Sex and relationships

Paws-itively Polyamorous: Redefining Relationships in the Bear World

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to navigate the world of polyamory within our community? Maybe you’ve experienced it yourself, or maybe you know friends who are in poly relationships and you still have questions. So, whether you’re considering polyamory, looking to broaden your horizons away from monogamy, or simply curious, let’s embark on this eye-opening adventure together.

Polyamory is an interesting journey that may be unfamiliar to some, but it’s one that’s worth exploring and understanding. For those who are new to the concept, polyamory is about embracing multiple loving relationships  concurrently with openness, honesty, and consent. It’s an approach to love and intimacy different from what many of us have been taught but it can be full of experiences worth living.

First let’s keep an open mind and heart. We’ll uncover the joys, hurdles, and valuable lessons that come with this less-traveled path.

As important as it is to define polyamory, it’s just as important to note that polyamory isn’t as much a strict definition as it is a diverse landscape of polyamorous relationships. Just as our community is rich in diversity, so too are the types of polyamorous connections we form. From open relationships to polyfidelity, each unique arrangement brings its own set of joys and challenges.

To better understand these experiences, I took the liberty of interviewing several bears who are or have been actively engaged in polyamorous relationships. I asked questions to these poly bear couples about what changed before and after choosing polyamory to get the inside story straight from the source. 

One partner, Joel, shared: 

“Polyamory was a wild ride for me, but it transformed my life in ways I never imagined. Before diving into this world, I was trapped in society’s expectations. However, opening up to new relationship dynamics helped me discover aspects of myself I didn’t even know existed. I started finding myself feeling the freedom to experience love whenever a new person appeared in my life. Not everyone was my cup of tea, but at least, with the understanding I have with my partner, we were both able to explore and enjoy.”

Photo Credit: Posztos/ SHutterstock.com

Another explorer of polyamory (Joan) decided to be poly after becoming recently single:

“After a disastrous relationship with a cheating ex, I knew I needed a fresh start. That’s when I decided to explore polyamory. I’ll be real with you, I knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park, but I was determined to make it work. From the get-go, I made it crystal clear to potential partners that I was into polyamory. No secrets, no games—just open, honest communication. “

Bear number 3, Ferran, said polyamory has been an “eye-opening experience”. 

“Before, my relationships felt stifled, but polyamory opened doors to deeper connections and emotional growth.”

Joel agrees:

“Staying in the polyamory scene has been a blast, and I’ve picked up some wisdom along the way. Embracing partnership as an honest way to share your stories about sexual and romantic experiences with your significant other. All that keeps me grounded and steers me clear of jealousy. Being honest, vulnerable, and reflective are my secret weapons for maintaining balance in my relationships.”

Joan also said: “I rely on the skills I’ve developed. Clear communication and boundary-setting are essential for keeping things healthy and avoiding drama. With these tools in hand, everyone grows as a person whether you’re coupled or single.”

While Ferran eventually decided he needed to get back into monogamous relationships (and that’s totally okay!), he knew he had learned something from his experience:

“After moving on from polyamory, I found myself more aware and emotionally intelligent. Open communication, setting boundaries, and self-awareness were key to keeping things healthy and avoiding toxicity. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, but I’m grateful for the lessons I learned. Now I feel I can achieve a stronger connection with my partner after experiencing what it’s like to mistakenly try to outsource kindness and care every time a couple goes through a difficult time.”

Their insights reveal the nuances of navigating polyamory and highlight the importance of clear communication, mutual respect, and empathy. Now, that we’ve heard some first hand information from people who’ve experienced polyamory, let’s discuss the vocabulary of polyamory. Keep in mind, there are an infinite amount of ways to be, and you might have a different take – the poly library is always open, so share your wisdom in the comments and help enrich our exploration!

Photo Credit: Nejron Photo/ Shutterstock.com

Triad: in this type of polyamory, poly couples decide to date other singles together, aiming for a long-term “triad” or “throuple.” Ladies open to dating couples are called “unicorns” (they’re rare and in demand!), while guys who are into it, They’re our “dragons” – magical and fierce!. We’ve explored the experience of Sisto, Andrea and Toto in a previous article 😉 

Quad: This is when poly couples date other couples together, hoping to build a lasting “quad” relationship. All partners might get intimate, or just partners of different genders – there’s no one-size-fits-all here! Romance can also exist without sex, especially if someone’s asexual or graysexual.

V-style: One person dating two others separately? It’s a V, and those partners are “metamours.” They might be BFFs without romance or never even meet.

Solo polyamory: Live alone but love freely? That’s solo poly! No relationship hierarchies, just multiple partnerships with loads of communication.

Polycule: This is everyone on your relationship map – partners, metamours, and anyone else involved! Policule partners might have polycule meetings to talk about stuff that affects the whole group.

Hierarchical polyamory: Some partners rank their relationships in order of importance. This can cause power struggles or hurt feelings. A “primary” couple might live together, share money or have kids, setting rules for “secondary” relationships.

Anchor or nesting partnerships: To avoid hierarchy, some partners call themselves “anchor” or “nesting” partners. They recognize shared commitments like a home, finances, or children but see each other as equals.

Kitchen-table poly: Picture everyone in your polycule sitting around a table, chatting openly about their relationships. Partners and even partners’ partners can talk directly and freely about requests, worries, or feelings.

Parallel poly: Sometimes metamours prefer not to interact – that’s parallel poly! In a V-style relationship, people talk to their partner about concerns, who then figures it out with their other partner.

Polyfidelity: Some poly relationships become “closed” and members practice “polyfidelity”. They agree not to pursue romantic or sexual connections outside the group. This might happen when your relationship reaches “polysaturation”, meaning there’s no time or energy for new partners.

Relationship Anarchy: No rules, labels, or hierarchy here! Relationships grow naturally between partners, focusing on trust, communication, and autonomy. Relationship anarchists can still have anchor partners they live with or share commitments.

Polyamory is not a new concept, but it’s still a brave new world for many of us. It’s been woven into the fabric of human history for centuries, even if it hasn’t always been widely accepted or understood. As members of the LGBTQ+ community, we’ve always challenged societal norms around love and relationships. Today, we explore another way we can continue to challenge those boundaries and redefine what it means to love and be loved.

No matter your relationship style, remember to keep an open mind and a compassionate heart. We’re all learning, growing, and figuring out what works best for us and the people we love. 

Writing this article has taught me – – and I hope reading it has taught you- – to never forget the power of communication, empathy, and understanding. Perhaps by embracing these core values, we can continue to redefine the boundaries of love, connection, and intimacy together – creating a more inclusive environment for all.

Latest Articles

Beltran Horisberger,

Beltran Horisberger, originally from Paraná, Argentina, immersed himself in rugby from a young age. During his university years in Buenos Aires, he came out as gay, navigating the challenges of aligning with the jock stereotype while embracing his true identity, ultimately emerging as a sports activist. Currently residing in Barcelona, Beltran wears multiple hats as an LGBTQ+ activist, journalist, gogo dancer, and content creator. His advocacy extends beyond rugby, actively contributing to Panteres Grogues in Barcelona, promoting inclusivity in sports. Beltran has served as a spokesperson for the UN's Spotlight Initiative campaign, advocating for violence-free masculinities. With a wealth of experience in LGBTQ journalism on Argentina's national TV, including hosting segments on Altavoz, he has recently co-hosted Scruff Latinamerica's Podcast. Additionally, he runs his own YouTube series, Unicornio de Troya, featuring interviews with activists and change-makers. Beltran has contributed articles on activism, body positivity, and new masculinities for digital magazines worldwide. Simultaneously, as a gogo dancer and performer, Beltran has graced stages globally, participating in iconic bear community events and international circuits in cities like Barcelona, Milan, Athens, Luxembourg, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Fort Lauderdale. Beyond dance, he engages as a BDSM performer, dragqueer , and model for body-positive fashion. Beltran leverages his diverse experiences to champion inclusivity, education, and dialogue within the LGBTQ+ community.

One thought on “Paws-itively Polyamorous: Redefining Relationships in the Bear World

  • Well this has opened my eyes more. Thanks for all the info.

Comments are closed.

×