Non-Monogamy Guides

Polyamory Onion

Polyamory Onion

Navigating the complex world of consensual non-monogamy can feel like peeling back the layers of an onion - full of surprises, and at times, a tearful experience. Welcome to our guide on polyamory onion: a term we've coined to help you unravel the complexities of polyamory and gain a deeper understanding of its many variations.

Polyamory Onion Table of Contents

The Core: What is Polyamory?

The Core: What is Polyamory?

Polyamory is a form of consensual non-monogamy that allows individuals to engage in more than one intimate relationship at a time with the full knowledge and consent of all involved. It focuses on maintaining open, honest communication and prioritizes emotional intimacy. Polyamory is about nurturing multiple relationships in a way that fosters connection, personal growth, and a shared sense of community among partners.

The First Layer: Open Relationships and Swinging

  • Open Relationships - Partners in an open relationship may agree to allow each other to have sexual connections outside of their primary partnership, without necessarily forming deep emotional bonds with these additional partners.
  • Swinging - This form of open relationship consists of couples engaging in recreational sexual activities with others, generally in group settings or at organized events called "swingers' parties." Emotional attachment is often discouraged in swinging relationships, as the focus is primarily on sexual exploration.

The Second Layer: Polyfidelity, Hierarchical, and Non-Hierarchical Polyamory

  • Polyfidelity - This variation involves a closed group of three or more partners in a committed, exclusive relationship together, often sharing living spaces, finances, and other life commitments.
  • Hierarchical Polyamory - Couples in hierarchical poly relationships may prioritize their "primary" partnership, often in terms of decision-making, financial arrangements, and domestic duties, while still exploring secondary or tertiary relationships that may vary in degree of emotional and sexual connection.
  • Non-Hierarchical Polyamory - Advocates of non-hierarchical polyamory reject the idea of ranking relationships and strive to give equal attention, respect, and importance to all connections they have with others.

The Outer Layers: Solo Poly, Relationship Anarchy, and Kitchen Table Polyamory

  • Solo Poly - Solo polyamorists consider themselves to be their own primary partners and prioritize their own autonomy and personal development. They may still have deep, meaningful relationships with others but may choose not to cohabit or share financial or legal responsibilities with their partners.
  • Relationship Anarchy - A relationship anarchy is a principle that individuals have the freedom to form relationships as they see fit, without imposing expectations or labels. This philosophy encourages fluidity in relationships and allows for varying degrees of emotional and sexual connections.
  • Kitchen Table Polyamory - The term "kitchen table polyamory" refers to a family-oriented approach to polyamorous relationships, where all members of the polycule are comfortable and engaged with one another, often sharing social and domestic activities (like gathering around the metaphorical kitchen table).

Polyamory Onion Example:

Alice and Bob have been in an open relationship for several years and often attend swingers' parties together. They meet Carol and Dave, a couple who is also open and interested in exploring polyfidelity. After several weeks of communication and negotiation, they decide to form a closed quad, engaging in both emotional and sexual relationships with one another within their new committed polyamorous family.

Navigating the world of polyamory onion can be a challenge, but educating yourself on its many layers and variations will ultimately lead to a deeper understanding of your own desires and potential boundaries in relationships. It is essential to communicate openly with your partner(s) and allow room for growth and exploration together.

Now that you've peeled back the layers of the polyamory onion join the conversation by sharing this post and exploring other related guides on The Monogamy Experiment. Discover more about monogamy, polyamory, and everything in between!

Caitlin Schmidt

Caitlin Schmidt, Ph.D., is a revered figure in relationship psychology and a celebrated sex therapist with over 15 years of deep-rooted experience. Renowned for her compassionate approach and penetrating insights, Caitlin has dedicated her career to enriching people's understanding of love, intimacy, and the myriad relationship forms that exist in our complex world.Having worked with diverse individuals and couples across the spectrum of monogamy, non-monogamy, and polyamory, she brings a wealth of real-life wisdom and academic knowledge to her writing. Her compelling blend of empathy, sharp intellect, and unwavering professionalism sets her apart in the field.Caitlin's mission, both as a practitioner and as a contributor to The Monogamy Experiment, is to educate, inspire, and provoke thoughtful discussion. She believes in fostering a safe, judgment-free space for people to explore their relationship dynamics, ensuring her readers feel seen, heard, and understood.With every article, Caitlin continues her commitment to shine a light on the realities, challenges, and beauty of human connection. Her expertise makes her an indispensable guide as you navigate your journey through the landscape of love and relationships.

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About Caitlin Schmidt

Caitlin Schmidt, Ph.D., is a revered figure in relationship psychology and a celebrated sex therapist with over 15 years of deep-rooted experience. Renowned for her compassionate approach and penetrating insights, Caitlin has dedicated her career to enriching people's understanding of love, intimacy, and the myriad relationship forms that exist in our complex world.Having worked with diverse individuals and couples across the spectrum of monogamy, non-monogamy, and polyamory, she brings a wealth of real-life wisdom and academic knowledge to her writing. Her compelling blend of empathy, sharp intellect, and unwavering professionalism sets her apart in the field.Caitlin's mission, both as a practitioner and as a contributor to The Monogamy Experiment, is to educate, inspire, and provoke thoughtful discussion. She believes in fostering a safe, judgment-free space for people to explore their relationship dynamics, ensuring her readers feel seen, heard, and understood.With every article, Caitlin continues her commitment to shine a light on the realities, challenges, and beauty of human connection. Her expertise makes her an indispensable guide as you navigate your journey through the landscape of love and relationships.

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