Jenny Blocks answers the question "Where do you find people to seduce?" So you and your partner have decided to embark on an open relationship. You've talked about it and thought about it and considered all of the ways it might work – and not work – and decided that you're both interested in giving it a try. That's when the second most frequent question I get arises. Dear Jenny: We're ready to try opening our relationship. But where do you find people to seduce? Best, Open to Something New
Carrie and I hadn't even been on the highway for an hour when the fighting started. We were in my little Honda Civic hatchback, puttering along I-76 East, en route to Baltimore. She'd been giving me a stone-faced version of the silent treatment, and even though I'd tried everything to get her to open up – begging, pleading, cajoling – I wasn't having any luck whatsoever. Occasionally I would get a sarcastic comment in response, or a mean-spirited laugh. I almost blame myself for what happened at the rest stop. I was opening the Honda's hatch to look for a sweater, and as I leaned deep inside the car, Carrie caught a quick glimpse of my boxers – specifically the elastic waistband that was peeking out from underneath my jeans.
I've been having a tough time trying to decide in what order to answer your questions and respond to your comments. There are so many terrific ones and I promise to do my best to get to them all. It seemed to me that it would make sense to answer them in "order." That is, from the beginning stages of opening a relationship forward. So, this week, I thought I might start at the very beginning with a question that I get all of the time. Unfortunately, it's not an easy one to answer. Here's how the email usually goes:
Jenny Block answers your questions about open marriage. I'm in an open marriage and my new book, Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage is hitting the shelves as we "speak." That's the short of it. You can read the full story right here on the Tango website. First, there's the piece called "Portrait of an Open Marriage" that was actually the inspiration for the book. And then there's the follow-up piece that I wrote two years later called "Portrait of an Open Marriage.
Is traditional marriage really on its last legs these days? Hell, I don't know. But I do know this: Ideas and suggestions for couples interested in an alternative to life-long monogamy seem to be all around us in the 21st century. I think that's a good thing, and I think it's an honest way to begin a life-long partnership.
If it weren't for the rules, and the willingness of two people to respect each other by following those rules, alternative relationships would simply self-destruct. It would be relationship anarchy. Occasionally, the rules are even broken. And sometimes that's ok, too. After all, every hook-up is different than the one that came before, and so with that in mind, all romantic and sexual encounters should probably be judged independently of one another.
In the vast majority of instances, those of us involved in open relationships are by no means swinging naked from the chandeliers at all hours of the day and night. We are not diving headfirst into a writhing group orgy every Friday and Saturday after work. We are not necessarily in the practice of shagging perfect strangers in the men's room of a dark-lit club. In fact, being in an open partnership hasn't been about random sex so much as it's been an incredibly intense emotional education.
Our hero gets engaged to the girl of his dreams, a friend of a friend who just so happens to hate the concept of marriage, and who prefers the convenience of an open relationship. Here, how the "marriage contract" materialized.
Our hero gets engaged to the girl of his dreams, a friend of a friend who just so happens to hate the concept of marriage, and who prefers the convenience of an open relationship. Here, an introduction to their not-so-traditional first encounters.
One of YourTango's most popular articles is on Open Marriages. Jenny Block wrote a frank and 'open' essay about her experience. Reader comments have been all over the spectrum. We recently got an eloquent comment in favor of open relationships. Enjoy.