Entries in monogamy (12)

Thursday
Jan072016

We’re Exclusive In Our Relationship…Aren’t We? 

Public opinion surveys find that 70-80% of North Americans say that infidelity is “always wrong,” and most others express some disapproval.1,2 Researchers find that most married and dating partners expect romantic and sexual exclusivity.3,4 If you’re like a good number of people, you may think that you have in place an agreement to be exclusive. But, like many people, odds are that your understanding of this agreement is based far more on assumptions than actual explicit discussion.

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Monday
Jun152015

Is Marriage Really Synonymous with Monogamy?

After her husband of 18 years reveals that he has gotten a vasectomy, successful magazine journalist Robin Rinaldi comes to the sinking realization that she will not have the family she had once hoped for. Being that she can’t create the home life she dreamed of, she decides to go down a different path and explore her sexuality. In her book, The Wild Oats Project,1 Rinaldi discusses her quest for passion after she proposes an arrangement in which she will live on her own and be free to take on lovers during the week, while returning home to her role as a wife on the weekends. The book discusses her sexual quest to feel fulfilled as she takes on both male and female lovers and attend workshops geared towards getting in touch with her sexual self. Lest I spoil the end of her intriguing narrative, it would be better to leave you questioning whether or not her marriage was able to sustain the shake-up caused by this mutually, albeit somewhat coerced, agreement. Also, whether or not her marriage survived, it begs the question: Is marriage really synonymous with monogamy?

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Thursday
Aug012013

Did Monogamy Evolve to Prevent Infanticide?

According to this recent article on the Science website, human's predisposition for monogamy in relationships may have evolved as a mechanism to prevent infanticide. What do you think?

Check out our article Are We Meant to be Monogamous? here.

Wednesday
Jun192013

When Three (or More) is NOT a Crowd

What do you know about polyamory? Can polyamory or open relationships really work?

This is a timely question, as there has been a surge of interest lately on this topic. In fact, according to a recent study, between 4-5% of Americans report being in a consensual, non-monogamous relationship—this is when both partners agree that they and/or their intimate partner(s) can have other sexual or romantic partners as well.1 Consensual non-monogamy describes many types of relationships, such as swinging (recreational sex with others) and polyamorous relationships, where the partners consent to each other having intimate, loving relationships with others (more intimate than just an “open” relationship). Researchers (including me) are starting to explore how theories we have about intimate relationships extend to our understanding of relationships that include more than two people. There is not a lot of work yet on non-monogamy, but we can look to a paper that Dr. Terri Conley and colleagues recently wrote challenging assumptions about the benefits of monogamy.2

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Monday
Oct222012

If You’re In A Relationship, Is It OK To Browse Hookup Sites For “Innocent Flirting” And “Harmless” Fun?

BC submitted the following question:

Have you written much on gay hookup apps (Grindr, Scruff, etc)? I just had a lengthy discussion with my cousin on Facebook after posting my criticism of Dan Savage's latest Savage Love. In it, Savage wrote that a gay man can have a hookup app on his phone while in an exclusive relationship and just use it for chatting with friends and innocent flirting. Why would someone be active on a hookup app and, if confronted with a hot guy to hookup with, not actually hook up with them?

Dear BC;

This is a great question! Although I am not aware of any studies specifically examining how use of hookup applications impacts people’s relationships, there is plenty of research to suggest that bringing these applications into a monogamous relationship could potentially lead to trouble down the road. Thus, I don’t fully agree with Savage’s take that engaging in such behavior is completely innocent.

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Friday
Aug172012

Opening Up: Challenging Myths about Consensual Non-Monogamy

What do sex columnist Dan Savage and politician Newt Gingrich have in common? Probably not a lot, but they have both been in the media recently in regards to open relationships.

In a recent article in the New York Times, sex columnist Dan Savage discussed the benefits of a monogamish relationship – one where partners are committed to each other but free to occasionally pursue sex partners outside of the primary relationship. He believes that opening up a relationship in this way can promote honest communication and prevent actual “infidelity.”

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Friday
Aug102012

Are “Open” Relationships The Hotbed For STDs That Everyone Assumes?

There seems to be a widely shared belief that anyone involved in an "open" relationship is infected with all sorts of STDs. The assumption seems to be that if you aren't monogamous, you're a promiscuous disease spreader, right? Not so fast. The reality is actually far more complex than this, and the risks of “open” and “closed” relationships may not be as different as they are assumed to be.

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Thursday
Jul052012

Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality (Book Review)

All group-living nonhuman primates, such as chimpanzees and the lesser known bonobos, are polygamous. Perhaps not coincidentally, researchers have documented infidelity in every human culture. Yet, most evolutionary biologists agree that monogamy is natural to humans and that it has evolved to assure the survival of our species through guaranteed paternal child support. In other words, without monogamy there is no guarantee a guy would stick around to invest in his offspring. Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá, authors of Sex at Dawn,1 argue that a driving force behind this assured “male parental investment” is the certainty that it’s the particular male’s genes that are passed on to any offspring in which he invests. A monogamous bond insures a man will not accidentally support another man’s child, while it simultaneously assures the female that her male partner will not share resources with another woman’s offspring.

If monogamy is so natural, however, then why is it that cultures need to sanction monogamy?

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Wednesday
May232012

Are We Meant to be Monogamous?

Editor's note: A reader recently asked for our thoughts about the history of marriage across time. This is a topic that Dr. Lorne Campbell tackled in our book, The Science of Relationships: Answers to Your Questions about Dating, Marriage, and Family, so we've included an excerpt below. 

The answer to this question is not straightforward. Research does suggest that although a lot of people are not monogamous, the majority of people do remain faithful to their partners. Any answer to the question, therefore, must address the conditions that make it more likely for some people to cheat on their partners but others to keep their zippers securely fastened.

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Friday
Dec092011

We Fight All of the Time and Want Different Things: Can We Make it Work?

Michael submitted the following question:

I am in a relationship with this guy and things are feeling rocky right now. I feel like we argue pretty frequently. I try to argue with I-statements and repeat his concerns with active listening. I am trying to communicate but the concerns that I bring up are small to him.

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Tuesday
Oct252011

Have Husbands Really Stopped Cheating?  

Have husbands really stopped cheating? Well…sort of. While an ever-ready supply of misbehaving celebrities and politicians work to keep the media focused on infidelity, recent research actually suggests that monogamy is on the rise in the average American bedroom, especially among husbands.

Just last month, a new study reported that between 1975 and 2000, American couples of all types (heterosexual, gay, and lesbian) became significantly more monogamous.

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Tuesday
May172011

Bridesmaids and the Changing Role of the Bachelorette Party

The movie Bridesmaids opened this weekend and its raucous hilarity departs from the standard female-led romantic comedy – it rivals the bawdy glory of Old School, Wedding Crashers, and The Hangover. Although not all women’s pre-wedding events resemble the movie (which is probably a good thing), Bridesmaids demonstrates that women too can be profane and outrageous and get laughs for it, and reminds me that roles for women have shifted, not just in romantic comedies but as bridesmaids in real life.

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