Proponents often tout polyamory as an ethical, “consensual” form of non-monogamy. However, a recent survey, co-sponsored by the Wheatley Institution and Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life, found that less than half of women who had been in a consensual non-monogamous relationship said that both partners desired the arrangement equally.
And, among all survey respondents, it turned out that “men desired an open sexual relationship almost four times more than their female counterparts.” To be sure, plenty of male respondents in the survey reported that their female partner wanted an open relationship more than they did; but, no matter the direction of the data, the findings suggest that the mainstreaming of polyamory would likely result in many individuals (particularly women) feeling pressured to enter arrangements that would not be their first choice. And, as others have observed, these findings should encourage an appropriate dose of doubt regarding the “consensual” nature (for all affected parties) of so-called consensual non-monogamous relationships.
Another study (referenced here) on this topic found that “commitment emerged as a central concept in polyamorous relationships” but that when “rule violations” of commitment occurred they were “not generally interpreted as ‘cheating’ but rather as opportunities to renegotiate agreements.” In other words, even in polyamorous relationships, there are rules and violations of rules. The main difference, it appears, is that in “radically honest” relationships the dishonest partners — those who don’t play by the rules — face few consequences.
How can this be considered honest?
I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.
Surprise, surprise: “men desired an open sexual relationship almost four times more than their female counterparts.” So: guess who wins & who loses if polyamory gains? https://t.co/jY3wFbyFmu
— Brad Wilcox (@WilcoxNMP) January 7, 2020