Navigating Open Marriage: A Guide to Ethical Non-Monogamy

Open marriage, ethical non-monogamy… These are terms we keep hearing about, yet we often don’t have a clear picture of their true meaning. Upon closer scrutiny, though, it turns out that it’s meanings, plural. Yes, these open, non-monogamous intimate connections can represent different types of relationships for different people. There’s plenty of nuances there, even though they might be invisible at first sight.  

Is polygamy actually more natural than monogamy?

Which one came first – the chicken or the egg; monogamy or polygamy is a question I’ve often posed to myself, but the answer’s pretty much known by now. Yes, it’s polygamy. A bunch of very smart Italian scientists did the math by looking at the Y chromosome in genetic samples of Europeans. As it turns out, the number of males that were breeding increased right about the time of the agricultural revolution, with its beginnings being traced to 12,000 – 10,000 years ago. 

I mean, it’s quite hard to talk about these culturally invented terms like polygamy, polyamory, monogamy, etc. because humans didn’t “invent” marriage or “relationships” with only one person up until the Neolithic or agricultural revolution. You know, right about the time when they were slowly transitioning from being hunter-gatherers into farmers. 

This was a time when we started to form more permanent settlements and turned towards a more sedentary lifestyle. The agricultural revolution paved the way for the modern organized society we know today, and, as it seems, it paved the way for monogamy as well.  

Monogamy, in its beginnings, had largely to do with property staying within the bounds of the “family” or the “elite” and had little to do with love or emotional connection. 

But as time went on, the way we looked at relationships transformed. It was because of increasing social mobility, the sexual revolution, and the fight for equal gender roles and financial independence of women that marriage and long-term relationships gained the form we recognize them in today and became a thing of mutual interest and romantic commitment, rather than a business transaction. 

Should monogamy be reinvented though?

But, it seems that monogamy simply doesn’t cut it for some people. It seems like now is the time to reinvent monogamy. And some couples opt to do it through open relationships – open marriages, the practice of ethical non-monogamy, polyamory… Which are all different things, by the way. The “open” is just an umbrella term keeping them all together under the same hat. 

Here I want to talk about things related to the phenomenon of “open relationships” and “open marriages”, which, as we saw earlier, isn’t a new thing at all. It has its roots in the dawn of humanity, in our very biology, and it’s not something that’ll disappear just like that. 

I want to talk about the different distinctions between the types of open relationships, about what it means to be in such a relationship. I also want to talk about how best to introduce it to your partner, and a lot more. 

So I suggest you stick around till the end (or at least half-way, folks) and read everything you’ve ever wanted to know about open marriages and ethical non-monogamy! 

What Do We Mean When We Say Open Relationship or Open Marriage?

In order to properly enter the world of non-monogamy, you first have to familiarize yourself with its terminology. Don’t worry, it’s not complicated, even though there are nuances that are important to remember. 

An open relationship is basically a romantic relationship in which either one or both partners have consensual romantic or sexual relationships or encounters with people outside the relationship. It doesn’t matter whether they’re friends, acquaintances, or strangers, as long as they’re simply other people

It’s a general term that describes any type of short or long term (more or less committed) relationship with a partner in which dalliances on the side are still allowed. It’s generally considered an umbrella term for other modes of openness in a relationship. 

Through the notion of open relationships, monogamy has turned slightly monogamish

Now, there is more than one mode of being in an open relationship. You may encounter terms like monogamish, which was coined by the well-known sex and love columnist Dan Savage to describe what is basically an open relationship – getting consent from your partner to have sex with other people.  

And then you have the term polyamory (which literally means “many or several loves”)  or polyamorish (yeah, that one as well), which is different from what I’ve described so far because it primarily encompasses romantic relationships. So, being in a polyamorous relationship would mean that you and your partner are okay with being in more than one romantic (and sexual) relationship in which deep(er) feelings may develop. 

Sometimes, when it comes to polyamory, you can encounter the terms primary, secondary, tertiary relationships, which serve to make a distinction in the hierarchy or timeline of the romantic connections polyamorous people have with their significant others. 

And then, of course, you have the swingers, which considers the couple as one unit when it comes to exchanging sexual partners. Yes, swingers are allowed to find other couples like them and engage in sexual activity with one another, either together or separately. 

And what about marriages – can we talk about an open marriage? And what exactly is an open marriage? 

Sure we can. Open marriages are marriages in which married, committed couples agree that it’s okay for them to see other people on the side, mainly for sexual purposes. 

Polyamory or swinging can also fall under this category of an open marriage. 

But what about ethical non-monogamy?

Also called consensual non-monogamy, this is another umbrella term that describes couples who are okay with having casual sex with other people, but also forming deeper relationships with them (like in polyamory). So it can encompass swingers, polyamorists, monogamish people, and the like. 

I guess you could say open relationship and consensual or ethical non-monogamy are pretty interchangeable terms, with the latter term gaining more momentum as we speak. 

And last but not least on this list is “compersion.” Basically, this word describes a particular type of joy that one feels when you see your partner having fun in or enjoying another relationship. Of course, all of this is in context to the open relationship you’re already having. 

NOTE: I just wanted to let you know that sometimes I’ll be using both terms open marriage and ethical non-monogamy interchangeably in this text, so don’t fret if you see one or the other. I just wanna include both the folks that are married and want to have an open marriage and the folks that are in committed, mostly long-term relationships, but also want to have a go at open relationships. 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Ethical Non-Monogamy Rules 

Rules will vary from one open marriage or non-monogamous relationship to the next. I mean you already know no couple is the same. 

They will also depend on what kind of polygamous relationship you’re in. For example, if you practice only open marriage and not polyamory, then it’s probably not recommended that you fall in love with your flings or spend too much time with them. 

If you wanna get the hang of what rules in an open marriage mean, then I’ll give you a brief overview of what I’ve encountered in my research. But I’ll say it again – it depends from couple to couple, so don’t take ‘em at face value. 

Set boundaries

Boundaries are healthy and they should be present in any type of relationship, even non-romantic ones. 

But they’re especially important when you enter a new phase in your relationship or want to try something you’ve never done before (like BDSM practices, for example). And ethical non-monogamy definitely asks for some boundaries. 

Why is this so? Well, first of all, because you will find yourself in different situations once you start engaging with your new lifestyle, and not all of them will always be pleasant. So you have to be prepared for them and know where you set the line. 

While it’s impossible to follow a strict script – life is messier than that and much more unpredictable, so boundaries do help you sort out what’s okay to do and what isn’t in general, as well as particular situations. This works for both monogamous and non-monogamous relationships. 

And these boundaries aren’t set in stone – they get to be renegotiated whenever you feel the need to do that. 

What type of boundaries you impose on your open marriage or non-monogamous relationship is ultimately up to you. It’s individual and it differs from couple to couple. But if you want to know more about what couples who practice this often include in their boundaries, check out the following things.

Use condoms when you’re having sex with other people

Health is a number one priority for most couples out there, which is why they often agree to be precautious when engaging in sex with other people. 

No sex with friends (real-life or Facebook friends)

While I was doing my research for this topic, I’ve read several situations in which one of the partners finds out that the person their partner slept with is an acquaintance of theirs or is a friend on Facebook. Curiosity kicks in, they go searching for them, and then jealousy, comparing yourself to others, feeling self-conscious often also abound. 

And this is ok, it’s nothing to be ashamed of; it’s perfectly human. But, if you want to spare each other some future trouble, and if your relationship isn’t polyamorous, maybe it’s a good idea to limit who you have sex with to only causal encounters that you won’t add on any friend’s lists or catch up with once the night is over. If that’s what you both want though and are okay with it, well, then it’s a different story.

Sharing your sexual adventures with your partner

For couples entering the phase of an open marriage, it might sound a bit odd, or maybe counterintuitive (especially for the more jealous types), but some people actually don’t mind sharing or hearing about their partner’s sex life. Some people look at it as a signal of trust and feel like they’re connecting more to their partners that way (remember that word compersion?), and maybe even see it as a way to spice up their own love life as well.

For others, however, this is a definitive no-no. Others simply don’t want to know anything about who their spouse or partner is dating or what they’re doing when they’re alone. And this is also ok. 

Boundaries, as relationships, evolve over time as well 

As time goes by and you get to experience more from this lifestyle, you’ll get more versed to quickly recognize what suits the both of you and what doesn’t; what really bothers you, and what you can go along with. All relationships evolve with time and non-monogamous ones certainly aren’t the exception. 

What’s important to remember is that when some of the boundaries start to feel too something – too limiting, or too lax, or like they don’t apply to your relationship anymore, it means it’s time for a review. 

And if you have trouble remembering all the stuff you’ve agreed upon, well, it wouldn’t hurt to make a list now, would it? 

Stories of People Who Practice Ethical Non-Monogamy 

Delivered as promised, here I want to show you some real-life opinions of people that are currently in open relationships or have been in the past. 

Let’s take a look, shall we? 

Real-Life Advice and Tips on Non-Monogamous Relationships

The first series deals with people interviewed in the Cosmopolitan, where they actually give advice and tips on how to make the best out of consensual non-monogamy. 

Loving yourself is a priority 

“You have to *really* like yourself. You have to know you may not be the hottest person your partner puts their dick in, but that it won’t matter because you know you’re the shit. Sex isn’t everything—it’s actually a very small part of a relationship and an even smaller part when you add another person mathematically. Also, you can never have a threesome if you both aren’t into it. Although this seems obvious, I know plenty of women that think a threesome will ‘fix’ the relationship.”

Yep, I would gladly take this as my mantra. Loving yourself should definitely be a priority in any kind of relationship – it improves your self-confidence, allows you to set healthy boundaries, and to look at your relationship in a more wholesome and realistic light. 

Don’t be afraid of your insecurities, but make sure to address them in time 

“In an open relationship, in order to succeed, you will have to confront your insecurities. You will have to navigate them first by yourself, and then again with your partner. Open relationships require you to do a ton of work on yourself that would otherwise lie dormant in closed relationships—specifically in the realms of jealousy, insecurity, and communication.” 

We all have insecurities, it’s nothing new – even the most confident of us. When and how we address them is what matters. 

As you can see from the comment above, this is a twofold process. You have to confront your insecurities and doubts both by yourself and together with your partner. Obviously, your partner can’t know everything that goes on inside of you, so communicating it would be key. But, there are also some parts that have nothing to do with our partner and our relationship. They have to do with experiences and people stretching far beyond them, which is why you shouldn’t limit yourself to doing it only with your partner. 

Don’t force yourselves into entering an open marriage/relationship

“Be accepting. If one partner isn’t okay with something, do not push and try to make it happen. Do not turn to an open relationship if your relationship is having issues or if your partner is the only one who wants it.” 

This should be a given. I mean, sure, open relationships can boost the relationship if it’s in trouble, but that shouldn’t be the only exit solution you’re willing to pull out of your sleeves. 

And this especially goes if one of the partners is continuously reluctant to engage in such a lifestyle. 

I mean, would you turn to an open marriage if your marriage currently suffers from trust issues or lack of communication? 

Manage your expectations 

“Ask for what you want without fear of retaliation. Be clear with your expectations with both your new and existing partner. There is a line between being physically involved with someone, and getting emotionally involved too. Know where that line is, and what the consequences there would be for crossing it. Also remember: This lifestyle might not be a sustainable [sic] forever, so enjoy it while it lasts.” 

This has to do with boundaries, essentially. Remember when I talked about different types of open relationships? It’s not wrong if you fall for somebody else while also maintaining a strong romantic relationship with your partner, as long as you’re both okay with it, with practicing polyamory, that is. 

Of course, like boundaries, your expectations are likely to change as well over time – it’s normal. The important thing is to keep communicating these things to each other clearly and openly. 

Real-Life People on Jealousy, Boundaries, and the Move From Monogamy to Consensual Non-Monogamy 

Okay, so next I want us to take a look at people interviewed in GQ that talk about a range of topics connected to the phenomenon of open relationships. 

Jealousy can be bypassed, or at least mitigated

“Jealousy really isn’t an issue for us, because we’re just very solid in our relationship. But also, honestly, because she has a lower libido than I do, and [she] doesn’t see sex as the end-all, be-all of a relationship. It’s harder for me to give a hall pass than it is for her to give one.” 

“We know we’re completely and utterly devoted to each other. For me, I get no more jealous of her going out and sleeping with a guy than I do of her going out and drinking with a friend; either way, she’s just having fun.”

As you can see, jealousy isn’t a property of open relationships. Sure, some people may become more jealous once they open their relationship, and some might even become less so. It has to do with the way you communicate with your partner, with your own personality, and with certain periods of your life. 

How do people manage to find places where hookups happen? 

“We have a master bedroom, an office for each of us, and a guest bedroom, but secondary hookups take place elsewhere. I have every appreciation for couples who wouldn’t find this awkward, but we’re not among them!” 

“I’ll usually go to a hotel if I’m meeting a girl. But that’s more because of an inherent difference between men and women in these scenarios: It’s super easy for her to find single men interested in no-strings-attached sex, and so she can always find single guys to go home with. It’s a lot rarer for me to find single women interested in that type of thing, so ordinarily, the women I meet up with are also in open relationships.” 

Move from monogamy to non-monogamy

“My husband and I thought it would be fun to have new experiences, and we had been together for so long. The interesting result is that I experienced a relationship with another man on a level that I didn’t know existed, and it has caused me to question a lot of my life choices.” —Lana

“We weren’t open the first time [we dated], so re-establishing our romantic relationship as open has taken some negotiating and getting used to… What’s helped me is being explicit about our open monogamy, and also asking for verbal reassurances sometimes, which has sure made me feel kind of like a loser, but I know it’s good and okay to ask for what you need sometimes.” —Danielle, 24, Oakland, CA, in an open relationship with her boyfriend

How Not to Be Jealous in an Open Marriage 

As I said earlier, jealousy doesn’t necessarily come in a package with open relationships. Jealousy can come out of any type of relationship, and it depends on a lot of factors. Sometimes it has to do with our personalities, past experiences, lack of trust in our partners, lack of communication in our relationships, etc. 

And a bit of jealousy is normal in a relationship. As long as it doesn’t go too far, it can be a sign of the desire for your partner, a way to let them know you still want them. 

Once you open your relationship, it’s also normal to feel jealous. After all, you’re stepping into a whole new area of your relationship and it’s okay to feel insecure that way. But it can be mitigated through a couple of steps.  

Talk and clarify your feelings

Talk. Conversation is the remedy of all woes relationships face at one point in their duration. If you feel the pangs of jealousy in your open marriage, then I first suggest you start thinking about where they come from. 

Do you think your partner is overstepping the agreed-upon boundaries? Do you feel uncomfortable in your agreement for an open marriage? Are you being reluctant? Do you feel they’re abusing the agreement for their own purposes? 

Whatever your feeling is valid. What is important is to admit it to yourself and have a clear picture of it in your mind. The next step is to communicate it to your partner. 

Choose a time and place where you’re both comfortable and not too tired. Share your feelings with your partner, tell them that you’ve felt jealous, and try to find a solution to this together. Make sure that you validate each other’s emotions and needs. 

The solution might have to do with reconsidering your boundaries, with the nature of your open relationship, with the way you communicate (maybe you need better communication strategies?). And sometimes you may even need to put the consensual non-monogamy on hold, that is, if you feel it takes too much of your mental and emotional energy. 

Give yourself some time and keep on communicating

There’s an interesting study from 2017, reported in Psychology Today, that shows how “people in consensual non-monogamous relationships, including those who engaged in polyamory and swinging, scored lower on jealousy and higher on trust than those in monogamous relationships.” This means only one thing – jealousy seems to be less present in consensual non-monogamous relationships than in monogamous ones! 

And it’s actually no wonder when you think about it. The reason is quite simple. People who’ve agreed on a non-monogamous relationship are usually more prone to talking about the negative outcomes that might be a result of it, such as jealousy, for example. And they’re more ready to talk about it openly and honestly, to keep their relationship healthy and sound. People in these relationships actively work on surpassing or mitigating jealousy, because they know the chances are high it’ll arise. 

In monogamous relationships, though, because there’s this predominant view that they’re “the safe choice”, these conversations don’t occur as much. People in monogamous relationships are far less likely to talk about jealousy openly. 

So I say give it a bit of time. Talk with your partner in the meantime, share your concerns and issues, and let it all fall into place. After a while, if you don’t notice a change in your feelings, then it might be time to make a bigger shift in your non-monogamous relationship.

How to Start an Open Marriage (How to Ask for an Open Marriage) 

“Go slowly!” should be a universal mantra for almost everything you do in life. And entering or setting the motions of an open marriage or ethical non-monogamous relationship definitely isn’t an exception. 

Open relationships are successful when both parties agree to participate in seeing other people and having sex with them and are okay with it. If you or your partner is reluctant about the matter but enters it anyway, then that right there is a breeding ground for plenty of future resentments. And who wants that?! 

I’m not saying that you should expect that both of you will always be equally and 100% into it. This is often not the case. Usually one of the partners is more doubtful, skeptical, or downright apprehensive at the mere thought of opening your relationship. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t agree upon it eventually. Sometimes it takes just a little bit of time. 

So let’s just see what are some of the steps you can take and open the conversation around open marriage (pun intended). 

Don’t be stingy with time

So one of the most important rules is to give your partner some time to think about it and process it in their own way and time. Some people may need a few months, some maybe even half a year – the key is to be patient and not pushy. If, however, your partner is still reluctant after months and months of obsessing over it, then you’ll probably have to drop it for the time being, maybe even forever. Which means you’ll have to make some decisions and compromises. 

Take a look at this example portrayed in the online magazine Vice in which one of the authors confesses how he’s in an ethical non-monogamous relationship with his wife for years. He recounts how reluctant he was at the beginning, and how he needed six months to prepare both mentally and emotionally for this new couple’s experience. 

“Pressing pause for an agreed upon length of time and letting the more apprehensive partner become more comfortable is likely going to improve your chances of success should you decide to give it a go. So take your time, sit with your feelings, and use your words. If at the end of the agreed upon period, you’re still nauseated by the thought of sharing bae, own the fact that that non-monogamy may not be for you.”

Do some thinking on your own first

Before you set out to ask your partner about an open relationship, think about why you want to have it in the first place. 

Do you want to try something new? Did you always wanted to see other people besides your committed partner and now’s finally the time to do it? Do you wanna explore further your sexual identity? Or is there something else in the relationship that you’re missing and you’re trying to cover it up by asking for non-monogamy?

All of these questions, and much more, should go first through your mind before you start talking with your partner about it. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to deter you or discourage you from being in an open relationship. But when you step into new territory, and you involve another person in it, it’s good to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. 

Be clear about the kind of non-monogamous relationship you want to have

As you saw earlier in this text, there are different types of open or consensual non-monogamous relationships. That’s why it’s important to be clear with one another about what kind of open relationship you want to have. 

As you saw above, there are several types of non-monogamous relationships. Do your research, get to know the terms and “the language”, do your own soul-searching as to what would suit you best, and then communicate it to your partner. 

Just like in the previous section, you might also wanna think about why you want this particular type of non-monogamous relationship. 

Think beforehand of the detailed questions or concerns your partner might have 

Think about the details.

This is important. Maybe your partner won’t have many questions the first time you open up about opening up (pun intended), but they sure will as they think more and more about the issue. 

So think about a variety of questions that might spring out of their mind and mouth:

  • What boundaries are you going to have?
  • Will you be allowed to bring other people into your home? 
  • What sexual activities are allowed and which aren’t? 
  • Will you be able to take somebody on a date? 
  • What about STDs? 

These and more are some of the questions you might encounter. 

Put your relationship first

Make sure you communicate to your significant other that you put your relationship first and that they’re free to veto anything they find uncomfortable or unsafe. 

This will make them feel more secure, and make them know that they’ve got equal power into the suggestion of an open marriage/relationship, even though it was first brought on by you. 

And that also means you will need to tell them how you conceive commitment and what it means to you. For some people, fidelity isn’t the only way to show commitment to a partner (I’m not talking here about cheating though!). 

Be reassuring, tell your partner that you haven’t acted upon it, but that you have been thinking about it for a while and you wanted her to know too. 

Give your partner some time to think and respect her answers

Not all people will be ready to give a firm yes or no at first to the idea of consensual non-monogamy. And that’s okay. It means there’s room for refining the conversation and for asking more questions. 

Your role here is not to pressure your partner and to give them some time to think about it. 

Opening up to non-monogamy is not a straight road. There sometimes will be sharp curves, but as time goes by you’ll learn to navigate them quite well.  

If you struggle with it, though, it might be a good idea to involve a third party in the conversation. I mean a couples therapist, of course. I don’t know what else has been going on in your minds! 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

How to React to an Open Marriage 

Not all people react the same way when their partner tells them they want to open up the relationship. If you wanna be better prepared though, you might wanna follow a couple of steps that’ll make it easier in the beginning. 

The first important thing to do is to actually listen to your partner, fully and attentively. Don’t interrupt them unnecessarily, and keep an open mind to what they’re saying. What I’m trying to say is don’t immediately jump to conclusions or force judgments on them (albeit this is often the first thing we do). 

Thank your partner for being open with you

When your time to talk comes, the first thing you can do is thank them. Say something like “Thank you for being honest with me about your needs and desires.” or “Thanks for bringing this up in the most transparent of ways.” 

You don’t need to give an immediate yes or no to the question of an open relationship. Heck, your partner might not even be sure too. The important thing is, though, you’ve started the conversation. Take some time and think about the whole thing. 

Try not to fall into any negative conclusions about your relationship. If your partner wants an open marriage or relationship, it doesn’t mean that there’s something inherently wrong or deficit within it. The desire for one might actually be a thirst for new experiences, a desire to expand one’s love or sexual energy to other people, whether it’s short term or long term. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions yourself

Another thing is asking questions. There’s nothing wrong with having a bunch of questions in your mind and actually communicating them to your partner. Don’t be afraid to ask them for more info. Ask them what drove them to start considering an open marriage? What are their expectations and fears or concerns? How do they envision one? Stay open and listen to their answers. Again, don’t readily jump to conclusions, even if you don’t agree with some of their answers. 

Take some time to think about what you’re going to do next

After you’ve had this initial conversation, it’s okay to get some alone time where you get to think about it some more. Reflect on your values, expectations, beliefs, and feelings of monogamous and non-monogamous relationships. Think about the things you’re willing to concede with and the ones you’re not. 

Don’t pressure yourself though, and don’t allow your partner to do that to you either. Feel free to take some time and return to your conversation whenever you feel ready and you have a more clear idea of what you wanna do next. 

How Common are Ethical Non-Monogamous Relationships?

More common than you think. 

According to one study done in 2016, and published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, “more than one in five […] participants report engaging in CNM [consensual non-monogamy] ]at some point in their lifetime.” And that, my friends, is a very sizable proportion! 

What’s also interesting in this study is that the numbers stayed pretty constant regardless of ”age, education level, income, religion, region, political affiliation, and race.” The only place where they varied significantly was when it came to gender and sexual orientation. Men were more likely to engage in consensual non-monogamy, especially gay or bisexual men, but also lesbian women, as opposed to heterosexual men and women. 

In any event, the interest of the American online public for consensual non-monogamous relationships, reflected in Google Trends, has increased significantly in the course of ten years (which has been the duration of the study). 

It seems that people are becoming more and more aware and interested in open marriages and ethical or consensual non-monogamous relationships. We see them more on TV (You Me Her is a good example, as is Wanderlust – both on Netflix, by the way), but also mentioned by public figures, celebrities such as Scarlet Johansson for example. 

And I guess we’ll be seeing a lot more from CNM (the popular abbreviation for consensual non-monogamy) as time goes by! After all, they’ve been all around us for thousands and thousands of years, and they’re not going anywhere, anytime soon. 

Why Have an Open Marriage or an Ethical Non-Monogamous Relationship? 

Well, there isn’t a reason why you should be or at least try being in an open relationship/open marriage. People enter it for different reasons. 

Some people do it only for casual sex. They simply like hooking up with different people – having sex with strangers or people they don’t share their life with, and that’s simply it. And, they still love their partners and like to have sex with them too – that’s never out of the question. 

Others do it because they’ve got certain needs they want to be fulfilled. They have kinks or fetishes, sexual fantasies that sometimes their partners won’t or cannot do. And that’s fine. Our partners don’t have to be everything to us. They shouldn’t be forced or held accountable to fill all our needs, be it sexual or otherwise. I mean, that puts a whole lotta pressure on the relationship, doesn’t it? 

And then there are people who do it because they simply can’t do otherwise. They want that particular type of freedom that an open marriage or relationship carries with itself. It’s just how they do relationships. These kinds of experiences can undoubtedly open many doors from your personality and your sexual and emotional persona that you weren’t even aware of. And that’s definitely something worth exploring. 

Other people just need constant validation of their libido, of their sexual persona. It might not have to do anything with their partner. They can have the most loving partner on earth and still feel the need to be validated and seen as a sexual subject by other people as well. 

And some just do it for the thrill of the experience 

Some people just like the sheer potential of experiences they can have by being in an open marriage – both with their partners and with other people. And they like how non-monogamous relationships just make it mandatory to put trust and communication first in the relationships because it’s something that these kinds of relationships can’t do without. On the other hand, it’s something that, unfortunately, a lot of monogamous relationships lack. 

Read about the most common reasons why people are in open relationships  

If you want to look at real-life, online confessions as to why people have entered open relationships, read this Bustle article that features 13 people from the Reddit community talking about polygamy.  

Final Thoughts on Open Relationships 

All in all, non-monogamous relationships aren’t the easiest of terrains to tread. There’s lots of navigation going on, lots of communication, as well as trust in one another, lots of going back and forth to what is important for the both of you in sex and in your own relationship. 

It requires boundaries, but also the willingness and stamina to confront their quite possible trespassing. And then there’s the jealousy, which can be all-consuming if you don’t tame it in time. Otherwise, a little goes a long way, as they say. 

If you wanna read a follow-up of this article on open relationships, I suggest you take a look at the one where I try to answer the question of whether open relationships work. As the title itself says – you’d be surprised! 

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If you’ve brushed shoulders with the world of BDSM, chances are you’ve encountered the term ‘submissive’. It’s one part of the dominant/submissive binary. The dominant is the one who takes charge in the sexual relation or the erotic play and also the one who is in control. Now, the submissive is the total opposite of


How to Increase Sperm Count: 6 Ways to Do It

We live in a time where fertility issues are becoming more and more pronounced. According to one study, 8-12% of couples around the world suffer from infertility, in one way or another. And another study, reported by The Guardian, and conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem shows that “sperm counts among men in the

What is the Best Sex Questionnaire for Couples?

Whether you’re a newlywed couple or already mid-way in your marital marathon, it never hurts to find out more sex-related stuff about your partner. Some of you don’t mind talking about it, and some dread the very idea of sex talk. That’s when a third party has to come in the picture and save the

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