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Polyamory is the concept of being in love with more than one person at one time.Polygamists practice polyamory, but polyamorists don't necessarily practice polygamy.In fact, cultures that practice some form of polygamy outnumber monogamous cultures by the hundreds [ref].Some critics suggest that the Western practice of frequent divorce and remarrying represents a form of serial polygamy, though most anthropologists consider it serial monogamy -- no one gets married to more than one person at one time.On the popular HBO drama "Big Love," Bill Paxton plays a man with three wives who live next door to each other and share a backyard.So polygamy isn't just on fictional TV, but are any of these portrayals accurate?Recently, child welfare officials allege in court documents that the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints outside of Eldorado, Texas, was "rife with sexual abuse, with girls spiritually married to much older men as soon as they reached puberty and boys were groomed to perpetuate the cycle [source: AP]." In 1997, Warren Jeffs, the former church leader, was prosecuted and found guilty on two charges of rape by accomplice.
Polygyny, on the other hand, rewards males who have access to greater wealth and resources than others.
In Nyinbian culture, when a woman marries a man, she marries all of his brothers, too.
All of the brothers have equal sexual access to the wife, and the entire family cares for the children, although the family may recognize individual brothers as the specific father of a given child [ref].
They may have living arrangements in which multiple adults form one family, share economic burdens, care for children and share sexual access with one another.
However, they do not usually attempt to form a legal marriage.