There are so many unjustified assumptions about polyamory that come from a place of misunderstanding and cultural conditioning. In the United States, monogamy is upheld as the perfect norm, as having more than one partner is often met with negative commentary, slut shaming, and the label of promiscuity. It is through this lens that the idea of one partner being able to fulfill all your needs is spread amongst children, youth, and adults. And though there are couples that have successfully practiced monogamy, polyamorous couples have also experienced success and longevity in both emotional fulfillment and sexual health.

Contrary to popular belief, it is rare for any relationship to be completely monogamous. The rates of cheating amongst “monogamists” continue to skyrocket, and it seems that people are running from the idea that polyamory is also a productive alternative for love. But non-monogamy and polyamory are not one in the same, as polyamory is rooted in the philosophy of honesty and transparency in all acts of love, sex included. It is not free love without rules. It’s a system in which people make agreements to accommodate loving more than one person to keep everyone safe and happy.

There are various classifications that describe the many types of relationships practiced by polyamorists. There are primary relationships, which include people that you live with in marriage-like arrangements. There are secondary relationships, which include people that you love but with whom you don’t live. And there are tertiary relationships, which include people with whom you enjoy sex but don’t necessarily love.

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