Many traditional gender roles and societal expectations are changing, including understanding conventional relationships. Non-monogamous relationships are rising, with nearly 83% of societies allowing for polygamy in their culture. Some couples are curious to try polyamory and introduce a new partner in their relationship for variety or to meet sexual needs their partner cannot or is unwilling to meet. Polygamy vs polyamory isn’t for all couples, but it can be fulfilling in new ways for those who explore an open relationship.
When considering polygamy vs polyamory, there is more trust and less infidelity in a romantic relationship. You need to be open and honest about your expectations with multiple partners. Now, that’s not to say that monogamy isn’t still the norm in most cultures; however, it means there’s more flexibility than ever before in an intimate relationship.
Non-monogamous relationships allow for a lot of variety, but let’s explore two of the most common types: polygamy vs polyamory.
What’s the Difference Between Polygamy vs Polyamory?
Polygamy vs polyamory are similar; after all, they are about being with more than one person. That’s what the prefix poly means. However, there are key differences that distinguish them from each other. You can be in a polyamorous relationship while practicing polygamy and vice versa, but they are not the same.
Polygamy is when a man or a woman has more than one wife or husband. This also happens within the animal kingdom with more than one mate, so some claim we are evolutionarily wired to reject monogamy. Typically, there are three or more people in a single marriage, though historically, it has been mostly men who have multiple wives. There have been instances where a woman has multiple husbands in certain cultures, but this is rare.
The spouses are all aware of the situation, so it is not cheating. There may be primary partners in a polygamous marriage, especially if it is illegal to have more than one wife at a time. When you’re in a polygamous marriage, it’s not relationship anarchy within the home. There can be a clear structure, though it varies from couple to couple.
Polyamory is a consensual non-monogamy that centers on multiple concurrent relationships. These relationships can be heterosexual or homosexual. There are no strict boundaries in polyamorous relationships. There is no binding marriage certificate that cements the partners together, so it is very easy to enter a polyamorous relationship as it is to leave one.
Much like polygamy, it’s not cheating. All partners know they are in multiple sexual relationships and have given their consent. The partners may be involved with each other or others outside the core relationship. Each polyamorous relationship has unique boundaries, so it’s important to understand the limits, so you don’t break trust.
If you’re polyamorous, you can be married to a single partner and have relationships outside of your main relationship with your partner’s consent. However, polygamy is only for people who are married to multiple people and is typically limited to heterosexual relationships. If you are dating or courting others while married, you can be in a polyamorous relationship as long as all the parties are aware.
When considering polygamy vs polyamory, there are many blurred lines. They are similar and can overlap, so you can think about polygamy vs polyamory as more of a ven diagram than distinct circles. If you are interested in entering a non-monogamous relationship, you must discuss this with your partner to get on the same page. You are cheating if you do not talk about polygamy vs polyamory relationships before entering into one.
The Main Differences Between Polygamy vs Polyamory
Polygamy has been around for millennia, with records older than the bible. However, polyamory is a new term, first coined in 1990. That doesn’t mean polyamory hasn’t existed in some form before then; it simply wasn’t formally recognized. There are subtle differences between polygamy vs polyamory in how you categorize your relationship, but here are the three most significant differences between polygamy vs polyamory.
When comparing polygamy vs polyamory, gender plays a huge role. Polygamous relationships are typically heterosexual. Many still define marriage as between a man and a woman. That does not change if there are multiple husbands or wives involved, though legally, they may not be recognized under the eyes of the law.
Gay marriage is not legal in many cultures, and some countries still have the death penalty in the books if caught performing or receiving homosexual sex acts. Many of these cultures are ones where polygamy is accepted, so it legally has to be between members of the opposite sex. Heteronormative standards and traditional gender roles rule these cultures, and any deviation can carry severe punishments.
Polyamory has no specific gender expectations tied to it. It can simply be as you and your partners want it to be – between multiple parties of varying or the same genders. Polyamory isn’t illegal in many cases, but it will not carry the same benefits as marriage, including health insurance, tax breaks, and other benefits that spouses or domestic partners receive.
Polygamy is a core part of many religious traditions worldwide, traditionally Mormons and Muslims. It is more common in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and parts of the United States, primarily those with a high concentration of Mormons. In these areas, it is socially acceptable, while other parts of the world may deem it morally wrong.
In some religious traditions, if men have more than one wife, it’s suggested they will get into heaven. Others feel it’s their right to have many wives, divined by God to help them procreate and spread His word. It’s a way to proliferate the world and do their religious duty. Whatever the motivation, they believe they can have multiple wives, even if the law does not agree.
Polyamory is not part of any traditional religion outside of a man’s right to multiple wives. The legally binding act of marriage is what makes these multiple partners right, rather than the free love idea of polyamorous relationships. Because gender boundaries do not constrain them, religious traditions shun polyamorous relationships as an abomination.
Because polygamy is illegal in many countries, there is often one true wife recognized under the eyes of the law. This is often the first wife, though they can divorce the initial wife and take another to recognize another union legally. An individual cannot be married to multiple people simultaneously under the eyes of the law.
Because of this dynamic, polygamy can feature hierarchical relationships, meaning that one takes precedence over others. One of the wives has to be the main one legally, but that can also come with benefits. They may hold higher weight in the family, dictate what others can and cannot do, and so forth.
There are no legal restrictions on polyamory, though there could be obscure laws in your town. For example, some cities still carry a fine for adultery. While polyamorous relationships have nothing to do with cheating, they could be perceived like that by the eyes of the law. These laws are rarely enforced, so you don’t have to worry. Outside of being able to claim multiple benefits, there is nothing inherently illegal about having multiple partners simultaneously.
Why Choose Polygamy vs Polyamory Relationships?
There are many reasons that you may choose between polygamy vs polyamory relationships. Monogamy may not work for you and your partner, and that’s okay! You’re allowed to express your love in ways that work for you and your relationship. Here are 5 of the most common reasons people choose to explore non-monogamous relationships, especially when considering polygamy vs polyamory.
Attracted to Other People
You can love your partner and still be sexually attracted to other people. Those in monogamous relationships suppress those feelings, pretending they don’t exist. Attraction is a natural part of life, and if you are considering polygamy vs polyamory relationship, it’s one way that you can explore that attraction in safe and controlled ways.
Perhaps you and your partner have discussed adding a third party to your relationship, or you each want to be able to explore attraction to others while still maintaining your core relationship. Maybe there is another scenario you want to explore with someone with whom you have a strong connection. As long as you discuss what you want to achieve when exploring polygamy vs polyamory, you are safe to explore those feelings without them being considered adultery.
Attracted to Other Genders
Perhaps you’re in a heterosexual relationship, but you are bisexual. No matter how much you love your partner, there are certain needs that they cannot biologically meet. Another great consideration for polygamy vs polyamory relationships is the ability to explore those needs without judgment. In polyamorous relationships, you can have a girlfriend and a boyfriend with your partner’s blessing.
Sexual Needs Not Being Met
Much like being attracted to other genders, you can also have other sexual needs that your current relationship does not meet. Your partner can be unable to fulfill those needs by choice or capability. Maybe it is not a turn-on for them, so they can’t stomach your fetish. Whatever the case may be, when considering polygamy vs polyamory in relationships, you can find a partner who can meet you kink for kink – and then some.
Polyamorous relationships allow you to explore all your sexual needs with the blessing of your current partner. You could even have fun together picking out new potential partners online. As you’re sourcing someone to meet your sexual needs – no matter how kinky or vanilla they are – be open that this is a polyamorous relationship from the start. Remember, all parties must feel comfortable with the arrangement for it to work.
If you’re in a long-term relationship, maybe you’ve lost the spice in your relationship. You still care for your partner, but you’re in a rut that neither of you can break free from, no matter how hard you try. It’s worth considering if polygamy vs polyamory could be for you. You can add a partner together for both of you – a threesome is certain to add a new dynamic to any relationship. Otherwise, you can explore what would make you happy, whether a new girlfriend or boyfriend.
Polyamorous relationships are never dull, so if you feel bored or trapped in your current relationship, it could be worth exploring if polygamy vs polyamory could help breathe new life into your relationship.
Some people are just curious. There’s a lot of porn about multiple parties in the bedroom, and they want to explore what that could mean for their relationship. They may start to consider different dynamics, including polygamy vs polyamory. Could that be for them? They may start to dip their toes in the water, exploring online forums before actively seeking partners.
If you’re curious about your partner and are both aligned with the need to explore polygamy vs polyamory, then have fun with it. Curiosity only killed the cat – it gave the couple orgasms unlike those they’d never felt before after their first non-monogamous experience.
Polygamy vs Polyamory: How To Have A Successful Relationship
While living in a non-monogamous household is still relatively rare, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. When considering polygamy vs polyamory, if you’re open and honest with all parties involved, you can have a successful non-monogamous relationship. Here are six tips for having ideal non-monogamous relationships, regardless of if you practice polygamy vs polyamory.
Without trust, your relationship will fail, whether you are monogamous with your partner or considering polygamy vs polyamory. You have to trust your partner to stay within the boundaries you set for your relationship. Additionally, jealousy has no place in a polyamorous relationship. There is nothing to be jealous about if you trust your partner, no matter how many people are in your relationship.
When considering polygamy vs polyamory, keep in mind that both require strong communication skills. You have to be honest about your intentions and share what’s going on in your relationships. It will be awkward at first to discuss this with your partner, but you need to get over it. If you don’t have open and honest communication, you will lose trust in each other.
One of the fun things about being in a non-monogamous relationship, whether it is polygamy vs polyamory or something else, is that you have to be willing to experiment and try new things. When traditional relationships do not limit you, they can be incredibly freeing. You’re able to explore parts of yourself that you hid before. Now, you have the license to do what you want, when you want it!
As you explore polygamy vs polyamory, you need to set clear boundaries. Maybe you only see your other partners on certain days. Perhaps you set aside time every day to connect as a couple. What’s important is that you set boundaries that work for you and your partner and adhere to them. The moment you break them, you lose trust.
If you are dating multiple parties, you must be honest with everyone involved. Everyone needs to be comfortable with being in a non-monogamous relationship. If something is happening that you don’t feel right about, don’t hide it. Share everything you’re feeling with your partner. If you’re not honest, your relationship will not work, regardless of whether it is polygamy vs polyamory.
The most important tip to remember about being in a relationship is to be safe. Use protection if you and your partner are considering polygamy vs polyamory. Get regular sexually transmitted disease testing if you are intimate with multiple people. You need to protect your health and the health of your partners, so be as safe as possible.
The Final Word on Polygamy vs Polyamory
When considering polygamy vs polyamory, it’s easy to get the two confused. There are a lot of similarities, but ultimately it comes down to the act of marriage. If you are married to more than one person, you are in a polygamous relationship.
Depending on where you live, only one marriage will be legal, while religion will recognize all the marriages. Typically, it will be between one man and multiple women, and the women are not involved with each other outside of being married to the same man. Polyamorous relationships are not as stringent. You can be in relationships with multiple people simultaneously, no matter the gender.
If you and your partner feel comfortable, there is nothing inherently wrong with being in polygamy vs polyamory relationship. Exploring your sexuality should be celebrated in any relationship, as long as you’re open about your needs with your partner. Don’t let judgment keep you from finding what will make you happy and fulfilled.