Are You 100% Sure Monogamy Is For You?
I came across the following :
“No one addresses this aspect of monogamy: you have to earn it. I’m not referring to trust here. I’m referring to the way in which my sexual needs must be met in order for me to agree to it… Monogamy isn’t just something we do because it’s socially correct. It’s something we do if you and I remove the need for us to have sex with other people.”- Source
I generally agree with it and that is pretty much sums up my views about monogamy.
I think we all ought to focus more on our own perspectives regarding monogamy. It is only when we come to an understanding that satisfies our souls that we actually agree to participate in it wholeheartedly (or reject it outright). We then try to find partners who share the EXACT same values as we do for it to work out best between us. If any of these things is “off”, it likely won’t work. It might lead to forced behavior which might then lead to resentment, and can then encourage negative and hurtful behavior (or at least provide excuses upon which people can rely).
Image: Derek Gavey via Flickr
There is nothing wrong with having sex with more than one person at once, plainly speaking. The “problems” come from the complications people cause while doing so. Some complications can be prevented, some cannot. Emotions are difficult to control and uncontrolled emotions can lead to problematic behavior. Misunderstanding of certain situations is also problematic. People often deal with each other but are not on the same page, and that is where the problems come in. Some people feel they have to behave in certain ways because of what society dictates or because of what they assume is expected of them by potential partners. Sometimes, it is as simple as asking key questions to find out someone's preferences. Too often, people rely on dishonesty to negotiate their participation in sex which is, again, a problem spurred, in my opinion, by society’s overall conservative ideas about sex.
In this quotation, she is speaking specifically about the act of sex. I think it is important to note that we don’t focus on the act of sex itself enough. More often than not, people, women especially, equate the act of sex with emotional expression and that’s how we tend to frame it in our minds. When we speak of monogamy, we generally mean a lot more than just having sex with only one person. We interchange the actual definition with our presumptions and inevitably place significant focus on who our partners have sex with. I think men and women tend to perceive the act of sex with others a bit differently, or at least react to it differently, but I believe that the views we project on each other carry similar weight.
So what do we do? There is some value to assessing sexual compatibility before getting deeply invested in any relationship. Sexual compatibility, in my opinion, involves everything from the actual physical act of sex to our value system and personal beliefs about it. I don’t think we ask enough of these important questions of each other early on. On the flip side, I understand how early sexual interaction can sometimes cloud our views of each other and the relationships we build. If it’s great sex, we might equate that with it being a great relationship, for example. I think, at the very least, specific conversations about sexual values early on are important.
Why do we assume monogamy is what the people we’re into want? When was the last time you asked someone, flat out, “Are you a monogamist?”
Have you asked any ofthe following questions:
- “How do you imagine our sex life will be?”
- “Do you have intentions of sleeping with other people?”
- “How are sex and emotions connected for you?”
- “Are you willing to go above and beyond to keep me satisfied so that I am not actively interested in pursuing sex with others?”
- “How would you feel if I told you I wanted to sleep with someone else?"
- "What would that mean for our relationship if I were to have sex with others?”
I think we take these things for granted, but there are so many sexually dissatisfied people in relationships because they’re not asking these questions. We’re not digging deep enough when it comes to communicating about our possible sexual interaction. People are assuming that even when the “chips are down”, their partners are automatically going to remain sexually loyal. Why do we assume that? Did we make some kind of promise to do that? Well, did you? (Many wedding vows include a line about being "faithful", but what does that mean?)
At what point does that “If you stop having sex with me, how do you expect me to react and behave?” conversation happen? And why do we get mad at partners considering having sex with others when we aren’t engaging in it with our partners for any number of reasons? Should our partners just accept that we "don't feel like" having sex for months, without so much as considering exploring other options? Again, we tend to project our own assumptions and views on others without clearly communicating our own wants, needs, and expectations.
If you expect me to be monogamous, you need to fuck me well enough to keep me focused on only you. To me, monogamy is expressly about sexual behavior. My emotional connection to a partner is separate from that. My heart isn’t in my vagina… and I think more women need to embrace that way of thinking. I react and respond physically to sexy people. My mind thinks about other people in sexual ways. I often want to have sex with those people I’ve been thinking about in those sexual ways. My choosing to not have sex with them isn’t because I feel it makes some big statement about my emotional connection to you. When I commit to being monogamous, I am sending the message that I believe you can satisfy all of my sexual wants and needs. I am saying to my partner that I am not interested in having sex with anyone else because my partner leaves me wanting for nothing sexually. It doesn't have a damned thing to do with me proving relationship loyalty or emotional fidelity.
I haven’t yet experienced that in totality, this state of being monogamous, but I am open to it. When I was married, my ex-husband and I were open to having sex with other people, so it was a non-issue there. In fact, most of the men/women I’ve been involved with have been open to that and I’ve appreciated the honesty and openness. It doesn’t make me anti-monogamy though. I am open to having a partner convince me that I can and should commit to monogamy. And yes, my partner needs to convince me to commit to that. I can feel compelled by love to form an emotional bond with someone, and build a strong one with only that one person, and still not feel the need to be monogamous. This idea is “radical” only because we exist in a society that almost forces us to equate sex with emotions. This is not to say I’m against the connection as a principle. Not at all. I believe sex is probably the best way for two (or more) people to express to each other their truest emotions…. if that’s the goal. It isn’t always. Having sex with someone doesn’t always mean “I love you”.
Don’t take for granted that the person you’re building with has a monogamous sex life as a goal. Ask the questions, you might be surprised.
Are you generally monogamous? If yes, why? If not, why not?
Are your views of monogamy your own or have you gone with the flow of “normalcy”? Are they inspired by religion or something else?
How important is being monogamous to you when in relationships?
If you’re not in a committed relationship, do you still expect monogamy with your partners?
Let me know your thoughts!
Originally posted on FeministaJones.com