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What Is Polyamory and Ethical Non-Monogamy Anyway? Couple to Throuple's Expert Breaks It Down

The in-house sex expert also warns audiences that the Peacock series will have “some twists and turns, some tugs, some pushes, some pulls."  

By Jax Miller
Shamyra Howard is our Sex/Relationship expert in Season 1 of Couple to Throuple

Couple to Throuple’s resident sex expert, Dr. Shamyra Howard, is breaking down what it means to be in a polyamorous relationship.

Dr. Howard recently spoke with USA Insider to discuss the new dating series — now available to stream on Peacock — in which four romantically-involved couples test the waters of bringing a third person into their relationship. By watching Couple to Throuple, viewers might have recently been introduced to terms such as “ethical non-monogamy,” “polyamory,” and “poly curious.”

In case you’re unsure what this all means, fear not because the doctor is in!

What do polyamorous terms mean? What to know about ethical non-monogamy, open relationships, poly-curious, and more

Dr. Howard told USA Insider that the terms “ethical non-monogamy” and “consensual non-monogamy” can be used interchangeably, explaining, “It’s basically stating that everybody in the dynamic agrees they consented to do this, and they understand the risks.”

She further debunked “misconceptions,” referring to when people use the term “poly” as a means of cheating on their other half.

“Polyamory is all about the relationships,” said Dr. Howard.

Shamyra Howard is our Sex/Relationship expert in Season 1 of Couple to Throuple

She described “open relationships” as something more casual, “where couples basically are OK with having sex with people, whereas polyamory people are OK and they want to have romantic, emotionally attached relationships.”

USA Insider also questioned Dr. Howard about what it means to be “poly curious.”

“I use that term because the couples here are very green to non-monogamy and polyamory, but they want to explore it,” she said. “They want to specifically explore being a throuple on Couple to Throuple, so they want to go from two to what we call on the show a three.”

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Dr. Howard also dove into the show’s swap ceremonies, when contestants can pick and choose or trade from a large cast of singles to enter their existing relationship. The events have brought tension and drama throughout the series so far.

“Let me tell you something,” Dr. Howard told USA Insider. “So, the end goal of this — and what viewers will see when they watch this show — is that these couples came here to find a single to throuple with. They will see at the end of this, during swaps or whatever, if they actually found that single and [if] they left from a couple to a throuple, or if they decided, ‘You know what? We don’t want to be a throuple; we’re good as a couple.’”

Audiences have already seen a few wrenches thrown into the works, including Corey Potter and Wilder Bunke’s shocking exit with their single, Playboy Bunny Denyse Davis. In another surprising move, host Scott Evans helped introduce the group to a new couple, Maximo and Ashlee of Bushwick, New York.

It goes to prove that anything is possible on Couple to Throuple.

Lauren, Dylan, Brittne, Sean, Rehman, Ashmal, Corey, and Wilder appear in Season 1 of Couple to Throuple

“The whole series is shocking, you know, from the start to the end and the in-between,” Dr. Howard told USA Insider. “There are going to be some twists and turns, some tugs, some pushes, some pulls.”

Joining in the conversation was host Scott Evans, who “piggybacked” on Dr. Howard’s comments.

“This show is going to surprise you from the beginning to the end because you’re going to see yourself, and you’re like, ‘Oh, I would have made this choice,’ and they make a different choice,” said Evans. “Like Dr. Shamrya said, the goal here was to broaden people’s horizons to open their minds and to provide them a safe place to try something different.”

“Buckle up your seatbelt,” Dr. Howard told USA Insider of what’s to come.

Watch all-new episodes of Couple to Throuple on Thursdays, exclusively on Peacock.

Original reporting by Stephanie Gomulka

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