YouGov released a study today that revealed some pretty surprising results about millennials and their ideal and current relationships. Only 51 percent of people under 30 years old reported that their ideal relationship is completely monogamous, and 60 percent report that the relationship they’re in is completely monogamous.
Kind of crazy, right? Only half of people under the age of 30 want an entirely monogamous relationship.
Instead of dichotomizing relationship types as either polyamorous (AKA non-monogamous) and monogamous, YouGov analyzed relationship-type on a 7-point spectrum similar to the Kinsey scale. They defined zero as completely monogamous and six as completely non-monogamous.
Notably, a third of people under 30 stated that their ideal relationship would fall heavily on the non-monogamous side of the spectrum (either 4, 5, or 6).
Not super surprisingly, the desire to be more non-monogamous increased with each younger generation. Seventy percent of people 65 and over said that their ideal relationship type would be completely monogamous, whereas 63 percent for people ages 45-64, 58 percent people for people 30-44, and the 51 percent as mentioned above for those under 30 years old.
Race was also a huge factor that correlated with a desire to be more non-monogamous and to engage in a non-monogamous relationship. Whereas 69 percent of white people mentioned they’d ideally want an entirely monogamous relationship, only 43 percent of black people placed themselves as a 0 on the spectrum and a mere 35 percent of Latinx. The current relationship type mirrored (but didn’t perfectly correlate with) desire: 81 percent of white people claimed they’re in a completely monogamous relationship, 50 percent of black people, and 32 percent of Hispanic people.
This study is groundbreaking for multiple reasons.
First, it illustrates that millennials desire non-monogamous relationships, and race facilitates a large role in the desire to be more non-monogamous.
Second, the study reveals that more millennials are engaging in non-monogamous relationships. However, there wasn’t a perfect correlation between ideal and current relationship type. For the most part, more people, ideally, wanted to be in a non-monogamous relationship.
Third, the study illustrates that monogamy can be viewed as a spectrum instead of a binary.
I think we often view monogamy as all or nothing. Dan Savage has aptly coined the term monogamish, meaning a couple is in a committed partnership but has an agreement that they can fool around sexually in an agreed upon manner outside of the relationship. I think monogamish would include the people who fall on a 1 or 2 on this spectrum.
This study also shows that we need to be more open about our relationships. Because if you’re like me, you’re probably pretty shocked that only half of people under the age of 30 want to be in a completely monogamous relationship. We need to talk openly about our desires to be more non-monogamous, to destigmatize it! We need the world to realize that polyamory and all other various forms of non-monogamy are not only legitimate but also preferable for so many people out there.