Social network sites as empowerment tools in consensual non-monogamies. The case of polyamory in Italy

Keywords: computer-mediated communication, Consensual non-monogamy, polyamory, social network sites, pure relationship, coming out

Abstract

Consensual non-monogamies, where partners agree to pursue other romantic or sexual relationships, have gained greater visibility with the advent of online communication tools. How is the diffusion of social network sites linked to the spread of consensual non-monogamous relationships? This study is based on the analysis of 22 semi-structured interviews with people who define themselves as “polyamorous” and are active members of the two biggest polyamory groups on Facebook in Italy.

The results suggest that people come to the decision to engage in non-monogamous relationships before they join online groups dedicated to this topic. Moreover, specific online groups do not constitute a privileged base from which to recruit new romantic or sexual partners. However, the availability of shared online spaces is important for “giving things a name”, making it easier to share experiences with other group members and more generally off-line, sometimes helping in coming out.

Author Biography

Luciano Paccagnella, University of Turin
Associate Professor, Department of Cultures, Politics, and Society
Published
2020-01-27
How to Cite
Paccagnella, L. (2020). Social network sites as empowerment tools in consensual non-monogamies. The case of polyamory in Italy. First Monday, 25(2). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v25i2.10126