Polyamory & Polygamy


Polygamy stems from the Late Greek language and means ‘often married’, or a marriage including two or more partners. Polygamy exists in three forms, as polygyny, polyandry, and as group marriage. Polygyny is the most widely practised form of polygamy. Taking more than one wife technically requires considerable resources of wealth. In traditional Islamic societies, and Imperial China the practise of polygyny is a status symbol of power, wealth, and fame.

  • Polygyny describes a marriage between one man and several wives, with no marriage bond between the wives.
  • Polyandry is a marriage between one woman and several husbands, with no marriage bond between the husbands.
  • Group marriage applies if a marriage includes multiple husbands and multiple wives at the same time.

Polygamy is practised in several countries and religions around the world. However, the prevalence has lessened in contemporary societies, with more countries reinforcing marriage laws for monogamous marriages. The absence of adequate wealth may also disallow a man to marry several wives.


Polyamory is a hybrid word and stems from Greek poly = several, and Latin amour = love. Polyamory is the desire and acceptance to engaging in more than one intimate relationship at the same time and with the knowledge and consent of all partners involved. Polyamorous relationships are not sexually exclusive but partners may enter deep emotional bonds between two and more participants.

Polyamory is also referred to as ‘consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy’. Poly relationships are ideally built upon values of trust, loyalty, and negotiation of boundaries. Challenges include overcoming restrictive cultural standards. Highly developed skills and attitudes are needed to manage polyamorous relationships. These skills and are typically superior to the skills found in monogamous couples.

Parenting skills in Polyamorous families present an additional challenge of negotiation between all parties.


Swinging is a practise of consensual sex swapping between informed and consensual sexual partners. Swinging is an exclusively sexual behaviour with no desire to form deep emotional bonds between the participants. Monogamous couples of any sexual orientation may desire to extend their sexual practise by sharing and swapping partners. Swinging couples build their intimate bond on strong values of trust and loyalty, and a need for developing extraordinary skills of negotiating specific boundaries in regards to sharing sex. For most, swinging denotes an episode of unfolding sexuality, and may be terminated when this purpose is fulfilled.

Swingers with sexual addiction demonstrate impaired ability to stop swinging, even if their partner shows obvious signs of psycho-sexual distress.


Open relationship is an interpersonal relationship in which more than two consenting parties form erotic sexual connections with one-another at the same time. The wellbeing and success of an open relationship depends on skillfully negotiated boundaries in regards to consent and selected forms of sexual activities between the parties.

Participants, who are planning to engage in open relationships should be conscious and cautious of their motivation. They need to weigh up emotional and sexual health risks. Successful open relationships develop advanced skills in managing consent, trust, and jealousy issues. In the event a negotiated open relationship agreement becomes emotionally distressing to one or more participants, renegotiation of boundaries need to be considered to avoid psychological harm.


If you experience sexual distress please contact Affirmotive Sex Addiction Australia in Sydney and book a confidential consultation with our sex therapist and professional relationship counsellor. Call Heide during AEST office hours  (+61) 02 9380 4486 or email info@sexaddictionaustralia.com.au