Swingers Lifestyle (Non-Monogamous Relationships)





Swingers Lifestyle (Non-Monogamous Relationships)

Polyamory, known as the possession of multiple sexual and love relationships simultaneously without incidences of betrayal or deception has had minimal scholarly focus. Critics hypothesized that the little coverage proffered to polyamory can be attributed to the presumed threat the communes, swinging and group marriages pose towards traditional institutions and conceptualization of marriage. These relationships are marked by the casual treatment of intimacy, whereby the parties involved are able to exercise flexibility, precarity, valorization of individual efforts or contributions and the feminization of communication.

It is important to note that these consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships illustrate feminization of communication especially in self-disclosures, which has been noted as a critical and distinctive part of these relationships. In addition, frequency in communication about emotionally charged issues such as desire, jealousy, sincerity, and insecurity is understood to be a critical component towards success in these relationships. Existing literature such as Griebling (2012) in the article The Casualization of Intimacy: Consensual non-monogamy and the new sexual ethos notes that communication was relatively important than sexual activities amongst the partners (Griebling 12).

Such an emphasis on communication is suggestive that these relationships are important for some women. In addition, this also disrupts the basic tenet and understanding that non-monogamy is inherently sexist. Non-monogamist partners in these consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships depict their lifestyles as inherently protective of the autonomy of their partners and accommodative of change and adaptability to the shift in expectations. The norms of feminized communication are an important trait of CNM relationships due to the value and emphasis placed on self-disclosure and honesty (Weiss 89).

Flexibility is understood to be a coping strategy in incidences of uncertainty that arise because of casualization. It relates to individual ability to adjust self with an aim of conforming to new social interactions or situations. The flexibility of these relationships provides the partners with the capacity to shift and change their respective expectations, and habits to suit their needs or those of the partners. Critics argue that the aspect of individualism in consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships is because of the changes accruable from social modernization that has taken place since the start of the 20th century.

On the other hand, the changes witnessed at the start of the 20th century have a minimal effect on erasure of the extensive and impersonal structures that shape the trajectories of modern life. People have become reliant on a variety of modern social institutions such as education systems, welfare state and labor markets, which all impose contradictory and new demands on the individual. Essentially the individualism ideology manifested in the consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships, places individual desires, rights and needs at the center of the moral reasoning for these relationships (Griebling 19).

Individualism in American understanding refers to decision-making in living life in relation to one’s preferences, needs and wants with minimal consideration of the thoughts and judgments of the society as a whole. The feminism discussed is relative to the equality of women to their male counterparts whereby they are able to exercise relatively high levels of personal freedom and choice, the right to pleasure even in a transgressive manner. In addition, this is also inclusive of the non-normatively gendered parties such as gender-queer people who place a reliance on language of rights, choice, equality and individuality, which provides an understanding of the nature of consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships in modern society.

Essentially, the differences in communication between monogamous and consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships remain debatable given the inadequate coverage by literature on the nature of these two relationships (Griebling 35). Disclosure of intimacy in consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships is critical and entails a variety of considerations. Such considerations warrant the need to understand intimacy in relationships, which has been defined as a familiar, proximal, loving, or affectionate personal relationships with a group or party. The disclosure of intimacy as in the case of consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships is primarily based on the enhanced hegemony of various individualistic ideologies.

The growing focus on individual pleasure that has been exacerbated by a mass consumer culture has contributed to the augmentation of the benefits accruable to the partners in consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships from disclosure of intimacy as a basic tenet of such relationships (Griebling 69). The mundane and practical components of intimacy are usually subordinated with the expression of individual emotions and revelation of personal secrets. The importance of communication in intimate relationships can be associated with the inherent need for equality and reciprocation amongst partners to achieve optimal pleasure and acceptance.

It is important to note that both monogamous and consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships are primarily influenced by psychotherapeutic and feminist perspectives. However, for monogamous relationships there is a focus on traditional sexuality, that affirmed by socially constructed gendered roles that impede the individualistic ethos assumed in consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships. The partners in consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships usually use disclosure of intimacy as a point of bargaining for higher levels of sexual autonomy for themselves. Thus, the difference between monogamous and consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships is based on the ability of these involved parties to communicate their sexual desires with minimal fear of reprisal or emotional betrayal towards their partners (Griebling 129).

The disclosure of intimacy in consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships has brought about the categorization of these relations as confluent relationships. Pure and conflict relationships are based on the norms of intimacy such as equality, reciprocity, reflexivity, trust and more so communication (Somers and Block 267). These ideologies are also based on the transition and transformation of society towards higher levels of egalitarianism and democracy. Thus, it can be inferred that consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships are as a result of transformation of society into modernity as democracy and individualism become more pronounced than in the past.

Political and economic shifts abetted by technological advancements have resulted in new political and economic systems in modern society. This has contributed towards higher levels of global interconnection and liberalized societies that are shaped by ideals of individualism and egalitarianism. Additionally, individualism can be claimed to have played a role in the emergence of the proactive need amongst partners to communicate their respective sexual desires, which varies from communication in monogamous relationships. Through self-disclosure, the partners are able to achieve therapeutic objectives in the consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships such as trust, reciprocity, emotional closeness, and an understanding of the needs of their respective partners. In addition, this plays an important role in affirmation of individual identity as the preferences, needs and wants of the partners become acknowledged and accepted by the reset of the parties within such relationships.


Works Cited

Griebling, Brittany. The Casualization of Intimacy: Consensual non-monogamy and the new sexual ethos. Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. Paper 638, 2012. Print.

Somers, Margaret R., and Fred Block. From poverty to perversity: Ideas, markets, and institutions over 200 years of welfare debate. American Sociological Review, 70 (2005): 260-287. Print.

Weiss, Margot. Gay shame and BDSM pride: Neoliberalism, privacy, and sexual politics. The Radical History Review, 100 (2008): 87-101. Print.


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