What’s the biggest sexual problem in monogamist relationships? Boredom.
Laura Kipnis points out the inevitable result of boredom in Against Love: A Polemic (Vintage)
She asks, “When did sex get to be so boring? When did it turn into this thing you’re supposed to ‘work at’? A question to the nation: Is boredom socially necessary? There’s no doubt that it’s prevalent.”
She quotes Judith Seifer, former president of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists: “Sexual boredom is the most pandemic dysfunction in this country.” The most common form of monogamy in our society is Serial Monogamy; marriage, divorce, marriage, divorce, marriage…
I recently asked a woman who has been married for over 20 years how soon after the wedding did the sex become boring. Her response was, “Five months.” To satisfy her own needs, she has become Bisexual with a high school friend, and has expanded her list of sex partners to include her adult children and others. Her husband watches a lot of TV and plays golf with his friends. He is the only non-Naturist in the family now, but because of him, his wife visits her children often where casual nudity in the home is the norm. She also goes nude at home when he isn’t there. She ‘helps out’ at a Swinger party every Sunday night where the rule is Clothing Optional, and some of the men at the parties are friends with her husband who just doesn’t know what his wife is doing or where she’s doing it – and he doesn’t care.
Obviously, the pharmaceuticals are doing everything they can to disguise the situation, with vaginal lubricants and little blue pills, but is plastic sex really the answer? No, thank you. Not for me.
Adultery is the most common method to relieve the boredom by adding more partners. There are options to adultery – which I know from personal experience isn’t worth all the problems inherent in it; the scheduling, logistics (which motel?), keeping track of the lies, and checking for telltale signs – lipstick on the collar, explaining credit card charges. There are expensive Swing clubs (now called “Lifestyle” clubs), but they only allow couples and single women usually (single males pay a hefty price to get in the candy store at a few of the clubs), and place a lot of pressure on females to participate – regardless how they may feel about the guy asking; how about mate swapping with family friends? Good way to end friendships – and marriages. The new thing is Swinging Networks where people attend parties in private homes. That’s how Swinging got started, so they’re going back to it, and it’s growing in popularity.
Open Relationships: These are Primary Relationships where the two individuals have reached a level of mutual trust and respect that they can have Satellite Relationships with each other’s knowledge that may include sexuality without threatening the Primary Relationship. The individuals can have relationships outside the Primary, or they can form family bonds with other couples; living together. These can involve a lot more than just one or two Satellite Relationships. There can also be juvenile members of the families involved.
Polyamory is described by one author as “…a relationship in which a person is intimately involved with more than one other person. For some people this might mean not just sexual relationships with more than one person but also relationships involving love, commitment, or emotional attachment.” So please don’t tell me you’re in a Poly relationship – it’s meaningless. How many people are involved? What are their ages and genders? Is there sexual activity between the participants? If they’re married, does their spouse know about the relationship? What level of honesty and openness is there between the participants? Even though the spouse may not be actively involved in that relationship, he or she is still a participant because of the impact the non-monogamous relationship has on the Primary relationship.
Not all Polyamorous relationships are sexual. When I was single I had a very rewarding relationship with a man’s wife, and he not only knew all about it – he welcomed it. I had season tickets to the Philharmonic in downtown Los Angeles, thanks to my ailing mother. When this lady discovered I had the tickets, she begged me to take her to a concert. She really enjoyed classical music and her husband couldn’t stand it. I agreed to take her to a concert, but only with her husband’s knowledge and permission. She had no trouble getting his permission and was very excited when I picked her up on a Friday night for the trip downtown. The music was Brahms and Beethoven, which was perfect for a hopeless romantic like me. During one symphony, she reached over and took my hand and placed it in her lap. That’s as intimate as we ever got. Granted, there was a hug and kiss goodnight when I returned her home, but they were strictly Platonic.
Sandstone Retreat was the first Clothing Optional resort in California. The members and their guests at a Saturday night party were nude 10 minutes after they arrived. When I managed the Retreat where 40 or 50 couples attended a good Saturday night party, and there was completely open sex (there was no privacy) in a 20 X 60 ft. room with some mattresses on the floor, and where I might have sexual relations with 4 or 5 women during the night, there were other women who I was non-sexual friends with – and those women might take on 5 or 6 men at a party. We just didn’t connect sexually, but we enjoyed each other’s company. Sometimes they needed an ear to hear about their problems, and I could offer advice on how to solve the problem. This might be done on a mattress downstairs with a couple making love beside us, or upstairs in the living room with a glass of wine.
Regardless, it’s critical that there is open, honest dialogue between the spouses before ever exploring outside the Primary to relieve the boredom sexually or non-sexually. Are the spouses going to share information about their Satellite relationships and if so, give how much detail?
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