Happy Anniversary of Opening Up to K & J! We first read Sex at Dawn last March, and our first foray into nonmonogamy was April 1, 2012, as we ventured to a sex club. Last spring changed our lives.
Since opening up, we have emailed with dozens and dozens of couples, had dinner with around 40 couples and individuals, and met many more at our sex club. Meeting so many people has allowed us to have several ah-ha moments, grow as individuals, and grow as a couple. The lessons we have learned have been invaluable as we have journeyed through our first year together, and we have needed for one reason or another to go through each experience and learn each lesson. Here is a collection of some our thoughts and feelings from the various people we have met in the past year. Some are silly and light-hearted, while others are serious. A lot of them seem completely obvious now, but I guess we needed to meet people and talk with each other before having them cemented in our brains:
- It is probably better for kids to have more responsible and caring adults in their life than less
- If we ever decide to have kids, it would be amazing to have a solid and trusting relationship with another couple or individual that would want to co-parent
- K is definitely into women!
- Four-way chemistry is rare and hard to find
- The bisexuality spectrum is wide and variable
- Sexual attraction to someone can wax and wane, and there might not be a good explanation for it
- Having really close friends is just as satisfying as having other sexual partners
- There is infinite variety in sexual desire and fantasy
- It does seem possible for two couples with four-way chemistry to find each other
- It can be difficult for us to engage with really shy people- we are both a bit more extroverted than we thought!
- Casual sex can totally work, when there is good chemistry, a fun attitude, and respect
- Age isn’t that important to us if chemistry is there
- Don’t let anyone else’s ideas of sex, sexuality, and the expression of it control your own sexual desires
- Chemistry and attraction can build over time
- Narrow views of sex can make a sexual experience boring and unsatisfying
- Sex with an older person is not like having sex with your parent
- Older people are not necessarily super experienced and good at sex
- It works best for us when a couple has a whole range of activities open for discussion from group to separate
- There are other women out there who do have a sex-positive attitude, and who can make sex enjoyable and low pressure
- Don’t force the feeling of chemistry or attraction
- We never want to live in a super remote area because expressing our open relationship would be so difficult
- We actually can enjoy a camming relationship with a hot and sweet couple (we never thought we would enjoy or get into camming)
- Don’t waste time with people who approach sex as one thing (such as penis-in-vagina)
- If we are going to enjoy a purely sexual relationship with another couple or person, there needs to be a sex positive attitude; otherwise it won’t be a fulfilling experience
- Casual encounters can be enjoyable and fun, even without ever talking or seeing the other people again
- Lots of different people approach their open relationship very differently
- There are a ton of ways people think about and fulfill their ideas of what an open relationship is
- We gain so much satisfaction from simply meeting people who do approach and negotiate their open relationship differently from us and discussing our similarities and differences
- From K: Strip clubs are completely fun and awesome when you realize you are looking at hot naked women
- From J: Strip clubs are too loud and lap dances are boring
- Some people care that we are not married, and this surprises us and makes us a bit uncomfortable
- We are so glad that we decided to open up our relationship not as a result of cheating or moving away from each other, but as a result of wanting to grow our relationship and grow together; it seems so much more difficult to negotiate an open relationship when there is a huge time and geographic difference
- There is unfortunately a vocal minority of size queens- we find this attitude superficial and dumb
- You never really know when you will discover a new fantasy, whether that is rope play, domination and submission, exhibitionism, etc.
- Older people can be so hot, and the hot older people that we have met are so inspiring because they prioritize their physical health, sexual desires, and physical and emotional connections
- We both love flirting and seeing each other happy
- We have so much fun around happy and energetic people, even if we don’t want to have sex with them
- We do not connect very well to people who drink to get drunk
- We do not connect well to people who mix heavy drinking with sex
- Some people are just horny and will try to waste our time with inconsistent emails or dirty text messages without actually wanting to meet up; neither of us is particularly interested in relationships like this
The books we have read have been absolutely crucial in giving us the language to think about and articulate our own thoughts, feelings, desires, and fears in opening up. These include: Sex at Dawn, The Ethical Slut, Opening Up, Love in Abundance, Open, A Billion Wicked Thoughts, Sexual Intelligence, The Sex Diaries Project, The Erotic Mind, Mating in Captivity, Bonk, Romantic Jealousy, The Threesome Handbook, The Commitment, and A Straight Girl’s Guide to Sleeping With Chicks. J has also avidly kept up with several podcasts including: Dan Savage’s Lovecast, Life on the Swingset, Pedestrian Polyamory, and Sex Nerd Sandra.
Since opening up, our relationship boundaries and parameters have changed. At first, we started in the swinging scene, only playing with other people while we were together in the same room. After a few months, we opened up our boundaries to playing with others separately. A month or so after that, we opened up our boundaries to dating and playing separately. Since the fall, our boundaries have settled; we basically have many different things open as options, given some basic ground rules. These include keeping each other apprised of our feelings and attractions to other people and keeping each other updated with how a particular relationship is unfolding. We also want the chance at some point of meeting any other secondary partners to establish our own level of trust and respect with the secondary partner of our primary partner.
Learning how to communicate well has been essential, and we definitely are not perfect at it. Finding an open relationship positive counselor has been essential in giving us the resources to communicate more clearly and effectively with each other. Meta communication (communicating about what you want to communicate about; refer to our post on Kathy Labriola’s Love in Abundance) has been amazing in giving us the room to communicate well with each other. Miscommunication, lack of information, and other communication mishaps have shaped our path as well, and we continue to strive to do better than last time.
We have come out to several long-time friends and select family members. We are so grateful for the support and love that we have received, and hope to continue living authentically as the months and years pass.
We have had a handful of pretty big fights. We have had several other really uncomfortable and difficult conversations. We have also had countless moments and experiences of pure joy, fun, excitement, and growth. We feel more connection to one another, are more attracted to each other, have more and better sex, and feel much more grounded in our plans to continue building a long-term relationship together. We love everyone we have met and connected with, whether is was through email, dinner, a kiss, a play session, or flirting. Everyone we have met has taught us something special and important, and we wouldn’t be the same without them! We can’t wait to see where our relationship takes us in the next year and beyond, and continually expand room in our lives and hearts for new experiences and partners.