From Monogamy To Open Marriage: Maybe You Should Have Sex With Strangers

Photo by Jared Sluyter on Unsplash

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


Have you ever had sex with a stranger? A one night stand with someone you just met? A vacation fling? Someone whose name you didn’t learn until after you got dressed? 

If you like sex and you wouldn’t risk hurting or betraying a partner, I highly recommend adding sex with a stranger to your “try anything once” list. 

*Disclaimer: I hope it goes without saying that I do not imply that you should put yourself in any kind of danger. If you aren’t comfortable for any reason with anyone you want to have sex with, no matter how well you know or do not know them, don’t do it. 

I was 19 years old the first time I had sex with someone I had just met. He and I were at a friend’s backyard barbecue. He was friendly and quiet, and as I was leaving, he asked if I wanted to go out for dessert or coffee. When we got in his car, the sexual tension was sky high. To this day, I don’t know what exactly made that so. 

Was it pheromones? Were we both aroused by something that was discussed at the party? Were we lonely? 

Before he even pulled away from our friend’s house, I was straddled on his lap, and we were all over each other. Somehow, he managed to remove me for long enough to drive to his place. I ended up staying the whole night and watching the sunrise as I stepped out of his apartment and headed home. That night I learned that sex with a stranger is an entirely different experience compared to sex with someone you have already (even at minimum) gotten to know. 

Perhaps I don’t give enough credit to that very first man. He was communicative and careful. He asked if I liked what he was doing. If I guided his hands to or away from parts of my body, he followed my lead. He told me what he liked and seemed to read my body language very well. Except for a couple of awkward seconds, while discovering our bodies didn’t fit together in certain positions (I am 5’2, ” and he was 6’3” so use your imagination), everything was as ideal as an unexpected night of sex with a stranger could be. 

That experience as a single, carefree 19-year-old still influences how I choose casual partners today. 

Communication has always been very important to me, so while I can understand that some people are shy or less vocal, I am the kind of person who needs a sex partner to hear me and read my body language well. I need someone who can express their needs and be honest about what they like and what they don’t like while they’re having sex with me. Not everyone can do this, and not everyone can be in sync with me, personally. When it does happen, it makes for an incredible encounter. 

Sex with strangers has taught me a lot about sex and a lot about myself. I believe that sex is a beautiful form of self-expression. It can be sacred and secret just between two people, or it can be (consensually) communal and shared. I’ve learned so much from others, and I know that others have learned a lot from me. 

For those who enjoy sex and have been raised to believe that monogamous sex is the only option, I invite you to open your mind and ask yourself some questions. 

  • Is sex always an expression of love and devotion?
  • Does love need to be present in both participants to enjoy sex?
  • Will a desire for sex with others weaken your love for someone else?
  • In a committed relationship, does sex with others weaken the commitment? How so?
  • If you enjoy activities with others when apart, would you not enjoy sex with someone else (whether all together or apart)?

If monogamy is beautiful and rich and satisfying to you, who am I to say you should change things? 

However, if you’ve ever experienced an urge to have sexual contact with another person and you notice that this didn’t change your feelings for your current partner, you might want to consider talking to them about stepping outside of monogamy. You might not opt to have sex with strangers, but perhaps you’ll find your own groove in what would be fulfilling and comfortable to both of you. 

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