Not so long ago, the types of relationships—and roles within relationships—that women could have were limited. Monogamy ruled supreme, and men were the head of the household. Over time, as women began pushing back against the patriarchy and demanding equal rights in society, at home, and in the workplace; the rules of relationships and the traditional approach to monogamy began to change.

Once shamed for being single at the ripe old age of 25, women began waiting for marriage and pursuing careers. For those who followed in the footsteps of their female ancestors, the classic marital arrangement quickly began to rearrange itself. Men slowly relinquished their seats at the head of the table as both parents entered the workforce and took their rightful places equally positioned across from one another for the evening meal.

Dads learned to change diapers, and moms learned to ascend the cooperate ladder while single women began exploring their sexuality outside of committed relationships. It only makes sense that as the roles of men and women evolved, so would the relationships they forged.

The rise of non-monogamous relationships

Today, women are enjoying more sexual liberation than they’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing before. Additionally, there are new types of non-monogamous relationships on the rise that are becoming more prevalent and accepted by the masses. As a result, women are beginning to explore their options when it comes to commitment, love, and sex.

While having relationship options is exciting for women who are interested in exploring this area of their lives, it can also be very confusing. The various types of relationships available, and the “rules” of each can seem unclear at first glance.

In an effort to help bring some clarity to the most common types of relationships found today, we’ve created a quick and dirty reference for readers. So, read on for…

10 Types of relationships women can explore


It only makes sense to start with the most well-known type of relationship. Monogamy is defined as being a form of relationship in which an individual commits to being married to only one other individual. The traditional form of monogamy often involves a lifetime commitment and a promise of sexual and emotional fidelity.


This is when there is a couple who are primarily monogamous but have certain rules to allow certain sexual and emotional contact with others outside of the relationship.  This can involve actions such as going on dates, kissing, and touching but not having sex or any sexual contact.  Many monogamish relationships stem out of long-distance relationships where the partners don’t spend much physical time together so seek out comfort with other partners.

Serial Monogamy:

types of relationships

This type of relationship doesn’t receive a whole lot of attention. Some people enjoy commitment and exclusivity but aren’t so keen on promising their whole lives to one person. They tend to participate in monogamous relationships that last for shorter periods of time. They often move on to the next monogamous relationship soon after one has ended.


The term polyamory means “multiple loves”.This form of relationship involves the practice of maintaining multiple intimate relationships with the consent of all parties. People often make the mistake of assuming polyamory is only about sex. In fact, this form of relationship focuses on building strong, committed, and lasting relationships. Polyamory rejects the idea that sexual, emotional, and commitment exclusivity are necessary for deep loving connections to develop.


Much like polyamory, a polyfidelity relationship is an intimate relationship with more than two partners. This relationship can be emotional or sexual or both and is very similar to a monogamous relationship except with more partners to share the love with. In a polyfidelity relationship, multiple partners are all committed to one another in an exclusive manner. It’s a blend of polyamory and monogamy.


The term polygamy means “multiple spouses” and is primarily embraced in heterosexual relationships. Polygamy has largely, historically consisted of one man having several wives. This is referred to as polygyny. In this type of relationship, the woman is restricted to the one husband.


another form of polygamy is called polyandry. In polyandry, women may take another spouse. This is far less common, as is the case of women taking multiple husbands (dear lord!). This article does a fantastic job of clarifying the types and degrees of polygamy.

Open Relationships:

types of relationships

There’s a lot of grey area around this type of relationship. Where polyamory has fairly clearly defined parameters and rules (there are tons of books about it) people in open relationships often vary in how they define what that means to them. Some definitions applied to the term “open relationship” claim it’s all about sex and that it involves a committed couple who allow one another to have sex outside of their commitment. But if you talk to or read stories written by people in open relationships, you’ll soon realize that the label “open relationship” is more of an umbrella term that allows couples to define their primary relationship and the other relationships they are allowed to have according to what works for them. Some people have multiple, lasting emotional and sexual relationships, while others only have spontaneous sexual encounters as they arise.


Another type of non-monogamy that is practiced by couples and singles alike. Swinging (sometimes referred to as partner swapping) is sexual activity in which partners in a committed relationship engage in sexual activities with others as a recreational or social activity. These activities often include couples inviting other couples or singles to join them or switching out partners.

Platonic Love

A platonic love relationship is an intimate romantic relationship without any need for sexual contact.  These relationships can involve one partner being A-Sexual or both being A-Sexual, obviously, this can create trying situations if one partner is not A-sexual and could involve the use of masturbation, possibly involving both partners to create some intimacy. Similarly, closeness can be created with physical closeness.

The gist of this type of relationship seems to be that it is defined by the people involved in it according to their needs and beliefs.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the types of relationships that are available for women to explore. This is a dip-your-toe-in-the-water starting point. Most women crave connection and partnership(s). Isn’t it wonderful that today we have options when it comes to finding the connections and partners that fulfill us while creating the love and sex lives we deserve?


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