From Monogamy To Open Marriage: There's Nothing Wrong With Wanting Variety

Everyone expected me to be “good” and “faithful” and monogamous.

From Monogamy To Open Marriage is a weekly column devoted to the discussion of pursuing sex and love outside marriage. 


My first threesome happened during my senior year of high school. My boyfriend set it up. He said that he wanted to test my loyalty to him and he asked if I wanted to have sex with his best friend. He claimed that if I really loved him, I wouldn’t want anyone else, but he wanted me to choose what I wanted to do.

After his friend left, while he and I were still naked and entangled, he claimed to feel hurt and betrayed by me (in spite of the fact that he was an active and willing participant the entire time). When I asked him why he seemed to enjoy himself, he said that since he was a guy, he couldn’t help himself, but I shouldn’t have said yes and I shouldn’t have even wanted to touch his friend. We argued about his perspective of what had happened. He said that my actions proved that I didn’t love him.

I was perplexed and ashamed by the fact that enjoying sex with another person was something I did with ease.

I wondered why it was so easy for me to be “unfaithful." My boyfriend’s twisted, misogynistic perspective made me believe there was something deeply wrong with me, particularly because I had enjoyed the experience and I wanted to do it again.

I didn’t get to have sex with two men at the same time again until about a year after that. By then, I was 19 years old and I had just attended my first SLAA meeting (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous), after a therapist urged me to “get help” if I “couldn’t control myself." Because I was no longer living with my parents, sex became a daily activity for me and the guy I was living with said that women weren’t supposed to love sex so much. He suggested that I talk to someone, so I sought out the therapist, who listened to my panicky rambling about my sexual needs with his mouth agape, while his judgmental brow went back and forth from wrinkled to raised. He thought I might need treatment — medication or a brief stay in a psychiatric facility. He suggested that I try the SLAA meetings first. Maybe there, I could find some answers.
 
The presumption that a woman is required to seek sexual fulfillment from one and only one partner, and the fact that I desire variety, no longer makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me.
 
Instead, I found a 34-year-old man who was impressed that a 19-year-old girl could walk into a room full of alleged sex addicts, seemingly unphased by the fact that she was only one of two females present. We stood in the parking lot and talked for awhile and he offered me a ride home. In his car, he put his hand on my thigh under my dress. Before I knew it, we were in his bedroom with his roommate standing in the doorway watching us. Then the roommate approached the bed and asked if he could touch me.
 
Later that day when I was alone in my apartment, I mulled over my feelings about what I had just experienced. I was confused by a mix of guilt and fulfillment. At 19, I defined myself according to the expectations of others. Everyone expected me to be “good” and “faithful” and monogamous. But why did I enjoy sex with multiple partners so much? Why didn’t it feel disgusting or immoral to me? Why couldn’t I control my sexual desire and just say no to those men? Did this mean I had no self worth? If so, aside from guilt, why didn’t I truly feel terrible about it? And why did I want to do it again?
 

Twenty-two years later, at age 41, I no longer have these questions. I am far removed from the identity crisis I experienced as a young woman.

 
The presumption that a woman is required to seek sexual fulfillment from one and only one partner, and the fact that I desire variety, no longer makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me. The idea that a woman should keep her clothes on and her legs closed, except when engaged in a monogamous relationship, is something that makes me snicker and smile. I don’t relate to that idea. And I know that I don’t have to.
 
My husband and I are packing and preparing (wax, shave, moisturize, makeup, lingerie, food, drink, lube, condoms, toys, etc.) for a weekend-long kink/fetish event in central New Jersey. We have stopped answering Arthur’s texts and we have since found new prospects to enjoy time with in the near future. For this weekend, we have high hopes of connecting with other couples and have booked a deluxe suite at the host hotel where this event takes place. Once I finish cooking meals for the kids to eat while we’re gone, I can double check my suitcase and make sure that I am prepared for anything and everything.
 
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