[...] In interviews, people in open marriages say that although it is not for everyone, it is absolutely possible for adults to be in committed, emotionally satisfying relationships with more than one person at a time.
The preferred term is polyamory, a word coined in the early 1990s in the US in part to distinguish from swinging, in which couples approach sex with other people as a joint endeavour, or arrangements in which partners are allowed to have sex with other people without romantic attachments.
"Polyamorous relationships tend to be ongoing, sustainable, emotionally bonded, committed relationships with more than one person, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved," says Anita Wagner, who says she has been in polyamorous relationships on and off for the last 15 years.
"When it works, it's wonderful. It's an abundance of love and affection and experience."
The keys to a successful, happy polyamorous relationship are up-front consent and negotiation of ground rules and boundaries, say relationship counsellors, sex educators and polyamorous couples.
"That can range anywhere from 'you can only have sex when you go on business trips and you're out of the state', to 'you can have another girlfriend but I'm the primary partner, so I come first'," says Tristan Taormino, a sex educator, writer and feminist pornographer. Read more