How Does Polygamy Work Sexually?

One of the most common questions we get asked is "how does polygamy work sexually?". People live polygamous lifestyles for a variety of reasons so there are many answers to that question. We'll discuss the most popular sexual dynamics and you will see how the answers are as varied as the people involved.

A polygamous throuple sleeping.

Mormon Polygamy

Although Mormon polygamy is the least common form found around the world, it is what receives most of the media attention in the United States.

In Mormonism, plural marriage is practiced for religious reasons rather than chosen out of a desire to live the lifestyle. Generally, the man has semi-individual relationships with the women, who commonly have separate houses (though not always). How sex works in Mormon polygyny can vary greatly and is always kept behind closed doors.

The image that is usually presented is of the husband having individual relationships with his wives, usually alternating nights that he spends with them. At the same time, from candid conversations with polygamous Mormons, I can say that the truth can be much more wild with multiple women being involved at the same time or with each other.

Even with something that seems as strict as Mormon plural marriage, there is a lot of variation in how those involved live their lives. Many times, the more strict the outward appearance is, the more variation you will find behind the curtain.

Polygamy with Bisexual Sister Wives

Those new to the subject of polygamy may be wondering if sister wives ever sleep together. Polygamy with bisexual sisterwives is most common sexual dynamic but receives the least media attention. Perhaps this lack of visibility is because bisexual wives are seen as being more scandalous by shows like Seeking Sister Wife on TLC and documentaries that only show a certain type of polygamous relationship. But, it seems strange in an era of LGBT rights that bisexual women would be seen as objectionable to show on TV.

bisexual sister wives with their husband

There are fewer rules and boundaries with bisexual polygamous relationships and generally less jealousy when polygamist wives sleep with each other. Everyone is usually sleeping in the same bed, having sex together or individually, and truly living more intertwined lives. This removes a lot of potential jealousy as everyone is involved, no one is feeling left out, and everyone has a relationship with the other spouses.

From a monogamous viewpoint, this can sound a bit wild, and it can be, but most of the time it's just three people having sex in the context of a committed relationship. And it's the sex and intimacy that brings them closer to each other.

The bond in these instances is usually the strongest possible.

Christian Polygamy

Christian polygamy (Non-Mormon) is rarely talked about but is increasingly common. Sexually, Christian and Mormon polygyny have a lot in common. Outside of the bedroom, it appears to be more puritanical and conservative. Behind closed doors, the husband may have multiple individual sexual relationships with his wives or everyone may be sexually involved with each other.

In Christian or Mormon relationships, sexuality is usually kept quite private. So, even though it may get quite wild in private, the sister wives will usually remain quite reserved in public.

When plural marriage is pursued for religious reasons, rather than simply by choice, it's easy for the participants to feel like they are supposed to follow certain norms of society or of their religion. This can lead to feeling boxed in, and it's common for this to be released sexually, one way or another.

Swinger Polygamy

Polygamy among swingers is surprisingly rare. It happens, but polygamous relationships are centered around commitment and building a life together, which is not what swinging represents. Even when a swinger couple finds a consistent partner, it's nearly always purely recreational for all involved.

In rare instances, you do have swingers that want a more permanent relationship in addition to their normal recreational sex. Or, something unexpected develops between play partners.

In these cases, all the partners in the polygamous relationship are swingers and continue with that lifestyle.

Although other polygamists recognize their right to live how they want, their lifestyle does not have a lot in common with other types of polygamy.

Polyamorous Polygamy

There are a lot of differences between polyamory and polygamy. Polyamory is most similar to swinging or open relationships but with emotional support that usually ends in disaster. Partners may be semi-monogamous with their partners or totally open sexually.

Polyamory is usually pursued for political and ideological reasons, and sexual dynamics usually follow the same idealogy. It is not unusual for the initial male and female couple to have multiple boyfriends and girlfriends each. Interestingly, polyamorous relationships usually involve only two people having sex at a time and not involving their "nesting" partner.

This is truly polygamy in name only but is worth mentioning as the terminology can become confusing when used incorrectly.


Like every relationship, what happens sexually depends entirely on the people involved. Some people prefer having separate, almost monogamous, relationships while others enjoy sex as a group regularly and find that it brings them closer.

If you are considering polygamous dating, be sure to follow what is right for yourself and your partners without getting too caught up with how the world will judge your sexuality. It's ultimately a matter of your own happiness and that is what should truly matter.

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