Your Guide To Non-Monogamy
Updated: Jun 17
For many of us, monogamy is the default way we do relationships. There's reason for it. Monogamy can feel safer, less complicated, more socially acceptable, and more fulfilling.
With that said, that doesn't mean monogamy is something that is natural to human nature. If you think about it, most of us have fantasies about having sex with someone else. Or even fantasized about having a threesome.
In fact, Justin Lehmiller’s recent look at sexual fantasies revealed that group sex was the most common fantasy people in America have.
For those interested: 89% of the participants in his study reported having fantasies about threesomes, 74% about orgies, and 61% gangbangs. More than you thought? Us too!
Given that the idea of having sex with more than one person is so popular, we thought we’d take a look at the idea of having sex outside of your relationship.
Because it is important to understand that monogamy isn’t the only option. And that is something which has been designed to fit our society and our culture, rather than our individual biology.
In reality, it is totally normal and healthy to desire other people, even while being in love with a partner. In fact, it’s kind of part of being human.
Of course, it is equally important to acknowledge that we all have a choice about what to do with those feelings of attraction towards other people. For some of us, it is enough to understand that monogamy is naturally difficult. Then to continue with that commitment, perhaps even strengthened by our new perspective.
For many of us, the idea of our partner having sex or being intimate with someone else can bring up a lot of insecurity and hurt. Especially, if you're someone who believes you should only ever have sex with the person you are in a committed relationship with, it’s unlikely opening up your relationship will be a good idea. That’s ok.
For others, other options like consensual non-monogamy might be a good option. And this is a choice which is actually becoming more and more common today. In fact, it’s thought that about 1 in 5 couples are now in non-monogamous relationships.
There are a lot of options, so let's run through some of the most common ones:
This is where there’s usually one primary relationship with other sexual partners or casual hookups outside of the primary relationship.
These comprise of multiple, committed partnerships often defined by love, intimacy and sometimes exclusivity.
This often involves having sex with other couples or with an individual but only when together. Some data has shown that this style of relationship correlates with highest relationship and sexual satisfaction.
Monogamish means a mostly monogamous relationship with specific parameters and limits agreed upon by both partners. This could include only flirting, or making out or having sex. It could also include a rule like “don’t ask don’t tell” where you are monogamous, except when one or the other is out of town. Or you could have other such arrangements.
As always, it’s absolutely critical that you talk with your partner. Because a category which is emphatically not part of the consensual non-monogamous world, but is often mistaken for it, is cheating. This happens when any non-monogamous activity is not mutually consensual between you and your partner.
So, when communicating, always be as specific as you can.
What are you really asking for?
Does it mean browsing the apps and picking someone up?
Does it mean bringing in friends?
Or does it involve taking people out on dates?
If this is the first time communicating with your partner about opening up your relationship. Give your partner space, and time, to process things.
If you both decide to go ahead, agree with each other that you the plug at any time. Just because you’ve opened the relationship does not mean that it’s open permanently.
And whatever you decide to do, remember, there is nothing strange or shameful about exploring non-monogamy. So if you think it might be for you, then go slow, communicate more than you think is needed and have fun!
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