Swinging: Pros & Cons Of An Open Marriage

More and more people are “opening up” their marriages to other partners. Some people call themselves polyamorists, swingers, or just simply members of the Kennedy family. But is that right for you? What are the upsides and downsides to this arrangement? We’ll answer all your romantic queries in just a few short minutes.

What She Said:

Pros: lots of sex! Cons: lots of sex – with possible consequences. That’s the short story. To really pull this off, we’ll have to dig a little deeper.

Marriage is based on mutual respect and trust – how you want those to play out is strictly between you and your partner. Some couples can easily swim through the (sometimes murky) waters of an open marriage – others fair better agreeing on monogamy. To negotiate an open arrangement takes a lot of trust, communication, agreement and common ground. The plus side to an open marriage is that fact that there’s technically no infidelity. The minus is the possible jealousy and what that could do to your relationship long-term.

Frankly I’ve seen this attempted (though I haven’t tried it myself, so I have no firsthand knowledge), but I have yet to see it succeed. Though the open marriage story I’m familiar with started off successfully, it eventually dissolved into mistrust and ultimately divorce. Of course, that’s a cautionary tale and I’m sure there are people who can make it work.

I personally chose to get married because I want to grow with my husband. I’m excited about the path to intimacy and an ever-deepening commitment. We’re only human and, in an ideal world, it would surely be a blast to sleep with anyone and everyone who caught our fancy. However, in our situation, having sex outside our marriage would damage what we value most – the trust, safety and intimacy of our sexual and emotional bond. For couples that have been married longer, it might be feasible to sleep around and still maintain a commitment. Some find that keeping the sexual tension high is the key to keeping things interesting at home.

Ultimately it must be a mutual decision between the two of you as to whether you are going to remain monogamous or agree to “branch out.” Seriously mull over the consequences if you’re considering opening your marriage – and, if you reach a consensus, be safe and have fun!

What He Said:

Pros: Honesty. You’ll never have to worry about lying about your desires to be with other people or the fact that you have. You’ll never have to worry about infidelity, because you’ve already agreed to bang other people. As one wife I know says “It’s not cheating if we’re both doing her.” That’s a good woman, people.

Cons: Higher risk of STD’s, and the chance that a condom may break and you could unknowingly wind up carrying someone else’s baby instead of your man’s. I know many couples that have tried open relationships. And it’s always the man that brings it up. And always the woman who’s militantly opposed to it. As most women would be, until you discover that open relationships tend to favor women more than men. For example, it’s way easier for a married woman to walk into a bar, wearing her wedding ring and say “hey, I’m married. Let’s go screw.” Hell, she could probably walk into Starbucks at 8 AM on a Tuesday and find someone to bang.

For men, it’s more work. I know plenty of men who thought this open relationship was a great idea until he found his woman getting more ass than he was, and when he got pissed she threw the “this was your idea” line back in his face. Men are territorial and competitive and this may come into play.

Can swinging or having an open relationship strengthen your relationship? Yes, but most relationship aren’t strong enough to handle adding this dimension to them, and you won’t know if yours is strong enough until after you’ve tried it, and then it might be too late. So I don’t know if I would recommend allowing your partner to go off and do other people, now if you want to bring someone home for the two of you to share, that’s totally different. Sharing is caring, after all.


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