Is Open Marriage the New Normal?

by Madison,

The idea of an open marriage is not a new one, but has been gaining a lot of traction in the media, and is also becoming a more socially acceptable practice within American society.  We have all heard of Tinder, match.com, and OkCupid.  Websites that help singles find other singles looking for relationships, dates, or sexual intercourse.  Now there is even a site that offers online dating geared towards married or involved individuals looking for relationships outside the traditional monogamous marriage, called openminded.com.

A functional anthropologist studies how a society and their cultural system work together to meet universal human needs.  Malinowski discusses seven basic needs of humans including health, growth, movement, safety, bodily comforts, nutrition, and reproduction.[1]  A monogamous marriage supports functionalism when a families needs are met.  An example is the traditional american family. One partner known as the breadwinner brings home income to support their family, while the other partner stays at home, feeding everyone and meeting their emotional needs.  For a functional anthropologist this is the ideal situation, but functionalism is synchronic and cannot account for conflict or change, which is inevitable in a family system.  If two partners in a marriage are unhappy in their situation, their basic human needs are not being met.

Functionalism theory falls apart when we analyze the dynamic marriage structures in society.  Family structures continue to change and push social norms but still manage to function.  In the case of an open marriage, a couple’s sexual needs are not being met, therefore their marriage might benefit from having partners outside the marriage, thus allowing their sexual needs to be met.  If a couple’s sexual needs are being met, they will be more content and better able to fulfill their roles in other parts of their family structure.  These needs being met will bring happiness or fulfillment to the couple, thus allowing them to focus and be successful in other parts of their family structure.

Unlike functionalism, the anthropological theory structural functionalism, focuses on social structures and can account for change and conflict within a society.[2] A structural functionalist would study open marriages and analyze the social structure within the community and family.  By studying the social structure an anthropologist can not only see the benefits, but also flaws that come with an open marriage.  We can examine a couple living in an urban area with no kids.  The husband’s job requires him to travel three weeks out of the month and his wife, Natalie, is left lonely and bored at home.  The social norm in this area is for married couples to spend most of their time together or with other married couples.  This contrasted with singles who spend time going out looking for other single individuals to connect with, thus leaving Natalie out of their social system.  If Natalie and her husband were in an open relationship, her husband would still be able to travel for work and provide for his wife, while Natalie would be able to participate in social norms of single individuals, rather than sitting alone for three weeks out of the month.  This arrangement would keep Natalie satisfied in her marriage, and result in the couple staying together.

The success of a marriage or family structure varies across couples, and there is not one thing the can ensure how well a family functions or their level of happiness. Malinowski may be right that humans do have basic universal needs that a society meets, but conventional marriages do not always fulfill these needs.  So it is possible that open marriages can be the future for America Families.

Bronislaw Malinowski,”Argonauts of the Western Pacific,Prospect Heights,IL: Waveland Press, Inc. 1922, p.2-3

[2] Lecture, Professor Carole McGranahan, ANTH 2100 Frontiers of Cultural Anthropology, September 16, 2015.

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43 Responses to Is Open Marriage the New Normal?

  1. Heidi Shortreed says:

    This essay is a very different and unique take on open marriages! I thought it was very intriguing how you analyzed the concept of open marriages through a functionalist perspective. As I was reading your essay, I was considering how this topic could be analysed through the eyes of practice theory. Practice theory analyzes what people say they do versus what they actually do in real life. Based on the assumption that people do not always perform the actions that they say they do, how many people actually engage in open marriages? I also wonder if open marriages will ever become a socially sanctioned activity in the United States. Overall, your essay made me think about ideas on proper marriage practices and how they differ from culture to culture.

  2. Gillian Davenport says:

    This article was very interesting, and I loved the unconventional take on the idea of marriage in America. It was enlightening to see that rather than looking at the nuclear family as an ideal, you examined the possible cracks within the system. I like how the writing wasn’t entirely subjective, and you voiced your opinion on the future of marriage practices. I agree with Heidi Shortreed’s comment, and the instances that occur privately within a marriage, that a practice theorist would look into. I also would be interested to look at the statistics of open marriage, and the comparison in the number of additional partners taken by men and women. This issue could be looked at from a feminist perspective, and one could investigate the altercation of gender roles within an open marriage, and the gendered issues that may arise.

    • Noelle says:

      Gillian, I think that your input on this essay was very interesting. Some other points to research that I thought of would be to study the occurrence of unusual marriages or couplings. Who are the people who are leaning into this trend? What does this say about cultural attitudes towards the “traditional” nuclear family and why is the frequency and social acceptance of these different ways of living happening? These questions and many more could be answered through various anthropological techniques. I would also love to this analyzed through the lens of feminist anthropology.

  3. Kaitlin May says:

    I really enjoyed your approach to this issue. I was drawn to your post simply by your title but upon actually reading it I was impressed by your analysis. The idea of marriage and relationships might lead an observer to guess what types of theories you might use to analyse your topic. The pleasant surprise came in how you attacked your topic from a different angle. I really liked how you used Functionalist theory to analyse the idea of monogamous relationships in society and then flipped the argument by showing how and anthropologist would not be able to properly use Functionalist theory to understand the topic of open marriage and polygamy. You also go into the benefits and drawbacks of using Structural Functionalism theory to analyse different situations where open marriage might come into play. I think that what you are getting at here is at the heart of what it means to be a modern anthropologist. By testing out different schools of theory and finding what elements best fit the situation you are trying to find and understand the true meaning of your research.

  4. Leo Borasio says:

    I, like many others, was drawn in by the title thinking that it seemed unlikely. After reading your post however I realized that this may be possible. What I ended up most curious about was whether in the end we were talking about an “open marriage” or a polygamous situation. If it were simply an open marriage, than I think there could be issues for many couples, and that it may not become a new norm. However much of the world has polygamous societies, so I wouldn’t doubt the benefits that could come from this. I think the biggest thing I am wondering is how you define open marriage, such as seeing someone else, or just being able to go out with your friends or by yourself and interact with others. If it involves actively seeing someone else, that means there will have to be a lot of hegemony in society, making the concept of marriage obsolete in the future, due to everyone wanting to be married, yet also have an open relationship. Thanks for the thought provoking post!

    • Dylan Robinson-Ruet says:

      I, too, was skeptical at first, of open relationships. I was also expecting this to be another typical anti-open marriage discussion, but instead this was a very new perspective that I had never heard before. I also expected more of an hegemonic/agency analysis. This is definitely a very different essay, very refreshing.
      I loved there was a very obvious, easy path for this essay to take (hegemony/agency). Within that, there was a few paths (how the couples in open relationships are at the bottom of the system and how an open relationship provides agency to those in the relationship). Instead of going down this path, you went down a very different path, explaining how an open relationship can, instead, you explained how an open relationship maintains the social structure.

  5. Meryl Balusek says:

    I love the discussion on open marriage, as it is a very unique and non-traditional form of marriage, which makes it very interesting to learn about and analyze. In Madison’s essay, the point where she looks at open marriage through the lens of a structural-functionalist is what I found the most thought-provoking. It is so true that the social system of the environment in which a married couple lives really determines whether or not an open marriage benefits the structure of their marriage. For Natalie and her husband, being surrounded by single younger adults is enticing to Natalie while her husband is away, but what if they were a married couple in a suburb with lots of young families? The idea of open marriage would not be as appealing to Natalie I would assume. Also, if the couple had children, but still lived in a young, single, urban area, would open marriage still be a desired option? Natalie’s sexual needs may not be fulfilled if she were to choose to stay monogamous, but would it still be “the new normal” if she were to be in an open relationship with kids? That would make for a very interesting and different family structure.

  6. Laura Hiserodt says:

    I was fascinated by your take on open marriages and the benefits they could have in a family. I’d never considered it a potential benefit for the family. you used functionalism very strongly and did a good job unpacking your theories and relating the theories to your thesis and ideas. your essay had very good syntax and diction and was overall very well written. you brought up some very interesting unique points that helped me see the benefits of an open marriage.

  7. Audrianna Bobo says:

    This is a really intersting perspective of what some might consider to be a controversial topic. The use of the anthropological theories helps the logic and rationality of an open marriage make sense. While I was reading your essay, I kept thinking about how open marriages are realted to affairs in our country. Really, they have the common goal of satisfying a sexual need that isn’t being met in a marraige. One could argue for other reasons, but I think that’s one of the main ones. So my question is why or how we will get to this point in our society where open marriage becomes a norm, but affairs stay on the taboo end of social norms. Affairs are usually kept a secrect from one’s partner, where in an open marriage spouses know and agree to this behavior together. Does this mean that if open marriages do become a social norm, that the idea of an affair will slowly dissapear? There would no longer be a need to keep a relationship outside of a marriage a secret, generall speaking of course.

    • Kelsey Krutsinger says:

      I like the question you had at the end, however I do think that and affair is different from an open marriage. An affair is something that the other spouse doesn’t know about, where as a lover is a person that both spouses know about, and both may even know personally. Lovers in an open marriage are fully disclosed between both spouses. I think the idea that open marriage will take over American society is a little too progressive in that it over looks the extremely conservative types and it doesn’t take into account situations of people of lower economic status. For example, for an upper middle class husband and wife with kids, if both have lovers, they can meet their lovers at a hotel or even a separate apartment to keep them out of their children’s lives. A family without such economic stability has no such opportunity. Which brings into question, are open marriages just for the liberal wealthy?

  8. Madison Arata says:

    I was intrigued by your approach on open marriage. I thought your perspective of a functionalist caught my attention the most because I thought you said what most people would be scared to say. Although many people would not agree with the functionalist perspective, I think it supplies strong evidence to the idea as to why open marriage is becoming more popular. I think you, respectively, confirm the conclusion that marriage is not easy and that it the husband and wife’s choice on how they want to handle their relationship. Your article really opened the doors of where open marriage could lead to in the future.

    • Haley Pflum says:

      I agree, I really enjoyed the perspectives in the essay. I think that it is safe to say that an open marriage usually has a negative connotation to it in our society. But, the theories used rationalized this seeming irrational alternative to traditional marriage. The essay did say things that many people would not, yet it also made those taboo topics seem reasonable as to why people try open marriages. The approach was very interesting because it was open minded rather than criticizing. I’m curious to see what the thoughts of open marriage will be in the future.

  9. Anna Sweitzer says:

    This essay really intrigued me for multiple reasons. I have recently noticed how relationships have started to become more open and this new perspective seems to be popping up everywhere. Madison’s anthropological connections were very interesting as well. The concept of open marriages and open relationships are not exactly something that I personally would be open to, but it would be very interesting to see whether or not this approach would be successful or disastrous. This essay also put me on edge because it is a topic that I do not exactly understand and it made me much more curious.

  10. Patrick Ingram says:

    Good job I really enjoyed reading this post. I thought the approach that you took was very interesting. The way you came at it from a very openminded view of open marriages and how you took a look at situation in which they may be good for both partners was very cool. Another thing that I thought was good was that you specified how this could be different for everyone, because this is something that many people are not comfortable with.

  11. Zoe Frank says:

    I really enjoyed reading this essay. It’s a topic that most people wouldn’t think to delve into. Apart from the topic being interesting, the way you went about it was unique. I liked that you discussed how functionalism wouldn’t always work to apply in an open marriage. I also thought adding in the example of Natalie helped to explain your essay even more. Someone who was completely against an open marriage could read that, and have their opinion swayed in the other direction. The fact that you talked about the current dating apps was also helpful in your essay. Great Job!!

  12. Colman Garthwaite says:

    Very interesting take on open relationships. I like how you how you looked at this topic through functionalism and pointed out how marriages conditions don’t always stay constant. I also liked how you pointed out that structural functionalism could argue both the benefits and downfalls of an open marriage. I think that feminist theory would also be a good way to study this topic. You could look at the wife in husbands roll in a marriage like you did with the couple where the husband was always traveling and had no kids. This would change the women’s roll because she would have no one to take care of at home.

  13. Emily Bacher says:

    Open marriage always seemed like something I had heard about but never really thought of as “normal”. The functionalist take on this topic was very informative and explained how This paper really explained the reasoning behind open marriages and how they can be useful and even improve the function of a family like with Natalie. The only thing is I wish there was something about how common open marriages are. It would also be interesting to learn about how an open marriage can negatively affect a relationship.

  14. Griffin Kauvar says:

    It was extremely interesting to read about your take on open marriage and discuss the numerous benefits that it could have in a family. Before reading this I had never really considered open marriage as a potentially good thing for a family. It was interesting that you took on challenging the idea of a typical familiar as an ideal through examining the cracks within this system. Coming from a family where my parents were divorced for more of my life then they were married it was interesting to read about a starkly different marriage proposition then what is typically idealized in US culture.
    It would be interesting to look at this topic through a feminist anthropological lens and conduct further research on the success rates of such marriage arrangements over time and the demographics of people who choose to engage in them.

  15. Victoria Prager says:

    Your essay was very unique in it’s topic, structure, and theories, making it a very interesting read. The best part of your essay in my opinion was your take on functionalism. It was interesting how you both argued for functionalism fitting the concept of open marriage and against it. Your use of structural functionalism was also well done, and I particularly enjoyed your use of the example with Natalie. I however disagree that an open marriage would suit that couples particular needs. In my opinion, open marriages only work when both partners are participating in it, otherwise the result is usually jealousy or betrayal. As others have mentioned in the comments, it might end up being seen as an affair. For Natalie’s open marriage to be successful, her husband, who is said to work for long periods of time, would also have to have the opportunity to experience the open marriage. While I am not entirely persuaded into believing that an open marriage could ultimately yield a successful relationship, I do now understand more of the semantics behind entering into one.

  16. Dear Madison,
    I enjoyed this piece very much along with the substantial anthropological theories you used to prove your point. I believe monogamous relationships can work. Regarding your first paragraph, I am a little interested in the differences between the “traditional family” of the past like you discussed versus the “traditional family” of today. Most parents in today’s society have jobs. That means both the mother and the father work to support for the family due to the increase in money needed to support ones own family. How would this change the dynamic? If one parent is off with another party and the other has to work, then the needs of the children are unmet and would not be reaching their universal human needs. This is slightly addressed in the other paragraphs that you mentioned about one man one female relationships but when children are added it becomes much more complicated. The other paragraphs promote your idea very well and expand on the notion that a monogamous relationship may be very beneficial to both parties.

  17. Anna Bockhaus says:

    I enjoyed the unique way you analyzed and view open marriage. Not only did you bring up a new way of approaching the roles of an open marriage, you made me think about the phenomena in an altogether new way. The theories were applied very well and you seemed like you did your research and were very knowledgeable about the topic. Overall, I really enjoyed your essay and fresh take on the topic.

  18. This was a really interesting essay. I definitely would love to see open marriage viewed through both a practice theory lens and a Feminist lens. In terms of practice theory, it would be important to acknowledge the relationship between the social structure of marriage and how people actually act within their marriage. In this day and age, I believe it would be tough to publicly admit to be participating in an open marriage. Those couples that do decide to be more sexually open probably say they do one thing- remain faithful to their spouse- when in reality they are much more lenient in their social and sexual relationships. A feminist may take the stance that, because in many cultures men are more often permited to perform in premarital or extramarital sexual relationships, it is often the men who are pushing for open marriages. It would be interesting to survey couples who participate in open marriages and dig into the truth behind how each individual feels about that relationship.

  19. Mia Cupidro says:

    Cool topic to analyze for the family essay. I think a lot can be understood about the family unit by looking at “outlier” family structures and what it means to have an abnormal family and how that can define you as a person. I liked that you used an anecdotal example to support your structural functionalist argument and how that particular set-up between Natalie and her traveling husband paves the way to understanding how this type of relationship would come to be, and why it would make sense.
    What I am left wondering is what it would be like to be in a committed open relationship and what it would be like to be raised in a family where my parents were in an open relationship?

  20. Seaira Lee says:

    I too really enjoyed reading this essay! I thought it was very well written, it flows nicely from beginning to end. Not only was the topic open marriage in itself interesting, the way you analyzed and included the theories made it all that more interesting to me. Before reading this essay I had never thought about open marriage in this way however, after reading your analyze with the theories I see a different side to it. I especially thought it was creative how you used functionalism to both support and refute the argument for open marriage. In this way I felt that open marriage was analyzed in not just one view but in multiple. I admire how you challenged the stereotypical ideals of relationships and it would interesting to see what the feminist perspective would be on open marriage.

  21. Hayley Bibbiani says:

    This essay was very well written and extremely intriguing to read. There was a different form of writing to this essay than most other essays that I’ve read. You took theories and applied them to your topic, while mentioning the pros and cons of how they would connect. This essay made me look at open marriages through a new lens and I think it would make anyone who read this think more about this type of lifestyle. It might be interesting to see “Natalie’s” view on open marriages while using feminist anthropology to see how she would feel about it.

  22. Jona Block says:

    Really interesting paper! This idea has definitely been popping up more and more in the media, so it was nice to see some analysis of open marriage. The only thing I wonder is if you are confusing social norms with universals (specifically regarding the paragraph talking about functionalism). It seems that you are saying the goals reached by a traditional family are the same as their universal human needs.

  23. Garrett Owen says:

    First, great application of theories. From reading this,I get the very real sense that you understand the theoretical merits of both theories. Second, I really liked how you approached this subject. As others said, this is definitely a taboo in our culture, so it’s great that you addressed it! As a last note, your analyzing of the relationships of social structure and that of marriage was very interesting for me to read. I felt like you wrote and articulated what thoughts I personally had on the matter. Really enjoyed reading this.

  24. Emily Lane says:

    I found this essay to offer an interesting perspective on open marriage. In our American society, open marriage is possibly becoming more accepted and popular, but it still appears to be something rather taboo and unusual. I personally have nothing against it even if it’s not something I would choose for myself, so long as everyone involved in the relationship(s) is happy and consenting. If everyone was open about what they were looking for and what they’re comfortable with in a relationship, relationships and marriages would likely last longer and be more fulfilling. I also thought that the way you used the anthropological theories to analyze open marriages was pretty creative and insightful.

  25. Wyatt Svarczkopf says:

    I really liked your essay! You do a really good job of keeping your personal opinion out of it, and provide a solid anthropological view. The one main part that jumped out to me was when you were talking about structural functionalism, and said “… Would result in the couple staying together.” Do you really think that an open marriage relationship would be a healthy one? What if their partner had crippling anxiety and feared everything their partner did without them? Great essay again.

  26. Jason Dietrich says:

    Great essay! While open marriage is undoubtedly a strange concept for many to grasp, thinking about it through the anthropological lenses that you chose would likely help many understand why couples choose to enter into one. If aspects of a relationship make it so that certain needs are not being met, it makes since that some would look elsewhere for those specific needs. It would likely be difficult for many people to get over the inherent jealousy and other aspects, but it certainly can be done!

  27. Dylan Shannon says:

    Great post. Functionalism was a good choice for analyzing open marriages, and interesting hearing about how needs can still not be met in a traditional marriage, and therefore looking for additional partners. The example of the husband traveling was very helpful aswell for presenting an example where by no fault of anyone, the marriage was failing due to their needs not being met. Marriage is getting more and more progressive, and its interesting seeing examples as to why people are making the move towards more open marriages. I normally am against the idea of open marriages, but this essay really showed me a different perspective, and how for some couples open marriages are the best solution to ensure all their needs are being met.

  28. Nick Kelly says:

    Don’t know about this one. It doesn’t seem to be common throughout history. In fact, the most sexually open societies seem to be ones with a small population or lots of inbreeding, so open marriage can be seen as an anti-incest mechanism. Let’s look at a speculative society in which marriages were open.

    1) Safety. In such a society, anyone with an STD would quickly spread it as far as possible. Possibly one could use some kind of protection, but that’s not foolproof.

    2) Pregnancy. Again, protection isn’t failsafe. If a woman sleeps around enough, the odds are that she’ll become pregnant. She’ll presumably have a husband to help raise the child, but this leads to a third question.

    3) Paternal certainty. In humans, the male plays a fairly large role in raising the child. Now, the female does as well, but she knows that the child is hers. The male could very well be wasting his genetic/energy investment by caring for a child that isn’t his. This is speculated to be a reason for the emphasis on female purity in many cultures, and the demand for women to stay in the home/out of sight. In a society where a woman can sleep around while married, the male would have less interest/investment in his children, since it would be unlikely for them to be his.

    4) Relationship stability. If people can sleep with whoever they want even in marriage, then why get married? Tax benefits? You could say that they’d stay together to help raise children, but see #3. Since there’s no loyalty or sexual attachment, there’s no reason to get married in the first place. Also, the fact that one’s partner is sleeping with someone else would naturally make the other partner insecure. What’s the benefit of marriage in this society?

    So, how could this work, when looking at real-life societies?

    1) Youthful indiscretion. A young person could have multiple partners as an adolescent/young adult before finally settling down with a husband/wife.

    2) Double standard. There have been cultures where the male has much more license to sleep around than the female. This is probably because of paternal certainty, and the fact that the male’s investment is much smaller. He can afford to spread his genes as widely as possible. Even so, he will have a wife/wives.

    3) Incest. If there’s a lot of inbreeding going on in marriages, then it may be in the best interests of the offspring to sleep around, to minimize the chance of having a kid with your actual partner. For example, the native Hawaiians followed the Game of Thrones method of ensuring bloodline, often marrying brother to sister. Surprisingly enough, they had very loose sexual mores for both sexes. This also works if you have a small population that’s been isolated for years, which is why these little Pacific cultures (Trobriand Islanders, Polynesians) often have fairly relaxed attitudes toward sex.

    4) Homosexuality. Obviously, since there’s not much risk of breeding, homosexual relationships can be fairly open. For example, the Ancient Greeks could have several different gay relationships over the course of their lives. Young boys would often form relationships with older men, which would end once they began to grow body hair and otherwise become more masculine. There is still a risk of disease in this.

    5) Polygamy/polyandry. This has worked in many societies, especially when the husbands or wives are related to one another. However, it still isn’t an open relationship. In fact many societies with polygamy, such as certain Arab cultures, still have strict sexual mores.

    So, yes, we could certainly sleep with more people than we currently do. But open marriages becoming the new norm…I won’t hold my breath.

  29. Azabe says:

    This is a very interesting post and marriage/open marriage is a great way to understand functionalism. In the U.S. marriage is related to morality and loyalty because we live in a Christian dominated society, open marriage is deemed adulterous and lustful. Though divorce is common in the U.S., it is still somewhat stigmatized and for functional purposes open marriage could be a solution.

  30. Dillon Ragar (Rec. 13) says:

    This is a very interesting take on marriage! I liked that you considered open relationships to be a crack in a hegemony, relating it explicitly to the class. I think that this type of analysis is difficult because it depends on if marriage exists to perform an essential function, or simply because is part of our culture—an interesting question. Additionally, I think the your example was sexist; does Natalie have nothing to do but sit around bored and lonely waiting for a man to please her? Perhaps an open marriage is a successful strategy for some couples or cultures, but this does not seem to fit with American culture. I would think that if this was a better alternative to monogamy, it would have occurred during the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. Overall this was a good essay, and it certainly brings many good questions up. Nice job.

  31. Marissa Marino says:

    You did a really good job providing an unbiased view of this approach for your topic. This particular topic has been increasing in popularity especially due to the rise of Reality TV shows such as Sister Wives. It would be interesting to see what this would look like through a Feminist lens and looking at various cultures and how this plays out with gender. The rise of social media play an interesting factor on relationship nowadays.

  32. Alex Burden says:

    Fantastic essay! I feel like the main argument I’ve heard and thought about regarding open marriage has usually been “why not?”, a question of whether it’s permissible or not rather than if it’s productive. I’ve never really thought about how open marriage could actually meet needs and serve a definite function that standard monogamous marriage doesn’t address. I thought your use of functionalism (both seeing it through the functionalist lens, and then critiquing it) as well as structural functionalism were well-executed and struck very much at how open marriage works on a societal level.

    I think that the concept that open marriage is becoming the new normal is questionable, seeing as much of our culture’s values are still very much connected to the concept of a single-partner closed marriage (both on religious and secular grounds) which I doubt will drastically change in the near future. However, as your essay stated, open marriage certainly does seem to be gaining traction. There have of course been open marriage movements in the past (elements of the counter-culture movement of the 1960’s first comes to mind for me), yet this modern move towards open marriage seems far less radical or ‘trendy’ in a way that’s subject to fade quickly. Being more gradual and less ideological than past movements, perhaps it won’t become the new normal, but will slowly become more widespread and accepted.

  33. Patrick Torres says:

    I found this to be a very interesting interpretation of marriage in America, as open marriages are becoming more and more tolerated, with even some religions having it a part of their belief. My one question is, how does this process of polygamy relate to countries outside of the United States? This essay focused mostly on America, but seeing that anthropology is a global discipline, this makes me wonder what other cultures in the world tolerate or even encourage polygamy. Regardless, I found this essay to be very well written and it raised many questions.

  34. katemccort says:

    When I clicked on this blog I thought from the title that it would be something I disagreed with, but you make some solid points. The concept of marriage is most definitely changing because of the changing social media and the effects it has on the way people interact. I enjoyed reading the concepts you tied into the piece. It is interesting how people are finding new ways to satisfy needs with marriages and open marriages. I don’t know if an open marriage is a new normal, but it is definitely becoming more and more normalized.

  35. Chandler Bettis says:

    I really enjoy you take on open marriage and your choice of using functionalism to analyze it. It made it very interesting with talking about how the needs of the family are met and how it all functions differently. I really enjoyed how you brought up the different websites at the beginning and how it is becoming easier for people to be in an open marriage but I would argue this because I think that it isn’t making it more common but just making it more visible to others. These websites weren’t very common in the past but that doesn’t mean that open marriages weren’t.

  36. This is an interesting topic to talk about. I think the idea of marriage is a fascinating one, and especially monogamous marriage, because our society is so filled with sexual imagery and objectification that it seems almost impossible me to have a pure, one-on-one relationship with another person, let alone a relationship that’s supposed to last until death do people part. I liked your use of functionalism to explain that when needs are not being met, open marriage might be the solution for some couples. Not all, couples, obviously. But some. I’ve always thought of swingers as just being very (ahem) horny and over-the-top adventurous, but thinking of open marriages in the sense that there are universal basic needs that each person much have met, it gives me a new perspective on the whole idea. Swing on, people.

  37. Rebecca Goss says:

    I enjoyed how you analyzed traditional marriage and compared it to open marriage while defining both. Both Functionalism and Structural functionalism work well with your analysis. I believe that with the rising number of secular youth and adults, open marriages will be less taboo.

  38. Carissa Mann says:

    The topic of your essay was very intriguing to me. The idea of an open marriage has, for a very long time, been looked down upon; but as you wrote in your paper, the concept has become more and more accepted. By looking at this marriage structure with the lens of a functionalist, you bring to focus the idea that an open marriage allows for an outlet in which one of the spouses can receive the sexual pleasure they may not have been receiving within the marriage without compromising the marriage as a whole. This was an idea that I never would have thought of on my own and is in fact a very important factor that an open marriage addresses. While I see it still taking quite some time before open marriages are widely accepted without ridicule, the points in this essay seem to point to these marriages becoming more commonly accepted in the future.

  39. Thomas Bartlomiejczuk says:

    This was a well written paper and it’s a shame that the word limit for this assignment is so low, because I know that it is the one thing limiting your excellent-none-the-less paper. Your paper does a great job of analyzing Functionalism as a topic, and of showing how Structural Functionalism accounts for the change in relationships. The area I feel it is lacking in is in describing what it means to be an “open minded” individual and all that that entails. Also I feel that the analysis of how Functionalism relates to relationships could have been a bit more specific. There’s a lot of implied connections that are fairly clear, but it would have been nice to point out all of the ways in which a relationship can fulfill a basic need. But seeing how well you’ve done with the rest of this paper i’m sure you were aware of this, but were also aware of the word count. That being said you probably, for the word limit, cut corners where it was most fit to do so and achieved the best paper possible.

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