Drawing on an internalized homonegativity and minority stress framework, the present study sought to address whether people engaged in consensual non-monogamy (CNM) internalize stigma toward their relationship style, and if internalized CNM negativity is associated with poorer relationship quality and functioning. We recruited a community sample of 339 people engaged in CNM (open, swinging, or polyamorous relationship) with at least two concurrent partners. Participants completed a newly developed measure of internalized CNM negativity (which assessed personal discomfort, social discomfort, and public identification) and four measures of relationship quality for each partner. Regression analyses showed that personal discomfort with CNM (e.g., wanting to change one’s relationship style or endorsing CNM as unnatural) was associated with lower satisfaction with romantic and sexual relationship agreements, global relationship satisfaction, and commitment (but not sexual satisfaction) in both concurrent relationships. The other two dimensions of internalized CNM negativity, social discomfort and public identification, were not related to relationship quality with either partner. These findings provide support for the notion that prevailing mononormativity (idealization of monogamy in society) can become applied to the self and negatively impact relationship quality. Understanding the processes in which broader societal stigma toward CNM can become internalized and affect well-being provides a new direction for research at the intersection of public health, psychology, and sexuality.
Moors, A., Schechinger, H., Balzarini, R. et al. Internalized Consensual Non-Monogamy Negativity and Relationship Quality Among People Engaged in Polyamory, Swinging, and Open Relationships. Arch Sex Behav 50, 1389–1400 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-020-01885-7