The more the merrier

Photo credit: Bobbie Rae Jones

Photo credit: Bobbie Rae Jones

There are so many different styles of relationships and sexual attraction, and all have their pros and cons. There are two that are currently gaining popularity and I wish I understood more: polyamory and pansexuality.

I typically learn through experience, but this style of relationship and sexual attraction I have had to learn through conversation.

I have met many people that are in poly-style relationships, and I have a lot of respect for them. This style of partnership has a flexible meaning and can be only defined by the people involved. There are a few things I have found that can give some idea of how the style works.

  • Polyamory, as defined by Wikipedia, “is the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships involving more than two people, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. It has been described as ‘consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy.’” This is also viewed as the ability to be in love with multiple people.
  • Honest communication is key. With any relationship you have to communicate. When there are multiple partners involved it becomes even more important. Many times people may feel something and only communicate that feeling. But to truly have honest communication the person needs to explore why they feel that way — what’s at the core of the emotion.
  • Trust: In this style of relationship a person has to believe the partners will be honest and upfront with anything going on, even if the partner is falling in love with another person.
  • Jealousy: There is a misconception that jealousy doesn’t exist like some magic trick, but it does. The difference I have read is that jealousy is treated like any other emotion. The person feeling jealous mainly has to deal with the emotion, but also needs to communicate to the other partners. A great page I found with information on dealing with jealousy in a poly relationship is

Pansexuality is something I have not had the chance to discuss with anyone I have met.

When I talk to people about their sex lives, I do so with the understanding and respect that any question I ask can be asked of me in return. Side note: Just because I may be curious does not mean I am entitled to answers regarding someone’s personal life.

I think because I haven’t spoken to anyone about pansexuality I make the idea more complicated than it is. I saw a recurring phrase that defined pansexuality as loving hearts not parts, which I think is such a beautiful way to see people.

  • Pansexual or omnisexual is defined by Wikipedia as “sexual attraction, romantic love, or emotional attraction toward people of any sex or gender.”
  • A big misconception is that this is being bisexual; this is wrong. Bisexuals are attracted to men and women, thus leaving out a lot of other people.

In the process of researching both of these topics I found an article by Gaby Dunn on Women’s Health titled, “Polyamory, Pansexual, and Proud: Why I’m ‘So Out and Outspoken.’” She does a great job of providing information on both topics.

There are so many different ways we can define ourselves. I enjoy that at the core of both polyamory and pansexuality is the desire to have people’s needs met and be loved. That is something we all want.

Joann Chevaillier can be reached at [email protected] or @jmc_8284 on Twitter.