically involved with two other partners, or open to all, outside or a closed relationship. I focused on threes because that mainly what you see media wise but I’m certain there are other terms describing more partners.
Now what makes being non-monogamous ethical? What is ethical to you, what does it look like? It’s expressing your moral principles in the relationship by not hurting those involved, being safe, sane, consensual, being open, respectful, and have positive communication. You need to learn the boundaries, the limits and their compatibilities in order for it to work.
There’s an incredible amount of resources on how to practice healthy non-monogamy. This is important for any relationship, it can help you learn about you and your partners wants, needs, grow your relationship and decolonize your mind from what society tells you a relationship MUST be. Your relationship, is between you and partner(s), so no one should have a say in how you express it.
Safety Tips for the Summer:
- Communication: You must have communication just like any other relationship and it’s especially important when you’re adding more than one to the mix. You must talk about your wants, needs, expectations, what type of dynamics you desire and ultimately build trust in your communication.
- Safe Sex: Get regular STD/STI testing after every new partner you or your partner(s) are involved with. You must be completely honest, lying about the sexual activities especially if they were potentially dangerous acts, that can harm your partner(s). Educate yourself on the potential risk of multiple partners, talk about sex, and ways to do it safely. Condoms, dental damns, gloves, silicone toys covered with condoms, etc. Ask yourself all the important questions, what you’re comfortable with and what is safe to you.
- Boundaries: Set clear boundaries and rules when it comes to your relationships unless you want them to all mingle. That’s for you to decide. Just be careful. Use the ready available resources to help guide you. There are countless books, i.e The Ethical Slut.
- Relationship Agreement: Make sure all parties know what is going on, everyone should have open communication. Practice your own ethical and moral principles to make all your dynamics work. You must develop a relationship agreement, to cover everything that you feel is important, this goes in hand with setting your boundaries.
- Jealously: Jealously is still going to happen, you just need to address this with your partner. For example recently I was jealousy my partner was seeing this woman more than me due to our situation, so I explained it to him how I felt. He completely understood, reassured me that it’s purely sexual and platonic since she has her primary relationship as well. It’s all about the communication in any situation.
- You have to realize that being non-monogamous isn’t going to fix a current relationship. It needs to healthy but it also doesn’t hurt to give it a try. You have to realistic, proceed with caution so no one gets hurt. There’s so much that you must consider but don’t let that scare you away from trying.
- Most importantly please have fun!!