7 Types of Non-Monogamous Relationships

Are you considering a non-monogamous relationship that is open and honest?

Maybe you’ve heard about polyamory from a friend who is practicing and think it might be right for you. The poly lifestyle is but one of many non-monogamous relationship styles or arrangements that more and more couples and singles are engaging in.

What Is Ethical Non Monogamy?

Ethical non-monogamy is any kind of relationship that is NOT monogamous and has a foundation built on honesty, trust, and consent.

Both partners agree to the terms of their non-monogamous relationship before venturing out to meet other partners for emotional and/or sexual relationships.

Ethical non-monogamy does not refer to cheating—one or both partners having sex outside the primary relationship, breaking a commitment.

With ethical non-monogamy, couples—boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives, partners—decide together what kind of non-monogamy they want to engage in. They agree upon rules, share boundaries and limits, discuss expectations, and regularly check in about how the other is feeling.

Read: Benefits of Non-Monogamous Relationships

7 Non-Monogamous Relationship Examples

1. Polyamorous Relationships

Polyamory means “many loves,” and it is perhaps the most well-known form of non-monogamy. Ethical polyamory entails truthful communication between partners.

All partners, whether hierarchical or non-hierarchical are “in the know” about each other’s relationships. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you are sharing sexual details (unless this is agreed upon or a kink you’ve discussed), but it means that everyone understands the arrangement and their relation to others within it.

Read: Why People Choose Polyamory

2. Open Relationships

In an open relationship a couple will choose to open the door to other sexual partners. This open-door policy may just be for one person or both, depending on needs and boundaries discussed.

As a non-monogamous relationship, open relationships are not usually free for alls, but may have a set of open relationship rules that are agreed upon. There may be a no-sex-with-exes rule. There may be a don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy where one or both partners know that the other steps outside sometimes, but they don’t need or want to hear about it.

Read: Is Polyamory Right for You?

3. Swinger Relationships

Swinging is making a comeback! Swingers are couples, usually married, who enjoy hookups with other couples. These hookups are more about swapping partners, than group-sex foursomes and moresomes, but at a swinger party, you never know what might happen.

Swingers delight in community gatherings where they can engage with other free-love couples who are sexually adventurous. Swingers are committed to their primary partner but have no problem sharing because it is ethical and open.

Read: Swinger Lifestyle 101

4. Hotwife Relationships

The hotwife lifestyle is taking off in popularity as a type of non-monogamous relationship. The term “hotwife” comes from the notion that a man thinks his wife is so hot that he wants other guys to share in her “hotness.” The husband does not mind his wife having sex with many men or “bulls.” She may even have a regular stable of bulls she can call on for sexy fun.

The husband sometimes helps his wife find partners through niche online dating sites that cater to the hotwifing lifestyle. He may even watch if it pleases her.

Read: Hotwife Hookup Tips for Bulls

5. Polygamous Relationships

Polygamy is a type of non-monogamy that involves one spouse with many partners. It is usually one husband and many wives, but it can be the other way around.

There is much fascination about polygamy from the general public, and thus many docuseries or reality shows are available on popular streaming services for anyone who wants to learn more about polygamy.

6. Monogamish Relationships

This is a relatively new term that describes a monogamous relationship that isn’t 100% monogamous. The couple will often present as monogamous and keep the “ish” part to themselves.

The couple will agree to certain kinds of sex outside the union that they do not consider cheating. It may include inviting a third into the bedroom for a threesome. It may involve the wife doing cam work from home. What makes it work is the honesty, trust, and commitment that is inherent to a monogamous relationship.

Read: How to Find Threesome Partners

7. Relationship Anarchy

This may sound like relationship chaos, but it’s more than just a free-for-all rebellion of relationships. Those who choose relationship anarchy as a kind of ethical non-monogamy believe relationships need not follow any particular model that society subscribes to or promotes.

Individuals will choose relationships and design them based on their philosophies towards life. There are no hard and fast rules that need to be followed to meet one’s needs and desires in relationship anarchy.

Read: An Introduction to Relationship Anarchy

Are you engaging in one or more ethical non-monogamous relationships? Please share!

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