What is Ethical Non-Monogamy?

And Why Caution Should be Used with the Term

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Ethical Non-Monogamy (Photo by E)

Defining Ethical Non-monogamy

First, let us break this down into two parts

Common Ethical Assumptions

Putting two overarching terms together does not magically create clarity. In fact it does the complete opposite by opening people up to assumptions both given and taken. Here are a few that I equate with being ethically non-monogamous:

To Use or Not to Use

I love using the word ethical, but, I am aware that it is a blanket statement and it cannot be a standalone phrase. I am not confident that this is universal. In fact, what I see on a day to day basis is that this term is being applied as a catch all phrase, and without naming names, has be used to negate having the tough conversations. Non-monogamous relationships are not easy. They thrive in situations of conversation, consent, check-ins, aftercare, love, and a network of support when things go wrong. What this community does not need is a phrase that may end up demeaning the hard work and love that goes into our relationships. To that end, I would argue that ethical is not a starting out point, rather, it is a goal. It is a place your relationships should work towards, strive for, and never give up on. It is a place that is not perfect, but you are willing to admit fault, learn from your mistakes, and ultimately be an ambassador of the community.

Take Away

To use the term ethical when it comes to non-monogamy is a personal choice. In a perfect world we could trust that everyone was on the level, knew exactly what they wanted, and were able to communicate that effectively. Further, that people respected each other, embraced consent without issue, and… again… the “ands” are endless. The reality is ethical is not a magical statement that ensures you know what type of person you are getting involved with. It does not actually mean that the person you are interested in is free of risks, or that they are even on the same page as you. There is no universal definition because it is based on a set of beliefs. So, get into the habit of not relying on the term. Instead, focus on the tried and true tactic of communication, honesty, integrity, and the ability to say no.

Krys is a sex positive blogger, podcaster, and a lover of craft beer. Read about her non-monogamous journey at breakingawayfrommonogamy.com.

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