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Coined by the Kerista Community in the 1970s. Possibly derived from French compère (partner), plus -sion, based on an earlier use of the French compérage to denote the practice of brothers-in-law sharing wives observed among Tupi people of the Brazilian Amazon.[1]



compersion (uncountable)

  1. Vicarious joy associated with seeing one's partner have a joyful romantic or sexual relation with another.
    Antonym: jealousy
    • 1998, Ayala Malach Pines, Romantic Jealousy: Causes, Symptoms, Cures, Routledge, →ISBN, page 140:
      A major component of jealousy, for many people, is the suspicion or resentment of the rival. In Kerista, on the other hand, the relationship that every man had with the other men and that every woman had with the other women elicited what they called “compersion” rather than jealousy.
    • 2003, Mystic Life, Spiritual Polyamory, iUniverse, →ISBN, page 46:
      There is nothing either magical or wrong with sex with more than one person at the same time. [] The beautiful thing about this dynamic is that it offers opportunities for compersion (the opposite of jealousy) and is symbolic of the expansiveness and unity we can feel in our love for each other.
    • 2005, Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio, editor, Plural Loves, Haworth Press, →ISBN, page 174:
      I think this is the easiest way to teach compersion, to immerse oneself in the unconditional approval of another person’s pleasure.
      We usually seek compersion in the context of our lover being sexual with another person, which can be very beautiful, but equally scary.
      Compersion is the coveted secret elixer of emotions because it promises to turn the pain of jealousy into an ecstatic calm, or ecstatic release.
    • 2006, Ronald C. Fox, Ph.D. (editor), Affirmative Psychotherapy with Bisexual Women and Bisexual Men, Haworth Press, →ISBN, page 140
      Some polyamorous people experience compersion, which means feeling joy that one’s partner is sharing closeness with another person (Keener, 2004; Polyamory Society, 1997). Keener’s (2004) study participants noted an absence of worry as to whether their partners might be cheating []



  1. ^ Lévi-Strauss, Claude. "The Social Use of Kinship Terms Among Brazilian Indians." American Anthropologist, vol. 45, no. 3, July-September 1943, p. 406, doi:10.1525/aa.1943.45.3.02a00050.