Is it poly, though?

Is it poly, though?

In January of 202, Nookie presented the topic The ANTI WON TWOO WAY for Dating Kinky’s monthly Nonmonogamunch. The original presentation was free to all who joined us live, and was recorded for Dating Kinky’s PLUS members to access through the Dating Kinky Library (over 400 videos and 550 hours of content!).

Here is a clip from that 90-minute show, where she talks about the many ways to “do” nonmonogamy and how confusing it can be when people use the term “poly” as a sort of umbrella.


How many different types of non-monogamy are there? Really, when it comes right down to it?

Let’s let’s, let’s get into the chat here. Let’s get you guys sort of like, you know, interacting and stuff.

What—How many types of non-monogamy can you think of?

Name some types of non-monogamy.

I mean, obviously, you know, we’ve got our Swinky Life people in here, right?

So we’ve got our swingers.

What else have we got?

JNO: “A lot!”

Yes. Yes. There are a lot. Absolutely.

What types? “Poly.”

Okay, so poly, let’s talk about that.

Well, the rest of you, you know, chime in here, poly is that polyamory? Is that polyfuckery?

I mean, so we’ve already there—right there, just broken it up.

Because people use the term “poly” as sort of an umbrella concept.

“Poly by association.”

Yeah, “cuckold and cuckquean.”

Yeah, cuckolding is one of my favorites.

Anne’s in here. Hello Anne, one of my favorite cuckoldress friends!

“Poly-curious, looking at becoming a key holder.”

So a key holder may or may not be nonmonogamous, but it definitely is what we call—or what I like to call rather—adjacent kinks. So like cuckolding often has chastity as an adjacent kink. It’s not always there, but it sometimes is.

“Harems and reverse harems.”

“Hotwife.” “Stag/Vixen lifestyles.” “Solo poly.” “Nonmonogamous, or
collared sluts.” “Poly-curious.”

Something that describes me.

Yeah, and somebody: “Closed polycule.

FolkRiot says, “There is many types of nonmonogamy as there are people who practice,” and I think that that’s absolutely true.

I think in the very specific sense a lot—”relationship anarchy,” absolutely— a lot of nonmonogamy is just as individual to us as our fingerprints, right?

How we each experience even cuckoldry as an overall concept or how we each experience swinging is different from person to person, even though we might agree on some of the basics.

So let’s just start off with sort of a nonmonogamous exploration.


So Dan Savage coined the term monogamish to describe what he and his partner do, which is they’re mostly monogamous and sometimes they are free to have some fun with others in the lifestyle.

You might have people who are monogamish, who are sexually monogamous, but do kink scenes with other people, right? For a lot of people kink is very akin to sex. Not all people. But for a lot of people kink is very akin to sex.

And so that’s almost like a stepping outside of the relationship to meet a sensual need and
so that might be called monogamish. Of course it might be called something completely different as well.

But that is one type of nonmonogamy that we could consider if we’re trying to figure out how we are going to do the nonmonogamous thing.

Are we going to be mostly faithful to each other, and every once in a while we’re going to get a hall pass, right?

Or every once in a while maybe we’re going to play with others.

What about polyamory, right?

So I mean aside from the fact that we’re mixing both Greek and Latin words, which you know, is it warms my my geeky little heart, but polyamory, which literally means “many loves,” which is a little challenging because
then people start getting confused with the whole, “Well, I love my kids, and I love my mother and
so on and so forth,” and in polyamory we’re generally specifically focusing in on some sort of bonded partnership when we’re talking about polyamory. However, not always.

And what is a bonded partnership, right?

So one of the challenges that I’m seeing and nonmonogamy in general, is that people have taken this word polyamory, because it’s become such a buzzword, and they’re using it as an umbrella term for all different types of nonmonogamy.

And I feel that we’re making a grave error, when we do that, because polyamory is to me, a description
of a very simple concept.

And that is the idea that we are able to have a love bond, like a pair bonding type of bond with more than
one person.

Okay, but what happens is, you often have a lot of people using polyamory to say, “I date around a lot and
have a lot of fun,” which I don’t think is necessarily wrong.

However, does it describe how they love or is that describing how they have fun, right?

And understand, I’m not defining these for you.

Again. I’m very ANTI-WON TWOO WAY.

I’m talking specifically about, you know, how to think these things through for yourself like this matters, right?

How do you define these terms and also understanding how do other people sometimes define these terms? So that when you’re interacting with and communicating with them, knowing where they might be coming from can often help.

Riffing on this idea a bit further, by so many people using the word “polyamory” in situations that could be better described as “open relationships,” “poly-fuckery,” “swinging,” and even “cheating,” it causes a ton of confusing and even strife.

Because people may go searching online, join a few groups for information, and find that they are the target of vitriol and strong words from the polyamory community because they are looking for a more structured form of relationship style.

And that sucks, because the poly community is (rightfully) tired of people calling it poly and doing it in ways that are unethical or just not polyamory at all, and the newbies are hurt and frustrated that no one seems to have the patience for them as they grow and learn that they were looking for.

Which is why I choose to use the term nonmonogamy most often, unless I am specifically talking about my relationships that are also polyamorous.

But I also use other terms in nonmonogamy:

  • cuckolding
  • hotwifing
  • swinging
  • open relationship
  • pimping
  • relationship anarchy
  • monoromantic

Because all of these things also apply to me and how I do my nonmonogamy.

And few of them fit in well with how most people view polyamory “DUN RITE.”

And that is why I encourage people to learn as much as possible about the different types of nonmonogamy out there, and to ask others what they mean when they use terms, since it’s pretty likely your meanings will differ somewhat (and that will cause confusion).

I like this map of nonmonogamy by Franklin Veax:

NOTE: Franklin Veax is problematic in the polyamory community in many ways. That does not negate (to me) the value of this resource on terminology and possibilities in nonmonogamy, and so I choose to share it with this caveat.

What are your thoughts?

Are you nonmonogamous? What word or words do you use to describe how you practice nonmonoogamy? Or how you would ideally practice nonmonogamy, given the opportunity?

What word/words have you found confusing in the past?

You can learn more about the Nonmonogamunch here:

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