8 Things People Who’ve Been In Open Marriages Wish You Understood

Open marriages and other types of “monogam-ish” relationships are still considered taboo by many. But for couples with a strong foundation built on love, trust and communication and a mutual desire to open the marriage, it can be a positive experience. 

Below, men and women who have been part of an open marriage clear up some of the widely held assumptions that are just plain wrong. 

MYTH: They don’t take their marriage seriously. 

“[People think] that we are not committed, that we are cavalier about our relationship or marriage. This could not be further from the truth! I am 100 percent committed and loyal to my husband. That is why I do consensual non-monogamy ― in the long term I see that it enhances our connection.” ― Gracie X, author of Wide Open

We both take our relationship and marriage very serious.  We have been married for nearly 20 years and we our intimate twice a day and haven’t had any outside experiences in nearly 2 years.  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you will.  And just because you do, doesn’t mean you don’t.

MYTH: The relationship must be on the rocks. 

“There’s a misconception that it must mean there’s something wrong with your relationship or that you no longer love each other. All it really means is that you’re both very horny and want some variety. It can get monotonous eating your same favorite meal night after night, year after year. This way, you relearn to appreciate that meal even more.”  ― Richie Cohen of the married comedy duo Dick and Duane

Our entire blog is proof that this entire idea is a myth.

MYTH: The conversation about opening the marriage is always initiated by the husband. 

“Women have sex drives just like men. And jealousy is not a female prerogative. Open relationships have nothing to do with gender and everything to do with relationship style. Both men and women can desire non-monogamy, and that desire can change throughout one’s life. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself a serial monogamist one day and an open relationship proponent the next.” ― Jenny Block, excerpted from “The 9 Biggest Myths About Open Marriage” 

The conversation about an open marriage began with us talking about our sexuality.  I am bisexual and felt like exploring those feelings while with my husband.  Although we have memoirs about our entire experiences with other women, I feel it was mutual communication that got us into an open marriage where we share the same women.

MYTH: They’re not considerate of their partner’s feelings. 

“Being open or polyamorous requires being incredibly considerate and conscientious with regards to the feelings and well-being of everyone around you. In my experience, the most adept and successful polyamorous people are ones who live by the calendar and hash out dates relatively far in advance and with the prior knowledge and enthusiastic consent of their primary partners.” ― writer Grant Stoddard 

This is just silly.  

MYTH: Only selfish and immature people take part in open relationships.

“I think a huge misconception is that if you’re doing non-monogamy, you must be emotionally immature and not really in love. Non-monogamous couples who are mutually interested in this relationship model ― starting from a strong foundation and committed to one another as their primary relationship ― truly do enjoy the best of both worlds that many monogamous people secretly fantasize about: the security and love of marriage and the adventure and eroticism of variety. There are more couples making this work than most people believe. I failed at it, but there are many people succeeding.” ― Robin Rinaldi, editor of the online magazine Together 

A lot of couples that openly enjoy the experience of playing with other woman together, no strings attached, and openly use the 3rd person as a living sex doll. As long as all 3 people are totally okay with this idea, there is nothing selfish about it.  I suppose the couple is being selfish towards the 3rd person’s feelings, but usually the 3rd person is in the situation because they want to be used by a couple.  

MYTH: They’re just a bunch of wild sex addicts. 

“Not everyone in an open marriage is some kind of sex-addicted freak show. Between household duties, raising children and having a meaningful relationship with my husband, I do not have a lot of time to dedicate to having sex with other people, even if I wanted to. I do not have sex with every man I meet. I do not want to steal your husband. I do not even want to have sex with your husband. I do not have sex at the grocery store or soccer practice or bring strange men into our home.” ― Gwen & Lark for YourTango, excerpted from I’m In An Open Marriage And You Would Never Know It” 

We personally haven’t actively pursued any partner in 2 years, but our intimate with each other twice a day.  This is called our circle and we have been practicing the circle for about 4 or 5 years.  We do leave the door open for partners, but we are intimate so much, a 3rd person is simply a tool we use to get our own rocks off together.  

MYTH: All people in open marriages are cut from the same cloth.

“The biggest misconception is that non-monogamous people are of a certain stripe and conduct their relationships in a certain way. As Lux Alptraum wrote in an article published just recently, ‘It’s important to recognize that ‘non-monogamy’ isn’t one specific, discrete thing. In the same way that ‘non-Christians’ practice a wide and varied array of religions, people who eschew monogamy do so in a number of different ways.” ― writer Grant Stoddard 

Silly.  All fingerprints are the same too.

MYTH: Once you open a relationship, it stays open.

“You can be open for any part of a relationship. It may be something you want after you have been with someone for a long time. Or you may find that after being open for a long time you find yourself craving monogamy again. Just be warned that the transition from closed to open and open to closed is not always easy, and both partners have to be on board at the same time, which can be tricky. Again, talking all along the way is the only way to make this work. (In case you have not noticed, being in a successful open relationship requires a lot of talking.)” ― Jenny Block, excerpted from “The 9 Biggest Myths About Open Marriage” 

Since we have not had a 3rd woman in our room in almost 2 years, I’d say this is totally a myth.  I don’t see why we would close the door to a better lifestyle, but I suppose we could if we communicated and both thought it was best for our marriage.  We no longer believe in the idea of monogamy and feel it’s how a lot of marriages fail.

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From A Clean Shaven Man To A Manly Man

Although I don’t think there is anything wrong with a man having, or not having body hair, I do think that it’s a matter of preference. For what makes him comfortable, and for what she is attracted to. For a long time, I associated body hair on a man with being “clean and hygienic.” I felt a clean shaven body was something some men decided to do to show a possible mate that they take care of themselves.  Clean smelling, smooth shaven. Feeling a smooth body, stomach, crotch, balls, and ass meant a man took the time to groom himself.  After all, we’re humans, not apes, which meant men no longer needed body hair to keep themselves warm or to have their hair stand on end to make them a bigger to threat to their enemies. Evolutionary speaking, body hair just seems unnecessary in modern times.

I didn’t always feel this way.  When I first met Ryan I didn’t care about body hair one way or the other.  I met Ryan when I was young and other than on television or on the beach, I hadn’t seen a man’s body enough to create a personal preference.  I just know I wanted one. I do remember the first time Ryan and I snuck into my room while my parents were at work and had sex.  Later, after he left, I found his body hairs on my sheets. Instead of being grossed out, I remember picking them up and saving them in a container.  Although this was over 20 years ago, I do feel this says something about my perception of body hair before I was married.  Not only did I like body hair, I thought it was sexy and saved it as a memento to knowing he was in my bed with me.  

Flash forward a few years.  Unlike first meeting a man and not caring if he has hair on his body or not, marriage creates a new monster.  You mean I can turn my man into a Ken doll and he will go along with it?  I can make his penis look like a dildo, clean shaven, and not deal with all the body hair?  Well shoot, let me go buy him some extra razors then!

That isn’t the whole truth, but it’s partially correct.  In our relationship, Ryan was kind of on the frontier of shaving.  I think the first thing he ever shaved / trimmed was his ass hair.  He has always been extremely picky about this area of his body and has kept it groomed because he didn’t feel it was clean after using the bathroom.  He would later shave it totally clean and even take showers after using the restroom (which he still does).  He is very ANAL about his anus.   

 

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