I saw this on I-Village (and posting it for your convenience...hoping
this should constitute "fair use" otherwise here's the direct link to it:
yesterday and it had Sir Mike and I up chatting into the night. Lots of "experts" offering their opinions there with some valid points as to why they think non-monogamous couples aren't happier than monogamous ones.
We're curious about Swingers Board views on this cos we've noticed
many of you have been in this for the long haul.
Namely how do you swing and "play" while still honouring your relationship?
Does each part of a couple go into this willing to "pay a price" at the cost to their relationship for namely maintaining
a sexually open relationship? If so, in what way(s)? Do you find this gratifying?
How do you deal?
If not how do you keep close? Is there a lot of compromise going on
in order to maintain "happiness" in your relationship in order to make room for swinging?
In other words at the end of the day does "happy swinging" or the "happy state of your relationship" as a couple rule?
****article starts here ****
Trend Alert: Open Marriages: Does Agreed-Upon "Cheating"
Make Couples Happier?
By The Love Council (I-Village.com)
Meet the Love Council, our hand-picked panel of relationship experts and writers. We've brought together a legendary sex expert, a couples therapist, a spiritual advisor, a wise comedian and a husband-and-wife team to bring you diverse and distinctive insight and advice on important relationship issues. Each month, the Love Council weighs in on the hottest topics that affect you and your relationships, from current events and buzz-worthy books to the latest trends.
A New York magazine article entitled "The New Monogamy" states that marriages are becoming more and more open. The thinking is that agreed-upon "cheating" will ward off the urge to stray further. In this view, as long as each spouse "sluts around" (their words, not ours) within the boundaries deemed acceptable by both parties (rules range from just kissing to engaging in full-blown orgies), they aren't actually cheating. Sure, it sounds pretty crazy. But let's just go with it for now, keeping in mind how unnatural forsaking all others can feel to some in committed relationships and how striving for true monogamy can outright ruin some relationships. So, provided the rules of engagement are mutually agreed upon, is the open approach reasonable? We asked our Love Council to weigh in.
Dan Cronin: "Why Are These People Together to Begin With?"
I think there's something really interesting and healthy about people who want to redefine the boundaries of a relationship so that they are more likely to stay within those boundaries. These people are taking into consideration the evolutionary view that we're a bunch of horn dogs, the practical view that most marriages end in divorce and the emotional view that deceiving someone you love really sucks.
But there's a description in that article of a woman returning home to find her boyfriend in the bathtub with another woman - and thinking nothing of it - that gave me pause. It made me wonder why these people are together to begin with. This woman's impassive response to what for most people would warrant a dish-throwing blowout makes me wonder what emotions could have surfaced under even slightly different circumstances. What if this woman was feeling depressed? Had a bad day? "Honey, I'll be right out - just after I'm done scrubbing the back of this chick I met at the Arcade Fire concert." I don't think so.
Sure, old monogamy has its problems. But I still think it's better than the new one, if you can make it work.
(In addition to being a husband and father to twin girls, Dan Cronin is an NYC-area comedian, writer and ad copywriter. He has been a featured stand-up comic as well as a sketch performer on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and has also appeared on Comedy Central's Premium Blend. His video clips, performance schedule and other "unfiltered detritus" can be found at DanCronin.com.)
Cathi Hanauer & Daniel Jones:"Is This Arrangement Reasonable? Absolutely"
Cathi: We already know that monogamous marriage is far from a raging success in this country. In my opinion, if some couples want to try veering slightly from the contract by creating their own rules, more power to them. I commend their courage in thinking deeply about marriage and its shortcomings, and for having the creativity and guts to adjust it to fit their mutual needs.
The catch, of course, is that this undermines one of the major reasons people marry -for security. And though security doesn't do much for passion, it's also a huge reason people stay together "till death do us part." Part of committing to someone else is knowing that person will be there for you through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, and if your "thin" or "sick" happens to come when your partner is out "slutting around" with someone else - or vice-versa - I would think it would be very hard not to feel hurt or betrayed. I've actually suggested open marriage to Dan more than once, though I have to admit I'm always a teensy bit relieved when he says no freakin' way.
Daniel: You have to remember that just because it's all above board doesn't mean it's trouble free. I know a couple with an open marriage, and they're happily together. But I do know they struggled with jealousy and worked very hard to compartmentalize their feelings.
I believe that all human beings are hard-wired to feel jealous, and it's an emotion you'll likely have to learn to manage - not ignore or sidestep- if you decide to open up your relationship to others.
Cathi Hanauer is the author of My Sister's Bones and the editor of the New York Times best-selling essay collection The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth about Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage. Currently, Cathi contributes to Elle, O, Parenting and more and, along with her husband, Daniel Jones, writes "The Double Edge," a relationship column in the newly launched Tango magazine. Her second novel, Sweet Ruin (Atria/Simon & Schuster), will be released in early 2006.
Daniel Jones is the author of the novel After Lucy, a Barnes & Nobel Discover Award finalist, and the editor of The Bastard on the Couch: 27 Men Try Really Hard to Explain Their Feelings about Love, Loss, Fatherhood, and Freedom. He is a contributing editor at the New York Times, where he edits the weekly "Modern Love" column in Sunday Styles. With his wife, Cathi Hanauer, he writes "The Double Edge," a relationship column in Tango magazine.
Dr. Sarah Stedman: "This Concept Is Frightening!"
This question made me wonder if I am just an old-fashioned, socially programmed sexual Neanderthal. But the truth is that I have a system of spiritual values for human dignity that I stand by, and this phenomenon called "the new monogamy" flies in the face of every quality I consider to be essential to the success of a long-term relationship: commitment, mutual respect and the spiritual celebration inherent in two people building a life together. This new version of monogamy sounds like a glorified excuse for self-indulgent, irresponsible behavior, and my suspicion is that there are a lot of younger people out there who are just as frightened by that concept as I am. So if the so-called new monogamy sounds like a clever way of having your cake and eating it too, it probably is. Monogamy is a choice. It doesn't come naturally and sometimes it requires negotiation between partners. But the fact remains that in the end you can either have that cake or you can eat it, but you simply can't have it both ways.
Dr. Sarah Stedman is trained by the Celebrant USA Foundation to officiate at, compose and perform personalized ceremonies, including weddings, commitments, funerals, divorces and more. She volunteers as a counselor to fellow cancer survivors.
Michele Weiner-Davis, MSW: "Managed Monogamy? Oxymoron"
You have got to be kidding. I've been a marriage therapist for nearly 30 years and I've yet to witness even one open marriage work. Setting morality or the dangers of STDs aside, this idea of managed monogamy - talk about an oxymoron - is a disaster waiting to happen. Even if spouses have good intentions and believe they've agreed upon fair rules for fooling around, all bets are off once they open Pandora's box. The promise of pleasurable, kinky, extraordinary sex has a funny way of enticing people to behave in ways- especially toward their spouses- that they might not ordinarily. And when they do, jealousy sets in. One spouse wants to call the deal off and the other is too busy getting turned on to care. So, although old-fashioned monogamy may be a far-from-perfect solution for more adventurous couples, it's still, by far, the best one we've got.
Michele Weiner-Davis is an internationally renowned relationship expert, psychotherapist, marriage educator and sought-after speaker. She is the author of six books, including Divorce Busting, The Sex-Starved Marriage: A Couple's Guide to Boosting Their Marriage Libido (Simon & Schuster). Her popular Website, DivorceBusting.com, offers valuable information for people in troubled marriages.
Dr. Ruth Westheimer: "There's No Acceptable Percentage of Risk"
Because I'm a sex therapist, I see the people who have problems, and that probably slants my view in a predictable direction. But boy, do I see problems when couples have been having sex with other people - even when both parties initially consented to the idea. Two happily married people might think that their relationship can survive introducing other partners into the mix. But when one partner gets jealous, then the damage done to the relationship is often irreparable.
Are there couples that engage in this agreed-upon cheating without incurring any harm? Possibly. So I guess the question becomes: What are the odds of a relationship falling apart because of such behavior? I can't be certain, but if you value your relationship, there is no acceptable percentage of risk in my book. It's my belief that the old monogamy is far better than the new one.
The original sexpert, Dr. Ruth has given advice for over 20 years and counting. She's hosted many television shows ‑- including Sexually Speaking with Dr. Ruth Westheimer and What's Up, Dr. Ruth? among others. She's written 30 books, such as Dr. Ruth's Encyclopedia of Sex, The Art of Arousal (Abbeville Press) and her newest, Dr. Ruth's Sex After 50: Revving Up Your Romance, Passion & Excitement! (A Best Half of Life), taught classes at Yale and been named one of People's "Most Intriguing People of the Century."
Do any of you reading this agree or disagree?
**** article ends here ****
Our take is that that a great deal of consideration must be given
to each other's comfort levels at any given moment
and to those we choose to get sexually
involved with. The health of "our" relationship being a good indicator
of whether or not we choose to "swing" on any given night or period of time.
In other words we should take care of each other first before sharing our
"love/sex" with others even if we find we are disappointing or a "let down"
to them. Swinging can get "sticky" at times and we've had many periods of
"time out" over the years. We feel "happy relationship" rules for us
and are prepared to try and work at it. Right now we are trying to
"work at it" again. Hence our long absence. Sorry.
It's a hard road to take when you run a club (hence
BREATHE the lifestyle) and find
yourself unintentionally hurting other people's feelings in the process.
Slutty Wife ;-*