“Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife”. Is his wife being coveted if he knows about it? With the divorce rate over 50% and the rate of infidelity being even higher at 66%, I have begun to wonder about the reality of monogamy. There has always been talk about men not being made for monogamy, but they are not the only ones getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Women are also going outside of the marital relationship. Keeping this in mind, I thought I would take on the subject of cheating versus an alternate lifestyle (i.e. open relationship (polygamy), swinging).
I am a firm believer of honesty in a committed relationship. This includes being honest about your desire to be with someone else. I figure that I would rather have the opportunity to make an informed decision about my partner being with someone else versus being slapped in the face with the pain of infidelity. So I say to my husband, “If you want to have sex with someone else, lets talk about it”. My girlfriends think that I am crazy and guys tells me this strategy won’t ever work because most men would not grant their woman the same privilege. Well maybe they won’t, but let’s talk about it anyway.
Cheating, or as I refer to it in The Recipe for Ecstasy, “shitting where you eat”, just doesn’t make sense. Even if a person is never discovered, an act of infidelity changes things. There is now a secret in the relationship that is forever being hidden. If the infidelity is discovered, it most certainly will spoil the relationship. While it may not be forever ruined, recovering from the betrayal of infidelity can be extremely challenging.
Swinging and polygamous relationships offer a twist on the traditional idea of marriage. Some refer to it as “new age” but polygamy dates back to biblical times. Evidence of multiple partners can be seen in literature, artwork, religion and history dating back centuries. So this is nothing new, although it maybe a new alternative for you.
It is important to understand the distinction between swinging and open relationships. Swinging is a term used to define a situation where singles and couples in an exclusive relationship seek out sexual partners primarily for the purpose of pleasure. In this situation, the relationship is not the focus. Sometimes people hook-up spontaneously and randomly, while at other times there are social gatherings designed to encourage recreational sex.
In open relationships, committed partners support the idea of individual freedom. They stress the importance of being open to allowing a person to explore any and all aspects of oneself, including their sexuality. One line of thought suggests that a person’s love capacity is infinite. Therefore, even loving someone else while married is not a betrayal of the marital union. Some believe that it may even support it. The ability to approximate your “authentic self” manifests as a sense on personal security and joy that you are able to share with others, especially your spouse.
It is important when considering swinging or open relationships that the foundation of monogamy has been strongly established. Carl and Kenya K. Stevens speak freely about their open marriage and the importance of the foundation of monogamy. They assert that polygamy is not the answer to marital problems. Instead you must first cultivate a “relationship with one” (Fox 2 interview). I believe that this starts first with the relationship you have with “self” and then with that significant “other”. Know who you are and what you want, be willing to ask for it, and seek it.
As I have contemplated this idea of open relationships for years, I’ve always thought about the rules or boundaries that would be necessary. After researching the topic this does not seem to apply. In a marital union, this relationship is primary; any decisions made, including those involving other partners, must not threaten its’ security. This is the rule.
In swinging, there may be rules depending on individual preferences, but again the primary rule is about the security of the individual and couple. In this, physical safety is assumed. Therefore, the choices that are made must take into consideration personal risk. This may help to explain why the swinging community provides social opportunities that support the lifestyle. It allows people to express oneself freely in the context of a safe environment. No it is not just about one big sex party, but it is one big sex party!
If you are contemplating exploring these options, I strongly encourage you to do some research. I have provided some links that may offer some insight. Happy hunting.
Here is a quote from someone in the lifestyle (who will remain nameless). “To me it’s an orientation just like sexuality – just because I don’t have a girlfriend right now doesn’t mean I’m any less bisexual (which I am). Same thing, at least to me. I think some people are “wired for polyamory” and others for monogamy – neither is better or worse, just different.”