On the Margins: Considering Diversity among Consensually Non-Monogamous Relationships

Jennifer D. Rubin, Amy C. Moors, Jes L. Matsick, Ali Ziegler, Terri D. Conley


Consensual non-monogamy (CNM) encompasses romantic relationships in which all partners agree that engaging in sexual and/or romantic relationships with other people is allowed and part of their relationship arrangement (Conley, Moors, Matsick & Ziegler, 2012). Previous research indicates that individuals who participate in CNM relationships are demographically homogenous (Sheff & Hammers, 2010; Sheff, 2005); however, we argue that this may be an artifact of community-based recruitment strategies that have created an inaccurate reflection of people who engage in CNM. To achieve a more nuanced understanding of the identities of individuals engaged in departures from monogamy, the present study provides a comparative analysis of descriptive statistics of those in CNM relationships and those in monogamous relationships. Using data from two large online samples, we examined the extent to which individuals with certain demographic variables (gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and age) are over- or under-represented in CNM and monogamous relationships. Overall, we aim to promote future research of CNM that is more inclusive of diverse identities.


consensual non-monogamy; diversity; identity