Living Single

The truth about singles in our society.

Are Monogamous Relationships Really Better?

There are widespread beliefs that monogamous relationships are superior in many ways to consensually non-monogamous relationships. Social scientists are beginning to test those assumptions, and they sometimes end up unimpressed. Read More


CNM relationships could work out very well. The ideal of monogamy is not realistic and it sets most people up for disappointment. This has less to do with cheating as it dose with the unrealistic expectations that we as humans place on our sole partner. They have to be nearly perfect to keep from disappointing the other person. how is that doable? How stressful is that and what is it doing to your health? I think that monogamy, like marriage has been held in such high regard due to the religious endorsement it gets. I think if we look at some of the other primates like the bonobos we might see something of a model that could work for humanity with modifications.


I assume you are talking about the Christian religion. Monogamy was an invention of the Greeks and Romans. There is no real endorsement of monogamy in Christianity.

There are certain advantages of monogamous cultures over polygamous cultures just as there are advantages for polygamous cultures.

You are wrong!

Or just plain ignorant of the Judeo-Christian Bible. Go back to the story of the Garden of Eden (it is in the first book of the bible, Genesis if you have never read it). It can't be any plainer. From what I've read and been taught, there is NO mention of Adam and Eve having other partners than each other. And brother let me tell you, Adam lived to be 930 years. That's a LONG time. The bible very clearly endorsed the one man/one woman for life model, specifically within marriage. Any other 'intimate' relationship between a man and a woman was strictly forbidden. Hope this helps with any confusion you may have caused for someone else! Cheers@!@

Married people live longer. I

Married people live longer. I think constant novelty-seeking and dopamine highs and crashes is what is stressful and bad for your health

Signed, a happy monogamist:-)


I have been debunking the myth of the long-living married people for years. You can find relevant links here:

Subculture Discovery

While finding out that I was not straight, while in a heterosexual marriage, I entered the gay culture just when it was gaining some respectability. I found out that a huge number of people who live behind white picket fences are in fact members of sexual subcultures. My own partner was a woman who was married and wanted to stay that way (I discovered after being lied to for months) and have her woman on the side. This is so common, I started to think that the majority of people lived double lives. I wanted the monogamous relationship my partner had promised, so after she broke it off and came crawling back, I slammed the door in her face. (I also came to see what a human train wreck she was and dodged that bullet.) I've since realized that my orientation is "single at heart" and I gratefully said good-bye to the drama, but I never assume anything about what's behind other people's bedroom doors any more. I just know that what's behind mine is an enormous tabby cat who strikes the perfect balance between cuddling and independence. >: )

Where is the Data

I like the research findings that people in monogamous relationships are more likely not to practice safe sex when the real question is not whether they are more likely to practice safe sex but whether they are more likely to contract STDs. I tried to find such information but could not find it.

Also, the statement that "But research shows that “sexual frequency, on average, decreases over the course of a (presumed monogamous) romantic relationship.” This does not seem to indicate whether people who are monogamous are having more or less sex than people who are not.

Have you seen this?

Have you seen this?
I think it might be great to get your input on this nasty side of matrimania.

Surely it stands to reason

Surely it stands to reason that monogamy isn't particularly natural - look at all the online dating sites that have sprung up. Some of them are deliberately targeted at married people looking to have affairs. Most of them are for single people but it doesn't mean that married people don't use them too. Surely if people have been non-monogamous from the dawn of time, then CNM is natural and any attempt to corral it is more of a social and cultural construct - the way that homosexuality and women's rights have also been oppressed on the grounds of 'unnaturalness'.

Imagine if we expected life-long monogamy for food, residence or employment

It seems intuitively obvious that life-long monogamy for a personal relationship is difficult to maintain or to enforce. I have to wonder if it's unhealthy as well. For type of employment, choice of where to live, and what one eats, most people I think would say that change and evolution is desirable (as opposed to doing the same job, living in the same place, and eating the same thing all one's life).

I can't prove it with data but I think the same is likely true of personal relationships, especially those with a romantic/sexual component.

My cat is in this fight too

My cat is in this fight too Bella! = )

Here is a [correct] rework of the term monogamy:

as stated in the article: "" Conley likes the CDC definition of monogamy: “mutual monogamy means that you agree to be sexually active with just one person, and that person has agreed to be sexually active only with you.” ""

as I have corrected it: "" Conley likes the CDC definition of monogamy: “mutual monogamy means that you agree to be sexually active with just one person, and that person has agreed to be sexually active only with you [FOR LIFE].” ""

mono means/= 1 (one). not many (in succession)! i despise the term 'serial monogamy'. it, in no way is even close to the proper definition of monogamy.

if you have multiple partners throughout life, just describe your current mutual relationship of trust as 'faithful to each other -- at the moment'. please, the distortion of the term monogamy in our society is ridiculous.

God intended mates to cleave to each other, and no one else! That is the way it was and still is designed. Any deviation from this model always produces unwanted results.

Romantic isn't it?

PEACE to all !!!!

My opinion is that we are all

My opinion is that we are all different. What works for some may not work for others. I myself have been with my wife for about 34 years. She is my one and only ever. I believe that I am her one and only, and I know there is no way I could know that for sure, but I do believe it. My wife is very beautiful and I love spending time with her. I think that our sex life is fantastic, again I believe she feels the same, but again I will never know for sure. It really comes down to this for me: I trust her completely not to hurt me. After 34 years she has had plenty of opportunity to do so, and I have had plenty as well. But I am smart enough to see that I have found the perfect girl for me, I love her more than anything.

I have friends that have been with many partners. Some seem very happy, some tell me they wish they had what I have. There is NO way we will ever know what is best. Find what works for you and forget what others think.

My last thought on this is takes 2 to make a monogamous relationship work (not going to get sti if truly monogamous), if you are not with the right person it will never work, when you find the one that makes you happy, keep them, if not then move on. YOU have to do what makes you happy.

live monogamous life

Thanks for your inputs.
I would prefer to be monogamous if there is a surefire way to always
be in full control of mind.
I believe it is possible.
Even discussing this topic with people like you give me insights and
strength to carry out my decision.


Well obviously you cant take an article like this seriously when the writer himself/herself doesn't even know the definition of criterion lol

great piece

Great piece as always Bella. Keep up the good work.


Thanks, Laurie. I always enjoy your work, too.

Monogy and CNM terminology

I have always been under the impression-due to society's usage-that 'monogamous' simply meant being in a committed romantic relationship with someone (sex life or lack of one not being a criteria). I can accept that being incorrect and the general population has just been using the term incorrectly, but I am confused why the term "consensual non-monogamy- includes both sexual and romantic relationships then? CNM seems to be the opposite of monogamy (with the exception of cheating) so shouldn't the definitions cover the same things?

I am also wondering than, besides 'going steady', what is another term for being in a committed romantic relationship that may or may not include sex (at least in the beginning since not everyone has sex right away)? "Committed romantic relationship" can get to be a bit of a mouthful!

I apologize if I shouldn't have responded to an older article, but this is the second time I've seen the term 'monogamy' used on this site to mean sexual relationship only and it's had me confused and surprised that I've been using it wrong this whole time. I know I could probably look it up but I also wanted to know the correct term for a romantic relationship as I mentioned above. Thanks in advance Bella and anyone else who can help clear this up.

I found this article interesting and appreciate the myth of monogamy=safer sex being debunked.It's not having multiple partners that makes sex unsafe-it's having ones that are not responsible with sex or that are not trustworthy. This wasn't exactly touched on-but it also bothers me when people preach condom use only for those not in a monogamous relationship (or not married) like they're naturally going to be irresponsible because of their lifestyle choice (and need the reminder to be safe).

Exactly What I'm Referring To

For reference I am referring to these parts of the term descriptions (bolded by me):

Conley likes the CDC definition of monogamy: “mutual monogamy means that you agree to be sexually active with just one person, and that person has agreed to be sexually active only with you.”

Consensually non-monogamous relationships (CNM) are “relationships in which both partners have openly agreed that they and/or their partners will have other sexual or romantic partners."

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Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., is author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She is a visiting professor at UCSB.


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