Is polyamory better than monogamy? Or is monogamy better than polyamory?
Proponents of both philosophies have very strong ideas about why their choices are best, or best for them.
There are many reasons why some people believe monogamy is better than polyamory. And on the other side, there are just as many reasons why people believe polyamory is better than monogamy.
What Is Better: Monogamy or Polyamory?
While monogamy has been a powerful relationship model in western culture for some time, there are many expressions of polyamory in various cultures throughout history as well.
Is one relationship model better than the other? Are they equally valid but serve different people in different ways?
Let’s look at arguments from both sides, to see if polyamory is better than monogamy, or if monogamy is better than polyamory.
6 Reasons Monogamy is Better Than Polyamory
First let’s look at different reasons that monogamy may be better than the polyamorous alternative.
1. Monogamy Is the Second Best Protection Against STIs
Only celibacy is a better than monogamy at protecting against sexually transmitted diseases. Couples who play exclusively with each other can enjoy low-risk fluid bonding and steer clear of human papilloma viruses, HIV, syphilis, and more.
Of course, lots of couples experience an unfaithful partner, so there’s always a risk. And polyamorous lovers are often very conscientious about safe sex and frequent testing. But even so, in theory and in real life, the fewer partners someone has sexually, the fewer risks they have of contacting an STI.
Read: Healthy Safe-Sex Tips for Polyamory Partners
2. Cultural Monogamy Protects Women
Until contemporary polyamory, most (but not all) cultural models of polyamory allowed men multiple wives, but did not afford the women the same freedoms. Women were not necessarily provided for emotionally or materially, either.
Cultural monogamy has safeguards for women and their children with alimony, child support laws, and social expectations of male responsibility.
Read: Why Open Relationships Don’t Work
3. Monogamy Provides Relative Paternal Certainty
If men are expected to support their offspring, they need to be sure the children are theirs.
While there is no guarantee of certainty, general practices of monogamy give parents a pretty good barometer of who Daddy is. And while this is less applicable in modern times with easily available paternity testing if needed, it was an important distinction historically.
Read: Why People Choose Monogamy
4. Monogamy Is Profoundly Intimate
Giving everything you have to one person, honoring that commitment sexually and emotionally, and seeing the best and worst of a person—and still being with them—and vice versa, gives you a profound and intimate bond.
It is very difficult to maintain a long-term relationship, but those who do have an unusual experience of loving someone through every up and down. A long monogamous relationship weathers so many journeys and experiences, and it is rare and intensely intimate.
Read: 11 Types of Monogamy
5. Monogamy Means More Time for Your Relationship
A big reason that monogamy is better than polyamory is time.
It can be challenging to divide your time between work, family, studying, pets, friends, hobbies, and love. There’s only so much time to go around, and having multiple dates or multiple partners means spreading yourself quite thin.
Holidays and weekends are already difficult to divvy up. When you’re committed to one person, your time can be invested more generously with each other.
Read: How to Make More Time with Your Partners
6. Monogamy Demands Sexual Creativity
Sexual desire is easier with variety and novelty, so couples naturally lose the heady rush of compulsive attraction that happens early in the relationship. But that doesn’t mean everything is boring.
Many monogamous couples work to build their sexual relationship on connection and creativity. Many monogamous couples explore and experiment to keep the flames alive.
6 Reasons Polyamory Is Better Than Monogamy
1. Polyamory Honors Natural Human Sexual Needs
Perhaps the most important way that polyamory is better than monogamy is because it is our natural human sexuality.
Our natural sexual impulses are varied and geared to novelty. The word promiscuous is used in a derogatory way, but it is natural and every sexual being fantasizes or is drawn to multiple partners. Observing the animal kingdom, we see a few monogamous creatures, but not many, and those closest to us are polyamorous.
Studying our hormones and instincts, it is clear that novelty amps up our sexual desires. Rather than fighting the wisdom of nature, polyamory accepts the truth and aims to live ethically and honestly with that reality.
Read: Major Health Benefits of Polyamory
2. Polyamory Means Designing Your Own Relationships
Forget what society, culture, and religion define for relationships.
Polyamorous people often design relationship models that work for them. They may or may not conform with social polyamory norms and styles, nor with monogamous expectations. There are countless expressions of sexuality and relationships, and polyamorous people often follow their own path.
Read: 5 Reasons to Switch from Monogamy to Polyamory
3. Modern Polyamory Is about Sexual Liberation for Women and Oother Marginalized Sexualities
Ethical polyamory honors the desires and needs of women, and holds space for women, transgender people, as well as gay, lesbian, and bisexual people.
Polyamory honors the sexuality of people of all ages and backgrounds. The poly lifestyle is liberating for people who are bisexual or sexually attracted to all genders, by giving an alternative where someone doesn’t have to choose.
Read: 23 Types of Sexuality: Glossary of Terms
4. Polyamory Means You Don’t Have to Break Up
Being attracted to someone else, flirting, or sleeping with them, are totally natural things, but it is a matter of betrayal and infidelity in the expectations of monogamous relationships.
Marriages and good relationships fall apart because so much meaning is invested in the idea of sleeping only with one’s partner. Marriages do not have to break up for this reason, and polyamorous people reject this from the very premise of their philosophy.
Read: Struggling with Monogamy in a Poly Relationship
5. Polyamory Helps Curb Resentment
It’s not just about sex. Polyamorous people know that one person cannot be all things to another person. When we feel limited, or need other people, we can start to resent our partner in a monogamous relationship, because they are not all the things we need.
Having the option of many relationships allows us to fulfill those needs and to accept the humanity of each lover, rather than resenting them. This is an important aspect of why polyamory is better than monogamy!
Read: 4 Benefits of Being in a Polycule
6. Polyamory Keeps Us Sexual
When we have the kind of heart-pounding, maddening, new sex that we have at the beginning of new relationships, we rediscover our sexual selves and bodies anew, and that translates into better sex with long-term lovers.
In monogamous relationships, there’s a common wisdom that if suddenly, after twenty years, the sex turns sizzling hot again, someone’s having an affair.
Polyamorous lovers don’t have to hide this fact—they can share it to turn each other on or ignite the sex in all of their relationships.
Read: Polyamory vs. Monogamy: What’s Right for You?
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