For almost the entire history of Western civilization, monogamy has been the norm in romance and sexuality. In conjunction with this fact, it has also been a norm for almost the entire history of Western civilization for non-monogamy to be considered a taboo. The amount of stigma that has been attached to non-monogamy throughout the history of the West is astonishing. While non-monogamy has had popular spikes throughout history –for instance, in ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, and in ancient Greece– in the West, it has never really stuck around as a popular practice.
Generally speaking, the unpopularity and stigma attached to non-monogamy in the West is historically attributable to the advent of Christianity. Despite the fact that many important figures in the Bible were illustrated by the authors of the Bible as non-monogamous, organized Christianity throughout history has outwardly opposed non-monogamy in favor of monogamy. Given that Christianity was the cultural guide to western civilization for nearly two-thousand years, it is no wonder that western civilization rejected non-monogamy for so long. It was essentially written into the cultural code that non-monogamy was forbidden. n n Towards the middle of the 19th century, Western civilization began to grow further away from its Christian roots and began to secularize. And with this change came a greater appreciation for and freedom to participate in non-monogamy. For instance, there were several groups in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century known as “experimental free love communities.” Essentially, these were non-monogamous communities of various religious sects who openly denounced the Christian condemnations against non-monogamy and practiced non-monogamy themselves. Many more such movements persisted throughout the 20th century and peaked in the sexual revolution of the 1960s.
Fast-forward to today. Things have gotten rapidly better for non-monogamy. Slowly since the 1960s, the stigma against non-monogamy has begun to go away. For the first real-time in the history of Western civilization since ancient times, the stigma attached to non-monogamy is lifting. No longer is it the case that people need to hide their desires for multiple partners. Rather, this desire can be fulfilled openly and freely. This is truly one of the most positive revolutions in human sexuality and romance in generations.
What might this mean for the future of our society? It might very well mean that non-monogamy is the future of our society. Of course, monogamy will still be practiced and will still exist, because some people are simply better suited to it. But many people who, in previous generations, might have had to suppress their monogamous desires, no longer need to suppress these desires. Hence, a lot of people who would have otherwise been culturally forced into monogamy can now embrace non-monogamy.
Given this, it is very likely that in the coming decades we will see a sharp rise in non-monogamous relationships. The preliminary data on why this is the future of our society is quite telling: namely, that non-monogamous relationships and marriages have a very high success rate and a high rate of relationship satisfaction. This is opposed to the less than very high success and satisfaction rate of monogamous relationships. Much of the latter unsatisfactoriness can be rooted in the fact that many people who are in monogamous relationships might be better suited to non-monogamous relationships, but cannot get over the shame attached to the stigma.
Very soon, it will be the case that the stigma will be fully lifted. And when this happens, those who would have otherwise felt compelled to follow custom and go into a monogamous relationship will enter a non-monogamous relationship instead. With this, our society will shift towards a greater number of non-monogamous couples. And with this, our society will shift towards a greater sense of well-being and satisfaction. Insofar as we suppress our desires and needs we will be unhappy. Hence, the unfolding of the destigmatization of non-monogamy will cure a great deal of unhappiness in our society. And just given how much work is being done in order to help lift the stigma against non-monogamy, it is almost inevitable that non-monogamy will be the future of our society.