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Sex, Love, And Psych
Sex, Love, And Psych

Episode · 4 months ago

Episode 31: The End of Monogamy?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

A reading of my most recently published paper on monogamy and non-monogamy. This paper can be found in the Canadian Journal of Family and Youth. It explores why monogamy is considered the default relationship and some alternative dynamics.

Hello and welcome back to sex, love and psych thank you all so much for bearing with me while I took the last few months off to finish my degree, get a new job really get my life kind of back in order, without stressing about doing all the research and editing and recording for this podcast. I have missed it a lot. I have so, so much material ready for you, guys, and I'm so excited to share it. Just a little update for anyone who is not as in the know, was some of you maybe. I did just finish my degree. I did my last exam on December eighteen. I don't have my official, like piece of paper yet. I'll be getting that in May with like my convocation ceremony, so I got a wait for a little bit for that, but I'm so excited I'm done. It feels great to finally be able to close this kind of chapter. I have started working at a group home, which is like in a human services type job, so it feels a lot better and a lot closer to what I want to end up doing, without it being exactly what I want, but it's a good step in the right direction. So thank you all so much for bearing with me again, I super appreciate it everyone who has been listening the last four months. Even though I haven't been uploading like I appreciate all of the continued listens. So I did just want to point all of that out and without further ado, I did want to just start off this return by kind of going over reading out my most recent published paper. I had the same professor again this past semester as I did the semester before for a different class. This one was the sociology of intimate relationships. I would really recommend it to anyone who is interested in this field who has it available to them. It was a really interesting course. I was able to really focus in on a lot of what I want to wind up doing, so it was very exciting. So for this paper, it is entitled the end of Monogamy and exploration of nonmonogamous relationship dynamics. I really wanted to dive into a topic that I didn't know as much about but I was still just just passionate about learning about and it was a really, really fun topic to research and look into. I've met a couple of really awesome people who are in open relationships or poly relationships, so I did get a little bit of input from them and they kind of sparked this for me. So thanks for the in spoke, guys. Without rambling on for too much longer,...

I will get into reading this paper. It is published in the most recent version of the Canadian Journal of Family and youth. You can just search my name on that page and both of my papers will come up. So, when it comes to deciding on our romantic relationship paths, many of us will wind up searching out a single romantic partner that we can commit to exclusively. This paper will explore why this that seems to be the default some other relationship dynamics and the stigma against these alternatives. Monogamy is the relationship dynamic that is most widely accepted in the Western world and is one that relies on an ideally lifelong commitment, often marital, to a single other person, Roth's child. Two Thousand and eighteen the dominant concept that monogamy is the best, most moral, healthy, normal and ideal relationship structure. It's called mononormativity, or can be also referred to as compulsory monogamy. It is worth noting that other relationship structures and dynamics are legitimate and can be just as healthy, even though they are highly stigmatized in our Western society. Consensual non monogamy is an umbrella or CNM is an umbrella term for many types of relationships that do not limit themselves to only having one partner, with variation surrounding agreed upon limits when it comes to sexual and or emotional relationships with other people. One branch of CNM that this paper will focus on exploring is polyamory, in which people are allowed to engage in more than one sexual and or romantic and or intimate relationship at the same time, with the informed consent of all parties. The inclusion of informed consent from all parties is an important distinction between polyamory and infidelity and cheating in monogamous relationships, which chef two thousand and twenty notes, is inherently non consensual and doesn't involve discussion or negotiation from all the people involved. So, digging into a little bit of my literature review, there has been plenty of research done exploring monogamy, the benefits of monogamy, how it can become an impress and oppressive experience, as well as exploring different alternatives to monogamy and their possible benefits. Stigma surrounding non monogamy and the effects of the stigma were studied extensively in works done by Mogilski Atel as well as Cassidy Atel and Rothschild. They have done these studies based on attitudes formed by both people who engage solely in monogamy as well as those who desire to or have engaged in polyamorous and other CNM relationship dynamics. Throughout reviewing all of this literature and past research that has been completed, this paper seeks to measure the positive and negative aspects of both monogamy and CNM really relationship styles, while working to remove some of the stigma and misinformation surrounding non monogamous relationship dynamics, so readers can make more informed...

...decisions when it comes to their own relationships, as well as what judgments say pass on those who make decisions that differ from their own. So what is monogamy? Monogamy is the most represented and accepted form of romantic relationship in the Western world. We see it exemplified and upheld as the ideal in most, if not all, of our movies, television shows, stories music and other forms of popular media. The fairytale girls are told from a young age is one of a monogamous love, that one day they will find their one true love, get married, start avench a family and eventually live happily ever after. The popular public discourse surrounding monogamy is that it is the default relationship, making any other relationship seem unimaginable and, to some, immoral. This initial judgment of it being unimaginable or a moral is illustrated in chef's exploration of three common reactions to learning about polyamory and the concept that they are there that there is alternatives to monogamy, to which fall under categories of excitement at learning there is a different option that may suit them better in difference, or moral terror at the very concept of straying from monogamy. CHEF discusses two separate categories of monogamy. The first is traditional monogamy, in which a person refrains from engaging in intercourse before marriage and then only engages in sexual acts with the person they are married to. This traditional type of monogamy is largely rooted in Christianity and the importance of using sex primarily for procreation. Traditional monogamy was also a lot more prevalent when lifespans were shorter and the lack of travel and resources available meant that meant that you met far fewer people. The second category of monogamy that chef investigates is what is referred to as serial monogamy, in which each person has one partner at the time, breaks up and repartners with one other person repeatedly until permanent partnership is established or death. This is the image of monogamy we are generally presented with as the correct path to take. When we observe public discourse and popular media oppression and infidelity within monogamy. While discussing how society upholds this type of serial monogamy as the norm and the proper way to conduct romantic relationships, we must also acknowledge that it can create a gendered power and balance that can easily become oppressive, especially when discussing heterosexual relationships. This suppression of women specifically can be seen partially through how the legal system has dealt with various issues between a married couple, issues including how women are often treated more...

...harshly in a divorce proceeding if they were the ones who committed adultery compared to if the man committed the same adulters acts. And another example of this gender depression is how marital rape didn't used to be considered rape in many countries, as the wife was seen as property of the man and providing sex whenever he wanted was just part of the job of being a wife. Even outside of Western Modern Society, this gender double standard has been prevalent throughout history, many allowing men numerous acceptable, acceptable extra marital, romantic and or sexual relationships, where they had concubines, hords, salt wives, courtisans and mistresses, while demanding monogamy from women, who can face severe punishment and ridicule if they were to stray Rothschild also discusses the dichotomy of condoning and encouraging men to have multiple sexual partners, while women with the same number of partners are condemned and labeled as slots. Infidelity within marriages is a significant issue, with some conservative estimates stating that at least twenty five percent of married people engage in infidelity at some point throughout the duration of their marriage. Shafforts to discuss how having a society that is structured around this compulsory monogamy, while also having infidelity be a fairly normalized and popular practice, presents us with an imbalanced and largely oppressive framework for relationships. Cheating and acts of infidelity create an inherent power and balance, as the person who believes they are in a monogamous relationship when they are being lied to is instantly disadvantaged, as they are less aware of the reality of the relationship. This type of imbalance leads to all the power being placed in the hands of the one cheating and can humiliate the faithful part partner, with or without their knowledge. When fielding discussions surrounding infidelity in monogamy, it is essential to consider how some people can use the CNM title on dating APPs or other interactions outside of their relationship to more easily engage in cheating on their partners in a relationship that the other partner believes to be monogamous, as well as justifying their behavior to themselves by stating they are inherently non monogamous. The practice of men using CNM to engage in extramarital relationships with women without their partner's knowledge was explored by degrade twenty eighteen. Many of the men in the study use the label of CNM to tell themselves that they were still good men that were protecting their monogamous partners by keeping it a secret, while feeding their traditionally masculine sexual appetites, most of them committing to finding outside sexual relationships with no emotional attachment.

Secretly cheating being so popular actually works to reinforce compulsory monogamy, where the open dialog of real cm relationships shakes the foundations of a society structured around monogamy. So the fact that people are using CNM to hide infidelity only works to further stigmatize them relationships. If infidelity and violence were re reacted to equally by society and engaged in an equal amount by male and female partners and heterosexual and monogamous relationships, maybe a case could be made that compulsory monogamy should be the standard that everyone strives for. However, with the imbalanced power dynamic as a stance currently, forcing people to engage in monogamy may not be as advantageous as we are led to believe. There are some justifications for monogamy. While monogamy, and more specifically, compulsory monogamy may have some oppressive and gendered aspects. While being rooted in times when people died at earlier ages, couldn't travel as far and more society was based around Christian values, monogamy may not always be the wrong answer. In a response to recent attacks on monogamy as being corrupt and inherently oppressive, York two thousand and twenty works to defend some common justifications of monogamy and states it is also morally permissible. The three main justifications presented by York Two Thousand and twenty are the practicality of having only one partner, the special feeling that a partner can get from being the exclusive partner of the person they love and avoiding confronting jealous thoughts that are perceived by monogamous people to have the potential to be more apparent and dominating in a cinm relationship. Practicality can come into play when it comes to the formal aspects of being legally married and parenting in relationships. Although an argument could be made that having more streams of income and at home and more adults to helper as a child could be advantageous, it is not the accepted norm of the majority at this time. York Two Thousand and twenty discusses that only having one partner is more practical, as there are fewer people to split your time, attention and any other resources you may be providing. As a result, the one partner situation maybe less emotionally taxing on each individual. The special feeling between a couple is what we are shown in Disney movies, where the princess finds our prints, or in the popular media when someone finds the one. The characters feel special and whole and like they are living in a world of their own. When also feel special, when they feel like they have exclusive access to a person or experience, or when they feel like a person considers the better or more suitable than anyone else, which is the assumption made one participating in a monogamous relationship. Although jealousy can happen to anyone in any import interpersonal context, a case could...

...be made that only having one partner and being in a completely monogamous relationship could make a partner feel more justified in being jealous, as jealousy and monogamous relationships is often seen as evidence of true love. Specific examples of these special circumstances that many people think are inherent in a scene. I'm relationship could include feeling like you are not enough for your partner, being scared that they'll like the other person more than they like you and you'll get left behind, or being emotionally or sexually neglected when when they are involved with another person. So what is polyamory and who is polyamorous? Polyamory is one form of a CNM relationship dynamic that is said to have started during the free love movement in the s and became highly popularized in the S. polyamorous relationships can have plenty of individual variation and structure, but all generally depart from the monogamous idea that one partner should meet all of an individual's romantic, intimate and sexual needs. A two thousand and twenty one study by more's Gussoline Garcia focused on desire, familiarity and engagement with polyamory in the United States and found that one in six participants had some level of desire to engage in polyamory, one in nine had already engaged in polyamory, one in fifteen knew someone in their life who had taken part, and of those who had no desire to engage in polyamory. One in seven respected people who did engage in polyamory. What distinguishes polyamory from other cm dynamics, like swinging or open relationships will be which will be discussed later, is that the participants in the relationship are encouraged to seek out romantic love as well as sexual activity with multiple partners, rather than purely physicals or sexual encounters. This is not to say that all polyamorous arrangements allow the original two partners to engage in romantic and or sexual relationships with everyone in anyone. Some dynamics have a finite limit for how many people are to be involved, as well as different guidelines on whether they date independently or have any additional partners. Date both the original partners, as in a triad dynamic, where all three individuals are involved are in a collective relationship. When examining demographic information, Moore's Gentleman Garcia, found that sexual minorities, men and younger adults reported greater desire to engage in polyamory. Well, men and people with lower education background are more likely to have previously engaged in polyamory. So next is the stigma and misunderstandings about polyamory and CNM, as has been alluded to through some of the discussions...

...surrounding compulsory monogamy, there are many misunderstandings about polyamory and CNM relationships that can attribute to stigma and resulting discrimination against participants of any form of nonmonogamous relationship. As mentioned, degrave explored men using the label of CNM as a cover to engage in infidelity behind their partners backs. This feeds into the general myth that CNM and polyamory is just some sort of cheating and disguise rosschild assures that one of the core components of a legitimate C in our relationship is that all partners are consenting to the addition of new relationships of varying levels of intimacy and sex. This disproves the cheating and disguise narrative that many label CENIM relationships with. Another misconception commonly held by people who only engage in monogamy is that there must be more jealousy and CNM relationships due to the involvement of additional people. It seems that someone is always excluded and that there must be a constant state of competition between partners. This train of thought could be derived from zero sum thinking about the abundance or scarcity of love, which essentially states that one person's love gained is another's love lost, which therefore must mean that seeking additional partners means a person's love a person loves the first partner less. Zeros thinking is also part of why the practicality a defense made earlier seems so palatable to people who reinforce compulsory monogamy. The beliefs that a person only has a finite amount of love, attention and emotional fuel must mean that they should be investing all of those resources into one person so they don't spread themselves too thin and neglect their primary partner. The Christian Foundation of compulsory monogamy also contributes to the idea that any relationship dynamic outside of strict monogamous arrangement is morally and ethically corrupt. This is a huge contributor to the stigma against polyamory and other CNM relationships. One Miss Conception that often pairs with the immorality of C M relationship dynamics is that having multiple sexual partners is a greater risk to sexual health. At first glance this may seem like a logical assumption to make, but the fact is that ninety one percent of CNM people in a study had explicit boundaries when it came to sexual health and used condoms and barriers more consistently than monogamous couples, who usually eventually stop using protection at some point in their relationship. When you consider this in conjunction with the statistics on how often monogamous couples engage in infidelity, a case could be made for seinam relationships being better for sexual health, as...

...these boundaries and practices are more openly discussed and used more frequently. One of the most common misconceptions about polyamory and other senam dynamics that keep people in patterns of monogamy is that jealousy must be so much more prevalent in a relationship where you are sharing your partner with other people. More's Guesslman and Garcia found this to be largely incorrect, and don't the jealousy is actually one of the leading reasons for divorce in monogamous couples in the United States. They also found that people in C and m dynamics are generally better at managing any jealousy they may experience, often describing it in fairly mild terms. Taking the act of engaging in multiple relationships out of the shadows and creating open discussion surrounding boundaries and any negative reactions that may bubble up is conducive to a more balanced and trusting relationship and removes the imbalance of one person better knowing the reality of the relationship. There is less need to worry about whether your partner is lying to you or hiding something when there is no reason to hide anything within the boundaries of the agreed upon dynamic, although this is not to say that some people still abuse these boundaries or that there is a complete freedom from any jealousy or codependency. Negative outcomes of stigma against CNM, flaming labeling a group as wrong or corrupt, can be very alienating, no matter what that group is, and can lead to harmful discriminatory practices. Those engaging in polyamory and other forms of CNM relationships are not immune to this effect. Possible rejection from family, friends and society in general can be incredibly harmful to an individual's well being, and this condemnation leads many polyamorous and CIM and individuals to hide their relationship dynamic. The sheltering of a person's dynamic is similar to have. Someone who identifies as part of the LGBTQIA plus communities may stay in the closet because they fear being ostracized. This fear of disapproval and stigmatization can also lead to being more secretive about any partners other than the primary or original partner, and this could conceivably late to be other partners feeling less important or valued and could push people who want to engage in polyamory into lives more consistent with compulsory monogamy. Another important consequence of polyamory and CNM being highly stigmatized in Western society is how it can affect the frequency at which these individuals seek out medical and psychological assistance and how they are treated in these environments. Mogilski tell found that fear of judgment can cause anxiety that prevents those who can practice C and m from seeking sexual health services and, example, being STD testing. There's already stigma surrounding testing for sexually...

...transmitted diseases and infections, so adding the layer of stigma against the relationship dynamic a person may be consensually engaging in is incredibly harmful and dangerous. Although psychotherapists and sexologists are supposed to be free of bias and knowledgeable about many forms of relationship dynamics and practices, the field of counseling is not free of bias, based on the dominant discourse of mononormativity. Therapists with little or no experience or knowledge about C and M dynamics may have difficulty distinguishing betweeting, extramarital affairs and infidelity and comaratal relationships agreed upon by all members. They may also have offices too small and important appointment times too short to accommodate a triad or quad polyamorous relationship. WHO's also found? The clients who are in CNM relationship stated, unsurprisingly, that the part the therapists that were most helpful were those that were affirmative rather than condemning of their relationship dynamic. So let's talk about some of the benefits and of polyamory and see Nim relationships dynamics. After examining the dominating discourse surrounding compulsory monogamy and some of the stigma and misconceptions present in regards to polyamory and other senim relationship dynamics, one may be left wondering why anyone would willingly go into such a confusing and stigmatize relationship. If one is able to look beyond the outside judgment and possible drawbacks, the myriad of benefits would become apparent. But if it's that include leveling the gendered power and balance, negating toxic ideas of equating jealousy with love, encouraging boundaries and self sufficiency and opening oneself up to greater fulfillment and personal growth, Ross shaws argues that the driving concept behind seeing them inherently and immediately subverts the gender and balance in heterosexual monogamy that treats women more harshly for going beyond a single partner, and by allowing men and women that equal opportunity to find additional emotional and or sexual partners. It also works to fight against the equality, oh sorry, the equating of Jealousy and possessiveness with true love, by acknowledging that love is not finite and does not have to be limited to a single partner, while simultaneously encouraging opening, open discussion around boundaries and any jealous feelings that may that participants may experience. In popular media as well as in real life. We have seen, we have all seen, instances of the to become one rhetoric in monogamous relationships, where the two individuals in a relationship tend to become more and more similar. A's a withdrawal from larger social networks, with some exception to spending time...

...with other monogamous couples. Moresmatic and Chishinger found that individuals in cm relationships experience a higher rate of variety in non sexual and sexual activity, which varies in different dynamic styles then monogamous people couples would, as well as experiencing less of a dietic withdrawal from their social network. This becomes especially apparent one one partner has hobbies and interests that differ from any of the other partners and gives the opportunity for one to expend their horizons and participate in a wider variety of non sexual activities. The concept of needs being fulfilled by more than just a single monogamous partner is also highly beneficial to participants in cm relationships, as think you can get a better variety of needs met when interacting with multiple people, as well as increased focused on self sufficiency. When discussing maslow's hierarchy of needs, which includes physiogy, physiological needs, safety, wellbeing and self actualization, as well as needs determined by selfdetermination theorists, and including aspects pertaining to categories such as autonomy and relatedness, it seems like a lot of a lot to place on the shoulders of a single person you love and are also trying to provide these things for. It was also specified that people who engage in polyamory and are not doing it because the primary partner is not sufficiently meeting their needs, but rather they found that having multiple partners met a greater variety of needs. They seek out polyamory not out of a state of scarcity, but rather they are seeking out even greater fulfillment, which direct directly goes against the zero sum thinking explored by Burlet Atel. Polyamory, with its allowance for romantic emotional relationships as well as sexual relationships with others, helps to spread the fulfillment of this list of needs across multiple people, while also holding oneself accountable to work on a fulfilling themselves and others. Not Relying on any single person to provide all of this or limiting oneself to a monogamous experience can result in simultaneous feelings of both freedom and security, which in turn reinforces a higher level of feelings of autonomy over one's life, which leads to higher states of wellbeing. Well, this paper has been focused on going beyond just sexual aspects of CNN relationships. These dynamics do also encourage variety and sexual partners and sexual experiences. The Sexual Freedom Ce and them allows encourage its exploration of an individual sexuality and offers nonhetero sexual individuals and opportunity to take part in sexual relationships with people who have gender identities that differ from their primary partner without any guilt or shame. This freedom...

...to express experience both emotional and sexual connections with people of multiple gender identities can be paramount for individuals who identify as bisexual or parent sexual. It is not to say that those who identify with these sexual orientations cannot also be happy in monogamous relationships if they chose to be, even when the outside relationships that are allowed are purely sexual, as is the case with swingers who will be discussed in the next section. It was found that over seventy five percent of swingers and a study found their lives to be exciting overall, in comparison to less than fifty percent of those included in a national survey done in the United States on adult life satisfaction published in two thousand and ten. It was assumed that most people in the survey or monogamous. Well, this paper has thought to explore the world of C and m beyond just the sexually adventurous aspects that are often focused on when prescribing CNM as crazy or immoral in a society dominated by compulsory monogamy. There are perfectly valid C and m dynamics that are focused on addition, all sexual experiences outside the primary relationship. One example of a sex for fun focused form of CNM relationship would be what is referred to as swinging, which often involves multiple couples temporarily swapping partners for the sole purpose of sexual enjoyment or having sex parties with a larger group of consenting participants. This is often what people who don't engage in CNM or those who are condemning it are imagining. Any and every CNM dynamic looks like, which makes it an easy target to be painted in some sexually adventurous and wild imagery. This overrepresentation of swinging as the only form of M also tends to trigger people who have experienced cheating or jealousy in past relationships and keeps them from considering seen him as a possibility for their own relationships. While swinging and sex focused branches of C M are valid and have set boundaries with all parties consenting, the focus on these types of m as the only ones represented in popular media and public discourse can do a disservice to those who practice I met dynamics such as polyamory. There's also a broader style of CNM dynamic that generally has less strict or specific but still diverse sets of boundaries. This is called an open relationship, and open relationship could mean anything from being non exclusively involved with only one of a person to having specific guidelines less restrictive than polyamory but less targeted than a swinging couple. Chef two thousand and twenty described that the title of an open relationship as one that gives little information about the specifics of the structure beyond the fact that the participants have agreed on nonmonogamy. Well, this term can be used as...

...a broad umbrella term from many types of CNM relationships and some may choose to use it. Other people, in seeing him dynamics, may choose to use other labels. It is important to respect those choices. So, in conclusion, in Western society there's a dominating perception that monogamy should be compulsory and that any relationship that goes against monogamous ideals is a moral depraved or shady in some way. Once we move past the narrow minded and oppressive dialog that surrounds the discourse condemning see in them relationships, it makes room to truly examine the multitude of benefits it can have for the individual as fellow as well as for the relationship as a whole. After examining some of the lesser known benefits of C and M style relationships and some of the hidden drawbacks of the foundation of monogamy, is important that we remove ourselves from any implicit biases that we may have and open our minds to the possibility that C M relationships may be the best option for some people, as is consistent with popular discords and assumption. There are also pop possible drawbacks to see him dynamics for some people and extensive benefits to monogamy, which also supports that monogamy maybe the best relationship dynamic for certain people. It is this paper's position that neither of these dynamics is inherently incorrect, oppressive or a moral and that both statements can be simultaneously correct for different people. What is most important is that we don't try to force NM people into shame or into monogamy, and that we do not try to force people who are comfortable monogamy into C and m dynamics, but rather that we allow everyone accurate information so that they can make the decisions for themselves and become more tolerant of those who make different decisions. So that is my most recent published paper. Thank you all for listening. I know this one a little bit longer than usual, but I really wanted to get through this paper. Let me know if you want to hear more about these different dynamics. There's definitely a lot more I could talk about. I could maybe bring on a friend to interview as well. So yeah, just let me know if that's something you would want to hear. Thank you so much for tuning in and thank you so much for bearing with me as I took a few months off. I'm so excited to get back into the swing of things. Have a great week and talk to you next week.

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