What is polyamory? Defining the relationship was the main topic of conversation on a recent Red Table Talk, with twenty-year-old Willow Smith appearing on the Facebook show to openly discuss her views, explain what is polyamory and detail why she identifies as polyamorous.
Sitting down with her mother Jada Pinkett Smith and grandmother Adrienne "Gammy" Banfield Norris, Willow said: "The reasons why I actually was interested in poly was because I was introduced to it through kind of a nonsexual lens."
She continued: “With polyamory, I feel like the main foundation is the freedom to be able to create a relationship style that works for you and not just stepping into monogamy because that's what everyone around you says is the right thing to do.”
Although news is circulating about polyamorous entanglements in the wake of Willow Smith's reveal, many are still asking themselves: "Exactly, what is polyamory?" As the term comes to the forefront, we'll guide you through all of the details.
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Polyamory relationship meaning: what is a polyamorous relationship?
According to Psychology Today (opens in new tab), polyamory is considered the "consensual nonmonogamy." Essentially, it is being able to have multiple intimate relationships—sexual or simply romantic—with several parties, provided everyone is in agreement. The publication also notes that polyamory is not gender-specific.
Polyamory vs. polygamy: What are the differences?
Many are beginning to confuse polyamory and polygamy, two seemingly identical ideologies. However, there are key differences to consider. In short, polyamory is having several consensual romantic or sexual partners, whereas polygamy is the practice of having multiple spouses simultaneously.
Polyamory vs. polygamy: which one is legal?
Polyamory is legal in the United States, whereas polygamy is not legal except in the state of Utah.
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Celebrities who identify or have identified with polyamory
Previously, Bella Thorne has been involved in a polyamorous relationship with rapper Mod Sun and YouTuber Tana Mongeau.
"I don't think anybody will really understand the bonds that I share with Mod or Tana," Thorne said to Gay Times. "Yeah, we joke around about poly, but we aren't in the sense that we don't put a word, a box, or label too many things. It is what it is."
Younger star Nico Tortorella and partner Bethany Meyers have labeled their relationship as "queer polyamorous," however, they prefer not to be specific about terms.
"Most think we planned this and one day decided we would be multiple-love kind of people. We didn't. It's just the way our relationship developed over 12 years," the couple wrote in a joint essay for Them (opens in new tab).
When did polyamory gain popularity?
In 2019, the term begin to catch on more in the mainstream and many became curious about what is polyamory and what a polyamorous relationship entails.
According to Men's Health (opens in new tab), it is suspected that roughly five percent of Americans were involved in polyamorous relationships at the time and nearly 20 percent of Americans tried it. And the number was likely to grow.
Although there are many different forms a polyamorous relationship could take, it appears Willow Smith believes she is best suited to have no more than two partners. Provided there is consent, mom Jada Pinkett Smith is all for whatever makes her daughter happy.
Pinkett Smith said: "When you were like, 'Hey, this is my get down.' I was like, 'I totally get it.' Wanting to set up your life in a way that you can have what it is that you want, I think anything goes as long as the intentions are clear."
Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment.
The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos and honed in on astrology coverage within the Life vertical. She's partial to writing pieces about the next big TV obsession—anyone else impatiently waiting for "Conversations with Friends"—and keeping you up to date on new trends like the latest must-have from Zara.
Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets.
When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a new book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)
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