How does polygamy work

More than two: that's behind the term polygamy

Nowadays in our society there are a number of forms of relationships apart from monogamy. Even if one might generally believe that the monogamous relationship between two people is still the most common type of partnership: The front of the exclusive lovers is increasingly crumbling.

Other relationship models, such as polyamory, open relationships and also polygamy, are forms of relationships practiced alongside monogamy. And the majority of Germans have long since doubted that humans are suitable for monogamy. According to YouGov, only one in four believes that humans are inherently monogamous.

So what is behind said relationship models? Is polygamy the same as polyamory? Here is the most important information:

What is polygamy?

Polygamy describes marriage with multiple partners. The word polys comes from the Greek and means "much", gamos means "marriage". That is why the whole thing is often called polygamy or plural marriage. There is also the term bigamy. In that case the marriage does not consist of two spouses, but one person has two marriages.

A person does not always have to be officially married to two people, polygamy can also mean that one has two marriage-like relationships, that is, having sex together and living together.

There are also social reasons for the fact that there are countries that accept and socially recognize plural marriage. In some countries, for example, a woman is only covered if she is married. Your financial existence is also secured as a second or third woman. Widowed women or sisters or cousins ​​of a wife who have remained unmarried are often married and thus also cared for.

Is polygamy allowed in Germany?

In Germany, neither polygamy nor double marriage (bigamy) is allowed.Paragraph 1306 of the German Civil Code prohibits this. Anyone who ignores this risks even a prison sentence of up to three years.

It becomes more difficult when someone works in several marriages already concluded abroad lives and then moves to Germany. Therefore one has to differentiate that although it is forbidden in Germany to get an additional marriage, it is not forbidden to live in an already existing polygamy that was concluded abroad.

In which countries is polygamy allowed?

There are, however 40 countries where polygamy is allowed or tolerated. On the one hand, there are some countries in Africa, such as Swaziland, Kenya and South Africa, and some countries in the Arab and Asian regions. So King Mswati III. Swaziland currently has 14 wives and 30 children.

in the Islam According to the Koran, men are allowed to have up to four wives. Women, on the other hand, are not allowed to do that. Nevertheless, polygamy is by no means practiced in every Muslim country.

VIDEO: Inquiry: Can an open relationship work?

Video from the editorial team

Polygamy vs. polyamory

Polyamory is different from polygamy. Because this is about free love, in other words: about several love relationships that are led parallel to each other. And in the knowledge of all those involved. But not everyone involved necessarily has to have several partners. So a man can also be with a woman who has another love affair, but he himself can be monogamous.

The basis of a polyamorous partnership is the agreement that falling in love with others and other love relationships on the side are OK in order not to restrict the freedoms of the other. Ideally, there is no such thing as jealousy or possessiveness. In contrast to polygams, however, polyamores are about love relationships, not directly about multiple marriages or similar relationships.

Also read: Polyamory: Can you love several people at the same time?

Polygamy vs. open relationship

Also one open relationship is not with polygamy to be confused. Because this is all about one thing: being able to have sex and passion with others without betraying your own partner. Both relationship partners are allowed to deal openly with their sexuality and to live it out.

However, the open relationship also means that you have a solid core relationship. Everything else is more like one-night stands or affairs. Often a third person is searched for sex together or a swinger club is visited. However, if more of the sex contacts that are ongoing at the same time and real feelings come along, it's just polyamory again.

More on this: Open relationship: total trust or just a license to cheat?

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Small definition of terms:

Polyamory means that someone has several love relationships at the same time and everyone involved knows about it and accepts it. However, this does not mean that everyone involved inevitably has to have several partners.

polygamy means that someone has a marriage or a marriage-like relationship with more than one person at the same time. This can be a man with several women or a woman with several men.

bigamy means that someone has two marriages at the same time. There are two sub-names, depending on which gender it is. Namely:

Polygyny means that a man marries several wives or has several marriage-like relationships with women.

polyandry means that a woman has several husbands or has several marriage-like relationships with men.