Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.



July 11, 2018

Unicorn Hunting as a Widely Recognized Thing


Posted to a Facebook poly group:


Wish we could find someone near [town], NV, there must be a lady out there somewhere that is looking for a loving couple. I see all the other comments from other couples looking for the same situation let me tell you there is probably more chance of you winning the lottery.

From Michigan:


ANY bi lady AT ALL out there want to start the new year in a new direction with a nice, kind, attractive couple? PLEASE let us know. Don't know ANY other way of finding her....... :(

Craigslist, Sunnyvale CA:

POLYAMORY LESBAMORY Looking for open minded woman to join our relationship/marriage. Must love babys and dogs....

From Ohio, on Reddit:

We are a married couple that I at least feel we are decently attractive. ... We have tried every dating app and site that I can find even several dedicated specifically to the polymarorous lifestyle. I am getting rather discouraged as is my wife who is very eager to explore with another woman. We just want some advice on what we are doing wrong.

An answer to that question, downvoted to oblivion:

The only advice I can give you is patience. My Fianceé and I are keen on triads ourselves and have had moderate success due to two things. Patience and staying away from online poly communities who have a strict enforcement of their interpretation of how non monogamy works.

For some background to better explain, I'm an emotionally detached ex special forces man who is so straight shooting that 65% of people don't like me because quite frankly I don't give a fuck what you think if you did something dumb we need to fix it and that's okay. ...


On Craigslist in Nevada:


We are a very happy stable couple of 12 years.... You have to be willing to participate with both of us...one on one and together and u must be willing to ensue a relationship with us.... female is 33, 5'8 size 10-12....

Kimchi Cuddles, used by permission. Click to embiggen.

 
Newcomers to the poly world, and there are lots of them these days, are often confused or offended by the community's reaction to "unicorn hunters."

A unicorn, of course, is an unattached hot bi woman ready to join a couple and slot into the role they have pre-designed for her — stereotypically that she will love them both equally, have sex only with both of them together so one won't get jealous, have no other relationships, and maybe do housework and childcare. And be dumpable at any moment by both of the couple if one of them gets the wibbles.

Some women who've been around this loop swear never to fall in love with a couple again.

Happy unicorns exist. Some women, and the occasional bi guy, find that being a couple's secondary or friend with benefits fits into their life well. But savvy ones take care to maintain their independence and autonomy, and are fearless about rooting out unexamined assumptions and spreading them out on the table under a bright light for discussion. Intentional unicorns are on the good side of a severe supply/demand imbalance, so they can take their pick. And/or have as many couples as they want.


● The wider world is starting to notice the poly unicorn trope and write about it. For instance, in the mainstream Business Insider:


What it means for couples to go 'unicorn hunting' — and why it usually doesn't end well

...Sometimes couples try out polyamory naively, especially when a straight couple wants to find another bi woman to join them. This is called "unicorn hunting," and it's something of a cliché in the poly community.

rawpixel.com / Unsplash
... But it's not as simple as finding a third person you both fancy. In fact, according to Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, expert witness, speaker, and coach of polyamory and author of The Polyamorists Next Door, straight couples often come into the polyamorous community expecting to find a bi woman to join them. This, she said, is called "unicorn hunting."

Sheff's former husband introduced her to the idea of polyamory with exactly this intention. He wanted another woman to sleep with, but he didn't particularly want her to be able to meet other men. Apparently in the poly community, this is quite a cliché.

"She's known as 'the unicorn' because she's so rare, and almost mythical," Sheff told Business Insider. "He thought he was so edgy and out there, and we could have a wife the two of us together.

"As it turns out, it's every straight boy's fantasy. It doesn't fly well in the poly community. And when he didn't get what he wanted, he had a tantrum, and didn't want to do it anymore."

When couples can't find a unicorn, Sheff said it's common that the woman has actually started to quite enjoy the freedom of polyamory. She may have been reluctant to try it at first, but turns out to be the one who enjoys it more.

"The woman of the couple finds other people to socialise with, and the man realises he's not the centre of attention that he [expected to] be, and thinks 'This isn't as much fun as I thought it would be," Sheff said. ...

Remember — everyone has feelings

Alex* is in a polyamorous relationship with his wife. They were monogamous for a long time, but ended up making friends with many polyamorous people, and it turned into quite a normal thing in their social circle.

He told Business Insider he's not aware of a situation where a male-female couple actively seeking a bi woman has worked out well.

..."The stereotype at least is that unicorn hunting couples are looking to treat a partner as an object in their relationship," he added. "They want someone — maybe anyone, reducible to their gender, sexuality, and availability — that fits into their lives and fits their relationship without thinking about the needs and human perspectives of the person they're looking for."...


The whole article (Nov. 29, 2017).

So if you're a well-meaning couple with genuinely big hearts who's looking, what should you do?

Make friends. Lots of them! Lively, thoughtful, socially unconventional friends. Be the kind of friend you want to attract. Seek out your local poly groups, sure, and go to poly cons. But this is not about finding a hole-filler for your marriage. It's about making intimate space for friends who, if cupid's arrows fly, might like to become more.


Splinter, part of the Gizmodo Media Group of online magazines, goes deeper: Bisexual women don’t want to be your sex ‘unicorn’ (July 19, 2016)


By Lux Alptraum

...Holly’s an open-minded, adventurous sort, interested in exploring all sorts of kinks and adventures, particularly with other people who are as queer as she is. But one thing she’s not interested in? Being the third in a random heterosexual couple’s threesome.

...Despite the fact that Holly explicitly notes that she’s very particular about her group sex experiences, she still gets message after message from couples who clearly haven’t read her dating profile, desperately hoping that they’ve finally found their unicorn.

The term is a familiar one to bisexual women like myself — and it may become known to a wider audience thanks to a new web series called Unicornland, which offers a celebratory vision of what it’s like to be a woman seeking adventure in the arms of couples. The series stars a 28-year-old divorcee named Annie who decides to explore her sexuality and expand her relatively vanilla horizons by dating couples looking for a third.

Alamy
But missing from the show’s premise is a darker truth to the concept of the unicorn. ... As any bisexual woman who’s spent time on a dating app knows, she’s a fantasy come to life, a person willing to show up for a night of excitement and quietly disappear immediately after, a third who’ll ignite a couple’s passions without complicating their emotions. A unicorn is a creature who’ll bring all the sexy fun without creating any drama, baggage, or need for emotional work—and the reason she’s called a unicorn is because, quite frankly, she doesn’t exist.

What does exist, however, are leagues of unicorn hunters: couples on the prowl for the girl of their dreams, the one who’ll bring their fantasies to life without asking anything in return. And though there’s nothing wrong with a couple experimenting with group sex, or using the internet to seek out someone to play with, so many of these couples end up reducing bisexual women to fetish objects, treating us as interchangeable playthings rather than actual human beings. ...

...[The] assumption that being a couple’s third is some sort of special honor shapes the way many threesome seekers approach their would-be unicorns, mapping out elaborate criteria for consideration and often making demands for information and pictures without offering any in return.

...Lost in all of this, of course, is what bisexual women need, or want, or desire. Because while being a tourist in someone else’s relationship can absolutely be a good time, it can also be exhausting, stressful, and emotionally trying. A couple that hasn’t fully prepared for the reality of bringing a third into the bedroom ... is a magnet for drama and disaster, which can easily spill over into the life of an unwitting third. Even if you’re interested in joining a couple for a sexy night of fun, that couple needs to be able to treat you like a person, not a means to an end. Most unicorn hunters don’t seem to have thought enough about their threesome fantasy to realize that.



And there's always been loads about the topic in the poly community itself. What follows is a very partial roundup.

● A deeper, more radical analysis gets the root on The Mouthy Mon-Monogamist's blog: Why couples looking for a third drive polyamorous people stir crazy (Jan. 1, 2018):


Hetero couples seeking another woman to “add to their relationship” represent what happens when people steeped in toxic monogamy culture encounter polyamory. Polyfidelitous triads are seen as a “safe” way to engage in polyamory without having to embrace a full-on rejection of toxic monogamy culture.

...Network polyamory [on the other hand] is inherently feminist. That is, it fully requires that we reject women as being property. It also requires that we respect women as autonomous people able to make their own decisions about their sexuality and relationships and to pursue intimacy for its own sake decoupled from the need to form a family and have children.

Polyamorous people reject a whole lot of Western mainstream premises about love, such as:

     – true love exists and that it’s only with one other person
     – relationships’ value is based on the length of time involved with them
     – the only way to show commitment is through exclusivity
     – one romantic partner must fill all of your needs
     – jealousy is an acceptable way to show how much you love someone
     – jealousy is a good way to control your partner
     – the only natural outcome of love is marriage and children

...It’s a pretty scary thing, to give up all of these ideas of what love and relationships should be. ... It’s also a radical idea that women can pursue equal and open romantic and sexual relationships with other people. ...

How do closed MFF triads attempt to have their cake and eat it too?

[Among many other ways:] One single home remains the site of family and reproduction, and closed MFF triads just become nuclear families plus one, rather than imagining alternate kinship networks.

I think that newbies in search of closed triads drive many of us polyamorous people crazy because in many ways we’re trying to create an intimacy revolution. Meanwhile others think that they can take a shortcut and not do the mental groundwork to change their assumptions, and still get all of the benefits. For me it’s a wish that these newbies would dream bigger....



● Here's a gentle, respectful, but long piece to give to that sweet new couple who mean so well: So, someone called you a Unicorn Hunter? It's a friendly but thorough explanation of the dog poo they just stepped in.


By David L. Noble

...Common issues when opening a relationship


People can actually be perpetuating unhealthy, dysfunctional standards and practices while being completely unaware that they are part of the problem. If anyone has ever described the idea of societal privilege to you, it’s kinda like that. The core of it is, you can be a good person, doing things that seem reasonable from your perspective, and still be part of a problem. It really does take some education, some communication, and a lot of forethought to get this one right. ...



● And of course there's also endless snark, such as Franklin Veaux's Flowchart for Couples Looking for a Third.


● A rather bitter perspective in xoJane: Beware the Unicorn Chasers, and Other Tips I've Learned in 10 Years of Polyamory (Aug. 12, 2015)


By Vae Drennan

...In the polyamory community, there is a common desire, especially from married couples who want to "add some spice," for a third. This third is almost always young, female, slender or fit, conventionally attractive, interested in both members of the couple, and completely new to the world of polyamory, with no compass to guide her. If she's lucky, she'll have other poly friends, but this is usually not the case....

If this sounds like a midlife crisis, you're not far off the mark. Usually, the couple is only interested in their secondary for purposes of their satisfaction. They don't care about what their third wants — or maybe they care, but they don't care enough to provide for her emotional needs or to put her "ahead" of the primary partner even temporarily.

In my first polyamorous relationship, I was the unicorn. My exes loved that they'd finally found a bisexual, thin young goth woman with a high sex drive and a willingness to try about anything. At the time I was still recovering from my first relationship....



● A pair of articles by Chelsey Dagger on Polyamory For Us: To Unicorns, From an Ex-Unicorn, and To Unicorn Hunters, From an Ex-Unicorn


There are plenty of women who are excited to do threesomes, or live in a triad, as the partner of both a man and a woman. I should know, I’m one of them! But there’s a difference between wanting to be in a triad and Unicorn Hunting.

The main difference is that Unicorn Hunters tend to look at the third partner as an addition to their relationship, instead of realizing that you’re creating a brand new relationship, with three people instead of two.



● Page Turner, book author and Poly.Land blogger, tells of the time she and her husband were hunted by a unicorn. It went pretty well; she tells how.

She's also written a little book, A Geek's Guide to Unicorn Ranching: Advice for Couples Seeking Another Partner (2017). The idea is don't hunt them, attract them. "To attract a unicorn, you’ll have to create a sanctuary. Become unicorn ranchers." If that sounds a little creepy don't worry, Page is good.


● Lastly, because I'm a word geek: Who invented the term unicorn hunter and when? On Facebook's Polyamory Discussion group, Mike SantaCruz claimed that he was there (posted April 8, 2016):


I'd like to share my recollection of how we came up with the term unicorn hunting. Back in the '90s we had mailing lists like Polylist and Triples, as well as Usenet's alt.polyamory. And like Old Faithful, new members would join and immediately declare that they were a couple looking for a Hot-Bi-Babe. This would become wearisome, and many folks would attack the new members as objectifying their desires.

Then some lists formed a militia that would handle these new members quickly and directly without an all-out war. On one list we called them Wanna-Warriors.

One of these Wanna-Warriors likened their request to seeking out a unicorn, a mythical beast that doesn't exist. And from that, we began to call these couples unicorn hunters.

Calling someone a unicorn hunter was a vast improvement over the derision offered in previous years. It was a rhetorical device that was designed to enlighten the couple instead of chase them away. Some people still feel this is too mean, but when used correctly it does have its intended effect.


Kimchi Cuddles, used by permission. Click to embiggen.

 
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July 1, 2018

"Those in open relationships as happy with their partner as those in monogamous ones." And lots more poly studies!


Sociologists and other academics are studying people living in consensual non-monogamy ("CNM") much more now than in years past. Another such research project is currently making the news. Here's a report about it on CTV in Canada, where the work was done.


Those in open relationships as happy with their partner as those in monogamous ones: study

franckreporter / Istock.com

New Canadian research has found that individuals in open relationships are just as happy and satisfied as those in more traditional monogamous relationships.

Carried out by researchers at the University of Guelph, Ontario, the study surveyed more than 140 people in non-monogamous relationships and more than 200 in monogamous ones, asking them about their satisfaction with their current relationships.

Participants were asked to report on how often they considered separating, whether they confided in their partner, and what was their general level of happiness.

For non-monogamous relationships, the questions asked participants about their satisfaction with their main partner.

After comparing the groups' responses, the researchers found people in non-monogamous relationships were just as satisfied with their relationship with their main partner as the participants in monogamous ones.

"We found people in consensual, non-monogamous relationships experience the same levels of relationship satisfaction, psychological well-being and sexual satisfaction as those in monogamous relationships," said lead author Jessica Wood. "This debunks societal views of monogamy as being the ideal relationship structure."

The results also showed that there was one important predictor of relationship satisfaction, and it was [the source of] sexual motivation, rather than the structure of the relationship.

"In both monogamous and non-monogamous relationships, people who engage in sex to be close to a partner and to fulfill their sexual needs have a more satisfying relationship than those who have sex for less intrinsic reasons, such as to avoid conflict," said Wood. ..."

Between three and seven percent of people in North America are currently in a consensual non-monogamous relationship, according to the researchers, in which all partners agree to engage in multiple sexual or romantic relationships.

"It's more common than most people think," said Wood. "We are at a point in social history where we are expecting a lot from our partners. We want to have sexual fulfillment and excitement but also emotional and financial support. ... To deal with this pressure, we are seeing some people look to consensually non-monogamous relationships."

However, Wood added that consensually non-monogamous relationships still attract stigma and are viewed as less satisfying and less stable, despite the fact that they are quite common and that research may suggest otherwise.

"They are perceived as immoral and less satisfying. It's assumed that people in these types of relationships are having sex with everyone all the time. They are villainized and viewed as bad people in bad relationships, but that's not the case," says Wood.


The original article (June 29, 2018). News of the study's results are showing up in many other media, from Medical Daily to the Hindustan Times.

Here's the paper itself: Reasons for sex and relational outcomes in consensually nonmonogamous and monogamous relationships, by Jessica Wood, Serge Desmarais, Tyler Burleigh, and Robin Milhausen, in Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (first published March 23, 2018). Get around the paywall by going through an academic library.

From the abstract:


Approximately 4% of individuals in North America participate in consensually nonmonogamous (CNM) relationships, wherein all partners have agreed to additional sexual and/or emotional partnerships. ... A total of 348 CNM (n = 142) and monogamous participants (n = 206) were recruited.... Participants reported on their sexual motivations during their most recent sexual event, their level of sexual need fulfillment, and measures of sexual and relational satisfaction with their current (primary) partner. The CNM and monogamous participants reported similar reasons for engaging in sex, though CNM participants were significantly more likely to have sex for personal intrinsic motives. No differences in mean levels of relationship and sexual satisfaction were found between CNM and monogamous individuals. Participants who engaged in sex for more self-determined reasons reported increased relational and sexual satisfaction. ... This study indicates that CNM and monogamous individuals report similar levels of satisfaction within their relationship(s), and that the mechanisms that affect relational and sexual satisfaction are similar for both CNM and monogamous individuals. ...



● A related study, in the U.S. a year earlier, was also reported on by CTV at the time: New research finds low levels of jealousy in consensual open relationships (March 31, 2017):


...The perhaps surprising findings come from a new study by the University of Michigan, which looked at different relationships among 2,124 people over age 25.

Participants were asked about the quality of their relationship with either one or both partners, depending on if they were in a monogamous or consensual nonmonogamous relationship, and asked to rate the different relationship components of satisfaction, commitment, trust, jealousy and passionate love, which is the intense love feeling often described in new relationships.

Lead author Terri Conley (Delaney Ryan/Michigan Daily)
The team found no differences between monogamous and consensual nonmonogamous participants in terms of satisfaction and passionate love.

However, the team found that ratings of jealousy and trust were actually better for those in heterosexual open relationships, contrary to what society often presumes about the benefits from monogamy, considered by many to involve high levels of commitment, trust, and love.

The study also revealed that individuals in nonmonogamous relationships had higher levels of satisfaction, trust, commitment and passionate love with their primary partner than in their secondary relationship, going against another possible assumption that those in nonmonogamous relationships do not care enough about each other to be happy in their primary relationship.

"Overall, the outcomes for monogamous and consensual nonmonogamous participants were the same -- indicating no net benefit of one relationship style over another," concluded the study's lead author Terri Conley.


That finding is buried deep in a long paper that reports on two studies and comments on the whole field, with many references: Investigation of Consensually Nonmonogamous Relationships, by Terri D. Conley, Jes L. Matsick, Amy C. Moors, and Ali Ziegler, in Perspectives on Psychological Science (March 27, 2017. No paywall.)

A story in Vice drawing from other parts of that paper: Why We Need to Challenge the Culture of Monogamy, by Allison Tierney (March 30, 2017). "Relationship norms are so pervasive that they've led to flawed science."

And in Quartz: The idea of monogamy as a relationship ideal is based on flawed science, by Cassie Werber (March 22, 2017). "Is monogamy actually better than non-monogamy? It’s still very much an open question — and one with no clear answers, in part because scientists can’t break free of a certain worldview gripping their field."


● Also notable: in queer communities, These Two Factors Make You More Likely To Be Into Non-Monogamy — a story in Autostraddle by Carolyn Yates about a different study focusing on lesbians, bisexuals, and gays (Oct. 29, 2017):


Open to new experiences? Not very conscientious? Queer? You might be more into consensual non-monogamy.

...A study published last week in the Journal of Bisexuality found that more than any other personality factors or attachment styles, being more open (appreciative of a variety of experience) and less conscientiousness (not very self-disciplined) makes queer people more likely to feel positively about and engage in consensually nonmonogamous relationships.

...The study focused on how personality traits — specifically openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism — are linked to positive attitudes and inclination toward consensually non-monogamous relationships among sexual minorities. The authors recruited 108 LGB participants online — 67% identified as women, 62% identified as bi- or pansexual, and 38% identified as gay or lesbian — to answer questions on their attitudes toward romantic relationships.

The authors found that being more open made people more attracted to consensual nonmonogamy, and write:

“[O]penness to new experiences and conscientiousness were robust predictors of attraction to multiple-partner relationships among LGB individuals. People who tend to have active imaginations, a preference for variety, and a proclivity to engage in new experiences (i.e., high in openness) hold positive attitudes toward CNM and greater willingness to engage in these relationships.”

While being more conscientious tended to make people less attracted to consensual nonmonogamy:

“[I]ndividuals who tend to be very organized, neat, careful, and success driven (i.e., high in conscientiousness) perceive CNM negatively and have less desire to engage in CNM. ...”

...They also found that, maybe counterintuitively, being extroverted made someone more likely to feel negatively about consensual nonmonogamy, and didn’t impact willingness to try it out.


The paper itself: Personality Correlates of Desire to Engage in Consensual Non-monogamy among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Individuals, by Amy C. Moors, Dylan F. Selterman and Terri D. Conley, in the Journal of Bisexuality (published online Oct. 10, 2017. The abstract is free, the rest is behind a paywall.)

● Another: What attachment theory can tell us about polyamory, by David M. DeLuca in Medium (Oct. 8, 2016), drawing from this paper: Attached to monogamy? Avoidance predicts willingness to engage (but not actual engagement) in consensual non-monogamy, by Amy C. Moors, Terri D. Conley, Robin S. Edelstein, and William J. Chopik, in Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (April 1, 2014).

● Long essay: The Distinctiveness of Polyamory, by Luke Brunning in the Journal of Applied Philosophy (Aug. 5, 2016). "To render [polyamory] palatable to critics, activists and theorists often accentuate its similarity to monogamy. I argue that this strategy conceals the distinctive character of polyamorous intimacy."

Has the American Public’s Interest in Information Related to Relationships Beyond “The Couple” Increased Over Time?, by Amy C. Moors in The Journal of Sex Research (published online: May 23, 2016). "This study utilizes Google Trends to assess Americans’ interest in seeking out information related to consensual nonmonogamous relationships across a 10-year period (2006–2015). ... Searches for words related to polyamory and open relationships (but not swinging) have significantly increased over time."

● This one got a great deal of attention when it came out two years ago, and it has been cited often ever since: Prevalence of Experiences With Consensual Nonmonogamous Relationships: Findings From Two National Samples of Single Americans, by M. L. Haupert, Amanda N. Gesselman, Amy C. Moors, Helen E. Fisher and Justin R. Garcia, in Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy (published online June 20, 2016).


"Using two separate U.S. Census based quota samples of single adults in the United States (Study 1: n = 3,905; Study 2: n = 4,813) ... more than one in five (21.9% in Study 1; 21.2% in Study 2) participants report engaging in CNM at some point in their lifetime."


Justin Lehmiller, on his Sex & Psychology site, published two articles on this report: How Many People Have Ever Had A Consensually Non-Monogamous Relationship? (May 30, 2016), and How Common Is Consensual Non-Monogamy? (May 13, 2016). Also: Lehmiller on people's suitability for friends-with-benefits relationships: Why Some People May Be Better Suited To Consensual Nonmonogamy Than Others (Aug. 15, 2016).

● From the Open Source Psychometrics Project, The demographics of polyamory/monogamy from a general population survey (2015). "A survey of users of this website was conducted that asked about demographics and about polyamory/monogamy. For those not familiar with polyamory, the definition from Wikipedia was provided. In October 2015, 5,043 responses to this survey were recorded...."

● On the other hand, this on Mic.com: When It Comes to Relationships, Turns Out We're Not as Edgy as We Think We Are (March 25, 2016). "We" means millennials:


Only 15% of Americans age 18 to 29 would ever consider being in an open relationship, according to a new survey conducted by the Huffington Post and YouGov. That proportion is nearly identical to — not higher than — the numbers for adults age 30 to 44 and 45 to 64.

The survey also found that 18% of 18- to 29-year-olds have been in an open relationship, while only 14% have attended a party where they engaged in sexual activity with multiple partners.



● There's a lot of stigma, but less when people know what "polyamory" actually means: Around Consensual Nonmonogamies: Assessing Attitudes Toward Nonexclusive Relationships, by Katarzyna Grunt-Mejera and Christine Campbell, in The Journal of Sex Research (published online Aug. 4, 2015). From the abstract:


The present study examined the social norms that are violated by different forms of consensual nonmonogamy and the negative judgments that result. We asked 375 participants to rate hypothetical vignettes of people involved in one of five relationship types (monogamy, polyamory, open relationship, swinging, and cheating) on items related to relationship satisfaction, morality, and cognitive abilities. The monogamous couple was perceived most favorably, followed by the polyamorous couple, then the open and swinging couples who were rated equally. Participants judged the cheating couple most negatively. ... We conclude that the aspect that has the most effect on judgments is whether the relationship structure has been agreed to by all parties.



● An important work was the big Loving More survey six years ago: What Do Polys Want? An Overview of the 2012 Loving More Survey. It followed and improved upon Loving More's pioneering survey of its members and their associates in 2000.

One particular paper that came out of some of the 2012 data was this: The association of an open relationship orientation with health and happiness in a sample of older US adults, by James R. Fleckenstein and Derrell W. Cox II, in Sexual and Relationship Therapy (published online Nov. 18, 2014). From the abstract:


The authors collected 502 responses via an online survey from individuals aged 55 and older residing in the United States who engage in consensually non-exclusive sexual relationships. Self-reported health and happiness, number of sexual partners, and sexual frequency were compared with 723 similar respondents from the nationally-representative 2012 United States (US) General Social Survey. Key findings were: irrespective of formal relationship status, the non-exclusive sample reported significantly more sexual partners, more sexual frequency, better health, and were much more likely to have had an HIV test than the general US population; the non-exclusive sample also reported being significantly happier than the general population, with the exception of married men, who reported being as happy as the general population sample; and regression analyses suggest that the factors which predict better health and happiness differ between the general population and those who participate in consensually non-exclusive sexual relationships.



● The leading specialist regarding the health and outcomes of kids in poly families is of course Elisabeth Sheff, author of The Polyamorists Next Door (2015). She's now in Year 20 of her own very longterm study tracking children of poly. Here's one of a five-part series about such kids on her Psychology Today-hosted blog.

● This list makes no pretense of being complete! If you've read this far, you may want to join the long-running PolyResearchers Yahoo Group, which Sheff founded long ago. Many papers can be read for free in its ample files.

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