1.6.11

under the covers with niki: negotiated monogamy

{Here is our second post for our feature, "Under the Covers with Niki." Today's topic is very relevant as there was recently an article on the chart talking about negotiated monogamy. Niki will answer one reader's question concerning this topic below.}
My husband and I don’t have sex very often. Our lack of sex frustrates us both but we don’t know how to improve our sex life. My husband suggested that we each try sleeping with other people to jump-start our libidos so we desire sex with one another again. What are your thoughts on this arrangement? Will sleeping with other people bring us together again?

What a great question! When I read this question I hear “we are frustrated with our lack of sex and don’t know what do to!” This is an incredibly common scenario for couples who feel stuck in their current sexual routine—or in this case, a lack of routine. And the response to spice-up your sex life, whether that is with another partner or a novel sex act, seems like the only reasonable solution. However, I would caution couples. This “quick fix” is not a very sound solution. In response to this question I advise that you do not bring additional people in your sex life to save it—you bring additional people into your sex life to enhance it.

There are many relationships where monogamy doesn’t work. In those cases the individuals typically negotiate a set of rules that work for both partners. However, this question does not reflect any type of conversation about what sleeping with other people would look like. I would suggest that this couple talk about how they think sleeping with other people will make their sex life better. Talk about hypothetical rules. For example: maybe it is OK to each have sex with one other person, one time. Or maybe only oral sex outside of the marriage is OK. There are endless provisions that can be discussed. Having this open and honest conversation will really allow the couple to think seriously about this arrangement instead of acting impulsively. Furthermore, it allows the individuals to set boundaries regarding their sex life and actually talk about sex!

Also, to answer the second question: it is important that you ask yourself why you believe that sex with another person will spark your sex drive and increase your marital sex life? There could be many answers to this question; maybe you imagine that there is a certain way that person would touch you. Or maybe you just like the idea of experimenting with a non-regular sexual partner. Identifying what you think will change can also help you identify what you find so appealing about this alternative.

So that is the short answer to what can be a very complicated question! Obviously there are a lot more questions that one can ask themselves and/or their partners in order to help slow down and evaluate their sexual relationship. This conversation will allow both partners to feel empowered and make mutually informed decisions regarding their sex life. Having a conversation with your partner is the most important thing you can do if you are feeling frustrated with your sex life or any other aspect of the relationship. This gives you both the opportunity to express your concerns. Often if people are not having sex they are not talking about—so make it less taboo and see what options you really have before you make any rash decisions.

{Don't forget to submit your sex or sex therapy questions to underthecoverswithniki{at}gmail{dot}com. It may be answered in next month's post. What are your thoughts on negotiated monogamy?}

{image from here}

1 comment:

  1. this is a complicated question, with an array of possibilities the end result could take, but this response drives home the key: conversation. asking the how, and the why questions, before entering this type of arrangement will bolster the relationship and potentially alleviate, as mentioned, rash and instantly regrettable decisions.

    this reminded me a bit of one of the shorts from the film "paris, je t'aime".... "in diligently acting the part of a man in love, he learned that he was indeed a man in love." relationships require effort, in the first year and in the fiftieth year, but that effort can have handsome returns.

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