Non-Monogamous Relationships Are Normal, And The Stigma Needs To End

Sa’iyda Shabazz

For most people, if someone told them that they were in a non-monogamous relationship, their mind would likely wander to something extreme. Many may picture sex parties full of people swapping partners with wild abandon, or raunchy threesomes like those depicted in porn.

But in reality, most non-monogamous relationships are fairly similar to monogamous relationships; they just involve more people.

The concept of non-monogamy is greatly over exaggerated and hyper-sexualized by mainstream media because then it’s easy to marginalize the people who participate in such relationships. But it’s 2018–we need to start acknowledging that there are many ways for people to be in relationships.

The cisgender, heteronormative way of thinking about relationships is not only boring, it’s dangerous. Our society was built on a puritanical Christian way of thinking that doesn’t leave much room for alternative lifestyles, even though they have always existed.

Now, as we fight for equal rights based on things like race and sexuality, the right to not have to define your relationship through the narrow lens of monogamy is just as important. A lot of the time, consensual non-monogamous (CNM) relationships are portrayed as subversive to others and shame the people who choose to engage in them and paint them as weird sexual deviants. And that othering can do a lot of damage to their reputations if not handled with care.

Here’s another perhaps mind blowing thing about CNM relationships; not all of them are based on sex. So often, the images we’re presented with when it comes to CNM relationships are completely sexual. We are shown relationships that are strictly based on sex: friends with benefits, open relationships, swingers, threesomes. And while those are obviously components of some CNM relationships, it goes so much deeper than that.

By focusing on the sexual side of CNM relationships, it’s easier for naysayers to portray these types of relationships as perverse, but acknowledging the romantic side can make them seem more mainstream. Just as sexuality and gender exist on a spectrum, consensual non-monogamous relationships run the gamut in terms of what is the “norm.” As a result, it’s important to understand what those relationships could look like.

Non-monogamous relationships aren’t just excuses to cheat on one’s spouse either. The people involved in the relationships set rules and boundaries for how the relationship will operate before they enter any additional relationships. These boundaries may evolve over time, but there is always an understanding of how they will best serve everyone involved. That is why it’s called consensual non-monogamy; everyone involved has explicitly expressed their desire to be involved in the relationship.

Most often, when we’re talking about consensual non-monogamous relationships that aren’t entirely sexual, we’re talking about polyamory. There are plenty of ways to have a polyamorous relationship; sometimes couples may have two partners who they are equally committed to, kind of an extended monogamy type situation. Some may have a primary partner and multiple secondary partners; some of those partners may be exclusively sexual, while others may be exclusively romantic, or a mix of both.

Some people who are in a polyamorous relationship may be cisgender and heterosexual, but just as many are queer or gender non-conforming people are in poly relationships. There are no rules about who participates in poly relationships, and every polycule operates the way that best serves them.

For some people, monogamy is too confining, and that’s okay. But as we all know, monogamy is the law of the land. This means, if three people in a CNM relationship wanted to be legally married, they can’t be, because in the eyes of the law, marriage can only happen between two people. If it’s a completely equal relationship, there are no protections for the person who isn’t legally married in the event that something terrible happens.

If a poly family has children and they all parent them, only two are actually considered to be the parents legally, which means that they would have to put something in writing for the family to stay together in the event of tragedy.

There are many reasons people in CNM relationships choose to keep it quiet. Some people just like being private, which is fine. What one person does in their bedroom is only the business of the people in the bedroom. But it would be wrong to not talk about the very real stigmas attached to those who choose to enter CNM relationships. Even if their relationships aren’t sexual, because of the way mainstream society has portrayed non-monogamous relationships, they will be painted with the same broad strokes. They could be branded as sexual deviants or sex fiends who are trying to recruit others for their sex group.

Poly families can run the risk of having social services called on them, even if they’ve created a totally loving home for their children. In reality, people who are non-monogamous or polyamorous are just keeping their hearts and lives open to all of the people they can love instead of stuffing themselves into a life with only one person. They aren’t being held against their will to be a plaything for many, these relationships, and how people move through them are always a choice.

Ashley Sweet, who is in a polyamorous family, spoke exclusively with Scary Mommy and offered some insight into what life is like for her family.

“The biggest misconception we face as a poly family is that we are ‘hurting’ or ‘damaging’ our children by exposing them to an unconventional relationship style. Ethical non-monogamy isn’t widely popular, which means we’ve had to expand on what our children know about relationships. We frame the conversation around consent, that your relationship style, just like relationship dynamics (i.e., physical contact, language, etc.) depends on the consent of all involved,” she explained.

She and her family have an Instagram account that they use to document their poly lifestyle.

“We have quickly learned that there is no road map for our relationship,” she said. “Monogamy is modeled in our media, and most of what we know about being a partner pertains to being a partner of one. Though we knew being out about our nontraditional family would incur some push back, we felt that we owed it to the non-monogamous community to share our journey and what we learn, to start to build that road map.”

Just as many of us have chosen to commit to only one person, those who are poly or in CNM relationships have committed to multiple people for the same reasons we have. They feel a deep connection to that person and want to be with them, whether it be strictly emotional, strictly physical, or somewhere in between. The only difference is that they feel that deep connection with more than one person at a time. This doesn’t make them anything other than human.

People who choose to engage in consensual non-monogamous relationships aren’t any different than those who choose to engage in monogamous relationships. In our heart of hearts, we’re all just people who want to love and be loved.

 

Why Swingers Have Lower Divorce Rates Than Monogamous Couples

Research suggests monogamy might not be worth it.

According to Dr. Michelle Golland, in the United States “mate swapping” or “swinging,” meaning to engage in sexual activities with the people who belong to outside of your marriage, is mainly seen as deviant or strange. But does it match with the facts? It is decades back during the 1960s when sexual experimentation and free love came to the forefront. During the 1970s, it transformed as “key parties.”

Before going any further, it is important to define swinging. Swinging is a form of an open relationship, in which partners remain committed and engaged in sexual activities, even with the other partners at the same time. They mainly regard their relations as a recreational practice or a social activity. It has added importance to their curiosity or to their conventional sex lives.

Some of the swingers, who remain engaged in casual sex, are often found to be more deliberative and frank, and therefore, more honest than those monogamous couples who indulge in infidelity. Many swingers feel that swinging is a healthy practice that actually strengthens their swinging-relationships.

According to some recent web articles, swingers are mentally healthier than their monogamous peers. The subtitle of the same article says that those men and women who swing perhaps possess some important mental health strengths.

Swingers Refrain From Divorces

Is there a reason why polyamorous couples divorce less? Well, the reasons swingers don’t file for divorces in comparison to their monogamous peers are the traits which determine happiness and flexibility in their mental health. They have an abstract thinking capacity in addition to creativity and adaptability to changing circumstances. The sex lives of the swingers are undoubtedly more flexible if compared with the monogamous couples, in terms of sex.

According to some renowned therapists specializing in both swingers and monogamous couples’ relationship issues, swingers do not fear, so they do not cheat. Obviously, the other group (i.e., monogamous couples) fear, so they cheat on their spouses.

Regarding fear, monogamous couples are victims of the toxic jealousy trap. This trap entails that any particular gesture or behavior may lead to a full-fledged affair, resulting into complete breakage of relationships.

Statistical Revelations Of Divorces Among Monogamous Couples

According to some statistical data, those that assume that people who blame others are the ones who actually initiate the divorce, giving their side a “good” reason. If the statistics are studied among the monogamous couples the figures are as follows:

  • Wives of monogamous marriages initiate 70 percent of divorce and blame their partners 40 percent of the time, while husbands of monogamous marriages initiate 30 percent of divorce and blame their partners for 21 percent of the same faults.
  • In another finding, 79 percent males of monogamous marriages initiated divorce is unprovoked; while the figures are 60 percent for the females (of the same type of marriages) to have initiated divorce to be found to be unprovoked.
  • The other statistical findings show that 23 percent of divorces are the reasons for the males’ “trading-up” and 28 percent of divorces are for the males’ “screwing-up” that ultimately results in 51 percent of divorces among monogamous marriages.
  • Another statistical study reveals the fact that 42 percent of divorces are because of “trading-up” by the females of monogamous marriages; while the figures of divorces due to “screwing-up” by the females of monogamous marriages are 7 percent, ending up with the total of 49 percent of divorces being due to women.

Hence, it is revealed that men are much more likely to “screw-up” and women are much more likely to “trade-up.” Therefore, both men and women are seemingly responsible for about half of divorces in the monogamous category, so the two cancel each other out.

The Fear Psychosis Of Monogamous Couples

Additional reasons why polyamorous couples divorce less has to do with fear in monogamous relationships. The couples in this category also fear of exhausting their best days of sexual excitements by being settled down and remaining bonded in a marriage, which may lead to a frustrating divorce.

The Fearlessness Of Swinging Couples

The couples in this category are often found to be deeply in love and remain emotionally connected. They hardly value sex in the same line as their monogamous peers do.

Reasons For Increased Divorces Among Monogamous Couples

In the case of the nitty-gritty in real life, the dividing line is drawn with the “pen” of sex. One relationship therapist found that monogamous couples are more judgmental towards sex, as it always and also predominantly pervades monogamists.

However, the swinging couples mostly espouse the attitude of “live-and-let-live.” Of course, many people will not generally support this attitude because different people have different sexual emotions and needs.

In 2009, the most popular swingers website SwingLifeStyle.com agreed that subjective scientific research has been conducted in the United States since the late 1960s. A study, based on an Internet questionnaire addressed to visitors of the swingers website, found swingers are happier in their relationships than the norm.

The swingers website concluded that some believe sexual attraction is part of human nature and should be openly enjoyed by a committed or married couple. Some swingers say divorce in the U.S. and lack of quality of sex and spousal infidelity are significant factors in divorce.

Another study showed that for non-swingers, 37 percent of husbands and 29 percent of wives admit to at least one extramarital affair, and divorce rates for first marriages approached 60 percent.

While polyamory isn’t for anyone, there’s no question that for those who engage in swinging, their happiness and relationship success are much higher.

Furry Fun

Friday, November 30

Furry Fun

Find a friend to pet tonight. Our guests are encouraged to bring out their fur for a night on the town. Ladies, have a stole, wrap, scarf, or other piece of furry clothing? Bring it in for some seriously heavy petting. Guys, it’s up to you to find the right spots to rub. 😉

Arrive in fur and receive $10 off of your nightly user fee.*

Couples and singles welcome and enjoy complimentary valet parking.

Arrive early and receive a personal guided tour of the club.

Don’t miss:
4-course Dinner Buffet
Late-night Breakfast Buffet
Unlimited non-alcoholic beverages

Hours: 8 p.m. – 4 a.m.

Couples: $70 | Single Ladies: $15| Single Men: $75

*Membership to Trapeze required. Cannot by combined with other discounts or offers.

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Fun with Femmes

Thursday, November 29

Fun with Femmes

Alright ladies, tonight is your chance to let your hair down and get a little wild.

Bring your friends and leave your panties at home, you won’t be needing them. It’s a night full of fabulous femmes.

Long week? You’re fighting with your roommate? Your boss just told you that your work is sub-par? It’s all so frustrating and can dampen anyone’s spirits. A ladies night out with the gals can help relieve that stress as you get lost in chatter and banter that doesn’t involve all the BS of the real world. The real world is a bust, you guys.

Don’t miss:
4-course Dinner Buffet
Late-night Breakfast Buffet
Unlimited non-alcoholic beverages

Hours: 8 p.m. – 3 a.m.

Couples: $40 | Single Ladies: $15 | Single Men: $75

*Membership to Trapeze required. Free ladies limited to first 10. Cannot be combined with other discount, vouchers or passes.
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Sky High Boots

Wednesday, November 28

Sky High Boots

Tuck your puss into some boots tonight for Trapeze’s Sky High Boots Party. Will you rock a low bootie or go for the super sexy, sky-high thigh-highs? It’s up to you, just don’t dawdle with the decision and miss the party!

Arrive in theme and save $10 on your nightly user fee.*

Don’t miss:
4-course Dinner Buffet
Late-night Breakfast Buffet
Unlimited non-alcoholic beverages

Hours: 8 p.m. – 3 a.m.

Couples: $40 | Single Ladies: $15 | Single Men: $75

*Membership to Trapeze required. Cannot be combined with other discount, vouchers or passes. 

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NFL Sunday

Sunday, November 25

NFL Sunday

Time for a sexy meet & greet to kick up your Sunday. Admit it, you are just a little curious what being inside the country’s most exclusive and awarded swingers club would be like.

Couples and singles welcome and enjoy complimentary valet parking.

Arrive early and receive a personal guided tour of the club.

Don’t miss:
4-course Dinner Buffet
Late-night Breakfast Buffet
Unlimited non-alcoholic beverages

Hours: 8 p.m. – 3 a.m.

Couples: $50 | Single Ladies: $15 | Single Men: $75

*Membership to Trapeze required.

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SDC’s Fishnet Party

Saturday, November 24

SDC’s Fishnet Party

Bring out the fishnets! Don’t feel limited to legs; decorate your arms, tops, bottoms and bodies with sexy crosshatch, don’t disappoint our new friends!

Get on the SDC guest list to receive $10 off your nightly user fee. Wear corsets and garters for an additional $10 off.*

Hours: 8 p.m. – 4 a.m.

Couples: $80 | Single Ladies: $15 | No Single Men

*Current membership to Trapeze required. Sign up by 7:30 p.m. Sept 22 to receive discounts. May not be combined with other promotions or discounts. Must arrive before midnight and mention your SDC screen name to receive discounts.

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Black Out Black Friday

Friday, November 23

Black Out Black Friday

Trapeze says screw the Black Friday ads and screw each other instead. Put the shopping bags away and rest up for a not-to-be-missed sales event at your favorite place – Trapeze Fort Lauderdale.

Arrive early and score the best Black Friday deals in the city!

Don’t miss:
4-course Dinner Buffet
Late-night Breakfast Buffet
Unlimited non-alcoholic beverages

Hours: 8 p.m. – 4 a.m.

Couples: $70 | Single Ladies: $15| Single Men: $75

*Membership to Trapeze required.

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Gobble my Knobble

Thursday, November 22

Gobble my Knobble

Gobble Gobble. Alright ladies, tonight is your chance to let your hair down and get a little wild for a sexy Thanksgiving. The first 30 ladies to come in are free!* We will serve up turkey and all the fixings, then you can burn off those calories with our more-than-able pilgrims with some naughty fun.

It’s a girls night out for the record books. Alright ladies, give yourself the gift no one did. Join your favorite females for a night out at Trapeze’s ladies night.

Bring your friends and leave your panties at home, you won’t be needing them. It’s a night full of fabulous femmes.

Reason for a Girls Night Out: To fly your freak flag.

Do you really think anyone else is going to put up with your idiosyncrasies quite like the close ladies in your life? No. So, in going out with them on a regular basis, you’re giving yourself and everyone else in the group the opportunity to let the weirdo in them shine, you know, that part of you that you try to hide like a dirty secret. Granted, it’s a dirty awesome secret, but still.

Hours: 8 p.m. – 3 a.m.

Couples: $40 | Single Ladies: $15 | Single Men: $75

*Membership to Trapeze required. Free entry limited to the first 10 ladies. Cannot be combined with other discount, vouchers or passes. You must arrive before 11 p.m. to receive discounts.
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Poke-a-hotass

Wednesday, November 21

Poke-a-hotass

Alrighty Captain John Smith, it’s a Trapeze Party to conquer the new world with your Pocahontas. Why not come to Trapeze Atlanta to show her the colors of your wind?

Time for a sexy romp to kick up your hump day. Admit it, you are just a little curious what being inside the country’s most exclusive and awarded swingers club would be like.

Couples and singles welcome and enjoy complimentary valet parking.

Arrive early and receive a personal guided tour of the club.

Don’t miss:
4-course Dinner Buffet
Late-night Breakfast Buffet
Unlimited non-alcoholic beverages

Hours: 8 p.m. – 3 a.m.

Couples: $40 | Single Ladies: Free | Single Men: $75

*Membership to Trapeze required.

Back to calendar.