Polyamory.com Forum  

Go Back   Polyamory.com Forum > Polyamory > Poly Relationships Corner

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-03-2011, 08:37 AM
wannabe wannabe is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 9
Default Is Open a subset of poly? Or something different?

When I think of defining an open relationship, I think of a primary couple who have decided that sexual fidelity is not important to them.

In this case open ~= monogamish

Theory question really, but is open a variant on poly or a completely different class of relationship?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-03-2011, 10:11 AM
Magdlyn's Avatar
Magdlyn Magdlyn is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Metro West Massachusetts
Posts: 3,761
Default

Being "open," or non-mono, is the larger heading. Polyamory is a subset of non-monogamy.

Other categories under the non-mono heading are "don't ask, don't tell" relationships, and swinging. In ancient times (and today in neo-pagan groups), married couples could also take part in a non-mono experience when worshiping a god or goddess in a temple with a "holy one" (priest or priestess representative of certain gods or goddesses), or in orgies at Beltane and other holy days.
__________________
Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

me: Mags, 59, living with:
miss pixi, 37
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-03-2011, 10:32 AM
trueRiver trueRiver is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Manchester, England & Tain, Scotland
Posts: 85
Default poly + open overlap, neither is a subset

Quote:
Originally Posted by wannabe View Post
...
Theory question really, but is open a variant on poly or a completely different class of relationship?
Poly can be a different class of relationship, for those who do not start from being a couple.

Open relationships tend to mean that a couple decide to allow extra partners beyond the traditional idea of exclusivity.

The things that define polyamory, for me, are

1. Honesty: every partner knows who else you are being sexual/romantic with

2. Integrity: if you make committments to your partners, you keep them. (This could include, for example, the quite common committent about safe sex: I will have safe sex except when I am with certain named people -- google 'fluid boundary' about this)

3. All sexual relationships contain an element of love. For me, relationships where partners are free to have non-loving partners are swinging. Relationships where partners are free to do either are poly/swinging.

I currently consider 1 and 2 above to be the aspects of poly that make it ethical, whereas 3 is more a personal preference. So I have moral issues with 'cheating', but not with 'swinging', even though I would not personally do either.

The things that define 'open' for me are that a partner is free to have sex with other people, outside the defined relationship.

So a triad, where all three people have loving sex with the other two, but have no sex or romantic attachments outside the triad, would be poly but not open. So I disagree with M, who says above [not quoted] that poly is a subset of open.

A relationship where two people had a long term loving relationship and they also had casual sex outside the couple, would be open but not poly.

It often looks like poly is a subset of open, as in our culture it tends to start from opening up a couple: in practice M is often right. But in theory, as per your question, there is no need to start from there.

My preference is for poly relationships, as per the above definitions. I would like to make it clear I am not putting a moral case here; I am stating my own preference, and no more than that.
__________________
River~~

There are two Rivers here now: which one is this?

see
quaker poly experiences and poly: a quaker perspective

I hope other British Quakers who are poly (or wonder if they are) will contact me here, thanks, Friends.

Last edited by trueRiver; 09-03-2011 at 10:35 AM. Reason: typo
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-03-2011, 10:42 AM
Magdlyn's Avatar
Magdlyn Magdlyn is online now
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Metro West Massachusetts
Posts: 3,761
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by trueRiver View Post



The things that define 'open' for me are that a partner is free to have sex with other people, outside the defined relationship.

So a triad, where all three people have loving sex with the other two, but have no sex or romantic attachments outside the triad, would be poly but not open. So I disagree with M, who says above [not quoted] that poly is a subset of open.
Point taken. A poly-fi triad or quad would be non-monogamous, but closed. I meant to put poly-fi under the non-mono heading, not the open heading.
__________________
Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

me: Mags, 59, living with:
miss pixi, 37
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-03-2011, 11:33 AM
nycindie's Avatar
nycindie nycindie is offline
Moderator
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Big Apple
Posts: 7,414
Default

I see it this way:

There are monogamy and non-monogamy. Under the non-mono umbrella there are several categories, which include cheating, swinging, open, and polyamory.

We all know what cheating is: the one non-ethical, dishonest form of non-monogamy.

The rest are all consensual forms of non-monogamy. Swinging is about couple-centric recreational sex activities. Though you can be single and participate in swinging, it seems to be focused mostly on couples having their fun.

Being open, to me, is about being open to casual sex, one night stands, group sex, etc. I don't think one has to be in a committed relationship to be open; if you are, then it's an open relationship or an open marriage, but if you're single or solo, you're just open. I think people who are in long-term committed relationships who say they've "opened it up" (VERB) don't always mean that they are open in the sense of being okay with casual sexual liaisons. I think most of them just mean they've opened it up to additional people, whether that means being open, poly, swinging, or what have you. But a couple saying they're open (ADJECTIVE) or in an open marriage generally seem to mean they allow for casual sex with others, but not relationships where there is emotional involvement.

And polyamory is about cultivating multiple, caring, loving relationships and does not focus on sex, or sexual activities to define this category, like the others do. Poly's focus for me is love and full disclosure. One can be poly AND any of these others, as well, or none of them, but they all come under the heading of non-monogamy.

I see polygamy and polyfidelity as approaches to polyamory.
__________________
The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia "

An excellent blog post against hierarchy in polyamory: http://solopoly.net/2014/10/31/why-i...short-version/

Last edited by nycindie; 09-03-2011 at 11:37 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-03-2011, 02:30 PM
MichelleZed MichelleZed is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 194
Default

This is a really helpful thread to me and I am enjoying reading everyone's responses. Since coming here, I have been thinking about these labels and where I fit in.

We opened up our relationship for casual sex with other partners. No real rules except to use condoms. Husband is content with a very occasional one-night stand, but I quickly began having the casual sex with one specific piece on the side.

The arrangement with that man is still ongoing, and we have developed affection and what is, I hope, a good friendship (and not based purely on the sex). But, really, all we are to each other right now is casual sex partners. There's no saying casual sex can't be friendly. He's not, you know, my boyfriend or anything.

So I think I'm still in an open, non-poly marriage. But who knows? Maybe I should say I'm poly-ish.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-04-2011, 03:26 PM
OpenandCountry OpenandCountry is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Greater DC metro area
Posts: 101
Default

My husband started out by being poly, got married, decided to have an open marriage, and then I found another guy that made me happy and I consider him my boyfriend. So I guess we're poly again? My husband isn't interested in finding a girlfriend, just casual sex, however, my boyfriend is very much a mono, and doesn't want anyone outside of his relationship with me at the moment. Does the fact that we all have different drives/desires for relationships change the definition of the group?
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-03-2011, 02:33 PM
River's Avatar
River River is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: NM, USA
Posts: 1,894
Default

I think Nycindie's description is perfect.
__________________
bi, partnered, available

River's Blog
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-03-2011, 02:46 PM
River's Avatar
River River is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: NM, USA
Posts: 1,894
Default

I'm one of those poly folks for whom casual sex has very, very, very little attraction. On a scale of one to ten, I think my interest in casual sex is a -2 (minus two). However, although I despise relationship ranking systems (e.g., "primary, secondary, tertiary), I'm quite curious about the possibility of forming loving relationship which includes sexual intimacy while being in some respects less involving than it is with others. I think I can do this without ranking simply by not using a ranking system, and just by allowing things to unfold naturally and honestly.

For me, when there is sexual / physical intimacy, my heart is always involved. And I'm glad for this and think this is as it should be. - - - I'm still in the "figuring it out" phase of exploration about how my needs and commitments are shaped. I feel as though I can have two, ... at max three full on partners. Two seems plenty! But I might like to share deep intimacy (with sexual possibilities) outside of my full-on partner arrangement/s. And I want to have this freedom without having to rank people -- which I can do simply by not ranking them. (And, of course, I'd only engage in these other relations when it was safe and good and healthy for me AND my partner/s.)
__________________
bi, partnered, available

River's Blog

Last edited by River; 09-03-2011 at 02:48 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 09-04-2011, 06:43 AM
wannabe wannabe is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 9
Default Great thread everyone!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
Point taken. A poly-fi triad or quad would be non-monogamous, but closed. I meant to put poly-fi under the non-mono heading, not the open heading.
This may sound a little pedantic, but I'm a mathematician so defining stuff helps me....wouldn't a closed poly-fi quad need to have been 'open' on some level to allow it to get to 4 people?

This would suggest that open, closed, mono, non-mono, poly are temporary states of a relationship not a definition?

Or are we saying that poly is defined as a relationship that adheres to certain properties and relationship states may or may not be poly depending if they fit the criteria?

As a practical example, I would define MichelleZed as poly because she appears to have a long term 'secondary' relationship. But at one point she could have been defined as simply open.

At what point does one cross the line into poly given that many of our important relationships can start out pretty causal?
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
definitions, descriptions, relationship dynamics

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 01:02 AM.