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More like guidelines and a lot less like definitions.

Ethical Non-Monogamy

An umbrella term for having multiple relationships that are not monogamous, but are between people that are aware that the other person has other relationships and are consenting to these relationships. As a short hand this is often referred to as ENM.

Common forms that fall under ENM are open relationships, swingers, cuckolding, stag/vixen, hotwife/Hothusband, polyamory and many others.

These relationship types are different but everyone involved is aware of what is happening and is consenting to the situation. This is therefore considered ethical compared to when a person has multiple relationships without people knowing, which is commonly known as cheating.

Ethical vs Consensual

Consensual Non-Monogamy (CNM) is sometimes now used instead of the ENM terminology. The main reason for this is that there is an option to not be cheating and still not have everyone be fully aware of everyone. In some eyes that practice is not considered ethical and therefore should not fall under the ENM banner. This discussion includes relationship types like "Don't ask, don't tell", "100 miles rule" or "monogamish" as they may or may not fall into the ethical distinction depending on who is asked.

Because of the ambiguity of what is ethical and what is not, some people prefer to specify that it is consensual. This moves the concept away from the connection to possible different norms and values that differ from person to person and towards favoring non-monogamous relationships that are consented to by all participants.

This is now a more common term in sexology, relationship studies and gender studies due to the more specific definition.

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