My partner and I are in an “open” relationship, in the sense that either of us can, at any time, take a lover.
We have a few ground rules, of course, the most important of which is the honesty inherent in the relationship.
Without honesty, there is no trust. Without trust, there is no relationship, because there is no relating.
Speaking as the male in this scenario, I would like to point out my personal feelings.
If my woman were to meet someone she liked, were to want to have sex with that person, and the other person was similarly inclined, I would be offended if she did not pursue it.
Allow me to reiterate, for those who missed it the first time: I *want* my woman to “sleep around”.
As a matter of fact, it would upset me if she were to *not* pursue physical pleasure, if it was offered, and she wanted it.
If I thought that she had turned it down out of deference to me and my feelings of jealousy, or out of some sense of duty to me, I would be absolutely horrified.
Our household runs on rational thought. Our feelings, just like everyone else’s, have little to do with rational thought.
This is an enormous barrier to communication, but if you can figure out how to surmount it, then you’re in a very good place.
We communicate constantly, and to be quite honest, our external “affairs” are few and far between. Having the freedom to have emotions, on the other hand, has made this one of the easiest and best relationships I’ve ever been in.
The honesty was specified up front, the trust built on that, and we have been quite happy for over 7 years now.
We have found that intimacy and sex are not synonymous.
We have both been in relationships where sex was a substitute for intimacy, and found them lacking.
We have both been in abusive, controlling relationships, and found them to be unhappy and unhealthy. I have the (ahem) special privilege of having been on both sides of that, having been both the abuser and the abused, at various points in my life.
We have found our intimacy, and (surprise!) sex has very little to do with it.
Don’t get me wrong, the sex is still fun, we still chase one another nekkid through the living room occasionally, but it’s not a *substitute* for anything.
Now, the lovemaking, on the other hand, is intimate, but that’s more than sex.
It’s cuddling, caressing, murmuring, focusing 100% on each other, getting inside each other’s hearts and minds, sharing life and love and warmth and happiness.
In other words, it’s intimate. And yes, it’s sex. But the two are no more required for one another than they are mutually exclusive.
The intimacy I have gained with my woman is invaluable to me, and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. Because we communicate, I know she feels the same way about me.
I penned this post as “Anonymous Coward”, because far too many people are far too predictable in their responses, and if my job were to learn that I live in this “lifestyle”, I might lose it (the job, not the lifestyle). However wrong that may be, that’s the world we live in.