How To Stay Monogamous

Human Pair Bonds in Modern America

Modern Americans appear to be serially monogamous. Monogamy is still the ideal for many people, and they need to be supported in pursuing it. But monogamy is not the reality (or, perhaps, even the ideal) for many others.

How To Stay Monogamous

How To Stay Monogamous
Image credit: miss60_d

For those who want to stay in a monogamous relationship, it can be helpful to look for “triggers” for cheating within relationships. Research shows that these most commonly move one member of a couple from being content in a monogamous relationship to the cheater/cheated column. If these exist in your life and marriage, be aware and proactive to keep your love strong.

Be Aware of “Triggers” for Cheating

  • Pregnancy is a high risk time for men to step out. As the male in the pair bond goes months (even years) without sex, he may stray. Even if the man is biologically monogamous (he does not carry the non-monogamy gene), he can stray sexually during this time. He will be emotionally punished when his wife finds out. But if the only reason a woman with a new child wants to divorce her husband is his during-pregnancy straying, she might want to think again and have the couple go through counseling.
  • If either partner has lost their sexual desire, monogamy may be at risk. Statistically speaking this is most commonly the woman who looses desire. Research shows that it is important for women to focus on developing enjoyable sexual habits so that sex can be as frequent as necessary for the pair-bond to remain monogamous if your goal is to stay married.
  • If marital communication and non-sexual intimacy have dissipated significantly, your monogamous marriage may be in dangerous. You and your partner might be having sex but your general communication and other kinds of intimacy have become nonexistent or rote, boring or dispassionate. If this goes on for months or years, and if one of you is biologically non-monogamous, marital infidelity will most likely ensue. A new partner provides what the brain needs—novelty, excitement, communication, intimacy, and passion.

Stay Busy at Home

One of the most obvious and direct ways to keep the home fires burning is to make sure there is lots of good, healthy sex at home.

People who go to work, or leave for a weekend with the boys or the girls feeling horny because they haven’t had sex recently are much more likely to “encounter” a situation that will lead to infidelity, especially if they drink. Sexually satiated people don’t tend to notice that second look from the handsome man at the gym, or the low cut blouse of their intern.

What is “good, healthy sex at home?”

It is important to remember that the average number of times fertile age human monogamous couples (between 25 and 40) have sex is between two and three times a week. This number is fairly consistent among cultures and has been so across time.

It is also an amount that has been shown to best preserve male erectile function. Couples who have sex two to three times a week report better sexual satisfaction and overall relationship quality.

Although some fertile-age couples have more and some less, having dramatically less sex, such as once a month or even only once a week, can negatively impact sexual function in both partners.

It may feel “easier” to not have sex several times a week (honestly mainly because one or both of you are watching TV or on the computer) but it might be worth shutting off the TV and the computer. Electronics may prove to be the ultimate monogamy buster!

- Dr. E

Science can help us nurture and enjoy our sexual selves.


In order to comment on, you'll need to be logged in. You'll be given the option to log in or create an account when you publish your comment. If you do not log in or create an account, your comment will not be displayed.