We aren’t passing any judgment on any of these arrangements, and we support any fully consensual choices that individuals make about their sex lives, but these are not what is usually meant by “polyamory”.A classic poly joke is that “with swinging, you get sex; with polyamory, you get breakfast.” Most polyamorous relationships that have been established for more than a few months involve many activities other than sex, and the sexual activity plays much the same role as it does for most people in monogamous relationships.This can be a benefit, but it is rarely one of the main ones.In some ways, polyamory, first and foremost, is a way of building an extended family, a tribe, a network of people who care deeply about each other.In this context, deep can mean emotionally intense, or it could also mean the kind of depth that comes from knowing someone for a very long time, and having learned to trust them implicitly; there may not be intense feelings about this person all the time, but you know they have your back, and you can count on them to be there for you.They are the people that you think of as a permanent part of your intentional family.
Sexual relationships where there is a deep emotional connection are also included.
There are many other benefits as well, but to my mind, this is the most important.
Another reason people practice polyamory is that they are big-hearted people who simply love *lots* of other people, intensely.
This can happen especially when people are involved in an “open network” type of polyamory.
It means that each person knows the general parameters of the relationship styles that they have chosen to be involved with.
It is just as OK *not* to be sexual with others as it is to be sexual with them.