Understanding Polyamory: What’s Compersion?

Understanding Polyamory: What’s Compersion?

If you’ve done any research on polyamory (whether you are looking to enter into poly relationships or if you are just looking to educate yourself), you may have heard the word compersion.

Compersion is the feeling of enjoyment one gets when their partner receives sexual or romantic pleasure from a different person. Compersion is a term used frequently in the poly community and is often referred to as the opposite of jealousy.

My brilliant polyamorous friend, Audrey (she is in three relationships) disagrees with this sentiment, seeing jealousy and compersion as two emotions that can be felt simultaneously. “It’s wanting your partners’ other relationships to succeed,” Audrey told me. “It’s being happy for your partner when they have a new relationship or when their other relationships are going well. People want to say it’s the opposite of jealousy, but I think you can feel compersion and jealousy at the same time.”

What I glean from this is that compersion is about feeling genuine joy for another person. It is about another person’s happiness making you happy or even turning you on. It is about being happy for your partner(s) when they find new love or enjoyable sex that does not include you.

Want to know more? Gracie X says some great things about compersion and polyamory here.


Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.