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Old 10-12-2013, 12:20 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Yelm, Washington
Posts: 14,955

Greetings Daniel,
Welcome to our forum.

As far as I understand it:
  • Polygamy = legal marriage between more than one woman and more than one man. (Technically no such legal animal exists in any country I know of.)
  • Polyandry = legal marriage between one woman and more than one man. (Government-supported and socially-accepted in a number of coutries here and there around the world.)
  • Polygyny = legal marriage between one man and more than one woman. (Illegal in the United States but some people try to simulate the practice.)
  • Patriarchal polygyny = polygyny in which the man is the head of the household and makes the rules. (Usually religiously established and *this* is what people normally visualize when they speak of polygamy.)
  • Polyamory = egalitarian romantic connections between more than two adults, not formalized by legal marriage (though two of the partners may be married), but often formalized by a handfasting. All of the partners/companions are aware of the total situation and consent to it. This is what people generally do when polygamy (e.g. polyandry) is illegal.
  • Polyfidelity = a subset of polyamory in which sex is confined to the adults within a committed/handfasted circle, or in which no new persons are to be added to that circle, or both.
Polyfidelity tends to be rather marriage-like, while other forms of polyamory are more permissive and allow for sex with new dating partners. Polyfidelity is "the less common kind of polyamory," but it happens often enough.

Truth be told, if you want to talk about polygamy, you should probably either talk about religious patriarchal polygyny, or about polyfidelity. Polyfidelity is "like polygamy," except that
  • it's usually legal,
  • it doesn't put the man "in charge,"
  • it isn't religious per se,
  • it allows multiples "husbands" as well as multiple "wives."
I'm thinking polyfidelity can sometimes be called group marriage.

For more info on "poly terminology," see the glossary thread at

With that out of the way, let's get started on your journey into the threads and boards. See what calls to you, and post your thoughts, questions, and concerns. You will gain many new friends here, and help lots of people as well.

Glad to have you aboard.
Kevin T.
Love means never having to say, "Put down that meat cleaver!"
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