Is Monogamy for You?

Is Monogamy for You?

18 March 2024

The fairytale goes that we meet someone, fall in love, and live blissfully happy forever after. Yet, for some, it feels limiting.

Why is it that we put monogamy on such a pedestal? StatsSa indicates that around 40% of marriages end in divorce before the marriage hit the 10-year mark. Are we as humans hardwired for monogamy? Can one partner truly stimulate us intellectually and fulfill all of our sexual needs all of the time? The good news is that there are options. Non-monogamous people are all over mainstream dating apps. Yup, it’s not new and it’s not rare.

As the world of dating and commitment evolves, once taboo relationship styles are becoming more mainstream and accepted. OkCupid allowed polyamorous couples to link their profiles way back in 2016 and Hinge introduced its relationship style tags, giving users the power to disclose whether they were exploring as a couple, single person, or whether they are in an open or ethically non-monogamous relationship.

There may be many reasons why ethical non-monogamy might be appealing. Maybe you’re diving into the dating world for the first time and want to experience everything without hurting anyone, or maybe you’ve just ended a long monogamous relationship and don’t wish to fall right back into that pattern. Whatever tickles your curiosity, here’s what you need to know.

Ethical non-monogamy (ENM) is an umbrella term for a number of relationship styles that involves romantic or sexual relationships with more than one person that is consented by those involved. “Ethical” is in the title for a reason. ENM is not a license to cheat. It is a relationship dynamic that requires trust, communication, and transparency.

It is worth noting that not all ENM relationships look the same. Some couples include terms such as “only one-night stands,” or “when we travel,” while others have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

ENM could include:

  • Polyamory which is a non-monogamous relationship style where people mutually agree to have multiple sexual or romantic relationships.
  • Monogamish is generally a monogamous relationship that allows for the possibility of occasional outside sexual contact.
  • Swinging is where couples interact with other couples (or occasionally singles) and swap or have group experiences.
  • Open relationships tend to lie somewhere in between swinging and polyamory. There is generally some openness to multiple romantic or sexual partners, but there may be limitations on how deep those relationships can become.

There is a greater cultural shift towards acceptance and exploration to discover what works for you. The benefits of ENM could include increased freedom, more opportunities for intimacy, and a deeper understanding of one’s own needs and desires.

Bottom line: Whether you choose monogamy or ethical non-monogamy, the underlying principles of respect, honesty and consent remain universal.


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.

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