Recent posts

No Relationship Model Is One-Size-Fits-All

As I’ve blogged about before, queer and poly relationships actually have a lot of communication strategies to offer straight, monogamous, and vanilla relationships (not to mention the fact that a world where every kind of relationship is not only tolerated but also accepted is a better world for everyone). In a similar vein, Ferrett Steinmetz’s blog post There Is No Okay In Poly does, despite the title, apply to monogamous relationships as well. The post came out of the “Is this okay to do in poly?” questions that the author got tired of hearing, leading him to write of relationship models: “Maybe you select something off the rack at first, but the end goal is to not emulate some other happy couple, but to become one yourself.” In other words, no two relationships are (or should be) the same. Continue Reading →

Compulsory Monogamy Going Mainstream?

Perhaps I should clarify: compulsory monogamy is already mainstream. It’s already the norm, and a largely unexamined one at that. What I mean to discuss here is how the idea of compulsory monogamy is now under discussion in the mainstream, thanks to its application to The Hunger Games movie franchise. This essay, Compulsory Monogamy in The Hunger Games, by Mimi Schippers, PhD, has been picked up by The Huffington Post and Jezebel. Meaning, it’s now reaching a lot of readers. Continue Reading →

Informed Consent: Relationship Status Questions

An important way that informed consent is relevant to sexual pursuits is in the question of relationship status, availability, and ethical entanglements. Let me put it this way: say that you’re single and on a date with someone. It’s going well. What if, after the date (and whatever ensuing erotic activities you might’ve pursued), this person reveals that they’re actually in a long-term committed relationship, or married? How would you feel about that? Continue Reading →

Mono-centric Torture Porn

Yes, I kinda just made up the phrase “mono-centric torture porn.” Here’s what I mean by it: a story that dwells on, even fetishizes, the character(s) being forced to choose between two lovers in order to end up in a monogamous long-term relationship. I borrow the term “torture porn” from film reviewers who use it to describe movies that don’t seem to have much going on beyond the gory dismembering and killing happening on screen, since it gets to the point of being gratuitous violence. I also feel like plots that make us sit through a book or film where OMG YOU MUST CHOOSE ONE are gratuitous and sickening. I mean, who would ever write a book or make a movie about someone being forced to choose between their two best friends? Continue Reading →

Benefits Of Non-Monogamy For Animals

Recent research from Indiana University suggests that female birds who mate with males outside their monogamous pairing are conferring reproductive advantages upon their offspring. This long-term study measured reproductive success by noticing that the offspring of promiscuous female birds went on to have more offspring of their own. The interesting take-home points here are that not all species are monogamous, and that non-monogamous behavior appears to be beneficial in some circumstances. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

Monogamy On The Rise (If You’re Just Measuring Monogamy)

According to this report, monogamy has been rising in a period from 1975-2000, based on a study of 6,864 straight and gay men and women… who live in monogamous couples. What the study really seems to be measuring is the rate of fidelity, as in, how often partners reported cheating. Coupla problems here: first, with self-reporting a stigmatized phenomenon like cheating it is tough to gauge accuracy; and second, the study didn’t seem to look at non-monogamous formations (in order to have something to compare monogamy to), ranging from singles to polyamorous folks to swingers. So if there’s less cheating happening in monogamous relationships, great–it just doesn’t necessarily mean that the phenomenon of monogamy is increasing. Continue Reading →

The Importance Of Fluid Bonding

What, you may ask, is fluid bonding? And why should you care? Fluid bonding frequently comes up in the context of non-monogamous or polyamorous relationships, but it’s just as important for monogamous folks, because it entails discussion and negotiation of acceptable risks, intimacy, trust, and pleasure. Fluid bonding, at its most basic, is the agreement to share bodily fluids with someone. You and your partner(s) discuss what makes sense to you in terms of sexual health and emotional intimacy. Continue Reading →

Judgmental (And Inaccurate) Misconceptions About Non-Monogamy (Part I)

The opening sentence of an article titled Non-Monogamy: Do Open Relationships Work? is “Non-monogamy is about one thing–sex.” If that’s true, does it mean that monogamy is not about sex? Or that non-monogamy can’t be about things other than sex? Sadly, this poorly written article continues with the sex-negative rhetoric, lumping all non-monogamous (also called polyamorous or poly or open) relationships into one nymphomaniac category that the author, working on assumptions rather than research, opposes to The One True Way, Monogamy. Continue Reading →

Do Monogamous Animals End Up With Unattractive Partners?

That’s what Jennifer Viegas explores over at today, as she describes work in different animal species. And work in birds suggests that certain female birds who wind up with less attractive/less ideal mates end up with higher levels of stress hormones, pointing to the need to consider stress in relationships in more nuanced ways. It’s an interesting article and worth the read. [Discovery, hat tip to @GuyKawasaki] Continue Reading →