It is not quality vs. quantity, but instead quantity and quality.
∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼
John and Jackie Melfi are blogging friends of mine over at OpenLove101.com. They are also fellow Open-Swinger lifestylers that I not only respect for their sex-positive view on life and relationships, but also for their sound, understanding help they offer singles and couples curious and/or exploring the Open-Swinger lifestyle… or perhaps couples/singles doubting what they’ve been taught about love, intimacy, sex, and a truly fulfilled and wholesome life.
This week’s blog-post is “Ask John & Jackie: Pros and Cons of Open Relationships” and the email they chose to share is a really great example of a woman curious about the possibilities of a different lifestyle. A lifestyle of endless riddles-with-rewards and strong, lifelong friendships. Jackie’s response to her is superb and reflects her many years of wisdom with her husband John and living the lifestyle for years. What is just as intriguing is the woman’s list of pros and cons. From the blog-post…
Dear John & Jackie,
Hi! I’m enjoying your videos so far. I wanted to share my story and ask some questions about the swinger lifestyle.
I was raised as a Mormon, which is a fundamentalist cult-like strict faith. It is sexually shaming and suppressing unless you are married, and even then, there isn’t much openness and experimentation emphasized. I realized the church was a hoax and left, but it took me until I was 28 (I left less than a year ago).
I am now in a relationship of about 6 months. He is my first sexual partner. My viewpoints on all kinds of things have evolved radically since I left the church, and continue to. Some of those things had already evolved for me, such as — I saw absolutely nothing wrong with gay marriage, which was prohibited and discouraged in the church. Obviously I see nothing wrong with sex outside of marriage I’ve surprised myself with how much I’ve opened my mind.
One thing that I’ve started thinking about more, which I would never have considered previously, is threesomes and open relationships. We have joked about it, but I kind of started thinking about it more seriously and doing a lot of research. He has always been curious about trying an open relationship so that he could know whether he even liked it or not before writing it off, but none of his girlfriends would have been into it. I seem to be okay “thinking about it” but I’m afraid that I’m just fooling myself, and that it would not go well, or it would ruin my relationship if I tried it out. Here are my fears and my pro-cons. Perhaps you can offer some insight, but I am coming from a very different lifestyle than most people who become swingers. I’m at the VERY earliest stages of thinking about it.
- I can try more sexual partners (since I’ve only had ONE), which will bring me more experience and pleasure, and teach me more techniques to please my partner
- Having more partners wouldn’t mean I have to end my relationship
- I firmly believe in freeing your partner as much as possible to be themselves and express/fulfill themselves. I’d never considered it on a sexual level until now, but I’ve thought more and more about it.
- I may feel less jealousy or suspicion, because we would communicate openly and he wouldn’t feel a need to sneak around behind my back.
- I wouldn’t worry about my partner cheating (which currently is a fear! 😉 )
- I may feel more love and acceptance of all people (especially women)
- My partner may be more satisfied and content in life
- I will be empowered as a woman
- I will more fully overcome my upbringing of shaming and suppression. Instead, it will be about total authenticity and embracing my beautiful sensuality. I have already had to heal from that and it’s a work-in-progress.
- If I get married, we will never reach that breaking point where we’re struggling and feel the need to get out and date because we’re sick of each other. Instead, we’ll have been proactive about that.
- It may increase the level of our trust and communication
- For both of us — that magic of first meeting someone and feeling the chemistry never has to fully disappear. We’ll always have a craving for that and now we could have it forever.
- I would never need to look on jealously at someone who had a more freedom-based relationship or as myself if I should have experimented with it.
- I like talking to him about his past relationships. It helps me digest them and not see them as a threat.
- I don’t know how to date. I’ve never dated outside my church until now, and certainly never been intimate with someone I wasn’t dating.
- I didn’t even really like dating before. It was tiring and painful. Of course, for me, it was more about looking for a life partner instead of having fun; this type of dating might be more fun!
- I am an introvert, and my partner is much more gregarious. He would have a much easier time finding dates, and I would be more likely to be reading a book at home feeling depressed that he’s not around. I know it’s not a competition, but I would feel like he was the only one benefitting if I couldn’t get dates. I find it very easy to ignore people in public, but he loves looking at women, engaging with people, etc.
- No idea how the logistics work. Like… is our house off boundaries? Do we rent hotel rooms? Their place only? How do you find people to date?
- He might fall in love with someone else.
- I might fall in love with someone else.
- I will continue to age, and he will date younger and younger women, constantly comparing me. I feel like the double standard would just be even more emphasized in an open relationship. Am I wrong?
- I am pretty open minded but do feel some jealousy when my BF flirts with/checks out other women when I’m present. He doesn’t do it intentionally; I can just tell when he’s attracted to someone else and is more engaging with them. I worry that my jealousy would eat me alive!
- I’m afraid at failing (being a bad lover, not being able to come etc — this is a legitimate concern because I just barely became sexually active! As I’m healing, I can be hard to please and vulnerable)
- Our relationship might fail
- It may make me feel like I’m not satisfying him
- I am already going through so many changes. This might shock my system.
- I like knowing that my partner and I have no STIs. Adding more and more partners to the mix seems like tempting fate.
- My entire LARGE family is married and monogamous and quite conservative. None of them watch porn (or if they do, it’s underground and considered “sinful”), none of them would ever consider cheating or they’d get kicked out of the church, and they would be extremely judgmental to learn of that lifestyle. It would require a lot of either hiding, or facing constant judgment and shaming. I’ve already dealt with so much of that just from leaving the church. They are not embracing of my lifestyle even as is.
- It’s hard for me to fathom bringing other people into such an intimate part of our lives. Sure, I can fantasize about a threesome, but I feel like I rely on the privacy to be comfortable and trusting in our sexual encounters.
- We might give it a shot, and one of us may decide to live that way the rest of our lives, and the other won’t like it, which will tear us apart. If we’d never tried it, maybe we could have prevented that.
- Our relationship is a cradle for my vulnerability. Will that go away?
- Even though I enjoy my untethered life after the church, there are still little things that resonate with me, since it was my entire world view for my whole life. The sacredness and specialness of marriage between two committed partners still resonates with me. Maybe I need to give it a shot, but it just feels a little wrong for me. The same way I can appreciate homosexual relationships but don’t have a desire to engage in one. How do you take the first step?
Anyway I’ll keep reading your posts and watching your videos and checking out other articles online. I am certainly curious about this lifestyle, but I’ve seen some people hurt by it before, and I’m coming from a very different background. I’m not sure it’s for me. I apologize for the LONG email but hopefully it will be a new and interesting perspective for you, and maybe you’ll have some insights for me. Thanks, and cheers to great, honest, authentic relationships! Xoxo
Jackie’s reply is simply fantastic, but probably more importantly is her encouraging approach while also being empathetically understanding — Jackie too is from a deeply religious background. I encourage you all to go and read her entire reply here.
This was one of my favorite parts in her response:
I have had my share of people in the lifestyle ask me about the fear of John falling in love with someone else. My standard response is, “I don’t have any control over him falling in love regardless.” Look half the marriages in the U.S. end in divorce and this is the monogamous standard! Keeping ourselves or our partner in cages, does not protect us from a relationship ending. this is why I am purposeful in my thoughts. I don’t spend my days worrying about what I might lose, instead I focus on what I DO have. The beauty in what I have right this moment with John. This loving with an open hand and heart, I have found (at least in this relationship) to work almost like an oxymoron. The more open my attitude about our relationship, the closer the relationship seems to become. The funny thing is though, that this closeness isn’t on purpose. I’m not giving freedom in an attempt to keep John, nor is John doing it to keep me. We have simply come to see that this is a natural response to this kind of love…a bonus!
“Not giving freedom in an attempt to keep John, nor is John doing it to keep me.” When I read this sentence I imagined two symbolic images. The first image was a ship like the one above in the header, but not at sea. It was tethered tightly to its pier, never or rarely to become what it was meant to be. The second image was a birdcage without a door. There was no need for a door. The bird’s sheer beauty was found in its flight as well as its rest.
How will the ship and its crew know and learn what they are capable of finding, of handling if they do not leave port or journey out of the harbor and out of their home sea? How can a Bird of Paradise be fully appreciated (loved) if it is kept behind a locked door or even a door which is rarely opened?
Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote a very popular poem most of us are familiar with, but I want to add my own personal touch at the end:
I hold it true, whate’er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
‘Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all,
Or the most.
I am certainly not advocating reckless abandon. We humans are not one of the planet’s most intelligent creatures for nothing. Trials and errors have taught us plenty to keep moving forward even after setbacks. Successes are lifetime memories, failures are merely opportunities. Do not let fear stifle what awaits us all. Have courage to fulfill your curiosities and experiences beyond your imaginations. Try. Keep learning how to fail better each time. Eventually you’ll become an expert at exactly what you were always meant to be! The more the better.
Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always
This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.