Good in Bed Survey Report #6

The full report is available in pdf format.


Attitudes Toward Monogamy

KEY FINDINGS

  • Women have significantly more positive attitudes toward monogamy than men
  • Participants who were seriously dating more than one person at the time of data collection had significantly more negative attitudes toward monogamy than any other relationship status
  • 71.2% of participants either very much or a little bit believe in the concept of there being one person for each person (i.e., soulmates)
  • 94.1% of participants believe that monogamy is a choice
  • 17.4% of the sample have tried an open relationship before, but 40% of the sample is open to trying an open relationship
  • The most common barrier to monogamy is curiosity, with lack of sexual novelty and boredom as close second and third

BACKGROUND

Monogamy, considered within its etymology, can be defined as mono(one) + gamy(love). Monogamy can be defined as a relationship in which two partners are romantically and sexually exclusive. Forming exclusive, permanent love relationships has been an emphasized component of mature development in the broader American culture. Importance is placed on emotional and sexual fidelity when living up to the expectations of being in a relationship. However, in recent years, we've seen greater acceptance and acknowledgement of alternative romantic relationship types, including swinging, polyamory, and open relationships. Most of the scientific literature in the area of attitudes toward monogamy has focused on adolescents and emerging adults. Additionally, sample sizes have been relatively small in the quantitative surveys conducted to date. Therefore, the purpose of this survey was to understand attitudes toward monogamy and related constructs in a larger sample with a more diverse age range.


METHODOLOGY

Data was collected through an online survey. Participants were recruited through various online forums (e.g., email listservs, online articles, social media websites) and directed to the study website. Potential participants were informed that a small incentive would be offered for involvement in the study (a code to redeem a free e-book from goodinbed.com, worth $5.95). Once all missing cases (n = 255) were removed the final sample consisted of 2,321 participants: 1,394 men (60.1%), 921 women (39.7%), and 6 individuals identified as other (.3%; specified as FtM trans (n = 3) and gender queer (n = 3)). For sample characteristics broken down by gender, see Table 1.

Upon accessing the survey, participants were presented with a number of questions that assessed various demographic variables and current relationship dynamics followed by a number of questions on attitudes toward monogamy and current relationship intimacy of those currently in relationships.

This study used a web-based data collection method. Internet surveys provide a more comfortable environment to collect data on sensitive issues such as sexuality, and therefore individuals were more likely to submit accurate sexual and relationship information online. All responses were completely anonymous and we did not collect any identifying information from participants.

To assess attitudes toward monogamy, the Monogamy Views Scale (Schmookler & Bursik, 2007) was used. This is a 16-item scale that assesses an individual's attitude toward monogamy, with higher scores indicative of greater support for monogamy. Questions are scored on a 7-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly disagree). Sample questions included "monogamy builds intimacy between two people" or "monogamy blocks natural drives", where some items are reverse-coded. Final scale scores range from 1 to 7 once all items are added and divided by the number of questions.


DEMOGRAPHICS

  • 2613 men (54%)
  • 2223 women (46%)
  • 6 other (.3%)
  • 90.3% heterosexual, 1.9% gay or lesbian, 5.6% bisexual, 1.3% uncertain or questioning, 0.9% other
  • 6.9% single (not dating anyone)
  • 6.2% casually dating one or more people
  • 1.6% seriously dating one or more people
  • 19.1% seriously dating one person
  • 4.7% engaged
  • 56.3% married
  • 1.3% separated
  • 1.7% divorced
  • 0.3% widowed
  • 3.7% have been in their relationship for 6 months or less
  • 4.5% have been in their relationship one year or less
  • 11.5% have been in their relationship between 1 and 3 years
  • 13.2% have been in their relationship between 3 and 7 years
  • 20.3% have been in their relationship between 7 and 15 years
  • 28.8% have been in their relationship for more than 15 years
  • 18.0% are not currently in a relationship
  • 67.0% are currently living with their partner
  • 64.0% have children - of those, 13.7% have 1 child, 25.4% have 2 children, 14.0% have 3 children, 6.5% have 4 children, 4.9% have 5 or more children
  • 34.3% don't have children

The full report is available in pdf format.