The “open relationship” is seen as a myth among many people, and something that may be even desirable depending on a person’s views and feelings. Many people in monogamous relationships may fantasize about the idea of having a second or a third lover, for whatever reason or purpose. At the same time, the idea that their spouse or partner knows about it is also a desired trait: however, for many, this doesn’t seem to be possible.
It is this thinking that often leads people to immediately think about sex. If you hear that a friend is in an open relationship, your mind may immediately wander over to what they do in the bedroom and what the differences are. Some people, upon discovering that a couple is quite open, may even decide to try their luck.
Open Relationships – Understanding the Boundaries
The idea that people in open relationships can and will have sex with anyone they please often leads to the idea that it is something of a free-for-all: everyone is invited. This is definitely not the case. Open relationships are no different to monogamous ones: the difference lies in the boundaries. Whereas a monogamous couple may, for example, not permit each other to kiss another person, those in an open relationship may have no problem with it. This can go further into different types of sex acts.
Some open couples (also known as polyamorous couples) may state that certain sex acts are allowed with other people: blow jobs, cunnilingus, anal etc. but others aren’t permitted. Perhaps the couples are only allowed to sleep with one gender, whilst the other must be eschewed. Others may allow sex but only if the other partner is there.
You can, therefore, see that boundaries can be varied and diverse, as well as complex. Each relationship between each individual couple is going to be different. This is purely based on what each person wants, as well as what jealousies, insecurities, and boundaries they have.
So What Can I Do If I’m Interested?
If you do find a couple (or a member of a couple) that you’re interested in, and you discover that they are in an open relationship, the only thing you can do is ask! However, be careful when talking about it and make sure to respect their boundaries. Don’t try to come off as a creep. If the other person (or people!) is interested in you, you will know. Trying a bit of light flirting whilst staying away from the topic may also help, but don’t avoid talking about it too much. If either of the couple seems uncomfortable, then it’s probably best to back off.
The important thing to take away from here is simple: just because someone is in an open relationship it doesn’t mean that they’re always up for grabs. All relationships are complex, even the seemingly more carefree ones. It’s important to first see if you have a place there before pursuing – especially if it’s just for sex.