CORRECTION: This article was previously misattributed to a different writer. The Gazette regrets the error.
I like to think I’m a very open-minded individual when it comes to sex and sexuality. So I was disappointed in myself recently when I noticed my reaction to a friend’s admittance of having an open relationship with his boyfriend.
The news hit me like the water rushing out of a busted fire hydrant. “What do you mean you two have an open relationship?” I asked. “Like, you both have sex with other people?”
I’ll admit, I knew what an open relationship entailed. But the fact that a friend of mine was involved in one was a shock.
Their open relationship was mostly based on giving consent. They consult each other when one of them expresses their interest in some random individual for a sexual encounter. Then they ask for consent: “Baby, can I?” They can deny or give, depending on what they feel like.
The decision is reached based on feelings of whether this encounter can be risky or not.
Risky in terms of what, you ask?
Well, concerns tend to come up about previous partnerships. Who did the random bang recently? How awkward will it be if we ran into the random at Starbucks? (“Do you take cream with that coffee?”) And of course, there’s the undeniable fear of it turning into something serious. This represents a threat to the current relationship.
The foundation of any successful open relationship is trust. If you trust your partner, you should have no problem engaging in “extra-relationship” activities.
If consent has not been granted, however, the partner should not, by any means, pursue someone new. This is an unbreakable rule: without consent you should not be humping that random person you have your eye on.
Every couple has its rules about extra-relationship flings, especially when it comes to what goes and what doesn’t in the bedroom (or wherever you kinksters like to have it). Some of the rules include not having sex with the same random more than once, and no Frenching or even kissing at all. Certain sexual activities are prohibited, such as anal sex and blowjobs, or even the casual cuddling post-act, which to some partners tends to be very intimate.
There is also a distinction that must be drawn between intimacy (making love) and having just purely animalistic sex. When having an open relationship with a random third-wheel, the nature of this kind of wheeling has to be clearly discussed. Are we being intimate up the butt and developing a prolonged relationship because just the two of us isn’t cutting it anymore? Or are we just having a fun, one-to-a-few-times romp in the sack?
On another note, attention must be directed to the fact that open relationships present a huge faux pas threat to the concept of monogamy. The foundation for any “stereotypical” relationship is being solely committed to only one person, specifically in hetero-normative terms. But we all know how widespread affairs have gotten; occasional threesomes are being considered very hip nowadays. So why would open relationships be frowned upon?
Come on, people. Get with the program. There’s no need to go sneaking around, sexing other people and becoming a shady cheater. Instead, you can be a mature adult, openly discuss having an open relationship with your partner, and understand its advantages and disadvantages.
Certain obstacles make people avoid open relationships. Jealousy is a curse: an individual may sense their partner being more involved with the random.
Fear is another reason: partners are not certain of the consequences they may have to face when adding a third or more to the ride.
Still, at the same time, there are so many reasons to enter into open relationships. Partners may have varying sex drives. Some partners cannot fully please each other’s needs. There’s also this ever so endearing feeling of having the sense of freedom in exploring new and random encounters, i.e. it’s a bonus.
If you want it, take it. If you don’t, then leave it to those who can really appreciate it and get the most out of it.