Monogamy unpopular among young people: Study

A new study has shown that monogamy is not a popular concept among young married couples.

Jocelyn Warren of Oregon State University, commenting on the study said, “Couples have a hard time talking about these sorts of issues, and I would imagine for young people it’s even more difficult… Monogamy comes up quite a bit as a way to protect against sexually transmitted diseases. But you can see that agreement on whether one is monogamous or not is fraught with issues.” She added, “Other studies have looked at perceptions related to monogamy, but this is really the first one that explores the discussions that heterosexual couples are, or aren’t, having about monogamy… Miscommunication and misunderstandings about sexual exclusivity appear to be common.”

The study looked at 434 married and unmarried couples with ages between18-25 revealed that about 40% of young couples had differing opinions about how exclusive their relationship was. Of those who were in a said monogamous relationship nearly 30% reported to have cheated. The only indicator of exclusivity was the emotional commitment the partners reported investing in the relationship, assessed using a scale from 1-5 with 5 being the highest.

According to researcher Marie Harvey young couples in a monogamous relationship such as a marriage should be encouraged to have protected sex. She added that even if the person says his or her partner is monogamous, the clinician “may want to think about advising that young person to use protection,” Harvey said, since for many young adults, whether or not they know it, their relationship status remains: “It’s complicated.”
The study will be published in an online issue of the Journal of Sex Research.

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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