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How Common Are Open Relationships?

Relationships and Sex

A friend confided in me recently that her partner had suggested they have an open relationship. She was really shocked by his request, but I have to confess, I wasn’t. With that in mind, today I am asking the question… How common are open relationships? Read on to find out my thoughts.

*This is a partnered post

How Common Are Open Relationships?

A quick google search tells me that open relationships have been growing in popularity in recent years. Of course, there’s no way to get an exact number without asking everybody on the planet. So I have done some maths and have some ballpark figures to share.

In 2015, the Journal of Sex Research published a study which found that more than one in five Americans have engaged in a non-monogamous relationship at one point in their lifetime. That means around 20 percent of Americans have been in one form of open relationship or another

Some Types Of Open Relationships

Open relationships can take on various forms. Generally speaking, an open relationship allows both partners to have sex with anyone they want. However, they save their emotional intimacy for each other. This means that, say a Husband and Wife partnership can have as many sexual partners as they choose, but only one romantic partner – each other. I assume sex dating sites make this approach far easier than it was, say 25 years ago.

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Polyamorous – Usually, polyamorous couples have a primary partner, as well as a secondary partner. Imagine a woman who has a husband, but also a boyfriend. All parties know about one another and have an open relationship. The men won’t necessarily have sex with the woman at the same time, and both relationships are separate. Sometimes, all members of the relationship live together in one house.

Swinging – This involves committed couples exchanging sexual partners in a group setting. These “swaps” are usually a way for couples to add some “spice” to their relationship, and are especially popular among middle aged married couples.

My Thoughts

I’m happily married now, so it’s been a long time since I used online dating services. However, back in 2006-8 when I was using them, it wasn’t really acceptable to “date” more than one person at a time. Probably because your profile tended to be open to people writing on it. I was recently thinking about how dating in America is so much different to dating here. No strings dating seems to be less taboo there.

I guess it boils down to what you want from your relationship. If you love your partner but aren’t really up for experimenting in the bedroom yourself, an open relationship can be a great way for your partner to “let off some steam” without being unfaithful. It also means you can have that brief encounter yourself, without feeling guilty about it.

An open relationship should never be used by one member of a couple as a way to get away with sleeping around if their partner is 100% monogamous. As long as both parties are 100% agreed on their open relationship and they always have safe sex, I see no problem with it.

Finally, why not check out my relationships and sex category.

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