Interpersonal relationships are complex and many of us will agree that marriage is an outdated construct. That doesn’t have to mean that partnering with another individual with the intention of having a fulfilling and enduring love must also be outdated. Partnerships can work and couples create their own rules to set their relationship up for success. I think most of us would consider ourselves emotionally monogamous people but even in the best emotional relationship we often yearn for more. We can squash those feelings down and suppress them or we can embrace them. If we squash them down, they will fester and those repressed feelings will come out in other ways such as resentment or anger toward our partner. The reality is that women as a whole are told that they are the standard of sexuality but not allowed to do anything with it. We simply cannot and should not accept this as reality or as a cultural norm.
Human males have evolved over time to have and prefer multiple sex partners; short term hookups to better spread their seed. Women on the other hand search for emotional security in a partner while still exploring short term hookups with sexually virile mates once they have that “safe harbor” emotional connection with a partner. The safe harbor partner fulfills a need of protection especially during pregnancy and post child birth. Subconsciously we divide men in our lives into two groups, those who will be the emotional partner/safe harbor and those who will be the short term hookups. Those roles can change with different partners and as we age but we see potential suitors in those two roles and it vastly changes the attributes we look in a mate. Kindness, amiability and intelligence? You are likely in the emotional connection group. Cocky and arrogant, you might be the latter? You may not have trouble finding short term hookups but might struggle with long term committed relationships.
Newness, or novelty, plays an enormous role in female arousal. The excitement and unpredictability of being with a new partner can increase sexual interest and excitement. Arousal and desire are complex and can be influenced by many factors, including emotional and psychological connection, physical attraction, and individual experiences and preferences. Every woman is different so the impact of newness on female arousal can vary greatly from one woman to the next. Ultimately, what is most important is that women feel comfortable, safe, and respected in their sexual experiences.
Women are attracted to novel mates, or mates who are new and different from their current partners. This idea is sometimes referred to as “mate switching.” Some research suggests that women may be more likely to seek out new partners when they are in the fertile phase of their menstrual cycle, when hormonal changes may influence their preferences for novel partners. As a evolutionary benefit related to reproduction, the female body seeks out new mates to fulfill her reproductive needs. Of course with birth control and contraception we prevent this but capitalizing on those most fertile periods with new exciting sexual adventures is key to the fulfillment and enjoyment of sexual novelty.
However, it is important to note that sexual preferences and behavior are complex and can be influenced by a wide range of individual, cultural, and societal factors. Additionally, what is considered “novel” can vary greatly from person to person. Not all women may crave mate novelty, and many may be perfectly satisfied with long-term, committed relationships. Some women way shift in mate/mating preference from one season in their life to another. Women in their early 40’s especially those who have not yet borne children often feel a resurgence in sexual energy as their body reminds them that their biological clock is ticking. This is of course subconscious and completely separate from the desire to have a child.
As women we often see problems our sex life being indicators of problems in the relationship but many times those problems in the sex life are just that. We lack new and creative sexual fulfillment. We’ve found that new sexual experiences often enhance the relationship. Common therapist wisdom says that if you fix the relationship the sex will follow but what if sex was the underpinnings of the problem in the first place. When I am sexually unfulfilled, I bring components of that deficiency back into our relationship as criticism and resentment toward my husband. It is then difficult for me to pinpoint my frustration from the laundry not being done or the bed that isn’t made to unmet yearnings in my nether regions.
Our sex lives are never static, we evolve as humans and the expectation that our sexual needs will remain the same through life is naive. As your hormonal profile changes so do your sexual needs. Throughout life your testosterone, estradiol, thyroid hormones, cortisol, insulin, and many others will alternate. This will be in response to stressors in your life, exercise or simply the aging process.
The role of sex in a marriage
The first role of sex is for affirmation, an acknowledgement of the bond between two people. This may be an affirmation of a woman’s love for her husband. Affirmatory sex is essential for a marriage as it provides a reminder that the husband is important and an absolutely essential part of the wife’s emotional needs. This also benefits communication with a deeper level of emotional connection that can boost willingness to communicate openly and intimately. A sexual connection also subconsciously reminds the man to provide resources to support the woman, this can be time, or even money and gifts. While an emotional sexual bond will not be the lust filled passions of a novel intimate partner, it will be familiar, comfortable and even routine which doesn’t need to be a bad thing. Sex in support of an emotional bond is like keeping gas in the tank or air in the tires, you won’t be speeding around the race track but it will get you to work and back.
While my husband wants more frequent sex, I need more from sex. Sexual variety does far more for me than sexual consistency. While statements like “you are not enough” or “I deserve more” may seem very hurtful, it doesn’t need to be so. The conversation isn’t about him being any less than someone else; it is about him as and emotional rock and my safe harbor. It isn’t just sexual variety; it is also newness. Women are more prone to neophilia (fancy word for desiring erotic newness) than men. Neophilia refers to a psychological trait characterized by a strong attraction to novelty, new experiences, and change. This trait is thought to be related to exploration and openness to new ideas and experiences. In terms of sexual behavior, neophilia can manifest as a preference for novel sexual partners or experiences. Newness and novelty-seeking is a trait that keeps you healthy and happy and fosters personality growth as you age. Seeking more of the same when it isn’t producing offspring is counter productive in terms of your body’s subconscious drive to procreate. Having your safe harbor and multiple side-mates is the natural order of things. Many women such as myself feel a greater sense of ease, heightened level of arousal and relaxation in sexual situations with new partners. It is of course essential for women to communicate their boundaries and desires in any sexual encounter, and to be with partners who respect and prioritize their comfort and well-being. Women’s sexual comfort should always be a priority in any sexual situation.
Safe harbor husbands, don’t fret. The moment that you become absent or she is not getting her feelings of safety and security, she will shift to repairing or replacing the emotional partnership. The emotional partnership is a must to unlock the ability to enjoy the short term erotic couplings. For women, emotional safety can involve feeling respected and valued in their sexual experiences, and having control over the pace and nature of those experiences. A comfortable sexual environment with you can help women feel more relaxed and open to new experiences, and can lead to greater enjoyment and satisfaction outside of her relationship with you.
In the comments below @she-lights-me-up pointed out that while his wife is able to compartmentalize other partners, he is not. Sexual excitement is a core emotion and core emotions are programmed into us for survival purposes. Many men attach that core emotion to a partner and find themselves falling in love or catching feelings for their partner. Women are inherently better at having emotionless sex when they have a partner that is fulfilling their emotional needs. In our society, men are not “allowed” to be tender and needy and men frequently attach these feelings of tenderness to sex and this is often the only time that these men feel comfortable being truly vulnerable. Women are more likely to experience sexual regret after a hookup however men are more likely to catch feelings because of the vulnerability they allow themselves to experience with their partner. Gender is not a true differentiator however and many women “catch feelings” just as easily as men do. Before going down the non-monogamy road, consider that feelings and emotional connections should be reserved for your emotional partner. If you seek an emotional connection elsewhere you might be venturing down the road of polyamory and that is a topic for another day.
Monogamy, or the practice of being sexually and emotionally committed to one partner, can offer several benefits to women. These benefits may include:
- Emotional security: A committed and monogamous relationship can provide emotional stability and security for women, allowing them to build a strong and intimate connection with their partner.
- Physical safety: Monogamy can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy, as long as both partners are tested and practice safe sex.
- Trust and communication: Monogamous relationships often involve open and honest communication, which can deepen trust and intimacy between partners.
- Predictability and stability: Having a long-term, committed relationship can provide a sense of predictability and stability, allowing women to build a sense of security and trust in their relationship.
Polyandry is a form of polygamy in which one woman has multiple husbands. While it is a rare form of marriage, it can offer several benefits in certain societies, including:
- Resource management: In societies where resources are scarce, polyandry can help reduce competition between men and ensure that resources are shared more equitably.
- Population control: By limiting the number of offspring, polyandry can help control population growth in communities where resources are limited.
- Shared responsibilities: In polyandrous marriages, multiple husbands can help share the responsibilities of caring for children and household duties, reducing the burden on one individual.
- Stronger bonds between families: Polyandry can help build stronger bonds between families, as husbands may share a close relationship and work together to support their common wife and children.
- Sexual liberation and exploration: Engaging in sexual relationships with multiple partners can provide opportunities for sexual exploration and liberation, and can help women discover their own desires and preferences.
- Improved self-esteem: Engaging in sexual relationships can boost self-esteem and confidence, especially if the experiences are positive and fulfilling.
- Enhanced pleasure: Some women may find that sexual experiences with multiple partners can increase their sexual pleasure and satisfaction.
- Women should have agency and control over their own sexual experiences.
In the most formal definition, polyandry is a cultural practice that is specific to certain regions and societies, and may not be appropriate or acceptable in other contexts. Engaging in sexual relationships with multiple partners can also pose risks, such as unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Women should prioritize their own comfort, safety, and well-being in any sexual encounter, and engage in safe sex practices to reduce the risks associated.
Society tells us a lie that women are naturally more monogamous. Women are supposed to be perfectly happy and comfortable with one person for their entire partnered life. Anything short of lifelong partnership is frowned upon. Left unable to explore their sexuality, women shut dow and decide they are not interested in sex. The message society is sending women is that women are not allowed to be as interested in sex as men. Women are struggling with monogamy just like everybody else but the difference for women is that they are not allowed to talk about or explore their sexuality. It’s not that women don’t have desire, they have little to no desire for this lovely person to whom they’re currently married or partnered with. They do desire have a burning desire for sexual connection and attractive men but they aren’t allowed to even admit that to themselves. If women were provided more space to explore and acknowledge their sexuality, they too might be really happy to have sex with this person who they’ve chosen a monogamous life with.
The fact that this relationship dynamic does not permit him to date is not only limiting, it can also be humiliating, shameful and degrading if you allow it to take on that meaning. In our relationship we do allow it to take on this meaning. Sexual degradation can be incredibly arousing however I am quick to provide aftercare and ensure that he knows he is my life. Humiliation touches on strong emotional buttons especially when it is fetishized or sexualized. This creates a roller coaster of emotions that cannot be matched by physical pain. In fact, it isn’t too far removed from the erotic sexual denial that he sometimes associates with wearing his cage. Erotic humiliation is one of the absolute strongest fetishes. If you would like to explore more, I recommend the book Enough to Make You Blush by Princess Kali a former dominatrix. She goes into erotic humiliation, communication, negotiation, consent, triggers, aftercare and more – I highly recommend it. It should also be noted that erotic humiliation is often a learned fetish. If the male is permitted arousal or ejaculation while experiencing humiliation, it doesn’t take long to create a conditioned association between arousal and humiliation.
It Isn’t Fair
One sided open relationships such as cuckold or hotwife relationships are by their very definition humiliating and equate to fairness at face value. We often forget that sex is far more more complex than a tit for tat that we’ve come to accept in our society. This isn’t Hammurabi’s Code (an eye for an eye) since the energy of sexuality bleeds into all things. Men, if you cannot escape the trap of fairness then this will not be for you. If you are able to enjoy compersion by watching your wife excitedly getting ready for her date then you might want to keep reading. Finding joy in emotionally preparing her for her date with compliments and a supportive hug as you send her on her way. Even enjoying the cuckold angst as you sit at home and wait and wonder about how she is doing. The psychology is somewhere between a supportive parent and an admiring lover. In our case, Kev is a wonderfully supportive partner that is constantly checking in on me and my needs. I should be clear that his needs do not go unmet. After every experience whether he is present or not, we reconnect and we discuss the things that I enjoyed or the things that we enjoyed together. This re-connection allows even a physically separate sexual experience to become an emotionally partnered and shared experience.
Let’s take a deep dive into fairness. I mean, what is fairness, really? In our relationship we don’t look at fairness as the eye for an eye example above. Fairness is a relationship where we both feel emotionally connected, lovingly fulfilled and sexually satisfied. We’ve opted for a very direct and analytical approach to what those specific feelings look like in our context. Doesn’t that mean he should also date? If his sexual needs are based upon emotional connection, physical validation and frequency, there is really no need for him to date others. In fact, dating others requires the removal of resources that are important to female satisfaction. In our case that is time, attention and communication. I greatly value the attention that he places on me and that is one of the key tenets of our loving relationship. He is a wonderful emotional lover and his undivided attention is key to me understanding that.
Boundaries and communication
Fully monogamous relationships can be limiting, restrictive, or overly possessive. Monogamy has the potential to stifle personal growth, freedom, or individualism and can lead to feelings of boredom, resentment, or jealousy. If you are in a monogamous relationship it is normal to feel restricted or even unfulfilled and it may be helpful to have an open and honest conversation with your husband about your needs. Communication and mutual understanding are key components of any healthy relationship so be sure to give of yourself openly and freely.
We are both very clear on the standard rules of marriage and you need to be very clear on any changes to those rules to help with feelings of betrayal, jealousy and anger. Will those feelings still show up? You can bet on it! Having a clear set of rules will allow the two of you to come back and reference them to make sure that you are staying within the guardrails that the two of you set.
This sort of relationship is an extension of the female led relationship centered on her sexual needs realization of her energies and fulfillment. Keep reading this site for more information on the various types of female led relationships. Questions or comments? Please engage below!