Women’s Sexuality & Monogamy
Let’s Talk About Monogamy: Is it Right for You?
Hello lovely ladies, we are excited for another edition of Locker Room Talk; the nitty-gritty, taboo-busting sexual discussions that women are really having with each other about women’s sexuality This week we are tackling the topic of monogamy and whether or not it’s right for everyone.
Can we just take a minute to talk about how fucking exciting it is that we can even have these types of conversations? Monogamy, or being in a committed relationship with only one partner for an extended amount of time, used to be the only kind of relationship that was discussed or even considered, by anyone living a remotely socially acceptable lifestyle. It was either commit or be a heathen harlot destined to die alone (and likely with some horrible sexually contracted disease).
But here’s the thing: believe it or not, we are evolving and relationships are changing. Society as a whole is becoming more accepting of alternative lifestyles and gaining a deeper understanding of women’s sexuality. With this shift, women have a lot more options when it comes to navigating their sexuality and relationships. I for one, feel that this is something worth celebrating and exploring.
Are you currently living a monogamous life? If so, is that by choice or default?
Monogamy vs. Non-Monogamy: What Might Work Best for You
Once again, we (Annette and Kelly) collaborated and decided to split the research and each of us reached out to our network to find out what women living in each type of relationship style had to say about the pros and cons of monogamy and non-monogamy. I (Kelli) took monogamy, and Annette focused on non-monogamy. Here are the pros and cons of each relationship style as revealed through our conversations with women currently engaging in each:
Monogamy and women’s sexuality
- Emotional Security
- Financial security
- Approval of others
- Lowered risk of STI’s
- Change of sexual compatibility
Non-Monogamy and women’s sexuality
- Bangin sex life (rarely a bore)
- Requires and improves communication
- The ability to have multiple, fulfilling emotional connections and relationships
- Never having to wonder, “what if” about a sparked connection
- Having a tribe instead of a singular partner
- Requires excellent communication, and a lot of it (can get exhausting)
- Higher risk category for STIs
- Social rejection
- More complex than monogamous relationships (lots of work)
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, we are going to let our guests and fellow sexual sister goddesses weigh in on the topic.
Discussing Monogamy In the Locker Room
Whether or not you believe in and practice monogamy, we feel that having open discussions and being aware of what your options are, is vitally important to any person who is in pursuit of living a healthy, sexually fulfilling life. Upon asking and facilitating dialogues with other women surrounding monogamy, when asked, “Do you believe in and practice monogamy?” and “Why or why not?” As well as, “How has monogamy or non-monogamy, impacted the way you engage in your romantic relationships” the following answers were shared.
Locker Room Talk Topic: Monogamy & Women’s Sexuality
I do believe in and practice monogamy because I know myself well enough to know that emotionally I am not someone who can share my partner. I know there are women out there that have reached a master level of self-awareness that say they can completely separate their relationship and the relationship a partner has with someone else, but for me, that’s not only not where I’m at, but I have no desire to ever be. I like knowing that I am her only, and she is my only. ~Brooke
Honestly, I am lazy. The amount of work it would take to cultivate and maintain multiple intimate relationships sounds exhausting. Nope, no thanks. I’ll happily keep my one guy to myself.~ Hannah
I practice monogamy because it’s what I have always done, it is what was modeled for me growing up, and it is what feels most natural to me. I’m a simple girl who avoids drama, is happy to have sex a few times a month, and am comfortable in my relationship with a partner who I feel is on a very similar page. ~ P
STI’s are the biggest motivator for me to continue practicing monogamy. I work in the health care industry, and let me tell you, the amount of patients that we regularly treat in our area for an STI is shocking. It’s a freaking epidemic within our community. ~ Gina
I know this might sound cheesy or cliche, but I absolutely love being married and have the utmost respect for the sanctity of marriage. What my husband and I share exclusively with each other is something I treasure and would never soil it by adding others into the mix. I love that this is one part of ourselves that we save exclusively for each other, especially living in a society where so much is made public and so few things are held special and private. ~ H
I am a huge advocate and believer in keeping monogamy alive! I think that being monogamous forces couples to grow and evolve. It is easy to look outside of your partner when things get stale, but if you both commit to the relationship and to the practice of monogamy, it forces the two of you to communicate, explore, compromise, and grow TOGETHER, or go without having your needs met. ~ Jane
Locker Room Talk: Non-Monogamy and Women’s Sexuality
I reached out to communities of women who I knew practiced non-monogamy. Little of what they said surprised me, but they did have a lot to say. I want to start this section of Locker Room Talk with this woman’s thoughts. She feels she practices both monogamy and non-monogamy, and I think her comments on both the type of relationships she is in and the way people treat her is poignant. So let’s begin:
I believe in both monogamy and non-monogamy and would say that I practice both. As a married, bi, queer woman, I practice monogamy in that I only have and desire one male partner, which is my husband. But at the same time, I’m non-monogamous in that I am interested in other partners as I am wanting physical connections with women. Now I am sure there will be those who say I am practicing non-monogamy, but this is the thing about one’s sexuality…it is on one’s own terms and others don’t need to understand or approve of it.
The plus side to my practice is that I am allowed connections I desire that my husband, as much as I love him and am sexually attracted to him, can never fulfill as he is but a man. I went many years keeping this part of me chained away in the darkness and it almost killed me.
As freeing as it is to finally be open with myself and the world about who I am, it does come with a lot of judgment. It is amazing to me how much people feel the need to judge others when they should focus on themselves. It is also hard finding partners being a married woman, and this is a hardship of non-monogamy. We are raised in a world where monogamy if forced into our psyche so that there is a shame attached with being non-monogamous. ~Deanna
The way I view non-monogamy is the same way I view having children: my love for one of my children isn’t decreased when another child is born. Similarly, my love for one of my partners is not decreased because I love others as well. The vast majority of my friends in monogamous relationships have had to deal with infidelities which always leads to so much anger and hatred. I have known so many women who claimed to be trapped in their marriages too. I feel like being non-monogamous gives me the ability to step out of a relationship that is unhealthy for me with far less of a fallout. And while infidelities do happen in non-monogamous relationships, I think the prevalence is lower and the ability to peacefully work through them is higher. Also, being non-monogamous requires one to really love and accept themselves above all others. If you can do this, you won’t fall victim to jealousy or fear. I think being non-monogamous has made me grow into my best self. ~ Taylor
I find it so odd that some people don’t “believe” in non-monogamy. It’s not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a legitimate type of relationship. I have tried to be open with my immediate family about my dating since we’re close. While they’re very accepting of me being bisexual, some of them really have a hard time understanding the non-monogamy thing. They say, “That’s not a real relationship.”
Personally, I feel like I’m still figuring out whether or not I want to be monogamous or non-monogamous in the long term. I don’t feel like I fit in either category. It really depends on the person for me. I have yet to find a person who fulfills all my relationship needs for a long term relationship.
My current relationship is non-monogamous. We haven’t really seen any other people in a while, but I believe a lot of that is due to being busy/exhausted (physically & emotionally) and transportation issues (he is currently without a car). And if we did decide to become “more monogamous,” we would both still be able to see people of a different gender on occasion (he is bisexual as well).
As with any relationship, the most important things are trust, respect, and communication. If you don’t have that, it’s not going to work out. Also, if you are seeing other people, practice safe sex! ~ Tabby
As a poly person, yes I practice ethical non-monogamy. The biggest change it has had on me is in terms of communication and transparency. 1. Communication with my spouse regarding partners and types of relationships. 2. Communication with my partners on everything including the level of commitment, boundaries, methods of communication, etc. Simply put, I’ve never had this much communication in my entire life. ~ Tamara
Relationship anarchist/organic relating non-monogamist here…Basically, I’m independent and so are my people. I’m a bit too honest, and I AM love, so I give love without an investment or any expectations on its return. It’s an, “I want you but I don’t need you,” complex.
It seems the thirst is too strong in some, and I hate when people change for other people instead of themselves. Since I actually don’t like pre-defined titles, I’d say the pros are an ease of expectations on my others that everything is cool if we can work it out. The con is that it takes forever for a new partner to trust that you’re not being manipulative or have some other agenda than defined.
There’s less jealousy than I thought, just more doubts and fighting social norms and the inner battle of the so-called right and wrong. ~ Melanie
We opened our relationship about 4 years ago as a last ditch effort to save our marriage. Our goal was two-fold: I always identified more bi-sexual and my husband lacked experience, as I was only the only woman he had only been with. In the beginning, we were voyeurs at the local sex club. This accomplished something that 11 years of marriage hadn’t, it opened the flood gates of communication.
Over the next few years, we navigated through being voyeurs, swingers, poly and lots of places in between. There were a few things we decided on. There is no right way of doing things, it is very important for us to stay fluid in our communication and expectation and we don’t want to label ourselves, as every relationship is different. ~Tammie
My (Annette) take away from this edition of Locker Room Talk is that every type of relationship comes with its highs and its lows, its pros and its cons, and its solutions to the many complexities of participating in relationships. From my perspective, there is no one form of relationship that is better than all of the others. We are all so different from one another. We have different needs, wants, and desires, and fortunately now we have options when it comes to how we live our intimate lives.
If I had one wish, it would be that we would all strive to be less judgemental and more open-minded with one another. Judging or excluding others because they practice a different lifestyle hurts everyone. It keeps us all from having the types of friendships and relationships that build communities and happy, healthy homes.
No one wants to see their friends and loved ones suffer or stay in unhealthy relationships. By not only accepting, but embracing the fact that there are lots of different ways to love and be with each other, we open the door for all women to find the kind of love they need to grow into their very best selves and live their most fulfilling lives socially, intimately, and sexually.
Every woman deserves that.