While most societies are built on monogamous relationships, that doesn't mean that some people won't stray outside of traditional norms. Many are finding themselves in open relationships where partners can have sex with others. Current research is showing that this can improve sexual satisfaction and allow people to continue having their needs met.
The study, which was conducted at Toronto's New York University, showed that people in relationships where consensual non-monogamy is common practice might be much happier than those who are not. The sexual side of relationships can be challenging to maintain, and people are often left unsatisfied. Open relationships can help change this.
The survey targeted 1,054 people who had been split up into two groups and who claim to be in open relationships. Ultimately, these people were much more satisfied emotionally and sexually than others who remained in monogamous relationships.
They concluded one relationship or another was meeting all of their needs. Another interesting result they found was the "Spillover effect." People in open relationships are able to release some of the pressure of having to meet all the needs of the partner. That means that each relationship develops its own strengths and allows the other relationships to fill in the gaps.
As satisfaction in either the primary relationships increases, the satisfaction in the others does as well. This means that each partner has a greater ability to have their needs met and they do not have to put unnecessary pressure on each other.
However, there is a downside, especially for women. The study found that a woman tends to feel less satisfied in her primary relationship if she is getting most of her needs met in the secondary ones. The primary partner becomes more and more dissatisfying. This means that the primary relationship can be significantly hurt if most of a woman's needs are not being met within its confines.
Ultimately, it is up to a couple to determine if an open relationship is right for them. If two people are comfortable in their relationship and just want to spice up their sex life or increase their sexual satisfaction, then it is probably a great option. They will be fulfilled both emotionally and sexually as they grow in their primary and secondary relationships.
However, this option can be destructive if not handled properly. If a couple is not intimately connected and committed to meeting the majority of each other's needs, the relationship could crumble. Thoughts begin to enter into a partner's head. Why do I need him or her if I can get what I need somewhere else? This is the danger.
While open relationships are currently a popular trend and there is some research to show that they can enhance satisfaction for all involved, but you probably won't begin to see it rise above the traditional monogamous relationship. Most people still believe that two people remaining in a loyal and committed relationship is beautiful and valuable. Over time, we will more clearly see how open relationships are redefining what it means to be sexually and emotionally satisfied.