Polyamory: The philosophy or state of being in love or romantically involved with more than one person at the same time. All persons involved are friends of each other.
Polyfidelity: An intimate relationship structure where all members are considered equal partners and agree to restrict sexual activity to only other members of the group.
Line Marriage: The is a form invented by author Robert A Heinlein. As described in his novel, “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress (tMiaHM),” basically a married couple adopts another person (male or female) and adds that person to their marriage. This continues until there are many co-wives and co-husbands in the marriage. When subsequently, partners die off, the marriage continues, and wealth is simply compounded over many years. Wikipedia says this: “The characters argue that the line family creates economic continuity and parental stability in an unpredictable, dangerous environment. Manuel’s line marriage is said to be over 100 years old. The family is portrayed as economically comfortable because improvements and investments made by previous spouses compounded, rather than being lost between generations. Heinlein also makes it a point that this family is racially diverse.”
In tMiaHM, a young woman seeks to join the marriage. The adult members vote on this. The outcome must be unanimous. On the night of her wedding, she sleeps with the oldest male member, then each night following, with other males according to seniority. Whether or not she has intercourse with them is a matter of her own choosing, and the choice of the male in question. Any of them can opt out. They may only have intercourse if both agree.
Children are considered to be the “children of all,” although, every child knows who their mother is.
From 1971 to 1981, the Kerista Commune in San Francisco was a kind of group marriage, similar to the Line Marriage described above. They in fact coined the term “polyfidelity.” They used an elaborate rotation calendar to determine who slept with whom on any given night (Kerista was divided into small groups of five to six, called BFICs. The calendar governed each BFIC, not the entire community). The calendar was used to insure that favorites didn’t develop; that all men and women had equal opportunity. Generally, these marriage forms exclude bisexual and homosexual behavior, but I do not believe that they have to be that exclusive.
Why did Kerista split up? The leader of the group John Peltz “Bro Jud” Presmont, left. Kerista’s main fault was that it was essentially a personality cult, revolving around “Bro Jud.” However, there is a remnant of Kerista that exists on the island of Maui, in Hawaii.
Group marriage is considered anti-capitalistic. This is because a group of people will naturally use less resources than individuals will. For example, a group marriage of six adults could share a three bedroom house easily, yet society would only approve of two adults sharing a house. This is why you don’t see many multi bedroom homes anymore. Likewise, they may share a common vehicle, common appliances, etc.
What is the difference between Polyamory and Swinging? The names give it away. Polyamory means “many loves.” Swinging, on the other hand, is strictly a sexual practice. Swingers tend to be couples who “swap wives” and engage in casual sex with just about anyone, with no strings attached. You can’t do that with people you love, nor are you likely to. In fact it is possible to be Polyamorous and never have sex. Polyfidelity brings the matter to a head, for here you have a group of people who are actually committed to one another and practice sex exclusively in that group.
What about jealousy? What is jealousy anyway? Popular culture equates love with ownership. Think about Valentines Day for example. The little candy hearts with “Be MY Valentine.” When you are in love you belong (are owned by) another person. That sounds like a form of slavery to me. You cannot own another person, nor should you think of another person, or yourself, as belonging (being owned) by someone else. Jealousy is therefore a societal construct of slavery. Your become jealous when someone you believe you own is being used (or allowing themselves to be used) by someone else. Jealousy is a behavior that has been conditioned into people. It’s a learned behavior. Therefore, it can be unlearned.
Compersion is the opposite of jealousy. Compersion is the celebration of the happiness and or pleasure experienced by a persons partner when they are with someone else.
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own… Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy.” – Robert A. Heinlein