Open To Something New?

Love, Sex

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?

Open to Something New

For me, that question is a little bit problematic. First, the word "find" and, second, the word "seduce." Let's start with find. My M.O. is not and has never been to go out on the prowl. Being open has always been about welcoming opportunities as opposed to crafting situations. The reason why is simple – being with other people isn't about "need;" it's about want.

At the risk of hearing line, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks," the oft quoted line from Act III, Scene 2 of Hamlet yet again – I am not a sex addict. I say that because it is imperative to understand that anyone embarking on this endeavor know that if addiction is the issue, being in an open relationship is certainly not the answer.
So, it has never been a matter of trying to find someone. Instead, it was about natural attraction and wanting to explore sexually further than a monogamous relationship would allow. Later, it became about love and not trying to make myself put a ceiling on the amount of love of which I was capable.

As opposed to being out looking, I was open to things unfolding. Which leads me to the second part of the question. There is a negative connotation that goes along with the word "seduce." (And that's the definition I am speaking to here.) I have never "convinced" someone into being with me. That would take all the fun out of it, at least for me, because the implication would be that he or she was only there because of some kind of trickery on my part. Anytime we are flirting, we are enticing the object of our affections. But that is very different than trying to lure someone into something they don't want to do on their own accord.

This isn't about being predatory, not in my case anyway. For me, mutual attraction is sexy. And so that has always been the hallmark of the relationships – sexual and otherwise – in which I have been involved. It's no different from dating, really. When you are out looking, you almost always fall short. But as soon as you decide you're happier alone, your dance card fills up without fail.

For me, it's not about "looking" for people to seduce. So what would I recommend to my writer above? Stop standing in your own way. That cute guy at the coffee shop who you always get into the best conversations with, the pretty girl who you met at that party who made you laugh till you almost spit Diet Coke onto the carpet, the friend who always seemed like he or she could be more than that – those are the people who you might consider opening up to.

For me, an open marriage has been about exploring what has seemed natural but was not "allowed" in a monogamous marriage,) not forcing something out of some sort of desperation. The people who would make good partners in an open relationship are the same people who might make good friends or lovers in a closed one, with one caveat – they necessarily don't have to "have it all."

It doesn't matter if he doesn't want kids and you've always imagined having a big family. It makes no difference if she wants to live in the country and you've always been the city type. And it won't be an issue if he's a homebody and you like to always be on the go. Mutual desire, attraction, and a clear understanding of the boundaries are all you need.

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And perhaps that is the most satisfying element of all when it comes to open relationships – having the opportunity to experience people fully.