Graduation Date

Spring 2019

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Sociology

Committee Chair Name

Michihiro Clark Sugata

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Mary E. Virnoche

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



Consensual non-monogamy (CNM) is an umbrella term for any agreed-upon sexual or emotional non-exclusive relationship. This study looks at the challenges experienced by people practicing CNM in Humboldt County. I interviewed 12 people with insight into what it is like to live and love in multi-partnered relationships. The results suggest that jealousy, communication, and vulnerability were required to successfully navigate CNM and reimagine intimacy. Reimagining intimacy was contingent on rewriting the feeling rules associated with jealousy and all the underlying emotions that tend to be intricately woven into jealousy. These feelings are fear of abandonment, fear of inadequacy, anger, resentment, and sorrow. CNM discourse, polyamorous theory specifically, has developed a set of alternative feeling rules that have recrafted a different emotion world that situates jealousy as neither unbearable nor inevitable. Rather, my participants aimed to replace jealousy with compersion, a term coined by consensual non-monogamists used to describe the opposite of jealousy. The findings of this study speaks not only to CNM relational configurations, but to the complexity and nuances of opening up to others on a deeper, more vulnerable level.

Citation Style



Thesis/Project Location