Polygamy and polyamory are two distinct concepts, even though they both refer to having relationships with more than one partner. Naturally, these words are a bit confusing in the context of their relative newness in our vocabulary, even if the practices they describe are centuries old.

Although these practices have been around for a while, they have never really entered the mainstream, except for a few communities that view these partnerships as normal.

When it comes to understanding what one term and what the other represents, the stigma that hangs over these behaviors is what brings confusion.

On the other hand, there are some obvious distinctions that, when noticed and understood, will allow you to differentiate between the two terms used to describe non-monogamy relationships.

Polyamory and Polygamy: From Gender to History

Polyamory and Polygamy

The distinctions between polygamy and polyamory can be broken down into several categories, which can lead to a better understanding of how these practices work and how they have evolved.

Gender Differences

The main distinction between the two non-monogamy practices involves gender. In polyamory, either partner may have sexual relations with people of different genders outside of the relationship. Polygamy, on the other hand, is almost entirely about heterosexual relationships and, in its most common forms, marriage. 

Therefore, if polyamory refers to strictly sexual relationships, polygamy also includes marriage. The most common type of polygamy is one in which a man is married to multiple women, though there are isolated cases in which a woman is married to multiple men.

Religion & Culture

Polygamy is a practice applied within certain religions and cultures. Men who have multiple wives are generally Muslims, as this is a common practice. Still, this practice also exists outside of the Muslim religion and can be found in the United States among Fundamentalist Mormons.

Polyamory, on the other hand, is not associated with any religion or culture, particularly because it does not involve marriage.


Polyamory became a recognized term in 1990 and has since faded into obscurity. People involved in such relationships, in general, do not discuss them, and it is often a matter related to the intimacy of the relationship. Still, polyamory had several periods of popularity throughout history, even before the term was officially recognized and defined.

The popularity was attributed to the individual freedom that such a practice provides, with people believing that a monogamous relationship limits individual freedoms and abilities to make new sexual discoveries.

Polygamy, on the other side, has existed since the invention of marriage. This is true even when it comes to biblical figures like Solomon. Furthermore, this practice persists in certain cultures around the world, often as a form of power.

The Common Point

Even though they refer to different types of relationships, there is a striking similarity between them, which has led to some confusion.

Regardless of whether we are talking about polygamy or polyamory, we are referring to relationships with more than one partner.

Thus, we can say that, while they evolved into different forms and had different representations over time, they all stemmed from the same idea: humans are not inherently monogamous and in order to experience genuine freedom, they must form relationships with a diverse range of individuals.

Understanding The Reasons Behind Polygamy

Understanding The Reasons Behind Polygamy

Polygamy is easy to understand because it is associated with certain religions. It became a form of culture for people of these religions, a practice that defines them.

Some people believe that polygamy is a door to heaven, a right related to their individual freedom, or a benefit related to man. There is also the argument that only through polygamy humanity can become increasingly numerous.

Of course, this does not mean that polygamy is without boundaries. One of the main rules is that only one member of the relationship is married to multiple people. Furthermore, because it is a practice in which a man has several wives, he must treat them all equally and ensure their well-being. Another rule is to have children with each of the spouses, which is one of the main arguments in favor of polygamy.

Understanding The Reasons Behind Polyamory

Understanding The Reasons Behind Polyamory

Polyamory is about how monogamous relationships are perceived. As previously stated, polyamory begins with a primary relationship and progresses to both partners having sexual relations with multiple people. These relationships can be integrated into the main relationship or kept separate.

The argument behind these practices is that monogamy places too many restrictions on individual freedom and that true experiences, both sexual and spiritual, can only be had if multiple partners are available.

Starting with the notion that no two relationships are alike, the possibility of having multiple partners opens the door to a variety of practices, lessons, and methods for individual development.

However, this does not imply that there are no rules. Essentially, polyamory must begin with honesty and communication. Someonecannot seek to balance multiple partners indefinitely if they are unwilling to communicate their polyamorous leanings. Each polyamorous relationship, on the other hand, has its own set of rules that must be clearly established by all parties involved.

In polyamory, mutual respect is also essential.  Moreover, jealousy should be avoided because it can lead to dissatisfaction, frustration, and, in general, make the functioning of such a relationship difficult. Polygamy will thus be unsatisfactory if you are a naturally jealous person.

Wrapping Up!

Polygamy and polyamory originated from distinct beliefs and have each evolved in their own unique ways, shaped by various factors such as the presence of religious influence and the specific rules governing each relationship. Despite the fact that these are not mainstream practices, they must be viewed with openness in order to understand the arguments that have kept them alive over time.

Meanwhile, if you don't want to be a part of such a relationship but still want to have a different experience, fantasizing about the possibility of having more partners, you can always introduce a sex toy into your life to spice up the following sexual interactions.