Dr. Elisabeth Sheff is one of a handful of global academic experts on polyamory, and the foremost academic expert on children in polyamorous families. Specializing in diversity and underserved populations, Sheff is an expert witness, relationship consultant, public speaker, and author. Her first book,  The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships and Families (2014 hardback and ebook, 2015 paperback and audiobook), details Sheff’s findings from the first 15 years of the Polyamorous Families Study. Stories from the Polycule: Real Life in Polyamorous Families (2015), Sheff’s second book, is an edited collection of stories from people in polyamorous families. Sheff’s third book, When Someone you Love is Polyamorous: Understanding Poly People and Relationships, is a brief introduction to polyamory using empirical evidence to start a conversation.

With a PhD in Sociology, Sheff is a pioneer of the academic study of polyamory. Sheff has also published over 20 peer reviewed articles and chapters in academic journals and books. Dr. Sheff has taught at the University of Colorado, University of Montana, Georgia State University, Oglethorpe, and Emory University.

Dr. Sheff has given scores of radio, podcast, print, and television interviews with sources from The New York Times,  ABC News and CNN to The AtlanticNew York and Shape magazines. She has appeared on National Geographic Television’s Taboo and Sunrise, a morning show in Australia. As a blogger for Psychology Today, Sheff makes academic research easily accessible to everyone.


  1. […] Elisabeth Sheff has studied and written about poly people since the mid-1990s. She is currently working on a book […]

  2. […] Elisabeth Sheff, a sociologist who has long studied polyfolks and especially their kids, is working on The […]

  3. […] Elisabeth Sheff gehört zu den weltweit besten Experten für Polyamorie. Sie hat einen Auszug aus einem bald erscheinenden Buch veröffentlich, wie polyamore Beziehungen sich verändern. Der Artikel “Failure or Transition? Redefining the “End” of Polyamorous Relationships” ist definitiv äußerst lesenwert und wurde in der Poly-Szene schon lebhaft diskutiert. […]

  4. […] One of the many interesting people that I’ve had the opportunity to meet during my journey into the world of poly organizing has been Dr. Elisabeth Scheff, “one of a handful of global experts on polyamory and the foremost international expert on children in polyamorous families” (source). […]

  5. […] Dr. Elisabeth Sheff is one of a handful of global academic experts on polyamory. She hails from Atlanta, USA and is an educational consultant and expert witness serving sexual and gender minorities. Dr. Sheff has written for publications like Psychology Today and the Boston Globe. Her book, The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships and Families has been very well received around the world. Here she shares her theory on the Fear of The Polyamorous Possibility with London Polyamory. […]

  6. […] this episode, we got to spend an hour talking with renowned polyamory researcher, Dr. Elisabeth Sheff about her new book Stories From The Polycule.  We also talked about parenting within the context […]

  7. […] To learn more, here is information from the About page of her website: […]

  8. […] co-author on the paper, says it had some of the biggest effect sizes she’s seen in her research. Elisabeth Sheff, a leading polyamory researcher who left academia for lack of grant funding, now frequently serves […]

  9. Please consider offering CEUs for the classes you teach.

    1. I do sometimes offer CEUs and it takes a lot of time and effort. If you are interested in helping me to organize an event that offers CEUs in your area, I am definitely interested in providing more CEU trainings. What kinds of CEUs do you want? In the past I have provided continuing education primarily for educators, counselors, and therapists. In the future I would like to expand that to medical personnel like nurses, physicians assistants, and doctors, as well as legal professionals. If you would like to pursue this matter, please email me at drelisheff@gmail.com.

      Thanks for reading and posting!



  10. Dr Eli .. My name is Ron Muccianti. I”m a producer for MGM. We are producing a non-airing tv pilot for a new daytime show and i’m in the process of looking for folks having a difficult time making a poly relationship work (in Atlanta or folks who live in Georgia) and we are also looking for an expert to be in the segment. Are you able to help us line up some folks to consider. What I’d love to find is folks who are dealing with jealous issues or folks where one person wants to try entering into a poly relatiionship and the otehr is very reluctant and can’t decide if they should try it out or not.. I”m on a huge tight deadline so if you get this message tonight please feel free to call me tomorrow to discuss.. I can be reached at 323 240 7359 or ronmooch312@aol.com. HOpe to hear from you.

  11. are you jewish?

    1. Kind of. My father was Jewish which means some reform Jews would count me as a Jew, but because my mother is not Jewish that means I am not a real Jew in the eyes of conservative or orthodox Jews.

  12. Hi Dr. Sheff

    I left a message on your FB page, but I’m following it up here.

    I’m a 62 yr old male who identifies as poly and I’ve been in a non-traditional open marriage with my significant other. for several years. I’ve never been in a Triad, although I came close when I was much younger.

    Long story short, over the years, I’ve taken to writing fiction, basically aimed toward digging into relationship issues between people, and have published a modest amount of novels that have received high praise from those who have read them. But the one book I’ve always wanted to write is about a fictional triad; telling a story that is relevant and non-sensational about the good, the bad and ugly things that crop up in such relationships so that people can be educated while at the same time enjoy a good story. I have found as an author, and a speaker over the years, people’s ears perk up when a good story is told, where they can identify with the characters and see that they may not be so different as them. I know there are many books about triads, but I’ve not found many books that are in the fictional story-telling realm. I think a book like this would have a good target audience as well as extending out into other genres, which would further bring this lifestyle into the public domain in an educational, yet entertaining way.

    With all that said, I was wondering if I can pick your collected experiences in Triads, so that I can put forth a story that is realistic for not only those in my audience who are in Triads but also for others who simply make assumptions and don’t see the value in such relationships as well as judging people who are in them. If you care to take a quick peak, I have a website that is based on my writing as well as other creative things I have done. rbagliere.com

    Granted, you are probably very busy, and you don’t know me, but I thought I’d take a shot here and reach out to say Hi and introduce myself. I totally understand if you decline.

    Best to you and I hope you have a great day.


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