Try Non-Monogamy

I’m Alexander Cheves, a writer, author, and sex educator. My nickname is Beastly. I give adult advice on this blog — no question is off-limits. To ask me something, email or send a message via the Ask Beastly contact form.

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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!

Hi friend,

I love total whores and am happy to help, but I’m not sure I can. There are two kinds of people in the world: sated and furious. My sister is sated. She saves money, cooks at home, and has that remarkable thing called contentment. She’s not constantly chasing more. I think she’s probably happier than I am. 

I’m furious. I tear through life, wanting everything, trying everything, constantly dissatisfied. Like other furious people, I battle depression and anxiety. Sometimes I envy people like my sister, but when I look at my heroes, the ones whose triumphs and failures I connect with, I see they’re like me — furious.

This is maybe a ridiculous and unfair grouping, but stay with me for a bit. Say you’re a sated guy and this guy you like is furious. That doesn’t mean it can’t work out. But furious people are difficult and elusive and sated people are stable and dependable. It’ll require work. I’m non-monogamous for a reason; I cheated on everyone I dated before I accepted that I could never be with one person only. Most of my boyfriends of the past were sated. Non-monogamy works for me only because it takes away restrictions and gives me permission to do what I would do anyway — cheat. Furious people are difficult and demand a lot.

But here’s the kicker. My current boyfriend, with whom I have a totally open relationship, is sated. He’s stable, even-keeled, good with money, good with the rigor and grind of life as an adult. I’ve never really grown up, and the last thing I want is a 9-5 job. But we both enjoy non-monogamy. Our pillar, so to speak, is our agreement on what kind of relationship we want to have. So your relationship can work. But you both have to agree on what kind of relationship you’re going to do — monogamous or non-monogamous — for that to happen.

If you’re not comfortable with non-monogamy, I would generally advise you not to try it, because it probably won’t work. You two have different baselines for relationship happiness. But if you still want to go for it, here’s what I’ll offer. To work yourself into a non-monogamous perspective, let’s try a mental exercise. You said you think you could date someone monogamously who isn’t into fisting. You think you could, but it would be hard, right? I don’t know what characteristics you love about this guy, but what if he (or someone else you meet down the line) checks every single box for you except a very special box — the box for your favorite fetish, fisting? What if he had everything you need except fisting? 

By your own account, you’d probably decide that you can live without fisting. Fisting is great, but it can be abandoned for someone you love, right? That’s what you think now. That’s what I thought at the beginning of many past monogamous relationships. And you might be able to live without fisting for a little bit. Maybe even years. But if you love fisting as much as I do, the urge will creep back in with a hunger, and that’s when you’ll have to decide which one you like more: fisting or him. 

Monogamous couples make choices and sacrifices like this all the time, and what’s so frustrating and sad is that they don’t have to. I don’t hold any admiration for people who deny their true selves for love. 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 can. But you’re simply not going to turn someone (your boyfriend) into something he’s not. So, your only option — the best option — is to attempt a monogamish relationship, one that makes certain allowances for playing with others.

This is the joy of non-monogamy: you don’t have to force one person to satisfy all your needs. Because nobody ever will. The expectation that one partner will satisfy everything someone needs sexually is an absurd, toxic, and ultimately defeating myth of love. No one can be everything you want. (And if you do find someone who, on paper, appears to be everything you want, I advise you to flee immediately, because nothing is worse than getting everything you think you want; you need someone who challenges you.)

Think about it: satisfying all your needs is a ridiculous amount of pressure to put on one person. Yet that is exactly what we demand of monogamous partners, which in turn makes them lie and conceal and distort themselves to continually appear like what their partners want them to be. The freedom of non-monogamy is that it allows you to love people exactly as they are, and be exactly who you are and still be with them.

What if you re-wrote your “good enough” picture into one in which you can get all your sexual needs met? What if your baseline for happiness was total satisfaction? 

This particular guy you’re into may actually be into fisting, so you may not feel pressured to make the choice described in the above scenario. But boredom and other discontentments will come. That is my solemn promise: you will get bored and dissatisfied. Sometimes you may just want someone else because they’re someone else. Everyone gets bored. That doesn’t mean love has stopped  — it just means you need something different for an hour, a night, a weekend.

I won’t say non-monogamy is easy, though I do find it easier than the monogamous alternative. But again, I’m furious. Sated guys may struggle with it more. There are no special tricks to doing it successfully, but the communication and trust it requires in order to work are conducive for a great relationships. I’d be lying if I said my insecurities never bubble 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 the golden rule, no matter what kind of relationship you have. If you’re willing to be a little furious, give it a shot. 

Love, Beastly


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