When the theme of “polygamy” comes up, many peoples minds start to run wild, either they become madly angry or switch to the mode “lustful fantasy”. That is why it can only be good for that matter to be presented as rational as possible in a schematic way and with a diagram.

A friendly and critical reader pointed out to me that my scheme might be understood as too narrow or could even be perceived as discriminatory. After intense debate she convinced me, and i want to make clear that narrowminded thinking or discrimination is definitely not what i´m after, which is already clear from what i say on the pages Forms of polygamy and the introduction to my . I welcome suggestions from readers through comments at the bottom of each article or using the Email Contact-form. To give credit to such suggestions I have also created a special series of articles, the first of which you find here.

It is of course impossible to present all kinds of possible relationships. The following graphic is aimed primarily at people for whom the whole issue of polygamy and polyamory and the variety of possible relationships is new or unfamiliar. It holds, therefore, to the sexual definitions familiar to most people, so to speak, “traditional” gender definitions, where you have a biological gender defined by your body, and a sexual orientation which is – for whatever reason – directed to the other or the same biological sex or to both.

Even the latter – the sexual orientation to your own sex – still often enough has to struggle even in liberal western societies with incomprehension and rejection. And if you start concerning yourself with more complicated questions of relations – to take a very unusual example – e.g what kind of relationship a person with a male-looking body but a female brain has to his (her?) bisexual wife, you’ll start to understand how complicated it can be. Yes, such cases – female brain in a male body – happen. It can be caused by strong distributions of female hormones during pregnancy, caused by stress, which make the brain in an otherwise male body of a foetus turn female.

Many people are suspicious of diversity, especially in sexual relations, it scares them, and they want clear conditions. But these clear conditions actually were never a reality. It only used to be in most societies that the ideas were very clear what and how people were allowed to be. The freer our societies become, the more people dare to live in ways that in ealier times were considered wrong. And science discovers more and more often that much of what was once considered physical or mental illness is actually not an illness. And where will we draw the line for the “right thing”, the “allowed” way of life? Why, for example, should a person who through emotional experiences has gone from heterosexuality to homo-or bisexuality not be allowed to be and live as he / she wants to? In my opinion in a society based on human rights there is no reason for such narrow and strict rules.

I think that there always are as many right ways to be and to live as there are people living on earth, as long as i let my fellow human beings live in peace and do not intentionally inflict damage on someone else. The following schematic still is deliberately focused on the most basic constellations and is aimed primarily at people to whom the issue is largely new or suspicious, and who want to begin to understand what would be possible with polygamy / polyamory. In not listing the myriad states of emotional and sexual orientations possible i, therefore, do not intend to discriminate anybody, and i also do not intend to squeeze anybody into the following schematic.

Described with words, there are the following possible scenarios:

Heterosexual relationship, which can be:

  • a woman with several men, or
  • a man with multiple wives

Homosexual relationship, which can be:

  • a woman with several women, or some or all of them with each other
  • a man with several men, or some or all of them with each other

Mixed-sex relationship, which can be one man or a group of men together with one woman or a group of women having diverse relationships with each other:

  • all of them with each other, or
  • every one has relationships with one or more of the others

And this third constellation also points at exactly what I said at the outset that the reasons may be manifold for a sexual relationship / love relationship. For example in the group of biological women one might feel sexually as a man and have sex with one or more of the men because she feels attracted in a homoerotic way.

It is best shown in a picture

Schematic representation of polygamous / polyamorous relations

Too simple for you?

If you think, the above representation is too simple, take a look at the Map of Non-Monogamy by Franklin Veaux.


As of

2012-08-02, 20:58:23 (First published on: 10/02/2011)

Notice: This article is translated from an original article on one of my german websites Viktor-Leberecht.de or Polygamie-ist-gut-fuer-sie.de (engl:Polygamy is good for you). How i do my translations. Last updated: August 2, 2012 at 20:58 pm © Viktor Leberecht All rights reserved. Please feel free to share my content on Social-Sharing-Services. What do you think? Leave a comment here. For your convenience you may either use the integrated comment system of wordpress in the first comment field, or if you prefer you may post with your Google+ account in the second comment field. You may also send me a question through the contact form or the FAQ.

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