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.
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.
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.
Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. Nevertheless just imagine if you added some great photos or videos to give your posts more, "pop"! Your content is excellent but with images and videos, this website could definitely be one of the very best in its niche. Awesome blog!
With his effective powerful prayers i was able to have my lover back just in 24 hours
He has solution to all relationship/marriage problem and health issues such as herpes…..
Robinson.buckler [@] yahoo com………
Hi, Neat post. There's a problem with your web site in internet explorer, would test this… IE still is the market leader and a big portion of people will miss your great writing due to this problem.
You should take part in a contest for probably the greatest blogs on the web. I will recommend this website!
Hi there, just turned into alert to your weblog thru Google, and found that it is really informative. I am going to be careful for brussels. I will appreciate in case you continue this in future. Lots of people can be benefited from your writing. Cheers!
I like what you guys are up too. Such smart work and reporting! Carry on the excellent works guys I have incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it'll improve the value of my website 🙂
Hi, i think that i saw you visited my blog so i got here to “return the desire”.I am trying to find things to enhance my site!I suppose its adequate to use a few of your concepts!!
I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?
Neat blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make my blog shine. Please let me know where you got your theme. Thanks a lot
I have been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this web site. Thank you, I’ll try and check back more often. How frequently you update your website?
Very fantastic info can be found on site.
834806 181921Hi my friend! I want to say that this post is wonderful, nice written and consist of approximately all significant infos. Id like to see more posts like this . 395009
Hello! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading through your blog posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics? Thanks a lot!
I carry on listening to the news broadcast speak about receiving free online grant applications so I have been looking around for the top site to get one. Could you tell me please, where could i get some?
Appreciating the dedication you put into your blog and detailed information you present. It's good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same old rehashed information. Great read! I've saved your site and I'm adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.
It’s onerous to search out knowledgeable people on this matter, however you sound like you recognize what you’re speaking about! Thanks
I do agree with all the ideas you have presented in your post. They are really convincing and will definitely work. Still, the posts are too short for beginners. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.
Hey very nice site!! Man .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I'll bookmark your web site and take the feeds also…I'm happy to find so many useful info here in the post, we need develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .
We’re looking forward
I really like your writing style, superb info , regards for putting up : D.
Hello there, You have done an incredible job. I will definitely digg it and individually suggest to my friends. I'm sure they'll be benefited from this site.
Someone essentially help to make seriously posts I would state. This is the first time I frequented your website page and thus far? I surprised with the research you made to create this particular publish extraordinary. Excellent job!
Thank you a lot for providing individuals with an exceptionally marvellous opportunity to check tips from this site. It can be very amazing and also jam-packed with fun for me personally and my office peers to visit your website the equivalent of 3 times every week to read the newest guidance you have. And definitely, I am always pleased with the stunning tips and hints served by you. Certain 4 ideas in this article are clearly the most impressive we have all ever had.
This is the best blog for anyone who desires to seek out out about this topic. You realize so much its nearly exhausting to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You undoubtedly put a brand new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, simply great!
Well I truly liked studying it. This subject procured by you is very helpful for proper planning.
I would like to express thanks to the writer just for rescuing me from this dilemma. After researching through the search engines and obtaining tips that were not helpful, I was thinking my entire life was well over. Existing minus the approaches to the issues you've sorted out as a result of your site is a critical case, as well as the ones which may have in a wrong way damaged my entire career if I had not encountered your web site. Your own personal training and kindness in dealing with every part was tremendous. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't come upon such a step like this. It's possible to now relish my future. Thanks for your time so much for your reliable and effective guide. I will not hesitate to suggest the blog to anybody who needs and wants direction on this matter.
Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!
As I website possessor I believe the content matter here is rattling excellent , appreciate it for your hard work. You should keep it up forever! Best of luck.
WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share..extra wait .. …
Hello! I'm at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the superb work!
Good website! I really love how it is simple on my eyes and the data are well written. I am wondering how I could be notified whenever a new post has been made. I've subscribed to your feed which must do the trick! Have a nice day!
A powerful share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing somewhat evaluation on this. And he in truth purchased me breakfast as a result of I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! However yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I feel strongly about it and love studying more on this topic. If possible, as you turn out to be expertise, would you thoughts updating your blog with extra details? It is extremely useful for me. Big thumb up for this blog submit!
Greetings! I've been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the good work!
I wanted to put you one tiny word to be able to say thanks as before with the lovely opinions you have shared in this case. This has been so tremendously generous of people like you to provide easily what a lot of people could have made available for an ebook in order to make some dough on their own, precisely seeing that you might well have done it in the event you desired. The tricks as well worked as the great way to realize that some people have a similar eagerness much like my personal own to realize way more in regard to this condition. I know there are some more pleasurable moments in the future for many who look into your blog.
Please let me know if you're looking for a article writer for your site. You have some really good posts and I feel 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 blast me an e-mail if interested. Cheers!
Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your webpage? My blog site is in the very same area of interest as yours and my users would really benefit from a lot of the information you provide here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Regards!
Hi there! Quick question that's entirely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when browsing from my apple iphone. I'm trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to correct this issue. If you have any suggestions, please share. Thank you!
this website is my intake, rattling fantastic style and design and perfect subject material.
You can definitely see your skills in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers like you who aren't afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.
You are a very capable person!
What i do not understood is in fact how you're now not really a lot more smartly-favored than you may be right now. You are so intelligent. You recognize therefore significantly when it comes to this topic, produced me for my part believe it from so many various angles. Its like women and men don't seem to be involved until it is one thing to accomplish with Girl gaga! Your own stuffs great. All the time deal with it up!
This is very interesting, You're a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post. Also, I've shared your site in my social networks!
Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to generate a very
good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never manage
to get nearly anything done.
Look into my web-site ... gsa search engine ranker 2020
You completed a number of fine points there. I did a search on the topic and found most persons will agree with your blog.
Hey there, You've done an excellent job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I'm confident they will be benefited from this site.
I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website. I'm hoping to view the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal website now 😉
Amazing! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It's on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Outstanding choice of colors!
Hello, i feel that i noticed you visited my website so i got here to “go back the favor”.I am attempting to to find issues to enhance my website!I assume its adequate to make use of some of your concepts!!
Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my neighbor were just preparing to do some research on this. We got a grab a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such great information being shared freely out there.
You should participate in a contest for the most effective blogs on the web. I will recommend this website!