'Encanto' star Diane Guerrero says she's interested in 'ethical non-monogamy' — here's what that means and why it's a debated term
- Actress Diane Guerrero recently revealed that she's interested in learning more about non-monogamy.
- There are three main types of non-monogamy: polyamory, open relationships, and swinging.
"Encanto" star Diane Guerrero opened up about her sexuality during a recent cover story with Insider and revealed that she and her current partner are learning more about ethical non-monogamy.
After explaining that she was still exploring her own sexuality and that she doesn't necessarily see herself with only cisgender, straight male partners, Guerrero spoke about her relationship with her partner of five years, Bryan Crawford.
"We are seeing how we can evolve in our relationship," the actress said. "Right now, we're exploring the question of: Do all relationships get stale? What do you do to revive them? What do you do to evolve with them? Whether it's through ethical non-monogamy or polyamory, what does that look like?"
Guerrero said she and Crawford are reading books like "Sex at Dawn," which proposes new ways of thinking about monogamy, and "Pleasure Activism," which explores how social-justice work can be joyful and fulfilling, to help expand their understanding of their relationship.
What to know about ethical non-monogamy, and why the word 'ethical' is debated
In recent years, an increasing number of people have expressed interest in ethical non-monogamy, an umbrella term for relationships in which people engage in romantic and sexual experiences with more than one person.
As the concept has become more popular, some relationship experts have dropped the word "ethical" to avoid placing unfair assumptions on the ways people practice non-monogamy.
"No one says 'ethical' or 'consensual monogamy.' If people can be bad monogamists and still be considered monogamous, why can't non-monogamous people do the same? Why do we need to justify ourselves in a defensive way?" Leanne Yau, a polyamorous content creator who has practiced since she was 17, said in a Twitter thread.
According to New York City-based sex therapist Rachel Wright, the modifier "ethical" suggests non-monogamy is inherently unethical, which isn't the case. "Ethical" can also mean different things to different people who have relationships outside of monogamy, Wright, who is in a polyamorous relationship, said.
That's why people should discuss the intricacies of their non-monogamous relationships and create rules that work for them and their partners. This includes defining what cheating looks like.
According to Wright, no specific sex acts make up "cheating." Rather, it's what partners agree to uphold together.
Amy Moors, a researcher at Chapman University who studies non-monogamy, refers to it as "consensual non-monogamy" to highlight that all parties involved are aware of, and accept, the conditions of the relationship, Insider previously reported.
Using the "consensual" qualifier also sets these relationship styles apart from cheating, which could be considered a form of non-monogamy.
The 3 main types of non-monogamy
There are three main types of non-monogamy: polyamory, open relationships, and swinging, according to Moors.
People who choose polyamorous relationships typically have multiple romantic partners they date and have sex with. Quite literally, polyamory means "multiple loves."
Actress Bella Thorne has talked about her past polyamorous relationship, where she dated YouTube star Tana Mongeau and rapper Mod Sun at the same time.
With polyamory, people tend to have a primary partner who they might live with or have kids with, Moors said.
Other polyamorous people might not have a primary partner and more equally share their time with multiple partners, according to Moors.
In other cases, polyamory could mean a person and their two or more partners all date each other.
In open relationships, people tend to explore sex with others outside of their relationship, but reserve emotional and romantic connections for a primary partner.
Sometimes, a monogamous couple may choose to "open" their relationship after being sexually exclusive for some time so they are free to explore sex with others.
With swinging, partners typically have sex with someone who isn't their spouse or primary partner, but often still include the primary partner.
Other times, swinging looks like swapping spouses with another couple for a sexual experience outside of a primary relationship.
Moors said these arrangements can be referred to as "monogamish" because "while the couple may be having threesomes, they really still like that title of monogamy."
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