11 Basic Types of Moral Non-Monogamy, Defined

Moral non-monogamy is so mainstream that it’s principally fundamental. Today, it is like, monogamy? One particular person for all times? Now that’s some hardcore kinky shit. However regardless of making its strategy to your Instagram discovery web page by way of poly influencers and celeb gossip mags because of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, there are ranges to this sport—even when you’ve described your self as poly on courting apps. “Most of them haven’t any fucking clue what poly actually means or what they’re signing themselves up for,” says NYU professor of sexuality Zhana Vrangalova of many individuals she sees new to the scene.

Whereas it’s tremendous to experiment with relationship codecs, very often folks leap into the poly scene—usually guys laborious concerning the thought of getting a couple of girlfriend—and find yourself hurting themselves and their courting companions within the course of. So, whereas labels aren’t required, when you, otherwise you and your companion, are contemplating opening up, it may be helpful to know what’s on the menu. “Realizing the overall expectations and agreements that include that exact label might be useful,” Zhana says.

So we rounded up and defined 11 of probably the most elementary types of moral non-monogamy, (ENM), the umbrella that encompasses the spectrum of open relationships. (Technically, there’s an open relationship format that’s not thought-about moral non-monogamy, and that’s referred to as dishonest. Some folks do get off on the secrecy concerned in dishonest and like it to variations that require honesty and at instances robust dialog. However we’re guessing we do not have to clarify that one.)


Polyamory is Historic Greek for “many loves.” On this often-attempted relationship format, which genuinely does really feel like coming dwelling and works wonders for a lot of proud poly folks, you type romantic and sexual relationships with a couple of companion. Many are referred to as. Few can serve.

Hierarchical Poly

Hierarchical polyamory often entails a pair. They’re one another’s primary, emergency contact, and “major companion,” however they will see different folks (secondary companions). And people second companions higher know their place. Kidding! However actually, hierarchical polyamory derives its identify from the very fact that there’s a hierarchy of companions, and one comes first.

Solo Poly

In solo poly, all companions are thought-about equal. Positive, there are variations in every connection, and each relationship is exclusive, but when a solo poly particular person should identify anybody as their major companion, they often identify themselves.


It is referred to as polyfidelity when three or extra folks have intercourse and date each other, so a couple of particular person, however constrict the like to the group. Such a closed polycule might exist within the type of a throuple.

Relationship Anarchy

Screw your guidelines and reliance on romance. Relationship anarchists take into account all their partnerships equally legitimate whether or not they bone or not. So, a relationship anarchist might have a partner, a nesting companion (somebody they reside with), a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a platonic life companion, and whoever else they need, and so they’re all equal, and so they’re a lot extra punk than the pumpkin spice latte-sipping poly crowd.


A throuple, additionally referred to as a triad, is a romantic and sexual relationship between three folks. Get it? It is similar to a pair however with three folks. Everybody has intercourse, generally abruptly, different instances one-on-one. Like all relationship format, all companions concerned negotiate the specifics (and a therapist to assist information this may be helpful). There are closed relationships (see: poly constancy) and open ones.

Closed V

The closed V is a polyamorous relationship through which two folks share a romantic and sexual bond with the third however not with each other. The third, the focal point, that fortunate scoundrel, is known as “the hinge” of the V. It is a V and never a triangle as a result of the 2 others do not contact. Whereas the 2 ends, or “metamours” (your companion’s companion), haven’t got intercourse, the time period closed V usually assumes that they’re in any other case shut and related.

Open Relationship

“Open relationship” is usually used as an umbrella time period to incorporate all the opposite tremendous codecs you’ve got discovered about right here. Nonetheless, by itself, an open relationship often signifies {that a} couple is okay with intercourse with others however not love or something that would topple their partnership. This differentiates it from polyamory. Typically, {couples} solely play collectively, comparable to swingers, by way of threesomes, and even the notorious one-penis coverage. Different instances, every companion can play individually. For folk who expertise extra emotional than sexual jealousy, it is a valiant effort that may work. The difficulty is that even once we say that we’ll separate intercourse from love, our hearts and our bodies do not all the time hear. (Actually, one ought to count on drama from any sort of moral non-monogamy, however is not the identical true for monogamy? We’re flawed people and should attempt to reside our truths the perfect we will with the minimal hurt accomplished.)

Do not Ask Do not Inform

Typically {couples} need to share all the main points. It would flip them on and make their intercourse life higher consequently. Different folks do not need to hear it. The latter group prefers the marginally outdated, however nonetheless present, “do not ask, do not inform.” It is self-explanatory—even when somebody finally often does ask or inform.


Monogamish is a time period coined by the intercourse author Dan Savage. It refers to {couples} who’re typically monogamous however have, allow us to say, a wholesome understanding of human sexuality. Monogamish {couples} are often devoted to at least one one other however agree that occasional intercourse exterior of the connection is not the top of the world.


Except you are on the infamous Hedonism couple’s resort surrounded by attractive boomers, swingers are, to be blunt, a dying species. Swinging, often known as the “Life-style,” historically refers to some who swaps or has intercourse with different {couples}. Whereas loads of Gen X, Millennial, and Gen Z {couples} get pleasure from this lowercase “l” way of life, and {couples} have been porking different {couples} since antiquity, using the time period “swingers” appears to be going out of style. (When you ask us, it is time to give the great ole’ original attractive swingers a comeback larger than square-toe sneakers.)

Nonetheless curious? Learn our glossary of open relationship terminology subsequent.

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