If monogamy works, why is the divorce rate pushing 50%? Today enjoying a relationship with multiple partners is more accepted than ever. It’s called polyamory, and it promises love without limits.
It was morning, and Denise was looking forward to the sublime satisfaction of daytime sex. Her naked body was entangled with her boyfriend’s in bed when suddenly she heard the sound of a key unlocking the front door.
“It was my first time with my first poly boyfriend. We were about to have sex. We kind of jumped, scrambling to get sheets over us. Then he said, ‘It’s okay—it’s just my wife!’ You’d think this would be cause for panic, but no one got trapped in the closet that day.
“His wife came in and was apologizing; she forgot some stuff that she needed for work. So I met my first poly boyfriend’s wife while I was in bed with him, naked. I shook her hand, thinking, This is my life now! Then we all went out for breakfast.”
Polyamory—or simply poly to those who practice ethical non-monogamy— means “many loves.” What makes it so radical, so other, is that it challenges everything we’re taught and conditioned to feel about romance and love: that there is one person out there for each of us and that love outside the confines of monogamy is wrong.
“I think that we’re culturally conditioned toward monogamy. But I don’t think we’re hardwired for it,” says sex coach and polyamorist Leigh Montavon. “Everything in the world at large is set up to benefit monogamous people—there is one person out there for you, and when you find that person, you’ve won the lottery. The idea is that you’re supposed to want to get married, and there are incentives: tax breaks, shared health insurance—you get the illusion of safety with long-term relationships.”