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Trope · Genre
Synonyms: Polyamory, Polyship, Polyfic, Multi
Related: Threesome, GSF, Teamfic, Sedoretu, Triad Verse
See Also: OT3, OT4, OT5 , GSF
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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A poly or polyamorous relationship, also called a polyship, is a relationship between three or more characters which is deeper and more long-lasting than a one-time threesome/moresome sex scene.

The word poly is shortened from polyamory, which is a modern word that describes the practice of multiple simultaneous romantic or sexual relationships, generally with the consent of all parties involved.[1] Polyships are often seen as distinct from het, femslash, and slash ships and are treated as a separate category.[2][3][4][5][6]

Common poly relationships within a particular canon may be described as OT3, OT4, etc. In these cases, it is generally understood which characters are involved, but in some canons there is ambiguity.

In Fanfiction

Polyfic is fan fiction that depicts polyamorous relationships between characters. Polyfic is often related to teamfic, where all members of a canonical team may be written as romantically/sexually involved.

Most fans would consider conduit fic, love triangles or cheating fic to not be polyamory. [7] Stories that start out with a poly relationship and end in coupledom, or stories depicting a couple who occasionally have a casual relationship with a third might be considered polyamory, but fan opinion would be more varied.

An example of polyfic would be fan fiction about a relationship between Harry, Hermione and Ron from Harry Potter. That relationship could be a triad, which involves all three characters in a, usually equal, group. It could also be a vee or V, which might be Harry/Hermione & Harry/Ron, but not Ron/Hermione.[8]

While threesome or poly stories can be found dating back to the 1980s in media fandom, most older stories were conduit fics or treated the idea of a threesome as a sexual kink. The stories were often PWPs. Once a Thief aired 10 years before Leverage, and while both shows have a similar structure of three young dynamic characters working together in a team setting, Leverage has a noticeable amount of poly-themed stories, vids, art and discussion while Once a Thief was almost exclusively slash. White Collar fans started talking about the poly potential of the show after only a few episodes had aired.

Polyrific Fandoms

Knows What She Wants, fan art by Gnine, depicting the popular White Collar OT3, Peter/Elizabeth/Neal

Not poly dominant fandoms, but poly friendly:

Morning Cuddles, fan art by LOTOLLE, featuring the MCU triad of Bucky/Steve/Sam

Fanworks With Poly Themes


For a full list of poly and moresome fanfiction on Fanlore, see Category:Poly Fanfiction

Fan Vids

  • Apple Candy and Imma Be - two vids made by the same vidder, talitha78, explore poly themes in two very different ways. One is a plot focused piece that uses the song and the canon, and adds to it, to create a plausible poly story. The second is a character study, at once a celebration of the characters' individuality, and also an examination of their team dynamic as revealed by the canon and flavoured by the song.




Individual fandoms

Meta/Further Reading


  1. Polyamory article at Wikipedia
  2. Pinboard: Tag Bundle /Poly for kinkme_merlin, accessed Sept. 2, 2013.
  3. Azarsuerte: "I should probably give the remark some context: my fanfic output is overwhelmingly het. By which I mean 100+ stories compared to 16 m/m, 8 f/f and 3 poly." Posted Sept. 2, 2013, accessed same day.
  4. Poly Twificrecs (listed as "Polyamory" in the sidebar), accessed Sept. 2, 2013.
  5. Poly-Fic Rec List Mfirefly10: "As the subject suggests, this is that rec list of poly-fic I promised." Posted April 1, 2011. Accessed Sept. 2, 2013.
  6. Polyamorous Avengers "All Avengers ships of more than two people at a time are praised and readily available at this awesome resource." Accessed Sept. 2, 2013.
  7. Mod Post on Share and Share Alike What To Post...and What Not To Post, accessed April 1, 2010
  8. Polyamory Terms and Concepts, accessed April 2, 2010
  9. The Tags Page on whitecollarfic on November 30, 2010 shows 243 stories tagged Peter/Neal and 225 tagged Elizabeth/Peter/Neal
  10. You down with OT3? (Yeah, you know me!) by Tafkarfanfic, in the ship manifesto community on LiveJournal, accessed April 2, 2010