Do Monogamous Relationships Really Exist?


Never has there been a time in history where sex was available almost at the click of a button. Whether it is through apps such as Grindr, Tinder or the seemingly seedier Craigslist, achieving a physical connection with someone no longer requires the effort it used to. I’ve never lived in a time where you would actually have to painstakingly court someone before you got to suck their dick, but i’ve heard it was a time filled with genuinely stimulating conversation and lots of cologne. Now you can have someone at your door on their knees within 20 minutes (depending on geographical location) – most of the time you two don’t even need to exchange names.

With all this connection happening on the internet and all this anonymous hooking up, a question that is begging to be asked is- will we ever be satisfied with a single partner? The answer is one I’m not positive I can ever fully answer, but one that is nonetheless worth asking. If we have become so accustomed to having multiple partners, will our sexual appetites ever be satiated?

The times I have attempted to come to an answer is one of varying conclusions. In essence, I think it depends on the couple and your personal beliefs. There are those out there who want physical monogamy, but sending sexy pictures to other people on SnapChat or text is fair game. There are others who adhere to the old ideology of monogamy and hold firm in a no emotional or physical wandering outside the confines of two people. Hell, there are couples who have no qualms with their open relationships and others who throw another person into their relationship-pot to keep things interesting.

I must confess that there have been times where I have hooked up with couples at the same time. And I must admit…I get the appeal. You get all the warm fuzzies of sleeping next to the person you adore each and every night, all while being young and sampling all the penis and vagina that is out there. If your relationship is able to withstand the jealous pitfalls that could come with this agreement, it seems like a way to satisfy curiosities all while exploring your sexuality in a healthy way. There were no secrets between the couple that I was with, and each party involved knew that this connection was short-lived and momentary.

After speaking to many of my friends, I’ve asked them if they would ever be in an, “open relationship.” That is, one in which each partner is free to venture off to find their own sexual conquests. Most of the answers I received were “absolutely not are you fucking crazy?!” to which I responded with- “well, why?” It seems to all come down to the secrecy of it all. We want to feel as if our significant other tells us everything. We feel, at the very least, if their fucking someone else, we want to know that it means simply lust. We want to see their passion for us, and only us. We want to know that we’ll always be the one they find emotional solace in and where they get their rocks off becomes less important.

Sex is supposed to be fun, exploratory, and thrilling- so if you must explore outside your sexual frivolity with your beau, why not explore together?

I think Dan Savage once summed up this American obsession with fidelity best by saying that extreme definitions of monogamy lead to, “boredom, despair, lack of variety, sexual death and being taken for granted.” We’re all sexual creatures and it is important to understand that different men have different sexual needs. To think that this idea of perfect monogamy will work for everyone is idealistic and detrimental to healthy relationships. The most important thing to do is have an open dialogue with your significant other. Find an agreement that works best for both of you. Understand that sometimes sex and love can be mutually exclusive, but honesty can never be compromised. Remember that sex is meant to be steamy but ultimately bring you and your love closer. If you don’t want to be accountable to someone else for your sexual actions and there is secrecy and lying occurring due to your sexual behavior- it may be time to ask yourself why you’re in a relationship in the first place.

This article originally appeared on BoyFactor

image –Katie Tegtmeyer

Read another essay from Shawn Binder in Thought Catalog Books’ new anthology, Boys, here.