EXPLAINER: What is polyamory — sexual orientation of BBNaija’s Hermes?

By Genevieve Aningo

Big Brother Nigeria (BBNaija) season seven housemate, Chibueze Iyele Desire Okoebor simply known as Hermes, recently revealed that he is that he is polyamorous.

He explained that he is in a fulfilling relationship with two women of different races and both women are aware of each other.  He adorned both women as amazing queens.

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The Delta state born expressed, “the template of the partnership relationship I have with my partners’ is called generally a polyamorous relationship”. 

Hermes lauded that his affair gives him and his women freedom to do whatever they desire even though they are not single.

‘’But the kind of polyamorous relationship that attracts me to my partners is such that the three of us have the same freedom”, he added during the show’s unveiling on July 24th

Likewise, another recent rave of this affair was in 2021 when Willow Smith daughter of famous Hollywood couple — Will Smith and Jada Pinkett revealed that she is polyamorous during the family’s show — Red Table Talk. Willow said she is into it because of the freedom such a relationship brings. 

Definition and history 

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Polyamory has two syllables ‘Poly’ and ‘amor’. While ‘Poly’ has a Greek root meaning ‘many’, ‘amor’ is from Latin root meaning ‘love’. By implication, polyamory is literally many loves. 

For one to be Polyamorus, it entails the individual has multiple partners at the same and all multiple partners are aware of one another.  Polyamory is a team relationship with more than two partners with mutual knowledge of all partners.

Polyamory is an ethical and consensual non-monogamy affair. It is a shared love among partners at the same time with consent and the right to add more partners if desired. However a polyamory relationship can grow into Polyfidelity. That is when all the partners involved in the affair decide not to add to their numbers. In essence the access to include more partners in the polyamorous relationship becomes closed and the multiple partners concentrate on themselves. 

The Polyamorous relationship was promoted in the 19th century by the Oneida Community,  New York. Regardless, this type of affair already existed in 1960’s and 1970’s during the sexual liberation movement and belief in free love. The word Polyamory was first published in 1990 by Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart.

On September 14th 2006, the word featured in the Oxford English Dictionary.  One of the renowned publications is ‘The Ethical Slut: a practical guide to polyamory, open relationships and other adventures’’ by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy in 1997 and ‘More Than Two: a practical guide to ethical polyamory’ by Eve Rickert and Franklin Veaux in 2014. 

According to research there are 9 types of Polyamory relationship.

Vee:  in vee type, there are three partners but only one person is involved with the other two partners sexually. For example, John is dating Jessica and jennnifer and has sex with Jessica and Jennifer but none of the females are getting under the sheets.  

Traid: here all three partners are sexually involved with each other

Quad: a quad is a relationship of four partners romantically involved. These four persons can be individuals or a couple pairing with another couple

Hierarchial: In hierarchical type, there is a lead person where all other partners are loyal to and submit to in other areas as sex, finance , property etc. John may have multiple of 10 partners (male or female) who are aware of their affair with john as the primary focus

Non-hierarchical: There is equal right to decision, commitment and goal in this type. All partners collectively decide and control the goal of the affair.

Solo: call the solo polyamorous an agent. He or she has no commitment to any polyamorous circle formed but willing to exit and join with anyone who shares same belief

Kitchen table: This is a family structure of the polyamarous affair. Here all multiple partners of the individuals involved in the polyclue support one another and hang out in public settings. There is communal concern for everyone’s partner.  

Parallel: this is the opposite of Kitchen table. Every member of the polyclue is just concerned with their own partner

Mono-poly: sometimes a polyamorous individual may be in a relationship with someone who believes in monogamous affair. So while the polyamorous individual still has the right to explore other persons, the monogamous individual does not but still enjoys the affair. 

Thoughts 

This revelation by Hermes created a buzz because such a relationship style is not a norm, even if practiced by a few it is left in the dark. Though this concept of relationship is not new in western culture, it is foreign to Nigerians.

Nigerian culture is acusstomized to monogamy and polygamous because the dominant religions; Christianity and Islam promote both respectively. It is scary to determine the influence this revelation would have on Nigerian youths especially on the millennials. Social media is a huge influential tool and this may birth more of this practice in the country.

Many may jump on this practice as it considers cheating in a monogamous affair acceptable. On the other hand, Polyamory   gives equal rights to both sexes to have many affairs with any gender.

It is stripping the difference between polygamous, polyandry, gay, lesbian and bisexual practices. I wonder if monogamous relationships would still be preserved in the long future. 

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