Was Ancient Greece Polyamorous?

Ancient Greece is renowned for its contributions to philosophy, politics, and art. However, one aspect that often goes unnoticed is their approach towards sexuality and relationships.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the idea of ancient Greece being polyamorous. So, was ancient Greece really polyamorous? Let’s dive into the history to find out.

The Concept of Polyamory

Polyamory is a term that refers to the practice of having multiple romantic or sexual partners simultaneously with the consent of all involved parties. This concept has gained popularity in modern times as people are exploring new ways of engaging in relationships.

Ancient Greece: A Brief Overview

Ancient Greece was a civilization that existed from the 8th century BCE to around 600 CE. They were known for their contributions to philosophy, art, and politics. The Greeks believed in multiple gods and goddesses who controlled various aspects of life.

The Role of Sexuality in Ancient Greece

In ancient Greece, sexuality was an integral part of life. Unlike modern times, where sexual orientation is categorized into specific labels such as heterosexual or homosexual, the Greeks had a more fluid approach towards sexuality. It wasn’t uncommon for men to engage in sexual activities with other men while still maintaining a relationship with their wife or partner.

Polyamory in Ancient Greek Society

Polyamory as we understand it today did not exist as a formal concept in ancient Greece. However, they did have certain customs and traditions that allowed for multiple partners within a relationship.

For instance, it was common for wealthy men to have wives as well as concubines and mistresses. These women would live together in the same household and were often treated equally by their male partner.

Moreover, there were instances where women had multiple partners as well. The concept of heterae, or courtesans, existed in ancient Greece. These women were trained in the art of seduction and were hired by wealthy men for their companionship and sexual services.


To conclude, ancient Greece was not a polyamorous society per se, but it did have customs and traditions that allowed for multiple partners within a relationship. The Greeks had a more fluid approach towards sexuality and did not categorize it into specific labels as we do today. While polyamory as a formal concept may not have existed during that time, the Greeks’ approach to relationships was undoubtedly different from what we see in modern times.