Words evolve. Take on new meanings. Keep the old meanings. Since I can’t actually have a conversation with you, dear reader, I am choosing to use only ONE meaning when I use certain terms, so that you know exactly what I mean. Feel free to replace any terms with ones you like best (e.g. some people like to refer to primary relationships as “anchor” relationships.)

Below is a good starting list for anyone wanting to understand kinky/polyamory:

  • Polyamory: relationship style involving multiple loves or the desire to have multiple loves (not all loves/relationships need be primary!)
  • Monogamy: a relationship style that involves only one love and one sexual partner
  • Open relationship: a relationship style that allows for multiple sexual partners, but only one romantic relationship. Person may have loving feelings towards their “outside” relationships, but there is not the same level of commitment as to, say, a boyfriend.
  • Swinging: a relationship style where both members of a couple play with others, but typically together at play parties, etc. (but no expectations of ANYTHING long term, physically, unlike an open relationship. A swinger might ALSO engage in an open relationship but they are two distinct relationship forms.)
  • Primary relationship: a spouse-like relationship that you would expect in a “typical,” healthy monogamous relationship. More than just living together, this person is as important to you as yourself (at least, if not more). You do things like the following: make life plans together, share finances, share a business, share a home/family/and/or/kids. Note: Not every relationship needs to be primary to be valuable, in fact, nobody needs one at all in my worldview. This is simply the type of relationship I am referring to with this term. I also believe that you can have multiple primary relationships, just like you can have multiple children that you love equally, if not the same (you can love each kid differently, but with the same degree of love)
  • Secondary relationship: a relationship that is clearly second in priority; typically the “girlfriend,” “boyfriend,” etc role in a primary/secondary setup, but not always. Eg: I am married to my spouse, but we have a roommate relationship and are staying together for a specific reason, such as raising our children; my girlfriend is my primary romantic partner, and my spouse has their own primary romantic partner.
  • Non primary relationship: a relationship that isn’t primary, but not necessarily secondary, either (encompasses any but primary relationships)
  • Nesting partner: Partner/person that you live with. Often also one’s primary partner.
  • NRE/ERE: New Relationship Energy, aka “honeymoon phase.” Established Relationship Energy, sometimes referred to as “Old Relationship Energy,” aka the feeling of security and love in a long term relationship
  • Kinky: exploring/part of the BDSM community; engages in the sorts of activities that polite company never mentions!
  • French vanilla life : my vanilla life is getting a little less vanilla; I wouldn’t say that my kinky and vanilla worlds completely overlap, but they are influencing; term I use when talking about how my kinky life blurs with my vanilla life
  • Compersion: when you feel happy, typically because of your partner’s happiness, but also could be happiness you feel about your friend’s/family member’s/etc’s happiness. Specifically happiness derived from something unrelated to yourself (i.e. they had a fantastic date with a new partner or they got their dream house that you might not ever see, but you are so happy for their success.)
  • Genderfluid: my way of speaking about anyone who is not strict about the binary man/male and woman/female dichotomy (I do believe in two biological sexes for the most part, which I consider to be different, though related, to gender which can be an unlimited number, since I don’t believe we’ll ever definitively come up with a comprehensive list of genders which are societally imposed/chosen). Man and male/woman and female are NOT interchangeable! Sex and gender are NOT the same thing.