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In reality, it’s ethical, and partners are respectful of one another.” Pascar points to an episode of Netflix’s ’s success is based on a subconscious embrace of open relationships.

There are at least a dozen podcasts devoted to the topic.

But despite or because of nonmonogamy’s current hotness—in the pages of this magazine, Ezra Miller announced he’s polyamorous, and Scarlett Johansson proclaimed, “I don’t think it’s natural to be a monogamous person”—the lifestyle has been reduced to something kinky, easily attainable or unstructured.

Lital Pascar, a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University, researches media representations of nonmonogamy.

Despite the one-in-five statistic, media and mainstream culture have watered down consensual nonmonogamy, commonly portraying it as an accidental threesome and minimizing how nuanced these arrangements actually are.

One popular instance operates under the X Mile Rule: “Sweetie, it’s okay if you hook up on the road, but don’t bring it home.” Even more prominent (based on my experience) is the Monogamy Except…Rule: “Honey, you can occasionally go to that bathhouse (or dominatrix or BDSM club), but otherwise we are monogamous.” The most specific form of nonmonogamy may be practiced by asexuals—comprising as much as one percent of the population—who partake so their sexual partners’ desires can be fulfilled.

(Tinder and Bumble, the leading heterosexual dating apps, have yet to jump onboard.) In 2017, It’s not—but a possible explanation for the extravagant headline may be that polyamory requires rigorous conversations about consent.You can be “monogamish” (mostly monogamous with occasional excursions), “hierarchical” (maintaining primary and secondary partners) or “polyfidelitous” (faithful to more than one partner).Some lifestyles coalesce around shared responsibilities of the household, kids or caretaking; others around sex.When he overstayed and began a fling with Dani, Robert wasn’t happy with the situation.“I thought it was jealousy, that he didn’t trust men,” Dani tells me.

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