This article is part of The Diamondback’s annual sex guide. Read the rest here.
Monogamy is something nobody seems to be able to perfect, yet only a few people in Western culture stray from it. It is a lot of work to be totally fulfilled, sexually and/or romantically, by just one person for an extended amount of time.
A lot of people fail at monogamy — extramarital affairs are one of the leading causes for divorce in the U.S., where the divorce rate is nearly 50 percent. Non-monogamy remedies that problem by allowing for exploration and an open dialogue about boundaries.
Dan Savage, a renowned syndicated sex-columnist, has been championing non-monogamy for decades. His stance on the topic is essentially that total monogamy can be unrealistic, many couples could benefit from flexibility and the ability to remain flawlessly monogamous should not define a successful, healthy relationship.
Non-monogamy can be daunting for some as the concept encompasses all sorts of relationships that involve multiple people. But non-monogamous relationships can mean anything from polyamory, to open relationships, to swinging, to cellular families and a host of other well-defined terms. The reality is that non-monogamous relationships are various and there is no set of rules they should all follow.
Savage coined the term “monogamish” many years ago as a way to define his relationship dynamic with his husband. The couple allows for infidelity in their relationship, as long as they’re open and honest about it, as a way to remedy the gap in their relationship needs.
As societal views on sexuality are becoming more loose and liberal, some who engage in non-monogamy are trying to start a dialogue. Aziah King, widely known as Zola (@_zolarmoon) in the Twittersphere, regularly discusses her open marriage and sexual adventures.
On Nov. 9, she sent out a thread of tweets stating “Monogamous romantic cis relationships are a scam. A plot to sell movies & false marriage expectations lmao… Unlearn that shit. […] Remove the social constructs & fluidly expressing/experimenting with ur sexuality is 100% natural, FACT. Experience has no label.”
Such visible and frank discussion of modern non-monogamous relationships could be a positive force for people unhappy with monogamy but unsure of alternatives due to monogamy being so deeply ingrained into our culture. Commentary like King’s is extremely hard to come by in general, but especially when it comes to more well-known celebrities. In fact, the only notable denouncement of monogamy that comes to mind is Kanye West’s “Love is cursed by monogamy” line in “No Church In The Wild” — and even he is in a presumably monogamous marriage with Kim Kardashian West.
It has been estimated that about four to five percent of Americans engage in non-monogamy — that’s a couple million people, but for some reason the topic mostly stays out of prominent pop culture. There is no way all renowned celebrities are monogamous, so why aren’t folks doing more to change the dialogue around polyamory?
Social norms are shifting, but non-monogamy still isn’t widely accepted. It’s time for that to change.