Guest Post on Pheromones in Polyamory from Jack Wristen


Do Pheromones Play a Role in Polyamorous Families?

Polyamory can be a difficult concept to navigate when you are fairly new to the idea or you have just begun to realize that you personally may be polyamorous. Many of us have been conditioned to accept the idea that monogamy is the standard to which we should hold our romantic endeavors, when in reality; polyamory is becoming more accepted in our present society. According to a March 2015 Gallup poll, tolerance for “polygamy” has reached 16 percent of the population of the United States. While the term polygamy is not usually an accurate blanket term for the numerous types of polyamorous and open relationships that we find between people currently, it does give a good indication that there has been a shift in what we picture in a conventional family setting.

Polyamory serves as a type of arrangement that may benefit those who practice it emotionally, sexually, and financially, depending upon who you ask. Many people who identify as polyamorous have different rules and boundaries in their relationships, and the types of poly arrangements that we see vary, from Kitchen Table Polyamory to Parallel Polyamory. According to, there are at least seven different types of arrangements that fall under the umbrella of polyamorous relationships. The question in this situation would be what type of arrangement would work best for me, if any?
There is no definitive answer for this question, because each individual’s needs in a relationship vary. One family, for example, may have initially been a monogamous pairing that agreed to co-parent while opening their relationship to new romantic partners. In other instances, some couples may take a third partner who needs financial assistance, groupings come together with no couple basis, or people who are “solo polys” date a range of folks but do not take on a primary partner. Polyamorous families can originate from a number of relationships-whether the relationship satisfies a sexual, emotional, or financial need. While these are all valid reasons for looking into developing polyamorous families, there is still a large number of Americans (56%) who are uncomfortable with the idea of any arrangement other than monogamy, according to a study from 2016. So what has been the driving force in this cultural shift, other than the aforementioned benefits? What factors play a role in the decision to consider polyamorous families?
The truth is that we have to consider a number of possibilities when it comes to an individual’s preference in romance and relationships. Our attraction to other people can be explained by a number of social factors-ethics, values, goals for the future, but does biology play a larger role in who we find attractive and why? According to Bettina Pause, a psychologist at Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf (H.H.U.), a lot of our human interactions may be influenced by chemo signals. Chemo signals, or the pheromones that we put out, not only impact our sexual desires, but our platonic interactions with other mammals. This would mean that pheromones not only affect our sexual and romantic pairings-they affect the entire family dynamic. There are a number of things that could impact the decision to switch to a polyamorous family model, so is it possible that we have not examined the full role science plays in the functionality of polyamory? Hopefully we will find out in the future as scientists continue to study the impact of pheromones and how polyamorous families form and fare across time.



Jack Wristen is the webmaster and editor of  When Jack is not blogging about pheromones and reviewing different products on the pheromone market, he enjoys camping with family and friends and riding his dune buggy across the sand dunes.

Psychology Today: Why Do People Choose Polyamory?



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