More Than 1 in 10 Canadians Want to Be in an Open Relationship

Open relationships are having a bit of a moment right now.

A recent study conducted by the University of B.C. and Ryerson University – about as liberal as they come – found that 12 per cent of Canadians want to be in an open relationship. Awkwardly, only 2.4 per cent were actually in an open relationship. Communication, people!

“The fact that there were more people who actually preferred an open relationship than were actually in one leads to some questions,” said lead author Nichole Fairbrother, who is an assistant professor of psychiatry at UBC. Indeed it does. She ponders, “What, if any, barriers are there for people in having that conversation (about nonmonogamy) or exploring the possibility in that relationship? Is it that they’re afraid that their partner might not be receptive and that that could really damage their relationship?”

Without having done much research on the matter myself, I can confidently say that the issue is probably exactly what Fairbrother hypothesized. Partner A wants to fool around with others, partner B does not want that, the partners have a fight that may last forever.

Now, it should be noted that there are different degrees of open relationships. There’s swinging, of course, which is when partners seek sex from people outside their twosome. Or polyamory, where there are relationships with others that also involve emotional swinging. You can also call it nonmonogamy. Or being from Utah.

Two-thousand Canadians were surveyed for the research. Given that only around 1 in 10 said they’re open for nonmonogamy, I assume they did not speak exclusively with first-years on campus.