How To Get Extra Relationship Energy By Adding Sexual Diversity!

Earlier this month while my female lover was furiously riding my husband’s lingarn during a love-in, my body felt that old familiar pain in my gut and my heart once again. I silently collapsed in defeat. Jealousy!  When will I ever be done with that ‘ol green- eyed monster?

“I can’t ever possibly compete with that,” I thought as I watched them, peeking between my fingers. “They are so involved; so wild in their passion, they don’t even notice me and how miserable I feel!”

On top of it, what was that chemistry they had, that wildness, that connection, that joy? It looks like, but no, it couldn’t be could it? Could it be … NRE?


What a minute here. My husband had been involved with “Bill” and “Sue” for – about 15 years! This was not a new relationship by any means. I met him, moved in with him, got married, and then about a month later, was introduced to his lovers, Bill and Sue. So, if anything, Sasha and I are the ones who possibly still have NRE, not Sasha and Sue!

But here it is, obviously, an energy that is still there for the m after all these years.

I had been in two long-term monogamous relationships, 12 years each, spanning 24 years of MY adult life. I know how sexual excitement fades, how lovemaking becomes routine, stale, perhaps even boring..

In those monogamous days of my life, I contemplated that “swingers” probably maintained the excitement in their love life by bringing that new, novel energy back home to their beds.

And what of my observations of Sasha and Sue, long, long time lovers? Their energy “felt” to me like NRE. I was jealous like it was, or at least it seemed he has something different with her and not with me-his wife, his buddy, his companion, his lover, his confidant. Perhaps there is a “key” here. What do they have together that Sasha and I don’t have?

Could it be because they are not cohabitating? Could it have something to do with the frequency of their encounters? And if there is a different energy for those who are infrequent lovers, perhaps we need to coin yet another phrase?

How about ERE? External Relationship Energy? Extraneous Relationship Energy? Extramarital Relationship Energy? Perhaps OPE: Outside Primary Energy?

After all, familiarity breeds contempt, does it not? I am a relationship counselor with my husband, so
I’ve heard all the stories in our practice. In addition, I’ve had hundreds of interactive conversations with people regarding their relationships on the Internet. “My spouse won’t make love with me anymore.” A common story. Traditionally, the neglected mate goes out and cheats and feels justified for their actions. “We started out so passionate, so in love. What happened?” Indeed, what has happened?

I believe we have pent up resentments that create distancing in our relationships. Resentments inevitably evolve with our primaries due to the negative bonding patterns that emerge from being imago mates. Imago mates are those to whom we are attracted and those whom we attract to us in relationships due to unresolved issues we have with our primary caretakers while we were growing up. Our imagos resemble these caretakers, not physically, but emotionally, psychologically and energetically. (Look for books by Harville Hendrix for more on  imago mates.—ed.)

Our imagos are also our mirrors, and our mates reflect back to us our disowned subpersonalities and the characteristics that we need to incorporate into ourselves in order to become centered and to eventually develop an aware ego.

Negative bonding patterns result when there is a disturbing event that happens, not necessarily within the relationship, that generates a fear or upset in one or both of the partners. They react by moving into one of  their defensive subpersonalities  which throws the other into one of their defensive subpersonalities.

For example, if Sasha’s ex wife is suing him for possession of the house and Sasha is afraid or upset by that, he may become impatient with me if I’m taking too long to get ready to go out, and turn into “irritable father.” His impatient behavior and words may throw me into “withdrawn daughter.”

If Sasha persists with his behavior, I may eventually turn into “yelling, angry mother,” which may in turn send Sasha into “bratty adolescent.” It is a parent/adult/parent/adult vicious cycle and difficult to get out of once begun.

Typically, partners may banter with their pattern for a while, hurting one another until one of them be- comes aware of the drama, returns to center, and apologizes. And as one holds the space in the center, the other usually returns and  responds. The initial destablization  was outside of themselves. Nevertheless, the resultwas a drama within the relationship.

This process of being in relationship, of “doing life” together is a double-edged sword. It is my theory that the imago process and the negative bonding patterns, even though we apologize and “forgive” one another, create the distancing and the deeply seated resentments that eventually”kill” the sexual energy. It is like an internal, invisible scoring system. No one knows when the “magic” number is hit that is “one too many” and the love game is over; breakup, divorce time. On the other hand, this imago process is the road to the deepest,most incredible intimacy possible, not only with our beloveds but with ourselves. Our partners are our mirrors, reflecting back to us characteristics that we react to, that we overly admire or despise and those are issues we need to work on within ourselves. There is an old saying, “if you notice it, it is yours.”

If we can overcome our difficulties and survive in our relationship, looking at our human mirrors with fewer and fewer reactions, we discover and incorporate those disowned characteristics into our being. With this evolutionary process, we learn and grow and appreciate our mates through time and go really deep with one another. So, my questions are, “How do we prevent resenting the heck out of one another over time? How do  we keep that passion of NRE or infrequent relationship alive in our primary pair bond?

After suffering many days with my jealousy bout and sufficiently torturing my poor Sasha with my rantings–including  writing a 7 page “hate” letter to Sue! (how dare she, that Bitch!)–I finally came to my senses, and perhaps a resolution, at least to question number two.

During our love-ins we had a tendency to begin and end with one another, branching out to our other partners in the height of the excitement. It had begun to feel like “swapping” to me. Our intention was to always stay linked with one another.  As time progressed, I noticed a sense of “politeness” had sort of set in. It was like, “oh, we don’t see the com- pany much, let’s focus a lot of attention on them.” Since they were the guests and we were focused on pleasing them and showing them a good time, we lost our focus with one another. The linkage was broken.

My idea was to consciously incorporate coming back to my beloved to connect every first or second natural break (like stopping for liquids, bathroom breaks). That way the full blown energy at the height of passion would be returned to the primary repeatedly, bringing that extreme sexual excitement back home and not just the beginning energy before things got hot and the ending energy when we were exhausted and wanting to go to sleep.

As for the internal resentments, plan on keeping the communication lines wide open with my beloved with loving, tactful, honesty. Finally, I figure if we stay orgasmic, follow our tantric practices and connect twice daily, incorporate variety into our lives by sexual diversity with our other lovers, bring home that NRE from other contacts, and consciously maintain linkage so we never feel left out and abandoned, we will feel passionately, lovingly connected and there will be never be room for resentments in our hearts.

How To And Why Create A Poly Family Of Lovers

Creating a family

What is family, anyway? Like motherhood and apple pie, we regard family as an absolute good, something we would literally die to protect. The is a universal symbol of pity. We would probably rather be homeless than family-less, for we know how to create a home, but how do we go about creating a family?


When we think of family, we usually think of our parents, children, relatives, spouses, and very close friends. When we say, “he’s family to me”, we mean it as a very special compliment. By family, we generally mean those people who are related to us by bloodline, marriage, or friendship, who have participated significantly in our development, and who give us unconditional social, psychological, spiritual, and financial support. In short, we love our family, and they love us.

Another way of saying this is that by we mean those people with whom we have a long-term relationship. The following relationships are generally considered to be long-term: mother, brother, aunt, daughter, husband, wife. The following relationships are generally not considered to be long-term: teacher, boss, partner, baby sitter, roommate, neighbor.

Within a long-term relationship, we can make long-range plans. One of the most important of these is , especially the propagation of a specific bloodline within a species, such as . Parents, children, and spouses all cooperate to perpetuate their blood line. Let’s call this the . Thus the basis for the biological family is genetic or sexual.

Long-term relationships can form the base for other long-range plans as well, such as building a house, changing careers, relocating, and saving up for old age. If we were to make a career move to another state, we would probably expect our children to move with us, but would probably not expect our neighbors to do so. Some of the following family expectations might seem familiar to you:

Who raises your children?

  • Who would raise your children if both parents died?
  • Where do you spend your important holidays?
  • Who would you call to post bail?
  • Where would you go if your life fell apart, leaving you helpless, homeless, or broke?
  • Who would you consider supporting financially?
  • Who would you consider taking care of in their old age?

In the past, these have been matters of the , that is, the biological family, plus neighbors, clergy, nannys, and anyone else participating in the family support network. In an old-fashioned extended family, you might ask your clergy for moral support, invite your neighbors to a holiday celebration, care for an aged nanny, or ask your local godfather to post bail. Those were the days of live-in uncles, too many relatives, and the front porch.

The Great Experiment

As our country grew, we expanded Westward in search of homesteads and new economic opportunites. At the end of World War II, we began a new experiment, called the . Parents and children left their extended family far behind, pursuing the American dream of a house with a white picket fence, far removed from any meddlesome neighbors. Disenchanted with organized religion, but attracted by the promise of the Partridge family and the Brady bunch, we attempted to go it alone, just you, me, and the kids.

In retrospect, the nuclear family has been an unmitigated disaster. We have a national divorce rate approaching 50%, and an abundance of broken families and absentee parents, not to mention higher crime rates, lowered educational standards, and increased drug abuse. Our philosophy of rugged individualism has led us to a national feeling of loneliness, distance, and alienation.

For many of us, our family may be distant, nonexistant, or otherwise unavailable. This is especially true for those of us who have no brothers or sisters, or who grew up in broken homes or dysfunctional families. Some of us may have chosen to have no children of our own. As we age, we will become empty-nesters, and begin losing our aunts and uncles, parents, and eventually our siblings and lifetime friends, through the attrition of disease and death. So for many of us who choose to share our lives with others, family will be something we build, rather than something we inherit.

Intentional communities

Intentional communities vary greatly in the degree to which they can function as a family. Some share income and expenses, and can offer most of the financial support of a family, assisting career changes, furthering education, and even providing retirement facilities. Others are centered on interpersonal growth, and can provide much needed psychological and moral support. However, the answer to the question “How do intentional communities rate as a family?” is probably “Not very well”.

Our intentional community, Sharingwood, is a cohousing community. Cohousing communities are made of individual households, and a household is most often a nuclear family or a single adult with children. Some households have renters, but they are generally not considered part of the householder’s family. While some resources, such as canoes, hot tubs, and video cameras, may be shared, significant expenses, such as houses, cars, and college educations, are generally not shared, and income is not shared at all, except within a household. Any household which suddenly finds itself without income would probably be forced to leave the community.  .

Ask yourself what happens to your community during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  • Do people celebrate these holidays together?
  • Or do they have a pre-holiday celebration, and then scatter to join their families?
  • Is it difficult to hold common meals or general meetings during these times?
  • How about summer vacation? Does the community have one together, or do people scatter to take separate ?
  • When people leave the community, is it a shared decision, or do they just announce one day that they are going?


  • Who do they offer to take with them?
  • If both parents die, who takes care of their children?
  • Do most parents find godparents within the community?Very few intentional communities are real families. Most of them, however, work well as a , that is, a cooperative but heterogenous collection of families. When you hear the lament “I wish we had more community around here”, you may be hearing “I wish we were more of a family around here than a tribe.” This leads us to the question “How do we create a family an intentional community?”


Creating a family

One powerful shortcut to creating a family is to marry into an existing family. By attaching ourselves to a specific bloodline, we become de facto members of a new family. For example, If our son brings a total stranger home and announces “We’re going to have a baby!”, this stranger will likely become part of our family very quickly. A new lover is likely to make the transition to family more quickly than a new friend. In general, we recognize that the intimacy of a sexual relationship can lead quickly to family.What about friends? Like the word community, the word friendship covers a lot of diverse territory. Some friendships can outlast marriages, and we are usually careful to distinguish between just friends, good friends, and best friends. Like good lovers, good friends can also make the transition to family. Unlike lovers, however, few of them ever become live-in family. Before we look at live-in relationships, however, let’s take a brief look at intimacy and intention.





Intimacy and intention

Instead of looking at the depth of a relationship, let’s consider its volume, that is, its length, breadth, and depth. Relationships grow stronger as experiences are shared, and the strength of a relationship can be roughly measured by the length of time we have shared, the breadth of experiences we have shared, and how deeply we have shared them. A weekend seminar, the group equivalent of a one-night stand, has some breadth, and some depth, but not much length. Growing up in a small town can mean sharing a great many experiences with other residents, at some length, but generally without much depth.Living together with another person provides an opportunity for sharing a great many experiences. In addition to birthdays, personal crises, life transitions, and the rest, we can share breakfast dishes, daily newspapers, and spectacular sunsets. This breadth of experiences is generally not available to long- distance friends or lovers. However, just because we can share a great many experiences does not mean we will share them, or that these shared experiences will have any significant depth.


Many of us have had the experience of living with an absentee roommate. Roommates are generally not family, nor do they wish to be so, and a beautiful sunset may not be able to compete with a bowling night. What separates live- in friends or lovers from mere roommates or housemates is the intention to be family. Without this intention, experiences are not shared, and the co- habitants fail to become family.

From this point on, we will call a group of friends or lovers living together with the intention of forming a family an intentional family.

The intention to form a family requires the commitment to do so. Not all shared experiences will be pleasant. Washing the breakfast dishes is one experience; not washing them is another. Commitment means hanging in there through the unpleasant experiences so that we are available to share the pleasant ones. It is the commitment of friends and lovers within an intentional family that enables it to strengthen and grow, and thereby to support long-range plans.


Living together as an intentional family also makes good economic sense. Some of the same factors that reduce the cost of living in intentional community apply in miniature to intentional family. Friends and lovers living in an intentional family can share food, clothing, cars, magazines, the washing machine, the bathroom scale, and, quite literally, the kitchen sink. Because living together in the same house greatly increases opportunities for communication, it is probably easier to share some resources, such as cars, in an intentional family than in an intentional community.There is another economic reason for creating intentional family. At the end of World War II, one adult could afford the mortgage on a home. Typically, the father worked and the mother stayed at home and raised the children. Nowadays, it takes two working adults to afford a home, and in most nuclear families, both parents have jobs. Presently, it will take three working adults to afford a home. We are already seeing adult children returning home to live with their parents, and more households than ever are taking on renters.

While the relationship of adult children to their parents can vary, the relationship of landlord to tenant is seldom a pleasant one. There is no commitment to share experiences, and no intention to form a family. Problems arise whenever the landlord sets policies, telling the tenant what to do or not to do. The landlord is generally empowered to evict the tenant with only thirty days notice. This is hardly the basis for a long term relationship.

When landlords and tenants live together, the situation is even worst. Having no intention to share experiences, they live mostly separate lives, relating only through conflict and control issues.  As for owning a home, the shared income, talents, and resources of an intentional family can give it an economic edge over the nuclear family. Cohousing has often been criticized as being unavailable to low-income families and people who are living simply. Rather than looking for government subsidies, cohousing groups can encourage singles and couples to come together by designing and building group houses. Intentional family is an ideal way to share the ownership of and to live within these group houses.

Why lovers?

We have defined intentional family as friends and lovers living together with the intention of being family. Why lovers? We have already seen that a sexual relationship is a shortcut to intimacy. This, however, is not the primary reason why loving sexual relationships should exist within an intentional family.One of the more destructive forces in intentional community is the need for its members who have not found a loving sexual relationship inside the community to seek this relationship outside the community. A community may suddenly find itself with members whose time, attention, and energy are being spent primarily outside of the community. Or the community might find itself living with the lovers of its members, who may or may not participate in the community, and who do not necessarily share its values.

Some intentional communities may choose to confront members who are no longer actively contributing to the community, or who have taken live-in lovers whose values differ substantially from those held by the community. Unfortunately, the result of this confrontation is all too often that the community loses a valued member. And while a community of forty adults can probably survive the loss of a member, an intentional family of four would be severely disrupted.

Some of us may have had the experience of living platonically with a roommate who subsequently fell in love with someone else. Perhaps we didn’t see our roommate for weeks at a time, or perhaps we suddenly found ourselves sharing our non- smoking household with a smoker. In either case, we might have been tempted to find a new roommate or household to live in, if our roommate didn’t move out first.

To prevent an intentional family from being pulled apart by external relationships, it is preferable that loving sexual relationships be available within the family. Note that this is a preference, not a requirement. For example, two intimate couples could join together in friendship to create a very stable intentional family.

In Summary

We have seen that intentional families are formed by friends and lovers who are committed to living together with the intention of making long term plans and sharing a lifetime of experiences. There are many challenges to be met in forming an intentional family in a society which legally and socially recognizes only the two-adult nuclear family. How do we find others to create our family? How do we make decisions and handle conflicts? Where do we go for advice and support? How do we create houses that are especially comfortable for intentional families? What existing legal structures might we use for ownership? How do we become socially acceptable?Our next generation will probably live in households of three or more adults, many of whom will be renters. Instead, we have a chance to pioneer a new social order which emphasizes family above household. This will take courage, persistance, and a sincere desire to share our lives with others.


How To Integrate Yin And Yang In A Poly Relationship

I am certain after the experiences I have had that there is a purpose to our life lessons. My life lessons have revolved around learning about the importance of one’s internal integration of yin and yang energy, the metaphor which represents the dichotomies that exist in all, the positive and the negative.


Much of the world believes that there is such a thing as “negative” in terms of there being an absolute rightness or wrongness of an act, or a word, or a behavior. However, when we understand our own freedom on a deep level, we feel completely free, no longer doubting ourselves or wondering if others know us better than we know ourselves.

Loving relationships seem in part to be about a process of becoming conscious of the games we play. When we become conscious of our games, we don’t need to have dysfunctional relationships anymore. However, it seems as though most people die without ever knowing unconditional love. And I do mean die. The lack of unconditional love from ourselves and others harms the body and soul. To feel as though the love is based upon rigid conditions feels self-destructive.

Relationships have been largely based upon the idea that you need the approval of another who is dichotomous in some manner in relationship to who you are.

In other words, having not internally come to an agreement between our own dichotomous viewpoints, we become conscious of our differences through mate selection, and hope for their approval instead of our own integration. If we have understood both of our internal extremes and are ready to come to our true median, then we no longer need to project these dichotomies onto the external world.

This full self-knowledge is an experience which few human beings ever have. At this moment, if achieved, people are capable of having positive relationships with each other that are not revolving around lessons in consciousness (or the fear or manipulation that is associated with such lessons). Furthermore, at this point we are able to share ourselves intimately in a spiritual form. Most sexual relationships are connected to the fear of scarcity which is centered around abandonment (which is connected to unresolved parental issues).

When we feel comfortable with who we are and no longer feel the urge to say, “Don’t drink that or smoke that or touch her or him.” We simply feel the love which is present, and enjoy the moment. There is no need for agreements, titles, roles, or expectations. Everything just is. And it’s okay to love whoever you want to love. And when it’s okay to love more than one person (since our nature is to love all people) it becomes okay to truly love ourselves and accept love without guilt or fear.

Why not strive to become someone who knows unconditional love within, between, and without? There is no greater goal to achieve than love without any semblance of limitation.

How To Understand Our Deepest Conflicts: Achieving Freedom Of Judgement

One way to gain a better understanding of our deepest conflicts is to examine who and what we judge. If we judge another person it is likely that we are judging some aspect of who we are. Judgment on its own is separating, but if we examine our judgments we can become more conscious of our issues.


For example, if we judge people who have no money as “white trash” we might actually be uncomfortable with our own financial past or present, and looking for someone else to be “better than.” Additionally, if we judge love songs as “stupid” or “silly” then it may be that we are denying the vulnerable emotions which these songs address.

It is useful to make a list of all the people you have been telling yourself you don’t like then specify exactly what it is that you judge about that person. Try to examine if there are repressed aspects of your personality that relate to these traits you don’t like. For example, if you have written down that you don’t like your Uncle Joe because he is a control freak, examine your own relationship to control. Do you feel out of control? Do you secretly try to control situations? This is an example of how your judgments arise from a place of inner conflict.

I believe that we all know intuitively and logically that the world would be a better place if everyone was free to be who they really are. However, we are deeply entrenched in a system in which we are not only comfortable with judging each other, but see this as normal behavior. Eventually we will have to deal with the fact that every human being is interconnected and our separation through judgment inhibits our emotional and spiritual growth.

Of course it is easier to say “try to not judge” than to do it. We often find ourselves in social situations in which the norm is obviously about judging another individual or group. It takes a lot of energy to fight against this kind of dynamic. The best you can do is decline to partake in the judgment. As we work on reducing our judgments it is valuable to utilize them as a method of gaining self-awareness during the process.

To be completely judgment-free is a challenging ideal, and there is no need to feel guilty if you find that you have many judgments. Of course you weren’t born with these judgments. You learned them. You probably learned that some people in your life will reward you for judging people that they don’t like. People raised in sexist, racist, or homophobic households are likely to have more re-learning to do than those raised by non-judgmental people. Enjoy the process as you find that letting go of the judgments you have learned will liberate you from subconsciously judging yourself.

Is it polyamory to date more than one person secretly?

Dating two people at once without telling is not exactly cheating, unless the people  involved believe you are being monogamous. If someone does, then it is cheating if you do not correct this belief.

There is a gray area in casual dating that some people take advantage of — on the one hand, casual dating is not a formal commitment and one can say “But I never SAID I was being monogamous.” On the other hand, many people assume monogamy once the interactions get to a certain point. In a situation that’s gone on for six months, many people would assume monogamy if you never mentioned other lovers.

The ethical thing to do in this situation, IMO, is to say “By the way, I reserve the right to date other people unless we agree otherwise.”

How would your girlfriends feel if they knew you were seeing and sleeping with other women?

I believe if you know something that would matter to a friend or lover, and you are not bound by a promise not to tell, it’s ethically appropriate to tell, and inappropriate not to tell.


Another issue (non-ethical) is intimacy — certain kinds of intimacy are not possible if you keep big secrets from someone. However, you may not value the kind of intimacy that comes from sharing everything you are, and that’s OK.

A third issue concerns practicality: if your girlfriends believe you’re being monogamous and they find out otherwise, they are likely to feel betrayed and that would make your life difficult. You might lose one or both of them. If you don’t care whether you lose them, then of course this is not your concern, but it’s something to think about.

If the part that you enjoy is leading two separate lives at once, then consider that it is possible to do so without lying by omission. You just let the people that you date know that you are or may be dating other people and that you are not willing to give any further details about your dating. That is ethical because it allows them to make their own decisions concerning their involvement with you, knowing that there are things they
may not know about you.

It’s not cheating unless you’re caught? Sorry, but that’s not any
definition of cheating I agree with. To me, if you have an agreement or an
understanding, and you don’t abide by it, that’s cheating, whether you get
caught or not.

Not disclosing parts of your lives is fine as long as you *agree* to do so.
But if you do it without agreeing, and there is a likelihood that someone
thinks you’re being monogamous, then it’s cheating, and it’s unethical, IMO.

Acceptance Of Polyamory: Love Is Unconditional

When we are young it is rare to feel fully accepted. Parents and other authority figures are seen as all-powerful, and often correct our behavior so that we remain safe.

Sometimes their correction is helpful, such as when we are wandering out into the street. Sometimes it is not very helpful at all, such as when we are told that we shouldn’t pursue our passion because it is irresponsible, or if we are forced to take lessons that don’t interest us at all.

I perceive that this parent-child control-based dynamic often continues into our relationships as adults. Many people feel that they can’t be fully accepted, that love is conditional, and that they must be controlled to be loved.


Polyamory involves the risk of being fully known. I observe that many people take the risk of being fully known by their friends, but not by the person or persons with whom they are intimately involved. Threats to security arise because people often do not accept each other’s sexuality unless it is a lie, unless it is a watered-down version of reality.

If you “only have eyes” for one person then you are less likely to be a threat to that person. Realistically, it is common to feel attracted to many people and to have the desire to be intimate with more than one person. How you handle this reality is up to you. In the realm of monogamy it is commonplace to keep truth hidden so as to not threaten our lover. Therefore we end up being fully known by friends but are strangers to our lovers.

This creates an imbalance.

Friends become more close to you than they are to your lover because they know your secrets. You may want friends to stay away from your lover and this would be one way to accomplish that goal…create a secretive world. Ideally, we can be transparent with each other so these artificial barriers need not exist.

We all deeply desire to be loved for who we are. However, one of the greatest challenges to that goal is risking being known. If you don’t risk telling your lover who you are, you won’t feel accepted. If you feel guilty, you may tell yourself that you’re not okay the way you are. Nevertheless, you are fine the way you are…and you are capable of finding others who accept you, including your sexual thoughts and behaviors. The first step, however, is up to you. You will not find acceptance without the risk of being known.

Perhaps it would be useful to become conscious of your guilt. If you understand your guilt you may be less likely to perpetuate it by creating secretive situations. The Internet has increased the ease with which people can have secret relationships.

It is my hope that we may all risk being known so we don’t perpetuate a world of relationships which are incomplete, conditional, and limited by fear. We deserve better. We deserve to accept acceptance.

What Is Polyfidelity And Why Is It Great For Polyamorous Couples?

Polyfidelity is a new multi-adult family structure in which clusters of best friends come together around shared values, interests, life goals and mutual attraction.

Inside such a Best Friend Identity Cluster (B-FIC), family members are non-monogamous, relating to all their partners without a hierarchy of preference. Thus in a heterosexual polyfidelitous B-FIC, each of the women has a sexual relationship with each of the men, and no group member relates sexually to anyone outside the family group.


While different groups might work out different methods for determining who will sleep with whom every night, the method used successfully by actual polyfides in the United States is the ‘balanced rotational sleeping schedule.’ This arrangement has each person sleeping with a different partner each night, sequentially (using the chronological order of when people joined the group as the sequence), until at the end of the list, at which time she/he comes back around to the first person again.

Romantics might consider such a system too ‘mechanical’, but those who use it think it is a marvellous way to ensure that every twosome in a B-FIC has equal and ample time to build their own special, one-to-one intimacy. Being non-preferential does not imply that the relationship inside any dyad (set of two people) is identical. Every combination has its own unique qualities (called ‘lovjoy’ by practitioners of polyfidelity) which does not have to compete with any other dyadic relationship.

Polyfidelity offers a number of obvious advantages over more traditional family and intimacy styles.

It caters to the desires of those who like sexual variety, yet allows this to occur in the context of lasting, deep, meaningful relationships. This blend of spice and stability is very refreshing to people who, in other situations, have had to forfeit a stable home life in order to experience variety, or vice versa. The problem of having unrealistic expectations of what one partner can provide that often occurs in two-adult families is solved; no one individual needs to be all things to anyone else. For single parents, or parents in general, a polyfidelitous household is a marvellous environment in which to raise children. The burden of responsibility and care that would otherwise fall on one or two individuals is spread out throughout the group, which allows the adults to be involved in many activities besides childcare, and gives the children a healthy assortment of good role models; adults with whom to build caring, trusting relationships.


‘The intimacy of women or men sharing the same sexual partners and living space is unique to polyfidelity, and delightful’


Then there are the benefits of same sex camaraderie in the privacy of one’s own home. The intimacy of women or men sharing the same sexual partners and living space is unique to polyfidelity, and delightful. The whole problem of jealousy is much more easily solved in this context than in others, because the pleasure and closeness one observes in the relationship of any two of her/his partners in no way threatens her/his own relationship with each of them. In fact, the opposite is true: the better the relationships are between all family members, the more secure the group is as a whole, and the stronger each individual’s relations with any of her/his partners. In an age where social fragmentation and loneliness have reached epidemic proportions, polyfidelity offers its adherents a fantastic, built-in social and psychological support system, in an atmosphere conducive to individual growth and change. The support system is economic too, as the cost of living for many adults sharing space and other resources cooperatively is much lower than the cost of living for people in one or two-adult households.

Polyfidelity does require some profound changes in how one views relationships and the world in general.

Certain conditioned premisses must be rejected – for instance, that it is impossible to have more than one intense, emotional relationship at the same time, or that if you really care about someone, you will get jealous about his/her other involvements – and new ones accepted. Polyfidelity is not suited to everyone, but there are probably many millions of people who have a hard time finding satisfaction or fulfilment in marriages, couples or open-ended affairs for whom this new lifestyle will be a dream come true.

Polygamous families in various parts of the world have always been one-sided (one man and many wives, or, occasionally, one woman and several husbands). Polyfidelity is the first family structure to equalise that condition, and could never have existed in times or places where old-fashioned morality ruled people’s lives. It is a product of the women’s movement, as well as a branch of the communal living and kibbutz movement.

Currently, polyfidelity is being practised by two groups in San Francisco (one with nine members; one with eight) and scattered other, smaller clusters in various other places. In addition to those actually doing it, there is a growing network of hundreds of other people who are watching the people in the live-in ‘test tubes’, and studying the polyfidelity alternative with some notion that, in due course, they may want to try it for themselves. Discussion groups have formed in many places for people who are interested in learning more about polyfidelity and meeting others of like mind. The original polyfides in San Francisco (this group has been together for 17 years) are active in encouraging people everywhere to study what they are doing as a prototype, which can be analysed and replicated (with or without modifications) all over the world.


‘The problems polyfidelity solves: loneliness, jealousy, social fragmentation, housing shortages, single parenting, economic strain, emotional boredom’


The broader ramifications of this family structure are potentially quite significant, because of the problems it solves (loneliness, jealousy, social fragmentation, housing shortages, single parenting, economic strain, emotional boredom) and because of the new vistas of responsible hedonism it opens up.


Find out more about a commune living this lifestyle here.