I think that it’s clear that neither Schwarzenegger nor Weiner’s extra-martial affairs were issues of consensual non-monogamy. Both men had committed themselves to monogamous unions (at least is the eyes of the state and their chosen deity) and continued to have sexual relationships outside those unions while lying to their partners. Adultery in this sense is not consensual non-monogamy, because their partner’s were not consenting participants in this relationship style. Non-monogamy is an acknowledged and accepted desire to maintain more than one sexual and/or emotional relationship at one time. The consensual part means that all parties in a relationship acknowledge this desire and accept it, and make up their own relationship rules and boundaries to accommodate non-monogamy in a way that both are comfortable with.
[C]onsensual non-monogamy is one option that, for some relationships, can offer honest and committed partners the option to explore other sexual and emotional relationships while still remaining committed to their current partner. It certainly isn’t for everyone, and its true that there are many couples who are able to live very happily within a completely monogamous relationship. But consensual non-monogamy may offer some couples the opportunity to explore comfortably without the broken trust and betrayal that infidelity brings.
If you would like to learn more about consensual non-monogamy, check out Sex at Dawn, Opening Up (also available in our store!) and attend our next non-monogamy workshop on August 21. If you register for $25 you can register a friend or partner for $15 (follow us on twitter to receive regular updates on new workshops)