This post started from the leftovers of my piece about polyamory. I was having trouble getting it to flow like I wanted it to, and I realized that I was writing about two different ideas. As with the first piece, major disclaimer: I have no personal experience with monogamish relationships, so take everything I’m about to say with a grain of salt.
I think it is a problem that modern society sees monogamy as the only type of “healthy” relationship. While exclusivity may work for some, it is clear that many people have trouble with monogamous relationships. Just look at the laundry list of politicians (John Edwards), athletes (Tiger Woods), and celebrities (David Letterman) who have been lambasted for “extramarital affairs.” According to a study of HIV transmission, between 26–50% of men and 21–38% women have had extramarital sex.
Since modern society is built around monogamy, when transgressions do happen, the results are deleterious to everyone involved. What if people who struggle with monogamy were in relationships where occasionally sleeping around was tolerated or even encouraged? I think it would be healthier to recognize that not all humans are innately monogamous (as evident through their behavior) and some people would do better in different types of relationships.
That said, polyamorous relationships are probably not the right option for the masses. As discussed in my previous piece, they are hard to implement in modern society, and most people seem content with a mostly monogamous lifestyle. To address these issues, people smarter than I have proposed a relationship structure where partners agree to be mostly exclusive, but protocols exist for activities that would traditionally be considered cheating. To describe this type of mostly monogamous relationship, I rather like the Savagism “monogamish .”