Welcome to Elle Oh Elle, where Portland-based writer and entertainer Elle Stanger takes your sex life from subpar to subversive. Find more of her musings here.
You’ve heard it before. The words and phrases have probably escaped your lips: “happily ever after,” “together forever,” “the one,” “soulmate.”
Our culture raises people to expect a state of perpetually romantic monogamy from their partner.
Maybe blame Disney. With slight, and very recent, exceptions, the tales always center on a conflict between a beautiful protagonist and her handsome “true love.” Millions of us have been raised to think of no other outcome than “happily ever after” once we meet "the one."
Real life is not a fairy tale. The recent scandal involving cheater-website Ashley Madison shined a very hard spotlight on the fact that millions of Americans seek sex and affection outside of their nuptials. And people are finally faced with the notion that monogamy might not be a fail-safe lifestyle.
What happens after Cinderella starts working night shifts and her Prince feels neglected? What happens when Sleeping Beauty decides that she doesn’t want to have children, much to her Prince’s chagrin? What if Aladdin and Jasmine actually aren’t sexually compatible?
Maybe it’s time to consider non-monogamy.
What is non-monogamy?
There are a million ways to love, and “non-monogamy” is an umbrella term for a few other arrangements. Many of us have heard the term “swingers” before, although swinging implies sex without strings during party events, with or near our primary partner. “Polyamory,” which loosely translates to “many loves,” can mean maintaining more than one romantic relationship, to the extent that a household might contain a triad of partners, or more. I get asked about non-monogamy all of the time, and usually by women. That will happen when a lifestyle is shrouded in mystery and myth. Here are the biggest misconceptions.