• Emily Brown

What Happened When I Ditched Monogamy

It was like that, this…tension.

Despite getting married, actor Nico Tortorella and partner Bethany Meyers describe themselves as 'queer polyamorous'. Source: EW Magazine

I am a hopeless, helpless, romantic. I am in love with love.

Monogamy is an exclusive, loving, affectionate relationship with one partner at a time or having a sexual relationship with one individual at a time.

Non-monogamy, on the other hand, is a term that encompasses just about everything outside of this. This may be an open relationship, where you have one loving and affectionate primary partner, and you are both open to sexual interactions outside of one another. This may look like polyamory, which is where one individual participates and enjoys multiple relationships. This may look like three or four people all in a relationship, or it may look like one individual with two separate partners. There are so many different types of relationships. It’s something that’s become a large part of social conversation over the last few years, and even a part of the media we watch, follow or listen to. To be in an ethically non-monogamous relationship encompasses the way in which we enact these relationships - with communication, understanding, sensitivity, respect and accountability.

Quite a long time ago, what we understood to be non-monogamy was the norm. What we now understand about primitive homo-sapiens, was the enactment of ‘tribal community,' which involved the sharing of sexual partners for the sole purpose of the healthiest babies being born from the healthiest men. A tribe was one collective family and mothers saw all men of the tribe to be the fathers of their children. Everybody in the tribe cared for and loved one another and slept with one another. So, if we no longer hunt and gather our food, nor live in tribes, why should we be sharing sexual lovers?

Hear me out.

Initially, I became extremely curious about the world of non-monogamy in early 2020, after exiting one too many complex and unsuccessful relationships. Additionally, it had occurred to me that I really never approached sex and relationships in a self-indulgent way.

Most of the sex I’ve had has been within monogamous, loving relationships. Thus, I believed sex was for a relationship, therefore somewhat within the realms of trying to impress, please and adore my partner. During these relationships, I often felt paralysed in asking for what I needed out of sex. I was completely mute and ashamed when I needed to talk to a partner about what I required. I edged around the topic with my female friends, instead seeking out validation elsewhere.

Because of this, my conversations with my community began to evolve around the topic of what is known as ‘ethical non-monogamy’ or ENM. I became infatuated with reading more and more on the topic. It was a breath of fresh air amongst what I felt was a very backward, patriarchally instilled dynamic of dating and courting.

Source: GiPHY

That said, not everyone was so receptive.