Addendum to Sci-Fi post  

rm_oregonpoet 39M
3 posts
10/4/2005 10:16 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Addendum to Sci-Fi post


I did some looking for more information on Heinlein's various group marriage concepts and came across this information (taken from http://www.faqs.org/faqs/polyamory/faq )

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Since there are lots of different ways to organize (or not organize, if one is blessed by the Goddess of Chaos, or has a taste for happy anarchy, or is a principled egalitarian) relationships, it follows that there are ways of describing these various arrangements. This polyjargon has evolved in the newsgroup over time, and the words are merely descriptives. No approval or disapproval of any particular arangement is to be expressed or implied.

Primary - word often used in a hierarchal multi-person relationship to denote the person with whom one is most strongly bonded. In some cases this bond or commitment takes the form of legal marriage. As bigamy is not legal, the option of having two (or more) legally wedded primaries simultaneously is not currently practicable, though non-legal ceremonies may certainly be performed. In some cases "primary" refers to the lover with the most seniority.

Secondary - follows from primary, in a hierarchal relationship, denotes a person with whom one is involved without the emotional, legal, or economic complexities and commitments of primary bonding.

Yes, some people talk about tertiaries and so on. Some people also don't like the terms primaries and secondaries or the concepts behind the terms, preferring to have "a circle of equals" as one poly person called it. Stef contributed the term "Non-hierarchical Polyamory" for this kind of arrangement.

Triads - three people involved in some way. Often used in a fairly committed sense, in some cases involving ceremonies of commitment, but also used simply to mean "three people who are connected". Example: "Jodine, Mischa and Mickey are a FMM triad living in Excelsior."

Vee - Three people, where the structure puts one person at the bottom, or "hinge" of the vee, also called the pivot point. In a vee, the arm partners are not as commonly close to each other as each is to the pivot.

Triangle (or equilateral triangle) - relationship where three people are each involved with both of the others. Sometimes also called a triad.

Line Marriage - term from the works of Robert A. Heinlein, science fiction writer, meaning a marriage that from time to time adds younger members, eventually establishing an equilibrium population (spouses dying off at the same rate as new ones are added). This is a different form of familial immortality than the traditional one of successive generations of children. (Definition courtesy of M. Schafer, and yes, there are people who are in situations like this who use the term to describe their family.)

Polyfidelity: Relationship involving more than two people who have made a commitment to keep the sexual activity within the group and not have outside partners. (Rumor has it that this term was coined by the group Kerista.)

Quads, pentacles, sextets and more: There are polyfolk who exist in multiple arrangements with more than three members. Geometry can get complicated, and creative nomenclature abounds. As in every other aspect of polyamory, the precise bonds of intimacy vary from group to group and from member to member within groups.
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I think my personal favorite is polyfidelity, but with a dash of swing: a stable multi-person relationship (3-4 individuals) that can invite people in (one or two at a time) as temporary/honorary members.

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