Humans are complicated creatures. For some, the thought of being with one person for the rest of their life is sheer bliss, but for others, that same thought sounds like a prison sentence. But thanks to a recent interview, there's a new celebrity voice to add to the anti-monogamy crowd: Scarlett Johansson. After separating from her second husband, Johansson is taking a bold stance against the belief that one person should remain with the same partner for the rest of his or her life, and what she has to say is actually quite interesting.
“I think the idea of marriage is very romantic. It’s a beautiful idea, and the practice of it can be a very beautiful thing,” Johansson, who announced her split from second husband Romain Dauriac in January, told Playboy. “I don’t think it’s natural to be a monogamous person. I might be skewered for that, but I think it’s work. It’s a lot of work.”
According to Scarlett, because of the immense effort it takes to sustain a monogamous relationship, that may mean that it’s actually against human nature. “And the fact that it is such work for so many people — for everyone — the fact of that proves that it is not a natural thing. It’s something I have a lot of respect for and have participated in, but I think it definitely goes against some instinct to look beyond.”
While Scarlett’s opinion is sure to offend die-hard believers in monogamy, her views actually have some scientific backing.
A 2014 study published in Sexual and Relationship Therapy conducted by the University of Oklahoma found that older adults in non-monogamous relationships reported being happier, healthier and more sexually active than the general population of people in relationships of similar age groups. While the findings were limited to those over 55, other studies have yielded similar results, some of which are seriously thought-provoking.
For example, it would be easy to assume that people in monogamous relationships practice safer sex than those in consenting non-monogamous ones, but research contradicts this. “Couples put condoms away, typically within the first couple months of dating, and switch to other forms of birth control when they feel comfortable with one another, rather than after objective testing for STIs,” Terri Conley, one of the leading researchers in the field of monogamy, told Psychology Today. Married couples in consensually non-monogamous relationships, on the other hand, are much more likely to use barrier protection, such as condoms, as well as to be open with their partner about their relationships.
While Johansson’s beliefs about monogamy may not be popular (according to Live Science, only 5 percent of the American population maintains a consensually non-monogamous relationship), there are a lot of people out there who might benefit from listening to her opinion.
“Sometimes the pillars of our current culture are that monogamy is the best, monogamy is the best way to approach relationships, so it’s a firmly held core belief. By challenging that, we’ve threatened a lot of people, but again nothing is to say monogamy is bad,” Dr. Terri Conley, an associate professor of psychology and women’s studies at the University of Michigan, explains about the subject. “It’s just suggesting that for some people in some circumstances, there might be a better pathway.”
That said, if there’s anything that’s true about human kind it’s that as much as we are all the same, we’re all very different. What works for one relationship just simply might not work for another. So take ScarJo’s words with a grain of salt before you write off monogamous relationships altogether. After all, you never know when a person is going to come into your life and change everything you ever thought you knew about love forever — monogamously or not.
What Do YOU Think?
Do you think about Scarlett Johansson’s views on monogamy? Would you ever consider being in a consensually non-monogamous relationship? Is being with one person natural? Join the conversation and let us know your thoughts.