Open for Sex

May 11, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I was driving to the dentist’s and heard about Mo’nique’s open marriage. The kind where the husband and wife amicably agree to having sex with other people — no need to cheat or lie. No secrets. No regrets. No complications.

Or so they say.

The rationale for open marriage being that it allows two people who love each other to be together for a lifetime while still allowing them to explore their sexuality with multiple other people.

It’s like combining the best of both worlds — you have someone to share your daily routine with and someone else to spice up your sex life.

To me there’s a distinct disconnect…the assumption in an open marriage is that sex is devoid of an emotional connection. That you can be physically intimate with someone without any emotional attachment. That you can be uninhibited, unrestrained. And yet be loyal to the one you’ve pledged your life to. And also have sex with your spouse — that act having an emotional component, not just being an animal instinct.

How do two people who supposedly love each other make it work?

How does jealousy or possessiveness not come into play?

How do you let someone go and then accept them with open arms over and over again?

How do you dissociate emotion from sex?

How do you love one person but share yourself with many others?

Is it because their love for each other is greater? Or is it just a selfish arrangement, where if you agree to let your partner fornicate, you get the same perk in return?

But then why marry in the first place? Isn’t marriage by definition monogamous? Then how does adding an adjective — open — change the basic meaning of the word? Or the relationship?

Why make a mockery of a union, whether it is between members of the opposite sex or the same, wherein you take vows to be true to each other. Mind, body and soul.

But they are being true to each other, some would say!

The couple in an open marriage is perhaps more honest than your average married couple … They don’t have any false pretenses, any monogamous expectations, or any lies between them. They’re probably happier.

But are they?

I think open marriage adds another layer of complication to an already cobwebbed life. It’s like saying I’m half into you…the other half belongs to whoever appeals to my carnal desires.

I keep going back to the question…why marry? Why commit to someone when you know that you’re not sharing your all with them?

Isn’t that the biggest lie — to yourself? Isn’t open marriage really just cheating yourself? Wanting to be conventional, yet not. Signing up for the security of something “regular” and the excitement of that which is unacceptable. Trying to mix water and oil.

From my vantage point, it seems like throwing oneself into unnecessary torment. The temptation defeated by the knowledge of permanent emotional scarring. The adventure too risqué. The payoff not worth the investment.

What do you think?

16081BD1A60533E0F1173D28DE4F0D3F Open for Sex

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18 Responses to Open for Sex

  1. SusanNo Gravatar on May 11, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I have always had my doubts about this kind of arrangement. I validate your arguments and second them.

    But many are opting for this kind of a relationship. And this comes from ‘philosophers’ and the creamy layer of intellectuals who separate the emotional and the sexual. They are the same people who also argue about loving two persons at the same time.

    Complex and knotted!


  2. ArvindNo Gravatar on May 11, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    I think open marriage is far worse than an open relationship.

    Its gonna make our lives most complicated .

  3. BinnyNo Gravatar on May 11, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I strongly feel one can not dissect emotions from sex. Open marriage is a garb, beneath which promiscous lovers quench their carnal desires without feeling guilty. Open marriage put one more strata of confusion on dynamics of relationship. Nice blog !!

  4. PallavNo Gravatar on May 11, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Open relationship is sheer detoxification. It’s between the known and the unknown. Nice read :)

  5. BillNo Gravatar on May 12, 2010 at 10:41 am

    Well I guess I’ll take the counter point on this one. I’ve known people in “open” marriages & they are very happy. I believe statistically there is little difference in the divorce between people saying they have an “open” marriage & people who don’t. In fact I believe the last time I checked there was less divorces in couples with an “open” marriage. Monogamy is societal pressure that was attached to marriage because of some religions, that doesn’t make it right.

    I believe that it takes special people to make this arrangement work & no I’m not in an “open” marriage!, so it’s not for everyone but I also believe strongly in the individual right to express themselves however they want & to me this is what an “open” marriage is. The institution of marriage is failing in the world today with 51% of marriages ending in divorce. We all need to look at ways to strength this institution & if “open” marriage works for some, who am I to say no! This is a personal choice not a societal one!

    Awww well it’s fun to take the counter side sometimes.



    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 12, 2010 at 10:44 am

      Thanks for the counterpoint, Bill. True — marriage as an institution has its own flaws and what I express here is my judgmental, biased opinion. It’s certainly not for me and I don’t know anyone personally who has been in or is in one. I guess to each his or her own :-)

      • BillNo Gravatar on May 12, 2010 at 12:57 pm

        Yup, that’s all I’m saying….I judgement of any kind is very destructive…better to just leave it alone & not do it yourself.



        P.S. Just for the record I enjoy taking the counterpoint to promote discussion not necessarily because it’s my viewpoint!! =D Hugs

  6. Prassoon SuryadasNo Gravatar on May 13, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Good for those who have ugly and rich spouse LOL.

    Take a look at this survey report and there wont be any of your questions left unanswered :) )

    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 14, 2010 at 11:37 am

      Interesting statistics, Prassoon. I guess some view it as “progressive.” Appreciate your stopping by.

  7. DevNo Gravatar on May 28, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Interesting and very honest questions indeed. I think the point is not about open marriages or open relationships; for me, the important question is, “is it really possible to love more than one person and stay committed equally with all your lovers(even if its just a carnal love, which I agree with you could not be without some emotion)?”
    Yes, like you, I have serious doubts as well. But then, there are people who seem to have lived a life free of commitment and they look as happy as anybody else. Case in point :Mr Jack Nicholson or Charlie Sheen or, to an extent, Elizabeth Taylor too.
    I have a friend who is a professor in an Ivy league university. He is from Texas and happily engaged (soon to be married) to his long time girlfriend. He once mentioned to me that “We(Men) are here to spread our semen”. Quite an outrageous statement coming from an otherwise very rational and committed human being.
    I personally suspect that most men are monogamous because of society or fear rather than respecting the institution of marriage or the sanctity of long term relationships. Women, I think, are very different.
    I had once attended a symposium on what the world will be like in next fifty-hundred years. One of the prominent speakers on futuristic studies said that things like infidelity and extra marital affairs will be passe soon and the institution of marriage will end. Because the world will become so transparent and each of our moves so accessible (it’s already happening to an extent with tools such as facebook, twitter and high tech phones), that it will be impossible to lie about our affairs. Sooner than later, everybody will be caught. So, according to that speaker, the only option in such a world will be to be open about our affairs. Besides, life expectancy will go much beyond usual 70-80 years and in such a scenario, it will be very unnatural to have just one partner for so long. Multiple relationships will exist without any conflicts.

    Now, do I personally believe in all this? Well, I’m not sure..we will see. But, interesting..isnt it.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 28, 2010 at 5:06 pm

      Your insights remind me of the various National Geographic documentaries I’ve seen, Dev. Nature never intended for the male species to be monogamous (there are always a few exceptions). The rationale we humans give for sticking with one partner is, at a very basic level, this: “we are better than animals!”

  8. Prassoon SuryadasNo Gravatar on May 28, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    institution of marriage itself is not 5000 years old LOL why brag about marriage then? More over one who is in USA doesn’t need to wait that long to see institution of marriage being destroyed. Its already destroyed. Some statistics of Marriage in USA is available here

    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 28, 2010 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Prassoon,
      I don’t think that statistics tell the complete truth. Just because there is a high rate of divorce in the US, it doesn’t mean that the institution of marriage has failed here more than in countries like India where infidelity is on the rise and yet people carry on the sham of marriage due to societal pressure. I think in those societies, marriage has failed more miserably as an institution.
      Thanks for sharing your insights.

      • Prassoon SuryadasNo Gravatar on May 28, 2010 at 9:37 pm

        I beg to differ. Infidelity is not the only thing that destroys the institution of marriage. ‘Marriage’ itself is a legal formality and people quit marrying just to avoid the legal complications. This is what is on the rise in India. Now law offers a BUMPER PRIZE to women if they choose to divorce. So most women choose to go with the Bumper Prize rather trying to patch up.

        Remember very few people choose to marry in USA and more than half of them end up in divorce. Then they become the brand ambassadors of ‘quit marriage committee’. Ever since court room entered bed room the sanctity of marriage got wiped off.

  9. JoeNo Gravatar on June 28, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    I would agree with the statements that it is intellectuals (to a degree) that are able to separate love and sex. I think because of the carnal pursuits it is perceived to the contrary. It is in my opinion that sexually (and mentally) mature individuals are able to be promiscuous and maintain a loving relationship with their spouse.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on June 29, 2010 at 10:51 am

      Aah! That’s an interesting perspective, Joe. Thanks for visiting :)

  10. AaronNo Gravatar on December 29, 2010 at 8:46 am

    I cannot help but laugh because it seems that the strongest proponents of an ‘open marriage’ are men while seemingly forgetting that it is much harder for us to seduce women than it is for women to seduce us. So any husband seriously contemplating it should do a very sobering evaluation of his self-confidence before he tries to convince his reluctant wife to such an agreement. He might not get so lucky as his wife and by then she might not want to go back to the old, plain ‘vanilla’ marriage. The old warning ‘Be careful what you wish for…’ is so true in many of these cases.

  11. AaronNo Gravatar on December 29, 2010 at 10:20 am

    As some have alluded, what is right for some people may not be right for other people, There may be other reason’s why an emotionally secured, married couple may entertain the idea of an ‘open marriage’ and it may not have anything to do with sexual variety. Consider the case of many middle aged husbands who can no longer have sexual intercourse with their wives due to some serious cardiological conditions. At the same time, many of these wives have reached their sexual peak and their libidos has gone through the roof. Some of these middle aged husbands may feel very bad that their wives are also doomed to a celibate life because of their devotion to them. Some, after profound soul searching, may convey to their wives that, out of love for them, that they are willing to allow them to have sex with other men on the condition that they go about it in a discreet fashion and as a part of a ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy between them.

    Infidelity doesn’t end the marriage because of the extra-marital sex but because of the egregious violation of trust brought on by the selfishness, thoughtlesness, disrespect, deception and dishonesty of one spouse towards the other.


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