People in open relationships are no more sexually and emotionally satisfied than monogamous couples, new research suggests.
As long as couples have sex to be close to each other or to fulfill their desires, there is no difference in how content people are with their partners, a study found.
Those who get intimate for less personal reasons, such as to avoid an argument, are less likely to be happy in their relationships regardless of whether it is open or monogamous, the research adds.
Lead author Jessica Wood, from the University of Guelph, said: ‘We found people in consensual, non-monogamous relationships experience the same levels of relationship satisfaction, psychological well-being and sexual satisfaction as those in monogamous relationships.
‘This debunks societal views of monogamy as being the ideal relationship structure.’
Up to seven per cent of people in the US are in open relationships and as many as 48 per cent in the UK are interested in being polygamous.
How the research was carried out
The researchers analysed 142 people in open relationships and 206 who were committed to one person.
The participants were asked how sexually and emotionally satisfied they are with their partners, as well as how sexually fulfilled they felt.
Those with multiple partners focused on their main one.
Questions included whether they considered separating from their partner and if they confided in them.
‘It’s assumed these people are having sex with everyone all the time’
Speaking of polygamy, Ms Wood said: ‘It’s more common than most people think.
‘We are at a point where we are expecting a lot from our partners. We want to have sexual fulfillment and excitement but also emotional and financial support.
‘Trying to fulfill all these needs can put pressure on relationships. To deal with this pressure, we are seeing some people look to consensually non-monogamous relationships.’