Is Polyamory Instinctual?


New member
Okay, I'm not sure the title here really got my point across, but, here's what I'm pondering. My sister and I were having a conversation yesterday about polyamory because I had just come out recently to her and my mother, and I was looking for a way to bring up my new partner (a close friend who is almost like a family member, but, I digress). Anyway, we were talking about how it's weird that people act like loving more than one person at a time is impossible or totally 100% immoral when we see it around us literally everywhere. Come on, how many teenagers have you heard whining about the fact that they're dating one person but have feelings for someone else? How many books and movies and TV shows have love triangles (or even like, love octagons. Yes, Shakespeare, I'm looking at you, Othello turned into a hot mess with all of the supposed affairs and such by the end)? We were discussing the fact that, in polyamory, people acknowledge the truth that, yes, you can love more than one person, you can have a healthy and solid relationship with more than one person, etc. So, I guess that, basically, our theory is that polyamory is really very natural and what we're instinctually inclined to do, but, societal values have taught us that monogamy is the one and only proper way to go about things, has labeled us with nasty names like "sluts" and questioned our commitments to each other (not that infidelity doesn't exist but, it's NOT poly), and most people are too ashamed when that instinct arises and won't open up due to the social stigma. I was wondering if anyone had any other opinions or interesting thoughts to add to this.


New member
There have been other threads along these lines, about whether polyamory is something you *do* or something you *are.*

Personally, I don't think everyone is "instinctually polyamorous" any more than I think everyone is instinctually monogamous. I believe that those are romantic orientations that might be as hard-wired as sexual orientation or gender identity, while at the same time some people might *be* one but *act* the other. For example, I've always *been* polyamorous, but because I didn't know it was a thing until a couple years ago, I always *acted* monogamous until then.

At the same time, there are some people who might have "crushes" on someone other than their partner, or might be attracted to someone else, but would not be able to sustain more than one romantic relationship. Hence cheating, leaving one partner for another, etc.

It's a continuum.


Official Greeter
Methinks the book "Sex at Dawn: how we mate, why we stray, and what it means for modern relationships," by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá, merits a mention in this thread. Great book, I highly recommend it. It supports what you're suggesting here, vansername.

While some people are probably instinctually inclined towards monogamy, I expect the apparent numbers to be skewed due to the favoritism society and its conditioning extend toward monogamy.


New member
People cheating or creating threesome dramas is not poly. and I am glad it is not!

Is falling for more than one person natural? Sure.

Is it natural to want to protect a new couplehood? sure.

Are there many ways to practive love, sexuality and raising children around the world and is western monogamy not the only option? yes.

Have we no idea what people will prefer, until they have realistic choices? yep.


New member
I am a big fan of poly on more than a "well, it's nice to be able to openly love more than one person" level.

(My) principles of polyamory are reflected in what I consider to be the ideal or utopian form of society. (Similar to the nation of Pala in "The Island" by Aldous Huxley)

They are present in what I consider to be good parenting, being a good friend and other platonic or familial relationships.

I think Buddhism and the principles of non-attachment and not harming other living things are very poly in nature.

To me, poly is about sharing and cooperation.

Mono (IMO) is about competition and acquiring a good life (wife?) for yourself and letting others fend for themselves. (for the most part, not necessarily in an overtly or extremely aggressive negative way. Example: Less like Darth Vader and the Evil Empire, more like Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man character.)

I think "instinctively", humans are on a range and environment (nurture vs. nature) has a massive effect on our development and values. The values of poly appeal to me, whereas the values of mono do not.

I am also quite turned off by the aspects of jealousy and insecurity that are often nurtured by "healthy" mono relationships, whereas a "healthy" poly relationship uses jealousy and insecurity as a red flag to show what needs attention to eliminate or reduce said feelings.


Human beings, as a species, are NOT designed for monogamy. That's a completely and utterly social construct.

However, just because we, as a species are designed for "other than" monogamy... doesn't mean each individual is "mentally programmed" for it from birth.

I liken it to the following:
We all have a "relationship corridor" within ourselves. each corridor is lined, on both sides, with an infinite number of doors. Each door representing the possibility of a romantic and/or physical relationship.

Where we differ is how and when and if those doors can open.

this first group examines who a person can have a relationship with-
For some people, only the doors of the opposite sex will open.
For some people, only the doors of the same sex will open.
For some people, all the doors will open.

this second group examines how many people at a time a person can have a relationship with-
For some people (of any of the first group), they can only open one door at a time.
For some people (of any of the first group), they can open multiple doors at the same time.
For some people (of only the "all doors will open" group), they can only open one door of each sex at a time.

Everyone falls into one of each of the two groups.

What society does in it's programming of us as we develop is it tries (and often succeeds) at forcing us to only open one door at a time... even if we are capable of opening more.


New member
Interesting question.

I have fallen in love with several people all my life, but it took me so long to understand what was happening and how I wanted to deal with it. I don't think it is impossable for me to live monogamously, in fact I have done it. But poly serves me better.

My husband also falls in love very easily, but has more or less resigned to that he will not find another suitable partner than me.

My boyfriend was always very open to the idea of love - in theory. In practice he was fucking around,half having fun, half being bored. And when he met me he was so happy and scared.

They are my family. I don't need anything else but them. well, perhaps a cat and a kid or two. But living like this feels so natural now.
It is an interesting thing, isn't it.

I'd go further than this statement.
Human beings, as a species, are NOT designed for monogamy. That's a completely and utterly social construct.

This is just my opinion. I have nothing to back it up beyond observations from within my own life but I suspect that it is committed, romantic, marriage-like relationships that are not a thing that human beings are designed for. I think that those, not monogamy, are the social construct.

I think that's why there are so many forums about how to have those relationships and how to cope with them when they go wrong. So much written about finding a partner, dealing with being with them, keeping the relationship alive - written for poly folk, mono folk, gay folk, straight folk, trans folk, folk who don't have a label they wish to apply to themselves etc.

I think that's also why romantic relationships are so shaky - regardless of structure. If not kept going with the bonding hormones released during sex and touch or through a bond like sharing child care, they tend to fall apart. When they fall apart, the tendency is that it is not a shift in how the people relate to each other - the tendency is that it is traumatic and the people involved often don't remain in each other's lives. In fact, often, they find that they actively dislike somebody who they used to share a life with.

I suspect that solo poly is more akin to what is normal for humans. Relationships that are close but allow for growth and change - like families. Parents start of caring for children and often end up being cared for by the same children. Siblings often grow up together and then sometimes end up living far apart and rarely or never seeing each other. Or maintaining a close relationship for life. The change is expected and even if it is hard at times, people expect to go through it.

I think that all being equal, a non-partnered approach to sexual relationships is the closest that would replicate that sort of natural ebb and flow of human interaction and allow people to give and receive the most support over their lifetimes.

The thing is that to do that in a society where the social norm is to seek a life long marriage is going to be tricky.