The reason most people believe that all non-monogamous relationships are destined to fail is because we only hear about the ones that do. So a couple of months ago I invited non-monogamous couples whose relationships hadn't failed—that is, successfully non-monogamous couples—to write in and share their stories. That invite lead to a column about people in successful monogamish relationships and a week's worth of SLLOTD's dedicated to tales of the happily monogamish.
In the interest of fairness and equal time—and at the urging of a reader who felt I was slighting successfully monogamous couples—I then invited couples in happy monogamous relationships to write in and share their stories. I got tons of emails from the happily monogamous. These are their stories...
My husband and I are in a successful monogamous relationship.
We go out together and flirt (with girls - helps that I'm bisexual), and when we get home we use all the excitement stored up from our adventures on each other. We watch porn together. And we have continuous discussions about sex - what we like, what we might want to try, what new fantasies we've recently come up with. Being monogamish is also not off the table. We both would rather let the other have an open affair - one that we could know and feel secure about - rather than be on the end of discovering an illicit one. But we've really found that monogamy works for us. When it comes down to it, I don't want casual sex on the side (sex outside of a relationship doesn't work for me, as I learned in college) and I don't want to invest in creating a relationship with a third person, and neither does he.
But I'd say the reasons monogamy works for us are three-fold: 1. Open and honest discussion about sex and fantasies. Continually, even after many years. Oh yeah, and having lots of wicked hot sex (role-play, BDSM, copying ideas from our favorite porn movies, etc). 2. Open and honest discussions about opening up our relationship - periodically "checking in" with each other to see how we feel about it. 3. Something deep in both our psyches that says, "I can't have sex without a relationship, but I don't want to start a relationship with someone who's not my spouse." I don't think everyone's psyches work like this! And we're not entirely convinced in 10, 20, 30 years we'll even still feel the same way (see Point 2).
So monogamy works for us. I wouldn't force the idea on anyone, as it takes a particular brand of matched sex drives and matched psyches to work. I've always had a bit of a higher sex drive than him, and was his libido to fall in the future (and mine not), I would probably more strongly desire a second partner. I love the term "monogamish". I hope the term spreads because I know a lot of miserable "monogamous" couples who would totally benefit from this philosophy.
As an aside, thanks for your column. I've been reading it since I was 15, and it's really helped me develop a great set of boundaries. It's helped me say no when I was in a date rape situation with a drugged-up boyfriend, and helped me ask to be tied up that first time (I was so shy! but no regrets!), and lead me to those awesome Liberator wedges. Your column helped me get through dating girls in high school and all the bullshit that entailed from my fellow pupils and school administrators. Thanks for all you do! God bless you and your family.
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