It’s said that if it’s true love, then you could never bear to live without that person.
It’s also said that if you truly love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was always yours; if it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.
Perhaps it’s from this latter statement that we get the idea of the open relationship. Why else – except, perhaps, sexual selfishness – would a couple agree that they each could screw around with whomever they wished, so long as they came home at night?
I have to be honest; I’m the jealous type. Which is sort of bad, because my boyfriend (so he says) isn’t. From the onset of our relationship, he has always told me that I was more than free to find someone else to fool around with on the side. “You’re in college,” he says. “And I’m 200 miles away. There will be other guys, I’m sure.”
Not that there have been … well, maybe just one. And a couple others I look at and would not mind “hooking up” with. So perhaps I’m hypocritically taking advantage of the situation. There’s a lot of temptation to do so.
Especially in this town. When you walk down the street, especially in nice weather, you can’t avoid seeing the beautiful people. (Good gods, did you see that surfer boy in the wetsuit?) At work, in class or on campus, you meet those beautiful people and the more you know them, the more you want to jump in their pants or have them jump in yours.
Well, maybe not everyone. Just those of us who are raging balls of hormones, like me.
For many people, polyamory, or the “loving of more than one,” is a way to experiment, to learn and to enjoy, as Jean M. Auel puts it, the “gift of Pleasures.” In some instances, the experimentation takes place in concert, with the couple sharing each other’s bodies with another friend or acquaintance couple.
This seems to have almost the connotation of an orgy and perhaps it is, but the participants claim that it is an expression of their sexuality and a way to fulfill their own curiosities.
Either way, the concept of an open relationship raises up questions: Should I tell my boy/girlfriend when I’ve slept with someone and whom? What are the consequences?
It’s all up to you and your situation, of course. Honesty, though, is in general the best policy. It erases suspicions and will test how ready either of you is for this polyamorous thing. If you can’t tell your partner that you’ve slept with someone else last night, then perhaps you as a couple aren’t ready for this type of thing, where trust is crucial to keeping the relationship together.
As far as consequences, an open relationship – especially an open sexual relationship – brings with it greater risks, not only emotionally, but physically as well. You may not be sure who your partner is sleeping with, and even s/he may not be sure him or herself. Unless (or even if) both of you are careful to keep that wall of latex up at all times, the risk of sexually transmitted diseases is dramatically increased. This could mean more frequent blood tests at best or an uncomfortable confrontation at worst.
If you both trust each other and are comfortable with each other, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with expanding your sexual horizons. It’s not quite for me – at least, I haven’t found someone I’m willing to keep on the side, nor am I ready to hear about my boyfriend’s current sexual exploits (other than myself) – but I’m not everyone. And I’m not you.
Don’t worry, Opinion Editor Sarah Kent loves you all very much, which is why the Wednesday Hump appears every week.