Consensual Non-Monogamy in Psychology Today

A woman holding hands with one partner and with her arm around another

“There is nothing new about the practice of Consensual Non-Monogamy (CNM)—an umbrella term that captures polyamory, swinging, and various other forms of ethically ‘open’ relationships—but you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking it was a new fad or trend given the surge of attention the topic has received in 2018,” Dr. Sarah Hunter Murray reports in Psychology Today. She asks just some of the questions that come to mind on the subject:

Are polyamorous folks more hedonistic and pleasure-focused? Are CNM relationships less satisfying than monogamous ones? How do folks in CNM relationships manage potential jealousy? Do people who practice CNM feel their relationships would be accepted by their friends and family? And what role might this potential fear of judgment have on relationship quality and mental health?

Dr. Murray goes on to list what we’ve learned, and what we still need to know. She also notes that more knowledge will be vital in the field of mental health:

Dr. Heath Schechinger, a Licensed Counseling Psychologist and co-chair of the APA Division 44 Consensual Non-Monogamy Taskforce, says: “Our participants repeatedly mentioned how harmful their therapists lack of education about CNM and judgmental attitudes were. Over half of our participants indicated that their therapist held judgmental or pathologizing views of consensual non-monogamy, and one-fifth of our participants reported that their therapist lacked the basic knowledge of consensual non-monogamy issues necessary to be effective.”

To learn more about the lessons learned and questions that remain, read on: Consensual Non-Monogamy: A Year of Sex Research in Review.


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