Terms Of Engagement: Navigating An Open Relationship

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Terms Of Engagement: Navigating An Open Relationship
When the world becomes your sexual playground, does your couple hood suffer or soar?

First, none of what I’m about to talk about is a direct reflection of my personal relationship. And, all of what I’m about to talk about is a direct reflection of my personal relationship. Oh, and no I won’t tell you which parts are actually true in my relationship. Ok, I think that about covers it, so let’s dive into an open relationship.

As a gay man, I’ve been accused, and witnessed my community be stereotyped as the proverbial kings and queens of “open relationships,” because you know, we gays and lesbians are only gay because it’s all about sex. So let’s just go with that for a moment.

If that assumption is true, which it’s not, then there would no reason to have coined the phrase, “open relationship,” because we gays and lesbians would just be having orgy relationships. No need to limit it to open, we’re just one big orgy! Want to join us?

Yet, what perplexes me is, given the divorce rate, at least here in America which hovers around 50% on any given day, one could draw a conclusion that all those divorces came about due to open relationships. Whether its emotional infidelity or physical infidelity, someone checked out of the relationship and began considering opening the relationship to someone else. I know that may seem like a stretch, but it’s no more of a stretch than “all gay people are in open relationships.” And of course, let’s not forget the swingers in the heterosexual populations, plus all those individuals who are having affairs who haven’t been caught, and the percentages of people having open relationships becomes rather mind boggling. Alas, I’m getting off track. So let’s re-group and take a walk into the world of “Mutually Agreed Upon Open Relationships,” and how to make them work.

From what I’ve heard, see I’m letting you peek into my life, typically, there are rules of engagement that come with being in an open relationship. However, let’s first take a look at the types of potential open relationships.

Monogamous Open – Couple stays monogamous to one another and only opens the relationship to play together nicely with others in the presence of one another. In other words, “Play within the lines and within my eyesight!”


Monogamous One-Way Open – One person in the couple stays monogamous but the other is allowed to venture out, no leash required. Often this occurs, when one partner’s sex drive wanes and the others is still raging like a teenage school boy/girl. In a very mature relationship, both partners may be sexually satisfied with one another but one wishes to be more sexually active and exploratory than the other, so in a very mature manner, they’re granted a “sexual hall pass.”

Open Two-Way – Obviously, this arrangement is an “I love ya, and I love sex with others too, so let’s have the best of both worlds!” Think of it as, “You can go out and play, just make sure you always come home!” Depending on the rules, couples may play together with a trick they find, share tricks they both find, or be selfish and say, “Don’t ask, don’t tell.”

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Rick Clemons

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Rick Clemons, The Gay Man's Life Coach & The Coming Out Coach

Rick is a straight-forward, compassionate, insightful, challenging, mentor, guide, and Certified Professional Coach who's been featured on The Ricki Lake Show, and is a highly sought after radio show personality, blogger, author, and faculty member of Sex Coach U. His loving, challenging, gentle, and inspiring approach ignites a fire in clients, helping them get through the darkest moments of life and come out the other side, kicking butt, and being authentically themselves.

Rick thrives, working with individuals, and those in their inner circle, as they embark on the journey out of the closet and beyond. He specializes in helping people build confidence, live their passion while loving their work, and live authentically. Authenticity isn't just a word he throws around lightly. It's the backbone of his practice and the manner in which he personnally strives to live each and every day of his own life.

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