Effective population size (Ne) is important because it describes how evolutionary forces will affect a population. The effect of multiple sires per female on Ne has been the subject of some debate, at the crux of which is the effects of monandry and multiple-paternity (MP) on male variance in reproductive success. In both mating systems, females mate with several males over their lifetimes, but sire offspring with one male at a time in the former and have several sires per clutch in the latter. First, I theoretically show that whether the annual male variance in reproductive success in an MP population is greater or less than that of a monandrous population depends on the distributions of within-clutch paternity. Then, I simulated different distributions of within-clutch paternity under a range of parameters that characterize natural populations to show that an MP population can have an Ne smaller or larger than that of a monandrous population with otherwise equal dynamics. The Ne(MP):Ne(Monandry) ratio increased with mating frequency and female variance in reproductive success, was equalized by long generation times, and was affected by the distribution of within-clutch paternities. The results of this model provide a unifying framework for the debate.