An Open Discussion About Open Relationships

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Anyone who may know me IRL is well aware of the fact that I like to address topics that no one will discuss. Part of that is the innate trouble maker in me. I like to stir the pot. Ruffle people’s feathers. Pull them out of their comfort zone. Aside from my mischievous nature I feel as though it’s important to educate people about things and to encourage dialog.

With that being said, I decided to write about open relationships because–let’s be real– they do exist. And they are everywhere no matter how much people want to attest to the contrary.

Just so we’re clear an open relationship (polyamory) is a relationship in which the people involved agree that they are in a committed relationship, but romantic or sexual relationships with additional people are accepted and permitted. This also includes swinging and threesomes. The interesting thing about open relationships is that many narrow-minded people are dead set against them, and yet will accept sexually unfulfilled relationships or will tolerate/engage in cheating. Which leaves me asking, which is truly worse, an unhappy relationship filled with deceit or a non-traditional arrangement?

Here’s a revolutionary idea that may shock some people; It’s possible to separate sex from love. A person can love someone truly, madly, deeply and still have a desire to sleep with others. Here’s something else that may also throw folks for a loop, it’s totally possible to love more than one person at a time. When people are honest and communicate their desires and if all parties involved are agreeable then an open relationship can result. When people are dishonest or choose not to openly discuss what they truly want it typically leads to cheating.

I understand that we live in a sexually repressed society in which there are a lot of taboos about a lot of things. It’s expected that we maintain heterosexual monogamous relationships. But what about the couple who, after a few kids and several years of marriage, need to spice up their sex life? What about the bi-sexual individual who may really like someone enough to commit to them. Are they then expected to sacrifice the other half of their sexuality? Or the couple in a long distance relationship who may spend months apart without seeing each other.  Are they willing to forgo sex in the meantime? These are real situations. Situations that require those in them to think outside the box and look to an alternative non-traditional lifestyle , or risk being unhappy.

Polyamory has the potential to be successful as long everyone involved is open, mature, honest, and communicates. Those in the circle have to feel comfortable with everything that is going on and clear boundaries have to be established. I’ve personally known couples in happy healthy relationships who swing. I’ve known others to have regular threesomes without any issues. Ironically, a friend of mine’s marriage fell apart shortly after him and his wife stopped swinging. Why? Because he started cheating. Of course, things can go wrong if not handled correctly. Jealousy is natural. Feelings can catch. Things can get complicated. A person may be more into one person than the other. It happens. But it’s nothing more or less complicated than what happens in “traditional” relationships. Of course polyamory isn’t for everyone and I would never say that it is. It takes a certain type of individual to be able to successfully manage an open relationship.  If you know in your heart that it’s not for you, then it’s not for you. At the same time, I don’t think anyone should automatically rule it out due to some attachment to the idea of how things should be.

When I set out to write this post my intention was to do some research. Maybe offer some percentages on the number of people in polyamorous relationships. Possibly compare the success and/or failure of open relationships vs monogamous ones. I wanted to discuss facts, not opinions. Not surprisingly, there isn’t much research on this topic. And this is exactly why I wrote this post.It’s something worth exploring.

So…start exploring.

Do Open Marriages Work?

Committed In The Porn Industry

Sexually Open Marriages

Making An Open Relationship Work

Open Relationship Dos and Don’ts

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3 thoughts on “An Open Discussion About Open Relationships

  1. There are a handful of academic studies done on open relationships/marriages, but I doubt you’ll see a lot of mainstream articles with people willing to go on the record due to privacy issues.

    Two more books that folks should add to their reading list: The Ethical Slut and Sex At Dawn–the latter goes through the history of sexual evolution if you will.

    I recommend checking out Committed In The Porn Industry myself.

  2. It’s a scary thing to tackle, but I bet people could do it if they were truly self-confident. The thought of my man sleeping with someone else (especially since we’ve been dating for a couple years) is scary, but ultimately I do think I know he loves me and would do anything for me. What if the couple isn’t on a two-way street (i.e., one partner isn’t interested in other people)? Are they just lying to themselves? I find it impossible to believe that you can be attracted to solely one person the rest of your life. That doesn’t even make sense. It’s very complex! But I agree. But it’s complex!

  3. Statistically speaking marriages that are “open” have a longer survival rate because they usually have better communication skills.
    I feel if that is what you and your partner want to do so be it. However, my disagreement with your post comes in with people who are bisexual (I have my own opinion about that myself, but I’ll save that for later).
    It doesn’t matter if you are straight, gay, bi, or transgendered. If you are not in an open relationship then you need to be committed to that ONE person!
    If you are Bi and decide that you want to pursue a relationship with a man, then yes you need to give up fucking women. If that is what you decide.

    But if you agree to an open relationship, then you do you.
    Open relationships, polygamy…it works if you work it.
    Hell polygamy…I kinda agree with it because, I think it give a good family structure…But that another topic for another day.

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