Polyandry: When a Woman Settles With More Than One Man

And It's More Popular Than You'd Think

#Relationships

Sat, Oct 29th, 2011 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

While some kids only have two mommies or two daddies, others have one mommy and two daddies -- or more. That's polyandry, where a woman settles with multiple men. And, according to Alex French in his fascinating article on Details.com, this practice is more popular than you'd think.

Neither Jon nor Ian is legally married to Jaiya. Both are allowed to see other women. But the three of them live a lifestyle that -- much of the time -- isn't that different from a conventional marriage. They're one of an estimated 500,000 polyamorous families in the United States. Polyamory, which literally means "many loves," usually isn't about having sex with whomever you want, whenever you want, as nonpractitioners often assume. It can also describe relationship configurations like Jon, Jaiya, and Ian's -- governed by rules, responsibilities, and expectations -- which add up to a kind of de facto polygamy. The more specific term for their arrangement is polyandry, in which multiple men are with the same woman, a far less common arrangement (both today and throughout human history) than polygyny, in which multiple women are with the same man. Jaiya, who founded a successful sex-education company, is typical of the women in polyandrous triads: intelligent, self-possessed, professionally accomplished. The men, on the other hand, have typically suffered a relationship catastrophe that prompted them to seek radical change. Jon could be speaking for any of them when he recalls, "I knew in my heart that I had to find a different way to love."

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