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Fueled by frequent appearances of the O'Neills on television and in magazine articles, the redefinition entered popular consciousness, and "open marriage" became a synonym for sexually non-monogamous marriage.

In her 1977 book The Marriage Premise, Nena O'Neill advocated sexual fidelity in a chapter of that name.

Polyamory is consensual, multiple partner relationships in which both partners have agreed to engage in additional partners outside the marriage.

It is a form of consensual non-monogamy (open marriage).

Data collected from these kinds of open marriages may not generalize to other kinds of open relationships.

Studies and articles that interview individuals without taking their married status into account may not receive accurate information about the actual "open" status of the marriage. (Blumstein & Schwartz, 1983, page 287) Couples may have an open marriage in principle, but not engage in extramarital sex.

Blumstein and Schwartz asked more than 6,000 couples whether or not they had an understanding allowing sex outside their relationship. Studies that define open marriage by agreement alone will tend to report a higher incidence than studies that define open marriage by agreement and behavior.

Nena O'Neill and George O'Neill changed the meaning of the term with the 1972 publication of their book Open Marriage.

The O'Neills describe "open marriage" as a relationship in which each partner has room for personal growth and can individually develop outside friendships, rather than focus obsessively on their couplehood and their family unit (being "closed").

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