Terms Of Engagement: Navigating An Open Relationship

Terms Of Engagement: Navigating An Open Relationship
Heartbreak, Sex

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.”

Silent Open Two-Way – This one is interesting. It also begs the question, “What else isn’t being talked about?” In this arrangement, both parties are having their cake and eating it too, they’re just not talking about the cake they’re eating, but both assume the other is probably eating cake without the other and would just prefer not to talk about how much, or what flavor cake they’re eating. Did you get all that? Simply said, “They’re both having outside play time with others and not talking about it with one another, but they know it’s probably happening.”

I think I’ve covered all the bases, but if not, please send me an email and let me know, I’d love to make sure I’m not discriminating. So who’s ready for the rules of “open relationship engagement?” Wow, those hands sure got raised fast. Ok, here we go.

Again, from what I’ve been told, but not personally experienced, here’s a few of the “Rules of Engagement For Being In An Open Relationship.”

No kissing, French or otherwise. This for many is a sign of intimacy. It’s also a point of contention if kissing is what revs up the engine.

No repeat performances. Go ahead. Go mount up anything that turns your crank, just don’t mount them more than once.

Don’t ask, don’t tell. Consider this your own little re-enactment of military rule. Go ahead and play in the minefields, just don’t share the details, not a one.

Oral only or anal only. While that may seem limiting to the overall sexual experience, and kind of a “What’s the point?” moment, it works for many open relationships to have this clause included.

Travel play only. This is the “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” rule. Keep that thing locked up until the captain has turned off the fasten seat belt light. Then you are free to whore around all you want as long as it not in your own backyard.

Not in my house. Believe it or not, sometimes, some couples revert back to the “If you see a towel on the door, the house is occupied.” Others of course, prefer you keep your tricks and your trysts out of the home field advantage.

Just letting you know. Not sure if it’s insecurity or security, or both, nonetheless, many couples find comfort in making a phone call to let their partner know, “I’m going in for the booty call. Just wanted you to know. Love ya!” Not sure how that works emotionally, but it does for those agreed to this one by initialing on the doted line.

Keep it to three, and leave the orgies for we. Certain agreements restrict outside play to singles or doubles only. Beyond that, it’s an orgy and the rules of the orgasm are “Orgies only as a couple!”

Solo flights only. Play dates permitted one person at a time, no multiples. Got it? Good!

Limited play. Consider this a coupon book or monthly allowance of sorts. You’re permitted 4 play dates per month. If you use all yours on the first day of the month, then it’s going to be a very long month for you silly boy!

Only when I can’t perform. This could make the case for a pill that causes erectile dysfunction. Of course, gals have already mastered the art of the fake orgasm, so in this case, “No faking required!”

Family visits only. No I’m talking about hooking up with family members, I’m referring to “When Mom and Dad are visiting, we can’t have sex, they’ll hear us.” Lame excuse but I guess if that works for going out and getting your rocks off with someone, “Make it work!”

Safe play only. Duh! Nothing more to say here.

I’m sure there are hundreds of other nuances that get thrown into the mix of navigating an open relationship, like “Shhh, don’t let others know we’re in one!” What matters, is what matters for the couple in the open relationship. However the “Terms of Engagement” are designed, it all comes down to what works for them in their relationship. Kind of the same way it’s decided who takes out the trash and cleans the toilets in your relationship. Of course carrying out trash and cleaning toilets isn’t near as much fun as having sex with other people outside of your relationship, or so I’ve been told!

Ready to rock your relationship and add open up to richer, more intimate experiences with the one you love? Book a Complimentary life and relationship coaching consultation now.

Rick Clemons is the author of the soon to be released, "Frankly My Dear I'm Gay!"