One wonderful thing about non-monogamous relationships is people are allowed the freedom to choose whatever rules make them the happiest. Whether people classify themselves as swingers, polyamorous, open or something else entirely, there are many possibilities within their chosen label to tailor their relationship to be exactly what they want it to be. One important choice couples make is whether sex outside their relationship will be done in private, away from one member of the couple, or in a situation where the other member of the couple may be involved or watch. Both options have advantages and disadvantages.
Many people’s first instinct is to never be able to see their partner be sexual with another person without immediately becoming jealous. While this is true for some people, many people find they actually experience less jealousy when getting to witness their partner’s sexy times with another person. Imagining what might have happened between your partner and their partner can become more intimidating and momentous than what actually occurred. If you find yourself imagining mountains moving and orchestras playing during your loved one’s time with others, you may need to give yourself a reality check. Better yet, sit yourself down with your partner and ask for some reassurance that your sexy time together is still moving mountains as well.
Sometimes, seeing your partner’s play time reminds you that new partners are still human, and not super smooth love gods sent to destroy your relationship. Witnessing nervous giggles, awkward positioning or bumped noses can be reassuring and endearing. You may even achieve the emotional state polyamorists call compersion; feeling joy for your partner as they experience joy in other relationships. Or better yet, you may achieve the state us happy pervs call turned-on, and decide you love to watch your partner get sexy with another person and maybe next time you want to join in.
Seeing your partner with another can offer the perspective that sex works differently for each pair of people. Maybe they have a different dynamic than the two of you or maybe they get hot from activities that are not on your list of favorites. Realizing this can also bring pride and happiness in the aspects in which you and your partner are a perfect fit, areas that might not work as well or burn as hot for your partner and anyone else as they do with the two of you.
Of course, some people prefer for a partner’s sexy time with others to occur away from their view. This brings its own advantages. Some people find it easier to manage jealous feelings by essentially saying, “I’m glad you had a nice time on your date honey and I really don’t want to hear any more about it.” If it makes you feel better to not hear details of your partner’s love life, then by all means feel free to ask not to hear them. As long as everyone is clear on their rules, you shouldn’t need to hear details you don’t want to hear. It is possible to have discussions using just the facts rather than the romance novel descriptions. Consider avoiding details like “Ms. Sexypants somehow manages to fill up both my heart and my pussy with that skillful tongue of hers. However sometimes I long for her to penetrate my soul and vaginal canal with something harder.” You will get the answer you need just fine with “Would you be ok with me bringing this dildo we often use together on my next date with Ms. Sexypants or should she and I get our own?”
Some couples prefer to have more privacy with their outside lovers. Not everyone enjoys group sex and for the people who thrive on one-on-one relationship time, having a certain amount of privacy could be a vital component to relationship happiness. What a show of love, trust and commitment to each other’s freedom for a partner to feel comfortable sending their partner off to play with someone else without having to know all the details of the date.
Of course, there are also flexible folks who explore all of these options. Maybe they have the best of both worlds-privacy when they want it and hot sexy voyeurism or group sex when they are in the mood for company. No matter how you decide to structure your non-monogamous relationship, pick whatever works for you both and makes you happy. Whether sexy time happens away from your partner or right in their lap (so to speak, ahem), don’t forget to have time to reconnect one-on-one with your sweetie after your dates with others. Keeping your relationship with each other strong will improve dates with others as you will feel guilt free and confident that your partner wants you to have a great time.
Thanks for the great article! Navigating in the lifestyle with your partner can be tricky at times especially if your “rules” are fluid and change over the course of your relationship. Non-monogamy is where it’s at, and it takes a lot of love and communication to make it work.
My wife only wants to swing together – she can’t imagine swinging alone. But we recently met a friend who is in an open marriage where they ONLY date alone – and they have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about what happens on their extramarital dates. And my friend said, “I can’t imagine being in the same room while my husband was having sex with another woman – I’d be way too jealous!”
Diff’rent strokes for diff’rent folks. Every couple has to manage expectations and communicate and negotiate rules and boundaries along the way.
Non-monogamy is one of those things that requires honesty and flexibility. Gerri’s comment about rules that are fluid describes my relationship perfectly. Maintaining a strong marriage while exploring non-monogamous options requires the ability to stop, start, take breaks, change the rules, put aside feelings of jealousy, and forgive mistakes. My husband and I pretty much have what we call “no rules” right now. Meaning that we are honest with each other, but we try really hard to let each other do what feels good and right in the moment. We haven’t always been this way and we’ve probably tried every rule in the book at some point during this adventure of ours. Sometimes I like to watch and other times I don’t want to hear any details at all. I try not to judge myself for my feelings, but instead just honestly assess where I’m at and react accordingly.