Blogs Mar 7, 2011 at 1:14 pm


bah- those grapes are probably sour anyway....

whiny bitch
so, happy cheaters are "honest, ethical non-monogamists"
and unhappy cheaters are serial monogamy failures?
is that it, Danny?



what colour is the sky in your world?.....
I've never had wifi work while on a plane sitting at the gate. Are you using your phone?
I have no idea how many happy monogamous marriages there are out there, and neither does anybody else. That's because just about everybody will say their marriage is happy, and we all know a lot of them aren't. But I have no doubt that there are happy marriages out there, Dan, so just deal with it.
Douthat hardly veils his delight in this opportunity to tell women they'll be miserable if they don't settle down. Tomorrow is International Women's Day. Here's a lovely thing to watch, with Daniel Craig as Bond and Judi Dench as M - this counts as the first Bond movie directed by a woman:…
gee Danny,
just because you have to let Terri cheat in order to keep him "married" to you doesn't mean every marriage sux and blows....
A guy who chooses his partners mainly for looks, and who then finds himself shackled for life to a cute airhead, definitely is happier when the relationship goes non-monogamous. I'll grant you that.
a big part of the reason why non-monogamous couples are often so happy is the lack of ownership each person takes over the other. they don't lose their autonomy to one another and become property.

they haven't bought into the idea that mutual sexual exclusivity is the key to a lasting relationship. clearly there is much more to it than just staking your claim on each other and forsaking all others. when you're convinced that that is the cornerstone to a successful marriage, and keeping your eyes from wandering and your pants on comprise the bulk of what is required of you in order to be a good spouse, well ... you aren't going to be very happy or fulfilled.

monogamy may work for some, and more power to 'em i suppose. but i don't really understand it. even if it were only in theory and never actualized, having the freedom to be your own person in a relationship, even if that means having a sexual experience with someone else, is a much better formula for long term happiness than a strict policy of monogamy, even if you never act on it.
"it seems odd to credit monogamy for their happiness"

no, really Dan, monogamy is like magic pixie dust....

So when people have a compatible personality match, good levels of emotional intimacy and a strong ability to navigate the practical matters of building a life together, the reason their relationship succeeds is because of sexual exclusivity above all else? That's just a weak argument to put sexual monogamy on a pedestal. I'm sure that any study of happy monogamous and non-monogamous couples (or other relationship arrangements) would show that they have all of those things in common, regardless of sexual practices.

Love his little dig at Planned Parenthood in the end. So living in the reality-based community when it comes to teen sexuality is just jaded cynicism, Ross?

If all someone wants from a relationship is sex then monogamy is not going to fill their desires.
However, for emotionally mature adults capable of love monogamy is the most satisfying relationship mode available.
The main finding in the article is that promiscuity is negatively correlated with happiness, especially among women.

Who knows which of the dozens of potentially relevant factors (socio-economic status, cultural norms, mental health, etc.) are driving this correlation. The most obvious one I can think of is that people who eventually form stable partnerships (regardless of the nature of the partnership) tend to be happier than those who remain single or who cycle through relationships.

Another possible explanation - people with high libidos are less happy than those with low libidos because so many of the former aren't getting enough to satisfy their higher needs.

no jose.

people who have a compatible personality match, good levels of emotional intimacy and a strong ability to navigate the practical matters of building a life together recognize that sexual exclusivity enhances and deepens their relationship.

it's a grownup thing.....
The article is saying that promiscuity causes unhappiness, but this is a correlation, and the most obvious alternative explanation to me (and one that I'm surprised no one's brought up yet) is that unhappiness is causing promiscuity.

People who are depressed are probably more likely to seek out happiness in relationships, when it doesn't happen, they remain depressed and keep looking for that special someone who will make their unhappiness go away.

The finding that the correlation is stronger in women than men makes that even more likely, since women suffer depression at almost twice the levels men do.

Correlations just mean two things are related, it says NOTHING about cause and effect.
I'm inclined to think, if you could get people to be truly honest with you, that you will find happy and stable monogamous relationships and you will find happy and stable non-monogamous relationships. You will also find happy couples who have placed monogamy as foundation for their relationship, and others who consider their sexual exclusivity as a subject for frequent re-evaluation over the lifetime of their relationship. The same will be true of non-monogamous relationships. I'm inclined to think that the content of people's characters, their ability to navigate life, and to "pay the price of admission" with their partner would be key traits on determining the "happiness" of a relationship. Just my $0.02.
@15 Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

These conversations too often turn into my lifestyle is somehow superior to your lifestyle. It's all about what works for you.
@13- Ha.

It's a grownup thing to accept the fact that monogamy simply does not work on an emotional/sexual/psychological level for everyone. Similarly, it's far more mature to accept that non-monogamy doesn't exclude emotional intimacy equal to or deeper than that that can be achieved through monogamy.

It takes far more maturity to accept the fact that sexual exclusivity is not required for an intense intimate bond with your partner, and to surmount petty jealousies involving a sexually open union. Similarly, it isn't particularly mature to throw a temper tantrum anytime anyone suggests that a relationship model different from your own can work and result in happiness.
While I'm neutral on the monogamy issue, I suspect those studies are primarily for insecure people who want to nail someone for life. I picture the kind of guy who doesn't want to keep himself interesting and attractive (if every he was) after the nuptials and the woman whose highlight of the month is when her Brides Magazine arrives in the mail.

I am a physician who talks daily to adolescent females, I am pretty sure that depression leads to promiscuity, not the other way around.
Oh gus, what a brilliant clip of my boyfriend you found, there (I thought I was the only one who knew how good he looked in makeup... :) And so true.

I don't think it's monogamy that makes people happy, it's a million other things. If you asked 100 people why they're happy, I doubt they'd list monogamy in the top 5. It certainly has the power to make you unhappy, if you and your SO have different ideas about it, but it's not the thing that makes a relationship good.
When presented with research that you think challenge your viewpoint you'll just speculate away...
And I mean it's fucking DoucheHat, hardly a luminary on personal relationships
We should have all learned this in Psych 101: CORRELATION IS NOT CAUSATION.

This is all stupid. You know what every successful relationship boils down to? Straight, gay, monogamous or not or whatever else? This:

"What works for this couple works for this couple, and is the best thing for them, and nothing else anyone says really matters in the end."

All the rest of this from all sides is pointless wanking.
@23, Why is that such a difficult concept for people to understand? Absolutely, that's all that counts, and thank you for saying it so clearly. I almost want to jump you just for being the voice of reason (but, I'm happily monogamous, so, of course, I won't.)
@23 is totally correct.
However, no discussion that can possibly draw out the interesting and slightly varying grades of any polemic discussion is stupid.
There is no ultimate answer. Only the hope for a collective agreement.
@14: It's so sad that those who haven't taken basic statistics can't understand that correlation does not equal causation. Your comment is spot on.
Wondering what SLOG readers think about the use of non-monogamy in relationships where there are kids involved.
"But have those studies compared people in successful, long-term non-monogamous relationships with people in successful, long-term non-monogamous relationships?"
Is one of this pair supposed to be "monogamous" instead of "non-monogamous"? Anyway, I don't understand why the comparison is important to begin with. It seems obvious that people can be happy in either kind of relationship. I don't appreciate it when advocates of monogamy suggest that non-monogamy has to be bad; on the other hand, the sense I continually get from both Savage and most commentors on this site is that monogamy is bad. For example, like comment #8, the idea is often that monogamy might work for some, and good for them, but I don't understand it, and non-monogamy is better because we're living a more free and authentic life. Switch the words monogamy and non-monogamy around, and that view would meet with considerable scorn here. Why? What's so damn bad about monogamy for those who like it and want it? It's not unnatural--which is a really bizarre charge against it anyway, from anyone who otherwise would not want to be bound by the dictates of what sexual or relationship behavior is "natural". It can damage people when it's dishonest. So why not just say, dishonesty in sex and relationships is an unhappy thing; however, the question of whether you have one partner long-term or multiple ones is indifferent.
urgutha@14: my first thoughts exactly when i read the article. the author assumes that the promiscuity is a cause rather than a symptom. i can verify from personal experience that it was the other way around.

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