A 2016 study in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, using two separate nationally representative samples of single adults in the U.S. they found that more than one in five (21.9% in Study 1; 21.2% in Study 2) participants report engaging in CNM at some point in their lifetime.The study defined a consensual open relationship as "any relationship in which all partners agree that each may have romantic and/or sexual relationships with other partners."  That’s 1 in 5 people.

Haupert, Mara, Amanda Gesselman, Amy Moors, Helen Fisher, and Justin Garcia. 2016. “Prevalence of Experiences with Consensual Non-Monogamous Relationships: Findings from Two Nationally Representative Samples of Single Americans.” Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy 0715 (May): 00–00.

Several large generalized studies have suggested that between 4 and 5% of Americans are currently in some form of non-monogamous relationship. That’s over 16 Million people just in the US.

This study also found that polyamorous and other consensually non-monogamous relationships are generally perceived more negatively by the general public. Most significantly, they viewed monogamy as safer from STIs, more comforting, more stable, promotes more honesty, and is more respectful.

Conley, T. D., Moors, A. C., Matsick, J. L., & Ziegler, A. (2013). The Fewer the Merrier?: Assessing Stigma Surrounding Consensually Non-monogamous Romantic Relationships. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 13(1), 1–30. 

People in CNM relationships reported having more sexual partners in their lifetime while have the same or lower rate of STI as their monogamous counterparts. Additionally CNM partners reported taking more precautions than those in monogamous relationships in terms of greater condom use during intercourse with all partners and regular STI testing.

Lehmiller, J. J. (2015). A Comparison of Sexual Health History and Practices among Monogamous and Consensually Nonmonogamous Sexual Partners. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 12(10), 2022–2028. 

A 2017 study of over 2000 people compared monogamous and non-monogamous relationships and found some interesting results:

  • People in CNM and mono relationships were equal in relationship satisfaction, commitment, and passionate love.

  • Trust was higher in CNM relationships than monogamous ones.

  • Not only was reported jealousy lower in CNM relationships (which is to be expected) but jealous behaviors were also lower (checking drawers, bags, pockets, etc).

  • The study also showed that among CNM respondents, polyamory had the lowest jealousy and highest romance and satisfaction, followed by swinging relationships. Individuals in “open relationships,” however, were significantly less satisfied and less committed to their relationship than their monogamous counterparts but still displayed slightly less jealousy.

Conley, Terri, Jessica Matsick, Amy Catherine Moors, and Ali Ziegler. 2017. “Investigation of Consensually Nonmonogamous Relationships: Theories, Methods, and New Directions.” Perspectives on Psychological Science 12 (2): 205–32. 

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