shows polyamory is about people, not just couples/families

A realistic look at poly networks from this week.
A realistic look at poly networks from this week.

In recent years, mainstream media coverage of polyamory (a popular approach to consensual nonmonogamy) has been increasing. But usually, it focuses on the forms of polyamory that resemble conventional monogamy in significant ways:

  • Family-style polyamory, where more than two adults with overlapping intimate relationships also live with (or at least very near) each other and function as a family unit.
  • Couple+ polyamory, where an established (and usually formerly monogamous) couple “opens up” to allow other relationships, but their primary relationship is assumed to be the top priority — and other partners and relationships are presumed to defer to this.

But then yesterday, (the website of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News),  published this column by Dr. Timaree Schmit: Living a trusting, multi-partner relationship in the City of Brotherly Love.

This column is not all about couples: the main sources interviewed definitely have a network approach to polyamory, not family-style or couple+.

It’s a refreshing look at the diversity that can exist in polyamory, the different types of relationships which may overlap in a poly network. In my forthcoming book about unconventional relationships, Off the Relationship Escalator, I’ll explain how overlapping, fluid networks of relationships tends to be how polyamory usually works out in the real world. Sure, more structured family-style and couple+ polyamory do happen, but I agree with Schit — they’re not nearly as prevalent as they once were.

It’s worth a read. Just remember: It’s a mainstream U.S. news site, so don’t bother reading the comments, which are predictably intolerant and scathing.

Dr. Timaree Schmit holds a doctorate in Human Sexuality Education from Widener University, and is a regular columnist on She also hosts the weekly Sex with Timaree podcast (available via iTunes and RSS)

2 comments on “ shows polyamory is about people, not just couples/families

  1. It is only weird if one makes it to be that way. Most of the world’s people were cotodniined since birth to be monogamous or else something bad may happen. I am in a marriage and my wife and I mutually agreed for it to be open. We get along so well at that, too. We have yet to have a first poly situation of any kind, yet. Heh heh. I can be shy often.Don’t let society make you and your lovers feel like outcasts. Humans are biologically set up to naturally be poly anyway. Keep happy!

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