Sexual Attitudes, Erotophobia, and Sociosexual Orientation Differ Based on Relationship Orientation

J Sex Res. 2020 May;57(4):458-469. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2018.1523360. Epub 2018 Oct 11.


Consensual nonmonogamy (CNM) is an overarching term for relationship orientations that differ based on the degree to which consensual sexual and emotional needs are fulfilled outside of a dyad. Despite the diversity of CNM relationship orientations and growing research examining CNM, it is unclear whether the sexual attitudes, inclination to approach/avoid sexual stimuli (i.e., erotophobia-erotophilia), and sociosexuality differ among individuals who identify with distinct CNM relationships. Further, as the agreements made in CNM relationships permit extradyadic relationships, important differences might emerge for CNM and monogamous individuals. A convenience sample (N = 641) of individuals who self-identified as monogamous (n = 447), open (n = 80), polyamorous (n = 62), or swinger (n = 52) provided ratings of their sexual attitudes, erotophobia-erotophilia, and sociosexuality. Results indicated that swingers had the most permissive and instrumental attitudes, were the most erotophilic, and were the most unrestricted sexually. Conversely, monogamists scored the lowest on these traits. No differences emerged between relationship orientations for attitudes toward communion and birth control. These findings have important implications for sexuality research because they reinforce the view that some underlying differences and similarities exist between monogamous and CNM individuals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Spouses / psychology*
  • Young Adult