No single definition of “polyamory” has universal acceptance.
Piece meal from Polyamory-Wikipedia with my own (biased) slant.
Polyamory-many loves. infinite love in infinite combinations.
It’s a hybrid word. poly is greek for many (or multiple) and amor is latin for love.
The defining characteristics are belief in the possibility of and value of, multiple romantic loving relationships carried out with the knowledge and consent of all partners concerned. What distinguishes polyamory form traditional forms of non-monogamy (ie. “cheating”) is an idealogy that openness, goodwill, intense communication, and ethical behavior should prevail among all parties involved.
Polyamory differs from polygamy, which refers to multiple marriages, although “polygamy” is often used to refer only to polygyny (one man-several wives). Traditional polygamy is usually patriarchal, often claiming a religious justification. Polyamory on the other hand is a more modern outlook grounded in such concepts as gender equality, self-determination, free choice for all involved, mutual trust, equal respect amongst partners, the intrinsic value of love, the ideal of compersion.
Poly Oz (website) defines compersion as the positive feelings one gets when a lover is enjoying another relationship. Romantic/sexual/friendship. Sometimes called the flip side of jealousy. Compersion can exist with jealous feelings.
The Inn Keeper (website) defines compersion as a feeling of joy when a partner invests in and takes pleasure from another romantic or sexual relationship. Compersion does not specifically refer to joy regarding the sexual activity of one’s partner but refers instead to joy at the relationship with another romantic and/or sexual partner.
*me* I had never heard of this word compersion before. Some who know me, know that I’ve expressed these thoughts before this.
People who identify as polyamorous typically reject the view that sexual and relational exclusivity are necessary for deep, committed, long-term loving relationships. (*me* When I read this I was like whoa..this is it.) Those who are emotionally suited for, or open to, a polyamorous lifestyle may be single or in monogamous relationships, but are often involved in multiple long-term relationships.
In practice, polyamorous relationships are highly varied and individualized. Ideally they are built upon values of trust, loyalty, negotiation, and compersion, as well as the rejection of jealousy….
Jealousy defined by Webster’s New World College Dictionary
1 very watchful or careful in guarding or keeping
2a resentfully suspicious of a rival or a rival’s influence b) resentfully envious
3 (now rare) requiring exclusive loyalty
possessiveness, and restrictive cultural standards. Such relationships are often more fluid than the traditional “dating and marriage” model of long-term relationships, and the participants in a polyamorous relationship may not have preconceptions as to its duration.
Sex is not necessarily a primary focus in polyamorous relationships.
*me* What is appealing to me about polyamory is that it frees up and allows intimacy a larger playing field. Human affection for love and comfort, not just sex and excitement. I do like sex (as anyone who’s had sex with me will attest *big smile*) I am currently in the midst of healing the separation I made in regards to love and sex. The past few years have been a living dedication to experience love in a non-sexual way. Friendship. Agape. It’s purist form is what I thought at the time. The path of renunciation if you will. Integrating that kind of love with the physical is the dedication now. Bringing it down to earth. Sexual healing. Sacred Sexuality as a spiritual practice.
Polyamory.org defines polyamory as “loving more than one” This love may be sexual, emotional, spiritual, or any combination there of, according to the desires and agreements of the individuals involved. Polyamorous is also used as a description term by people who are open to more than one relationship even if they are not currently involved in more than one. (Heck, some are involved in less than one!). Some people think the definition is a bit loose but it’s got to be fairly roomy to fit the wide range of poly arrangements out there.
Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart was asked by the editor of the Oxford English Dictionary to provide an definition of the term. Here we go:
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. This term was meant to be inclusive and in that context, we have never intended to exclude “Swingers” per se, if practitioners there of wished to adopt the term and include themselves..The two essential ingredients of the concept of polyamory are more than one; and loving. That is, it is expected that the people in such relationships have a loving emotional bond, are involved in each others lives multi-dimensionally, and care for each other. This term is not intended to apply to merely casual recreational sex, anonymous orgies, one night stands, pickups, prostitution, “cheating”, serial monogamy, or the popular definition of swinging as “mate swapping” parties.
*me* I remember accepting my poly nature (coming out to myself) a few years back and I don’t feel that there was a bunch of stuff on the net about it. I do know that a bunch of poly people are closeted because of social, cultural reasons. It’s great to have this information so easily at hand now. I’ve been wanting to write about this for a long while and now I have. *wipes brow*