Itching to download Tinder and meet people online even though you’re married or in a long-term relationship? If your partner is into being in an open relationship, you two are definitely onto something. For years, consensually monogamous people have been trying to convince the world that they are happier than people who are unmarried or people in open relationships. However, psychologists have taken an interest in open relationships, and numerous studies have been done recently to analyze the health, happiness and sexual activity of people who are consensually non-monogamous. Today, we take a look at one particular study that has shown that people in open relationships are actually healthier, happier, and more sexually active than their monogamous counterparts, and discuss the ramifications of these findings.
The Sample and Research Questions
University of Oklahoma anthropologists James Fleckenstein and Derrell Cox II conducted an online survey with 4,000 respondents across the U.S. who are either in a consensual non-monogamous relationship or are open to one. This survey contained the same questions as the General Social Survey (GSS), a study conducted on the general US population every two years. The researchers were interested in analyzing older adults, who were 55 years old or older, and out of the 4,000 people, 502 fit this criterion, of which 66 percent were male, and 44 percent were female. Their responses were compared to a sample of 723 people from the GSS survey who were 55 years old or over, of which 45 percent were male, and 65 percent were female. Fleckenstein and Cox II wanted to know how people in the two samples rated their health, happiness and sexual activity.
Contrary to popular belief, people in open relationships reported being significantly happier than the general population in monogamous relationships or single, and they not only had more sexual partners but had sex more frequently (once a week on average vs. twice a month). Respondents in both samples rated their marital happiness as quite high.
What’s more, it wasn’t just the men in open relationships that reported being happier, healthier and more sexually active. Women in open relationships reported just as many differences compared to their monogamous counterparts as men in open relationships, which goes to show that it’s not just the men who enjoy not being monogamous. Further, there were significant differences between monogamous married and unmarried respondents in terms of health and happiness, with the former reporting being much healthier and happier. However, for people in open relationships, both married and unmarried adults reported similar levels of health, happiness, and sexual activity.
What Does This Mean?
According to this study, which is backed up by several similar surveys done in the past, consensually non-monogamous people are not less healthy, happy or sexually active than the monogamous general population. On the contrary, they seem to be in better health, more sexually active, and overall happier! That being said, other studies suggest that people who believe in soulmates don’t try to improve their sex lives, and those who are in monogamous relationships have more trust and jealousy issues. It’s hard to say how these results impact a person’s choice when faced with the dilemma to be in a monogamous or a consensually non-monogamous relationship, but one thing is for sure – monogamous relationships sure have a healthy alternative.
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