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 (1,939 Responses)
  1. Bret Balford

    That's interior light, fluorescent light, anything. In other words, you never need to be worried regarding switching batteries, since it does not feature one.

    https://visual.ly/users/jodierodenth/portfolio

    June 11, 2021 at 14:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. 울산 출장안마

    Spot on with this write-up, I really feel this website needs a lot more attention. Iíll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the advice!

    https://massagesergiokpdz.bloggersdelight.dk/2021/05/09/why-you-should-spend-more-time-thinking-about-ulsanculjanganma/

    June 11, 2021 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Kathlene Dhaliwal

    That's interior light, fluorescent light, anything. Simply put, you never ever require to be concerned concerning swapping batteries, since it does not include one.

    https://www.facebook.com/henry.ollis.731/posts/297190148743795

    June 11, 2021 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Carl Anshutz

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something which too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy I stumbled across this during my search for something relating to this.

    http://www.X7wFVYZgcs.com/X7wFVYZgcs

    June 11, 2021 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. 양산출장마사지

    After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment. Is there an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Appreciate it!

    https://diigo.com/0kcng7

    June 12, 2021 at 00:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. ยูฟ่าเบท

    UFABET168 แทงบาคาร่าออนไลน์ แทงสล็อตออนไลน์ แทงไฮโลออนไลน์ เกมคาสิโนอีกเพียบเลย เล่นได้แบบไม่มีอย่างน้อย ตลอดระยะเวลา 1 วัน เว็บไซต์คาสิโนยูฟ่าเบท เป็นเว็บไซต์คาสิโนที่ใหญ่ที่สุดในเอเชีย มีการบริการที่ปลอดภัย ระบบการเล่นที่ล้ำสมัย สามารถเล่นผ่านช่อทางต่างๆได้อย่างสะดวกรวดเร็วทันใจ ได้แก่ โทรศัพท์มือถือ, คอมพิวเตอร์
    PC, โน๊ตบุ๊ค, แท็บเล็ต และเครื่องใช้ไม้สอยอื่นๆ

    ไม่ว่าจะเป็นระบบใดก็ตาม สามารถเข้ามาเล่น
    คาสิโนยูฟ่าเบท ได้แบบทุกประเภทเลยนั่นเอง กล่าวได้ว่า ท่านจะได้เล่นเกมคาสิโน
    อย่างสะดวกสบาย เล่นได้ทุกที่ที่ต้องการอย่างยิ่งจริงๆ ทั้งยังทางคาสิโนยูฟ่าเบท ยังเป็นเว็บไซต์คาสิโนที่มีความมั่นคงและยั่งยืน

    ด้านการเงินสูง โดยที่สามารถไว้เนื้อเชื่อใจได้ สำหรับเพื่อการที่จะนำเงินของท่าน มาฝากเพื่อลงทุนสำหรับการเล่นเกมต่างๆได้อย่างปลอดภัยอย่างแน่แท้
    โดยที่ระบบต่างๆที่คาสิโนมีให้บริการ ที่เกี่ยวกับการคลังนั้น คือระบบที่ทันสมัย ที่สุดในทุกวันนี้

    และก็คือระบบที่มีความปลอดภัยสูง ซึ่งจะเป็นระบบฝาก-ถอนแบบออโต้ ที่สมาชิกที่เข้ามาใช้บริการ สามารถทำรายการต่างๆผ่านหน้าเว็บโดยตรง
    ทำรายการได้ด้วยตัวเอง โดยสามารถทำรายการฝาก-ถอน ผ่านแอพพลิเคชั่น แบงค์ทั่วโลก

    June 12, 2021 at 01:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. 먹튀 검증

    Excellent post. I'm facing many of these issues as well..

    http://bookmarkport.com/story7542879/legalization-of-gambling-tasks-may-create-society-woes

    June 12, 2021 at 07:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Leandro Leidall

    There are some interesting points at some point in this posting but I do not know if I see these people center to heart. There may be some validity but I’ll take hold opinion until I explore it further. Very good write-up , thanks therefore we want a lot more! Added onto FeedBurner in addition

    http://smb-hr-blog.bravesites.com/entries/general/there-are-2-reasons-teams-disagree-this-shouldn-be-one-of-them

    June 12, 2021 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Val Alim

    That's interior light, fluorescent light, anything. Simply put, you never require to be worried regarding switching batteries, since it does not include one.

    https://citizennighthawk.weebly.com/

    June 12, 2021 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Hellen Pesavento

    That's interior light, fluorescent light, anything. Simply put, you never require to be worried about swapping batteries, since it does not feature one.

    https://profile.hatena.ne.jp/Jodierodenth/profile

    June 12, 2021 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. https://sites.google.com

    My spouse and I stumbled over here different web page and thought I
    might as well check things out. I like what I
    see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking at
    your web page repeatedly.

    June 12, 2021 at 15:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. 대구출장

    Very good article. I will be facing some of these issues as well..

    https://anotepad.com/notes/aeekm83n

    June 12, 2021 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. flos zeppelin Chandelier

    Hello! I've been reading your blog for some time now and finally
    got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Texas!
    Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic work!

    June 12, 2021 at 17:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. 전주출장마사지

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It's the little changes that make the biggest changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    http://xuekegu.com/home.php?mod=space&uid=450368

    June 12, 2021 at 22:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. 인천출장안마

    Itís difficult to find educated people about this subject, but you seem like you know what youíre talking about! Thanks

    http://www.nyumon.net/script/sc/redirect.php?id=393&url=https://blogfreely.net/massage6t4spqln227/h2-myofascial-release-works-to-relieve-soreness-h2-massage-is-an-all-natural

    June 12, 2021 at 23:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. 德国奶粉代购

    First off I want to say terrific blog! I had a
    quick question that I'd like to ask if you do not mind.
    I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing.
    I've had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting
    my thoughts out there. I do enjoy writing however it just seems
    like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out
    how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Cheers!

    June 13, 2021 at 00:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. sites.google.com

    My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.

    But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using Movable-type on several websites for about a
    year and am nervous about switching to another platform.

    I have heard very good things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into it?
    Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    June 13, 2021 at 03:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. 출장마사지

    I couldnít refrain from commenting. Very well written!

    https://visionoxygen30.edublogs.org/2021/04/21/whats-the-key-benefits-of-swedish-massage-treatment/

    June 13, 2021 at 03:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. ceiling fan installation cost

    Wonderful blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
    I'm hoping to start my own blog soon but I'm a little lost on everything.
    Would you recommend starting with a free platform
    like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I'm completely confused ..
    Any ideas? Cheers!

    June 13, 2021 at 04:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. 케이출장

    I needed to thank you for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I've got you bookmarked to look at new things you postÖ

    http://anma0pandacattle2.bravesites.com/entries/general/swedish-care-what-can-be-your-key-benefits-of-the-popular-massage-process

    June 13, 2021 at 04:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. 인천출장

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It's the little changes that make the greatest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

    http://info-computer.ru/user/casino5o9exqwn893

    June 13, 2021 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. 양산출장마사지

    Next time I read a blog, I hope that it won't fail me as much as this one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, however I truly thought you would have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you could possibly fix if you were not too busy seeking attention.

    http://massage4quietlute3.jigsy.com/entries/general/How-to-Do-Shiatsu-Massage

    June 14, 2021 at 03:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. sites.google.com

    Hi there, the whole thing is going sound here and ofcourse every one is sharing facts, that's truly good, keep up writing.

    June 14, 2021 at 03:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. 창원출장안마

    Good blog post. I definitely appreciate this site. Thanks!

    https://writeablog.net/dustdew2/gudrun-boyesen-to-the-need-for-gerda-boyesen-along-with-human-body-psycho

    June 14, 2021 at 09:22 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Leave a Reply to 먹튀검증


 

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.