In Esther Perel’s “Mating in Captivity,” she discusses the “shadow of the third.”
That is the fact that even when in coupled relationships marked by commitment and love, we often (maybe always) find ourselves attracted to other people.
By acknowledging the third, keeping your communication transparent and striving to know and understand your partner and yourself, cheating may be less likely to happen (thus preserving the commitment to monogamy you both have made).
What are ways two people can be sexually monogamous, but widen the door for more honesty and trust around sexual desires, fantasies and exploration?
The foundation for this is solid trust in your partner and relationship as sexually monogamous and a healthy way of managing your jealousy and insecurities.
I also believe it is a privilege to learn new things about someone, not a right. Being in a romantic relationship doesn’t give you the right to know about your partner’s private sexual thoughts.
If they, and you, are able to share this information, you should take it as a sign of the health and resiliency of your relationship.
Having opposite sex/opposite gender friends.
For some people in monogamous relationships, this is already OK. For others, once a relationship hits some sort of seriousness indicator, it is not OK to have opposite sex/opposite gender friends.
I am referring to straight couples in this instance. This is more complicated, and perhaps less likely to come into play, when one or both people in the couple identify as LGBTQ.
However, giving your partner space to develop and maintain relationships with the people they enjoy spending time with will allow your partner to maintain their emotional health and give you the chance to see your partner in the company of people you might otherwise feel competitive with or jealous of.
It might be helpful to remember these relationships are friendships, and as long as you trust your partner in their sexual exclusivity and commitment to you, you don’t need to stress.
If there is any sexual tension present in you or your partner’s opposite sex/opposite gender friendships, direct that sexual tension back into your relationship!
Reminisce about the past.
It takes trust in a relationship for people to feel safe and comfortable talking about ex partners and what was fun and less fun about one’s past sex life.
Sharing these details can add spice to your current sex life and help you both learn new things about each other.
Watch porn and read erotica together.
This is a great way to learn about each other’s turn-ons, turn-offs and fantasies, while also adding sexual variety to your relationship.
Send your partner a new dirty story you found online, buy them a new erotica novel or send them a new porn clip you think they’d like.
“By keeping communication transparent,
cheating may be less likely to happen.”
Share fantasies and attractions.
If you trust your partner to not act on their fantasy of being with another person or other people, it can be extremely hot to use the fantasy as fodder for your sex life.
If it makes you jealous and uncomfortable, it is unlikely to turn you on, although you may feel jealous and turned on simultaneously! Use it as dirty talk to get your partner revved up.
Sharing whom you find attractive and whom you are attracted to also builds trust and comfort in your relationship.
It can also just be plain hot to see your partner get all flushed in the presence of the hot person at the gym or go home to your partner turned on from running into that cute person at the store.
Is flirting OK?
Some monogamous couples allow their partners to flirt with people their partners are attracted to, as long as it goes no further.
Flirting builds off sharing fantasies and attractions (that is, it builds off the recognition that you can be attracted to other people) and will simply add to the foundation of honesty and transparency within your relationship.
Visit strip clubs together.
Watching your partner get a lap dance may turn you on more than you think, and you both can learn more about your turn-ons and attractions.
It is also a low-pressure and low-risk environment, as strippers are there for work and not to replace you in your partner’s life. Remember, there are strip clubs that cater to different sexual orientations.
Visit a swingers club or party to watch and be watched.
Swingers clubs and parties aren’t just for actual swingers – many people go for the voyeur and exhibitionist experiences as well.
Simply having people watch you have sex, even if it’s through a window, can add serious heat to your sex life. Watching people have sex is like live porn and can also add more to your imagination to be used for dirty talk and fantasy later.
Photo source: brocode.com.