ENM Glossary

This glossary is a collection of terms we’ve found on the web. We list them here for your convenience. These terms come from many different sources, and we do our best to ensure their accuracy, but keep in mind, some terms will mean different things to different people. While most terms listed will be defined by the most commonly accepted definitions, this list should not be considered a comprehensive list, nor should we be considered an authority for accuracy.
If you cannot find a term you’re looking for, please contact us and let us know so we can get it added for you.

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“N” Relationship
N: [Polyamorous Culture/ Term] [Colloquial] A polyamorous relationship involving four people, generally two couples where one member of one couple is also involved sexually and/or romantically with one member of the other couple. See also quad; See related triad, vee.
A
Asexual (Ace)
One who has little or no desire for sex or sexuality. Commentary: Asexuality should not be confused with lack of interest in romantic relationships. Asexuals can and do form romantic relationships, though those relationships may include little or no sex. Also referred to as Ace
B
Bisexual
1 a: possessing characters of both sexes : hermaphroditic b: of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward both sexes 2: of, relating to, or involving both sexes (2008). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. See also – Pansexual
Bull
(Swinging/Casual) a sexually dominant male who, for fun or financial gain, cuckolds and humiliates husbands while servicing their wives.
C
Candaulism
Sexual arousal from watching one’s spouse have sex with or engage in sexual activity with another person. See also Cuckold, Hotwife, Stag, Vixen
Cheating
In a relationship, any activity that violates the rules or agreements of that relationship, whether tacit or explicit. In traditional monogamous relationships, any sexual activity with anyone outside that relationship is generally viewed as cheating. In a polyamorous or swinging relationship, sexual activity with people outside the relationship may or may not be seen as cheating, depending on the context of that sexual activity and whether or not it violates the agreements of the people in that relationship. Even in such relationships, most commonly sexual activity without the knowledge and explicit consent of the other members of the relationship is likely to be viewed as cheating.
Closed Group Marriage
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A polyfidelitous relationship in which all the members consider themselves to be married.
Closed Relationship
An agreement among the members not to get sexually and/or romantically involved with anyone outside the relationship. A closed relationship agreement can be formed in any kind of relationship configuration regardless of monogamous or non-monogamous status. For example, a Triad or Quad can be closed while also being non-monogamous in that partners may interact with each other within the dynamic, but may not interact outside of the dynamic.
Cluster Marriage
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A polyamorous relationship in which two or more married couples cohabitate and exchange partners. See group marriage; See related intentional family, co-spouse.
Co-Spouse
 [Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A person in a group marriage who shares a spouse in common with another person in that group marriage.
Comet Relationship
An occasional lover who passes through one’s life semi-regularly, but without an expectation of continuity or a romantic relationship.
Compersion
[ENM Culture/ Term] A positive feeling which a person may sometimes experience when their partner is happily involved with somebody else, in contrast to jealousy. Compersion (or, in Britain, frubble) is an empathetic state of happiness and joy experienced when another individual experiences happiness and joy, and the term is regularly used by members of the polyamory community in the context of polyamorous relationships. It is used to describe when a person experiences positive feelings when a lover is enjoying another relationship.
Condom Contract
[ENM Culture/ Term] also CONDOM COMMITMENT: A formal agreement within a relationship to confine exchange of bodily fluids and barrier-free sexual contact to the people in that relationship, each of whom has previously been screened for sexually transmitted diseases. Condom contracts may specify under what conditions a member of that group may exchange body fluids or have sexual contact without barriers with a new partner, or may specify that such contact is not permissible with any new partner.
Consensual Non-Consensuality
[ENM Culture/ Term] A mutual agreement that within defined limits, consent will be given as read without foreknowledge of the exact actions planned. As such, it is a show of trust and understanding and usually undertaken only by partners who know each other well, or otherwise agree to set clear safe limits on their activities.
Consensual Non-Monogamy
[ENM Culture/ Term] An umbrella term for relationship structures in which the participants engage in non-monogamous behavior in an open manner where all parties have consented to sexual activity with multiple parties. Non-monogamous relationships often have negotiated parameters and rules about how and when who may be with whom. See also Ethical Non-Monogamy
Constellation
[ENM Culture/ Term] The arrangement or structure of ENM relationship connections.
See also – Relationship Landscape, Polycule
Corporate Marriage
 [Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A group marriage whose members register the union as a legal corporation, the terms of which spell out the financial entanglements and obligations of all the members.
Cowboy
[Colloquial] [ENM Culture/ Term] Noun – A man, woman or couple who engages in a relationship with a non-monogamous woman with the intention of separating her from any other partners.
Verb – To cowboy someone. The act of actively trying to separate someone from their other ENM connections by means of coercion or relationship interference.
Cuckold
A husband or long term boyfriend who either likes to watch his wife with other men or is forced to watch. Often there are different levels of humiliation involved such as chastity, financial, sissification, etc.
Terms surrounding cuckold include cuckolded, hotwife, bull, stag, vixen etc.
Cuddle Party-TM
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term]A social gathering of adults which encourages consensual physical affection, such as cuddling, massage, and other forms of physical expression, but which forbids overt sexual activity or sexual stimulation. Commentary: The term “Cuddle Party” has been trademarked by Reid Mihalko, who owns a business organizing such parties in many cities, which are pay-for-attendance events.
D
Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT)
[ENM Culture/ Term] A relationship structure in which a person who is partnered is permitted to have additional sexual or romantic relationships on the condition that his or her partner does not know anything about those additional relationships and does not meet any of those other people.
Commentary: Many people in the polyamorous community frown on don’t ask, don’t tell relationships, and choose not to become involved in such relationships. There are many dangers in such relationships, including the idea that a person who claims to be involved in such a relationship may simply be cheating (as the relationship often provides no mechanism by which that person’s partner may be contacted to confirm that the relationship permits other relationships); the fact that many people choose DADT relationships as a way of avoiding and not dealing with emotional issues such as jealousy; and the fact that DADT relationships are built on a foundation of lack of communication within the existing relationship.
DTF (Down to Fuck)
DTF is an acronym standing for down to fuck, meaning that someone is willing to engage in a short-term sexual relationship.
E
Emotional Fidelity
[ENM Culture/ Term] A belief or practice that emotional intimacy or love must be kept exclusive to a particular relationship, though sexual activity or other forms of physical intimacy may occur outside that relationship. Commentary: Most swingers practice emotional fidelity.
Exclusion Jealousy
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] [Psychology] A fear, which may be irrational, of being neglected or abandoned by a lover, particularly if that lover takes another partner or expresses sexual or romantic interest in another.
F
Fluid Bonding
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] Of or related to practices which involve the exchange of bodily fluids, such as barrier-free sexual intercourse and BDSM: «blood play». See related condom contract.
Four Cornered Marriage
 [Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A group marriage with exactly four adult members; usually but not always a group marriage with two men and two women. See related quad. Etymology: The term “four-cornered marriage” is often attributed to Robert Heinlein.
Friends with Benefits (FWB)
A relationship in which two (or more) people establish a friendship that includes sex or sexual activity, but without romantic love and typically without the same type or degree of expectations or other practical or emotional entanglements that typically accompany romantic relationships.
G
Gatekeeping
Gatekeeping is when someone takes it upon themselves to decide who does or does not have access or rights to a community or identity.
Geographical Non-Monogamy
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] Any relationship or arrangement whose partners permit one another to have other sexual partners while they are physically apart, as for example a relationship in which one person takes a temporary position in another town or is assigned overseas for a time. Usually carries an implicit understanding that when the couple is physically together again, the relationship will become monogamous.
Group Marriage
 [Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A relationship in which three or more people consider themselves married to one another; in the polyamory community, most often a relationship involving more than one man and more than one woman, who may live together, share finances, raise children together, and otherwise share those responsibilities normally associated with marriage. A group marriage is not recognized by and has no legal standing within most Western countries, but may have symbolic or emotional value to the people involved. Many people who believe in group marriage may create civil contracts and other legally binding business arrangements that specify the type and extent of financial commitments within the marriage, or even form a legal corporation that defines the marriage. See related corporate marriage, intentional family, polygyny.
GGG (Good Giving and Game)
GGG is a term coined by sex columnist Dan Savage to represent the qualities that he thinks makes a good sexual partner. GGG stands for “good, giving, and game.” Think “good in bed,” “giving of equal time and equal pleasure,” and “game for anything—within reason.”
H
Handfasting
[Polyamorous Term] A Pagan or Wiccan ceremony similar to marriage in the sense that it unites two people in a common bond, but dissimilar to a traditional Western marriage in that it does not necessarily convey sexual exclusivity and may not be intended to be permanent (some handfasting ceremonies last “for a year and a day,” others for “as long as the love shall last”). A handfasting is not legally recognized as a marriage unless the person performing the handfasting is authorized to perform marriages in a particular jurisdiction (requirements for such authorization vary from place to place) and the other legal requirements of marriage are met. Commentary: Handfasting ceremonies are not directly related to polyamory; however, some people, particularly those involved with Wiccan or neo-Pagan spirituality or beliefs, may combine the two. While not all Pagans are polyamorous and not all polyamorous people are Pagan, there is enough overlap between the communities that some polyamorous people practice handfasting as an emotional or spiritual symbol of their relationships and commitment.
Hinge
Refers to Vees, or similar dynamics in a more complex relationship, the “person in the middle”, more bonded to each end than they are to each other, is sometimes called the hinge. Without the hinge, the others people often go their separate ways.
Hot Bi Babe
A Hot Bi Babe is a female partner who identifies as Bisexual, usually conventionally attractive and open to sexual connections. HBB is usually a term used more in Swinging, and more casual situations. See also Unicorn, Unicorn Hunter.
Hot Wife
(Swinging/ENM) A married woman who is allowed and/or encouraged by her husband to pursue sexual relationships with other individuals. Often, these relationships are in pursuit of fulfilling the husband’s/couple’s fantasies. See Cuckold, Stag, Bull, Vixen
I
Intentional Community
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A residential community made up of people who share a common set of ideas, principles, or goals, and deliberately set out to create a planned community that reflects those ideas and goals. Intentional communities need not be polyamorous; there are intentional communities built around common religious, philosophical, or economic ideas, for example. Some polyamorous families create intentional communities with the idea of deliberately constructing a community built around non-monogamous relationship structures.
Intentional Family
 [Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A family made up of people who have consciously and deliberately chosen to consider one another as a single family, as opposed to family that is the result of birth or marriage (i.e., family in law). See related cluster marriage, polyamory, group marriage. Usage: Most often used to describe a family of three or more adults.
Intimate Network
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] The sum total of a person’s partners, those partners’ partners, and so on. Usage: The term “intimate network” is most often used to describe the set of romantic and sexual relationships and friendships involved in a polyamorous relationship structure that is not closed; that is, the term intimate network is not often used to describe a polyfidelitous relationship or a closed group marriage, though it can be. The term is also sometimes used in a way that includes people who are close friends, but are not necessarily romantically or sexually involved, with a person or that person’s partners.
J
K
Kerista Commune
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] An experiment in polyamorous living in San Francisco, which was founded in 1971 and broke up in 1991. The Kerista Commune was founded on the ideas of group marriage, shared economic resources, and intentional community. The commune was organized into “clusters,” each of which was typically made up of between four and fifteen people and each of which functioned as a single polyfidelitous group. The Kerista Commune championed group control of individual responsibility, even going so far in some cases as to make group decisions about individual members’ vocations, and assigning members to sleeping partners on a rotating schedule. The commune disbanded following very serious internal rifts in the early 1990s. Commentary: The Kerista Commune was an early advocate of polyamory, coining terms now common in the polyamorous community such as compersion and polyfidelity. The group eventually failed for a number of reasons, among them personality conflicts within the group, problems with financial management, an emphasis on fixed and inflexible sleeping schedules, and hostile attitudes toward bisexuality and homosexuality on the part of some members.
Key Party
[Colloquial][ENM Culture/ Term] A specific type of play party, usually attended by couples, in which each male deposits his keys into a container as he arrives. As the guests leave, each female draws a set of keys at random from the container, then goes home with the male to which they belong that night. Usage: A key party is typically a swinger event.
Kitchen Table Polyamory (KTP)
[colloquial] [Polyamorous culture/Term] A style of polyamory that emphasizes family-style connections even among people in a network who are not dating each other. So named because the people in a network can gather around the kitchen table for a meal or other social gathering.
L
Leveratic Marriage
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] (Literally, adelphos brother + gamos marriage) ADELPHOGAMY; also, FRATERNAL POLYANDRY, A specific form of polyandry, practiced historically and occasionally still practiced in some portions of Tibet and Nepal, in which a set of brothers is married to the same woman.
Lifestyle (LS)
Refers to the non-monogamous lifestyle, poly lifestyle, swinging lifestyle. Borrowed originally from and was commonly used by the Gay lifestyle. In ENM circles when someone says they are part of “The Lifestyle” they mean the non-monogamous lifestyle.
Most people view it as a chosen way of living your life alternative to typical hetero-mononormativity.
M
MetaDad
[Colloquial ENM Term] refers to a nonbiological Father type person of a polyfamily or intentional family where the non-biological parent type adult Co-Parents the child as their own. See also MetaParent, MetaMom, MetaKid
MetaKid
[Colloquial ENM Term] refers to a child of a polyfamily or intentional family where a non-biological parent type adult claims the child as their own. See also MetaDad, MetaMom, MetaParent
MetaMom
[Colloquial ENM Term] refers to a nonbiological Mother type person of a polyfamily or intentional family where the non-biological Mother type adult coparents the children as their own. See also MetaParent, MetaDad, MetaKid
MetaParent
[Colloquial ENM Term] refers to a nonbiological parent type person of a polyfamily or intentional family where the non-biological parent type adult Co-Parents the child as their own. See also MetaDad, MetaMom, MetaKid
Metamour
[Polyamorous Term] (Literally, meta with; about + amor love): The partner of one’s partner, with whom one does not share a direct sexual or loving relationship. See related vee. Also Meta
Molecule
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A set or subset of polyamorous relationships, such as a triad, vee or quad, or a complete romantic network. See also polycule.
Monogamish
A relationship that is not necessarily sexually fidelitous, but that differs from polyamory in that the outside sexual relationships are seen as primarily sexual rather than romantic, without necessarily having any expectation of continuity, and are viewed as enhancing the primary couple. See related open marriageEtymology: The term was coined by columnist Dan Savage to describe committed relationships that still allow some “outside” sexual dalliances.
Most Significant Other (MSO)
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A person’s primary partner in a hierarchical primary/secondary relationship.
N
New Relationship Energy (NRE)
 [ENM Term / Expression / Phrase] is the surge of emotional and sexual openness and excitement usually experienced in relatively new relationships, with recognition of the contrast with the more settled emotional and erotic connections experienced later in the same relationship, or in other ongoing relationships at the same time. Also referred to as NRE
No Strings Attached (NSA)
(Swinging/Casual) In other words, a no strings attached relationship implies that you’re sexually intimate, but that’s as far as your relationship goes, and you’re not committed to each other in any way. See Also FWB, Friends With Benefits
O
Old Relationship Energy (ORE)
[Polyamorous Culture/Term] The feeling of comfort, security, and stability often associated with a long-standing romantic relationship. Contrast new relationship energy. Also referred to as ORE
One Penis Policy (OPP)
[Polyamorous Culture/Term] An arrangement within a polyamorous relationship in which a man is allowed to have multiple female partners, each of whom is allowed to have sex with other women but forbidden to have any other male partners. Also called OPP
One True Way Polyamorist
A person who believes there is only one right way to be polyamorous often based on their own moral judgments (most believe there are many ways to be poly) See also Gatekeeping
One Vagina Policy (OVP)
[Polyamorous Culture/Term] An arrangement within a polyamorous relationship in which a woman is allowed to have multiple male partners, but forbidden they are forbidden to have any other female partners. Also called OVP See also OPP, One Penis Policy
Open Marriage
 [Polyamorous Culture/Term] typically refers to a marriage in which the partners agree that each may engage in extramarital sexual relationships, without this being regarded as infidelity. There are many different styles of open marriage (such as swinging and polyamory), each with the partners having varying levels of input on their spouse’s activities.
Other Significant Other (OSO)
[Polyamorous Culture/Term] A person’s partner, sometimes but not always a non-primary or non-spouse partner; as, Bob is my husband, and Joe is my other significant other. Also referred to as OSO
P
Panamory
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] Of or relating to romantic or sexual love with partners of many sexes, sexual orientations, gender identities, and/or relationship orientations. Panamorous, of or relating to one who identifies as a person capable of romantic or sexual love with many kinds of partners regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Parallel Polyamory
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A style of polyamory in which the relationships a person has are largely independent of one another, and there may be little or no contact or relationship between a person’s various partners. See related solo polyamory.
Paramour
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] (literally, par way + amor love; by way of love) A lover. Paramour describes the romantic relationship you have with your lovers. In polyamory you may have a romantic relationship with one or more lovers. Those lovers may or may not have romantic or platonic relationships with each other.
Pivot
[Colloquial][Polyamorous Culture/ Term] In a vee relationship, the person who has two partners.
Poly-Vee (Vee)
[Colloquial] [Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A polyamorous relationship involving three people, in which one person is romantically or sexually involved with two partners who are not romantically or sexually involved with each other. See also triad, pivot, hinge; See related quad, N.
Polycule
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A romantic network, or a particular subset of relationships within a romantic network, whose members are closely connected. Also used to describe a sketch or visualization of a romantic network, as these drawings often resemble the depiction of molecules used in organic chemistry.
Polyfamily
 [Colloquial Polyamorous Term] 1. A set of polyamorous people who live together and identify as part of the same family. 2. A polyamorous group whose members consider one another to be family, regardless of whether or not they share a home.
Polyfidelity
[Colloquial Polyamorous Term] (Literally, poly many + fidelitas faithfulness) A romantic or sexual relationship which involves more than two people, but which does not permit the members of that relationship to seek additional partners outside the relationship, at least without the approval and consent of all the existing members. Some polyfidelitous relationships may have a mechanism which permits adding new members to the relationship with mutual agreement and consent of the existing members; others may not permit any new members under any circumstances. Etymology: The term polyfidelity was coined by the Kerista Commune.
Polygyny
(Literally, poly many + gynos woman) [Polyamorous Culture/ Term]The state or practice of having multiple wedded wives at the same time. Commentary: According to some sociologists, polygynous societies represent the most common form of society, with 850 of the 1170 societies recorded in Murdock’s Ethnographic Atlas being polygynous. Modern Muslim societies are polygynous, and certain religious traditions, including Fundamentalist Mormonism (FLDS) in the United States, advocate polygyny.
Polykoity
(Literally, poly many + koitus, coitus sex) [ENM Culture/ Term] [Anthropology] The state or practice of having more than one sexual partner, either at the same time or over the course of one’s lifetime, without regard to the relationship with those partners or their relationships with each other.
Polysaturated
[Colloquial] [Polyamorous Culture/ Term] Poly but not currently open to new relationships or new partners because of the number of existing partners, or because of time constraints that might make new relationships difficult. Contrast polyunsaturated. Usage: Often considered humorous or slightly silly. Seems to be most common primarily in the western United States.
Polysexual
Colloquial Of or related to relationships which are sexually non-monogamous but which are not emotionally intimate. Usage: Sometimes condescending or derogatory. May indicate dismissal or derision of the relationship so named. See related swinging.
Polyunsaturated
[Colloquial Polyamorous Culture/Term] Currently seeking or open to new partners. Contrast polysaturated. Usage: Often considered humorous or slightly silly. Seems to be most common primarily in the western United States.
Polywog
[Colloquial Polyamorous Culture/Term], often humorous. A child in a polyamorous household who is typically aware of, and supportive of their parents polyamorous relationships.
Primary
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] In a primary/secondary relationship, the person (or persons) in the relationship with the highest degree of involvement or entanglement, or sometimes the person accorded the most importance. A person may be primary either as a natural consequence of the circumstance and nature of the relationship (because that person has the greatest degree of financial entanglement, for example), or as a deliberate consequence of the relationship structure and agreements (as in the case of an existing couple who set out to add additional partners only on the condition that those existing partners are seen as “less important” than the couple).  Commentary: People who deliberately seek to construct a relationship along prescriptive primary/secondary lines typically designate one and only one relationship as the primary relationship. People who do not seek to construct a relationship along prescriptive primary/secondary lines may have more than one primary relationship; a relationship becomes primary when it reaches a certain point of emotional commitment, practical entanglement, or both.
Puppy Pile Poly
[Colloquial] [Polyamorous Culture/ Term] relationships in which all the people involved are to some degree physically and/or romantically involved with one another, with the implication that the people involved may share sex and/or sleeping space (hence, “all in one puppy pile”).
Q
Quad
 [Polyamorous Term] A polyamorous relationship involving four people, each of whom may or may not be sexually and emotionally involved with all the other members. See related Poly N. Commentary: One of the most common ways for a quad to form is when two polyamorous couples begin romantic relationships cross-couple.
Queer Platonic Partnership (QPP)
A queerplatonic partnership (or “QPP”) is one which is more intense and intimate than what most people regard as a friendship, not fitting the traditional romantic couple model or the traditional bounds of friendship. See also – QPR
Queer Platonic Relationship (QPR)
A queerplatonic relationship (or “QPR”) is one which is more intense and intimate than what most people regard as a friendship, not fitting the traditional romantic couple model or the traditional bounds of friendship. See also Queer Platonic Partnership
R
Relationship Anarchy
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A philosophy or practice in which people are seen as free to engage in any relationships they choose, spontaneity and freedom are desirable and necessary traits in healthy relationships, no relationship should be entered into or restricted from a sense of duty or obligation, any relationship choice is (or should be) allowable, and in which there is not necessarily a clear distinction between “partner” and “non-partner.”
Relationship Anarchy embraces personal autonomy and non-hierarchical relationships, and subscribes to the notion that no two relationships are alike.
Relationship Orientation
1: The preference for sexual relationships or lovestyles which are monogamous, non-monogamous, intimate network, Polyfidelitous, etc. 2: The design or structure of a sexual love relationship. Like the term lifestyle, it implies a conscious choice.
Responsible Non-Monogamy
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] Any relationship that is not sexually and/or emotionally exclusive by the explicit agreement and with the full knowledge of all the parties involved. Responsible non-monogamy can take several forms, the two most common of which are polyamory and swinging, and is distinct from cheating in that everyone involved knows about and agrees to the activity. Responsible non-monogamy often explicitly spells out the conditions under which it is permissible for one person to take on additional partners, and often includes some form of safer-sex agreement such as a condom contract as well. Contrast monogamy, closed marriage.
S
Safe Sex Circle
An agreement to confine exchange of bodily fluids and barrier-free intercourse to a closed group which has typically previously been screened for STI’s
Secondary
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] In a primary/secondary relationship, the person (or persons) in the relationship who, either by intent or by circumstance, have a relationship that is given less in terms of time, energy, and priority in a person’s life than a primary relationship, and usually involves fewer ongoing commitments such as plans or financial/legal involvements. A secondary relationship may be secondary as a result of a conscious decision on the part of the primary partners, or simply as a result of circumstance or the natural development of the relationship. See related tertiary.
Sister Wife
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] Sisterwives are women who are married, as a group, to the same man. Sisterwives may or may not have a sexual relationship with each other. As a general rule, sisterwives have equal status in the relationship, each bringing their own unique talents and personalities into the marriage. The use of the term “sisterwife” varies; some people describe themselves as sisterwives, for example, while in other cultures the relationship between women in a group or polygamous marriage is not expressed with this term. In countries where polygamy is illegal, sisterwives often use this term to express solidarity with each other, cementing the idea that they are a family, even if they are not legally related. Group and polygamous marriages in cultures where this practice is frowned upon get around restrictions in a variety of ways. For example, a man might marry and divorce a series of women who all take his name and identify as sisterwives, or people might choose to wed in private ceremonies which have no legal standing.
Solo Poly
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] An approach to polyamory that emphasizes agency and does not seek to engage in relationships that are tightly couple-centric. People who identify as solo poly emphasize autonomy, the freedom to choose their own relationships without seeking permission from others, and flexibility in the form their relationships take. Such people generally don’t want or need relationships that look like traditional couples, and may not, for example, seek to live with a partner (or partners) or combine finances with a partner (or partners).
Stag
The male half of a relationship who allows and finds sexual gratification in allowing and even encouraging his female partner to have sex with other men. Not to be confused with the CUCKOLD relationship where the male is typically weak and into humiliation. Stags are dominant but want to share their women.
Swinging
Relationship style in which a married or primary partners enjoy and engage in sex with other couples, individuals and/or groups with an emphasis on sexual pleasure and not on emotional connectedness. 2: Recreational sexual activity, sometimes called sport sex, where partner’s or participant’s agree to have casual sex with each other’s partners. There is usually no emotional involvement. See also Casual Sex, NSA Sex, Casual Relationship
Swolly
[Colloquial] [ENM Culture/ Term] [Swinger Culture / Term] A person who identifies as both polyamorous and also as a swinger; that is, a person who has multiple simultaneous relationships and also enjoys recreational sex in a swinging context. Etymology: The term was coined by Ken Haslam of the Kinsey Institute.
T
Tertiary
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A person (or persons) in a relationship that is generally quite casual, expects little in the way of emotional or practical support, or is very limited with respect to time, energy, or priority in the lives of the people involved. Contrast primary; See related primary/secondary, secondary. Commentary: A tertiary relationship may be very limited in scope or priority for many reasons, one of the most common of which is often distance.
Triad
[Polyamorous Culture/ Term] A Triad describes a serious romantic relationship between three people that may or may not include sexual interaction.
Tribe
A set of people in a polyamorous network. See also polycule.
Taking one for the team
Taking one for the team in ENM is where one person in a couple will engage in a relationship or sexual acts with someone, so that their partner will be able to be able to also engage with them or their partner in a coupling.
ie, Donna and Jim had sex with with Dave and Sandy, even though Sandy wasn’t feeling it… she took one for the team so the others could have fun without excluding her.
This often happens in cases where couples only play together.
U
Unicorn
Colloquial; Usage: Almost always used of a hypothetical woman who is willing to date both members of an existing couple, agree not to have any relationships other than the ones with the couple, agree not to be sexually involved with one member of the couple unless the other member of the couple is also there, and/or agree to move in with the couple. So named because people willing to agree to such arrangements are vanishingly rare, whereas couples looking for a woman who will agree to these terms are incredibly common. see hot bi babe.
Unicorn Hunter
Derogatory. An individual or couple seeking a unicorn or HBB. Different from a person who is merely attracted to bisexual poly people. Refers to someone who is seeking “that special third to complete” their family. They often believe a bisexual third partner will prevent jealous feelings on the part of either of the original members of the dyad because of the mistaken assumption that one will not get jealous if one gets to do all the same things as the other and no one ever experiences anything apart from the other half of the primary couple.
This type of couple expects their hypothetical future partner to be single or willing to give up any existing and future partners, to love & have sex with both members of the original dyad equally, and for each member of the existing dyad to reciprocate exactly an equal level of love and sexual attraction for the new person.
This type of couple will not consider any kind of relationship with a male, with someone who is only sexually attracted to one of the original dyad members, with someone who is already partnered, & usually promises to break up with the new person for the sake of “protecting” the existing dyad, leaving the unfortunate third partner feeling disposable. Sometimes the unicorn is expected to not develop any emotional attachment and is strictly there for a sexual relationship (equally distributed to both members of the dyad) and/or is prescripted as a secondary.
See Unicorns-R-Us.com
V
Vixen
(Swinging/Casual) A wife or girlfriend in a committed relationship who seeks a male for nsa sex with the permission of and usually in front of her stag husband or boyfriend, without any bi-sexual play or humiliation of her stag.
W
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Y
Z