More Sex with More People: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Open Relationships.

Via Krystal Baugher
on Sep 9, 2010
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Bonus, via The Onion: “Open Relationship Gives Couple Freedom To Emotionally Drain Other People From Time To Time

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In what way does being intimate with multiple people interfere with our personal daily functioning?

Update: How More Sex with More People was Good, then Bad, then Ugly.

Throughout working on my Master’s in Women and Gender Studies I’ve had conflicting issues with the basis of monogamy, specifically marriage and all of its patriarchal glory.

If even close to 50% of marriages end in divorce, why are people still getting married?

If one of the root causes of divorce is infidelity, why aren’t we working on concepts outside of monogamy?

Lately I’ve been exploring ideas of what it would be like to have an open relationship. Mainly I’ve been debating the good and bad of polyamory—poly meaning more than one; amory meaning love—together, meaning to love more than one at a time.

Because I live mostly in a theoretical world in which polyamory and open relationships work on paper, I thought I’d go through what makes me hesitant and excited about opening up my existent four-year (and counting) relationship and what it would be like to give this outside-the-norm style of love a try.

More Sex

The Good—Ahhh…More Sex.

Whether with one or more partners sex can benefit people in multiple ways, including stress relief, cardiovascular health, better sleep, and perhaps even enlightenment, just to name a few. Also, sexual exploration can help with a lack of stagnation; as most people who have been in long-term relationships can attest, we all go through peaks and valleys, ebbs and flows.

The Bad—Time.

Having sex all the time really puts a damper on doing much of anything else. If I chose to open my relationship and I met new, interesting people who I wanted to spend time with, well, I’d have to own a pretty badass planner to fit everyone in. And right now, it seems difficult to have enough time for just one other person.

The Ugly—Slutopia and STD’s.

The majority of our population doesn’t really find non-monogamy appropriate no matter its label (open relationship, polyamory, etc.) these people generally seem to think that those who are open are promiscuous amoral sluts with STDs. But, there is a right way to be a proper ethical slut, (and even a guide book for those who want more info); part of it includes always using protection and not screwing every person you meet. People who are out doing everyone without protection have low self-esteem and a death wish.

The other problem I could encounter is that some monogamous people may look at me as a threat—a loose cannon who could blow up their existing relationship by trying to get closer to one of them. I am not a sex tornado, I respect other people’s limits and choices, so I find this concept quite frustrating as no one person is attracted to every other person in existence.

We all have our standards. I for one am not generally attracted to the mountain dew drinker, the renaissance fair attendee, the anime watcher, or the peace-pipe smoking hippie but those types seem to be the majority of poly-people who have “come out;” that, or they’re old. I guess if I do it I’ll need to start looking harder.

More People

The Good—More Fulfilling Relationships Overall.

Sometimes when people are in relationships they will put a barrier around said relationship so as to not cross over the intimacy line with other people. This can cause an inability to make more fulfilling longer lasting friendships (or more-than friendships) due to the fact that one person in a monogamous relationship doesn’t want to hurt the other by connecting closely to someone else.

The most exciting part of the polyamory concept to me is the ability to have no fear when meeting new people. I can go for it completely. I can get as deep with another as I want without feeling I am crossing over into the “danger zone.” Partly it’s because I’m already with someone, and thus in a way, I always have backup in case of rejection and I always have a support system if something (or someone) becomes dysfunctional.

The Bad—Jealousy.

I’ve always been the sort of narcissistic egomaniac that finds it okay for me to do something, but completely ridiculous and rude if someone else does the same thing, for example I can flirt, but my boyfriend better not. And here in lies the major problem. However, I am working on getting past that—as jealousy is not an innate reaction to a lover loving someone else but is more of a socially developed dilemma. I was reading an autobiography of the beat poet Diane De Prima and in it she told the story of her girlfriend coming home late, crying profusely, and confessing her “sin” of cheating. De Prima was confused. She said she didn’t understand why she should be upset that someone she loved shared an intimate moment with someone else; it in no way hurt her. Something about that story really clicked with me. In what way does being intimate with multiple people interfere with our personal daily functioning?

The Ugly—Loneliness.

How can a person be alone in a non-monogamous polyamorous open relationship? Well, probably pretty easily if one’s partner goes on a date with someone else and leaves said person to fend for herself for the night. The book The Ethical Slut lists plenty of things one can do to “treat” oneself.

It also suggests we make lists such as 10 ways to be Kind to Yourself and 15 Reasons He’s Lucky/15 Reasons You’re Lucky. Don’t get me wrong, I love making lists, but am I really going to remember to read my list when the dreaded loneliness starts looming? Or am I going to reach for a bottle of wine and pour my soul into an existential crisis where I question every decision I’ve ever made? And that is where it gets ugly. No one wants to go there. That is where egotistical narcissism would come in handy, or at least some high self-esteem and a bit more confidence than the average bear.

More Rules

The Good—Better Communication.

The best suited people for any arrangement of non-monogamy are Type A’s, who love planning and scheduling and being on top of it all. Because that’s what it takes. It seems like participating in this type of relationship would improve communication skills because people would first need to set boundaries and discuss what they want in relationships in general and specifically. And they would need to be completely honest at all times in regards to everyone’s boundaries.

If, for example, I didn’t want other people in my bed, there better never be anyone else in my bed. If he wanted me to give 24 hour warning I better give a day’s warning. Monogamous couples don’t have as many rules, basically, don’t touch anyone else in any way (mentally, spiritually, physically etc.) and it will be fine. I’m not sure if that is the best way to have a relationship for every person on the planet.

The Bad— Breaking the Rules.

Obviously humans are not perfect and though we all try to abide by our own ethical standards sometimes we slip. When this happens it can be emotionally painful both for the person admitting they broke the rules and for the person hearing the news. We are adults and we need to be responsible for our own actions and reactions. Some situations can be forgiven and some just may not be, that is all dependent on individual standards. I personally, do not know how forgiving I can be but at the same time I don’t want to find out.

The Ugly— Breaking Up.

An observation I’ve noticed about married couples is that they often don’t talk to each other, about anything. There is a security in knowing that the other one is always going to come home, but there is also a monotonousness to it that seems utterly depressing.  What appears to be missing over time, when the bore begins to occur, is a deeper understanding of oneself through the connection with another human being—a cut off, an invisibility, a routine with no positivity.

The worst thing that could happen if we decided to try out this whole polyamory thing is that we’d break up and move on—but it seems like a worthy risk. One that could lead to a more fulfilling life overall. Or one that could at least give me a good story to write about when I’m 50 and reflecting on my youthful ideology, my idealism, my inability to conform to the conventional relationship standards of our day.

I will never know unless I try and I still cannot decide…

[Update: Read How More Sex with More People was Good, then Bad, then Ugly.]




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About Krystal Baugher

Krystal Baugher lives in Denver. She earned her MA in Writing and Publishing and her MA in Women and Gender Studies from DePaul University/Chicago. She is the creator of Mile High Mating, a website dedicated to helping people "do it" in Denver and beyond. You can find her on facebook and twitter (as long as you aren’t a stalker).

Comments

114 Responses to “More Sex with More People: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of Open Relationships.”

  1. integralhack says:

    It would be interesting to have your boyfriend and his fiancee comment as well, Liz. Sounds like a great and rare relationship you have going there.

  2. Mike O'Brien says:

    Liz, the article itself makes this point: “We all have our standards. I for one am not generally attracted to the mountain dew drinker, the renaissance fair attendee, the anime watcher, or the peace-pipe smoking hippie but those types seem to be the majority of poly-people who have “come out;” that, or they’re old.” As an older person, I hear her saying this is something for the young, and I hear “enjoy your youth” as meaning “while you have it, because when you’re older you won’t be sexually attractive”.

  3. Anonymous says:

    "I will never know unless I try and I still cannot decide…"

    I'll decide for you. If you don't have kids, give it a try. If you DO have kids, forget about it.

  4. Dace says:

    More people means more waste of energy, precious and divine energy that can be used to do great things on the earth. More people sounds like a lot of dramas and inner confusion and loss of harmony.
    One person is enough to live life in joy and truly be, rather than be just a slave for own desires and inner mess.
    At least I have not seen any person who manages multiple affairs/relationships and simply shines in life and can be truly inspiring to others, to be the light fro yourself and others, one must be conscious about the energy one creates or wastes or pollutes.

  5. I’ll immediately clutch your rss as I can not in finding your e-mail subscription link or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please allow me realize so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  6. Alex says:

    Shallow? How is this shallow?

  7. […] More than a year ago, I wrote “More Sex with More People: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of Open Relationships.” […]

  8. nic says:

    I'm sorry your thoughts are EXACTLY the problem with our society…we no longer believe in sticking to our partners through GOOD and BAD, thick and thin etc. Our grandparents generations never even dreamed about leaving their spouses (well I'm sure the did, but they certainly did NOT act on it). The real problem is that we have come to expect thrilling, exciting lives 24/7. we are no longer content with the mundane routine of long term relationships and /or marriage. We have come to think "if it is broke (or boring, or annoying etc) then we throw in the towel." I feel that we have lost our fighting spirit…it has become so socially acceptable to get divorced that people do not think twice about ending their GOOD relationships. I feel that it is the responsibility of the people ion their 20's and 30's to turn things back to giving marriage a fighting chance. In my opinion swinging or any other form of multiple sex partners within a relationship is selfish and will add stress etc to the relationship. Boo

  9. Laura Kay says:

    More more info read "The Ethical Slut" http://www.amazon.com/The-Ethical-Slut-Relationsh… Enjoy!

  10. archaeolady says:

    Yeah, way to go fellow DePaul alumn! 🙂

  11. Ijustwantedtoknow says:

    I often wonder if polyamorous people just need to wait a little longer before finding a person that meets all of their needs? The next question would be then, is there such a person? ( one that fits all of their needs). I also wonder if people turn to polyamory because they did marry someone who matched up with their needs at the time but then as they grew together, they actually just grew apart? People get so comfortable with being unhappy so they force themselves to stay married because of whatever reason besides "because she/he makes me happy." In that case polyamory would seem like a good idea as it would give someone the chance to continue filling other needs without letting go of the comfort they have achieved with the first partner. Now in the event that it sounds like I am implying that poly amorous people are polyamorus because they are lacking something, I'd like to understand then..if one has every need met with one person, why then does an intimate relationship need to develop with more people? Is it because of "sexual freedom?" if so, then why not date until satisfied? I wish to not be too critical of the idea of polyamory, I simply struggle to understand it. I enjoy meeting people who are and I enjoy being able to ask questions so that I may gain new insights. Thanks for writing this article.

  12. […] new friend Rebecca Ingalls, of Drexel University, let me know about this piece, “More Sex with More People.” Thanks, Rebecca! Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  13. black iris says:

    "An observation I’ve noticed about married couples is that they often don’t talk to each other, about anything. There is a security in knowing that the other one is always going to come home, but there is also a monotonousness to it that seems utterly depressing. What appears to be missing over time, when the bore begins to occur, is a deeper understanding of oneself through the connection with another human being—a cut off, an invisibility, a routine with no positivity."

    Well, if you're concerned that you're not talking enough to your partner after a while, you can work on talking to them more and about deeper things. There are plenty of subjects to talk about besides whether they can bring their sex partners home or listen to your favorite songs with them. (Sexual fantasies might be one to consider.)

    But I really want to defend long-term bonding with one special person here. It is precisely through being with the same person over time that you get a deeper understanding of yourself. They know your flaws. You know theirs. Can you grow and change? Can you do something to make your relationship deeper? Can you move beyond boredom/change your routines? Can you stick around when the going gets tough (sickness, lack of money, sleepless nights)? Changing partners is the easy way out – the way to avoid facing yourself and growing.

    And in this context, adding romantic partners for variety sounds like it might be a way to avoid dealing with boredom or problems in a relationship. That isn't a good reason to open a relationship, in my opinion.

  14. Black Iris says:

    A few thoughts from a devoted monogamist:

    on sex –

    Polyamory could lead to less sex if your partner gets busy elsewhere and you don't.

    For many people, sex with someone you don't love and trust isn't as physically satisfying. Finding a good partner takes a fair amount of time and energy. I'd rather put that into the sex in the relationship that I have.

    The STDs are the dealbreaker for me, though. Why risk that at all? Can you trust your partner to be good every single time ever?

  15. black iris says:

    on more people –

    You can have friendships outside your relationship and be sexually monogamous. In some ways it can make it easier to do this. You have a defined boundary – no sex – so you can relax and enjoy doing other things and not get bent out of shape with jealousy.

    I think jealousy is just part of our human nature and not something we should feel guilty for and try to rise above. It's how things are. If you leave your partner alone and go off to have a romance, your partner will probably feel lonely and insecure. That doesn't mean they're weak. Some people don't feel that way, but most do and we don't need to feel bad for that anymore than we should feel bad for wanting sex.

  16. black iris says:

    on more rules –

    This is actually one thing about polyamory that I just don't get. Why would you want to fill your life with more rules and more discussions of feelings? It's not like you don't have enough of that already in any relationship.

    And if you're going to have rules anyway, you can still betray each other, lose trust, be unfaithful and break up. How different is it from sexual monogamy? It's just drawing the boundary lines in a different place – you have to love me the most, but you can have sex with someone else. It's a strange mixture of monogamy – one primary partner and non-monogamy – sleep with other people and hope you don't care about them too much.

    Full, 100% polyamory would, I think be more like being single – two independent people who live their own lives and may or may not come back to each other.

  17. black iris says:

    So if you're okay with breaking up if you try it, it could be a learning experience. Something you'll look back on someday and say, yes, I know for sure that monogamy is what works for me because I tried the other and it didn't work. Just don't beat yourself or your partner over the head trying to fit into doing something that doesn't work if it goes wrong.

    On the other hand, if I were your partner, I think I would be concerned that the idea that you might break up didn't upset you. Why be together?

  18. Rose says:

    I cant stand the way sexual ADD is glorified in our postmodern culture. Promiscuity is immature, unspiritual, hurtful and messy. People are too lazy to work on themselves and their relationship, preferring to act out in avoidance. Totally un yogic, especially as having multiple male partners trashes your aura if you're a woman (yogi bhajan.) My soul cries if I share my body with a man and there is no follow up. As for STDs, condoms don't offer protection for everything, HPV can be caught even with condoms. YUK YUK YUK!! The only safe sex is monogamy or abstinence.

  19. guest says:

    you sound very confused. Please feel what is there inside yourself.

  20. KT says:

    Well i can tell from experience, it's all good and fun in the beginning, but NO relationship go through it unharmed, i'm currently getting divorced and we started out soft swinging and then moved to a open relationship, sex was non existent in our marriage and we used the 'open-ness' of our relationship to have sex with others, you end up having NO respect for one another and it becomes a selfish game, only for you to gain , vica versa . . I would personally NEVER enter another relationship with these thoughts, it can only end in a bad way, if you love your partner and they love you, THIS should not even come up. If your partner or you brings this subject up, you already failed in the relationship, it might take days, months, years, even as long as 10 or 20 years . . but it will end, unless one of you stays the lesser in the relationship and just accepts the fate
    🙁

  21. Ivo says:

    Thank you, well said, and said by an expert no less.

  22. […] Why weren’t people seeing that this connection is natural and inevitable. Since the fourth century Plato has discussed human societal bonding. We are mammals and we bond with one another through touch. When we have a sexual relationship this creates a coupling—like it or not—for everyone involved. […]

  23. Love says:

    You summed up everything that's important to an individual's well-being! Health, Sense of Belongingness to oneself and to significant others, Well-being of Child from Conception. While it's mentally exhilarating to intelligently discuss our "ideals", it is by no means a match to dealing with reality :

    1. More pursuit of physically risky behavior leads to more chances of lifelong illhealth.

    2. Less emotional risks in polyamory="back oven" system. If everyone is a back oven, Who do you belong to? when you don't even belong to yourself since knowing one's self takes time being with yourself and not with every other person you're "emotionally feel connected" to.
    The emotional risk involved in monogamous relationships is a threat to security and confidence, that's why it's only for the brave. But pure monogamous love also rewards the greatest gifts of the same.

    3. Distracted mothering to the child one chooses to bear –> babies sense anxiety and instability and lack of belongingness from the womb. No woman is a perfect divine woman who will never go through much emotional turbulence while not knowing who's DNA is in her child. Yeah, a mother can meditate to nirvana all through the infancy and toddlerhood of a child, tell us about it…
    Monogamous single mothers who were left by their cheating boyfriends are even much better off, I think, since they know what to tell their kids and themselves. Especially when they start dating "suspect siblings" they may or may not know about but may possibly be too polyamorous to listen to anxious mom.

    Does this all look like these are great paths to self-fulfilment? Am I always creating a great debate within myself through this whole thing? Am I always seeking "idealogies and theories" to pacify and justify my restless soul? Is this counter-intuitive to my spiritual quest if I'm polyamorous, "ethical", of course? Am I at peace knowing I am hurting some people involved in polyamory? Am I at peace knowing I'm potentially spreading diseases?

    No. Yes. Yes. Maybe. No. No.

  24. Love says:

    Jealousy is a human flaw. It come be overcame by spirituality, but for as long as you're in human form, it's NATURE.

  25. […] of relationship types. The Democratic Party has recently added same-sex marriage to their platform. Polyamory, the concept of multiple loving relationships, is emerging in western states including Utah. I find […]

  26. Open SB says:

    I really like this article. It's well thought out and from perspective, a very balanced view. In my own pursuit of an open relationship with my wife of 12 years, I have spent much time researching the differences, the boundaries, the do's and don'ts and what to anticipate from both a positive and negative perspective.
    I like that you have approached this sometimes touchy subject, from all the angles. You haven't indicated whether you are pro open or against it. From my perspective, it's very well balanced.

  27. Carrie Tyler says:

    Fantastic article. Way to put it all out there and open up this discussion.

  28. Wary says:

    Ugh.. being “anime watcher” it’s sad for me to see this kind of prejudice but otherwise good article.

    People need more quality communication and if polyamory promotes it then it should be supported for development of society.

    The first real concern is that it’s evidently inefficient dissipation of valuable personal resources to try and love several partners in a long-term relationship because all of those partners have their own “worlds” that are often hard to manage or attune to.

    And also it’s worth to mention that protection is a very good thing but doesn’t guarantee 100% prevention of sexual- or skin-transmitted diseases (and more so if they’re used incorrectly). And sometimes it’s perceivably better to have a partner that have almost 0% potential chance of getting those than partner with ~1-2% possibility.

  29. judithlaw says:

    I agree with cosette that jealousy is pretty natural and unavoidable. It's one of our emotions, even my puppy get jealous over me and my boyfriend, when we get close.

    Anyway, here's another interesting case studies of single men. If you never got laid, this probably should give you some news. Here it is: http://flirtinc.org/?ref=more-sex&read=single…?

  30. Zen says:

    Bravo, Black Iris. This article shows an incredibly naive view of relationships and human nature. If someone can't find peace in a good, stable relationship, maybe it is time to explore why, and use the relationship as a tool to grow. Going deep (inside yourself), not wide.

  31. addy says:

    Any time we turn to other people for stimulation out of our boredom or ruts, whether it be a spouse or a mistress, we are bypassing a huge opportunity to connect with our Self. Most affairs and even most relationships begin as projections of lost aspects of our Selves. There is a difference between a relationship and conscious relationship. I think many who are navigating open relationships with good communication think of themselves as being quite conscious, just as many who go through communicative divorces do, but it is so rarely the case. If you're feeling antsy, look within and get yourself a good Jungian therapist. You're boredom will be immediately alleviated and you will start to learn what deep connection really is. Oh yeah, and maturity. Its a really wild ride that can actually lead to real fulfillment.

  32. […] Tell him that you want to start seeing other men, preferably men in your […]

  33. […] probably have made a great harem wife in another era because at some level, I was only too happy to share the sex […]

  34. […] It was about this time that I began an open relationship with a man who had long practiced polyamory… […]

  35. Daniel says:

    Honestly, long-term success in any relationship without breakup or codependency is a rarity in our culture because we have atomized and commidified human interaction. You will not solve this with an alternative sexuality – at least, not exclusively. That’s a problem we need to look at directly: we are programmed to be restless and discontent by consumer culture, and we need to stop letting our relationships be ruled by momentary novelty and acquisition.

    That said, having been quite exposed to several styles of relationship, I feel best being monogamous because one really deep intimate relationship really does involve a lot of time and communication and challenge. Or, quoth the article: “it seems difficult to have enough time for just one other person.” I want a full life outside of the bedroom too, and these open relationship styles, even with their best foot forward, have a lot of overhead. I have seen some of the most outspoken advocates of polyamory in my circles, drop it like it’s hot. I think it’s a good idea to come to a place where you give someone your all, not because of a church ritual, not because of codependency, but because it’s good for you both.

    I am eager to see more conversation coming from genuinely loving and respecting ourselves and our partners over time. That’s a feature of character development. You’re not going to get it automatically by being fashionably alternative – or not. That’s just avoiding the real issue, that is, being able to love and grow in all the areas of our life in each other’s company.

  36. @Kokitsuneko says:

    It just depends on yourself. Whatever you want and makes you happy, is what you want. Go ahead and find people who have similar ideas and similar feelings as you do. If you find a partner who loves you for who you are and you are happy about it, great! If you find a partner who is an open relationship with you and that's what you want without emotional commitment, that's great! It's all about finding the right people and people who will make you happy and/or satisfied.

    For me, if I was to go into an open relationship, I would only hope that my emotions would never get in the way and rather, my sexual primitive instincts would just make me have a fun time and enjoy it :p

    On the other hand, I don't think I would be up for that. I would feel so much better being in a loving and committed relationship where we trust each other and are honest with each other. . . . and we sexually satisfy each other as well :p that's all I need.

    besides, being in other relationships takes time (and money), ugh.

  37. cathartictongue says:

    I really enjoyed reading your comment. I agree with you that poly seems to be a way to avoid the self and others, to skim the surface of relationships. It is non-committal and "easier" not to deal with the deeper sides of life and emotions. I have observed a handful of people in poly relationships and to-date I haven't heard of anything positive, although I try to keep an open mind. Most end badly. I think it could be possible if we lived in a culture with higher emotional intelligence, but sadly this isn't true for many people.

    For myself, I will always be mono. That is how I am wired. I think of each person as a separate universe and were one to come along and sweep me off my feet, I'd want to spend the rest of my life not only getting to know him, but also getting to know how we grow and change together.

    I went through a lot of co-dependent relationships, experienced a lot of emotional and verbal abuse in my past. It was great reading what you wrote because it gave me more ideas for standards I should be upholding myself as well as looking for in another.

  38. Sarah says:

    You forgot to talk about LOVE. I'm not sure how you define amory, but LOVE is what most people in relationships share.
    I'm not on board with this, sorry. To each is own, but if one of you winds up pregnant or diseased, I don't think your situation is going to stay the same, unless you plan on polyparenting, and polyhospitalization, and polyregret. How is your job's health plan going to cover your additional partner's children or cover the expense of their labor in the hospital if they can't cover it yourself? Jealousy is another one of my main issues here I personally would never get past. I will never be happy that my husband found attention in another partner because I'm busy at work and can't meet his needs. I'd rather he watch porn than share what we share with others, because our bond has value and is sacred, not to be just handed out to anyone who can fill the position of now. There are successful couples, there's another 50% you forgot to mention here who would find polyamory really devastating to a relationship.
    End point: hearts get involved in intimacy. One person is going to be more connected with another, someone is going to be left out.

  39. lisabarbero says:

    Maybe this would work in a world of Buddhas sprinkled with Bodhisattvas where everyone had released attachment and ego. Wait… ego is the whole reason someone came up with polyamory in the first place. Nevermind. BTW, freely, equally, and deeply loving another human being and serving that love forever, always, and unconditionally doesn't have anything to do with Patriarchal concepts of marriage. In fact, it's the exact opposite.

  40. Mrs.EW says:

    Well said, I just wanted to second your opinion. I am also a relationship professional & I have seen this as well. The most successful marriages/partnerships are the ones where each person is exploring themselves and the world side-by-side with their partner who is doing the same thing. With love, compassion and stellar communication – this can be one heck of juicy fulfilling way to travel through life.
    That being said, there are millions of ways to do this, and not every open or polygamous relationship works. I coach traditional as well as open marriages. The quality of the marriage/partnership is never about the sex (or any other outside circumstance) it always rests in each partners ability to explore themselves, love themselves, and make choices that aren’t based on fear, assumptions, interpretations, or limiting beliefs.
    Sex, open or not, is just one piece of the puzzle to create an extraordinary marriage/partnership.

  41. Rcherie says:

    Okay, “The Ethical Slut” was a great book, I first read it back in 2003 & it’s still on my bookshelf, next to The Kama Sutra & The Collection of Marquis de Sade.

    Before reading the ethical slut, I had already been practicing polyamory & it felt great to hear like-minded people who had their Ph.d’s which legitimatized the ideology.

    I am that Type A personality & this lifestyle worked very well for me — I had literally never tried a monogamous relationship until 2007. That was my marriage — two sluts who fell in love (monogamy just happened! Once we slept with each other, We stopped having sex with others). (I still had another boy I was dating at the time, which I ended soon after sleeping with that person who became my spouse).

    That marriage lasted 6 years & we never experienced issues in keeping our monogamy. Of course there were ppl we ran into whom we wanted to sleep with, but it was easy not to – ‘been there, done that’ sorta thing. The hardest thing was how much physical contact & overall connection that I cut off with all other human beings — almost opposite of the free creature I used to be. I was way too cautious about being near people, or even hugging them!

    That’s a short background of my personal experience – educated moral slut turned monogamous normal.

    That being said, I would never recommend a couple to ‘Open’ up their relationship. That just seems to me… Risky. Because it would be up & changing your already defined relationship.

    I don’t think that your interest in opening up your relationship lessens the seriousness you have for the relationship you have with your significant other — & as long as both of you are emotionally mature (or at least practice awareness & communication), then you both deciding to open up the relationship is fine and does certainly have the possibility of enriching your lives while still keeping intact. Just make sure the risk is discussed & that whenever one of u feels uneasy , to just talk with the other person.

    It all comes down to personal preferences. I fully & thoroughly enjoyed my promiscuous lifestyle and then also I was very pleased with monogamy. I prefer having just ONE partner, it feels more special. But I loved being a slut & don’t think my sexuality would’ve ever ‘settled’ down without my wild experiences.

  42. Neiva says:

    i wish i learn not to get jealous, but thru that journey of learning, i discovered that i need to learn building self confident and learn to be more open minded before i can learn overcoming jealousy.
    it's still a struggle to me.

  43. Tilley says:

    Yeah, but this is an issue that applies to all casual sex, not just nonmonogamous relationships.

  44. lisab says:

    I find the image at the very top of this article to be very offensive. Not because of big bare butts… but because that man is clearly being tortured.

  45. anonymous says:

    Am I the only one that feels bad for the partner of 4yrs after this comment "Partly it’s because I’m already with someone, and thus in a way, I always have backup in case of rejection and I always have a support system if something (or someone) becomes dysfunctional." ? The twice mentioned narcissism seems to sum up the vibe of this article pretty well. Some inner work may lead to far more rewards than seeking external gratification in the bed of another. I think we all know that inglorious road.

  46. Anonimle says:

    You hit all the points right on the head. I was in a poly quad for four years . Not only were there four of us but my boyfriend had another woman also.
    She was a swinger with her husband for a long time before they broke up and being poly was a huge issue for her due to her jealousy of me. Our girlfriend just has left the three of us when she decided it wasn't for her. She wants the fairy tale ONE.
    I had lots of jealousy early on but decided that if I wanted to be in my boyfriends life I had to let him be who he is , warts and all.
    I think that is the only way any relationship will work. If you want to change someone or demand they change for you you might as well,save yourself and your loved ones the pain of holding on to a fantasy . After of a year of not being loved for who I was and unreasonable demands on my loved ones , we ( a newly formed triad , are aware of what we want in a poly mate and are excited to see where our new adventure takes us.
    As for the other two females I wish them luck finding the ONE . I have found my two and I love both of them completely and love being poly. Good luck on your quest . It is possible !

  47. Joyce says:

    Have multiple partners if you want. Just don't expect it to make you happy. The fact is, a deeply fulfilling and satisfying relationship (on every level, in every way) whether with one partner or many, is possible only if you and your partner(s) possess the qualities necessary to make it happen. And if you don't have what it takes, it won't happen…whether you're with one person or a thousand. So rather than looking outside of yourself and your current relationship for the ultimate relationship experience, your time would be better spent contemplating how you show up in your current relationship. Here's a start…

    How comfortable are you with your emotions? With your partner's emotions? How comfortable is your partner with his own emotions and with yours?

    Have you ever felt completely exposed and vulnerable in your relationship? Has your partner? Could you do it or was it too difficult?

    How deeply do you connect to your partner on an emotional level?

    Do you struggle communicating your thoughts, feelings, desires, needs? How well can your partner communicate those things?

    Can you take feedback? Can your partner take feedback? Or is there defensiveness and an inability to look at the issues?

    Is your partner's happiness as important to you as your own? And vice versa?

    Are you dedicated…really dedicated to being true, honest and real in the relationship? Is your partner?

    My point is, if you really want to go as deep as you possibly can with one partner or many, chances are there are many things you'll need to tweak. No?

    And there's nothing saying you can't work all this out with multiple partners. That certainly may be your path. And besides, the beauty of relationships is that they show us exactly what we need to work on, provided we are mature enough to see what they are showing us. So, adding more partners into the mix may be like putting your personal evolution on hyper drive or injecting it with steroids! You'll end up having many people, not just one, telling you the same thing, over and over again. 😉

  48. vicki says:

    Infidelity is not the leading cause of divorce. See research by John Gottnan.

  49. vicki says:

    Your observations are a column in themselves – brilliant.

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