When someone first hears, or reads the word “monogamish” for the first time they, like most, wonder what is this word? For some, it may ring of a new social construct, or in layman’s terms, a recently “made up” term... 

The Being Monogamish Guide: What, if Any Difference to Monogamy?


What does monogamish mean?

When someone first hears, or reads the word “monogamish” for the first time they, like most, wonder what is this word? For some, it may ring of a new social construct, or in layman’s terms, a recently “made up” term to once again confuse, or parse the relationship narrative. To make it even more complex and confusing, when in truth, the goal is to do the opposite in ones life. Simplify ones relationship.

So lets begin, all the way back to the beginning.

Monogamish, is a “term” coined by the well know sex columnist Dan Savage. He created the term for what he has described as a relationship dynamic that combines both elements of monogamy and non-monogamy. A hybrid of sorts if you will.

Where does the difference lay then? Well, strict monogamy, sounds exactly as it is - where exclusivity is paramount. In monogamish, proponents would agree, is when the couples in the relationship allow for occasional, consensual exploration away ad outside the relationship boundaries.

The question then becomes, what exactly are these boundaries and what does monogamish include, or not include? There lies the issue.

Some would say monogamish, includes activities like flirting, occasional casual encounters, or participation in consensual non-monogamous experiences. That to me sounds very similar to an open relationship. But it is not. It lies somewhere in between,

Sex therapists and psychologists say the key distinction lies in the flexibility which is intentional within the relationship. That partners sit down, and communicate exactly what their desires are. Then both parties establish agreed-upon boundaries. Most importantly, the parties prioritize trust and transparency, and make sure this is the cornerstone of what they consider to be a Monogamish relationship.

It is said, that a monogamish relationships emphasize customization. The level of customization is dependant on the couples themselves. Any desire, or any commitment is made to exclusively made to match their own unique needs and desires. It is not a one size fits all type of relationship. You make it uniquely yours. The key, or underlying premise or goal here is achieve a dynamic that promotes both emotional connection and individual autonomy.


How does Monogamish differ from Monogamy? 

As we have outlined above, monogamish sits somewhere between a regular relationship and an open relationship. The term was popularized by sex columnist Dan Savage, an internet personality, writer, and advocate of more open and fluid relationships.

He argued that monogamish represents a flexible approach to romantic relationships that deviates from traditional monogamy. So, the centre, or base of his argument is the traditional relationship that deviates from this centre and moves as far or near to the spectrum of an open relationship, The difference being that the meter, or pendulum swing is only dependant on the couples themselves, and no other input.

Unlike strict monogamous arrangements, the rules for this relationship are set down as what degree by the couples themselves. The belief here by its proponents and believers of this hybrid relationship, is that they acknowledge that the occasional outside experiences can enhance their connection without jeopardizing the core commitment.

They argue, that this approach of being open to each other with rules, fosters open communication and trust. The belief being, that this allows partners to explore aspects of their sexual spectrum. A spectrum that is unique for each individual in the relationship. A uniqueness that should be respected and not judged by the other party in the relationship.

In addition, it allows each member in the relationship to explore novel aspects of their sexuality. The key it seems for some, in a monogamish relationship, is to make sure these outside relationships have some meaningful connections. Although even this aspect is open to interpretation, with certain proponents arguing that having a meaningful encounter is not paramount. Rather, simply exploring outside the relationship - meaningful or not, is the primary component.

Advocates of a monogamish lifestyle, argue that it offers a spectrum of relationship styles or types. The combinations are endless they state. For example, from the occasional threesome - which used to be so risqué can now be considered the norm, to more further polyamorous dynamics. However, the couple in the relationship are to be remained fully grounded in their own dynamic and relationship. This is to be based on their mutual understanding and commitment if you will, in their own clearly defined boundaries in the beginning of their monogamish relationship. Advocates argue that monogamish is a very nuanced perspective. They like to believe that it challenges conventional norms, which most would agree that it indeed does. For the monogamish believer, it offers couples an alternative that prioritizes transparency and shared exploration while maintaining a fundamental commitment to each another.


Where does the word Monogamish come from?

That is a good question. One always assumes that most words in the English language have their origins somewhere in the Latin language. This is certainly not the case here. The term "monogamish" was originated by the popular and outspoken sex advocate and sex columnist Dan Savage. It is believed he was the first to have coined the term.

The hybrid relationship term ironically is a blend itself of two different words - a blend of "monogamy" and "Amish," Someone must have a good sense of humour here, to somehow have used the word Amish as a measure stick in relationships and sex.

Advocates argue the true definition of monogamish is a relationship approach that falls somewhere between strict monogamy and open relationships. Believers in this type of relationship, dig deeper, and say that word monogamish captures the essence of embracing a spectrum of relational possibilities. But, they say, the key is to maintain a core commitment between each other. That is the underlying basis on monogamish. That these terms and rules, allow individuals to navigate the complexities of modern relationships in a consensual and transparent manner.

Note, this concept entirely is constructed on the premise, that the potential exists for occasional sexual or romantic encounters outside the primary partnership - subject to the consent of each parter, and communication being the cornerstone to its adherence and success.

While there is commitment, and a strong one they argue, monogamish is still a fluid approach that evolves, is very nuanced, and relies on each partners ability to be honest with themselves and their partner, and to full embrace trust in the monogamish relationship.


The rise of non-monogamous relationships and how monogamish fits into this spectrum.

Most studies have shown that there has been a real rise and acceptance of relationships outside the norm of a monogamous relationship. Critics would argue that this acceptance and rise is not that great, and has been overvalued and over inflated by its advocates.

Believers claim anything beyond a standard normative monogamous relationship, argue that non monogamous relationships challenges traditional norms surrounding romantic partnerships. That in the incredibly diverse spectrum, which is still being explored and growing, that there are many non-monogamous arrangements.

Further, that within this spectrum, one of the more popular approaches, in a very nuanced fashion, is the concept of being “Monogamish". Proponents trumpet the main benefits and pro’s of such a relationship versus the more staid sexual monogamous relationship. For example, they will claim versus the monogamy paradigm, that Monogamish relationships have a degree of openness that the other does not. Further, that Monogamish admits that partners can not only have desires for others, but can act on these desires with the others partners acceptance and openness of such an ideal.

In addition, theorists of Monogamish identity, strongly believe that this form of a relationship, is not simply different, but rather an evolution, a movement of sort of modernity. That by an individual accepting Monogamish into their lifestyle, it will foster better and healthier communication between the partners, and it will prioritize each individuals identity further, and define what the parameters of their intimacy truly is.

Thus, non monogamous purists and advocates believe, it is only natural to have this evolving and growing sect within the spectrum of non-monogamous dynamics. That its existence, and acceptance simply exemplifies an evolving landscape where couples in a Monogamish relationship, are able to define and navigate a delicate balance between commitment and contemporary autonomy.

What are the benefits of Monogamish?

The benefits are numerous proponents would argue. A lifestyle that is modernist, pragmatic, and honest about each individuals wants and needs in a relationship.

Monogamish relationships offer a very subtle approach to the whole concept of romance, and romantic relationships. This type of relationship offer individuals the ability to experiment in the open and with consent. They believe with such a defined structure, people can experience increased emotional and sexual fulfilment while maintaining a core commitment.

The dynamics of a Monogamish relationship are many. Purists comments it has a flexibility that most other relationships do not and cannot afford. That under this type, that it allows couples to openly communicate and explore their desires within agreed-upon set of boundaries and rules to adhere to.

This results, in an approach they believe, that can foster even deeper connections, as people are able to navigate their evolving needs together, as they grow together in the relationship.

In the end, those who practice a Monogamish mindset, say they find a balance that only enhances their trust, intimacy, and personal growth with their partner. That Monogamish rightfully challenges the past traditional and inhibit notions of monogamy, yet still offers them the stability and security available and rooted in all in committed relationships whether traditional or modern.

How do you set boundaries when being monogamish? 

All would agree that having a Monogamish relationship is quite nuanced, and can have its issues without establishing clear and honest boundaries.

There are several factors in play to make a Monogamish relationship work. Lets look at the rules,

First is communication. This is paramount in any successful Monogamish partnership, Each partner must openly and frankly discuss their comfort zones, desires, and expectations. There can be no ambiguity here, be clear, and be concise in what you want.

Secondly. setting boundaries in a monogamish dynamic requires a proper balance between ones intimacy and allowing further consensual sexual exploration.

Remember, each partner must express their needs, fears, and limits. This is done early when setting the parameters, to ensure a proper and mutual understanding, as well as respect for the agreed upon terms.

Equally important, proponents argue to make a Monogamish relationship work well, one must establish defined and established regular check-ins. They believe by having such check ins, it can foster better and more honest dialogue. By doing this, it enables the partners to adjust to each others needs while moving forward in the relationship, and enabling adjustments.

Proponents argue, that by recognizing each others boundaries, we can more fully understand how such boundaries can be fluid. Consent they state is crucial, and one of the keys or pillars to a successful Monogamish relationship. By recognizing such fluidity, it allows individuals to go beyond the traditional and some would say staid monogamy, while prioritizing at the same time, the crucial elements of trust and well-being of both partners.

Dealing with Jealousy and Insecurities in Monogamish relationships

Jealousy and insecurity are not mutually exclusive in monogamous relationships only, it can exist in any relationship. A monogamish relationship is no different.

How to avoid the pitfalls. As with most human emotions, nuances exist. You must recognize these nuances in a process that requires open communication and trust. Unlike traditional monogamous dynamics, this insecurity may be further exacerbated because Monogamish partnerships allow for consensual exploration beyond the bounds of strict exclusivity.

To manage jealously effectively in a monogamish partnership, individuals must create a foundation of honesty and transparent dialogue with their partner. One must openly express their desires, concerns, and boundaries to the other. There should be no judgement here, openness of ones feelings is paramount here.

Plus, one must recognize that occasional feelings of insecurity are natural, Therefore, partners must work together to address these emotions with empathy and understanding. One must establish a secure emotional connection, that emphasizes mutual respect. These are key pillars in cultivating a healthy monogamish relationship, If one does this at the beginning of the relationship, then jealousy and insecurities can be constructively managed. In the end, contributing to a more fulfilling, a more healthier, and ultimately, a more happier connection between individuals in the relationship.

Monogamish in Practice

In theory, almost an different type of relationship can work. However, in the practical world, it takes more than theory. For a monogamish relationship to work - it takes a nuanced approach to intimate relationships outside of the primary relationship, that should evolve beyond traditional monogamy.

To do so, one must adhere to open communication. Honesty is another strong pillar in the primary partnership that one must believe and practice in. This will then allow for consensual exploration beyond all its problems and conflicts that could arise if honest and communication are at the forefront of the Monogamish relationship.

It has been stated, that monogamish individuals prioritize emotional connection with their primary partner. This is a fine characteristic, yet, the partners must acknowledge the potential for additional, non-exclusive encounters.

Doing so, involves mutual respect, consent, and clear boundaries. You must create a dynamic where individuals can navigate their desires in a manner that is consistent, open, and responsible. If one does this, then you can foster a a monogamish relationship that combines the security of a committed loving relationship. A relationship with the freedom to explore consensual connections within any framework you and your partner find enjoyable, honest, and liberating.