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Monogamy? In this economy? Stigma and resilience in consensual non-monogamous relationships.

Füllgrabe, Doris; Smith, David S.


Doris Füllgrabe


Monogamous marriage, sometimes called "the bedrock of society," still carries an apparent "halo" of moral superiority as a relationship structure. In contrast, consensual non-monogamous (CNM) configurations are stigmatized. Research indicates a connection between stigma, stress, and negative health outcomes, despite CNM comparing favorably with monogamy. The present study uses interviews to explore minority stress and resilience among individuals in CNM relationships. Participants experienced structural stigma as erasure, and interpersonal stigma as erasure and educational/emotional work. They also describe complex enmeshment between their relationship minority status and other aspects of their sexual and gender identities. Strategic disclosure and concealment were important management tools. Furthermore, managing individual (internalized) stigma was described as unlearning mononormative bias and surrounding oneself with supportive peers/allies. The strongest motivator for perseverance was the steadfast conviction that the advantages of CNM outweighed the challenges.


FÜLLGRABE, D. and SMITH, D.S. 2023. Monogamy? In this economy? Stigma and resilience in consensual non-monogamous relationships. Sexuality and culture [online], 27(5), pages 1955-1976. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 12, 2023
Online Publication Date May 18, 2023
Publication Date Oct 31, 2023
Deposit Date May 22, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 22, 2023
Journal Sexuality and culture
Print ISSN 1095-5143
Electronic ISSN 1936-4822
Publisher Springer
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 5
Pages 1955-1976
Keywords Polyamory; Non-monogamous relationships; Romantic relationships and society; Sexual relationships and society; Social attitudes
Public URL


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