Top 10 Reasons for Being – and Staying – Monogamous

Monogamy gets a bad rap these days — people say it’s unnatural, impossible, outdated, stifling. And, yes, sometimes it is! Especially if your wedding anniversary now contains two digits. But anything worth fighting for will usually put you through the ringer, and monogamy is no exception. So before your partner’s bad habits drive you to the brink of insanity or you start taking your fantasies about your hot, young mail carrier a little too seriously, let us remind you of 10 good reasons to keep fighting that good fight by staying true to your one and only.

Note: Please also check out our companion article, Top 10 Reasons for Being – and Staying – Non-Monogamous, in which we state: “Both monogamy and non-monogamy have their pros and cons; in both posts, we’ve tried to focus on the pros. Neither is an attempt at telling you how to be, but rather an encouragement of who you are and how you choose to be.”

1. Sex can improve with time. Monogamy isn’t just about marrying off before everything starts to sag. Age can also mean that you get to know your body better, you become more comfortable in your own skin, you leave youthful insecurities behind, and your partner learns your body so well they could navigate you blindfolded. Given enough time, you and your partner can discover untold routes to your happy place. Why would you want to keep starting from scratch and having to break out the instruction manual all over again?

2. Cuddling comes naturally. There’s no awkward pre-sleep shuffle as you try to find the best spooning position that will be comfortable all night. After years together, your bodies just naturally fall into place around each other.

3. Peace of mind about STDs. Assuming both of you are true to your vows of sexual fidelity, then you don’t have to worry about contracting any (or any more) sexually transmitted infections.

4. Freedom from relentless beauty rituals. We’re not saying that once you make a sexual commitment to someone for the long haul, all thoughts of personal hygiene and grooming should go out the window. In fact, the longer you’ve been married, the nicer it is to regularly gussy yourself up. However, the ridiculous beauty standards people — especially women — are expected to live up to these days are automatically lowered when you spend day after day after day with one partner (thank goodness!).

5. Open relationships are for an elite few. It’s the rare, highly evolved person missing the jealousy gene who can successfully navigate the complicated waters of relationships with an open door policy. We’re not saying it can’t — or shouldn’t — be done, we’re just saying most of us are mere mortals, ones who thrive from the simple security of the pair bond.

6. Cheating is addictive. It’s kind of like breaking the seal: after you’ve gotten away with it once, it’s even harder not to do again. You convince yourself that the affair made you feel more alive than you’ve felt in years, that it didn’t change your feelings for your spouse, and that what they don’t know won’t hurt them. Lies! First of all, the more often you do it, the more likely you are to get caught, especially as you get cocky about your sneaking-around skills. But more importantly, the more you cheat, the less you will respect your partner (for example, you’ll start to look down on them for being so clueless), and the less you’ll respect your own marriage. Eventually, you’ll start to view all human connections with a cynical eye. And what kind of life is that?

7. Monogamy is good for the world. Being a trusty monogamist is good citizenship as well as good karma: If you’re faithful to your partner, then that’s one less person that someone else’s spouse can cheat with. Monogamists pay it forward!

8. Kink is for couples. Dirty sex — the kind that might involve role-playing or spanking or a little light bondage — is best enjoyed with someone you love and trust completely. Letting a first date tie you up? Not such a good idea. Plus, the more domestic and settled your day-to-day life is, the hotter it is to break out the ping pong paddle at night.

9. Monogamy is meaningful. “Loyalty.” “Trust.” “Fidelity.” “Honor.” “Respect.” These are all just words until your actions either give them power and importance or deflate them. Monogamy isn’t meaningful because the church or government says so and it isn’t meaningful because you wore a pouffy white dress/crisp tux and said you wanted it to be meaningful. Rather, monogamy’s meaning expands with each day that you and your partner commit to it. And that’s some pretty powerful stuff.

10. Scrabble. Enough said.

Want the hard sell on open relationships?
Top 10 Reasons for Being – and Staying – Non-Monogamous


  1. It breaks my heart, we tried to live together in the country where he lives, I moved with him and left my life behind, but it did not work our for him and I went back to mine. A year later we still love each other and he invited me over for Valentines. We have seen each other for weeks when he has travelled to my country, where his sister lives, three times since we broke up. We are having a lovely time, we love each other so much, but my parter has sex with other women when we are apart because he says he needs the physical interaction, he needs to have sex to feel good, and since I am not around he has it with others, a lot. We are both over 50 and he carries Viagra in his briefcase and has some in the glove compartment in his car, and condoms galore at home, he is always ready to use it with other women, from the moment I board my plane home. He told me that if I were here 365 days a year, that would not happen. I am monogamous, have not have sex with anyone else since we started this relationship over two years ago. I try to have other partners when we are not together, but I do not find it attractive, I find it sad. And I do, thoroughly, enjoy sex with this man, who thoroughly enjoys sex with other women when I am not around. He tells me he cannot refrain from doing it and I am having a terrible time accepting it, although after our breakup a year ago we are not formally a couple any more. This makes me sad, depressed, and affects my naturally good nature. What can I do?

    1. Break up with him. You obviously have very different views on monogamy. Neither is wrong, they’re just incompatible. He’s made it very clear that he will have sex with other women when you’re away (at least he’s not lying to you!). You’ve made it clear above that this makes you incredibly sad and you can’t be consoled by pursuing your OWN extracurricular sex. You’ve already tried a committed relationship with him once and it didn’t work out. Consider the possibility that this love feels so real now precisely because it has so many obstacles to overcome — long distance, a lack of commitment, a partner who can’t be pinned down. It’s human nature to want what we can’t really have. Unless you can reconceptualize him and think of him as purely a fuck buddy (unlikely), then best to end it and look for someone you can be exclusive with.

      1. Thanks so much Em & Lo, I know you are right. I do try to see him as a fuck buddy, and think of coming back to visit just to have a good time, he lives right on the beach and I love the beach, there is great weather all year round since it is the Caribbean, and shopping is nice too because Puerto Rico has almost all the same stores as the USA, and I live in South America where shopping is not so much fun. Last night I tried to have a sincere conversation with him, it was akward, obviously he does not want to tell me the truth but finally this morning he confirmed that not only has he had sex elsewhere, but that he has brought women to this apartment which we rented together, which I decorated when we thought would live together forever, and finally, another woman has used my bed, my sheets, my pillows, my towels. So, as you say, I have to break up with him. I assume it will not be a big fight, probably not even an open and honest conversation since que does not like them and I have had my share, but simply let things die. I am flying home in two days, I will pack absolutely everything I can so as to leave nothing of me behind, and then forget this place, and he, exist. I love monogamy, I have read all about non-monogamous relationships and the concept does not make me happy. Having someone to rely on, to be his only one, to be partners in crime, in good and bad times, that is the cheesy, traditional o whatever people may call it, kind of relationship that makes me feel warm inside, and it is what I want. Thanks for your words of advice, I will follow them and look for someone who wants to be sexually exclusive.

  2. Statistics tell us that women commit infidelity with almost the same frequency as men, as some sources cite 57% of men saying they’ve cheated in a relationship and 54% of women confessing to the same.

  3. I’m in a happy long-term monogamous relationship but sometimes I wonder if sanctioned cheating with well-defined rules and boundaries wouldn’t be better. I don’t think I’d have the guts though: I could see it being great for me (my flings wouldn’t upset my feelings for my partner) but I’m not sure I could handle HIS flings (the jealousy and insecurity and not knowing would be too much).

  4. I have never been in a non-monogamous relationship because I feel comfortable and happier in those kinds of relationships. I think these two articles are really interesting because they give 2 awesome perspectives! Anyone considering a long-term polygamous or monogamous relationship should read both of these articles for cool perspectives. A few people have mentioned cheating being different than polygamy. That’s true but I think the point was that if you’re in a polygamous relationship, you may have sex with someone who is in a monogamous relationship and cheating, and if you want to transition from a polygamous relationship to a monogamous relationship, it may be more difficult.

  5. My husband and I have been married 37 years.

    We are still totally in love, respect each other completely and have developed a bond and trust that goes beyond anything I’ve ever had or see in non monogamist couples that we’ve known. It is a choice and wow are we happy we make the one we do. Both of our daughters are very happy in monogamist marriages as well.

  6. There are a lot of better reasons why monogamy is good and enhances your life. Try for example – piece of mind, deepened trust and commitment with your partner, etc. Great topic but could have been better.

  7. I decided to read this article first before reading the top 10 reasons supporting polygamy.

    These are all good reasons to support monogamy yet I really wonder if these sort of old world values still retain their effectiveness in 2012. It seems more marriages aren’t working out resulting in shorter length marriages now.

    It beckons the idea if monogamy is really a human idea completely unlike what is innate and natural to the human being.

    Scrabble as the last reason brought everything home for me though.

    About to read the opposing “Top 10 Reasons for Being and Staying Polygamous” now.


  8. This article seems quite misinformed.

    2. How does number this solely relate to monogamy?

    5. Not all non-monogamous people are “missing the jealousy gene”, its just that they have worked harder on the root causes, triggers and their reactions to jealousy, due to partners seeing other people.

    7. Swap one word for the other, and you can say the same thing about polyamory.
    “Polyamory is good for the world. Being a trusty polyamorist is good citizenship as well as good karma: If you’re faithful to your partners, then that’s one less person that someone else’s spouse can cheat with. polyamorists pay it forward!”

    8. Kink can just as easily be a fun group activity with people you trust.

    9. Again, “Loyalty.” “Trust.” “Fidelity.” “Honor.” “Respect.” are not exclusive to monogamy.

    I get the sentiment, but the way you have put this sends a message that non-monogamy is somehow lacking in these things, and inferior.
    It would be a good idea to look up the definition of polyamory/open relationships etc. and maybe do some further research.

  9. I have been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this blog. Thank you, Iˇ¦ll try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your site?

  10. As Jason points out, open relationships should be distinguished from “cheating,” and, as Julie notes, there are far more variations in committed relationships than many suspect. Having a honest, faithful, trusting, and sexually fulfilling relationship is essential for any couple, whether sexually monogamous or not. While the attempt to forge that kind of relationship in a way that transgresses the rules of sexual exclusivity is difficult, it is not without very special rewards of its own. Hard as it may seem to believe, some partners take such joy in each other that they would not want to put each other in a cage (however socially acceptable that cage may be).

  11. I am a monaogamist by nature. The ultimate freedom in love is to CHOOSE to be committed to ONE person and do everything you can to make it work. That implies being more concerned about your other than yourself. I follow this creed ‘religiously’, though I am an atheist. I do put my one and only ahead of any god or faith. For you weaklings that have to be coerced by religion to be faithful, you are not truly free, but are bound by silly rules that someone else created. Choose for yourself!

  12. Far by my experience, children of monogamous parents are more stable & competent to face life knowingly that their roots are strong enough to hurdle elements of our present day stress.Surpassing the temptation to end up into a broken family relies much on the strong belief & practice of parents on the institution of marriage hence the monoganist attitude.As it passes on from generation to generation, the family lineage continues & the clan grows bigger due to the inner strength they have established for years.While polygamist parents most likely end up in broken marriages & their children end up in an endless cycle leading to dissolution of their families.

  13. I don’t care what anyone says,an open relationship,is someone who isn’t really satisfied with His current Lover.I have never cheated.why would I want to.Make sure You truely Love the individual Your with,then cheating becomes obsolete.If You really Love someone no one else can take thier place in Your Heart.All My frioends are dead.They all had open relationships.They all contracted HIV! The best reason to be monogamous!nuff said.

  14. It’s important to remember that different kinds of monogamy exist. For example, you can be emotionally monogamous while being open to sex with multiple partners. Monogamy isn’t just about sex, and open relationships don’t equal cheating.

  15. There’s a difference between “cheating” and “open relationships.” Cheating involves breaking rules, by its nature. Open relationships involve establishing your own rules – so if you’re a responsible member of an open relationship, that’s still one less person for somebody else’s spouse to cheat with. As for “missing the jealousy gene,” it’s a rare open relationship that doesn’t have jealousy in it occasionally. The jealousy is still there, it’s just dealt with constructively through open, active communication.

    That said, there is still quite a bit to be said for monogamy. For some folks, it really is the best choice, and for those people, more power to ’em.

    Those of us with actual open relationships would just rather not be labeled as cheaters, or forced to adhere to the monogamists standards, that’s all.

  16. You say it it not about the Church or Government and in a sense I agree. But I do believe it is about being the kind of people we were made to be. God created us and he knows what is right and fullfilling for his creation. The Bible when applied right really does teach us what will give us the real joy and completeness that life can offer. I think we know that and I believe your article proves it.

  17. Okay, before anyone else accuses us for spewing narrow-minded garbage, will you please please please take 5 minutes to read the OTHER article on our site, titled “Top 10 Reasons for Being and Staying Non-Monogamous” — ESPECIALLY the intro to that piece, in which we state: “Both monogamy and non-monogamy have their pros and cons; in both the previous post and the one below, we’ve tried to focus on the pros. Neither is an attempt at telling you how to be, but rather an encouragement of who you are and how you choose to be.” Check it out here: https://www.emandlo.com/2010/10/top-10-reasons-for-being-and-staying-non-monogamous/

  18. Wow, this is such narrow-minded garbage.

    Marriage and monogamy as it is strictly defined is not some pinnacle or goal to strive for, no matter how unhappy it makes you. What you should strive for is the requisite confidence and self-awareness to be able to seek and find the kind of relationship that fulfills you and makes you happy, be it a life of non-committal sex with different partners, closed marriage and 2.5 kids, BDSM swinging, or anything in between.

  19. I have to say I don’t agree with this article. I understand that society tends to frown on poly families however the same benefits can be garnered from a committed group of 3 or more individuals as it can be from a couple.

    STIs can be caught in a number of ways, sex simply being the most common. In a group of people who are exclusive to each other the risk is the same as in a couple exclusive to each other. Its still smart to get regular STI testing whether you’re a couple or a group or single.

    Cuddling: While its nice to have one person who knows exactly how to cuddle with you there’s something to be said for puppy piles

    Open relationships are not for the elite few. They are for those of us who aren’t afraid to trust our partner(s) and communicate our needs and desires with them. They are for those of us who are willing to put in the effort required to make a relationship work.

  20. Unfortunately, society today has us all be selfish about life, “What’s in it for me?” Just look at what Hollywood is putting out, & the music world. Soap Opera’s are not reality, yet we want to have what they have–but they’re not happy, folks! Multiple marriages & lots of money does not make one happy! The science on that is out there–many books have been written on the subject of what is happiness. We’ve simply lost our way & need to get back to what really is important. The family is the backbone of society, yet, because of our being a Narcissistic lot, we only care what WE want, not what is good for the family. Hence, we’re not content to settle down, so we divorce to try & get it right. But since no person is perfect, that’s no big surprise! Perhaps it’s not about the perfect person we look for–it’s more about who we are BE-ing! We usually attract to us people with the same attributes we possess, or at least those who admire them, so, if we’re being trusting, honest, kind, faithful, etc., we’ll attract those with similar attributes. So, why not then, work on ourselves more?! Then, once finding that ‘special’ someone who raises our dopamine levels, commit to them for a lifetime–for everyone’s sakes!

  21. Monogamy: Synonym = Marriage

    Monogamy: Antonym = Divorce

    Simple, you want to be monogamous, get married.

    You don’t want to be monogamous, don’t get married.

    Why argue about it? I liked the article very much. Thanks for posting.

  22. I am loving this topic….what great insight it has given me. I am divorced. After reading all of these comments… I have become more forgiving of my husbands extra added affairs during our marriage. He surely was not getting any help with resolve of non existing sex between the two of us. I did not seek hormonal help or counseling. So I say if your marriage is worth saving do all of the above. “THAT OR MOVE ON!!”

  23. Actually, all you pro-polygamous commentors are wrong. Maybe some of you are right in some aspects but no cigar. I’m a psychology major and I actually did a search recently about the satisfaction people obtain from polygamous marriages. After using PsycINFO (a database that stores research by psychologists worldwide) I found that satisfaction in polygamous relationships are significantly lower than satisfaction in monogamous relationships. If you’re a scientist, you know not to use your own experience to create a set rule on society. You have to observe and experiment and observe and replicate. Thank you.

  24. I really get sad when I read these articles. I have been married 14 years and the sex has become nonexistent. Communicating hasn’t worked. Counseling hasn’t worked. She refuses to see a doctor to get her hormones checked out. I am living a nightmare.

    Kink? Anything other than the missionary position on Saturday evenings is dirty, white-trash, or disturbing. I’ve tried everything, and nothing, absolutely nothing works.

    Look at the statistics of people who cheat. 55% of males and close to 50% of females have cheated on their partners. When I got married I swore I would never cheat and I could not believe these statistics. I now understand why people cheat.

  25. @Leighla….men lie….they tell you what you want to hear to get what they want. Who would refuse a woman who wants sex with no ties? You’re nothing but a cheap thrill and in this economy, he would be stupid to say no…….No matter what you look like….free stuff is all it is or he’d be trying to leave his wife for you and since that’s not happening then you are just a convenience for him. You are the perfect person to be used at whim. He still goes home to his wife and have that life while you are just a piece on the side to fulfil a need. Your husband is not ok with it that’s why he doesn’t want to know who you’re sleeping with. He already feels like a half man and you doing this is not like the others who choose to freely invite others in their relationship. He had no choice and he knew he couldn’t find anyone who wanted an impotent man. So he’s stuck with you. You are a coward, because it takes courage to walk away from a bad relationship. Also, stop fooling yourself about the wife not wanting sex. If she don’t want sex she wouldn’t care who he’s sleeping with as long as he don’t bother her and lets her go shopping or whatever she likes to do….but the woman who gets mad if she knows he’s cheating is still having sex with him……..are you that old that you have no clue? Looked in the mirror lately? How do u sleep at night knowing you’re destroying 3 lives…..his,his, and hers? you already gave up on yours.

  26. Jane: no, it absolutely wasn’t intended to sway anyone. To quote our intro to Dan’s response article, “Both monogamy and non-monogamy have their pros and cons; in both the previous post and the one below, we’ve tried to focus on the pros. Neither is an attempt at telling you how to be, but rather an encouragement of who you are and how you choose to be.” Check it out here: https://www.emandlo.com/2010/10/top-10-reasons-for-being-and-staying-non-monogamous/

  27. Nice comments, Dan.

    This was such a lame article, for all the reasons you pointed out. Was it *really* supposed to convince anyone who doesn’t already find meaning in it?

  28. @Leighla – I hope your husband can get treatment as others have suggested. If not, I think he ought to be able to at least cuddle for your sake.

    One final thought – it sounds like your husband may not know who you are sleeping with. Would he be okay with it if he knew who your partner was? Could you be slipping into a love affair?

  29. @Leighla – You are being cruel to the woman whose husband you sleep with. Yes, we all need sex, but we are also human beings who can control how we fulfill that need. You have no right to do what you are doing. Break up with the guy and find a new partner who is available.

    Don’t push your actions onto him. He is guilty of dishonesty and betrayal, but you are making it possible. You are also guilty. You are the only person you can control, so take responsibility for what you’re doing.

    You are also being incredibly judgmental of the wife – she should have met his needs at home? Can you be sure he’s telling you the truth about her – he wants to have sex with you, you know? How can you be sure she doesn’t have a good reason for what she is doing? Perhaps her husband is insensitive in bed or unromantic with her and gives you all the time and attention to court you. Perhaps the two of them have built up anger and resentments over time and need to work it out. What if she’s mad at him because he doesn’t do any housework or he’s cheated on her in the past? Does he meet her needs? What are his needs? Are they completely reasonable? Has he done everything he could to talk to her about his needs? Has he turned her off by being so pushy she doesn’t want any sex any more? Does she have any physical or emotional problems?
    And why isn’t he telling her? Is she afraid he will leave him? Doesn’t she have the right to make that choice? Shouldn’t she have the chance to either work things out with him and have the kind of marriage she wants or leave for someone else?

    In the end, you can only know two things – 1) She doesn’t agree to this and would be upset if she found out. That makes it wrong.
    2) He tells lies and breaks promises, even to someone he really loves and wants to keep in his life. This means he might sleep with women other than you and the sex is not as safe as you think it is. It also means he could be lying to you about her and the sex and just about everything.

    I think you should also consider that a secret affair might be more likely to lead to a romance and that might break up your marriage.

  30. you allmake me sick to my stomach, whatever happened to the vows you took at the altar, ? do us all a favor if you cant keep your pants on, and dont marry!

  31. Fidelity is more important than monogamy. You can have fidelity without monogamy. it’s about sticking to your agreements with your partner, whatever they are, until you need to renegotiate. Monogamists tend to think that there’s nothing to renegotiate once you’re hitched, but that’s not true, ask anyone who’s been in a LTR more than a couple decades.

  32. I’ll second the comment about low T. I’m 56, been using adrogel for about 9 months. I’ve feel like I’m 35 and definitely has re awakened a sexual interest. (Plus I’m not depressed, my golf game has improved and with minimal 2x week workout, I’m feeling buff as hell.)

    It’s a miracle drug. So glad my doc suggested we check t-levels vs saying I was just depressed and giving me an anti-drepressant. (Which would have caused weight gain, killed my sex drive and just exasperated the problem!)

    Have your husband have himself checked!

  33. Leighla, there is treatment for Low Testosterone levels in men and women. You husband needs to ask his doctor about this right away. It ISN’T Viagra or anything like this, it’s a hormone therapy that actually replaces the testosterone that many men lose as they get older. It is easily available and his doctor should test his levels and treat him. He should be up and running in a few weeks at the most.

    My Man sometimes feels his drive drop a little bit (he’s older than I am, in his 50s) but I find a filthy movie, a slutty outfit (on me) and some dirty talk and NOT taking no for an answer and he’s onboard. But, his issue isn’t constant, it’s the normal drops in drive that only last a few days in men in their 50s. If it ever gets to the day where he goes more than 4 or 5 days without sex, he IS going on Testosterone Treatment! No ifs ands or buts.

    PLEASE have your husband treated. It is simple, many men need this and they respond beautifully. It could save your marriage.

    I hope the two of you make the choice to save your marriage. My Man and I will do just about anything to keep our sex live going. ANYTHING. Look into Low T treatment and please don’t let him give you excuses. It WORKS. 🙂

  34. I assume because of the capitals that you mean dying. No, if she were dying and couldn’t have sex with him, I’d judge him for cheating on his wife in her final days.

  35. Far from judging you, leighla, I think you and your husband and lover have done a great job of putting your egos aside and making accommodations for the sake of a relationship you want to maintain.

    I DO judge your lover’s wife, who won’t have sex with him but also won’t let him pursue a sex life on his own. What a childish shrew.

  36. I love my monogamous marriage. It feels great to be secure. We love each other with everything we have. We make it work! Remember when you stop trying it means you stopped giving a shit!!!!!

  37. 10 years of being faithful for the both of us. And yet I wish he would cheat!!
    In the beginning Hours of foreplay and touching. 5 years probably and average 10- 15 min of foreplay. Now?? he rarely touches anything above the waist. When does he want to try to turn me on?? When I am making dinner and washing dishes!!I don’t think this is a fetish I just can’t get away. I keep telling him not to do this but he must think its funny.
    He knows I don’t want sex anymore. He knows why. I have told him over and over I might as well be a blow up doll for the way I feel used after sex.
    Yet he doesn’t want me to leave.He says he still loves me. But he keeps doing things that turn me off after I keep telling him to stop.
    So you see sex doesn’t always get better. In my case it keeps getting worse.
    And now that I realize it will never get better I am leaving.
    I am just sorry I wasted so much time trying to be happy and faithful with a faithful but selfish person.

  38. When I married, I planned on being a life-long partner to my husband. However, medical conditions have changed the way I view open relationships. You see, my husband (of 20 years) has low testosterone levels and sex is non-existent in our home; not even heavy petting or cuddling because he has no desire. I have been very supportive in all avenues of medical trials to see what, if anything, would help to no avail. Thus, for the past four years, I have been in a relationship with another man to meet my needs. I love them both dearly. My husband understands and has given the okay for me to be able to fulfill what I believe to be a basic need in everyone’s life. We don’t talk about it because he is embarrassed about his condition and doesn’t want to know who I am with, as long as it is safe sex (no STD’s), which is not a concern. My partner is also married, but his wife knows nothing of our affair. She is not open to the situation so we keep it quiet. You can call it cheating or whatever you like, but until you have walked a mile in my shoes, please do not attempt to judge me. My partner’s wife is not a sexual person so his needs are being met somewhere else, too. I do believe that what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her. Afterall, she should have taken care of his needs at home.

    I am sure that many disagree with me, and you have the right. I read the list and I can agree that the sex is better over time with someone who has a good sex drive. I have been on both sides of that equation – a husband with no sex drive who dodges sex at all cost due to the low testosterone and embarrassment of not being able to “perform” and the partner who has a thriving sex drive and is open to the many ways to enjoy sex together. The list is a good one, but I don’t think you have to be a monogomist to enjoy it. You just got to be who you are and be open to what works for you.

  39. It’s sad that we have reached the mentality of the throw away society. The “its all about me” or the, “which ever way the wind blows” lifestyle is ever prevalent.

    No one will ever agree on something that works for everyone. As the saying goes, that’s why they make chocolate and vanilla.

    I have never gone along with the idea that the plural of spouse is spice. Isn’t it true that anything WORTH having, requires some responsibility?

    Free things in life just never seem to quite make the grade,if its obtainable for anyone or everyone why would you want it? Better yet, why would you want the association with it? It does nothing more than create this continuous desire for something else to fill the void.

    The idea or notion of being responsible for anyone or anything for any length of time today is an archaic way of doing anything by most standards. Comfortability can be very liberating. The notion that the same old body time and time again is boring, not so. I know that my lovers hands and touch are one of a kind and like no other. These are the things that drive a great relationship. The sense that knowing I or he belong to no one else, that is a damn powerful feeling. Take that kind of powerful emotion into a boardroom anywhere in this land of ours and see where it takes you.

    I simply find that the sexiest man (my choice) alive is one that is capable of knowing what and who HE wants.

    When we take the time to become responsible for who WE are personally, within that relationship it doesn’t leave anytime to judge the other person. We aren’t concerned about what someone else can give or provide us. Being responsible for the attitude and actions of the person in the mirror along with self respect goes a long way.

    “Oh, THEY let me down, THEY aren’t as attractive” THEY…fill in the blank. We can make any excuse in the world to walk away, it’s the easy way out. No one ever is to blame, it’s always the other persons fault.

    I do feel the writers understand the things that drive us in our relationships, so the list is a grin at best however, there is something to be said about the subject matter. To some, monogamy is a yawn. Simply said, I am happy in my monogamy, because, I know who I am. I work hard, and play even harder. When it comes to my personal, private life, my intimacy, I don’t play. Life is good!

  40. Personally, I loved this article. All points listed are extremely valid.

    That said, my husband and I are not monogamists, nor are we polyamorists, nor are we polygamists.

    We have been married for over 16 years and together for over 18 years. We are primarily kinksters who enjoy a bit of swing on the side, and the people with whom we swing have been close friends for years.

    I remained monogamist with him through approximately 12-13 years of our marriage before we decided to open up our marriage.

    The benefits we have experienced in the past almost four years since opening our marriage up have far surpassed the entire 12(ish) years prior. But that’s “US”.

    Never would I dream of telling another person, another couple, that they should consider making the choice, that we have made for ourselves, for themselves.

    I simply don’t understand the need for debate. I don’t understand why people allow themselves to become upset and/or offended by articles such as this one, or take them personally when they are clearly directed at a very specific group of people.

    We all make choices that we feel are best, for whomever we are, at any given point in our lives.

    Why can we all not be confident and secure enough in whom we are, and in the choices we have made for ourselves, that we no longer feel threatened by articles that speak a different point of view and thus feel the need to defend ourselves and our choices to persons whom we likely will never meet and whom will never become a significant presence in our lives?

  41. The people who want to be a monogamist, be it, and the others who want non-monogamy/sharing, etc, then be that. Don’t bash one or the other. It would be harder to find people who want to share other people, but if that is what you like, and can find someone that does it then great. Nobody can say one is better than the other.

  42. I have been in an open relationship for more than 25 years. They have been married for 50. I love them BOTH. Why not just be true to who YOU are?

  43. Interesting. An opinion piece on monogamy is posted and the polyamorous/open-relationship/anti-monogamists come flocking to the “debate” – which they create. But heaven forbid you support monogamy on one of their blogs or an anti-monogamy article – the mob is quick to respond with “if you don’t like the topic, then why would you read a non-monogamy blog/article?” Just absolutely interesting. As a monogamist, I found the article humorous and lighthearted. Monogamy is such a beautiful thing for those who choose to live it and are happy with it. To each his own. I don’t see the need to “get your panties in a bunch” over an article simply because it’s not what you practice. This post wasn’t intended for non-monogamists, why come here to bash it? Seems like an inferiority complex and a need to bang on one’s chest shouting “my non-monogamy relationships are valid, too!” I’m sure it is, but this article wasn’t written for you. Relax.

  44. Shouldn’t we separate the sex drive from the psychological distortions of it? Sex is a basic need in my opinion but having different partners isn’t. Novelty and shallow sex will never trump the depth of a relationship done right. There are healing benefits in a sexually monogamous relationship. And a man who argues for open relationships and sex with multiple partners is simply selfish and objectifying towards women..we weren’t made for your sexual pleasure…we have other things to offer that you can benefit even more from. and women by their nature seek monogamy as security…and love. We are driven to bond. American culture has taken the love out of sex and we have lost perspective. Sex has been turned into a game. What about the bond and attachment of sex in a relationship? This is unavoidable for women whose hormonal reactions cause attachment. For many men this is true also. Our brains share the same rewards system. And insecurity/jealousy is a human emotion with evolutionary roots. The other aspects of a relationship are far more important than sex. And as far as “kink” goes…personally I am only comfortable experimenting with someone I love in the boundaries of a relationship. I have tried to use logic against myself but it always goes badly…I have experimented outside a relationship and found nothing good to be had in it. Sexual pleasure isn’t my goal in life. A happy monogamous relationship is. If the relationship is good then the sex can always be good. The rest is all in your head.

  45. @Dan – Your argument does one thing that drives me absolutely crazy in the whole open/monogamous debate. One the one hand you want to say that we’re not naturally monogamous because people get divorced, etc. On the other hand, you want to say that jealousy isn’t innate, it’s just a learned fear and we would all be better people if we overcame it. Why the double standard? Why not work harder to overcome our lust for novelty and just sex over deep relationships and loving sex? Or why not admit that if you look at how people act, being without jealousy is unnatural. The way I see it, an open relationship is at least as unnatural as a monogamous one.

  46. @Dan – Sex definitely improves with time. New things are exciting and couples can get in a rut, but there’s no replacement for someone who knows what you like and can go right to it. There’s also the love and trust factor. For some of us, perhaps mostly women, sex is just going to be better in a relationship that lasts for a while. Getting to look at a different body doesn’t mean as much as knowing that the guy is going to last long enough and hit the right spots.
    I think their point about kink is a little different from what you’re talking about. It’s more about people who don’t have a strong fetish, but want to experiment or sometimes do things that are outside the norm. For many people, being with a partner you love and trust is going to make that easier.

  47. @em and lo – about your list for the top 10 advantages of being in an open relationship – one thing that frustrates me in discussions of open relationships is that it covers so many different things. The advantages and disadvantages of being a swinger are completely different from the advantages and disadvantages of having two not-legal-husbands. From the point of view of a monogamous person, we are only allowed one definition – one person, lifelong commitment, no slip-ups allowed. So it seems to me that open vs. monogamous is like comparing apples and oranges.

  48. Look, people: We wrote a cover article for New York Magazine on the rise of non-monogamy and its benefits for many people:
    We went on Joe Scarborough’s show to defend people’s right to choose polyamorous relationships. We even went on freakin’ Oprah to discuss the topic in a positive and non-judgmental way — watch the vid yourself:
    We are in full support of people who choose a polyamorous lifestyle. So a little less moral outrage, please. This just happens to be a lighthearted list for those people who WANT to be monogamous, who CHOOSE monogamy. And like any relationship (poly ones included), monogamous ones take work — this was only meant to be a little fun encouragement for those monogamy-choosing people, NOT at the expense of anyone in a successful non-monogamous situation.

    In our defense: No where do we conflate consensual poly or open relationships with cheating — we treat them as separate entities. And as we’ve always said, if you can’t be monogamous because it’s too difficult for you, then either a) don’t get into a monogamous relationship to begin with, b) try to open your relationship up honestly, or c) end it. Cuddling after casual sex (again, casual sex not being a part of monogamy, but also not automatically equated with polyamorous relationships) can often be awkward or more-likely non-existent. The STD-point is definitely all about risk — but let’s not split hairs here; we’re not talking about getting cold sores from a peck from a platonic friend or your grandma (which by definition wouldn’t make it a sexually transmitted disease), nor do we think the there are many readers of this site in traditional relationships who are committed to monogamy AND who share dirty needles (no offense to the loved-up heroine junkies out there!). We happen to think that jealousy is an innate emotion, one that is designed to help with pair bonding (but of course, extremes of any emotion aren’t good); as anyone who’s watched “Sister Wives” recently can tell you, having a successful relationship that entails multiple partners does not mean you don’t ever feel jealousy (and yes, we know the diff between polygamy and polyamory, but both are types of non-monogamy). You can also believe that monogamy may not be a human’s natural state or inclination, but still choose monogamy for yourself for its benefits (just like the husband-and-wife team who wrote the book “The Myth of Monogamy” do!). And yes, some of these points are not exclusive to monogamous relationships, but again, the post wasn’t intended for poly enthusiasts.

    We were, in fact, planning on penning a list next week called “The Top 10 Reasons for Being — and Staying — in an Open Relationship.” But since we freely admit we’re not in open relationships ourselves, we thought we’d invite thoughtful commenter to Dan to help us pen the list (despite taking issue with some of his points, as we’ve outlined above). Turns out he’s in a monogamous relationship too! But he’s agreed to contribute. So stay tuned!

  49. Goodness!

    I am a loyal as a labrador monogamist, and these reasons aren’t very strong on my list.

    Best reason(s) for being and staying monogamous: you are both the monogamous type of person and you have amazing, satisfying sex together and aren’t looking to do anyone else.

    Everything else is just a side benefit, not a list maker!

  50. I agree with most of these, with the exception of 4 and 5.

    I take very good care of myself, I make an effort to be very attractive, and I’ve been with the same man for well over 20 years. I think he deserves me at my best.

    As for Poly relationships, I know a few who do quite well. No, it isn’t for everybody. But, a few people actually thrive on it. But, an Open Relationship needs to be decided on by both parties, and not as a solution to Crisis. Elite? Maybe. But, contrary to common belief, some actually do thrive.

    The rest almost go without saying. As for 8, without Kink, I can’t imagine how boring spending one’s life with the same person would be. Experimentation and Variation are more then “Spice” they are the Meat of many long term HAPPY relationships.

  51. People who know nothing of responsible non-monogamy are in no position to speculate on the practice. I’ve been poly for 5 years, with my husband of 10 years. Currently we share a residence with our two children and my boyfriend of 1.5 years.

    Non-monogamy isn’t for everyone, but I think you are kidding yourself if you think that I don’t enjoy ALL of the items mentioned on your list. I have TWO people to dote on me when I am sick, help me with the children, play scrabble with, take me out to dinner and dancing. Not to mention that my husband is very vanilla, while I feel that kink is an important part of my sexuality (so no, monogamy does NOT equal kinky sex, despite three honest years of me trying my hardest to get him interested). My boyfriend likes a little slap and tickle in the bedroom, so I get the best of BOTH worlds and nobody has to feel resentful or deprived.

    This list is ridiculous, and I certainly hope your readers see it for what it is.

    I also find it highly offensive that you lumped non-monogamy in with cheating. I might be poly, but neither me, nor my men would EVER sleep with another married person without having first met and formed a friendship with the other spouse. That’s just how we roll, and we are all extremely careful regarding safe sex. More careful than I ever was during my “monogamous” years, that’s for sure.

    – Shasta

  52. Monogamy/exclusivity is a choice people make together, and to me all the article was doing was point out why it might be something to consider, for those to whom it sounds appealing with someone they’ve met.

    “Jealousy gene” is an unfortunate phrasing, though to come back at it with such vague terms as “natural,” Dan, is weak sauce.

    Quote: “One look at the divorce rate is all you need to know that the majority of us are not naturally monogamous.” Think wider, please. One could frame the same ‘divorce rate factoid’ in an entirely different way: one look at the divorce rate (in this country) is all you need to know that the majority of us would be better served by arranged marriages. Your immediate grasping for a “natural” reason for things neglects cultural comparisons, and thus avoids the trouble of having your preconceived notions challenged. (Hmm, that came off harsher than intended. My apologies! 🙂 )

  53. What a disappointing list. I have been, for the most part, a serial monogamist, and am increasingly frustrated with the practice. I am not nor have I ever been a cheater, but the flip side of that is that, inside of the heartbreak of each failed relationship, I have found myself thinking, “Well, at least I can have sex with someone else now.”

    I was hoping this list might cheer me up a bit, and show me monogamy as something more than I have come to view it as. Namely, as a trade-off: I get someone who will make me tea when I’m sick, listen to my troubles, support me, stick by me through the bad times as well as the good. In exchange, I must give sexual exclusivity. Thinking about monogamy that way somehow cheapens it, I think.

    I often feel that the one thing stopping me from making a lifetime commitment is the thought of only being able to have one sexual partner for the rest of my life. But people who are truly happy and comfortable in nonmonogamous relationships seem few and far between, so I feel we’re stuck with the trade-off.

  54. “Monogamy leaves a lot to be desired.”
    “A man is as faithful as his options.”

    Actually, we’re not talking about monogamy here (monogamy = precisely one partner over an entire lifetime) but, as practiced in our culture, serial sexual exclusivity. One look at the divorce rate is all you need to know that the majority of us are not naturally monogamous. Highly recommended: Sex At Dawn by Ryan and Jetha.

    Addressing the points individually:

    1. Sex *can* improve over time; for the majority it doesn’t. Exploring a new body is also hot. Too many people have boundaries around what they will and will not do that leave their partners frustrated in some significant way, often for a lifetime.

    2. How long does it take to work out how to cuddle with each other? I’m guessing 2 minutes, tops. How does the next 50 years help?

    3. (the numbering of the article is screwed up). Even if your partner is sexually faithful, some STI’s can be transmitted other ways (e.g. herpes: any skin-to-skin contact; HIV: sharing needles). Sexual exclusivity reduces the risk of infection dramatically; it doesn’t eliminate it.

    4. Freedom from beauty rituals is available to anyone, any time. Those rituals are *not* required to catch a partner. They’re only required to catch partners who don’t think you’re beautiful without makeup/clothes/hair done to the 9’s. In fact, if you mask your true identity with the rituals, knowing you’re going to drop them as soon as you get comfortable, you’re being deceptive.

    5. Jealousy isn’t a gene; it’s a learned fear and insecurity. Too many of us learn it. All of us can benefit from the self-development required to feel secure and confident in ourselves enough so that we’re no longer at risk for devastation if a partner has a fling with someone else.

    6. Cheating is only addictive to those who are not naturally monogamous to begin with. And if you’re not naturally monogamous, trying to pretend that you are is a sad betrayal of yourself, and sets you up to devastate someone who trusted you to be who you pretended to be.

    7. *If* you would have slept with that cheater that you are thwarting by staying faithful, that means you were attracted enough to him or her to want to do that. And if you remain exclusive, you have to find something else to do with that attraction. We’re taught to feel noble about that self-denial. I don’t happen to agree that it’s particularly noble.

    8. If kink is important to you, you certainly don’t want to make a lifelong commitment of exclusivity, and *then* bring up the fact that your deepest sexual satisfaction comes from foot worship. Find someone who’s a kindred spirit, and *then* explore the possibility of making it long-term. Sheesh.

    9. As was said so well by Leigh Olivia in the first comment, none of those lofty values is limited to sexually exclusive relationships.

    10. I’ll give you Scrabble. It is impossible to enjoy Scrabble with anyone other than a partner with whom you have a mutually sexually exclusive relationship. Simply impossible. Strip Scrabble is *so* hot!

  55. you. do. not. understand. the. difference. between. non-monogamy. and. cheating.

    It’s really quite sad that you think you have the ethos to write about non-monogamy but assume that it is incongruous with trust, respect, fidelity, etc. Do *one* google search before you try to write an article about something next time.

  56. @Leigh Olivia – I agree with you a couple could stay together in a sexually open but emotionally monogamous relationship and have most of the advantages on this list.

    But –

    1) I think if you have peace of mind about STDS in a sexually open relationship, you’re fooling yourself. More partners = more risk.

    2) For most couples, the jealousy makes it hard to stay together. So they would lose the benefits of emotional monogamy.

    3) People have a tendency to fall in love with the people they sleep with. Some people are willing to go beyond having sex with other people to having love affairs with them. People may be able to love multiple partners, but I don’t think you can have the same kind of one-on-one bond this way as with a long-term emotionally monogamous relationship. There’s something about being with just one person that lets you go in deeper.

    4) If what you want is a long-term love affair with one special person, opening up may risk losing that. Back in the 1970s, one study found that the divorce rate for open marriages was a lot higher than the norm. That might be because some couples were trying to save their marriage by opening it up, but if they were, it didn’t work for most of them.

  57. “Open Relationships are for an elite few” Well…I couldn’t speak to that, exactly (I don’t feel very “elite” most days). I’m not saying they’re for everyone, but when they do work, all of those “reasons for being monogamous” apply to healthy committed relationships that *aren’t* monogamous too (yeah, even the bit about STI’s, thankyouverymuch) and I know it’s not your job to make me and my poly cohorts feel good, but there really isn’t any reason to suggest that we’re not in on these kinds of benefits with our committed partners as well. It seems to me that’s it not monogamy, but commitment, perserverance, respect and trust that bring most of those benefits about, not exclusivity. Reason number nine comes the closest to hitting it–if you commit to something, especially something that isn’t easy (and please don’t take this as disrespect for hardworking mono folk out there–I do my relationships *different* not necessarily *better*), be it sexual monogamy, celebrating weekly anniversaries, wearing blue polo shirts every time your partner has a bad day it work…vowing to do something and living up to it is a powerful way to build connection. But that’s not necessarily anything inherent about monogamy itself.

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