The Open UniversitySkip to content

Whatever happened to non-monogamies? Critical reflections on recent research and theory

Barker, Meg and Langdridge, Darren (2010). Whatever happened to non-monogamies? Critical reflections on recent research and theory. Sexualities, 13(6) 748-772 .

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (152Kb)
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


The last decade has seen an explosion of interest in consensually non-monogamous relationships. This article critically reviews current research and theory in this area, focusing particularly on polyamory, swinging, and gay open relationships. The sociohistorical context in which these forms of relating emerged is considered and discussed in order to better understand why there has been such a significant increase in scholarly work on non-monogamies at this moment. Furthermore, we categorize the extant literature into two groups, 'celebratory' and 'critical', and argue that such polarization frequently works to reinforce partial and dichotomizing understandings of the topic. Research so far has primarily concentrated on the rules and boundaries which people employ to manage such relationships and we contend that future work needs to pay more attention to diversities of meanings and practices, intersections with other identities and communities, and the troubling of dichotomous understandings.

Item Type: Journal Article
Copyright Holders: 2010 The Authors
ISSN: 1461-7382
Keywords: mononormativity; non-monogamy; open relationships; polyamory; swinging
Academic Unit/Department: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Interdisciplinary Research Centre: Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance (CCIG)
Item ID: 25639
Depositing User: Meg John Barker
Date Deposited: 20 Dec 2010 10:50
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2016 16:19
Share this page:


Scopus Citations

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

▼ Automated document suggestions from open access sources

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   + 44 (0)870 333 4340