Polyamory is when a relationship involves more than two people, with the consent of everyone involved. Polyamory is a broad term which can include group relationships, or it can be a single person who chooses to have multiple relationships without an agreement of monogamy. The relationships often include friendship, love, and emotional commitment in addition to sex.

Polyamory is different from swinging. Swinging is where primary couples switch partners while everyone is in the same location. Swinging is usually more about recreational sex, while people who are into polyamory share emotional as well as sexual feelings.

I know of a situation where a woman lives with her husband and their best friend, who is also her lover. Each has their own bedroom. One night she’ll sleep with her husband, the next night with their best friend. The two men never have sex together, although everyone shares in the bill paying and household chores.

In another polyamory relationship, the husband and wife live together in a home with their children. To someone who doesn’t know them well, they seem like a regular nuclear family. But they have an open relationship where each has a lover who the other knows about. So there is no sneaking around, because nothing is hidden. The other partners don’t live in the house with them and don’t participate in parenting their children.

In polyamory, lovers can be of the opposite sex or the same sex. There can be a wide range of gender and sexual orientations. This is different from swinging, where female bisexuality is common but male bisexuality is less accepted.

Polyamory honchos (authors and heads of poly organizations) say that as long as there is full communication and transparency, things like jealousy, possessiveness and rejection can be overcome. I’m not so sure this is always the case, so tread carefully and be fully informed if this is what you’d like to try.