Need fulfillment in polyamorous relationships

J Sex Res. 2014;51(3):329-39. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2012.742998. Epub 2013 Mar 29.


Polyamory is characterized by simultaneous consensual romantic relationships with multiple partners. Polyamory allows individuals to fulfill their relationship needs with multiple romantic partners, yet researchers have not identified how having needs met in one romantic relationship may be related to relationship outcomes in a concurrent relationship. Polyamorous individuals (N=1,093) completed online measures of need fulfillment, relationship satisfaction, and commitment for two concurrent romantic relationships. Participants reported high levels of need fulfillment and satisfaction in both relationships. Need fulfillment with one partner negatively predicted approximately 1% of the variance in relationship satisfaction with the other partner; however, there was no association between need fulfillment with one partner and commitment to the other. Generally, the findings suggest that polyamorous relationships are relatively independent of one another. This study provides initial evidence that polyamory may be a viable and fulfilling alternative way of conducting intimate relationships.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Young Adult