In the 32nd installment of SAGE’s Relationship Matters podcast, hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, Amy Moors (University of Michigan) discusses her research on consensual non-monogamy (an umbrella term that refers to polyamory, swinging, and open-relationships) – or relationships where partners do not have an expectation of complete sexual exclusivity.
Dr. Moors points out that our society generally views monogamy as the ideal form of partnering within romantic relationships and stigmatizes consensual non-monogamous relationships. Despite such a stigma, however, a sizeable minority of people (3 to 5% in her samples) engage in non-monogamous relationships and report high levels of relationship satisfaction.
The research team wondered whether attitudes toward consensual non-monogamy differ based on people’s attachment styles. They studied a large sample of participants, the majority of whom had never actually engaged in consensual non-monogamy. What did the find? Those high in attachment avoidance (i.e., those who are less comfortable with closeness) had more favorable views of consensual non-monogamy and reported a stronger willingness to engage in such relationships in the future.
Given this finding, one might predict that avoidant individuals are actually more likely to engage in consensual non-monogamy (in light of their more positive attitudes). In reality, however, the researchers found the opposite – avoidant individuals were less likely to be in a consensually non-monogamous relationship. Why? Click here to listen to the podcast and find out!
Moors, A. C., Conley, T. D., Edelstein, R. S., & Chopik, W. J. (in press). Attached to monogamy? Avoidance predicts willingness to engage (but not actual engagement) in consensual non- monogamy. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.