“Do you want to talk about rules?” Jack asks.

“Oh, I suppose,” I reply, though in reality I am tired and a little grumpy and entering the beginning stages of PMS, so it isn’t exactly the ideal time to have this discussion.

“So.  What rules do you want to have?” he asks.

I shrug.  “I dunno.”  I’m more of a let’s-cross-that-bridge-when-we-come-to-it person; he’s the one who wants to talk everything through beforehand.  In this case, his approach is probably a good one to take, but I don’t think I’m the appropriate person to be leading the conversation.

The first rule is obvious, and we’ve already talked about it prior to this:  Condoms are required.  Always.  No exceptions.

“Full swap?”

“Yeah.”  I’ve been saying for years that I don’t care who he sleeps with so long as he tells me about it beforehand, so this one seems like a no-brainer.  I don’t think I have any hangups about plain ol’ sex with other people.

“Same room or separate rooms?”

“Mmm, I dunno.  Whatever.”

“I think we should start in the same room.  I mean, we’re doing this as a couple, right?”

“Yeah, ok.”  I know that my answers are not very satisfactory, but I’m not sure that I have any satisfactory ones to give.  It seems to me that these are difficult decisions to make when you’re only speaking in the abstract.

“I mean, I want to see you and stuff.  And I think we should start out with same room.”

“That’s fine.  That’s reasonable.”  I’d like separate rooms to be an option later, I think, but I understand the impulse to want to start in the same room.  I’m not sure I share it, but then I’ve never been a voyeur.  He’s very visual; I’m much less so.  He likes to watch porn; I mostly read erotica instead.  He wants to look at me and he wants me to look back at him.  Me, I like to close my eyes and focus on the physical sensations.

We agree on the same room for now.  Rules can always be altered and adjusted later, as we get more experienced and find out what does and doesn’t work for us.

“What about the reclamation sex thing?  Where we come back together as a couple at the end of the evening.”

“Seems like a decent idea,” I say.  We are in this together.  He’s the one I want to go home with at the end of the night, after all.

“Is there anything that you’re uncomfortable with?” he asks me.

I shrug.  We’ve already discussed my discomfort with him engaging in guy-on-guy.  I’m also pretty sure I don’t want to jump right into girl-on-girl.  I’ve never been with a woman.  I’ve been attracted to specific women, but I go back and forth on how strongly interested I am in women in general.  We decide to start slow on the same-gender fronts.  If we’re easing into this thing, it seems like we ought to start with the gender dynamics we’re already comfortable with.

He discovers that he feels strangely uncomfortable with the thought of me swallowing someone else’s cum.  He can’t seem to articulate why it makes him uncomfortable, but he doesn’t think we need to make a rule about not doing it.

This leads into him asking me a series of questions about things that make me uncomfortable.  “Would you suck a dick with me?” he asks.  The thought weirds me the hell out, perhaps more than any other scenario he proposes.  I’m definitely not ready to suck a dick with my husband.  Maybe someday in the future.  We’re going to have to work up to that.

Our basic rules are roughly hammered out, then.  We’re up for full swap, same-room, girl-guy action.  After we’ve had our fun with other people, we will reconnect with each other.  And all rules are subject to change in the future, except for these two fundamentals:  Condoms always.  And communication.  If anyone is uncomfortable with something that happens, if anyone has an issue with anything, we need to talk about it.

8 Comments. Leave new

  • dude in love twice
    September 27, 2010 7:43 pm

    It's good to talk about boundaries and rules. In my poly relationship, it started as my wife and our girlfriend full on kissing and everything, whereas i was only allowed to finger her and lick her nipples. Now our 3rd and I spend time alone, kiss, and have full intercourse. We started with rules, but realized it should really be a framework of standards. Sexy sounding I know, but we felt in the heat of the moment, things changes. Seemingly, the wife has found she likes being sub to both our 3rd and me.

    Keep the open communication up, and things will be great.

  • I believe one of the advantages of a nonmonogamous relationship is that rules and boundaries tend to be explicitly stated rather than assumed. It just seems to be part of the culture of open communication; it's part of the process of risk management. Monogamous relationships come with a large number of assumed rules, and I think this tends to reduce the desire to communicate needs (I shouldn't ask her if it's okay to look at other women, that'll just cause a whole mess of trouble!)—it can also lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings if nobody is on quite the same page (Hey, I didn't know it wasn't okay to give my best friend a big, cuddly hug and a kiss on the cheek!).

    Any type of relationship can benefit from open communication about boundaries and rules. My girlfriend and I, who are becoming open to the idea of swinging/nonmonogamy (very slowly) but not seriously looking into it, have discussed our own rules and boundaries in case anything does happen. What I've found? It's never too early to talk about what makes you comfortable or uncomfortable. Even if we only have a few rules set in stone (safer sex, we are primary), it's good to have a foundation so we know what we're looking for (or what we can get away with) if we choose to open up the relationship to other possibilities. Nobody gets surprised. If we do want to bend the rules, we can always renegotiate—after the heat of the moment has passed, when everyone has a clear head. Working the protocol for negotiation into our rules is a necessity because things will change; permanent rules can eventually feel more like a straightjacket than the safety net we intended them to be.

  • When we first started discussing the idea of swinging, one of the first things we did was discuss rules and comfort levels. When we started meeting people we were always very clear about those rules during that first meet up. We really feel that it's helped avoid awkward situations and bad experiences and made our goals very clear with prospective playmates.
    We decided that simplicity was best so only have four rules:
    1 – Condoms no exceptions.
    2 – No kissing the opposite sex. That's just for us.
    3 – Same room only, for any time of sexual contact at all.
    4 – If one of us asks the other to stop doing something during play time, the other has to stop, no questions asked. Then we discuss it later when we're alone.

    Every couple we've met had similar rules. Some would not allow swallowing, for some anal was off limits etc.
    We're not terribly concerned about those things ourselves. Our female half is free to swallow cum and get anal all she wants but we totally understand why some couples aren't comfortable with those things.

    • While I of course respect anyone\’s rules, the second one perplexes me, especially since you\’re good with cum swallowing, etc. And we\’ve encountered a few couples where kissing is off the menu, or no tongue kissing, and I can tell you we RARELY come back for seconds with them. It just seems so bizarre to me to be okay with everything else, but not kissing. No offense, of course. 1 and 4 are part of our rules.

      • Well it isn't about being OK or not being OK with it. That rule is about reserving some form of intimacy that is just for the two of us, that others don't get to partake in, if that makes any sense.

        • Absolutely. It's about tokenizing one portion of the act for yourselves. I get that, I do. Some of our friends don't fuck others in their bed, some won't allow certain acts (for us, in fact, anal is off the menu with most friends) we've just found something that's as integrated as kissing in sex is VERY difficult to remove and not have the whole act feel…abbreviated?

          • That's it exactly. The fact that kissing is such an integral part of sex is one reason we chose to reserve it. For us, kissing takes sex from simple fun to a more intimate act that that is an expression of our love for each other. With out the kissing, it's just fucking. Which is the way we like it with others. 😉

  • Very interesting… thanks for sharing!


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