A mate who may be vying for a coveted Research Assistant’s position on this blog forwards me this article from Men’s Health:
More Americans are showing interest in polyamory, or relationships where you have more than one romantic or sexual partner, according to a new study published in The Journal of Sex Research.
For the study, Amy Moors, Ph.D., director of social science research and evaluation for the College of Engineering at Purdue University, looked at data gathered from Google Trends between January 2006 and December 2015.
Moors analyzed the search volume for the terms “polyamory,” “open relationships,” and “swingers,” comparing them to control keywords like “Facebook” and “quotes.” She discovered that searches for “polyamory” and “open relationships” increased over time, while searches for “swingers”—a more old-fashioned term—decreased over time.
Personally I don’t think this means much, but it’s definitely a term that’s entering the general lexicon. This should be good for my book sales.
Moors says that while it’s not possible to know why exactly people are searching for these terms, it’s clear that an increasing number of people are thinking about non-monogamy and looking for information about it.
My guess is people are finding the term cropping up in online dating profiles, or meeting mentally ill people from Brooklyn who’ve never known anything else.
Unsurprisingly, part of the reason for an increased interest in open relationships is due to their appearance on TV. “Several of the large spikes in internet searches related to polyamory and open relationships are tied to popular TV shows and press,” she says.
Well, yes. TV shows exist in part to push an agenda set by the sort of liberal arts graduates who go into media, and polyamory is but the latest fad being promoted. Just as Sex and the City convinced a generation of women they could slut it up around New York until their mid-30s before settling down with a multi-millionaire playboy, no doubt these new shows will convince some that having meaningless sex with a succession of low-grade partners is a viable lifestyle choice.
Though, she says, it’s hard to say whether people are Googling this info because they’re just curious about what they’re seeing on the small screen or they’re actually interested in trying it themselves, the topic is definitely on the public’s mind.
It’s on the public’s mind because TV shows, magazines, and newspapers won’t stop promoting it.
Moors adds that non-monogamous relationships are widely misunderstood and stigmatized.
So will Moors add some clarity or muddy the waters? What do you think?
“There isn’t scientific evidence to suggest that humans are unable to love and/or engage in sex with more than one person,” she says.
That’s a handy strawman, isn’t it? Nobody is saying humans can’t love or have sex with multiple partners, but a quick survey of several billion people and a couple thousand years of human development would suggest that if you’re interested in a stable, functioning, relationship which benefits both the individuals, society, and any children then monogamy is probably the way to go. Sure, some people might be able to watch their partner go off with someone else and have sex and not bat an eyelid, but let’s not pretend this is common. She might as well say there is no scientific evidence for jealousy and insecurity.
“In fact, some of my recent work compared relationship quality based on trust, satisfaction, passionate love among people engaged in consensually non-monogamous, and monogamous relationships and found no differences.”
And how did you measure “relationship quality”? Did you look at longevity? Did you look at how many people, when ending a polyamorous relationship, quit the practice altogether and return to monogamy versus those going in the other direction?
“I anticipate that consensually non-monogamous relationships will become more mainstream,” Moors says.
I don’t know about that, but I am quite confident the propaganda won’t ease up.
Even polyamorists aren’t convinced by the practice. Consider this article I stumbled across this morning:
I just realized that I’ve had 5 different relationships which ended because the other person wanted to monogamous.
This implies they were already in a polyamorous relationship, but one of them wanted monogamy.
Two of them, (or more?), I also know they wanted to have kids. It makes me wonder if there’s a link between monogamy and plans for children.
This kid is nothing if not sharp!
I wonder if people that plan to procreate are more interested in monogamy because they’re looking for a partner that will be looking inwards towards their family. Their only priorities will be their children and partner, and not be distracted by other love affairs.
Who knew, eh?
Reading between the lines, this second article sounds as though it’s written by a man who likes shagging around with women who are dabbling in polyamory (probably due to low self-esteem, daddy issues, or personality disorders) but really want to settle down with a loving partner and have kids. The first article, like so many others, is fundamentally dishonest in refusing to address the obvious difficulties polyamorous relationships create, especially for those who want to have children.