Ethical Non-Monogamy, Polyamory and all those Fancy Words


What is Ethical Non-Monogamy?

Some people refer to themselves as “non-monogamous”, some are practicing “polygyny” and it’s not always obvious (or at least not to everyone) what they mean. Let’s start with “ethical non-monogamy”:

To give you some examples of what can be called ethical non-monogamy, here’s some examples:

Now let’s dig deeper into polyamory. I don’t just want you to understand what the following words mean, but also what other people can assume.

Words: Their basic meaning:What people could think it means:
Polyamoryloving multiple peoplecheating (I hate those people)
Polygamyhaving multiple spousesa man* doing polygyny
Polygynyhaving multiple wives*a man* must be involved
Polyandry having multiple husbands*(most people can’t imagine this anyway)

A nugget of knowledge:

Even though monogamy means “having one spouse” and polyamory isn’t about spouses at all, we use them as opposites because “monoamory” isn’t a thing and polygamy has connotations to many people which could lead them to thinking that we’re only talking about polygyny.

A personal opinion: I don’t intend to give my opinion on practicing any of those things, I just personally prefer to use polygamy instead of polygyny or polyandry because relationships tend to be more complex with that (or at least they’re open to become more complex) and even though non-binary people could practice those things in theory they could only do so with binary people and all of that feels a kind of more exclusive than it should. Also polyandry and polygyny make people usually assume that it’s a form of One-Penis-Policy (or One-Vagina-Policy) which can be true but doesn’t have to, and I really dislike people assuming things about someone else’s relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to fit into any of these categories?

No. People like to use labels for two things: One is describing and communicating, the other is to give a sense of community and showing people that they’re not alone. But you don’t have to stay within those labels.

What is Relationship Anarchy?

Some people don’t want to label or categorize their relationship dynamics or the people in their lives. Those people were labeled and categorized as “relationship anarchists”.