and other ethical non-monogamies

Monogamy or the idea that a person should only be in one intimate, romantic or sexual relationship at a time, dominates Australia and many other societies. We have terms like “soulmate” and “the one”. There is plenty of debate however as to whether monogamy is innate or even an orientation.

Many people have found that they can form intimate bonds with or become sexually or emotionally attracted to more than one person at a time and this can be challenging to navigate in a monogamous society. We are left with choices such as suppression of desire, forgoing autonomy, betraying the trust of a partner or experiencing the marginalisation that comes with practising consensual non-monogamy.

There are three main types of consensual non-monogamy recognised and each has a diverse way that they are experienced and expressed:

  • Open relationships: Mainly sexual relationships or encounters with others who are not the primary partner.
  • Swinging: Mainly sexual sharing with other couples or singles where both primary partners are involved together.
  • Polyamory: Forming emotionally intimate bonds with multiple partners.

Other, less recognised types of relationships seen as intimate and consensual are kink (e.g. Dom/sub relationships and intimate play partners), casual dating, commercial (e.g. sex work and sugar) and friends with benefits. The more we look into it the blurrier the line between monogamy and consensual non-monogamy appears. It does indicate that the diversity of human nature does not nicely fit into the restrictive relationship boxes society has created.

How Can Counselling Help

Society has given us a relationship blueprint to follow which is imprinted on most of us as we are raised but for those who don’t want to or can’t follow the blueprint, navigating atypical relationships can be complex, have us question our worth and generate feelings of threat of loss such as jealousy.

Counselling can help navigate these relationships and their impact as well as help provide tools for success such as improved communication

Your Counsellor, Annie Mundy

I have lived experience in most areas of consensual non-monogamy and have had to navigate this with monogamous partners, conservative families and a marginalising society. I have also found success and belonging in living a non-monogamous life and keeping current with research in this area. 

Other Stuff

The Ethical Slut. By Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton. It is a book often recommended by those in the consensual non-monogamous communities for those new to exploring this area. Wikipedia, Amazon