What does the Bible say about polyamory?

The word “polyamory” is a compound of two words: poly, which is Greek for “many,” and amor, which is Latin for “love.” It refers to a relationship in which a person has multiple sexual partners (not necessarily at the same time, i.e., threesomes). A polyamorous relationship is supposedly distinguished from “swinging” by the idea that polyamory involves love while swinging is simply recreational/casual sex.

Polyamory has long been common in dating relationships. Recently, the idea has expanded into “open marriages.” An open marriage is a marriage in which one or both spouses are allowed to have extra-marital affairs. After all, if you truly love someone, shouldn’t you allow him/her to explore, to follow the desires of his/her heart?

In reality, polyamory is poly-lust-ory. There is nothing amor about it. Polyamory is absolutely incompatible with what the Bible says about marital love. Marital love is pure, faithful, committed, and yes, jealous. Just as God is jealous for the worship that only He is worthy of (Exodus 20:5), so should spouses be jealous of the love that should only be given to them. Advocates of polyamory warn against the tendency towards jealousy. Imagine that!

It does not matter if a spouse gives permission or even participates in the polyamorous relationships. We do not get to redefine what the Bible says is sin. The Bible clearly and consistently declares that sex outside of marriage is immoral (Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3). It is adultery, plain and simple (Exodus 20:14).

There are scientific studies claiming that polyamory is genetic. Really?! You think?! “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery” (Galatians 5:19). Of course it is genetic! Sin is hard-wired into our genetic code. We are infected with a desire for all things ungodly and immoral. But that doesn’t mean we should indulge those desires.

It should not surprise us that polyamory is increasingly being accepted in our society. It should not even surprise us that some view polyamory as compatible with marriage. Our society rejects God and His Word, and as a result, there is no authoritative standard for what marriage is. Whether it is gay marriage, polygamy, or polyamory—these are logical results of rejecting the biblical definition of marriage.

What’s next? Pedophilia? Acceptance of incest within a family? Bestiality? Some may scoff and claim those perversions will never be accepted, but I hear the same claims coming out of groups that advocate those very behaviors. “We love each other.” “It is all consensual.” “Who are you to question who and how I love?”

Increasingly, a man or woman who is committed solely to a spouse of the opposite gender is considered an alternative lifestyle. But, you know what? I’ll take it. It is an alternative to immorality and perversion. It is an alternative to fake love and disrupted intimacy. It is an alternative to the lies and deception with which the god of this world seeks to hide the truth.

"...the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:4).

S. Michael Houdmann

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What does the Bible say about polyamory?