A Moral Reckoning? Rethinking Open Relationships

I’m thinking about crossing that line in my moral sand.
I’ve always been the one-guy-one-gal type, but I’m starting to wonder if maybe it’s just the old Catholic/societal brainwashing, and whether, maybe, I’m really built a little differently than what “tradition” often serves up.
I think I ultimately prefer monogamy. But I think the notion of having that kind of commitment, and dare I say obligation, in my life right now scares the living shit out of me.
Seriously, I just don’t want to have the grief that comes with serious devout commitment right now. The need to worry how they’re doing, the obligatory Fridays & Saturdays spent together, and all of that. I just don’t have it in me to give that much of myself to anyone right now. It’s hard enough to give it to myself.
I’ve considered the “friends with benefits” option, but I have to say, the responses I’ve gotten are essentially from, well, sexual babies and morons. You know, the eager-beaver types who claim they want oodles of sex and all that.
But, really, all they want is just to get laid. Most of these chumps wouldn’t know how to handle a woman with real libido if the Energizer Bunny came and gave ’em an all-night seminar and a schwack of caffeine to get the job done.
Let me make this very clear. If a woman says she a) has a powerful libido, and b) has great endurance, she is not the type who’ll be satisfied if you go down on her for 10 minutes, get her off, then fuck her for the four (three?) minutes it takes you to blow your wad.
That’s not “good” sex. That’s “all right” sex, and only because she at least got to come, but that’s grading on a heavy curve. A very, very steep curve. A generous curve. Like, Oprah generous. Like, “do I get a tax deductible receipt for that?” generous.
Of course, this is entirely rhetorical and has nothing to do with why I got to bed at 5am last Friday night. Or spent the rest of my weekend frustrated, tired, and annoyed.
I’m tired of knowing more about sex than my partners. I’m tired of being the supposedly corrupting influence. I’m tired of feeling like I need to toe the line with my aggressions. What, you want me to apologize for really getting into the moment? Shyeah, right.
So now I’m wondering if maybe, just maybe, someone who’s in an open relationship might be a less selfish, less immature, more sophisticated lover than those I’ve been used to. Maybe it’s time to separate the men from the boys for a while and see what the market has in store.
But it’s one of those things that makes the old Catholic schoolgirl in me feel like I’m about to shake hands with the devil. I don’t judge other people for engaging in open relationships — and even understand why they do — yet I judge myself rather harshly for considering the option.
The one thing that doesn’t need convincing? My hormones. They’re all-systems-go and ready to roll. And thrust and squirm and…
Well. Anyhow. Just know I’m considering. Very, very strongly. And why would I be considering unless there was something specific to consider? Exactly. I’ll let you know how this moral quandary of mine plays out. Perhaps emphasis on the ‘plays out’ bit there. Whatever.

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6 thoughts on “A Moral Reckoning? Rethinking Open Relationships

  1. D.P.

    For me, it’s not a moral quandary, but a potentially explosive psychological situation. I don’t want to go in to it here, even anonymously, but I was surprised to find myself and my partners in deeply troubled psychological waters when I took the path (repeatedly).
    For me–and I stress, this is my own particular experiences, so I’m not saying this will happen to you–the unintended psychological aspects that came up weren’t worth the benefits.
    It was easier to pull off when I was in my early twenties and psychologically immature; oddly, as I grew more mature, things became more difficult–perhaps because I was more aware of what was going on in that head of mine and my partner’s?

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  2. Scribe Called Steff

    Yeah, I’m just about to head off to work and saw this, but I still have hesitations. I’m thinking it’d likely be a short-term ‘seeing what it’s like’ experimentation at best, so we’ll see.

    But the headtrip part of it does concern me ‘cos my imagination is way too active, I tell ya.

    Reply
  3. D.P.

    One more comment, and I’m done. I quote here because it helps with the context of my comment. You said:

    “I’m tired of knowing more about sex than my partners. I’m tired of being the supposedly corrupting influence. I’m tired of feeling like I need to toe the line with my aggressions. What, you want me to apologize for really getting into the moment? Shyeah, right.

    So now I’m wondering if maybe, just maybe, someone who’s in an open relationship might be a less selfish, less immature, more sophisticated lover than those I’ve been used to. Maybe it’s time to separate the men from the boys for a while and see what the market has in store.”

    I wonder here, not even from personal experience, why someone in an open relationship might be less selfish, less immature, and a more sophisticated lover? I’m not sure how any of those follow from being in an open relationship; if anything, an open relationship allows for the possibility that the person/man in question is too immature to commit (in any way). (Note, I say this is a possibility, not a necessity.)

    But I think what struck me the most here are the assumptions that happen, understandably, about men and their abilities in bed. Again, I speak from my own personal experiences, and I do not intend to generalize this over to your situation; just throwing it out there.

    There are guys–I suspect a fair number–who have a learning curve themselves when it comes to a new lover. Let’s be honest, we’re all not guys who can–with a new lover–just go on and on. And we’re all not guys who will blow it immediately, or who are really inexperienced. I think there are a fair number of men (obviously I’m in this group) who do not perform well at first (hell, I’m excited to be in bed with you, I’m excited to be discovering what works for you, I’m excited to be exploring your body and your mind–needless to say, my fuse is pretty short). And it takes us a bit of time to get better–but we do.

    A week? Sure, improvement. A few weeks? A LOT of improvement. 6 weeks? Perfect.

    That, I think, is the problem with flings and really short term stuff–you miss that window of improvement that leads to the really great sex.

    But for more long term stuff, you have to be patient–or, you can simply dismiss these men and go for the minority who can goooooooo!

    That’s the disconnect I see in open relationships, in terms of sexual prowess: I don’t understand how being a man who offers open relationships makes him a better lover. It didn’t make me one–I had the same learning curve. On the other hand, you certainly may be finding more of those “go forever” guys, which if it works, is a great way to filter men’s sexual abilities.

    But in the end, in my “humble opinion”–and yes, I admit I’m stepping out here in offering this, willing to let my head get chopped off–I think there may be some confusion about the difference between sexual prowess and whether or not that it is any way connected to open relationships, how relationships progress in general (our “learning curves”), and sex.

    Men, contrary to some of the voices from the other side, have complex sexual responses too–and it takes some time for both partners to figure them out (I’m not claiming you are one of those voices from the other side).

    My two cents, again, coming from my own experiences–whether they apply to you, I can’t say: I think what I’m trying to say here is that there’s a huge difference between a long string of men who are crappy in bed (because it seems that from what you’ve written above, they are crappy in bed because you’re looking for something damn good in bed–which you should get), and separating the “men from the boys.” A long string? That’s just the hand being dealt to you, and that sucks. A certain “set” of men who are better in bed (open relationships); isn’t it too much to assume that this set exists at all (there have to be men in that group who are bad in bed, too)?

    A person’s individual personal experience does not define an entire group–it defines your history. Whether a change in tactics (open relationships) will actually change anything, or simply put you back in the status quo, is a crap shoot. Perhaps the unfortunate answer–and this is the same for me–is to be patient and keep trying. Mix it up, sure–try an open relationship–but I wouldn’t expect that to suddenly change the string of crappy partners.

    And in terms of Catholic morality, just screw it.

    Reply
  4. Scribe Called Steff

    Quickly, ‘cos now I want to post on this later in the week–

    Yeah, I know men tend to be pretty lousy the first time, and I’m very, very easy-going about the “world’s quickest finish” first-time fucks since I chalk it up to eagerness and take it as a compliment rather than an insult.

    HOWEVER, as easily as I will give men a total pass for being, well, relatively lousy at the actual SEX part the first time together…

    …It’s in the foreplay and afterplay that all the REAL judging happens.

    If the foreplay is quick too, that’s not a great thing. If there’s no afterplay, and, worse, no attempt to go a second time, then the judging gets dire.

    I’m trying to be somewhat decent and not list the other half-dozen or more reasons I’m feeling like giving a pass on my encounter last week — mostly to do with alcohol and the lack of afterplay.

    But, like I say, I think I’ll expound on this in a proper posting later.

    So, yes, I expect pretty lousy sex (to put it bluntly) the first two, maybe three times I get with a guy, just out of the comfort and figuring-each-other-out process… but there needs to be some display of desire to try and get to the good stuff, and there needs to be more play other than the little bit that leads to fucking, then nothing else.

    Trust me. I’m normally quite patient. And god knows I was trying.

    Reply
  5. D.P.

    “If the foreplay is quick too, that’s not a great thing. If there’s no afterplay, and, worse, no attempt to go a second time, then the judging gets dire.”

    Yes yes yes!

    “So, yes, I expect pretty lousy sex (to put it bluntly) the first two, maybe three times I get with a guy, just out of the comfort and figuring-each-other-out process… but there needs to be some display of desire to try and get to the good stuff, and there needs to be more play other than the little bit that leads to fucking, then nothing else.”

    And another yes yes yes!

    I figured this one of those posts where it was hard to communicate everything.

    And that you were trying, and still no dice. Jesus.

    Reply

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