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April 2, 2012 | by  | in Features |
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Time To Open Up?

Some Thoughts oN Open Relationships

Love and lust are often two completely different concepts, especially when you’ve been in a committed relationship for a few years. C’mon, you’ve got to admit that the initial lust that saw you and your newbie fucking like energiser bunnies is considerably mitigated over the passage of time. That’s when it might just be time to open your relationship up a little. Yup, I’m talking about open relationships.

For those of you who are new to the big wide world of adulthood, an open relationship is when a couple agree that it’s okay to be intimate with another person or other people (I’ve emphasised ‘agree’ because when there is no agreement you’re just a dirty cheat!)

There are loads of reasons why couples might decide to have an open relationship and they are as varied as Sonny Bill’s sporting ambitions. Sometimes it’s because one partner isn’t as sexually driven as the other; sometimes because one or both partners want to try something new; and sometimes because it’s just exciting! It might sound scary at first, but open relationships can be a healthy option and can make relationships even stronger.

But there are a number of societal factors that make open relationships difficult and aim to keep them in the realm of the taboo, from social and religious pressures to conform, to feelings of jealousy and inadequacy, to nosey friends who have no lives.

We’re told from birth, implicitly and explicitly, that when we grow up we need to meet someone of the opposite sex, get married, settle down, and pop out some kids. This concept of family is so strong that anything that deviates even slightly is frowned upon. But sex isn’t something that we should be ashamed of – as long as it’s safe and healthy and between consenting adults, what’s the problem?

Religious influences are a huge barrier to open relationships, and practically anything else that is fun. I was thinking of doing a concise summary of religious influences on the sanctity of sex, but I actually decided that religion can fuck off.

Feelings of inadequacy and jealousy can derail discussion around open relationships and turn into a slinging match about why one partner thinks they’re not good enough followed by secret trips to the gym and bookings at Caci Clinic, but this doesn’t have to be the case. I admit that the idea of an open relationship might seem scary, especially if it’s not your idea. But love and lust can be separate things, and one partner wanting to get it on with someone else doesn’t at all mean that the Love Boat has sailed away to distant shores without you.

When you first start seeing someone you like, you’re usually both raging with horny hormones. Every time you meet it’s all about finding the nearest place to get naked. But you’d be an idiot to think that level of lust is going to last forever, because it probably won’t. (Having said that, my grandparents claim they still get down regularly, but that’s not something I want to dwell on for too long. Awkward.) No, you don’t look like a manatee just because your partner wants to get frisky with other people. They just want to have sex with someone different, and that’s perfectly natural and healthy.

Open relationships are certainly not for everyone, but imagine how cool it would be getting to have your cake and eat it too! Have a discussion with your partner and see what they think, but keep in mind that open relationships are about honesty and boundaries, both with your partner and whoever you hook up with. Get the balance right and chuck in a little respect and you’re on your way!

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