Webinar: “Ethical Non-Monogamy: Is It Right for You?”

Presenter: Dr. Claude Cruz

Air Date: January 12, 2022

*Our webinars are open to enrolled Sex Coach U students and current members of the World Association of Sex Coaches only. Click here for more information about enrolling in our program.

 

Many questions come up when we talk about non-monogamy. For example, what is ethical non-monogamy? What do we seek in relationships? Is ethical non-monogamy right for you or your coaching clients? These are some of the questions we may discuss with our coaching clients and with partners in our personal lives. So how do we approach these questions about non-monogamy in an informed, caring, and inclusive way?

On January 12, 2022, Dr. Claude Cruz came to the SCU Presents virtual stage to provide information about the prevailing views of ethical non-monogamy in our society and to offer suggestions for exploring ethical non-monogamy (and really any kind of relationship). His wealth of wisdom is based on his years of personal experience in non-monogamous relationships, his research on sexual and intimate relationships, and his coaching work with people who are non-monogamous. 

Dr. Claude was one of the first Certified Sex Coach graduates of Sex Coach U, and he earned his Ph.D. from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. He conducts seminars, runs a podcast, and hosts an online community dedicated to supporting people in their quest to create deep and satisfying intimate and sexual relationships. You can find out more about Dr. Claude’s background, interests, and work at www.twoopendoors.com. In this webinar, Dr. Claude spoke about how we, as coaches, can guide and support both those clients who are dipping their toes into ethical non-monogamy and those who are seasoned swimmers.

What We Seek in Relationships

Dr. Claude framed the conversation by describing how, despite the research suggesting that monogamy is not a biological compulsion for humans, in our society today, most people are serial monogamists because monogamy is the culturally-sanctioned relationship style. We get on the monogamy escalator that takes us from flirting to dating to married with a family. This trajectory is embedded in social expectations.

Dr. Claude explained, “We human beings are really kind of torn. We need novelty and variety and exploration and unpredictability—all those things that motivate us and excite us—as much as we need the predictability and constancy and stability that a long-term committed relationship is expected to give us.” However, for many, monogamy does not meet their emotional and sexual needs, which may become problematic for sustaining monogamous relationships long-term.

Why Consider Ethical Non-monogamy

In most long-term monogamous relationships, the emotional and sexual connections start to fizzle over time, which puts people in danger of cheating. To cheat is to break the emotional and sexual commitment to a relationship. Cheating is a breach of trust and is unethical.

Dr. Claude pointed out that ethical non-monogamy is not for everyone. However, the limitations of monogamy to meet all of our human needs in the long term are why, for many people, ethical non-monogamy is an option worthy of exploring. An ethically non-monogamous relationship allows for trust because the partners work together to negotiate what works for them.

The Basics of Ethical Non-Monogamy

In ethical non-monogamy, Dr. Claude said “both partners are and feel treated fairly.” He went on to say that ethical non-monogamy is a way of being in a committed relationship in which “the couple can consent to allow outside sexual and/or emotional connections.” Dr. Claude added that in ethical non-monogamy, all partners truly and enthusiastically consent to the non-monogamous configuration of the relationship without overt or implied coercion or fear of consequences should they decline to consent. Further, Dr. Claude said if the negotiated commitment is ruptured either sexually or emotionally, it is tantamount to cheating.

In the webinar, Dr. Claude went on to talk about some of the benefits and challenges of ethical non-monogamy. One benefit is that when a couple is in a committed ethically non-monogamous relationship, each partner is not the only person trying to fulfill all of the other person’s emotional and sexual needs. Another benefit is that it promotes personal growth. You learn skills such as clear communication and negotiation. 

Despite the benefits, there are some challenges, too. One challenge is working through insecurities that lead to feelings such as jealousy and the fear of missing out. Dr. Claude asserted that “at the end of the day, it comes down to a cost versus benefits analysis for each possible relationship. Is it worth the costs to get the benefits that I’m being offered?” It is good to remember, as Dr. Claude put it, “There is no one way to do ethical non-monogamy right… because people are different and circumstances are different.”

At the end of the webinar, Dr. Claude held space for our questions. The questions were deep and conducive to a juicy conversation between Dr. Claude, Dr. Patti, and the webinar attendees. If you want to hear more from Dr. Claude, consider joining his podcast, check out the Two Open Doors blog, and join the Two Open Doors community where you’ll be the first to know about community events.  You can access all of this through his website at www.twoopendoors.com.