Q&A: I May Be Polyamourous. I Am Unsure Though.

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QUESTION: I may be polyamourous and I think that it is coloring my read on other people. In particular, I am friends with a couple and I got the feeling during a recent visit that they were grooming me for the husband to make a move. He has always been very touchy-feely, but this time the wife may some odd comments kinda urging him to be more physically affectionate. I am unsure though and don't want to ruin the relationship.

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When you say you “may” be polyamarous, I’m assuming you mean that you are exploring the possibility that you may prefer, or be most inclined to, love and/or be sexually involved with more than one person at a time.

Some people use the term to describe specific relationships they are in. In that sense, they may be in a monogamous relationship at one point in their life and, at another point in time, they may be in a polyamorous relationship.

Other people seem to use the term as an identity – in this sense, they may always consider themselves to be a polyamorous person even if they are sometimes in a monogamous relationship.

It sounds like you’re considering whether you are, as a person, someone inclined toward polyamory.


If you’re interested in being a part of more open relationships, you may want to explore books such as The Ethical Slut or Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships.

The Couple

I obviously cannot tell you whether the couple is hoping you will become sexually or romantically involved with one or both of them – only the couple themselves can answer that question – but reading one or both of these books may give you some thoughts to consider and some ideas about how best to approach the situation.

As you likely know, one of the cornerstones of any health relationship – whether monogamous or open – has to do with communication. If you’re considering involvement with this couple, or wondering about it, communicating with them will be very important – out of respect for yourself, but also out of respect for their existing relationship and marriage.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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