There has been a lot written about monogamy in recent years. While some outlying studies have found it on the rise among younger couples, most people seem to agree that it’s a dying trend in relationships. Zachary Zane is among these people.
“During my exploratory college years, I was often confused about my sexuality,” he writes in a new op-ed titled What if we thought of monogamy as a spectrum? “I knew I had loved women, but found myself, drunkenly, in the arms of various men. I wasn’t sure why I was doing it. Was I in denial of being gay? Was I simply an open-minded straight guy? Or was I just a drunk and horny hot mess?”
It took a few years, but Zane eventually figured out that he was bisexual.
“I didn’t embrace the label until a year after graduating,” he says. “That’s when I learned that I didn’t have to like men and women equally to be bisexual. I learned that sexuality was a spectrum, and my point on the spectrum wasn’t fixed.My attractions to various genders could evolve.”
This got him thinking: If sexuality can be on a spectrum, why not other things as well? Like, say, monogamy.
As he did more research, Zane realized he hardly the first person to think about this. He found a recent YouGov survey published earlier this fall that found just 51 percent of people under the age of 30 said that their ideal relationship would be “completely monogamous,” compared to 58 percent of people ages 30 to 44, 63 percent ages 45 to 64, and 70 percent ages 65 and older.
The takeaway: Millennials are less interested in monogamy than their older counterparts. And it’s a pattern that will likely continue for future generations as well.
The study also found that 36 percent of millennials said their ideal relationship isn’t completely monogamous or completely non-monogamous, but rather in a sort of in-between space.
“We realize that, like sexuality and gender, relationships can exist on a spectrum,” Zane says. “We’re a generation that understands our own identity as liminal. As fluid, rather than stagnant. A life solely dedicated to one person doesn’t allow for exploration.”
He continues: “Each person might have a different idea of what their non-monogamous relationship will look like. In anything but a completely monogamous relationship, partners will have to discuss and decide together how their non-monogamous relationship is going to function.”
“Frankly,” he concludes, “I think millennials are up for the challenge.”