Comments (4)

  1. Trilby Johnson 19.05.2017 at 09:30

    Great article. I love how you raise awareness about these hidden agreements, because they are rarely addressed and can lead to much confusion and heartache for those involved. Without sounding old fashioned, I continue to feel that honest open communication must be cultivated and shared. Also, I really do think that regular couple therapy can only benefit the relationship and help both parties hone skills and learn new things. Thank you.

  2. Tim Hill 19.05.2017 at 09:55

    Thanks Trilby – I agree with what you are saying about open communication; it’s not just a once-off but a life-long conversation.

  3. Nicole 19.05.2017 at 11:39

    This is great Tim! It’s interesting that this lack of negotiation around sexual behaviour is primarily a straight rship thing. Perhaps lesbian rships somewhat too. Once you are ‘exclusive’ no further discussion. But gay men generally negotiate very early what is/isn’t ok and many revisit the topic as a relationship continues. So do other couples in open rships (even opening and closing when it’s appropriate for them, or talking about masturbation or how attraction to others might be furled into their own sex life), and of course people in poly rships do this all the time too. One friend of mine said that when he and his girlfriend decided to try an open rship they started talking more truthfully and deeply than they ever had before. Yet we judge! We think someone must be being hurt, or they mustn’t really love each other (neither is true in many examples I know). Although being in an open or poly rship isn’t for everyone, there is much people could learn about at least having conversations about sex/sexuality/masturbation from listening to those folks who do it regularly.

  4. Tim Hill 19.05.2017 at 12:48

    Hi Nicole, thanks for your insightful comment. For many of us (and I am talking about couples here), securing the relationship is the most important thing, so we gloss over the details. For some, marriage or being engaged or moving in together is the finish line. So when something like masturbation, or sexual fantasy with another is raised by one partner, it can really be seen as a threat by the other; as something that will tear the relationship apart, the end of the dream of bound closeness. It takes strength to see yourself as still reliably attached to another yet with freedoms to live as an individual. Bonds that are too close ultimately stifle both people.

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