7 Things You Didn’t Know About Polygamy

Jul 1 '2021, 1:36 PM | By Chris

Polygamists face a wide variety of stereotypes and assumptions from society. In order to understand the poly lifestyle, it’s important to learn more about it. That includes facts about polygamy as well as learning what’s not true about it. 

This post contains the top things most people don’t know about all things polygamy. So whether you’re new to polygamy or just interested in learning more about it, read on!

1. U.S. Moral Acceptance of Polygamy Has Increased 400%

In 2003, Gallup - a global analytics firm - first included polygamy in its "moral acceptability" section of the Values and Beliefs poll. That year, approval of polygamy in the United States was 7 %. However in the year 2006, public opinion on polygamous marriage took a sharp downturn, and just 5% of the population could describe it as “morally acceptable.” 

Then, Big Love premiered on HBO, followed by TLC's Sister Wives in 2010. In 2011, approval jumped to 11% which led to some speculation that some people just needed something like a television series to help them better understand polygamy dating and kill any mental blocks they had toward the lifestyle. It has steadily increased since then, with the acceptance of polygamy hitting 20% in 2020. This means it’s increased by 400% in 15 years.

2. Kody Brown Helped Decriminalize Polygamy in Utah

Those familiar with the reality show Sister Wives were used to hearing about Kody Brown working to reform his family's roles and relationships, but were pleasantly surprised to see him working to reform legislation, too. After being investigated for bigamy by Utah prosecutors, polygamist Kody Brown protested Utah's laws against polygamy. Though he failed in his initial endeavor, he continued to advocate for legal reform since then.

Since then, Brown and his wives became the face of polygamy advocacy, pushing for the Utah legislation to be passed for several years. It even became a plot point on several episodes of Sister Wives. One example of their advocacy was their participation in the “March for Liberty” on February 10, 2017, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to change laws surrounding poly marriage. In March 2020, the governor of Utah signed Senate Bill 102 into law, which allows a person to have multiple, consenting spouses at the same time and not be subject to felony charges.

3. Polygamists Aren’t Always Mormon

Polygamy was outlawed in all United States territories in 1862. At the time, Mormons were the main group of people who practiced plural marriage as a result gained property dominance in the Utah Territory. Basically, polygamy was outlawed because the government felt the Mormon church had too much control over land in Utah. In order to gain ownership of their assets back, the Mormon church officially discontinued the practice of plural marriage by 1890. 

However, existing plural marriages weren’t dissolved and this portion of the Mormons broke away and became what we know today as Mormon Fundamentalists. Some of them also fled to Canada and Mexico, who eventually also outlawed polygamy. This explains why the assumption in North America is that all polygamists are Mormons or vice versa, but what many don’t realize is the fact that there is a strong divide between fundamentalists and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. So while Mormons may have originally introduced the lifestyle here, that was in the 1800s. Polygamy has since been modernized, so there are no requirements (other than all partners being consenting adults) to become a polygamist!

4. Polygamous Marriages Don’t Have a Hierarchy

In the early days of polygamy, being the first wife (or husband) in a polygamous marriage meant you had considerable authority and influence over every other spouse that was added to your husband's household. Though this isn’t the case today, a common misconception is that there’s a certain “ranking” for each sister wife. Sometimes people think the first wife gets all the perks, others think it’s the newest one. 

The truth is, there is no hierarchy in modern poly relationships. Just like a two-person marriage, it’s up to the people in the relationship to create their own dynamics. Each person may have their own role or area of responsibility, but it’s not decided based on how long they’ve been in the family.

5. There Are 2 Forms of Polygamy

Polygamy is usually associated soley with a man having sister wives. Though that’s the most common form of polygamy, it’s not the only one. In fact, there are three different polygamous lifestyles. 

The most-known sect of polygamy is polygyny, which is when a husband has multiple wives at the same time. The opposite of that is polyandry, where a woman has multiple husbands simultaneously.  Polyandry is much more rare than polygyny for a variety of reasons.

6. Cheating Exists in Polygamous Relationships

A common misconception is that polygamists and polyamorous people alike are essentially just enabling themselves to cheat on their partners. Or, in other words, that cheating doesn’t exist. We get it - when polygamists are ready to expand their family, they begin dating. However, poly dating is not as casual as monogamous dating is, as weird as that may sound. 

That’s because polygamists are dating to marry. While there’s of course a more casual beginning phase of going on a few dates and getting to know one another, if a polygamist can see the person they’re dating becoming their spouse and joining their family, they’ll progress toward that path quicker than “normal.” The other partners are aware of their spouse dating, though, and usually have boundaries set in place that everyone’s comfortable with. So if those boundaries are broken, it’s safe to say anyone - including a polygamist - would consider that cheating.

7. Polygamy Dating is More Convenient Than You Think

If you’re interested in finding a sister wife or otherwise becoming a polygamist, poly dating is not as out of reach as you may think. In fact, you can do it right from your phone! All you have to do is find the polygamy dating app or website for you.

At Sister Wives, we believe love is love and pride ourselves on giving people a way to find it. We also provide the tools and resources you need to learn more about polygamy dating and the poly community as a whole. Whatever stage of your journey you’re on, we’re here to help!

Published By: Christopher Alesich 

Matchmakers Inc: Sisterwives.com


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