Article: Why Do We Think Polyamory Is Only for the Rich, White and Privileged?


Active member
I found this to be a fairly interesting article on the subject that matches some of my own observations. The following quote by sex therapist and non-monogamy expert Gina Senarighi was pertinent:

In the 12 years she’s been working with CNM populations, she says she’s seen clients from all levels of income, class and privilege. “I’ve seen CEOs, politicians, celebrities, judges, lawyers, sex workers and entrepreneurs making six and seven figure incomes, and I’ve worked with baristas, students, social workers and many others living on minimum wage and/or benefits,” she explains. “It’s a total myth that CNM folks are white from a higher SES (socio-economic status).” Often, she says, that myth is informed by the stereotypes we hold about what non-monogamy looks like and our ignorance of how low SES people and POC (People of Color) might express non-monogamy in ways we’re not used to hearing about.

Why Do We Think Polyamory Is Only for the Rich, White and Privileged?
by Isabaelle Kohn


Official Greeter
More thoughts on this can be found in Polyamory and Ethnicity ... and in the book "The Polyamorists Next Door: inside multiple-partner relationships and families," by Elisabeth Sheff. Sheff does research on demographic poly tendencies, while the ethnicity thread discusses some of the possible reasons for those tendencies.


New member
I think the reason is because, I know at least in my local news, any single thing about being poly has only featured middle class white people. Also, white people are always given more leeway in the public forums for our shenanigans being part of the norm. Basically, racism.

Also, in everything I've seen in my local news have never shown a V, let alone a V that MFM. They've all been portraying things as very...idk, pure? It's all shown that everyone is sleeping in the same bed and everyone is in romantic love with everyone. It all also kinda gives the message that a MFM V would be more scandalous.


New member
Huh, this never occurred to me that this is a thing. New to this and though husband and I are arguably those things (white and privileged anyways, and while not rich, financially very stable & comfortable), but my partner is Black, and not remotely close to being either rich or privileged. :unsure:

The only thing that really comes to mind for me is that if you are lower SES, you are scrambling to just survive, and multiple relationships may be beyond your bandwidth to deal with. A Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs kind of thing.

On the other hand, my partner has never been in a polyamorous situation before this either.. and I get the feeling he finds it a relief on his end to be with someone who is not very needy. Someone he can have in his life for companionship, support, and pleasure when he has he has the time, without any demands that might take time away from the many fires he has burning in his life that he has to attend to in order to stay afloat. Someone he can be confident is fine and is less likely bring emotional upset to the table if she doesn't get predictable attention.

Race and privilege.. well.. any correlation might be stigma-related. Of course polyamory is pretty broadly stigmatized, but there may be subtle cultural differences and/or a lack of willingness to complicate your life with additional stigma when you are already low on privilege.

Privilege gives you a shield, even if it's not a perfect one.

Like open homosexuality has been slower to come to light in less-privileged groups or in cultures more broadly painted with conservative social norms than it was in white communities, etc. And certainly polyamory has more of a choice factor to it than homosexuality does, so if poly is going to bring you additional stigma you'd rather not add to your pile of existing stigma and challenge, it's a lot easier than homosexuality to just push aside.


New member
It sounds like someone is over thinking this. To me and my wife, polyamory is simply a sex life that three, or more, people have chosen as their preferred arrangement.

I have known many poly trios. None of them were high on the SES scale. Most of them were a white/black mix.

Although my wife and I have moved up the SES scale, we certainly didn't start there. Both of us grew up in dirt poor families.