Monogamy is generally held up as the golden standard in intimacy when it comes to relationships. We’ve all been told that once you enter a serious relationship, monogamy is the name of the game. To step outside the boundaries of that limitation is a bold and risky move against the currents of society. But norms aren’t always healthy or wise, so let’s look at the pros and cons of monogamy vs non-monogamy.
Limiting your sexual activities to one partner can offer couples a sense of security and connection they might not otherwise have. Monogamy is often a key bond of trust in long term relationships. Knowing that your partner isn’t sexually active with others lends itself to a scenario where two people can relax in the comfort of their relationship and focus their attention on each other. Monogamy is a solid foundation for the majority of mainstream relationships in today’s society.
Monogamy’s big downside is the monotonous or limited sex life that often appears when one has a single sexual partner. Even if you work diligently to mix things up in the bedroom and elsewhere, your experiences will still be derived from just one single partner. That can limit your experiences and the fulfillment of your sexual needs and desires. Every person has their own unique sexual cocktail of experience they deliver when you’re with them. The differences in likes/dislikes, mannerisms, moves, confidence, aggressiveness, body types, etc are what comprise the experiential elixir of sexual ecstasy you have when you’re with different people. You might love chocolate ice cream, but sometimes you might really want vanilla or mint chocolate chip. Who can blame you? Chocolate might be your favorite, but variety is the spice of life. Is it wrong, bad, or deviant to want something or someone different every once in a while? I think not.
Ask yourself this – where did the concept of monogamy being the golden standard of relationships come from? In nature, monogamy isn’t the norm. In fact, studies have shown that only a small percentage of animals settle down with one sexual partner for life. It seems to me that monogamy is a man-made social construct that was long ago determined to be “better” for us. Much of that construct has been driven into our heads by religion and moral guidelines we see all around us. If you’re not monogamous in a relationship, you’re living in sin, a cheater, or a sex addict.
Although non-monogamy certainly goes against the mainstream norm, it offers individuals who are brave enough to embrace it a number of benefits over monogamy.
The biggest benefit of non-monogamy is that it allows people to experience a fuller range of sexual experiences than they otherwise would. Each sexual partner brings their own unique skills, knowledge, likes/dislikes, and body to the event. You can spank your partner in dozens of scenarios, but their reactions will be different than others’ when your hand smacks their ass. Different reactions to your actions can alter the rhythm and excitement of your encounter. The intoxicating elixir of bodily scents, sounds, and touch are unique to each pair of individuals in a given sexual rendezvous. You simply can’t match that variety when you have only one partner.
Non-monogamy also gives a person the chance to experience the initial highs that come with being with a new sexual partner for the first time. It’s a highly erotic, magical experience that only exists the first few times you’re with someone new. And no matter how much you love your long term partner, or how varied and fulfilling of a sex life you may have with them, it’s simply not possible to get that feeling back once you get familiar with each other.
With non-monogamy, you can often feel more free and open with your sexual desires than when you’re in a monogamous relationship. It’s often easier to try new things and share your fantasies with a short term sexual partner than your long term partner. This is especially true if you think your long term partner will reject your desires and/or react in a way that could have long-lasting negative impact on your relationship. There’s not a lot of risk in having a short term bridge burn if things go wrong, but the stakes can feel pretty high in your long term relationship.
There are some additional benefits of non-monogamy that seem to escape many people. When a couple decides to opt for non-monogamy, additional psychological and emotional dynamics enter the picture. These are raw, powerful forces that can enhance a couple’s long term relationship if acknowledged and handled properly.
When your partner allows you to be non-monogamous, they’ve given you a great gift of freedom and they’ve gone out on a tremendous limb of trust. It’s risky and scary to let your partner roam, which mean’s your partner is exhibiting great confidence in granting you this freedom. You could find someone that meets your physical or emotional needs better than they do and they could end up back in the singles isle. It takes guts to let your partner sleep with others. Keep that in mind and make sure you bring your A-game to your long-term relationship to keep it strong and healthy, so they feel wanted and important.
When I let a partner sleep with other men, it drives an intoxicating cocktail of jealously, excitement, and competition within me. I love knowing that other men find my partner attractive and that’s she’s enjoying their company. I think about what she’s doing to them and what they’re doing to her. I spend time thinking about how she acts, what she does differently with them than she does me, and how it makes her feel. That drives jealousy and excitement in me, which means I double down on my efforts to make sure she’s happy in all departments at home – sexually and otherwise. I happen to thrive on competition, which is why I like this particular dynamic of non-monogamy in committed relationships.
Non-monogamy isn’t without its negatives. The downsides include increased exposure to STDs, unwanted pregnancy, jealousy and strains on your long term partner, as well as the societal biases against it and all who dare travel it’s path.
Ultimately, you have to choose what path is right for you. You are in charge of your life and you only have a short time here to experience the things you want. So choose wisely.