Open relationships are, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, becoming more and more common today, and certainly less stigmatised, with this being especially true amongst members of Generation ‘Z’ (people born between 1997 and 2012), and Millennials (people born between 1981 and 1996.)
Whereas in the past (and still today in some Muslim countries) people could receive nothing short of the death penalty for ‘going off’ with someone else (i.e., committing adultery), today it is becoming more and more common, accepted even, by members of our society. This is because the concept of open relationships is one that people are, pardon the pun, more ‘open’ to exploring, particularly women who feel greater liberation and empowerment regarding their right to explore their own sexuality.
Experiencing such liberation and empowerment has led more women to the freeing realisation that they are not ‘bound’ to one person for life. In other words, an increasing number of women, and men, are rejecting the concept of having one soulmate, with them instead being of the belief that people can have several ‘soulmates’ at various stages throughout their lives. This belief is echoed in the results of a BBC study conducted in 2019, a study that revealed how 66% of people in Gen Z accept that ‘not all relationships will be permanent’, and how, only one in ten say that they are ‘committed to being committed.’ Such statistics highlight our changing attitudes which see more women feeling empowered to change their partner(s) as their lives progress and they naturally change as people.
Something else that more and more women are feeling empowered by, is their right to reject the heteronormative narrative- a narrative that states that, as women, we must meet a man, get married, and have kids. This narrative is changing, both in terms of the ‘meeting a man’ part, and the ‘getting married’ and ‘having kids’ part.
The former- ‘meeting a man’ is changing- as more people are identifying as being sexually non-binary (this meaning that they are seeing past gender and a person’s anatomy when it comes to forming meaningful relationships.) This is not just a perception either, no, it is actually proven to be the case, as per a study conducted by the BBC in 2019. The study highlighted how only 65% of women identified as being heterosexual (solely attracted to men), with a large volume instead identifying as being heteroflexible (open to ‘experimenting.’) Like open relationships, this is yet another concept that would’ve been totally unheard of just 50 years ago (and again, like open relationships, it is something that is still illegal in some countries today.)
In terms of the latter part of that ‘heteronormative narrative’ I mention- ‘getting married’– this is something that is also changing, as the idea of a woman ‘giving themselves away’ to a man is seen as outdated by many people who believe it implies that they are in some way ‘owned’ by their partner (which, they’re quite obviously not, and never have been.)
Such changing attitudes as discussed above, (that being the increasing acceptance of open relationships, sexual fluidity and rejection of marriage amongst women), have largely come about due to women craving greater independence. Unlike in previous decades when women relied on men financially, something which essentially forced them into marriage, women of todays generation possess their own financial security, therefore they are not reliant on men to provide for them. This, combined with all of the other factors of the Feminist movement, contributes to the heightened sense of liberation and empowerment in women, something which sees them delaying getting married and having kids until they have established their career and feel secure in themselves.
It can be concluded then, that today we undoubtedly live in a much more accepting, ‘open minded’ society, a society in which I do not envy men as many women would’ve done in the past when equal rights were nothing more than a distant dream. I in fact love being a woman, and I am incredibly proud to be one and, of course, I am eternally grateful for all the women who came before me for getting us here. So, to all the women who came before me, I say;