How Do Monogamous And Consensually Non-Monogamous Relationships Compare?

It is claimed that consensually non-monogamous relationships are of higher quality and have lower STI rates.

H/T to Justin J. Lehmiller.


11 thoughts on “How Do Monogamous And Consensually Non-Monogamous Relationships Compare?

  1. Color me a little skeptical about a duty presented as a series of poorly drawn cartoons. I do note that a key word was consensual, as in consent from ALL parties, not just those involved in the extra marital affair.

    I also note that the reason monogamy became the norm was not only reduction of STDs, but more likely a combination of securing property rights for women whose husbands had been killed in battle or while hunting dangerous game and ensuring any property that was passed on to future generations was indeed passed on to the rightful heir(s).

  2. Looking in the wrong places? It’d be more difficult to compare “monogamous” to monogamous. Or in other words; dishonest relationships to honest ones.

    How about selfish manipulation verses love, or how to even tell the difference?

    And how does one identify a “study” that is in itself manipulation, and if so, manipulation for what particular agenda?
    First rule of “studies”; all studies have an agenda. So for me the actual interesting part, if any, would be in considering the motivations and goals of those behind such “studies”.

    Then there’s the marriage vow, “to forsake all others….until death do us part”. In that situation it is not monogamy verses polygamy but honesty, seriousness, faith and loyalty that are in question.

    So how about a study of relationships based on honesty, seriousness, faith and loyalty, verses relationships involving more selfishness, dishonesty, frivolity and manipulation?

    Often the questions being asked are more at issue than the answers which might be found.

  3. I have some questions out of pure curiosity if you don’t mind:

    – Do you and your wife practice a CNM lifestyle?

    – If so, do you and your wife’s experiences mirror the claims of the video?

    – Do you have any religious practices or beliefs?

    – Do your religious beliefs permit or discourage a CNM lifestyle?

    • 1) & 2) I don’t discuss my sex life or the sex life of others, in a way that can be identified, in public. Certain exception might be made if it is already public such as in the case of Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinski, etc.

      3) Barb and I are atheists.

      4) I think answer is N/A. But I suppose one could say, “Permit.”

      I find this topic fascinating because if you look at it from a strictly rational point of view there is very little, if anything, to make a big deal out of. But yet our culture, as a whole, does.

      An example to make things a little more clear. Suppose I were to, instead of shaking hands, were to stick out two fingers to someone else’s wife. She then wraps her hand around them. Part of her body is enclosing a part of mine. No big deal. But if that were my penis and her vagina then it’s a really big deal. To me this little example is like the drawings of something that can be two different things and switch back and forth just by thinking about it a moment. In my mind can switch back and forth between sex with the spouse of someone else as being not much different than a handshake and yet a really big deal.

      I find this fascinating. What makes it a big deal? That the parties involved get a great deal more pleasure out of it than the handshake? It can’t be the possibility of the creation of a child, because it is still a big deal even if one or both are sterile. STIs? Maybe, but that possibility can be eliminated and the significance of the event has not been reduced by any measurable amount.

      So, just what is it?

      • I think many social mores come about by collective, inherited wisdom. Something in the history of humanity (possibly STDs, pissed off wives, the inability for one man to fully engage with and care for multiple families of children) caused human culture to largely shy away from polygamy. By my personal logic, I don’t think it’s appropriate to become outraged about other people’s private consentual sex choices. But if I am ignoring our inherited wisdom protecting us against some forgotten danger of these practices then my logic breaks down.

        I don’t think many individuals consider why they feel strongly about some cultural element like monogamy. I suspect the big deal to many individuals is that it’s been a big deal for as long as they or anyone they know can remember and so that’s why it’s a big deal.

        As far as weird alien hand shake vs. intercourse, I argue that one is substantially more intimate than the other, with greater emotional implications. Taking this to it’s hyperbolic extreme to illustrate the difference, if you shook someone’s hand without their consent they would probably just think you’re a weirdo, pull their hand away and go on with their life, whereas rape can cause long lasting psychological damage.

        • In regards to the greater emotional content, there is great emotional content in relationships with siblings without cultural taboos. And it is still a big deal even if there is no significant emotional content in the case of sex with a prostitute or a one-night-stand with someone hundreds of miles from home.

          In the last example there is a lot more force involved in a rape than shaking of someone’s hand without permission. And in a consensual relationship the force is completely absent.

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