Consensual non-monogamy

Interesting paper by Terri Conley and colleagues on consensual non-monogamy. Hope there are many studies to come to begin to fill in the gaps in data.

“Is participation in consensual non-monogamy [CNM] stigmatized? […] participants rated either monogamous or CNM relationships on a variety of dimensions. The responses to CNM relationships (relative to monogamous relationships) were overwhelmingly negative […]. Across three experimental studies, we demonstrated that high degrees of bias were expressed toward CNM relationships and individuals within them. Moreover, no legal protections surround consensual non-monogamy, meaning that a person could be, for example, fired explicitly for engaging in this behavior.”

“… we currently have no evidence that sexual exclusivity invariably leads to greater intimacy and relationship satisfaction than CNM. Instead, some evidence suggests that consensual non-monogamy can be satisfying and functional for couples.”

“Although only a few studies have examined jealousy in CNM relationships, their results indicate that jealousy is more manageable in these relationships than in monogamous relationships (Bringle & Buunk, 1991; de Visser & McDonald, 2007) and is experienced less noxiously (Ritchie & Barker, 2006).”

“… large numbers of people who are in ostensibly monogamous relationships have been cheated on at some point, and moreover, cheated on in ways that put them at risk for STIs.”

“A quick glance at cultures around the world demonstrates that monogamous practices are actually non-normative rather than pervasive […]. Departures from monogamy are often perceived to be sinful, yet the Bible clearly condones non-monogamy in multiple instances…”


Conley, T. D., Ziegler, A., Moors, A. C., Matsick, J. L., & Valentine, B. (2012). A Critical Examination of Popular Assumptions About the Benefits and Outcomes of Monogamous Relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Review.