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 (2,201 Responses)
  1. vp globe begagnad

    Howdy I am so glad I found your web site, I really found you by
    mistake, while I was looking on Askjeeve for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to
    say many thanks for a tremendous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also
    love the theme/design), I don’t have time to look over it
    all at the minute but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be
    back to read more, Please do keep up the great b.

    April 24, 2021 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. serge mouille 3 arm ceiling light

    You are so interesting! I do not suppose I've truly read a single thing like
    this before. So wonderful to discover someone with a few unique thoughts on this issue.

    Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is
    something that is needed on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

    April 24, 2021 at 23:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. perch lamp

    My developer 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 WordPress on a variety of websites
    for about a year and am concerned about switching to another platform.
    I have heard great things about blogengine.net.

    Is there a way I can import all my wordpress posts into
    it? Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

    April 25, 2021 at 00:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. replica aballs

    Unquestionably imagine that which you stated.
    Your favorite reason seemed to be at the web the easiest thing to bear in mind of.
    I say to you, I certainly get annoyed whilst people consider worries that they plainly do not realize
    about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top and outlined out the whole thing with no need
    side-effects , folks can take a signal. Will probably
    be back to get more. Thank you

    April 25, 2021 at 02:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. white atollo table lamp replica

    Thanks for some other informative web site.
    Where else may just I am getting that kind of information written in such
    an ideal means? I've a undertaking that I'm just now running on,
    and I've been at the glance out for such information.

    April 25, 2021 at 02:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. sites.google.com

    Having read this I believed it was really informative.
    I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this information together.

    I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and posting comments.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

    April 25, 2021 at 02:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. recommended doseage of alprostadil suppository

    bremelanotide vs alprostadil https://alprostadildrugs.com/ erection injection medicine

    April 25, 2021 at 03:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. 메이저사이트

    http://bookmarkextent.com/story9534321/the-main-article-on-gambling-in-the-usa

    April 25, 2021 at 06:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Here's A List of The Best CBD Oil

    What an incredible way of looking at things.

    https://www.laweekly.com/5-best-cbd-oil-companies-to-buy-from-in-2019/

    April 25, 2021 at 07:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. sites.google.com

    Every weekend i used to visit this website, as i wish for enjoyment, as this
    this website conations genuinely nice funny material too.

    April 25, 2021 at 08:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. flowerpot light green

    Excellent site you have got here.. It's difficult
    to find good quality writing like yours nowadays. I really
    appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    April 25, 2021 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. best university in indonesia

    When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added-
    checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get
    four emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is
    a way you can remove me from that service? Kudos!

    April 25, 2021 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. 토토사이트

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning this website. I'm hoping to check out the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own blog now 😉

    http://www.filedropper.com/tipsforchoosingacasinoaagsr

    April 25, 2021 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. women shoes

    You actually make it seem really easy along with your presentation however I in finding
    this topic to be really one thing which I believe I'd by no means understand.
    It sort of feels too complicated and very broad for me.
    I am taking a look ahead to your subsequent put up, I'll
    try to get the cling of it!

    Have a look at my blog :: women shoes

    April 25, 2021 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. apply fast

    What a information of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable know-how
    about unexpected feelings.

    April 25, 2021 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. lampada atollo storia

    Good day! I could have sworn I've been to this web site before
    but after going through many of the posts I realized it's new
    to me. Anyhow, I'm certainly delighted I found it
    and I'll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!

    April 25, 2021 at 21:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. sildenafil generic price uk

    sildenafil 100 mg lowest price https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ sildenafil 50 mg online uk

    April 25, 2021 at 21:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. vertigo lampe selber bauen

    Please let me know if you're looking for a author for your site.

    You have some really good articles and I think I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I'd really like to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please send me an e-mail if interested. Kudos!

    April 25, 2021 at 22:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. best canadian mail order pharmacies for diet pills

    average perscription pills taken by 65 year old canadian? https://canadapillstorex.com/ average perscription pills taken by 65 year old canadian?

    April 26, 2021 at 01:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. sites.google.com

    I know this site presents quality based posts and additional material, is there any other web page which presents
    such stuff in quality?

    April 26, 2021 at 02:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. https://sites.google.com/view/websites-buy-vertigo-lamp-copy

    Hello I am so delighted I found your weblog, I really found you by accident,
    while I was researching on Aol for something else, Anyhow I am
    here now and would just like to say cheers for a remarkable post and a all round
    enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design),
    I don't have time to read through it all at the moment but I have
    book-marked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I
    have time I will be back to read a lot more,
    Please do keep up the superb job.

    April 26, 2021 at 03:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. vertigo pendant small

    Right now it seems like Movable Type is the best blogging platform available right now.
    (from what I've read) Is that what you are using on your
    blog?

    April 26, 2021 at 04:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Thomas

    Right now it seems like BlogEngine is the best blogging platform available right now.
    (from what I've read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

    April 26, 2021 at 06:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Nimbus Chandelier

    Hi there, I enjoy reading through your article. I wanted
    to write a little comment to support you.

    April 26, 2021 at 07:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. 메이저사이트

    https://getpocket.com/@linenskate03

    April 26, 2021 at 07:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. mitzi paige pendant

    I used to be suggested this web site by means of my cousin. I am no longer
    sure whether or not this post is written through him as no one else know such certain approximately
    my problem. You're incredible! Thank you!

    April 26, 2021 at 09:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. sites.google.com

    I really like it whenever people get together and share opinions.

    Great website, stick with it!

    April 26, 2021 at 09:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. 메이저사이트

    Great article! We will be linking to this particularly great content on our site. Keep up the good writing.

    http://www.ahbbs.cc/home.php?mod=space&uid=450303

    April 26, 2021 at 10:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. https://sites.google.com

    I think this is one of the most significant information for me.

    And i'm glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general
    things, The site style is ideal, the articles is really great : D.

    Good job, cheers

    April 26, 2021 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. sites.google.com

    I'm really enjoying the design and layout of
    your website. It's a very easy on the eyes which makes
    it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a
    designer to create your theme? Great work!

    April 26, 2021 at 18:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. generic for plaquenil

    erectile tools https://plaquenilx.com/ improve erectile dysfunction

    April 26, 2021 at 21:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Ph 5 hanglamp

    Thank you for the good writeup. It in truth used to be a
    leisure account it. Look advanced to far delivered
    agreeable from you! By the way, how can we be in contact?

    April 26, 2021 at 21:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Cheap Private Proxies Cheap

    I like this web blog very much, Its a real nice place to read and incur information.

    https://dreamproxies.com/tag/cheap-proxies-best-private-proxies/

    April 26, 2021 at 21:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. https://sites.google.com

    When someone writes an post he/she keeps the plan of a user in his/her mind that how a user can know it.

    Therefore that's why this post is amazing. Thanks!

    April 26, 2021 at 22:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. atollo bedside lamp replica

    Hi, I log on to your blog regularly. Your story-telling style is
    awesome, keep it up!

    April 26, 2021 at 22:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Gubi Multi Lite Store

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It is the little changes which
    will make the most important changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

    April 26, 2021 at 22:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. ph 4/3 Lamp

    Generally I do not learn article on blogs, however I
    would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do so!
    Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, quite great post.

    April 26, 2021 at 23:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. เกมยิงปลา

    What's up, after reading this remarkable paragraph i am too delighted to share my knowledge here with
    mates.

    April 27, 2021 at 00:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Dave

    I know this web site provides quality based content
    and extra material, is there any other web page which provides these things in quality?

    April 27, 2021 at 04:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. cvs ed meds

    new york erectile dysfunction https://canadaerectiledysfunctionpills.com/ erectile dysfunction when quitting drinking

    April 27, 2021 at 06:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. generic name for plaquenil

    do erectile pills work https://plaquenilx.com/ icd 10 erectile dysfunction

    April 27, 2021 at 06:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. orb light fixture

    I enjoy what you guys tend to be up too. This kind of
    clever work and coverage! Keep up the great works guys I've you guys to my own blogroll.

    April 27, 2021 at 08:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. 온라인바둑이

    This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something that helped me. Thanks a lot!

    https://readsharewrite.com/members/baccarat9margineditor43/activity/114409/

    April 27, 2021 at 08:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. sites.google.com

    That is a great tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very precise info… Thank you for sharing this one.
    A must read article!

    April 27, 2021 at 12:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. jersey bola

    When I initially commented I clicked the "Notify me when new comments are added" checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Many thanks!

    https://judahdilmn.ltfblog.com/2617804/jersey-sepeda-murah-bandung-kirim-dari-bandung-pesan-sekarang-via-wa-081388885251

    April 27, 2021 at 14:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. eames vitra bird

    Can you tell us more about this? I'd love to find
    out more details.

    April 27, 2021 at 19:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. mila pendant light

    Howdy, There's no doubt that your website might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I take a look at your blog in Safari, it looks
    fine however when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping
    issues. I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!

    Other than that, great site!

    April 27, 2021 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. lampe vertigo a faire soi meme

    I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I'm not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my problem.
    You're incredible! Thanks!

    April 27, 2021 at 23:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. serge mouille spider lamp

    I every time used to read piece of writing in news papers but now as I am a user
    of web therefore from now I am using net for posts, thanks to web.

    April 28, 2021 at 00:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. serge mouille reproduction lighting

    Hi would you mind sharing which blog platform you're using?
    I'm planning to start my own blog soon but I'm having a hard time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs
    and I'm looking for something unique. P.S Sorry for
    getting off-topic but I had to ask!

    April 28, 2021 at 00:40 | 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 31 32 33 34 35

Leave a Reply to brimonidine


 

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.