LGBTQIA+ An Educational Series: What is Polyamory?

By Savi Ettinger

Illustration by Kadia King

This is an educational series meant to distribute information about subjects of sexuality and gender orientations. All of this month’s information comes from the Gender Equity Resource Center at UC Berkeley.

This month’s topic is polyamory. Polyamory is defined by UC Berkeley as “the desire, practice, or acceptance of having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time, with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved.” It is a type of consensual non-monogamy. The important part of this definition is that each relationship happens with the expressed consent of any and all people within the relationship(s). Polyamory can involve a solely physical non-monogamous relationship, but often has elements of romantic love as well.

People can be part of polyamorous relationships for a variety of reasons. Some people are in long-distance relationships, but miss physical intimacy, or want the possibility of new relationships as well. Others love more than one person at once, or feel that their needs and desires are more fulfilled by multiple people, rather than one. There are many other reasons as well.

Due to stigma, there are not many models of how healthy polyamorous relationships work, making communication between partners incredibly important. Jealousy is as common in polyamorous relationships as in any other, and must be worked out between partners as well. Cheating can also exist in polyamorous relationships if a romantic or sexual interaction happens without the consent of everyone involved.

This series is meant to be educational and to inform people of terminology. Gender and sexual identity are personal traits, and people may define themselves as they choose or may decide to not use labels. Stay tuned for the next installment of LGBTQIA+ in The Salemite!

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