Sarah Shahi seen in bra and panties as she does a sexy dance on stage at a strip club while a guy watches. Meanwhile, we see Lynn Collins giving another guy a lap dance, wearing a blonde wig for part of it. From The Dog Problem.
Is anyone else dumbfounded by the idea of an open relationship?
I’m not judging you if you are in an open relationship, if anything I’m fascinated by it. I just know for me personally the idea of “sharing” or being with other people forms a pit in my stomach. Can anyone shed some light on why open relationships seem to be so common? Does anyone else share my sentiment?
worried19: I don’t think they’re that common. Personally, they also give me the same “pit in the stomach” feeling. I could never be in one.
i_love_puppies12: Oh geez, yes. I read stories of open relationships (either failed or functional) and I picture myself in a relationship like that with my boyfriend and I almost want to cry. I just read one post about a girl whose boyfriend has a higher libido and he has full-on relationships with the girls he has sex with, leaving his girlfriend lonely. I enjoy being my boyfriend’s one and only so much and I don’t understand why some people are okay with not having that in their lives. I’d rather be single and lonely than lonely while in a relationship because my boyfriend is out fucking and dating other girls.
lv4myw: I’ve never had sex with someone I wasn’t in a committed relationship with … but …
I think there are some people who philosophically simply don’t consider sexual monogamy to be important. (Whether it is or is not objectively important, they do not consider it to be.) In their view, having sex with someone other than your primary partner is no different than having lunch with someone other than your primary partner.
I also think there are other people who see it as a fix for mismatched libidos. The man wants the open relationship to get more sex and the woman agrees because she feels it will keep her from losing him.
I don’t much care what other consenting adults do in their bedroom, but like you, it isn’t for me.
trey74: It’s like a zoo, I want to watch the fallout, but I’m not happy that I know it’s coming. For me, it’s totally a NO GO. for my SO, it’s a NO GO.
I wouldn’t say that they are common, it’s more like being a vegan. Not many are, but those that are are vocal on here about it. LOL
sangetencre: Open relationships probably aren’t that common. You’re on r/sex, in a pretty sex positive environment with people who like, talk about, etc. sex. You’re going to see more things here than you’ll encounter in the wild.
That said: some people are not monogamous or don’t value sexual monogamy, so even though they might want to have a primary romantic relationship, they still want sex with other people (or intimate relationships with other people, if poly). So if they find someone for whom that type of dynamic works, all is well.
Some people also see it as a fix for what’s going wrong in their relationship (e.g. mismatched libidos). I’m not certain those turn out that well…
It’s not a relationship dynamic that would work for me. The closest I might come would be a threesome/foursome with my partner (which we’ve discussed), and that’s very much a *might*.
I prefer to invest my sexual time and energy in one partner and I want the same in return; I find freedom in delving deep into one-on-one intimacy. I also don’t like dating, I’m very much not a people person, and while I’m sexually attracted to other people while in a monogamous relationship, I really have no driving desire to *act* on that attraction. An open relationship seems like a lot of time and people management (the monogamous relationship is enough work) and I have other things to spend my spare time on. For me, it would just be a whole lot of fuss for very little reward.
Though, if I were in a less satisfying relationship, if my partner and I didn’t align sexually, ethically, politically, etc., maybe I’d be singing a different tune. But after 14 years, all’s still really good (and getting better).
But if the open dynamic works for other people, kudos.
slainte_allday: It seems to create a lot of conflict. Potential for jealous, abandonment, even STDs if you’re not careful. But I’m very monogamous oriented, so I try to be accepting of those who totally aren’t. I feel like an open relationship should just be casual dating across the board. Why semi commit with someone instead of going all in? I don’t know, maybe I’m too traditional.
MyfatcatSwan: So my S/O and I attempted at trying an open relationship and it wasn’t for us. I think as others have stated some people want the freedom, while others really want that additional relationship. It’s not for everyone for sure.
PlaysAprtStaysTgethr: Our open relationship is about our relationship. It’s about allowing us both to explore and develop our sexualities without being limited by each other. We’re able to learn and grow and share these things together. For us being open is an act of intimacy.
My wife and I were raised in very strict environments. We don’t really regret it but we were given a very narrow view of sex and sexuality. It did affect and limit our relationship. We have desires that go beyond just what the classic expectations of a married relationship is. When my wife is with someone else she is expressing the fullness of her desire and thought and personality and sexuality in a way that she couldn’t if she were just with me. We weren’t lacking anything in our relationship before we were satisfied and could be satisfied just with each other again. It’s about growing together. Instead of getting in the same routine and having to find ways to spice it up because we don’t know anything else we are allowing ourselves to experience everything and learn who we are together. I want to see my wife reach her full potential in every way. As a woman in I want to see my wife reach her full potential in every way. As a woman in the professional world, as a student gaining more and more degrees, as a thinker and, yes, as a sexual being. It is good for me because she is more fully realized. She becomes her truest self and I love her for it.
Causal sex outside of a committed relationship is more dangerous in my opinion. People are liable to end up using each other and having mixed expectations because communication and trust are not developed. You learn who you are sexually at the risk of someone else hurting you. Because my wife and I are committed to each other we have a safety net. We always come back together no matter what happens, and thus are more comfortable seeing what is out there.
I understand that is not for everyone but saying that it is not a relationship is very narrow-minded. My wife and I are absolutely committed to each other. That’s the only way this works without jealousy or Self Image issues. Everyone looks at other people in a relationship. Closed relationships aren’t bad but when people get stuck in them without being able to fully Express their desires and sexuality they start looking for other avenues to express themselves. This leads to pornography addictions and adultery. Even if they never act because of their commitment, they have a desire for something they cant have. When you’re in an open relationship is much harder to commit adultery. If we want something, we discuss it and pursue it. The only adultery we could have is keeping secrets, and a committed relationship doesnt do that anyways. If someone is capable of having a fully sexually realised long term lifetime relationship, then good for them. This way you don’t have to wait 20 years to find out how long it will last.
Biteitliketysen: I totally see the benifits of one.
Water_Vole: I completely share your opinion. “A pit in the stomach” is a good description.
bandoflizards: Husband and I have been married over a decade. We have an open marriage and it always has been. We are each other’s best friends. We have a house and family together. We are partners in this crazy thing called life, facing it together as a pair. We will always be each other’s first priority and other half. That is the exclusivity in our relationship. And if any of that changed, we both would consider it a betrayal of our vows to each other.
But sex, neither of us have really ever cared if the other slept with other people. I know we’re weird that way, but it’s just how we are. Instead of being jealous of outside relationships, it sort of feels like talking to a good friend about the new person they’re seeing. It’s fun in a “omg tell me more!” kind of way. There are no secrets between us. We always know all about the other people. We usually even meet them and often become friends, aside from the sex. Think of it as like friendships but with sex. We have a best friend, but we also have other friends. Only in this case, we’ve pledged our lives to our best friends, each other. We both still enjoy the intimacy and relationships that come with having other friends.
Upsides of an open relationship? Well we have learned about our own sexualities and found things we really enjoy with other people. We have different hobbies and interests to some degree and there have been times that our outside relationships have been with people who end up sharing our interests. That gets the spouses off the hook from going to events they have no interest in. Take the other person instead! But mostly, we both just really enjoy it. For the most part, it’s really just that simple. I have friends and he has friends whom we like hanging out with and sleeping with. If my husband decided it wasn’t for him anymore, I’d stop all other relationships immediately. Likewise, if I ever wanted to close the relationship, he would immediately. Like I said, our first priorities are always to each other. But I would be sad because I would lose some very close friendships. And so would he. Some, because of life circumstances, we don’t even have sex with anymore, but we are still close friends.
I completely understand that this kind of life is not for most people. But it works for us and brings us joy.
Soakl: It’s definitely not for me. If I wanted to share or be shared, I wouldn’t be in a relationship. It comes across as more like open fwb than a relationship.
I know a few people who have tried it to save their relationship and ut ultimately failed because one person wanted it and the other was only doing it as a compromise.
I’m sure there are people out there where it’s effective, but they’d make the minority of people who try it
phrits: They’re not for everyone, to be sure. For some of us, though, sex is more a component of a loving and committed relationship than it is the defining characteristic. Poke around at /r/polyamory and /r/nonmonogamy: Compersion isn’t most folks’ default reaction, but I promise you it’s real.
Squid_Of_Doom: I’m in an open relationship and it can be described by a range of emotions and motivations. For my wife and i we were already married with children when we opened up the relationship. There was a great amount of things anchoring us together..time, children, house, goals, business. If both people are happy, then sleeping with others shouldn’t endanger that anchor. In all truth, most other people are nice single serving fuck buddies. People you want in short doses, but nothing more.
Do emotions and attachment occur, yeah and it can lead to a lot of bad feelings. My personal feelings is that there are a lot of hurt and lonely people out there and they can be a real downer for me when i get to know them. It is not always just porno sex, but a lot of people trying to fill an emptiness of detachment.
My findings, lots of lonely wives out there who don’t have emotional support from their husband.
My wife’s findings, lots of sexually detached husband’s from their wives.
missmarilynmars: I feel about the same as you in terms of my own serious partner, i would feel insufficent if they needed somebody else, butt emm also a v sexual chick, anywhooo, I can see the appeal of it in a relationship that has a strong bond of trust and security. Some people, myself included can perform sexually/physically with somebody, appreciate the mutually beneficial experience. the world’s full of so many different people, sizes, styles, shapes… so many fetishes and kinks to be explored. I believe between 2 people sex can be worked on, but is of course best when it comes naturally. some people choose to be open, so that to give themselves and their partner the opportunity to experience and pleasure, maybe, the third person can perform a certain desire better than the other partner, it takes alot of confidence in each individual and the relationship for that to work, i would think. 🙂
starchildvenus: Relationships are hard. Some people can benefit from many of them and other benefit better with one exculsive.
Vingles: op, im sure they exist BUT its definitely not commen. not at all.
quintanear: 100%. I’m bi but even the idea of a threesome is not appealing.
I’ll blame it on being an only child and never having to share anything. And on jealousy.
lordicarus: I don’t really think they are really that common. There’s at least a little bit of confirmation bias on a lot of stuff in this sub; a discussion forum dedicated to talking about sex is bound to be frequented by people with “evolved” views of sex.
captaincanada84: Absolutely dumbfounded. I share your sentiment entirely
SquishyButStrong: For some people, sex is an emotionally intimate act that demonstrate commitment and is the most intimate possible act.
For others, sex is a fun way to explore their and other’s bodies. It can be intimate, beautiful, and denote commitment… but it doesn’t have to. Sexual monogamy isn’t a value, perhaps.
Open relationships aren’t pointless. They allow everyone involved to maintain their freedom. For me, it allows me to be completely sexually satisfied without my partners sacrificing their comfort or time. I can make multiple emotional connections.
If your goal is to follow the relationship escalator (girlfriend to fiancee to wife to mother to… whatever) then maybe monogamy is a good option. But if you don’t wanna follow the escalator or don’t value sexual monogamy and want to maintain youe and your partner’s personal freedoms, open relations are great. It often requires more emotional work than the typical individual wants to put in, though.
I understand not everyone can handle confronting societal norms and jealousy and other negative emotions that may pop up in non-monogamy, but that certainly doesn’t mean it doesn’t work! That’s like saying that you don’t think gay relationships work since you don’t like dick.
scosgurl: Idk. I find monogamy limiting. It makes me feel trapped.
nebula4364: I agree 100%. I just don’t see how your partner choosing someone over you for any reason could be an acceptable behavior. I just know I would feel paranoid and insecure and upset. It’s a hard pill to swallow and I’m not willing to go through that for someone I would give up everything for
Amberhawke6242: For me, I’ve always realized that I had the potential to care and love more than one person. I tried hard to be monogamous with my ex wife, but she knew me and had always allowed me to pursue other people. Since I first embarked on it I knew I couldn’t turn back. It worked really well with us. She would also go out on dates with other people as well.
Now you might have noticed I said ex wife. It’s kinda interesting because the open relationship was never an issue and had nothing to do with us getting a divorce. I know many people would find that difficult to believe, but we both know that to be true. It was the problems that existed since way before we opened everything up. I credit us having an open relationship with us being able to transition our romantic relationship into a solid friendship.
Since then I’ve had a few relationships, and dated some women. They are all open relationships of sorts. They sometimes have husbands and partners, and I may be dating more than one person too. It makes me happy when their other relationships are going well. It’s great to hear that they had a great date, or they spent time with another partner. Its not that I don’t ever get jealous, but it’s actually more envy sometimes. It’s not that I want it for myself and not anyone else, but sometimes I wish I could go on the fun trip with them.
I’m also glad I can be there for a partner when things aren’t going well. Like recently a woman that I’m talking to, and things are going well, was having a really bad day. So I talked to her husband, and asked if I could send some flowers since I’m out of town, and got suggestions for what to send. See that’s teamwork there.
Open relationships are not for everyone though. Some people like me thrive in them, and other people would find it torturous. In the end though, being open with multiple relationships and partners has made me a better and full person.
Reallychelseawow: I don’t get it either. I’d be devestated if my partner needed someone else and I know he would too. We have differences in our sexualities, especially since I have endometriosis, but I’d feel inadequate if he wanted someone else. I also can’t enjoy sex if I don’t feel truly attracted (physically and emotionally) to the other person, so random sex doesn’t appeal to me.
I understand it works for some people and I get the concept of feeling trapped, but I have never found that applying to my sex life. I’d be ecstatic if finding friends to do stuff with was as easy as finding a sexual partner haha.
I find I can understand a polyamorous relationship much easier than an open relationship. In real life, every friend who has attempted an open relationship has been destroyed as a result, as it crossed the line into cheating very quickly. I do know two successful polyamorous relationships though.
Warphim: I have been in a couple relationships where I was dating 2 girls.
I work from home, so I have a ton of free time. I have a very high sex drive, and I bounce between being a homebody and partier. To make things worse, I am quite “needy” in the sense that I always want someone around, even if they are just in the room doing their own thing, and I hate sleeping alone.
Because of the above, I have found that I can be a little overwhelming for an individual partner.
I have also spent a great deal of time growing up without very much interaction with other people, so I never really feel like I can get “enough” affection. If one person were to give me as much affection as I needed I would probably feel smothered by them.
So more or less, the 2 big reasons I pursue polyamory is because I have intimacy issues, and because sexual desire. Neither of which do I really consider negative things, as much as they simply are the way they are.
Edit: I wasn’t really clear about how open. “ideal” situation is that I am dating 2 girls. They are more than welcome to sleep with other people but (I’m needy) not date other people. I have a hard time when I feel like I’m supposed to compete for attention.
Ukelele-in-the-rain: I don’t think they are common but there no reason to be dumbfounded.
People like different things. I know a friend who hates travelling to new places so much it would give her the “pit in the stomach feeling”. Some people like sports like rock climbing that give many people “pit in the stomach feeling” and they can never imagine themselves ever enjoying that lifestyle.
If it’s not for you, it’s not for you. Don’t let someone coerce you into something you are uncomfortable with.
Non-monogamy works for me because I don’t see sex as this thing that I can only share with one person. It’s not that I don’t find sex intimate, it is very. I just don’t find it more intimate than other activities. Heart to heart talks, sharing vulnerabilities etc.
It’s like with my closest friends, I have more than one and each is unique and I’m close to each of them in a different way. I have more than one sexual partner and they all bring something to my life. I don’t insist my friend only has heart to heart talks with me. I similarly don’t insist my sexual partner share their sexual journey only with me.
Personally I find the concept of ownership in relationships that is pretty common in our society very uncomfortable.
whiskey_pants: I am not sure I am dumbfounded. I think that I know me well enough to say they are not the right fit for me at all. I can say that about a lot of things though, not just sex. There are plenty of career options I am certain I’d be absolutely miserable in as well and yet I am not dumbfounded someone else finds that very rewarding. I guess I don’t see this terribly differently.
There is not one subject almost in all of humanity all people will agree on. There will always be different angles to it, perspectives, etc, and opinions. You know what they say, everyone has one. So overall I guess anything almost makes sense to me that *someone* out there is really into it. I am far more confused on scat play personally as that one I can’t find an upside to, but some people do, so whatever. As long as it’s not my life, I really don’t spend an inordinate amount of time pondering it.
For me I like monogamy. I like knowing what I am getting into. I like that I feel like I don’t need to worry about safer sex or what if I got pregnant, or or or. I don’t find it hard to explore different ideas or try new things with the same person. I find that fun to explore together. I figure that is just how *I* tick. How someone else ticks doesn’t need to make sense to me as long as it’s not my partner.
IListenToJoji: I couldn’t do it. I’d be mad jealous although I’m a hypocrite because it’s a low-key dream of mines to be in a relationship with a girl who allows us to have sex with other girls.
Karpattata: Not dumbfounded, no. It’s really not for me- I feel about it just like you do- but I don’t want to project my feeling on the matter onto other people. I can definitely imagine a whole bunch of folks for whom it could work, or arrangements in which nobody feels left out or jealous.
They’re really not that common. They’re just slightly more apparent in this sub for obvious reasons.
Nildain: I’ll take a stab at giving some perspective from an ethical stand point.
It’s apparent for most people that they’re at least capable of liking multiple people at the same time, whether they’re single or in a relationship. Most people, out of respect for their relationships, wouldn’t let those feelings turn into something more though. In fact, many people will actually feel guilt over having any sort of budding feelings for another person, as if that by itself is even a betrayal. Or perhaps it’s just easier to not entertain those feelings at all knowing that they’re a dead end.
What’s good about that, though? Wouldn’t we be better off nurturing our love for our fellow beings? Why should you feel bad for liking someone? Why should you feel bad that someone you’re with likes another person?
It can be really worrying to think that your significant other might run off with somebody else that they develop feelings for, but that happens *all of the time* even when people agree to be monogamous. People cheat, they meet someone new and they move on. A lot of really stupid behavior happens because people don’t feel that they can be honest about their feelings for another person to their significant other.
It’s actually a uniquely freeing thing to be able to be open with a partner about your feelings for someone else and for it to be *okay.* Even if nothing comes of it. Even if your relationship isn’t open. It opens up a unique sort of closeness. You no longer have to hide some part of yourself for fear of how it will be received.
That being said open relationships can totally lead to people being neglected or not having their needs met, but people fail to have their needs met in closed relationships all of the time. It might be fair to say that communication is even more important in open relationships, but I think it’s safe to say that communication is key to making any type of relationship run smoothly, and so a relationship structure that encourages open dialogue about everything, even things that are often hard to talk about, can be seen as a benefit.
That being said there are plenty of right ways to do relationships and everyone involved being truly okay with things is what’s important. If someone is okay never being able to see where their feelings for other people apart from their partner go then that’s totally their call to make.
For some it just feels wrong to tell someone who they can and can’t love, or to deny another person the ability to explore other people, and they want that same understanding from another person.
Random_G: I’m not. My wife and I are so in love and have an open marriage! 🙂
greyeyedgirl: I think if you’re an open relationship it’s a pointless relationship. I don’t even see how that’s a relationship. But if that’s what you want or like then more power to you. But I personally never understood.
403PaigeForbidden: For my husband and I, it deepens the trust we have in one another, and allows us both to have fun that we couldn’t otherwise. Win/win 🙂 Also, we don’t see sex as love, or love as sex, so they can be separated. I don’t think that because he’s having sex with someone else, that must mean he loves them, or doesn’t love me.
lanadelstingrae: I’m personally not in one right now, but know a few couples who are.
Because of the differences in our libidos and the general “trapped” feeling I tend to get in relationships I’ve thought about bringing the subject up with my boyfriend many times.
Also, the older and more experienced I get with relationships, the more I’ve begun to believe that humans are not meant to be monogamous. We can’t expect one person (partner) to be everything to us (best friend, confidant, co-parent, sexual partner etc), it’s a lot of hoops to expect one person to jump through.
It’s not for everyone that’s for sure, and the failure stories so many people are poking fun at here are probably due to communication issues on the couple’s end. I’ve seen it work for many couple though.