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Monogamy Around the World

    Monogamy isn’t for everyone. In France, Germany, Denmark, Finland, and Italy, relationships aren’t inherently expected to be between one man and one woman for the rest of their lives, and these cultures often have a more lax view of sexuality and relationships.  In North America, however, the societal pressure surrounding monogamy is strong.

    Global Concepts of Monogamy

    According to data from a Durex study, 63% of French people believe that you can love someone without remaining monogamous, while 50% of men admit to straying from their primary relationship in search of casual connections or long-term relationships. They even call them “simultaneous multi-partnerships.”

    In Germany, 60% of people interviewed said that sex with multiple partners is morally acceptable. German women are more open to straying from their primary relationship, with 43% of women surveyed saying that they have had sex with someone other than their partner.

    Meanwhile, in Finland, they don’t often use words like “infidelity” because they are open to the concept of parallel relationships. The idea is that they are free to pursue relationships outside of their marriage ranging from short-lived holiday connections to lengthy trysts. However, marriage in Nordic cultures is cherished and the family unit is held in high esteem, meaning that couples can have both as long as their family thrives.

    Meanwhile, the Dutch don’t have such a heavy focus on the traditional family structure. The societal pressure for a nuclear family with a white picket fence, dog, and 2.5 kids that many of us feel simply doesn’t exist in the Netherlands. This makes relationships more fluid. Gay marriage, relationships with multiple partners such as polyamory, and even ageing and remaining single are all accepted.

    Sex and intimate relations in Japan are often separated from marriage, from geisha culture and the openness of pornography in public places—enjoyed by both men and women. Meanwhile, over 50% of Italian men admitted to passionate affairs outside of their marriage, yet the divorce rate is the lowest in the world at 11%.

    According to the 2007 book Lust in Translation, an “afternoon nap” in Indonesia simply means a no-strings attached pairing, while a short affair is referred to as a “wonderful interval,” while in Nigeria these affairs are called “sexual networking.”

    In the west, the perception is a little different:

    On the other hand, American and British culture dictates that promiscuity and having multiple partners is looked down upon. This societal prudishness results in public figures being outed for having these connections, shamed into apology, and often removed from their public posts. Widespread judgement of other people’s sexual behaviour results in sex being regarded as shameful, especially for people with multiple partners.

    Trust is key in relationships:

    The real tragedy in these situations, and the reason behind much of society’s distaste towards these dalliances, is the breach of trust that comes as a result of these trysts. The partner feels betrayed because of excuses, lies, and the deception that went into the affair, which can lead to the relationship breaking down.

    The open love and sex-for-pleasure concepts embraced by other countries are not new ones, but successful polyamorous relationships teach us is that in order for a relationship to continue to work, communication needs to be present. The negative connotation of infidelity is eliminated with open relationships, polyamory, parallel relationships, or “wonderful intervals.” Whatever you want to call it, if you and your partner establish boundaries and clearly communicate your needs, a sexual dalliance will be just that—and not a life-shattering event.

    Pleasure is allowed, and sex is pleasure.

    Once you’ve established the trust of your partner, laid the ground rules, and developed an open and honest understanding of what each are expecting, seeking some extra-marital love can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Whether you’re adding a third to your relationship (or fourth, or fifth) or have discussed an open relationship with your partner, searching for that person still requires discretion so that your single friends aren’t stumbling across your profile.

    At Ashley Madison, we understand that your moments of pleasure, acceptance, and love are for your information only. Which is why discretion is so important. Until society accepts the concept of sex for pleasure separate from the vows of marriage, your privacy is paramount to a successful tryst and to the longevity of your relationship.

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