For centuries, regardless of the place in history, reigning religions, or region, women have always been thought of as being better at practicing monogamy than men. But before we dive into the topic of monogamy, let’s explore its definition and place in today’s society. At its core, and through the lens of today’s relationship standards, monogamy refers to either being married to one person at a time or being in a single relationship (often sexual or romantic) at a given time. Explore more on the topic of monogamy here.
Whether it’s a product of the patriarchy or scientific evidence, many people believe that men are designed to have multiple partners in their lives. At the same time, women are expected to be faithful to their men. However, these archaic values may be just that, a thing of the past.
What is Ethical Non-Monogamy?
The word “ethical” in the term may seem superfluous to many people that believe monogamy is the only way. Still, it’s essential for differentiating it from non-ethical behaviors such as lying and cheating—which is not what we’re talking about.
Ethical non-monogamy involves having multiple romantic relationships as long as all parties agree. What makes it ethical is that the key to a successful non-monogamous lifestyle involves honest and open communication.
Are Men Hardwired For Promiscuity?
Yes and no. Actually, we’re not exactly sure. In 2018, The Journal Of Sex Research released a study from the University of Glasgow that recorded responses on the number of past sexual partners from 15,00 people ages 17 to 74.
Women reported an average of 7 partners, while men reported 14. However, many variables go into interpreting these responses. A significant factor was that men tended to estimate and potentially round up their number of partners. Women, however, were more inclined to give a concrete answer.
The men, on average, also didn’t believe that cheating or one-night stands were wrong. This means that their reported numbers were likely influenced by societal stigma, meaning women may have written fewer partners than they had.
What About Women?
David P. Schmitt, Ph.D. of Bradley University, created the International Sexuality Description Project to determine whether there were any universal differences in preferences for sexual variety by gender. Ultimately the study found that both men and women were interested in having multiple sexual partners.
What was interesting was that men were more interested in accruing a large number of partners, while women were more interested in taking the time to find good quality sexual partners. This means they were more likely to choose attractive men with higher standing on the social ladder, while men were much more eager to say yes, regardless of those qualities, as mentioned earlier. Men also preferred below-average intelligence in their short-term sexual relationships.
Regardless, both women and men are perfectly capable of being in long-term monogamous relationships, even if one gender was just as inclined toward sexual promiscuity as the other.
Prevalence of Non-Monogamy Today
Considering attitudes toward gender equality are changing in today’s society, both men and women are more likely to embrace a non-monogamous lifestyle now than ever before. YouGov collected data on the number of Americans who prefer non-monogamy over monogamy in their relationships and found that for the most part, people still lean toward monogamy, with 56% of Americans choosing this as their preference in 2020.
However, the number did drop off from 2016, when the total was 61%, which indicates we are seeing some pretty considerable changes in a short period.
Millennials were pretty split on the lifestyle, with roughly 43% reporting they wanted a non-monogamous relationship, while another 43% decided they would prefer to remain monogamous.
Overall, the number of people who were monogamous but would consider non-monogamy said it depended on the situation.
So really, all these means is that by modern standards, you are certainly not being pressured to compartmentalize yourself as much as before, so if ethical non-monogamy is more your style, then go for it!