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Open relationships have drawbacks
Badger Herald ^ | 2-14-06 | Darryn Beckstrom

Posted on 02/14/2006 4:35:58 PM PST by SJackson

Back in the day, we had a name for those who defied the definition of monogamy. They were called swingers.

But today, it seems the rules have changed and the prevalence of open relationships has increased significantly.

Open relationships are often defined as a situation in which couples agree that it is acceptable to date and engage in sexual activity with other people while still maintaining a relationship with each other.

But a better definition may be cheating without the guilt.

Over the past few years, the social stigma of engaging in polyamory has greatly subsided on college campuses — and this university is no exception. It is a common occurrence for someone to proclaim this so-called “relationship” status on Facebook or to engage in a sexual rendezvous with another person while in a supposed relationship.

One way or another, I find it difficult many do not consider this cheating.

Maybe the Kinsey Report was the start of this deviation from traditional values. But the prevalence of open relationships was precipitated by something more.

Jokingly, a friend recently handed me a copy of Open Marriage, the 1972 best-selling book by Nena and George O’Neil. I would have guessed a book of this raunchy caliber came from a used book sale sponsored by Sex Out Loud — but I was mistaken.

The back cover promises a book that will “introduce you to the open marriage concepts — trust, liking, role flexibility, individual freedom and growth, and love and sex without jealously — that can do wonders for your marriage.”

Somehow, I’m not buying it.

There are obvious health concerns for engaging in an open relationship for all participants involved. Having multiple sexual partners greatly increases the probability of contracting a sexually transmitted disease and becoming pregnant. But there are other problems for those who engage in this lifestyle.

More importantly, how can one consider an open relationship to be, in fact, a relationship? Normally, a relationship requires a commitment between two people. If this doesn’t exist, then what differentiates an open relationship from mere dating — or friends with benefits? I’m drawing a big blank. Nonetheless, using the word “relationship” to define the aforementioned association diminishes the significance of a monogamous relationship between two people.

Definitions aside, there are also the emotional issues.

Intimacy can only come when two people can engage in sex knowing there are not other sexual partners on the side. Sex is meant to be a bond that brings two people together — which is why waiting until marriage is the ideal situation.

Unfortunately, today it seems the intimate value placed on sex is minimal. Rather, sex is frequently used to either fulfill some mere physiological desire for both sexes or satisfy the lustful mind of an inebriated male after his beer goggles are firmly in place following a night out. It is disheartening to see so many people relegate sex to “it’s just sex.”

And then there is the issue of jealousy. If individuals do not become jealous of the other woman or man in their partner’s sex life then they are either lying to themselves or, sadly, sex is nothing more than a purely physical act to them.

A question I have, though, is if someone can’t be monogamous before marriage, who is to say they will practice monogamy within the bounds of matrimony? If people are accustomed to relationships without a commitment to remain faithful to one another (i.e. open relationships) during their dating years, why would marriage be any different?

According to “The Monogamy Myth” by Peggy Vaughn, 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women will break their marriage vows at some point during their lifetime — and these figures represent only those who admit to engaging in infidelity. The increasing prevalence of open relationships before marriage will not improve this statistic.

Nonetheless, perhaps a course in relationships can help answer these questions. The Department of Psychology at Haverford College is offering a course this semester titled, The Psychology of Close Relationships. Potential topics to be covered in the class include “alternative relationships” (or more aptly, open relationships). And an entire week will be spent on the issues of infidelity and jealously.

But given the audience this course is targeted toward, I’m not holding my breath. And I can guarantee that contrary to popular belief, the answers will be not found in the next issue of Cosmopolitan either.

The rules of the dating game have been redefined. But sometimes changing the rules doesn’t always make a situation better in the long run.

Darryn Beckstrom (beckstrom@badgerherald.com) is a doctoral student in the department of political science and a second-year MPA candidate in the La Follette School of Public Affairs.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: deviants; diseases; moralabsolutes; perverts; polyamory; sickos; sluts; stds; vile
I learned a new word, polyamory.
1 posted on 02/14/2006 4:35:59 PM PST by SJackson
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To: SJackson
The "polyamorists" are going to learn some new words - Herpes, HIV, genital Warts, Hepatitis, and the old ones, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, ad nauseam. Like lunch, there is no such thing as free sex.
2 posted on 02/14/2006 4:43:28 PM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon Liberty, it is essential to examine principle)
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To: GladesGuru

Yes. Wouldn't want to inject things like marriage in the issue.


3 posted on 02/14/2006 4:44:49 PM PST by SJackson (There is but one language which can be held to these people, and this is terror, William Eaton)
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To: SJackson; eyespysomething
But a better definition may be cheating without the guilt.

Still a better definition may be cheating without worrying about the jilted husband/boyfriend coming in and shooting the wife/girlfriend and the lover.

4 posted on 02/14/2006 4:45:21 PM PST by SittinYonder (That's how I saw it, and see it still.)
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To: SJackson
using the word “relationship” to define the aforementioned association diminishes the significance of a monogamous relationship between two people.

and using the word "marriage" to define any "relationship between two people" diminishes the significance of the exclusively man/woman bond.

5 posted on 02/14/2006 5:04:06 PM PST by Argus
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To: SJackson
Yes. Wouldn't want to inject things like marriage in the issue.

SJ, I'm not disagreeing with you, but people don't know *how* to be married anymore. Even the "marriage councillors" don't know what's what in the long term.

We have a society that is constitutionally incapable of practicing the Christian concept of marriage, but the Christian concept of marriage is the only one we know.

6 posted on 02/14/2006 5:05:24 PM PST by papertyger
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To: papertyger; SJackson; NYer; Salvation; Cacique
A major problem is that the legal system has "dumbed down" marriage so much, that it truly is nothing more than a financial contract. Add declining religious devotion (as opposed to religious "practice") and hypersexuality among the postwar generations, and you have the situation we have today.

Men are, by our nature, non-monogamous. This is as true for humans as it is for the rest of the animal kingdom. This is why polygamy was the rule, rather than the exception, in most societies, while mistress taking was common, among those who could afford it, in even nominally monogamous societies. However, the bonds of Christian society (and Jewish society after the abandonment of polygamy in the disaspora), kept the one man, one woman ideal alive as the standard that all were encouraged to follow. This, in many ways was better for most men (who no longer had to contend with the wealthy taking a large share of available women) and women (who now had a more equitable relationship than under polygamy).

With serial monogamy (ie people on their fifth divorce) and "open relationships" becoming more common, you can say we are reverting to the past. One key difference is the fact that now WOMEN are taking on multiple partners. This is not good for several reasons, both psychological and physical.

7 posted on 02/14/2006 5:21:16 PM PST by Clemenza (I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked...)
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To: Coleus; presidio9; firebrand

You all may find this of interest.


8 posted on 02/14/2006 5:22:04 PM PST by Clemenza (I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked...)
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To: Clemenza
One key difference is the fact that now WOMEN are taking on multiple partners. This is not good for several reasons, both psychological and physical.

My analysis largely mirrors your own with this one exception; I don't believe women taking multiple partners results in psychological and physical maladjustments.

I believe women are taking multiple partners *because of* psychological and physical maladjustment.

9 posted on 02/14/2006 5:37:58 PM PST by papertyger
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To: SJackson

This type of relationship is great for the man, terrible for the woman. A whole generation of women will wake up in their early 30s and realize that men their age are chasing women ten years younger then them. Kiss any real chance of marriage or kids goodbye. Well, at least there's always Hagen Daas.


10 posted on 02/14/2006 6:07:14 PM PST by rbg81
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To: Clemenza

Even for those who did not subscribe to open relationships, this practice brought the whole moral tenor of the times down in the sixties and seventies. I thought it was over and going back the other way. I guess I was wrong.


11 posted on 02/14/2006 6:23:46 PM PST by firebrand
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To: SJackson

Disgusting...


12 posted on 02/14/2006 6:25:43 PM PST by antaresequity (PUSH 1 FOR ENGLISH, PUSH 2 TO BE DEPORTED)
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To: SJackson

Just another symptom of a sociopathic society.


13 posted on 02/14/2006 7:21:49 PM PST by Search4Truth (The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.)
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To: SJackson

Pretty soon this will lead to polygamy and polyandry.


14 posted on 02/14/2006 7:25:27 PM PST by BobDobbs9911
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To: Clemenza

But thus us all hunky dory in your book, correct?


15 posted on 02/14/2006 7:27:39 PM PST by presidio9 ("Bird Flu" is the new Y2K Virus -Only without the inconvenient deadline.)
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To: rbg81

It's always best for the men to be older and the women younger. Let the career women be like men: smoke, drink, carouse while their biological clock is ticking.

Men will kick them to the curb and get a younger honey who wants to stay home and have children and treat her man like a king. YES!!!!!! No reason that men have to be treated like horse dung by a Type B woman when you can trade the older car in for a newer model.


16 posted on 02/14/2006 7:28:59 PM PST by BobDobbs9911
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To: presidio9
Not really. I see what has become of the female portion of our population, and it has made a large section of them unmarriageable.

Stable relationships are important, for society and the individual, especially as we age and we hit the Viagara years.

17 posted on 02/14/2006 7:29:56 PM PST by Clemenza (I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked...)
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To: Clemenza

Lots of recent studies indicate that women aren't as biologically monogamous as previously thought. Biologically speaking, their offspring have a better chance of survival overall if they are of differing paternity.


18 posted on 02/14/2006 7:36:07 PM PST by Melas (What!? Read or learn something? Why would anyone do that, when they can just go on being stupid)
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To: Clemenza
Using sexual dimorphism as an indicator (i.e., men are not that much bigger than women), it suggests that men have been far more monogamous than it's now popular to admit. Men are promiscuous when the view sex as recreational and woman as unworthy of commitment. When men view women as worthy of respect and commitment and sex as more than recreational thrills, monogamy usually wins out.
19 posted on 02/14/2006 8:11:00 PM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: rbg81
The bigger problem will occur when they are in their 70s and 80s. Hagen Daas isn't going to visit them in the nursing home, nor will it help pay for their social security and healthcare. Everyone shoudl be required to spend some time in a nursing home as a young person. Really brings the future into focus.
20 posted on 02/14/2006 8:14:30 PM PST by Question_Assumptions
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To: SJackson
It is a common occurrence for someone to proclaim this so-called “relationship” status on Facebook or to engage in a sexual rendezvous with another person while in a supposed relationship.

I'm not sure what "Facebook " is, but these behaviors were a "common occurrence" long before it existed!

Oh, and does the writer know that the O'Neills were divorced shortly after publishing the book celebrating the wonders of their "open marriage"?

21 posted on 02/14/2006 8:48:17 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: rzeznikj at stout
mark for later read
22 posted on 02/15/2006 6:45:27 AM PST by rzeznikj at stout (This is a darkroom. Keep the door closed or you'll let all the dark out...)
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To: Melas

"Biologically speaking, their offspring have a better chance of survival overall if they are of differing paternity."

The stats on abuse of children by other than the birth father would belie your statement. This would also mirror the usual situation in the animal world, where the male often kills the offspring and then impregnates the female in order to assure success of his genetic preservation efforts.

Might I ask where you got data to support your above quoted statement?


23 posted on 02/15/2006 4:58:57 PM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon Liberty, it is essential to examine principle)
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To: GladesGuru
The stats on abuse of children by other than the birth father would belie your statement. This would also mirror the usual situation in the animal world, where the male often kills the offspring and then impregnates the female in order to assure success of his genetic preservation efforts

That may or may not be true, but in either event, it's not biology. Biologically speaking, a female's genes have a better chance of surviving if she varies the paternity of her offspring. The down and dirty science is simple: Multiple paternity minimizes any chance of unfavorable heterozygous gene pairings.

24 posted on 02/15/2006 6:01:27 PM PST by Melas (What!? Read or learn something? Why would anyone do that, when they can just go on being stupid)
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To: Melas
"That may or may not be true, but in either event, it's not biology."

I think you may be blurring biology and genetics. An organism is biologically successful if it's offspring reach reproductive age.

Thus the facts about father v. stepfather raise children is biological in that is influences biological success.

One closely related fact may be relevant. While factors like IQ are genetically controlled, merely marrying a high IQ person (assuming one is also high IQ) may, but not necessarily will, produce high IQ children.

That's why is is sometimes called "potluck at the meiotic dance".

Happy biking, by the way.
25 posted on 02/15/2006 7:02:03 PM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon Liberty, it is essential to examine principle)
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To: SJackson; 2ndMostConservativeBrdMember; afraidfortherepublic; Alas; al_c; american colleen; ...


26 posted on 02/21/2006 7:42:57 PM PST by Coleus (What were Ted Kennedy & his nephew doing on Good Friday, 1991? Getting drunk and raping women)
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