The dynamics of open sexuality

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom has just released a new document entitled ‘What Psychology Professionals Should Know About Polyamory’ which aims to educate therapists about people in consenting non-monogamous relationships.

The document reviews research on the well-being of people in open relationships and the emotional challenges that they can face, although, I’m afraid I don’t have the knowledge to judge how balanced the analysis actually is (where’s Meg Barker when you need her?)

However, I am reminded of a paragraph in the fantastic book Freud: A Very Short Introduction that discusses how the Freudian view of the traditional paired-off relationship runs into the wall of cultural differences:

Freud once thought of the Oedipus complex as universal; but it can be argued that it is very much a Western concept, which particularly applies to the small, ‘nuclear’ family. Do children brought up in extended families, in which polyagmy is the norm, experience the jealousy, possessiveness, and fear which Freud found in his patients? We do now know; but anecdotal evidence suggests the contrary. A Nigerian analyst told me that, during his training analysis, it took him over a year to make his analyst understand the entirely different emotional climate which obtains in a family in which the father has several wives.

Link to ‘What Psychology Professionals Should Know About Polyamory’.

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