“I shall not hold you to any medieval code of faithfulness to me
nor shall I consider myself bound to you.”
Ethical non-monogamous relationships vary from open relationships to monogamish arrangements and many more. Monogamish is a term used to describe a relationship that is mostly monogamous but allows for some degree of sexual or romantic exploration outside of the primary partnership. The word was popularized by relationship expert, Dan Savage and it looks different for different couples. The common thread for all these couples is that they are open to the idea of engaging in consensual sexual and/or romantic entanglements with other people outside their relationship.
Types of monogamish arrangements
There is no universal definition for monogamish, and different couples perform it differently. Here are some activities different monogamish couples engage in:
- Sharing non-monogamous fantasies
- Flirting with people outside the relationship
- Being open to extra-relational sexual interactions
- Swinging (together)
- Friends with benefits
- Open relationships
Benefits of being monogamish
Monogamish arrangements allow individuals to explore their sexuality and desires while still enjoying the security that comes from a stable partnership. It is also rooted in the belief and understanding that just because you’re in a relationship with someone doesn’t mean you own them and have a monopoly on their affection. It recognizes the fact that we are human and will be attracted to other people and experiences and that this should not necessarily lead to the demise of the relationship.
Improved sexual satisfaction
Allowing yourselves to explore different sexual experiences alone and as a couple can improve your sexual satisfaction. The increased variety and excitement can provide some excitement that may be lacking in a traditional monogamous relationship.
Increased trust and communication
Acknowledging human weaknesses and our proclivity to be attracted to other people aside from our partners can strengthen trust in the relationship. A monogamish relationship demands open and honest communication about everything from fantasies to extra-relationship encounters you’d like to try.
Having open and honest communication with your partner about your fantasies and sexual interests can lead to reduced jealousy. Being open with each other about your extra-relational sexual engagements in an ethical set-up can decrease jealousy and feelings of insecurity about your partner’s commitment and faithfulness to you.
Risks and dangers
Unbalanced power dynamic
If one partner in the monogamish arrangement is more excited about it or gets more action in the streets because they are more conventionally attractive, it can introduce strain in the relationship.
Jealousy and insecurity
It can have the opposite effect of triggering feelings of jealousy and insecurity leading to relationship problems.
Risk of STIs
If both parties in a monogamish relationship are not extra-careful whenever they engage in sexual activities with others, it can increase the risk of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Even if you’re careful, it increases the likelihood of getting an STI.
Monogamish relationships are not socially accepted. We live in a society that values monogamy and goes out of its way to strictly enforce it. Choosing to buck convention can lead to backlash, discrimination, and judgment from others.
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