new psychological study by Kevin Zimmerman from Iowa State University suggests that “the stigma over open relationships could be changing, and in the future, this lifestyle might even become the norm.”
The author seems to have a good grasp of the territory of open, polyamorous, and otherwise non-monogamous relationships. As quoted in the Huffington Post Blog about the article:
Zimmerman raises the question of whether we could be socialized to believe that to be devoted to a second person is to love the ﬁrst less, even though this standard does not apply when discussing adoring more than one child, for example.
Zimmerman explains that open relationships are different from inﬁdelity or cheating because partners agree on the sexual boundaries of the relationship, and there is no deception about sex. Successful open relationships typically involve those who privilege authenticity over conformity in their relationships. ‘Open’ relationships can be characterised by more honesty and better observation of boundaries.
While many people, especially in more conservative parts of our culture, believe that non-monogamous relationships (especially polygamy) are always bad, and inherently anti-feminist, Zimmerman challenges this ideas, saying
‘open’ relationships are sometimes seen as raising the status of women, releasing them to be with whom they want, bestowing greater power over their own bodies.
Additionally, Zimmerman correctly points out that monogamy is actually far less dominant that we’ve been led to believe:
Of the 185 human societies investigated in one study, only 29 restricted their members to monogamy… .
What do you think? Are open relationships becoming less stigmatized? Is that true of only some types of open relationships? Are there “good” or “bad” kinds of open relationships?
No matter what, change is on the horizon, and our society seems to be becoming more and more open to the possibility of “open.” 🙂
May you always love boldly, safely and well,
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[© 2013 Dawn M. Davidson]