I recently stumbled onto a study that explores something I don’t actually have much experience with: The experience of fantasizing about consensual non-monogamy. As some long-time readers may know, I wasn’t all that interested in open relationships before I suddenly found myself in one. Polyamory came and found me, not the other way around.
So I don’t have a lot of experience with fantasizing about consensual non-monogamy without having tried it. Apparently it’s a pretty common fantasy. And apparently the reality generally lives up to the fantasy.
It’s Common to Fantasize about Consensual Non-Monogamy & Reality Generally Lives Up to Fantasy
A recent study found that it’s fairly common to fantasize about being part of a consensual non-monogamous relationship. Here’s what the study found:
- A third of participants reported that being in a consensually non-monogamous relationship was their top fantasy.
- Eighty percent of those who listed being in a consensually non-monogamous relationship as their top fantasy indicated that they wanted to act on the fantasy in the future.
- Those who had actually acted on the fantasy reported positive outcomes overall, stating that the experience met or exceeded their expectations and improved their relationships.
- Male and non-binary participants were more likely to fantasize about consensual non-monogamy than female ones.
- The fantasies were more common among non-heterosexual participants and older adults.
- Personality traits (Big Five) and attachment style had little to do with whether people fantasized about consensual non-monogamy.
Reality Living Up to Fantasy Was the Finding That Surprised Me Most
Honestly, that’s all pretty interesting and fascinating to me. I suppose I’m not surprised by the popularity of the fantasy. I think the most surprising finding for me was that so many people who fantasized about CNM were pleased after the fact.
I mean… I found CNM to be great once I tried it — but I also went in with a doom and gloom attitude and really tried it more out of fairness to a partner who was more interested. I expected it to go badly, and so I was rather shocked when it actually had its own benefits.
Not to mention every “I want to have a threesome” post I found out in the wild in general relationship forums is flooded with people who say things like, “It’s probably going to go badly, so don’t have one with a friend,” or other such advice. Well, it would seem that popular opinion is that people who have fantasized may very well be disappointed with reality.
An awful lot of people say that for it to not be true.
Anyway, fascinating area of research, and I will be keeping an eye on further studies.
This post is part of an ongoing Poly Land feature called Psyched for the Weekend, in which I geek out with brief takes about some of my favorite psychological studies and concepts. For the entire series, please see this link.