Sidebar Index:

  • What is polyamory?
  • Things to keep in mind
  • Why do people practice polyamory?
  • What is polyamory?

    There is no single definition of polyamory, but the consensus among people who study and/or practice it seems to be that polyamory is “honest, open, responsible non-monogamy” that involves being open to more than one simultaneous romantic, intimate, or deep emotional relationship (these are usually but not always expressed sexually), and in which all parties have full knowledge of the arrangements and participate of their own free choice.

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  • Things to keep in mind:

    Romantic or Deep Emotional Relationships

    This refers to a variety of kinds of relationship, and also pretty clearly does *not* include certain kinds. Certainly, being “in love” with someone can be the kind of relationship people include in polyamory. Sexual relationships where there is a deep emotional connection are also included. In this context, deep can mean emotionally intense, or it could also mean the kind of depth that comes from knowing someone for a very long time, and having learned to trust them implicitly; there may not be intense feelings about this person all the time, but you know they have your back, and you can count on them to be there for you. They are the people that you think of as a permanent part of your intentional family.

    There are other kinds of relationship that can constitute part of a polyamorous situation, such as a peer relationship with someone you feel bonded to, that you take into account when you are making life plans, and who you have deep emotional sharing with—but for whatever reason, it is not a sexual relationship.

    Usually, we do not think of certain kinds of relationships as being part of polyamory: swinging, casual “pick-up” sex, true seduction, “friends with benefits” where the benefits are the main part of the friendship, and many other arrangements where the main purpose of the connection is the sex. We aren’t passing any judgment on any of these arrangements, and we support any fully consensual choices that individuals make about their sex lives, but these are not what is usually meant by “polyamory”. A classic poly joke is that “with swinging, you get sex; with polyamory, you get breakfast.” Most polyamorous relationships that have been established for more than a few months involve many activities other than sex, and the sexual activity plays much the same role as it does for most people in monogamous relationships.



    There is commitment in polyamory, but it is a commitment to honesty, to openness, and to the good of the other person. It does not necessarily imply any particular kind of commitment, or even an ongoing connection. Some poly relationships involve people who only see each other occasionally, and may not communicate much in between times, but have a strong emotional connection that they treasure.



    This does not necessarily mean that every person involved necessarily knows about every other person who may be connected in some way. This can happen especially when people are involved in an “open network” type of polyamory. It means that each person knows the general parameters of the relationship styles that they have chosen to be involved with.

    Free choice/ Consent

    Many definitions of polyamory involve the word consent. This does not normally mean that each person involved specifically consents to the involvement of each other person. It means that each person freely and knowingly consents to participating in this kind of relationship style.

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  • Why do people practice polyamory? What are the benefits?

    Many people assume that the sexual variety is the main reason for being polyamorous. This can be a benefit, but it is rarely one of the main ones. In some ways, polyamory, first and foremost, is a way of building an extended family, a tribe, a network of people who care deeply about each other. There are many other benefits as well, but to my mind, this is the most important.

    Another reason people practice polyamory is that they are big-hearted people who simply love *lots* of other people, intensely.  For them, intimate love is an expansive experience, and they can’t imagine why it should be limited to one person.

    Some people believe that they are "wired" poly, and would find a monogamous relationship to be inauthentic for them. Others find that they can be quite happy relating in either a monogamous style, or a polyamorous one.

    Polyamory is not just monogamy plus more. The practice of polyamory differs from so many basic monogamous patterns that it takes time to absorb the implications and figure out how to translate those into day-to-day relationships. For most folks, this is not a simple process. It can be very important that if you are in a poly situation, that you connect yourself to the polyamory community in one or more ways.

    One good way to conceive of polyamory is to use the friendship model instead of the romantic model. In a sense, polyamory is simply all the possibilities and patterns that might happen in a caring friendship, with the possibilities of sex and romance added in as *features* of the friendship-- as opposed to the sex and romance being the *basis* of that connection.

    Another benefit of polyamory is that for some people, it can take the issue of sex “off the table” as a concern. If one person in a relationship winds up spending time with a third person, the existing partner doesn’t worry that they might have sex. It is already an option, and either they will or they won’t—and both outcomes are OK.

    In some groups of polyfolk, it is often very hard to tell who has a sexual relationship with whom—because they are all very cuddly with each other, with a level of physical affection that is rare except for people in a sexual relationship. But since it is OK for any of the folks there to develop a sexual relationship if they want, they don’t have to be in one to have lots of touch and affection. It is just as OK *not* to be sexual with others as it is to be sexual with them. So two people might spend all evening cuddling, kissing, even flirting heavily—and have no intention of taking it any farther. There is a lot *less* pressure to be sexual in many poly contexts than there is in the larger society. And a choice not to be sexual with someone does not necessarily diminish any other aspect of the relationship.

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  • Welcome to the Polyamory Information Page!

    There are many wonderful sites on the web for information about polyamory. This page is meant as a short list of some of the best of them. This site is a “front door” for people just finding out about polyamory, and want to know where to start, or for those who are involved with someone who is polyamorous. Each of these resources listed here will have many more links to other resources that address particular issues or concerns.


    Our Upcoming Events!

    Winter Poly Wonderland, January 25-28, 2019
    Endless Poly Summer, August 16-22, 2019

    As a center for information about polyamory, we’ve gotten lots of input from the polyamory community about what resources were *missing* as well.  The main lack was for an event that brought together a strong focus on connecting deeply with other polyfolk that also had an emphasis on developing the tools to do polyamory successfully.


    So we have created a series of events to meet those needs.  Learning the skills needed for successful polyamorous relationships, building connections with other people at the event, creating the extended network that offers much of the richness of polyamory, and diving deeper into your existing relationships are all part of the experience. Click here to learn more about this!


    Local Poly Groups–

    Most local polyamory support groups are now listed on, which focuses on local, in-person events. Check their website, select your geographic location, and search on polyamory, non-monogamy, and relationship anarchy.

    Loving More
    This is a good general site for learning about polyamory. They publish the online magazine Loving More, they put on conferences and retreats for polyamorous persons, and they give workshops, retreats, and other support to the polyamorous community. They also host the LoveList email discussion group; see the section on e-lists below. They are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and donations to them are tax deductible.

    More than Two
    Franklin Veaux’s writings on polyamory are entertaining and don’t mince words! He covers many topics about polyamory, and has also published them in book form. The advice and information at his site is first-rate, and unlike some theorists, much of it comes from having learned from his own experiences --of the "don't do that again" variety.
    He has some fabulous graphics on related topics as well. Be sure to see his
    Map of Non-mongamy:

    (which makes clear that polyamory is just one of many alternatives to monogamy, and not the only one that is ethical).

    Poly in the media/polyamorous percolations/polyamory in the news!

    Alan has an amazing website that since 2005 has been tracking articles, essays, videos, and other media that are about polyamory and its changing role in the world. Absolutely fascinating-- both the material that he finds, and his comments on them!


    Solo Poly

    A site just for folks who aren't in/aren't seeking primary-style relationships.

    The Poly Friendly Professionals Directory

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  • E-lists / Discussion Groups

    Expansive Loving
    One of the most active and insightful of the Facebook discussion groups on polyamory is Expansive Loving, hosted by Bhramari Dasi. It describes itself as being focused on spiritual polyamory, but the term “spiritual” is meant in a very broad sense, and most atheists would find themselves completely comfortable with any of the discussion that goes on there. This is a great place to “listen in” on polyfolk talking among themselves, and a wonderful resource for people who are seriously considering polyamorous relationships, or who are in the early stages, and want advice and shared experiences.

    Loving More LoveList
    The LoveList is one of the oldest and largest polyamory discussion lists. It is no longer very active, but there are lots of people there with decades of experience in polyamory. Anyone raising a question on the list is sure to get thoughtful, knowledgeable responses.


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  • Meeting Poly People

    Local Groups –

    Meetup and Facebook Groups:

    Most local poly groups can be found on  Search on the word polyamory or non-monogamy in your local area.  There are also many Facebook groups about polyamory; some are specific to a geographical region.

    Directory of local poly groups

    This is a listing of local polyamory groups that was created several years ago.   Many of these groups no longer exist in their original form, or can be found on Meetup and Facebook.



    There are very frequent poly-specific and poly-friendly events all over the US and in many other parts of the world; it would be hard to find even a single day that didn’t have a poly event somewhere.  Alan’s Poly in the Media site has one of the most comprehensive lists of poly events, though there are far too many for anyone to list them all.  These events range from a lunch-time or evening get-togethers to multi-day events to intensive workshops and more.


    Online sites -

    PolyMatchMaker -

    This is the oldest dating site that is dedicated to polyamorous people, with 58,000 members. There have been some controversies over the years about how it is managed, but overall is a worthwhile resource. There is a "matching" service at PolyMatchMaker; however, many people find the discussion forums to be the most valuable part of the site.

    Several other polyamory dating sites have been started over the last few years, but none seem to have gotten very far.  This may be because OKCupid has worked so well for many poly people.  And it attracts people who are open to polyamory and other non-monogamous relationships; one survey said that over 40% of people on OKCupid would consider a non-monogamous relationship.  With 30 million users, that is a *lot* of potential poly people!

    OKCupid -

    OKCupid is a general-purpose dating site, but its matching algorithms are so good that if you are poly, you will mostly get matched with other people who are poly or at least open to it. And it is completely free for most users.

     As of January, 2016, OKCupid has vastly expanded both their relationship description and gender description options.  Among other options, they allow people to list themselves as “seeing someone”, “married”, or “in an open relationship”, and provide a mechanism for couples to link to each other.

     The first time I tried OK Cupid, the first five matches included my two nesting partners and a former lover that I am still very close with. Others I know have had similar results, so their system is pretty impressive.

     To get the best results from OKCupid, answer *lots* of questions—that’s how they make their matches. Answer at least 300; more is better. It doesn't take long, and you can answer more at any time. Only answer questions that *particularly* resonate for you—skip any that seem unclear, or where none of the answers jump out at you).  Giving answers that don’t really fit you will dilute the effectiveness of their matching process.

     Then do a search by "Match %" -- most of those folks will be poly or open to poly relationships.  For me, I've found that anyone with less than an 80% rating is *very* unlikely to be a good match.

     Your profile is important as well. It doesn't change who they match you with, but it *does* affect whether someone who sees your profile will be interested in communicating with you.

     You can also use the feature that shows how your answers to questions match up (or don’t) with a person you are considering.  This can be very enlightening, especially if they have used the comments section of their answers.

     They have many other features, including surveys, personality tests, etc. While these may be fun, they have *no* effect on who you get matched with.

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    Books on Polyamory:

    There are many books on polyamory that have been written in the last 20 years. Probably the best for beginners, and for experienced polyfolk as well, is More Than Two, by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert. It can be ordered here.

    Two of the best general books for someone who wants to learn more about polyamory would include The Ethical Slut, Second Edition, by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy, and Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, by Tristan Taormino.  There are many other good books as well; many of them have more specific focuses.  Alan, of Poly in the Media, has compiled a (hopefully) complete list with descriptions and links:

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  • Regional, National, & International Poly-friendly Groups

    These organizations are not specifically focused on polyamory, but a significant number of their participants are polyamorous, and *all* relationship styles are welcomed and honored.


    Network For a New Culture


    Human Awareness Institute



    There is not currently any resource focused on polyamory for teenagers, but Scarleteen is a fantastic resource about all issues relating to sexuality and relationships for teens.


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  • Polyamorus/Monogamous Relationships:

    For monogamous people who have a poly partner:

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    For polyamorous people who have a monogamous partner:
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  • Counseling

    Resources for those in polyamorous relationships who also are seeing professional therapists who may not be informed about polyamory:

    Informative letter: What Psychology Professionals Should Know About Polyamory



    Safe Sex:

    Yes, there is such a thing.  And it turns out that polyamorous people don’t get sexually transmitted infections any more often than people who claim to be monogamous.  Apparently, people who are consciously non-monogamous pay more attention to sexual hygiene than most monogamous people.  You can learn all you need to know about safe sex at


    About Us:


    This site was created and is maintained by Michael Rios (, Jonica Hunter, and other volunteers, under the auspices of the Center For a New Culture, a 501(c)(3) non-profit (donations are tax-deductible).

    We don't intend this to be a complete list in any sense. All the resources listed here are ones that we have personal experience with, and are highly regarded by many polyamorous people. Anything on this website has been highly recommended by at least a dozen people who are widely known in the polyamory community as organizers, educators, and counselors. There are many excellent sites and resources that are *not* listed here. We have chosen a few of each type of resource for people who are just learning about polyamory, and want to know where to start.


    If you think that a particular resource should be added to our list, please send it to We will submit this to our advisors, and if the vast majority of them think it is essential, we will add it. Please don't be offended if we don't include it-- our intention is to keep this list as short as possible!


    We are also very grateful for any feedback about our site or the resources listed on it. We would love to hear about which ones you found valuable, or not, or any other comments you may have. Send to:

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