About Last Night: Monogamy doesn’t necessitate sexual exclusivity with just one person 17-06-18

July 11, 2018

Q: Some weeks, reading your column makes Mark and me question if we’re off the spectrum of normal and beyond adventurous. We both enjoy (safe, consensual) penetration and play from a variety of adult partners, and sophisticated sex toys, yet we are still deeply in love with each other. Monogamy doesn’t necessitate sexual exclusivity with just one person, and we want like-minded consenting adults not to feel judged as perverted. Are we beyond normal?
A: No, and I’m so grateful to you for taking the time to share your positive experiences. It is a timely reminder of what is possible.

The secret lies in being able to share fantasies and learn about each other’s desires.
They say that no news is good news, but it can seem that, for many commercial media outlets, good news is no news.
People love exciting stories. Someone once challenged me to name a successful novel that featured a happy relationship, and I could not think of one. Plot is driven by conflict. The media’s imperative is to boost profits, and confecting outrage, playing on fears, and focusing on violence and suffering have proved to be effective ways to generate sensational headlines that sell their offerings.

This is why we need independent alternatives, such as a national broadcaster. It is important to have platforms where lateral thinkers, challenging commentators, and people who are prepared to allow the truth to get in the way of a good story, can seek to redress any imbalances.

When it comes to human sexuality, the issue is complicated, and our emotions are heightened by our sexual anxiety and shame. There is a deep-seated notion that sexual adventuring will all end in tears, and an expectation that transgressive women, in particular, will get punished. For the media, that means that most of the stories that involve “swinging”, promiscuity or infidelity have headlines such as “The body in the boot”, or “Shooting at swingers’ nightclub”.

Our negative attitude is reinforced by the nature of much of the sex-related social issues we face: the sexual abuse of children, violent rape, attacks on sex workers, domestic violence, the trafficking of sex slaves, STIs, and so on. When doctors, the police, therapists and social workers encounter situations involving sex it is usually to deal with something damaging.

The reality is that most people have untroubled sex lives, but their natural reticence and discretion prevent them talking about their private lives. My years running Bliss for Women enabled me to hear a more accurate, nuanced, and varied range of normal sexual experiences. The truth is that many people enjoy experimentation and adventurous sex play with no ill effects.

Of course, nothing is compulsory, and the success of your intimate life is not measured by the scope of your activities. The secret lies in being able to be open, and able to share fantasies, and learn about each other’s desires. For many, talking and sharing are erotic enough.

Unlike sky divers and rock climbers, most people who enjoy “extreme” sex games realise that their friends do not want to hear them banging on about their exploits, but if, somehow, something does come to light it is not for others to judge, and there is no need for shame.

Of course, as with other extreme sports, there are always risks. Responsible participants understand these risks, take all known steps to minimise them, and undertake to balance the risks and the rewards. In terms of sex play this means respect, and getting enthusiastic consent, observing safer sex protocols, and maintaining good communication. However, it is irrational to be more freaked out by the idea of a couple having group sex than by their plans to free dive.

The word “monogamy” is the opposite of “polygamy” and really means being married to one person at a time, and, if both partners are willing, does not necessitate sexual exclusivity with just one other person.

I wish you and Mark well, and thank you once more for sharing a good news story that might be useful for others who would like to push their boundaries, but who are limited by fear and ignorance.

Email: abtlastnight@gmail.com

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