home
RSS
Are you willing to negotiate monogamy?
May 19th, 2011
10:56 AM ET

Are you willing to negotiate monogamy?

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.

When you take your marriage vows, you’re pretty much making the commitment to never have sex with anyone else ever again. Wow - just writing that is scary.

With the demise of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver’s 25-year marriage making headlines, it’s hard not to wonder if long-term monogamy is possible or even practical.

As a sex therapist, not a day goes by that I don’t see people who are stuck, feeling as if they have to give up on their marriage, or give up on sex - or cheat. My patients have taught me that sex - or a lack of it - is one of the major contributors to marital strife between longtime couples.

Many people don’t want to throw in the towel, however, which is why the idea of “negotiating monogamy” is becoming more popular. From open relationships, to disclosing affairs before they happen, to giving a partner a “free pass,” negotiated monogamy is a way for some couples to stay committed to each other without having to stay sexually faithful.

Such an approach may seem to fly in the face of the concept of marriage - I don’t blame you for raising your eyebrows or shaking your head at the suggestion. But hear me out.

We live in an age when we’re surrounded by countless arguments (or maybe just excuses) against monogamy: Men have a biological imperative to spread their seed and have always cheated (“boys will be boys”); humans are wired for serial monogamy, not one lifelong relationship; long-term relationships beget boredom; people are living longer and longer but half of all marriages fail… Whew.

When you consider what we’re up against, it may not be such a bad idea to give negotiated monogamy a chance before we dismiss it outright as a violation of the sanctity of marriage.

In my own practice, I often raise the option of negotiated monogamy with couples who have worked their way into permanently sexless marriages, or who feel starved for sex - but not with each other. The very concept of negotiated monogamy is a provocative and useful way for these couples to talk about sex and marriage, even if they choose not to practice it.

As with most issues, it’s better to talk about something and understand each other’s boundaries than to guess or cheat or commit to life of silent desperation. And you know what? It turns out that once couples start talking about what they would or wouldn’t allow - strippers, lap dances, flirty friendships, free passes, oral sex with other people, swinging, open relationships - they often tend to get turned on and end up going home and having sex with each other.

After all, the brain is the biggest of sex organ and, as I discussed in last week’s column about fantasies, even just talking about sex can get people interested in actually having sex.

So remember: Taking a marriage vow does not mean taking a vow of silence. If anything, being married should give you a level of trust where you feel like you can talk about anything. And if you actually want to try negotiated monogamy and your partner doesn’t (or vice versa)? Well, at least you’re having an adult conversation instead of acting like children - or former governors.


soundoff (1,193 Responses)
  1. all slots usa casino

    casino spill
    all slots usa casino
    online casino slots and poker

    April 8, 2021 at 00:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. tnpsc group 1 indian polity notes

    We absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post's to be just what I'm looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content for yourself? I wouldn't mind creating a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write regarding here. Again, awesome weblog!

    https://www.iascoaching.info/tnpsc/tnpsc-gr-4/

    April 8, 2021 at 01:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. group 1 question paper 2021

    Nearly all of the things you assert happens to be astonishingly precise and that makes me ponder the reason why I had not looked at this in this light previously. This particular article truly did turn the light on for me as far as this particular issue goes. However there is actually one particular point I am not too comfortable with so whilst I attempt to reconcile that with the core theme of the issue, let me see exactly what the rest of the visitors have to point out.Nicely done.

    http://iascoaching.net/tag/ias/

    April 8, 2021 at 01:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. chennai packers and movers phone number

    I have to express some thanks to the writer for rescuing me from such a dilemma. Just after surfing around throughout the world wide web and meeting concepts which were not pleasant, I was thinking my life was gone. Being alive without the strategies to the issues you have sorted out all through your good article is a crucial case, and those which could have negatively affected my entire career if I hadn't encountered your website. That talents and kindness in maneuvering everything was excellent. I don't know what I would've done if I had not come across such a subject like this. I can now look forward to my future. Thank you very much for your expert and effective help. I will not hesitate to refer the blog to anybody who wants and needs support on this issue.

    https://www.tsrpackersandmovers.com/

    April 8, 2021 at 04:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. bourgie table lamp by kartell

    It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and
    it's time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I
    want to suggest you few interesting things or tips.
    Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I desire to read even more things about it!

    April 8, 2021 at 04:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Ni hard mill liners

    Clifton Steel's is a Hadfield Grade Manganese Steel made to harden with influence. Merely The Best Manganese Wear Plate

    http://castingquestionscit.bravesites.com/entries/general/how-to-locate-the-best-cone-crusher-parts-supplier-

    April 8, 2021 at 07:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Gerry Sollis

    If you like making Technology something that is worthwhile for you, the tactics we have actually provided will absolutely assist. It usually is preferable to see fast outcomes, but to do so, you require to have perseverance if they do not appear as soon as possible. Anytime you require additional assistance, you'll intend to head over to Our Technology Site – bookmark this url so you have it for future reference.

    https://pokjanalposyandu.bandungbaratkab.go.id/?p=6317#

    April 8, 2021 at 14:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Elton Wurm

    Great goods from you, man. I've understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely great. I really like what you've acquired here, really like what you're saying and the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it wise. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is really a tremendous site.

    http://google.co.ls/url?q=https://favro.com/organization/9c95001d84d8a042b667b06c/5ce2065fbd5351af17462537

    April 8, 2021 at 20:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Where To Buy Proxies

    Thanks for your useful post. Over time, I have been able to understand that the symptoms of mesothelioma cancer are caused by a build up associated fluid between the lining of your lung and the torso cavity. The infection may start in the chest spot and propagate to other body parts. Other symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include fat loss, severe deep breathing trouble, a fever, difficulty ingesting, and inflammation of the neck and face areas. It must be noted that some people with the disease usually do not experience virtually any serious indicators at all.

    https://dreamproxies.com/blog

    April 8, 2021 at 21:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. matthew mccormick studio mila pendant от imperiumloft

    Excellent beat ! I wish to apprentice whilst you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a weblog site?
    The account helped me a applicable deal. I were a little
    bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered
    bright transparent idea

    April 8, 2021 at 22:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Dorsey Lebeck

    hi!,I like your writing so much! share we communicate more about your article on AOL? I require an expert on this area to solve my problem. May be that's you! Looking forward to see you.

    http://images.google.com.pg/url?q=https://favro.com/organization/9c95001d84d8a042b667b06c/5ce2065fbd5351af17462537?card=vie-43

    April 8, 2021 at 23:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. gubi multi lite

    Does your blog have a contact page? I'm having problems locating it but, I'd like
    to send you an email. I've got some recommendations for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it develop over
    time.

    April 8, 2021 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. lampada aim flos

    I for all time emailed this website post page to all my associates, since if like
    to read it next my friends will too.

    April 9, 2021 at 01:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. air 73 pendant black/clear glass

    Remarkable! Its actually awesome article, I have got much clear idea about from
    this paragraph.

    April 9, 2021 at 01:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. house doctor twice pendant

    Link exchange is nothing else but it is only placing the other person's web site link on your page at proper place and other person will also do similar
    in support of you.

    April 9, 2021 at 02:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. crescent ceiling light

    My brother recommended I might like this website.
    He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You cann't imagine simply
    how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

    April 9, 2021 at 03:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Rosaline Mcgonagle

    Good web site you have got here.. It’s difficult to find excellent writing like yours these days. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

    http://www.google.de

    April 9, 2021 at 04:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Gayle Mcalpine

    http://www.google.de

    April 9, 2021 at 05:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Cecila Henk

    http://www.google.de

    April 9, 2021 at 06:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. SMART HOME DEVICES

    Great items from you, man. I've be mindful your
    stuff previous to and you are simply too wonderful.
    I actually like what you've received here, certainly like what you're stating and the way
    in which through which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you continue to
    take care of to stay it smart. I can not wait to learn much more from you.
    This is really a tremendous site.

    April 9, 2021 at 07:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Anonymous

    I every time emailed this webpage post page to all my contacts, because
    if like to read it after that my contacts will too.

    April 9, 2021 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. نوفلو باك لينك

    It is really a nice and useful piece of info. I'm satisfied that you simply shared this useful information with us.

    Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing. http://finncshv25814.blogzag.com/43734476/

    April 10, 2021 at 07:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Stacey Markwardt

    http://www.google.de

    April 10, 2021 at 11:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 카지노사이트

    Whoa. Master. You're some sort of master. Appreciate you.

    https://ftpby.ru/user/pigeonsummer25/

    April 10, 2021 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. crescent lamp shade

    Hi! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if
    that would be okay. I'm definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

    April 10, 2021 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Skygarden 2 lamp

    Your style is really unique in comparison to other folks I've read stuff from.
    Thanks for posting when you've got the opportunity,
    Guess I will just bookmark this site.

    April 10, 2021 at 19:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. 우리카지노

    Whoa. Wizard. You're the guru. Thank you.

    https://ask.fm/oceandust98

    April 10, 2021 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Isa Kollos

    A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people don't speak about such subjects. To the next! Best wishes!!

    http://www.google.de

    April 11, 2021 at 00:43 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Leave a Reply to Jake


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.