The Representation of Non-Monogamous Relationships in Popular Media
As our society is becoming more open and accepting of alternative lifestyles, non-monogamous relationships are finally beginning to receive the recognition they deserve. With the growing acceptance of polyamory, swinging, and other relationship dynamics, these forms of unconventional relationships are beginning to appear more often in popular media.
Polyamory is an umbrella term that refers to any relationship between people who consent to maintain romantic relationships with multiple partners. Within this arrangement, there are many different forms of connection and commitment, which may include:
- Hierarchical polyamory: This is when some partners have more emotional importance or commitment than others.
- Solo polyamory: This is a relationship of multiple partners without primary or secondary status.
- Polyfidelity: This is when a group of partners has agreed to remain sexually and/or romantically exclusive to one another.
- Polycule: This term is used to refer to the network of people a polyamorist is connected to.
Polyamory is often depicted in television shows and movies, such as Stranger Things, Big Love, Jane the Virgin, and Sense8. In these programs, characters explore multi-partner relationships with respect, understanding, and empathy.
Swinging is a lifestyle choice where a couple engages in intimate relations with people other than their partner. It typically occurs within a social context that is often organized and consensual, and individuals involved may or may not choose to become emotionally involved with other swingers.
Popular media’s representation of swinging has ranged from the cartoons Bob’s Burgers and The Simpsons to movies like The Ice Storm, Eyes Wide Shut, and Rules of Attraction. Swinging has been portrayed both comically and seriously, giving viewers a variety of perspectives on the lifestyle.
Non-monogamous relationships are complex and varied, and it is important that we have realistic and accurate portrayals of them in the media. While we have come a long way in recent years, there is still more to be done to ensure that all alternative lifestyles are represented responsibly and respectfully.