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Jasmijn
Schoonen

Untangling Monogamy

Project details

Year
2022
Programme
Illustration
Practices
Social
Minor
Hogeschool Utrecht, Beyond Borders: What It Means to Be a Global Citizen

When I was young I was told by my parents: “Someday you will meet a person with whom you will fall in love with. If you really love this person you will get married, have children – if you are lucky – and grow old together”. Ever since I was a young teenager I struggled with the idea of a monogamous marriage and told my parents I could not imagine spending my whole romantic and sexual life with only one person. “How could there be one person that would fulfil all my needs for the rest of my life, needs that will constantly change?”

Nominee Drempelprijs Social Practices

Monogamy, meaning the practice of having only one sexual partner at a time as well as the custom of being married to only one person at a time, is perceived to be the ideal romantic relationship in contemporary Western society. Although it is the norm, it is also scourged by contradictions. With monogamy comes expectations, assumptions and myths, for example ‘monogamy is natural to humans’, or ‘monogamy is the ideal family structure for the upbringing of kids’. Or even ‘monogamy is the cure for jealousy’. When diving into research on the origin of human sexuality throughout history, we can see how monogamy has been socially imposed in Western society. It is safe to say that human beings may not naturally be monogamous creatures but have adapted the abilities to maintain monogamous relationships.

Untangling Monogamy: a conversation tool to open up your relationship

Untangling Monogamy was born out of curiosity for the unknown and unfamiliar; why is monogamy the norm even if it is not in our nature?; what else is there and how does it work?. To answer these questions I first wrote an essay in which I debunked four myths about monogamy in contemporary Western society by showing how they have been historically constructed and provide new perspectives. Whilst writing the essay I held interviews with multiple people from non-monogamous relationships to get an insight on relationships that differ from monogamy. I also presented them with statements about monogamy to gain new perspectives, which I used in the essay. The discussions I had with people from CNM relationships, the books, researches and articles I have read to write this essay allowed me to question my own relationships, find my own boundaries and articulate my own needs. And eventually  led to the final practice project: Untangling Monogamy – The Conversation Tool.

‘Untangling Monogamy’ is a conversation tool made for monogamous couples who are interested in opening up their relationship in any kind of way. As well as for individuals who want to challenge their notions and customs towards relationships. The spectrum of non-monogamy is broad, opening up can mean emotionally, sexually, romantically, and more. For example dating multiple persons at the same time, including more partners into your relationship or the freedom to have sex with others outside of your primary relationship. Created together with people who have non-monogamous relationships, ‘Untangling Monogamy’ helps people to question their own beliefs and customs, shape their boundaries and articulate their needs.

 

 

Untangling Monogamy will be available to buy at the Graduation Show Store from 13 to 17 July 2022!