Polyamory Vocab Lessons: Polyamory

Polycule | Portland Poly Counseling | Polyamory Counseling in Portland

Dear readers, 

I work with so many couples who are considering open relationships and so many of you have asked for some basic facts in polyamory, nonmonogamy and open relationships.  

I decided to start breaking down some of the most commonly used terms in the wide field of nonmonogamy.

Of course, every individual and relationship is different, so it is important to get clear with people about what they mean by these terms (especially if you're considering an intimate relationship with them).  

You could ask any of the following questions:

"Lots of people use that term, what does it mean in your relationships?"

"I know that can actually mean a lot of things, wow does {term} actually play out in your life?"

These conversations will also help you get clear about what to call your own relationship.  

I'll keep adding more terms over time so check back time to time to learn more.  

This week's focus: Polyamory

As we know, non-monogamy is an umbrella term that includes lots of different kinds of relationships.  Polyamory or poly community is one of the possibilities that falls under the umbrella of nonmonogamy.

Some basic general information on polyamory:

Most basically, polyamory means many loves. But because the word love means different things to different people polyamory is different in each and every relationship.  

Polyamorous people live in all parts of the US (and the world), identify as many different genders and sexual orientations, and participate in all sorts of relationship arrangements.

Some polyamorous relationships include shared partners, community and friends making a large web of supporters and chosen family.  

Some, but not all poly people participate in BDSM and kink community.

Some, but not all poly people are gay, lesbian, or bisexual.  

Many members of poly community are straight and are legally married, but have additional lovers and/or partnerships.  Some choose to live together and parent with individual or multiple partners.


One of the best things about being polyamorous is the freedom to create and tailor the relationship structure(s) that best serve you and your partner.  

Polyamorous relationships also often include more understanding and agility for relationship change, growth and development over time.  

Polyamory Resources:


My favorite resource for all my nonmonogamous couples.  This site covers the full range of possibilities in open relationships and the book dives into many scenarios outlining how specific couples create polyamorous networks that work for them.  


For couples considering more romantic or emotional connections with partners, More Than Two is my go-to resource to find balance and maintain connection while incorporating other people into the relationship.  More than two focuses mostly on polyamory.

Poly in the Media

This resource tracks news and events related to all things polyamory.  If you're ever feeling alone as a poly person you can easily find information on others living a polyamorous life here.


The only nationwide magazine dedicated to polyamory, Love More also hosts conferences and poly events throughout the country.

Polyamory On Purpose

One of the better practical blogs of poly-related information for oply families, legal issues, financial stressors and more.

Poly Weekly

A podcast about polyamory and the people who choose this kind of open relationship.

If you are considering opening your relationship give me a call for a consult.  I am happy to help:

Sex Counselor Portland | Portland Couples Counseling

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationshipsjealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

She can help you:

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).