Polyamory: relationship identities from sex to feelings

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‘Loving Many’: Polyamorous Love, Gender and Identity

Now published here.

António Fernando Cascais

Daniel Cardoso


In times of changing sexualities and identity politics, some people are changing the way they define relationships, from sex-related words, and to feelings-related words. Polyamory, meaning literally “loving many”, is one such case. Polyamory makes sex a peripheral subject in defining a relationship, but the original referential is still there: monogamy as a normative institution, against which polyamory stands. Love, here, takes the grand-stand and becomes the fundamental source of difference from other behaviours portrayed as being more sexualized and less about the feelings and emotions. The ideal of polyamory is also closely related to the idea of confluent love and a pure relationship, both concepts created by Giddens. From the analysis of e-mails exchanged during 2009 in alt.polyamory, the first mailing list ever about polyamory (and one of the birth-places of the word), we attempt to analyse the ways in which polyamorists talk about themselves and how they perceive polyamory by welcoming and interacting with newcomers to the mailing list, and how love is understood and conceptualized in here. In denying a more traditionalist and romantic/binary approach to love, a reconceptualization of what love is needs to be formulated and argumentatively supported. Also, since polyamory is portrayed as a more feminist-oriented view of love, gender and gender’s relation to feelings and intimate relationships are also put into question and made problematic in these messages. In all of this, the intelligibility of this new identity and its non-normative aspects interact with different narratives of love, emotion and gender in ways to be explored in this paper.



Professor Auxiliar na Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias e Professor Auxiliar Convidado na Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas da Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

Lecciona actualmente:

  • História do Jornalismo (ULHT)
  • Sociologia dos Meios de Comunicação (ULHT)
  • Jornalismo de Investigação (ULHT)
  • História e Estudo da Sexualidade Humana (ULHT)
  • Interação e Comunicação (ULHT)
  • Comunicação e Ciências Sociais (FCSH - NOVA)
  • Media e Sociedade (FCSH - NOVA)


Leccionou já:

  • Ética Sócio-Profissional (ULHT)
  • Sociologia da Comunicação (ULHT)
  • História dos Meios de Comunicação (ULHT)
  • Métodos de Pesquisa e de Investigação (ULHT)
  • Sociologia (INP)

Organização de eventos

Organização / co-organização de:

Apoio à organização de:

  • 2º European Geographies of Sexualities. 2013. Lisboa
  • 2ª Conferência Nacional EU Kids Online 2. 2011. Lisboa.
  • 1ª Conferência Nacional EU Kids Online. 2009. Lisboa.
  • Congressos 6º SOPCOM/8º LUSOCOM/4º IBÉRICO. 2009. Lisboa.
  • Seminário Luso-Brasileiro - "Censura, Ditadura e Democracia". 2008. Lisboa.
  • Encontro Anual da RN18 da ESA. 2008. Lisboa.
  • ...

Na Comissão Científica de:

  • III Jornada de Estudos de Género FLUL. 2016. Lisboa.
  • Colóquio sobre António Variações. 2017. Coimbra.
  • Conferência de Ciências e Artes dos Videojogos 2017. Lisboa.
  • Play2Learn. GamiLearning Conference. 2018. Lisboa.
  • Género e Media": Desafios de Pequim + 25. 2020. Portugal