"What is the best way to negotiate an open relationship?"
My partner and I want to stay together but we don’t see anything wrong with having sex with other people. I guess we want to have what people call an open relationship. Do you have any tips on how to negotiate this so there are no nasty surprises?
A truly open relationship is when both of you are free to sleep with whoever you want, whenever you want. But most couples set a few ground rules specific to their situation.
If you’re highly sexed, not in the slightest bit possessive and enjoy multiple partners, this is probably both your idea of sexual nirvana. It’s usually chosen by couples with high libidos and open minds and worth giving a try if it truly is what both of you want.
In reality, I’ve only met two long-term couples in the whole time I’ve been writing and researching sex who genuinely are happy with this arrangement. It tends to work best if you’re young and not ready to settle down or not particularly attached to your partner but is fraught with all sorts of (obvious) problems for everyone else. These include jealousy.
Even if you’re not possessive of each other’s bodies, most people are possessive over feelings. A sensible rule might be that you are only allowed to sleep with others once, with no repeat performances that might allow feelings to develop.
Another rule that is also sensible is to rule out any friends, especially mutual friends and work colleagues of both of you as potential partners. Safe sex is obviously a must. I’d also add in a clause that you review it every three months to check you’re still both happy with the situation.
Good luck - I suspect you’ll need it. Quite apart from moral issues, it’s hard enough making one relationship work let alone a relationship where you both see others. Even if it is only for sex.