In this paper, we utilize a critical feminist lens to analyze the advantages and disadvantages found within two different romantic relationship configurations: monogamy and polyamory. While visibility of polyamorous relationships has increased in recent years, there is still a lack of information and a plethora of misinformation concerning non-monogamous romantic relationship dynamics (Conley, Moors, Matsick, & Ziegler, 2012; Conley, Ziegler, Moors, Matsick, & Valentine, 2012). One such notion is that polyamory is differentially damaging to women vis-à-vis men. From a phenomenological perspective, sociocultural values dictate that women, unlike men, are prescribed to be dependent upon monogamy in order to define their selfhood; and indeed, research has provided evidence in support of this idea, as women are more apt to be offended by the idea of concurrent multiple relationships and are less likely to report a willingness to engage in these types of relationships than men are (Moors, Conley, Edelstein, & Chopik, under review-a). Using a previous review of monogamy as a starting point (Conley, Ziegler, Moors, Matsick, & Valentine, 2012), we will reanalyze two major points from the review piece: sex benefits and jealousy in monogamous and polyamorous relationships. Throughout, we examine if the presumed benefits of monogamy extend to women or if alternative relationship structures, specifically polyamory, afford greater advantages. Additionally, we consider other benefits that may be unique to polyamory for women, including increased agency, financial resources, and extended social support.
Ziegler, A., Matsick, J. L., Moors, A. C., Rubin, J., & Conley, T. D. (2014). Does monogamy harm women? Deconstructing monogamy with a feminist lens. [Special Issue on Polyamory]. Journal für Psychologie, 22(1), 1-18.
Family, Life Course, and Society Commons, Gender and Sexuality Commons, Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Commons, Other Psychology Commons, Personality and Social Contexts Commons, Social Psychology Commons, Social Psychology and Interaction Commons, Women's Studies Commons
This article was originally published in Journal für Psychologie, volume 22, issue 1, in 2014.