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Jonica moved in three years ago after meeting Michael on Ok Cupid.
She describes the arrangement’s appeal as “more intimacy, less rules. The house occasionally plays host to a rotating cast of outside characters, as well—be they friends of the triad or potential love interests.
“There are no ‘shoulds.’ You don’t have to draw a line between who is a lover and who is a friend.
They’ve been “nesting partners” for 12 years, but they’ve both had other relationships throughout that time.
“There’s no one way to do polyamory” is a common refrain in “the community.” Polyamory—which literally means “many loves”—can involve any number of people, either cohabiting or not, sometimes all having sex with each other, and sometimes just in couples within the larger group.
Sarah and Michael met 15 years ago when they were both folk singers and active in the polyamorous community.
When critics decry polys as escapists who have simply “gotten bored” in traditional relationships, polys counter that the more people they can draw close to them, the more self-actualized they can be.
In the course of her research, Sheff met one couple in which the man was as “as kinky as a cheap garden hose.” “It didn’t do it for [his wife], the whole kink thing,” Sheff told me.
“Growing up, I never understood why loving someone meant putting restrictions on relationships,” Michael said.“What I love about polyamory is that everything is up for modification,” Sarah says.Polyamory overlaps somewhat with geek culture, such as cosplay, or the kink world, such as BDSM.Many couples who become interested in polyamory start by looking for a single, bisexual woman to add to the relationship.When I met Jonica Hunter, Sarah Taub, and Michael Rios on a typical weekday afternoon in their tidy duplex in Northern Virginia, a very small part of me worried they might try to convert me. And so are Sarah and whomever she happens to bring home some weekends. Jonica is 27, with close-cropped hair, a pointed chin, and a quiet air.All three live there together, but they aren’t roommates—they’re lovers. Sarah is 46 and has an Earth Motherly demeanor that put me at relative ease.
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Polys differentiate themselves from swingers because they are emotionally, not just sexually, involved with the other partners they date.