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Over the last 14 years, my relationship has moved through several phases. Currently, I am tap dancing, trying to find an arrangement that is suitable to both my partner and myself. I wanted to make a list of what I've tried, or thought about. If you think of anything to add, please let me know.

  1. Complete monogamy (no cheating, lots of sex, “I only have eyes for you”)
  2. Monogamy with fantasies (no cheating, but one or both people think about it)
  3. Limited sex (still monogamous, but grudging. Being tired or busy often an excuse)
  4. No sex (e.g. LBD = Lesbian Bed Death, but still monogamous)
  5. Monogamy with three ways (includes “play parties”… both partners are present)
  6. Throw the dog a bone (monogamy, but several times a year one partner gets to play with someone else)
  7. The Pig and the Prude (one partner doesn’t want very much sex, and the other is always horny)
  8. Sex pigs (been together 20 years, still have searing hot sex every night with each other and anything else)
  9. Master/slave (several varieties: collared, uncollared, play, temporary, serious, sash-winning)
  10. Daddy/boy (Again several varieties: sugar daddy, Palm Desert retiree, twentysomehing whore, Bear/cub)
  11. The teasing couple (say they do three-ways, and advertise on websites, but they don’t actually do it)
  12. The internet player (monogamous, but “will perform on webcam” or give hot chats and emails)
  13. Cheating (bathhouses, Craigslist, websites, often anonymous and fleeting)
  14. “Don’t ask don’t tell” (not cheating since there is permission, but one partner doesn’t want to hear the details)
  15. Open relationship, total honesty (both partners are pigs, and love to describe their tricks, often sharing)
  16. Open relationship, with rules (written down list of things partner can/can’t do)
  17. Open relationship, faking it (trying to open the relationship without thinking about it first)
  18. “You do your thing” (one partner has a kinky specialized interest, and gets to indulge that outside the relationship)
  19. The accidental tourist (one or both partners travel a lot, and play when away)
  20. Two mortgages, one bed (separate apartments, though only one is lived in)
  21. “Roommates” (live together and love each other, but no sex. Check in with each other a few times a day)
  22. Polyamory, functional (or partly functional “as long as Mary is in a good mood and not causing drama”)
  23. Polyamory, dysfunctional (only works when one or more people are out of town)
  24. Household (like polyamory, but with a website)
  25. Single, monk (no sex, focusing on other things than sex right now)
  26. Single, whore (too busy to settle down with just one man)
  27. Single, bitter (“I’ll never be in a relationship again”)
  28. Single, playing house (occasionally fakes it by forming a weekend or one-night relationship with a friend)
  29. “Girlfriend who lives in Canada” (single, but swears he is in a relationship with someone he sees twice a year)
  30. And the current smart idea I have: the personal life trainer on the side (schedule an appointment with the coach, and train hard)

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So, you guys, how do you make #5 work? How is it working for you?

Personally, when my partner and I were on #5, all the planning and coordination fell on me. I had to find the third person for the threesome, negotiate a scene, and set up the perfect time and place. I felt like Julie the Cruise Director. Only to have my partner complain he didn't like the guy I chose.

Any help for the other people out there? I personally recommend dungeon S&M parties and leather weekends for couple fun, but that's just me.

We both share the "cruise director" job, I guess. And I think we communicate early enough in the process of flirting with various hot men that if either of us just truly isn't into Mr. Third, we don't invite them over for sex.

We keep meaning to get to the local levi and leather events but it's becoming a bit of an in-joke between the two of us because every single time they have an event one of us is sick or one of us has an event planned or it's a big night at church or we're out of town or. . . well, you get the picture. At some point you have to just laugh at the goofiness of it all. We'll get there. . . eventually!

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