Dating & Relationships, Videos

How Do Monogamous And Consensually Non-Monogamous Relationships Compare? (Video)

February 28, 2018 by Justin Lehmiller

Studies have found that people overwhelmingly rate monogamous relationships as superior to consensually non-monogamous relationships on virtually every dimension you can think of [1]. For example, monogamy is seen as promoting better relationship quality in terms of enhancing intimacy, safety, honesty, and communication. Even on qualities that have nothing to do with relationship functioning, such as paying taxes on time and taking a daily multi-vitamin, monogamy is seen as better for promoting them. Do people’s perceptions match up with reality, though? Are people in monogamous relationships necessarily much better off?

In the video below from our friends over at ASAP Science, they break down what the research in this area has found (and they even cite some of my own studies on this topic). As you’ll see, what the data show are that many of the presumed benefits of monogamy don’t quite hold up. However, this isn’t to say that consensual non-monogamy is superior to monogamy or that most people would be happier if they abandoned monogamy. To the contrary, the data suggest that different people may be better suited to different relationship styles.

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[1] Conley, T. D., Moors, A. C., Matsick, J. L., & Ziegler, A. (2013). The fewer the merrier?: Assessing stigma surrounding consensually non‐monogamous romantic relationships. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 13(1), 1-30.

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Written by
Dr. Justin Lehmiller
Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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