Open relationships?

Discussion in 'Relationships, Discrimination, and Jealousy' started by B_Hung Muscle, Sep 21, 2004.

  1. B_Hung Muscle

    B_Hung Muscle New Member

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    My partner of two years and I have been discussing opening up our relationship to new sexual experiences and playing with others. Any thoughts on mongamy and whether this is something that will become a problem? Anyone involved in an open relationship?

    It's not that we're bored with eachother sexually or are not completely in love -- we both just have very high sex drives.
     
  2. Imported

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    pghcyclist:
    My partner and I are in an open relationship. Many times we prefer to play together, but we've also played apart. All relationships involve negotiation, compromise and setting of limits. Just like other aspects of the relationship, sex is no different. As long as you and your partner are honest, in agreement about the limits, and are willing to evaluate and re-evaluate your decisions based upon your feelings and experiences, there shouldn't be any problems.
     
  3. Imported

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    getnbiggr: Hey Hungmuscle,

    I am single at the moment, but have been involved in various long-term relationships, some of which were sexually monogamous, and some of which weren't. And there are pluses and minuses to each...

    Opening up your relationship sexually can complicate things -- but so can mandating sexual monogamy. I've seen relationships end because of the compliations of sexual open-ness... but then again, I've seen relationships break down because of sexual monogamy as well.

    The sexually open relationships I've been in that have been the most successful were the ones in which (1) we both wanted to be sexually open -- ie, it wasn't one person pushing the other to open things up; (2) we had some carefully-thought-out boundaries about how/when we could play with others (ie, only while we were outta town; or only at a bathouse; or only one-night-stands; or only with friends; or...); (3) we worked hard to talk to keep the lines of communication open, so that we could talk about issues as they came up. 'Cause they're going to.

    If you're seriously thinking about taking your relationship in this direction, and it's not something you have much exposure to, you might pick up a book called The Ethical Slut. It can be a bit warm-n-fuzzy sometimes, and it's got a mostly-straight bias to it, but it does run through some of the potential complications and benefits of making that choice.

    As for me, I'm general in favor of relationships that are based on emotional commitment, emotional connection and honesty -- which may or may not include sexual monogamy. I've been in relationships where it's been great fun to call my boyfriend when I'm outta town on a business trip and say "oh my god, I just had the hottest sex with this guy." and tell him all about it. *chuckle*

    Every relationship is different -- but open relationships can really work. You just have to make sure you keep talking to each other.

    Good luck, and enjoy!

    -- J.
     
  4. B_Hung Muscle

    B_Hung Muscle New Member

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    ...and when you called your boyfriend and told him about the hot sex you just had, there was no jealousy?

    You guys gave me a lot to consider. I wonder if straight people ever face these issues.
     
  5. Imported

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    pghcyclist:
    Jealousy can be an issue. Some partners may prefer not to know as long as you play safe. Others may want all the details. I have friends who have been together 30+ years and share everything. One is very up front about their openness (leading the other partner to often exclaim, "my partner has a big mouth").

    As for straight people, of course they do. However, there is a lot of social pressure on them to live happy, monogomous married lives and keep their extra marital affairs secret. Lesbians and gay men have had, up until recently, the ability to define our own relationships. Social pressures for monogamy really haven't been there. I think that is changing, since there is a strong social implication that marriage is the same as monogamy.

    My $0.02
     
  6. D_Martin van Burden

    D_Martin van Burden Account Disabled

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    I'm still a bit skeptical of being so laissez-faire about sexual relationships outside of the relationship. I want to clarify that I don't begrudge anyone who recognizes that this is a personal want in their relationship, and that they have taken the proper steps to make this want known to their partners AND that you two have talked it out and come to an agreement. When the partner meets this want with hesitation, uncertainty, or feeling betrayed, and the one who initiates the idea atcs indifferently or tries to plead a case for it anyway, that's disrespectful.

    I recognize that standards of monogamy have changed greatly over the past few decades. Call it a Sexual Revolution, if you want. And it's also true that people are seeking each other out for companionship and enjoyment and simply not a lifelong wed-as-one commitment. If companionship includes casual dating and sexuality, or allows for casual behavior in the midst of a serious relationship, then call it as you want. Just be mindful that there's a lot of work that needs to be done in order to start calling those shots.

    It's up to both partners to decide what constitutes fidelity. And it's pretty clear that some partners want to be open about what they do, so they're not afraid to give details. It's ok. As long as that standard was agreed upon, it's respectful.

    I chuckled a bit when I read the end of that reply I quoted. I don't think gays and lesbians (and bis and transgendered people) were given some sort of permissiveness made alien to heterosexuals. I always thought they were held to the predominant heterosexual social standard -- that you're really meant to be with the opposite sex, you're supposed to stay together, but oh bloody hell, men are men and men will cheat and if women do it, then they're sluts.

    From my own experience, I have never cheated on someone with whom I have been involved in a serious relationship. Yeah, I got close a couple of times. When I started having some fun with guys and knew that I couldn't contain that impulse, I had to be honest to my girlfriend -- ok, so I didn't say "guys" explicitly, but I said that my eyes had been wandering and that I didn't want to tell her this after the fact. I felt guilty. I didn't think it was fair to put her through that, so I ended things. And I think it takes a really brave person to consider what extramarital play might mean to them BEFORE actually doing it.

    If the relationship can sustain itself, well, that's great. Am I skeptical? Sure. I couldn't be "the other man." I wouldn't do that and I recognize that's where I stand.
     
  7. jonb

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    Um, there's this nasty little retrovirus out there called HIV. I'm sure you've heard of it? Takes six months before you'll test positive for it, years before you'll show any symptoms, and it's mainly spread by sex.

    If you want sexual variety, you can always ask your friends. The chances are about even that they'll be morally outraged or actually willing. alt.polyamory has a whole variety of FAQs about how to start a group marriage.
     
  8. B_Hung Muscle

    B_Hung Muscle New Member

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    Thanks, jonb. Actually, I have heard of HIV. I lost tons of friend to it during the 1980s. (I love straight guys being pedantic about AIDS.) I don't think I was asking anything about unsafe sex. I was asking about other guys' experiences about opening up their relationships to other sexual experiences. And, for the record, to me, being sexual with someone could be jerking off with him in the gym. And, in case you haven't heard, that's a pretty difficult way to contract HIV or any other pathogen.

    Nor was I inquiring about setting up polygamous marriages. In case you haven't heard, gay marriage is illegal in the United States outside of Massachusetts, and polygamy is illegal in all 50 states.

    Glad to have your opinion -- it came through clearly. But leave the sarcasm at the door.
     
  9. Imported

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    pghcyclist:
    Different sexual behaviors have different risks, and HIV is not the only retro virus or disease out there. Herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea and many more are all predominantly spread by sex. The key here is not to tell someone "don't have sex" but to educate them on how to protect themselves from disease transmission during sex. Understanding that certain behaviors carry higher risks is also key. For the HIV virus and (gay) men, jacking off and mutual masturbation is lower risk than oral sex which is lower risk than anal/vaginal penetration. Some S&M scenes that involve blood may be higher risk still.

    As for HIV, according to WebMD, 75% of cases are sexually transmitted, but 25% of seroconversions are from non-sexual sources. These include bodypiercing or tatooing with unclean needles, drug abuse and handling infected blood products. Tests that rely on aids antibodies will take 2 weeks to 6 months after infection to work. Other tests can be done sooner.

    Monogamy is nice if it is enforced. However, if one partner has desires and acts on them, then the risk to both parties is there. Honest discussion and understanding in a relationship is better than sneaking around or having feelings/wants/needs that are going unmet.
     
  10. jonb

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    I'm as pedantic to straight guys too. Any kind of open relationship has the risk. In fact, I didn't read the whole thread and thought you were straight.
    Oh, I was pretty sure you meant actual intercourse. Any kind of single contact has a fairly low risk of HIV, actually; non-penetrative techniques are safest, I should add. Of course, most people have sex thousands of times within their lives, so those low risks add up.
    Actually, gay marriage is now legal in Washington. I don't have so much of an issue with gay marriage or polygamy; the big problem with polygamy is how certain Abrahamic religions have associated it with male domination.
     
  11. Imported

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    pghcyclist:
    Not yet, it is still in the courts in Washington with no final conclusion, though I expect their Supreme Court will rule in favor of marriage rights.
     
  12. jonb

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    Well, in order to deny it, they have to prove a "compelling interest", which I can't see. If they state cultural reasons, that would put Western culture right up there with Islamic fundamentalists in terms of misogyny, since same-sex marriage is one of those indicators of an equal status for women, as well as one can quantify these things.
     
  13. jeepwranglerboi

    jeepwranglerboi New Member

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    I would have to say that I am not a believer in an open relationship. I think that if you have a commitment to one another that it should be just that. However, I can see the option that if you want to involve someone with whom your partner is attracted to as well, as long as it is mutual. I still think that it could cause problems though. I know a couple who are constantly having threesomes and they really enjoy it. They are very secure in their relationship but I think those are few and far between. If you can work that out, great and the more power to you! :)
     
  14. KinkGuy

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    In the advanced S/m or Leather community, the formation of "families" with a well defined hierarchy and structure, following defined guidelines is not highly unusual and very often very successful. I think a lot of it (politics and religion aside) depends on how well addressed and elevated this certain segment of society is as far as their sexuality. I have seen these situations work in straight, gay and "blended" families where it's a mix of sexualities. T.M.I.?????
     
  15. B_Hung Muscle

    B_Hung Muscle New Member

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  16. woskxn

    woskxn New Member

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    I would not mind an open relationship neccesarily..that is, as long as I was allowed to watch. :D
     
  17. Imported

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    pghcyclist:
    You're right. But my point is that the process is still on-going and until it is finalized, nothing is, well, er, final.
     
  18. Atlrabbit

    Atlrabbit New Member

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    My partner and I have an open relationship. Neither of us wanted the baggage that comes from sexual affairs, the guilt, the shame, the remorse...etc. We have a strong committed relationship with equally strong emotional bonds. Our sex life is great, we occasionally bring in a third or fourth, but both agree on the timing. We have also had encounters while one is on a business trip, or a hot stud is standing next to you at the urinal, or a friend is over and one of us heads to bed early while the other two play in the tv room. We're open about it, there is no guilt or fear the other will find out. Our only "restriction" is we don't engage with an unknown, while the other partner is waiting or available for the intimate encounter. It's what works for us and we're approaching 15 years.
     
  19. txquis

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    For me, "open relationship" is like
    my acting career was in NYC....

    Fulfillment of a fanatsy......exciting as hell but never secure.....
    but emotionally and physically exhausting.
    LOL.

    Sounds hot in principle,
    but there are lots of variables. :unsure:
     
  20. D_Barbi_Queue

    D_Barbi_Queue Account Disabled

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    I personally don't feel comfy about an open relationship as I think i'd have too much jealousy over my husband screwing another chick.

    we have, however, seriously considered a 3some with another girl someday, but have clarified that she'd be exclusively my play toy.

    I also don't discriminate against those with open relationships. Hell, that's actually what constitutes most of the active members on JB - quite a few of them being people that I know personally in life.
     
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