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‘We Choose Each Other Over and Over Because We Want to’: Readers Share Their Open-Marriage Stories

on Sunday, 28 May 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

NY Times


Last week, The Times Magazine published a challenging and intriguing article by Susan Dominus that explored marriages that were no longer monogamous, with both spouses’ agreement. For nearly a year, Dominus reported on couples engaged in consensual nonmonogamy (what some involved call polyamory), and returned with a collection of fascinating stories about jealousy, love, desire and trust, all within the loose confines of an open relationship.


In many ways, Dominus assumed the position of the average New York Times reader and approached the topic with skeptical curiosity: “The more I spoke to people in open relationships,” she wrote, “the more I wanted to know how they crossed a line into territory that seemed so thorny to their peers.” Many readers found the concept of an open marriage totally repellent and unrealistic. “I am pretty open, sexually speaking,” wrote one commenter who gave only his first name, David. “But this feels like a long, elaborate case to normalize relationship behavior that rings false to me.”


For a number of readers, however, the stories in Dominus’s article were familiar and true because they had lived those experiences as well. We asked people to share their stories of engaging in open marriages and relationships and received more than 300 submissions. A select group of their responses are below. They were edited for length and clarity.


‘We gradually opened our relationship. This was not always an easy process.’


Several readers shared how they carefully and deliberately opened their relationships. Despite the challenges of an open marriage, the couples felt strengthened by the decision to engage in outside relationships.


Continue reading the main story





Is an Open Marriage a Happier Marriage? MAY 11, 2017



Continue reading the main story


My boyfriend and I have been together for almost five years. We’ve seen each other through some significant health scares, career changes and cross-country moves. Over the course of that time, we were excellent partners and cared for one another immensely, but after a little over a year of being together, our sex life fizzled. It was becoming such an issue that both of us considered ending things, but we didn’t bring it up because our partnership in all other facets of life was so strong.


About two years ago, we were approached by a friend interested in sharing a night with both of us, and we went for it. That led us down a path of actual conversation about the matter, how exciting that night had been for both of us and how unhappy both of us were with the state of our sexual relationship. We gradually opened our relationship.


This was not always an easy process. For a while it meant simply including other people in our shared sexual lives, but it has expanded into the ability for each of us to go do things independently as well. We also have flexibility in the relationship. There are times when one or both of us needs to feel completely supported, and during those times we will close the relationship because we are each other’s most important person and we recognize that there are times when being open doesn’t make sense.


The most important thing this has done for us is remind us that we shouldn’t take each other for granted. Instead, we choose each other over and over because we want to, not because we are simply on autopilot. Crystal A.


My wife and I are 80 and have had an open marriage for 40 years. It started when I had a “secret” relationship and has evolved over the years. I told my wife about a later relationship and suggested that we have an open marriage, never imagining that she would agree. But she did.


I have had one-night stands and relationships that lasted for years. She had several relationships that were very satisfying. It hasn’t all been a bed of roses, though. Our agreement is to tell the other when we are involved with someone, but to not share details.


There have been jealousies, hurt feelings and times when one of us was in a relationship and the other was not. We told our children when they reached college age and they strongly disapproved. Still, I consider the decision to have an open marriage one of the best we have ever made. Watson B.


‘We learned to be more open with each other about our sexual needs … something that our Christian background had always stifled.’


A number of readers in open marriages came from religious backgrounds and had married young. As a result, they felt they had not been free to experiment sexually, and this feeling of deprivation led them to open their marriages.


My husband and I met when we were 17 and were both raised in strict evangelical homes. I had always known I was a little boy crazy. My childhood diaries were filled with details of all the many boys I’d had crushes on. While I was deeply in love with the man soon to be my husband, I never stopped feeling attraction to others. We married at 21 and then slowly left the church.


I felt a part of my life had been stolen — the part where you explore your own sexuality with multiple people in your early 20s. My husband also knew he was bisexual, and that was something he had never followed through on. A few years into our marriage, we decided to open up to casual experimentation: flings, one-night stands, no emotional attachments.


This first stage was a dizzying sexual adventure with many ups and downs, and we felt our primary connection was overwhelmingly strengthened by these other encounters. We learned to be more open with each other about our sexual needs, desires and kinks — something that our Christian background had always stifled within us.


While there have been problems, of course, and it is true that polyamorous lifestyles can sometimes require an exhausting degree of processing and communication, overall I feel like a more self-actualized and fulfilled person through the whole process, with so much love in my life. I guess in some ways I have the evangelical church to thank for all this. Josie J. ...

Are Women More Into Polyamory Than Men?

on Sunday, 28 May 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates


by Aimée Lutkin

Romance, and negotiating the boundaries of monogamous relationships, are not new subjects. Humankind has been figuring out the rules about who gets to be with who and when for eons, but modern conversations about “staying faithful” have too long adhered to the notion that men want sex, and women don’t.


In a very long and moving piece for the New York Times, writer Susan Dominus interviewed dozens of non-monogomous or “monogomish” couples currently in open marriages to see what additional people in their relationship brought to their life, both good and bad. Amongst the reflective interviews, mostly centered on a couple identified as Daniel and Elizabeth, Dominus explores why jealousy as a barrier to a happier sex and love life is so hard to break down.


“Jealousy may be part of human nature, but social constructs amplify its power, with devastating costs,” she writes.


One of the interesting things Dominus began to note in her interviews was that the majority of the heterosexual couples opened up their relationships at the instigation of the women, including Daniel and Elizabeth. Of the 25 couples, only 6 of them were opened up at the man’s suggestion, and even in cases where it was mutual, the woman were generally more sexually active outside the relationship.


Dominus isn’t sure if this is explained by women generally being more comfortable talking about the state of their relationships than men, but she mentions how evolutionary biology has long centered a man’s need to spread his seed as the driving force behind the mating impulse. Obviously, science has its biases:


It took decades for sex researchers to consider the possibility that women’s fabled low libido might be a symptom of monogamy. An entire scientific field, well chronicled by Daniel Bergner (a contributing writer for the magazine) in his book “What Women Want,” has evolved to try to understand the near-total diminishment of lust for their partners that so many women in long-term monogamous relationships feel. One 2002 study found that men and women in committed relationships shared equal desire at the onset of their relationships, although for women, that desire dropped precipitously between one and four years into the relationship; for men, the desire remained high throughout that period. In his book, Bergner cites research suggesting that women desire novelty as much as men. The recent attempts to formulate medication to address waning sexual interest has been predicated on the assumption that one possible response — indulging an interest in newer partners — would never be practical and could be destabilizing.

So women are as horny as men, and may desire variety at an even higher level to be truly excited about sex, but societal structures discourage women for reaching for what they want. In an open (but committed) relationship, many women are able to find that mix of stability and excitement they crave. It should be noted, however, that that need for stability is just as likely a construct taught to women as the myth of a low sex drive is.


At any rate, everyone Dominus spoke with seemed to say that their approach to non-monogamy had brought sexual energy back into their relationships with their primary partners, and also opened up channels of communication they’d never been able to tap into before. ...

Say Yes to the Dress Sneak Peek: Inside Kleinfeld's First Polygamous Bridal Fitting

on Sunday, 28 May 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

The bride — and her groom’s wife — wore white.




On Saturday’s Say Yes to the Dress, Kleinfeld bridal salon welcomes its a first polygamous throuple: Jennifer, her fiancé Peter and Peter’s wife Ellen.


In an exclusive clip from the episode, Jennifer explains to consultant Debbie Asprea how she became ready to say “I do” to a man who’d already walked down the aisle.


After 10 years of marriage, “Ellen had some serious health issues which put a strain on their marriage,” Jennifer says.



Ellen reveals that a bout with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder after the birth of her daughter left her repulsed by touch, which she felt was “unfair” to Peter.


He shares, “I never wanted to embarrass Ellen. and I never wanted people that don’t understand all of the details of our life, to know that I was lonely.”


Peter continues, “This isn’t really religious-based. We were all Catholic, [this is] clearly pretty far from the religion in which we were raised.”


Says Ellen, “This was something that I kind of pushed. I wanted to be sure that he was okay.” ...

Is an Open Marriage a Happier Marriage?

on Sunday, 28 May 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

What the experiences of nonmonogamous couples can tell us about jealousy, love, desire and trust.

NY Times


When Daniel and Elizabeth married in 1993, they found it was easy enough to choose a ring for her, but there were far fewer choices for him. Daniel, then a 27-year-old who worked in information technology, decided to design one himself, requesting that tiny stones be placed in a gold band, like planets orbiting in a solar system. He was happy with the ring, and what it represented, until it became obvious after the wedding that he was allergic to the nickel that was mixed in with the gold in the band. As if in revolt, his finger grew red and raw, beneath the circle of metal. He started to think of the ring as if it were radioactive, an object burning holes in his flesh. A month into the marriage, he took it off and never got around to replacing it.


He and Elizabeth might not tell the story of that ring, with all its obvious metaphorical meaning, as readily as they do if Daniel were, in fact, ambivalent about marriage, so resentful of its boundaries that he found its most potent symbol too toxic to bear. But Daniel is a softhearted bear of a man, affectionate and affection-seeking, someone who entered marriage expecting, if not everlasting passion, at least an enduring physical connection. He was relieved to find, as the years passed, that he still loved his wife — they kissed hello each time they reunited, they made each other laugh and he was someone inclined to appreciate what he had. They had, by all appearances, a happy marriage.


But as with any happy marriage, there were frustrations. Daniel liked sex, and not long after they were married, it became clear that Elizabeth’s interest in it had cooled. She thought hers was the normal response: She was raised by strict Catholics, she would tell Daniel, as if that explained it, and she never saw her own parents hold hands, much less kiss. It was not as if she and Daniel never had sex, but when they did, Daniel often felt lonely in his desire for something more — not necessarily exotic sex but sex in which both partners cared about it, and cared about each other, with one of those interests fueling the other.


Elizabeth, baffled by Daniel’s disappointment, wondered: How great does sex have to be for a person to be happy? Daniel wondered: Don’t I have the right to care this much about sex, about intimacy? Occasionally, when he decided the answer was yes, and he felt some vital part of himself dwindling, Daniel would think about a radical possibility: opening up their marriage to other relationships. He would poke around on the internet and read about other couples’ arrangements. It was both an outlandish idea and, to him, a totally rational one. He eventually even wrote about it in 2009 for a friend who had a blog about sexuality. “As our culture becomes more accepting of choices outside the norm, nonmonogamy will expand as an acceptable choice, and the world will have to change as a result,” he predicted.



He was in his late 30s when he decided to broach the subject with Elizabeth gingerly: Do you ever miss that energy you feel when you’re in love with someone for the first time? They had two children, and he pointed out that having the second did not detract from how much they loved the first one. “Love is additive,” he told her. “It is not finite.” He was not surprised when Elizabeth rejected the idea; he had mostly raised it as a way of communicating the urgency of his needs. Elizabeth did not resent him for bringing it up, but felt stuck: She was not even sure what, exactly, he wanted from her, or how she could give it.



And so they continued on, volunteering at church, celebrating anniversaries, occasionally trying couples therapy and car-pooling their growing son and daughter; and they felt gratitude for those children and fondness for each other alongside bouts of stomach-gnawing dissatisfaction; Elizabeth picked up some work in project management she could do from home, and Daniel commuted, and they quibbled over whether it was time to mow the lawn. And then, one day in August 2013, when she was 44 and Daniel was 47, Elizabeth learned she had Parkinson’s disease.


Elizabeth was still youthful, a student of yoga, a former dance-fitness instructor, her hair long and swingy. But there was a current sending a vibration through her left hand, as if her body was both announcing itself and telegraphing a message about its future. Exercise — which the doctor recommended, to slow the onset — became a mission, an act of defiance and a source of physical pleasure. She joined a hiking group, fighting off fear with new friends, new physicality. She wanted “to do life,” as she put it, and she wanted Daniel to do life with her. But after long weeks of work, Daniel was tired on weekends, maybe even more than usual, as he tried to come to terms with his wife’s diagnosis.


One seismic shift in a marriage often drives another. In the fall of 2015, Elizabeth met a man at a Parkinson’s fund-raiser. Joseph had symptoms similar to Elizabeth’s and also felt he was in his prime. (Daniel, Elizabeth and Joseph requested that their middle names be used and did not want to be photographed to protect their and their children’s privacy.) He asked her to tea once, and then a second time. They understood something profound about each other but also barely knew each other, which allowed for a lightness between them, pure fun in the face of everything. They met once more, and that afternoon, in the parking lot, he kissed her beside his car, someone else’s mouth on hers for the first time in 24 years. It did not occur to her to resist. Hadn’t Daniel wanted an open marriage?


Elizabeth did not announce that the friendship was turning romantic, but she did not deny it either, when Daniel, uneasy with the frequency of her visits with Joseph, confronted her. That she intended to keep seeing Joseph despite Daniel’s obvious distress shamed him: He was suddenly an outsider in his own marriage, scrambling for scraps of information and a sense of control. This was not at all what Daniel had in mind when he proposed opening the marriage. They had not agreed on anything ahead of time; they had not, as a couple, talked about their commitment to each other, about how they would manage and tend to each other’s feelings.


“It wasn’t like we had a conversation about it,” Daniel said the first time I met him, in April 2016, when they were just starting to put that painful period of their relationship behind them. “It was more like: This is what I’m doing — deal with it.” We were at a restaurant near Elizabeth and Daniel’s suburban home in New England, a place where I met them several times over the course of a year, sometimes together and sometimes apart. Usually they sat close to each other, Daniel in a dress shirt he’d worn to the office, Elizabeth dressed like someone on vacation — a beaded bracelet, a sleeveless tank. Elizabeth has a Zen way about her, and as Daniel’s food grew cold while he relayed his past grievance, she looked untroubled. “It caused a lot of pain, so I’m still not even sure why I fought for it the way I did,” she finally said. “I really just felt like it was right, like it was important to my growth. It was like I was choosing to take a stand for my own pleasure and sticking to it. It was so strong, that feeling.” ...

Playing nice together

on Sunday, 28 May 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Bay Area Reporter

by Race Bannon

We all know about the Golden Rule. "Do to others what you want them to do to you." It nicely sums up most of the manners and civility guidelines that our society tends to honor and respect. Think about the other person before interacting in any specific way; good advice.


What's good advice in the rest of our daily lives is good advice for our leather and kink lives too. Be respectful. Be polite. Honor people's boundaries and desires. Ask if you're not sure about something. Seems so simple, doesn't it?


Simple or not, there are always a few folks who intentionally or unintentionally violate the parameters for basic decent interactions with others. Since in our often erotically intense scene there are safety and consent violations that can result is various levels of harm, playing nice together becomes something the kinky must think about even more.


In our kink world, the kissing cousin of the Golden Rule is the concept of consent. While the word and concept have long been a part of the BDSM ethos, consent was mainstreamed and brought to the forefront of our attentions when the catchphrase of "safe, sane and consensual" was coined by David Stein in 1983, quickly skyrocketing to prominence throughout the leather and BDSM communities.


While many in our scene no longer use safe, sane and consensual as a guiding phrase, instead using concepts such as risk-aware consensual kink or something else, consent remains a foundation cornerstone for how kinksters should behave.


Consent is a hot topic among kinksters, as it should be. Anytime a newcomer to BDSM and kink are taught our scene's basic principles, consent is typically one of the first things mentioned. It's fundamental to what we do and who we are as kinksters.


Perhaps the most wide-sweeping assessment of consent within the BDSM world was undertaken in 2012 by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF). The NCSF Consent Counts Survey was a robust internet survey to gauge respondents' views on consent in a BDSM context. There were 5,667 respondents giving this survey significant credibility.


In their analysis of the survey, Susan Wright and Judy Guerin noted that perhaps the most significant conclusion to be drawn from the responses to the survey is that the respondents overwhelmingly recognize the importance of consent. All the basic questions concerning the importance of consent showed an 84% agreement or higher.


For those deeply interested in our community's views on consent, I recommend you search for and read the survey analysis available online.


So, it's heartening that the vast majority of those in our scene recognize the importance of consent. ...

Exploring Black Women's Sexuality and BDSM in NYC's Oldest Dungeon

on Sunday, 07 May 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

The one-night-only art installation and performance "Sexual Fragments Absent" transformed Manhattan's oldest dungeon with emoji videos, disturbingly beautiful sculptures, and interactive play performances.


by Larissa Pham

On n a monitor high above the space glowing with red light, a woman cuts her tights open to reveal her shaved pussy. She inserts an internal condom, then a speculum—the metal's glint exaggerated by sparkling gifs that dance playfully on the surface of the screen—and slowly begins to crank it open. You can see her stomach ripple as she breathes deeply, taking the extension, which surely must be painful; what appears in the open gap of the speculum is an uncertain space, a void. After a moment, she folds a series of dollar bills and puts them in the space that she's created, then, removing the wad of dollar bills, she shows them to the viewer. On the screen, words flash: "I'VE MADE THIS SPACE FOR YOU." Heart emojis spiral on vertical axes and give off sparkles. I watch the video through one time, then again, even though I don't really want to, clutching at my stomach and feeling slightly sick.


"Did that hurt?" I ask the artist, Shawné Michaelain Holloway, now seated next to me at the bar. The same video is playing on a monitor behind the counter, and I'm having trouble looking at it, but I also can't bring myself to look away.


"Ugh, yes," she says, laughing at my horrified expression.


Read more: Inside a BDSM Dungeon with a Hillary Dom and a Guilty, Diaper-Clad Trump Voter


The video is one of three featured in Sexual Fragments Absent, a one-night-only art event performed and installed at Paddles, Manhattan's oldest dungeon. Along with Holloway—whose work deals with networks and browsers—the artists Doreen Garner, known for her visceral, disturbingly beautiful sculptures made of silicone and glass, and Tiona McClodden, whose work deals with BDSM and its psychological dynamics, had sculptures and video pieces throughout the basement space. Together, the three artists presented a body of work, curated by School of Visual Arts curatorial practice grad Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi, that engaged the complicated dynamics of black women's sexuality and bodies within the context of BDSM.


It's an audacious conceit for an art show, and ultimately, a rewarding one. Paddles, a notably white, gay, and male play space, seems an odd choice for a culminating curatorial exhibit. Yet the space was changed by the presence of the work—the night of the show hosted a majority queer, femme, black, and otherwise diverse audience; perhaps the most diverse crowd Paddles has ever seen—and its setting as a dungeon, as a place specifically for BDSM play, was integral to the context of the exhibit itself. "I think of feminism as waves that don't take a physical form," said Onyewuenyi, referring not to historical movements but to the overlapping social, economic, and other dynamics that influence political perspectives in popular culture. "What if they took physical form? BDSM is a site where there's a collapsing of waves."


Sex isn't necessarily violence, but it can be. In our intimate moments, dynamics of structural power, pleasure, and pain are very often intertwined. And, as Onyewuenyi suggested, it's at sites like Paddles and during BDSM scenes where these dynamics seem to collapse. What would seem painful in daily life becomes acceptable and pleasurable in a play space. Preexisting dynamics—like that of the patriarchy or of racism—can shift in meaning entirely, not disappearing, necessarily, but taking a different shape.


Many themes influenced the show, but I was struck by one statement of Onyewuenyi's in particular. "I was thinking about this line from Hilton Als," he said. "'How do you get people to forget their own history? When I'm in love, I forget,'" he paraphrased.


In some ways, the night was about reclaiming a history that has already existed. Throughout the dungeon's space were historical images from Dark Connections, a black BDSM resource, selected by McClodden. I spoke with her about the images and her work—but only after borrowing some red lipstick from Holloway.


"I wanted the space to remain a play space," said McClodden. She showed me a small card, which listed her terms of engagement: red lipstick, white nail polish, eyeliner, or fishnets. Anyone who wasn't dressed accordingly, she didn't engage with. In this performance, she sought to preserve a kind of cruising atmosphere, keeping a boundary around who she interacted with. McClodden's work directly references the materiality and haptics of BDSM. In a sculptural piece named Lost Subs, old gear from her past submissive partners was hung in the space—a replica of a harness; two actual collars worn by subs—generating an eerie, mournful energy. Behind it, as part of a series called Undergone, was an old pair of boots, worn by McClodden, filled with a bouquet of flowers and now rendered somewhere between art object and poignant re-remembered subject.


The historical images are there to explain that black BDSM has always existed, McClodden explained. "When I first saw BDSM, with the master-slave talk, I was like, no way!" But later, after seeing a black BDSM contingent march during Pride, McClodden recognized her interest in power exchange, embodied in a community familiar to her. "Well, if that's what it can do," she thought, then it was simply a matter of language—of finding the words that made sense.


"I think the show is important," Holloway agreed. Dedicating space to their work, and to including sexuality in blackness, presents a full self—one that still feels rare. ...

This Is What It's Actually Like to Be in a Polyamorous Family

on Sunday, 07 May 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Common fears include jealousy, competition and abandonment, yet these risks are not any higher in non-monogamy.

Willamette Week

By Angie Gunn, LCSW


In a recent Willamette Week article, the authors visited a former Kink Café for a Polyamory 101 class and shared one perspective on polyamory. I would like to provide another, first-hand perspective.


It is important to note that alternative sexuality is not the same as polyamory. Many people practice polyamory or ethical non-monogamy but don't engage in BDSM/ Kink/ Fetish/ or any alternative sexual practices.


The term polyamory or ethical non-monogamy speaks to relational structure, not orientation or expression. Many individuals may fall along the sexual/ romantic spectrum within non-monogamy, and they also may or may not also practice an alternative sexual expression. Polyamory usually refers to individuals who date and partner in meaningful, long term ways, with more than one person, but may also include casual relationships too. Each grouping of people defines polyamory for themselves, and some identify as polyamorous or non-monogamous (an identity or orientation) even when not in relationships.


In general, monogamy has far more restrictive "rules" than polyamory, though they tend to be fewer in number. Monogamy requires that you don't sleep with or romantically engage with anyone else (one rule, but very restrictive), whereas polyamory sets broad agreements related to how we engage with other people (many agreements, but very permissive).


Monogamy is still a valid relationship style and is not inherently selfish or shortsighted, but speaks to that individual and couple's understanding of themselves, their needs and how to best meet them.


In addition to polyamory and monogamy, the range of relationship expression can vary widely. Non-monogamy is an umbrella concept which can include relationship anarchy (a very individualistic style of relating), solo polyamory (identifying as someone who practices long term partnering with more than one person, but does not combine/ intertwine lives as much), Mongamish (Dan Savage coined term to refer to generally monogamous people who have occasional encounters with others), and swingers/ lifestylers are those who generally have sex with others when with their partner, for time limited periods.


For me and my non-monogamous family, I date and live with one person, sometimes called a nesting partner. He dates another person, sometimes referred to as my metamour (partner's partner), with whom he stays with a few days a week. I also date another person in town, and have casual sexual, romantic, or close friend relationships with a number of people locally as well as across the country. All of these individuals are close to me, considered an extended part of my family. Both my nesting partner and my metamour have a number of other casual BDSM or sex partners locally and across the country. Overall we have a high level of respect, care and consideration for one another. The four of us have mutual communication and shared agreements regarding STI testing, barrier use, and sharing of space and time. No one has veto power, or control over the others, but we communicate and care for one another's feelings as we venture into long term non-monogamous partnering.


A common misconception is that non-monogamy is all about sex. On the contrary, it's about flexibility and beauty and connection outside of typical constraints. I have partners who are non-sexual, those who I relate to on a variety of levels with the ability to be physical, but without the requirements to do so that often exists in monogamy.


Common fears include jealousy, competition and abandonment, yet these risks are not any higher in non-monogamy. We see that adding a new partner is not a threat to any relationships involved, but an adding on, a building up and nurturing through love. While this sounds beautiful and straightforward, it's actually incredibly difficult, heart wrenchingly vulnerable work to find your family or community, while managing your own needs and emotions. Finding individuals who fit you, your wants and needs, and fit well within your respective partner configuration is really complex. Many who try non-monogamy find that it's not a great fit, while others find the that process of the ideological shift in value systems and learning new patterns of relationship negotiation suits them well.


Regardless of your choice in partnering, there is an expansive community network of others to learn from, share with, and collaborate with here in Portland. One such organization facilitating these opportunities is SPEEC, Portland's Sex Positive Event and Education Center. ...

Is Kink the Future of Monogamy?

on Sunday, 07 May 2017. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

Pop Sugar


Finding the person you want to spend your life with is amazing. That's such an enormous hurdle for many of us. We all want to find love, and once we have it, life is pretty amazing.


But, what happens once we find love? And furthermore, what happens to our sex lives?


When it comes to long-term relationships, we're always looking for new and exciting ways to shake things up in the bedroom. Seriously, just google it. When you're sticking with one person for the long haul, you've got to keep sex fiery.


Where do ruts come from? Well, when you're in love and things are going well, it's easy to fall into a routine. There are only so many different sex positions you can try and lingerie pieces you can buy before even the most aerobic and sexy things can becomes stale.


This is where kink comes in. When you think of kinky sex, the first place your mind goes is to a dungeon, a dominatrix tying up a submissive or an orgy in an erotic room full of oriental rugs.


Just me? Oh, come on. I know I am not alone here.


There is a lot more to kink than that, trust me. What if there were more to kink than just wild sex parties and pain? What if kink were actually the future of monogamy?


"When this happens and we find ourselves in a rut, it's important to set aside some time to reconnect. Believe it or not, sexual intimacy is elemental to happiness," Sandra LaMorgese Ph.D., author, former dominatrix, and CEO of Attainment Studios told POPSUGAR.


Kink may seem extreme, but it may actually be more aligned with monogamy and commitment than you might think.


Doing kinky stuff takes trust


First and foremost, practicing kinky sex takes trust. It seems more likely that you'd be willing to try something weird or taboo with a person you trust, right? Some of the more wild fantasies you have may be nerve-racking or embarrassing — wouldn't it be better to try hot wax play or bondage with a person who loves and respects you?


Whether it's BDSM, role play, or otherwise, a monogamous relationship is a wonderful place to try things you may never have been brave enough to try before. A person who loves you is not going to judge you for wanting to try something unorthodox betwixt the sheets.


If you're going to ask someone to drip melted chocolate on your labia and lick it off, isn't it more likely that you'd ask someone you truly trust? I know I'm less likely to let some random stranger I met in a bar to whip me with a riding crop.


These games are not just for anyone — they're for people who are trying to attempt risky things without a lot of risk, you know? Hell, even Christian Grey was a one-person-at-a-time kind of guy.


Kinky sex can rejuvenate your sex life


Sex in long-term relationships can get stale. Let's just be real here. It's just a fact of life: if you're having sex with the same person, it can get boring.


Don't look at this as a bad thing. As you move along in your years together, you have more room and leverage to try new things. Strong relationships take a willingness to open yourselves up and explore new avenues of pleasure.


Kink is better for your sex life than any list of sex tips. Forget trying new takes on missionary and go darker — explore your deeper fantasies.


Sure, kink is a little unnerving and breaks up the routine you're so comfortable with, but that's a good thing. According to LaMorgese, "Bringing an element of uncertain kinkiness into your sexual relationship can be rejuvenating and powerful! It reawakens our curiosity about each other, gives us courage to try new things, and builds confidence." ...

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