CNN: "Rethinking Monogamy Today"
CNN just put up a nice article of basic advice, although it's very couple-centric — presumably in order to speak to what a mass audience wants to know. The story is getting reprinted on the sites of some local TV stations.
Rethinking monogamy today
By Ian Kerner, CNN
Could opening your relationship to others benefit you and your partner?
A nice safe picture for a mass audience
For many couples, monogamy -- staying sexually exclusive with one partner -- is expected and assumed. It's even included in many marriage vows. But as some people are increasingly realizing, monogamy isn't for everyone.
In fact, consensual non-monogamy can be a healthy option for some couples and, executed thoughtfully, can inject relationships with some much-needed novelty and excitement.
● Consensual non-monogamy can be a healthy option for some couples
● Open relationships require increased communication and transparency
As a couples sex therapist, I've found that some may feel committed to each other yet still feel they have fundamental differences in sexual interests or desires. In the past, many of these couples might have chosen to break up, cheat or just "settle."
But these days, some are finding they want to challenge their notions about sexual exclusivity.
It's still unclear what's driving this new openness to, well, openness.
"We're just starting to ask these questions in research," sex researcher and educator Zhana Vrangalova said. "But there does seem to be a growing group of people who are open to exploring. Even if they ultimately decide that non-monogamy isn't for them, more couples are making that decision after an informed consideration, rather than just judging and rejecting it."...
Is non-monogamy is right for you?
So how do you know whether trying consensual non-monogamy -- which includes polyamory, the ability to have sexual and emotional relationships with others -- is worth exploring?
First, it helps to understand how you and your partner define sexual openness, as well as sexual exclusivity. ... For some couples, non-exclusivity might take the form of attending "play parties" together and swapping partners, watching other couples have sex, dating other people, or even entering into polyamorous relationships with multiple partners.
Determine what's OK and what's not. These are important conversations to have even if you intend to remain monogamous, because they help set expectations and boundaries for your relationship.
A less safe picture
Know that non-monogamy can't save a bad relationship. ... If you're struggling with major issues, differences or communication problems, opening up your relationship will probably worsen those challenges, not improve them.
On the other hand, non-monogamy can help a good relationship.... "It can actually remove the fear inherent in some monogamous relationships related to the potential for abandonment -- for example, if their partner were to meet someone else," explained [sex therapist Dulcinea] Pitagora. "For other people, there can be a deep sense of relief in not having to be the sole source of sexual satisfaction, and this can lead to greater opportunities for intimacy and bonding," she said. "Still others feel a sense of heightened sexual excitement hearing about their partners' other sexual relationships."
Vranglova agrees. ... "Couples say that consensual non-monogamy can improve their communication, because it requires a lot of talking, sharing and negotiating. ..."
Non-monogamy takes effort. If you're considering opening your relationship, it's important to remember that it requires just as much work as monogamy. That means educating yourselves about consensual non-monogamy through books (my personal favorite is Tristan Taormino's "Opening Up"), workshops, talking to other non-monogamous couples and perhaps working with a sex therapist or coach. ...
...There's a lot you can learn from this practice. Taking lessons about increased communication and transparency from non-monogamous couples can improve any relationship, without ever opening it up.
The whole article (April 12, 2017).
Labels: open marriage