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Chris Messina invented the hash-
tag. He also believes it is time to re-
invent contemporary sexuality, which
is why he practices something he
refers to as "non-monogamy."
"As a child of divorce and an aspiring
designer-entrepreneur in Silicon Valley,
I was suspicious of marriage," the early
Twitter employee writes on CNN. "Out
here, we re data-positive and solution-
oriented and if your product (ie mar-
riage) is failing for 50 per cent of your
customers, then you need to fix it or
offer something better.
"Monogamy established itself thou-
sands of years ago, when society was
ruled by scarcity and resources and
potential mates were in limited supply,"
Messina argues. "We re now living in
a period of great (though unequally
distributed) abundance where our basic
needs are sufficiently met, and repro-
duction is a choice. As a result, the
reasons to be with a single mate for
life are less urgent."
the new sexual truism?
Should we sit our partners down
and tell them that it s time to begin
introducing some new faces to the bed-
room? Well, for one thing, non-
monogamy is not exactly new.
"There is an odd modern sense that
sex for fun was invented in the mid-
20th century and that before that, sex
was acknowledged as fun but was only
done within the confines of relation-
ships," Art Markman, a psychology
professor at the University of Texas,
tells Yahoo Health. "If you read the
Bible, any old literature, or go to the
opera, you discover that the world has
always been just about as modern when
it comes to sex as it is now."
Indeed, the modern definition of
marriage as between "one man and
one woman" that is promoted by many
religious conservative politicians flies
in the face of the fact that most of the
male characters in the early Bible had
Non-monogamy is not equivalent
to "cheating" or adultery
Since the relationship is agreed upon,
it s not considered messing around.
Elisabeth Sheff, PhD, author of The
Polyamorists Next Door, uses the dis-
tinction "consensual non-monogamy"
to refer to situations such as Messina s.
She notes that "not only do con-
sensual non-monogamists try to tell
each other the truth, but this greater
communication has real impacts" such
as reduced rates of sexually transmitted
diseases as a result of the "honest com-
munication needed to negotiate con-
sensual agreements that allow a variety
of ways to have multiple partners."
Sheff herself is in a polyamorous
relationship and was shocked to dis-
cover that she was not jealous when
her partner had sex with other people.
"I resisted it for 10 years because I
anticipated feeling so threatened and
jealous with my insecurity that I
thought I would not be able to handle
it," she says.
Won't nonmonogamy undermine
the bond within a couple?
Research suggests that men and
women both experience jealousy when
their sex partners engage with another
person. "There is a tendency for men
to be a bit more jealous about sexual
infidelity by their mate and for women
to be more jealous about emotional
infidelity," notes Markman. "But sexual
infidelity makes both men and women
Messina argues that there is no need
for such feelings to come into play in
what he refers to as the era of Big Dat-
ing. He claims that "Big Dating unbun-
dles monogamy and sex. It offers to
maximise episodes of intimacy while
minimising the risk of rejection or
FOMO [fear of missing out]" and that
"Big Dating precipitates the rising
ambivalence toward commitment,"
proving that "that there s now more
than one option for building meaningful
and satisfying relationships."
A happy relationship is
Perel concludes that maintaining an
erotic connection in a relationship has
nothing to do with monogamy or non-
monogamy, but rather with a deeper
understanding of the concept of com-
mitment. Successful relationships of
any length are committed.
Successful couples understand that
passion waxes and wanes, like the
moon. But those who have a good sex
life know how to resurrect it. "They
know how to bring it back, and they
know how to bring it back because
they have demystified one big myth,
which is the myth of spontaneity," says
Perel. "They understood that whatever
is going to just happen in a long-term
relationship already has. Committed
sex is premeditated sex. It s willful. It s
intentional. It s focus and presence."
So heads up to Messina and his fel-
low non-monogamists: Call it what
you will, but apparently commitment---
both sexual and emotional---is key to
any successful relationship.
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, February 5, 2015
There are arguments for new ways to view relationships, and for some people monogamy is not an ideal.
Should we all be monogamous?
There is an odd modern sense that sex for fun was
invented in the mid-20th century and that before that,
sex was acknowledged as fun but was only done within
the confines of relationships.
---Art Markman, a psychology professor
at the University of Texas
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