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The Purple Mobius symbol for Polyamory and non-monogamy.
Anarchists-A in a heart is a symbol of relationship anarchy.
The "love outside the box" symbol for Polyamory and non-monogamy.

Non-monogamy is a type of interpersonal relationship in which sexual exclusivity is not held as the primary fundamental premise of the relationship. Individuals may form multiple and simultaneous sexual or romantic bonds.[1] This can be contrasted with its opposite, monogamy, and yet may arise from the same psychology.[2] The term has been criticized as it may imply that monogamy is the norm and that other ways of relating are deviations.


Many non-monogamous terms are flexible in definition, because they are based on criteria such as "relationship" or "love" that are themselves variably defined. In addition, usage creates distinctions beyond the raw definitions of the words. Thus, even though some relationships might technically be considered both polygamous and polyamorous, "polygamy" usually signifies a codified form of multiple marriage, based on established religious teachings, while "polyamory" is based on the preferences of the participants rather than social custom or established precedent.

Forms of non-monogamy include:

  • casual relationship a physical and emotional relationship between two unmarried people who may have a sexual relationship
  • cuckoldry, where a person has sex with another individual without the consent of their partner
  • group marriage (also termed polygynandry), in which several people form a single family unit, with all considered to be married to one another
  • group sex and orgies involving more than two participants at the same time
  • Line families, a form of group marriage intended to outlive its original members by ongoing addition of new spouses
  • ménage à trois, a sexual (or sometimes domestic) arrangement involving three people
  • open relationship (incl. open marriage), in which one or both members of a committed (or married) couple may become sexually active with other partners
  • polyamory, in which participants have multiple romantic partners
  • Poly families, similar to group marriage, but some members may not consider themselves married to all other members
  • polyfidelity, in which participants have multiple partners but restrict sexual activity to within a certain group
  • polygamy, in which one person in a relationship has married multiple partners
  • relationship anarchy, in which participants are not bound by set rules
  • swinging, similar to open relationships, but commonly conducted as an organized social activity

See also[edit]