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Is Non-Monogamy the Key to a Successful Marriage?

Dan Savage, a leading sexual-advice columnist, explains how monogamy alone may not be the key to a successful marriage. In a recent article, Savage says that monogamy is not always the realistic choice for modern couples. He urges all couples to be honest about their sexual fantasies and desires, even if that includes having sex with people outside of the marriage. Savage says that non-monogamy, if agreed to by both partners, can work. Savage says that he and his own husband have both decided that their marriage would allow for non-monogamy and they accept that the other may look outside of the marriage for sexual satisfaction. He thinks that success in marriages is determined by setting smarter and more realistic boundaries.

Savage says, “Folks on the verge of making those monogamous commitments need to look at the wreckage around them—all those failed monogamous relationships out there (Schwarzenegger, Clinton, Vitter, whoever’s on the cover of US magazine this week)—and have a conversation about what it’ll mean if one or the other partner should cheat. And agree, at the very least, to getting through it, to place a higher value on the relationship itself than on one component of it, sexual exclusivity.” The New York Times reported that nearly 15 percent of unmarried women and 20 percent of unmarried men admitted to having cheated on a partner. Savage believes that many of these casualties were the result of not being honest about what those people wanted sexually.

Judith Stacey, a New York University sociologist, said that “variation is what’s natural,” and people should determine just what type of marriage they would like to have before they make that commitment. Savage concludes by saying that married people must understand what they want and plan for it in order to have a successful relationship.

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