You may recall, in the summer of 2011, an article in the New York Times that got a lot of publicity (good and bad) on the virtues of infidelity. In this article, written by Mark Oppenheimer, Dan Savage discussed the downsides of treating monogamy as the main indicator of success in marriage. Savage noted that qualities such as honesty or humor should be replaced as an indicator of success to avoid the unrealistic expectations that using monogamy as the marker provides. If you want to check out more of Savage’s take on monogamy, there are videos, blog entries, and podcasts, just to name a few.
Despite all of this hype around monogamy, I couldn’t seem to find very many recent scientific studies that examined attitudes toward monogamy, especially among adult populations. There are a few studies that examined values around monogamy in adolescent populations, and a lot of studies that examined monogamy in non-human mammals! But I was really surprised at the lack of scientific evidence out there about what people actually think and feel about monogamy. So, our team decided that we would conduct a survey on the topic to get a sense of attitudes toward monogamy.
We surveyed 2,321 people (1,394 men and 921 women) with ages ranging from 18 to 73. The majority of the participants were married (56.3%), with 19.1% seriously dating one person, 6.9% single, 6.2% casually dating one or more people, 4.7% engaged, and a minority identified as divorced (1.7%), seriously dating one or more people (1.6%), separated (1.3%), or widowed (.3%).
Men had significantly more negative attitudes toward monogamy than women, and interestingly, people who identified as “married” expressed significantly more negative views toward monogamy than people who identified as “seriously dating one person”. Not surprisingly, individuals who identified as “seriously dating more than one person” had the most negative views toward monogamy than any other relationship status group.
This post was originally on Good in Bed.