Does Monogamy Work?


A thought-provoking exploration of monogamy’s benefits and limitations, and a look at the merits of other relationship models


ISBN: 9780500295694 Category:

Luke Brunning


Even with the current rise in awareness of sexual and intimate diversity, monogamous relationships remain the cultural norm. Most people aspire to it and the state encourages it, providing legal and financial benefits to married couples; however, statistics show adultery is commonplace, marriage rates are falling, and divorce figures are rising. Does Monogamy Work? – the twelfth book in The Big Idea series – traces the evolution and normalization of the monogamous ideal, questioning whether it is ‘natural’ or not, and surveying the spectrum of alternative relationship models that people are seeking out in a world of internet dating and scientific control over reproduction. It explores the emotional and psychological facets of ethical polyamorous relationships; questions whether these relationships benefit men disproportionately and whether they are compatible with raising children; and assesses the likelihood that diverse forms of multi-partner marriages and large friendship networks will become the norm in the future.

With over 150 colour images and incisive, engaging and authoritative text, this book examines society’s attachment to monogamy, evaluates its benefits and limitations, and asses the merits of polyamorous relationship models in our modern world.

Additional information

Weight 340 g
Dimensions 22.9 x 15.1 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 17 November 2020
Number of pages 144
Format Paperback / softback
Contributors Edited by Matthew Taylor
Dimensions 22.9 x 15.1 cm
Weight 340 g


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Luke Brunning is a philosopher of emotion, relationships, love and sex. Between 2015 and 2018 he was a British Academy junior research fellow at the University of Oxford and is currently a teaching fellow at the University of Birmingham, Department of Philosophy.