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Difference between Polygamy and Polygyny

Difference between Polygamy and Polygyny

Do you know the difference between polygamy and polygyny? In recent years, more people are becoming familiar with both of these terms and their roles in various cultures around the world. By understanding the differences between them, you can have a better sense of what it means to be part of a polygamous family or relationship. This blog post will provide an overview of both concepts – discussing their definitions, basic features, histories, and applications in various countries today. Read on to learn more about the important distinction between polygamy and polygyny.

What is Polygamy?

Polygamy, the practice of having multiple spouses or partners, has been a custom in many cultures and belief systems across the world for centuries. Polygamy is defined as being married to more than one person at the same time. A man may choose several wives and each wife can live with her husband independently from the other wives.

  • Polyandry is also practiced by some cultures and involves a woman taking two or more husbands simultaneously. Polygamy is often confused with polyamory, which is having simultaneous close emotional relationships with several partners without being necessarily married to any of them.
  • Polygamy presents a unique legal challenge because it is not accepted in most countries, making it difficult to administer current marriage laws when polygamy becomes pertinent.
  • It could be difficult to determine who would have rights over children and assets owned by the partners involved in polygamous unions while recognizing the stakes of each partner involved in this kind of marriage arrangement.

What is Polygyny?

  • Polygyny is a type of marriage in which one man is married to multiple women. This social system has been prevalent around the world for centuries, particularly in some Muslim countries, as well as certain African and Polynesian societies. Polygyny puts emphasis on the husband-wife relationship with each woman having her own specific role and responsibilities.
  • The benefits of this type of marital arrangement include increased resources and support for families with multiple wives. However, there are also potential downsides to polygyny, such as unequal rights between the spouses or tensions between them over issues like financial security.
  • Although Polygyny would not be suitable for everybody, it is important that we continue to recognize and respect it as a legitimate form of marriage which can empower both men and women.

Difference between Polygamy and Polygyny

  • Polygamy and Polygyny are two terms often used interchangeably, however there is an important difference between them. Polygamy is the practice of having multiple spouses – both male and female.
  • Polygyny, on the other hand, is a type of polygamy wherein only a man can have multiple wives at once. Both practices have been present in different societies throughout history and still exist today in some places, although they remain largely controversial.
  • Polygyny has been more commonplace in traditional societies and continues to be practiced despite being illegal in many countries as a result of accusations of inequality between men and women. Polygamy is viewed less favorably due to its lack of governmental regulation making it difficult to ensure protection for all spouses involved.


Polygamy and polygyny are two different types of polygamy. Polygamy is the practice of having multiple spouses, while polygyny is the practice of having one spouse and multiple female partners. Both have their own unique benefits and drawbacks, but ultimately it is up to the individual to decide which system works best for them.

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