essays

The Relationship Smorgasbord

I mentioned the “relationship smorgasbord” to some friends recently, and they hadn’t heard of it. I thought it was more common than that! So I’m sharing it with you all here to encourage us to use this model more.

Here, let me show you what it is, then give a little more context and thoughts:

Cool, right? For folks who are designing our own relationships outside of societal expectations, I bet you’ll look at this and get it right away.

I like this quote from The Center For Growth (that I found via the Multiamory podcast):

“The relationship smorgasbord is meant for all types of relationships – platonic, familial, romantic, sexual, etc. – and is indeed meant to challenge and make clear exactly what we mean when we are using these descriptors.”

The relationship smorgasbord is technically titled the relationship anarchy smorgasbord. If you haven’t poked around in the relationship anarchy structures, it’s worth doing — again, even if you are monogamous and don’t have multiple partners! You still have multiple relationships with family, friends, work, community, and more. Amelia Lichtenberg has a good, basic write-up on relationship anarchy, and there are many, many more writings and thinkings online.

Don’t be scared by the word “anarchy” though — it’s a very thoughtful structure that, at it’s core, is about honoring each relationship in one’s life.

If you want to dive in a little deeper to the relationship smorgasbord, check out a recent episode of the Multiamory podcast. I really like their discussions and the depth they get into with these relationship theories.

Do you have any other recommendations for me about relationship anarchy or the relationship smorgasbord model?

While I’m not brand new to these theories, I am still learning, and I’d be happy to hear any recommendations you have for books, podcasts, articles, or other things that dive in to these topics.

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queer women" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert.

Leave a Reply