|The Polyamorous Pagan|
|Polyamory - No, it's NOT swinging!
You know, it constantly amazes me how uneducated the general public is. There you are, you're at a party, and as usual the subject has drifted to sex and relationships. You open your mouth (silly you) and mention that you and your signifigant other are involved in a polyamorous relationship. You'll probably get one of three reactions: 1) They have no idea what polyamory is, 2) They think polyamory is the same as swinging, or 3) they actually know what it is.
Lets break it down a bit, and actually define what the differences between swingers and polys are:
Swingers: Persons involved in the "swinging" lifestyle are in it for the sex, plain and simple. That is their initial goal. They get together with friends and/or strangers, and engage in partner swapping. Wives and husbands are traded, sex ensues, and everyone is happy. Swing parties can happen anywhere it seems, from private residences to actual business locations. The sex is usually consensual one-on-one, although two-on-one (or more!) can happen as well.
Polys: If the ultimate goal of swingers is sex, then the ultimate goal of polys is the relationship. Sure, long term relationships can happen in swinging, but it isn't the initial goal. It is with polys. We're of the opinion that our love is unlimited, and we have the right to share that love. We seek long-term relationships with people, and one-night-stands happen no more often than they do with "straights." We're looking for that additional person to complete our "family." These can be of either sex, but the goal is (usually) a long-term three-way structure. The most common forms are the Queens, which is comprised of two women and one man, but Kings (two men and one woman) are fairly common as well. Polys realize that monogamy is actually possible with two different partners, and there have been three-way relationships that have lasted decades. Completely gay or lesbian triads are also common and not at all unusual.
Now, is swinging the same as a poly relationship? If you go off the above definitions, then no. However, as usual, your mileage may vary. In the end you have to do what's right for you and your partners. Jealousy can raise its ugly head at any time and for almost any reason. Just make sure that you're good to each other, and try to avoid hurting those you care most about.