I’ll give you some background details that might make it sound complicated but I think the essence is probably pretty simple and universal. I’m 34 years old, pretty happy with myself, sexually very open, and I’ve been through several relationships.
All my relationships were pretty much monogamous and it always kind of made sense (to me). I always had a very satisfying sexual life with my partner(s) or at least ‘good enough’. The concept of ‘good enough’ is quite central in my life as I think it’s important to be content (mind I’m very driven: I’ve got a good career and I work my ass hard for it – so it’s not to be confused with accepting mediocrity or the ‘easy way’ but rather be able to reach a point where you can be happy with what you achieved so that you can enjoy it rather than keep chasing something ‘more’).
After many heartaches, I am trying to distill what I need to look for in a partner in order to have a successful story. What am I happy to compromise and what I cannot? For example, I am really into FF [Beastly’s note: fisting or fist fucking] and I have been wondering if I could be with a partner that isn’t into it (the answer is yes, I think).
I recently met a guy, handsome as hell, crazy sex, a gentleman in the streets, sweet, caring and thoughtful. I started falling for him. Then the other night we were texting and he said he doesn’t believe in monogamy. I panicked.
I started to think of all sort of ways to run away from him. By all means, it’s not a moral problem. But at the same time, I don’t know what my problem is. I see so many successful open relationships and yet every time I think of being in one I feel that’s the door for all my insecurities to enter and ravage me. Insecurities that normally I don’t have. I would love to make this work but I don’t know what kind of mindset I should be in.
I know there’s a lot to say about being honest with each other and communicate etc. Yet it always boils down to the burning question, ‘If you (the other guy) also tell me we have such great sex why do you need to keep spending your time looking for probably less satisfying experiences?’
Right now I went back to the apps and I’m trying to convince myself to fuck some other guys – not as ‘revenge’ but rather as a way to try to be ‘cool’ and ‘fluid’ with having multiple sexual partners in an effort to not start some jealousy thing with this guy – but deep down I’d love to just explore more filth with him alone.
Lastly, when I’m single I’m a total whore so it’s not a matter of having difficulty finding sex. HALP!
There are two kinds of people in the world: the sated and the furious. My sister, for example, is sated. She saves money, cooks at home, and has contentment. She’s a hard worker, but she’s not constantly chasing more. She will pass through life with grace.
I’m furious. I tear through life, kicking and screaming, cheating on people, dabbling in things I know I shouldn’t do, constantly dissatisfied. Like other furious people, I battle depression and anxiety. My friends overdose on dance floors and take steroids.
Sometimes I envy people like my sister (and like you, I suspect), but when I look at my idols, the famous artists and writers and figures who’ve shaped my life, I recognize one commonality among us: the hunger.
Discontent, as Oscar Wilde famously said, is the first step in the progress of a man and nation. I am ethically non-monogamous because of raging discontentment. I had dissatisfying and ultimately ruinous monogamous relationships before I realized that my base requirement for happiness is the ability to never have to promise anyone my full devotion. I will never be satisfied with one flavor, one person, or one form of love.
I’m not saying everyone who is non-monogamous (or anti-monogamous) is furious, but I think many of us are. I never push anyone to be like me, and it sounds like you’re not pushing this guy you’re into to be more like you. If you’re not comfortable with non-monogamy, I would never tell you to do it. So I have to say that I think you and this guy stand little chance of making it since you are comfortable with different baselines for relationship happiness. But if you want to try it, I’ll offer what advice I can.
Here’s a way to work yourself into a non-monogamous perspective: You said you think you could date someone monogamously who isn’t into fisting. You think you could, but it’d be hard, right? I don’t know what characteristics you love about this guy, but what if he checked every box for you except the box for your favorite fetish? What if he did everything for you except fisting?
You’d probably decide that you can live without it. Fisting is great, but it can be abandoned for someone you love, right?
Buddy, that’s what you think now. That’s what I thought at the beginning of many monogamous relationships. And you might be able to live without it for a while. But if you love fisting as much as I love fisting, and as much I love sex with people I don’t know, that urge will come creeping back with a hunger at some point, and that’s when you’ll have to decide which one you like more: fisting, or your boyfriend.
What if you didn’t have to choose? What if you could enjoy fisting and your boyfriend? What if you could actually have everything that makes you happy? You’re simply not going to make someone (like your boyfriend) be into something they’re not. This is the joy of non-monogamy: You don’t have to make one person satisfy all your needs. You can get everything you need from multiple people.
It’s an absurd amount of pressure to expect anyone to satisfy all our needs. So absurd, in fact, that many people buckle under that pressure. Yet that is exactly what we expect and demand from monogamous relationships. The freedom of non-monogamy is that it allows you to love the people you’re with exactly as they are.
What if you re-wrote your “good enough” picture into one in which you can get all your sexual needs met? One in which you’d never have to forfeit fisting, something you love, for someone you love?
This particular guy you’re into may actually be into fisting, so you may not feel pressured to make the choice described above right now. But something else will come because no one checks all our boxes all the time. Boredom and other discontentments will appear. I promise. Sometimes it’s not even the fact that they’re lacking something that someone else provides. Sometimes you may want someone else simply because they’re someone else. People get bored. Everyone gets bored. That doesn’t mean love stops. It just means you need a new flavor for a night. No one can be faulted for boredom when they only experience one flavor, one person, all the time.
When boredom or some other dissatisfaction arises, non-monogamy may appear as a more palatable option. And it will arise; that is my solemn promise. So why not go ahead and accept that boredom happens, dissatisfactions come, and consider starting a relationship that accommodates these realities? Non-monogamy isn’t easy, and there are no special tricks to doing it successfully, but the communication and trust it demands allows people to get everything they need. And, like a cherry on top, that trust and communication happens to build very beautiful relationships — ones that usually feature stronger and more loyal commitments than monogamous ones.
I’d be lying if I said my insecurities never appear or that I never get jealous. But you already know how to work through jealousy and insecurity. You wrote it yourself: Being honest with each other and communicate. That’s it.
If you’re willing to be a little furious, give it a shot.