Social Question

Luffle's avatar

Could letting your man sleep with another woman help your relationship?

Asked by Luffle (1263points) August 4th, 2010

Holly Hill, a psychologist and author of “Sugarbabe”, supports negotiated infidelity and believes that it saves marriages. Do you agree or disagree?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

66 Answers

SuperMouse's avatar

I would strenuously disagree. My man might feel differently.

BoBo1946's avatar

She (Holly Hill) needs help!

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Sure!....and it will bring on world piece too.;))))

ucme's avatar

Yeah that’s a tremendous idea. All the fun with no guilt. In the name of research you understand ;¬}

Aster's avatar

Over his Dead Body it would help.

Cruiser's avatar

Sure it does!! It saved my first marriage from going on one more month longer than it should have!

NaturallyMe's avatar

I don’t agree with it at all, in the sense that infidelity is a deal breaker for me. But as usual, different things for different people…some may like the idea.

wundayatta's avatar

She argues that if it’s just about sex, and you don’t want to have sex with your husband, why not? He gets his needs met and you don’t have to do anything, and it doesn’t threaten the relationship.

While I agree that men are generally speaking, horny bastards, I also think that needing to go outside the relationship for sex is an indication of some kind of problem. Hill said that most of the men she entertained just wanted to talk. My guess is that a lot of men who are inclined to get sex somewhere else also really are interested in talk.

It’s not sex, really, but a connection. If you have that connection with your spouse, it seems to me you won’t really want anyone else. If not, then you better attend to that because that is the long road to much unhappiness.

mowens's avatar

Oh I like where this is going. Do you have a sister? I want to date her. ;)

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I would only allow my husband to touch another woman if we had a threesome.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I was trying to figure out how this would possibly help and drawing a complete blank until that answer.

Aster's avatar

“they just want to talk.” um, I think they want to be flattered and receive attention. You Could call that talking.

marinelife's avatar

I disagree. It would cause trust issues. It could lead to the cheating party having a new relationship.

What good what it do except scratch an itch?

Blackberry's avatar

You asked the question before me lol…...I agree, but people like us are more of a minority than atheists lol.

Blackberry's avatar

@Aster They want to be flattered and receive that attention because they are not getting it at home. Everyone wants to feel validated; although some people may say “It’s your job to be a mother/father and wife/husband, you don’t need praise..”, they can say that while another woman or man is giving them that praise elsewhere.

SeventhSense's avatar

Yes by all means. Two or three would be even better.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

When I was a college kid, I could have sex without a major connection with my partner, but once you experienced sex with that connection, it’s much better. And I don’t want to try to maintain a connection with more than one women at a time, so I would think this would possibly screwup a relationship rather than improve it.

josie's avatar

I doubt if it would help.

lapilofu's avatar

It can in many situations. Many people have a wealth of sexual needs and desires that can’t necessarily be satisfied by a single person. In some cases this can cause deep-seated resentment in a relationship. In these cases, approved excursions can certainly help relieve that tension.

Sex columnist Dan Savage is a big believer in this approach. He has this to say:

“One of the great unacknowledged problems in heterosexual relationships is not just adultery, but despair—the despair of fidelity, the despair of marriage meaning you’ll never see another human being naked again as long as you live. [...] You have to harness the adulterous impulse and put it to service of your relationship.”

He also talks about how a little nonmonogamy has made it possible for him to stay together with his long-term partner.

(And can I add that “negotiated infidelity” is a stupid construction. It’s not infidelity if it’s negotiated. You’re being entirely true to your partner when you discuss and only engage in consensual activities. In fact, while I agree with the premise, that article and video is totally sexist and uneducated.)

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Things of this nature are never black and white and that’s because humans are extremely complex creatures. This may very well work for many couples, while it might completely destroy relationships for other people. There’s nothing wrong with it – as long as the couple agrees that this behavior is okay.

I’d also like to add that I’m glad someone else caught “negotiated infidelity”. It’s definitely not infidelity if your partner knows about and is okay with your behavior.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Letting my man sleep with another woman wouldn’t help our relationship at all. I’d hate him for wanting to because it would indicate a lack of intimate “connection” I assume I should be having with him instead of someone else.

Aster's avatar

@Blackberry Not necessarily. Its a matter of Quantity and who it is (and What it is) who’s listening. Some men, especially insecure ones, need a constant discourse on how great , how smart how handsome they are but it just isn’t Enough even if they get it at home. So the pathetic souls sometimes are willing to PAY someone to “fake compliment” them. Sad.

Blackberry's avatar

@Aster I agree on that point, those people need to get help before they even establish a relationship lol.

le_inferno's avatar

Just another case of ridiculous pseudopsychology… this theory is utter crap. A man seeking his relationship needs elsewhere doesn’t fix the problem. It ignores the relationship itself.

lapilofu's avatar

@le_inferno A desire for sex outside of a relationship is no indication that anything is wrong with the relationship. The desire to have sex is natural and cannot always be satisfied by one person (sometimes it can, certainly)—some people have it more, some people have it less, but it is not necessarily a gauge of the health of a relationship.

lapilofu's avatar

Here’s a quote from The Ethical Slut that better articulates that idea:

“Most marriage counselors, and certain popular TV psychologists, believe when a member of an otherwise happy couple has an ‘affair,’ this must be a symptom of unresolved conflict or unfulfilled needs that should be dealt with in the primary relationship. Of course this is occasionally true, but not nearly as often as many ‘relationship gurus’ would like us to believe. [...] It is cruel and insensitive to interpret an affair as a symptom of sickness in the relationship, as it leaves the ‘cheated-on’ partners—who may already be feeling insecure—to wonder what is wrong with them. Meanwhile, ‘cheating’ partners get told that they are only trying to get back at their primary partners and don’t really want, need, or even like their lovers. Many people have sex outside their primary relationships for reasons that have nothing to do with any inadequacy in their partner or in the relationship.”

Neizvestnaya's avatar

What the hell, you’d think people would find out way way way before the relationship becomes serious if they’re cut out to be with just that one sexual partner or not.

lapilofu's avatar

@Neizvestnaya Sadly, some people have no idea what they want. It takes some years to figure it out. And then, of course, it’s always changing.

le_inferno's avatar

@lapilofu Sure, some people have sex outside of their relationships, even if it’s a happy and stable one. These people are called sex addicts.

lapilofu's avatar

@le_inferno Even the DSM—hardly a paragon of progressive thought—doesn’t believe in sex addiction any more. The belief you’re expressing is a relic of the repressive 50s. That notable sex researcher Alfred Kinsey defined a nympomaniac as “anyone who has sex more than you do.” There are certainly people with an unhealthy attitude toward sex, but having consensual agreed-upon sex outside of a primary relationship doesn’t qualify. Cheating on someone is unhealthy, but is usually an indication that a person doesn’t know not to make promises that they can’t keep rather than a sexual illness.

le_inferno's avatar

@lapilofu Um, that’s simply not true. Bill Clinton is noted by many researchers as a sex addiction case study. There are a slew of psychosexual disorders that are the culmination of intimacy problems and can’t simply be chalked up to preference. Alfred Kinsey did a lot of groundbreaking research and helped break some serious barriers, but he said and did a lot of questionable shit, too.

lapilofu's avatar

@le_inferno Um, it simply is true: “The American Psychiatric Association does not currently recognize sex addiction as a mental illness. Therefore, no official diagnostic criteria exist for sex addiction.” ( I’d love to see these case studies on Bill Clinton. Are they available?

We may just have to agree to disagree. I believe that healthy people can have sex outside of their primary relationship. I certainly don’t believe anyone has to, but I don’t believe it’s a mark against people who desire that.

Blackberry's avatar

I didn’t know it was that difficult to fathom that humans can have a higher sex drive without being labeled sick, I guess that would make every modern teenager a sex addict then?

le_inferno's avatar

@lapilofu The fact that sexual addiction isn’t in the DSM as a mental illness does not mean it doesn’t exist. It may not be considered “illness,” but there are certainly people whose sexual behavior is beyond control and interferes with their life. The case study of Bill Clinton is published in this book.

@Blackberry Plenty of people have very high sex drives, but they also have respect for their partner and don’t betray his/her trust. People who cannot control their sexual behavior have issues that probably should be addressed in therapy.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@le_inferno I agree that people can have sexual problems – but that’s inside or out of relationships. Any kind of relationship, though, so whether or not people are into monogamy or polygamy won’t make a difference. Not all couples see having sex with more than one person as a sign of disrespect. If both people are okay with it, it can’t be disrespectful.

I think people just need to realize that not everyone is the same, thus not every relationship is going to be the same. Monogamy is okay, and so is polygamy – as long as both partners think so.

le_inferno's avatar

@DrasticDreamer I should have clarified I meant monogamous relationships. I’d only consider someone a sex addict if they repeatedly let their desire for sex outweigh their fidelity and interfere with the relationship. Obviously in a polygamous relationship, it wouldn’t be an issue.

ducky_dnl's avatar

Yeah, sure my man/husband whatever could sleep with another woman. If he wanted to be a girl when I was finished with him. No, I would never have respect for my man/husband again. I’d take it as him being bored with me and our relationship.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It really depends on what in your relationship needs saving – if, say, you want to be licked by men wearing diapers and your wife doesn’t care to role-play but is fine with you getting that from someone else, it can strengthen your relationship but if, say, you’re going outside your monogamous arrangement because you are incapable or unwilling to work on things with your existing partner that you, supposedly, want for life…then no it won’t work or help…and I agree with @lapilofu that it’s not negotiated infidelity…

lapilofu's avatar

@le_inferno I see the confusion then. The question was about making a relationship consensually non-monogamous, which is what I was talking about initially. (Although, w/r/t monogamous relationships, I stand by the idea that a desire to have sex outside of a monogamous relationship does not constitute a moral trespass or an illness. And acting on that desire is a moral trespass but in most cases still not an illness.)

wundayatta's avatar

I believe that sex without a relationship is, at best, incomplete, and at worst, self-destructive. I believe that having sex with someone who is not your partner without their knowledge and consent is a sign that there is something wrong in your relationship. I believe it is possible to love more than one person at a time, and to express that love physically.

I know there are couples where there is a big mismatch in libido. I know there are men who get off on having their wives fuck strangers or other women’s husbands while they watch. I have not heard of wives who want to watch their husbands fuck other women.

Why does it seem to work this way? Why can men allow—indeed, encourage—wives to be “hot wives”, but there does not seem to be a corresponding situation where the power relationship is reversed?

I think that, for most people, men and women see relationships pretty much in similar ways. However, when you get out to the tails of the distribution, you find that more men are willing to allow their wives to stray, or to stray themselves. On the other end of the distribution, I think you’ll find more women are adamantly opposed to anything but monogamy compared to men.

In other words, men are slightly more tolerant of polygamous behavior, on average, then women are. Also, men are slightly more likely to engage in polygamous behavior, on average, than women are.

In many divorces, it seems to me, women point to the infidelity of their husbands as the reason the marriage ended. This question asks us, by implication, whether an open acknowledgement—perhaps even an encouragement—of a husband’s desire to fuck other women could help reduce the likelihood of the dissolution of that marriage.

My answer is that it is possible. It represents a change in social mores that would free some couples—and not less importantly, the larger society—from being so contemptuous of infidelity. Women who have “straying” husbands are often shamed when they don’t leave those men. An arrangement like this, should it become more acceptable, would reduce some of that shame. Women might be less likely to be seen as self-loathing victims in such situations.

I would be very surprised, though, if women, in general, ever went for this idea. They almost never see sex as just sex. They believe there is a relationship between their man and the other woman, and that that relationship threatens the marriage. How could anyone agree to an outside relationship that would threaten the marriage? And by definition, all outside sexual liaisons are “relationships,” so they all threaten the marriage.

I don’t think men see it this way so much. First, I think that, on average, they are more likely to believe in “sex for sex’ sake.” Second, I think they can more easily imagine having more than one relationship. Indeed, some societies actually condone polygamy.

Given a legitimized choice to have a second or third relationship (or additional wives), I think men might do so, while still being responsible, financially and emotionally, to the first wife. But, since that’s not cool in Western society, men end up having to divorce the first wife to be allowed to cohabit with the second.

In polygamous societies, many women are unhappy with succeeding wives. Others are tolerant and some are even happy about it. Westerners believe that women in these societies are oppressed, not just because of polygamy, but because of other ways that the culture institutionalizes subordination to men. What the prevailing opinion of women in these societies is about their role is difficult to say with certainty, since no one is allowed to poll them about it.

Is there a healthy way in which men (or women) can have relationships with more than one member of the sex they are attracted to? Well sure. There are successful polyamorous relationships. However, these relationships tend to be marginalized. The people in them are not generally considered to be normal by the vast majority of the population.

And therein, I think, lies the problem. Some men want to engage in behavior that society strongly disapproves of. Very few women want to engage in the same behavior. The behavior does not necessarily have to be the end of society, since there are many societies that do allow it, albeit in a sexist way.

So the behavior that a significant amount of men want to engage in is essentially banned. In this way, it is shoved under the carpet. Men have little choice. If they want to be polygamous and stay with their wife, they have to do it in secret, because no self-respecting wife would allow her husband to do so. Thus, when these men are discovered, they are often cut loose, if not actively shoved overboard.

In another culture, this behavior might be more accepted. But here in the West, it isn’t. So the question asks us if we had more social acceptance of the practice; indeed, if we had the approval of the current wife; would such marriages be healthier? In the unfortunate language of the question—could such approval “help” the relationship?

I don’t think that the individual woman “letting” her husband sleep with someone else would help the marriage. What I think would help is overall societal approval of the practice. It isn’t the woman who might say yes or no that is really in the way. It is everyone else’s belief that this has to be bad and if she stays, she doesn’t respect herself, and there is something really wrong with the marriage.

There may well be something wrong with the marriage—it may even be likely that that is the case. But it also may be that the marriage is healthy and ready for more to be included in it. That is the case where “letting” the man sleep with another woman would be good, but it is also the case where virtually no one in society would publicly acknowledge their acceptance of the practice.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

re: @wundayatta
I believe that sex without a relationship is, at best, incomplete, and at worst, self-destructive.
Most monogamous couples I’ve known (me too), married and unmarried seem to start out both believing this way.

I believe that having sex with someone who is not your partner without their knowledge and consent is a sign that there is something wrong in your relationship.
Again, most couples I’ve known over the years (me too) believe this so if the subject of sex with others is even brought up casually then there is an immediate suspicion that something’s ot right or one of the partners wants something the other hasn’t been open to or knows nothing about the other even wanting.

I believe it is possible to love more than one person at a time, and to express that love physically.
I believe in this and most people I’ve know also believe but most also believe you can _choose who you focus on, that to be most enduring and stable and choosing one at a time has worked for the successfully happy/content/enduring couples.

What triggers a partner to stray? Why is it usually the male wanting other females?
From what I’ve seen then males are more physical in their attractions so while women can fall in love with a man they don’t see as physically prime and their love can expand and deepen, for males it’s a shorter ride and more shallow. Males have told me their love feels threatened in a way when their male or female partners physical looks change, usually more drastic stuff than just normal aging. Males have told me they hate themselves for those feelings and have panic when realizing their attractions and desires wane, even for a partner they have loved and respected a long time.

How much of this is nature, how much is social conditioning and how much do you believe an already grown adult male can change his urges before his years run out because others around him say it’s possible? How can a grown adult woman change her beliefs to the point her feelings also follow before her years run out?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta Uh, hi there – I’m a ‘wife’ so to speak and I definitely want my watch my husband fuck other women.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I was hoping you’d comment on this one. Does he enjoy watching other guys with you?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe He never saw me have sex with them (there’s always tomorrow, :)) but he has seen me make out with other in front of him – and has told me that he did enjoy it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

So you like to watch him having sex with other ladies, is it three way or just him and her?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe No, I’ve never seen that happen either (which is why when we’re not exhausted we like to talk about how as soon as possible, we’ll have some kind of threesome or foursome together with others). In my head, it goes all ways. Previously (like a year ago) my fantasies were about him, a woman, and me. These days, my fantasies are about him, a bisexual man and me.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’ll admit the fantasies are a turn on mentally, I just don’t think the reality would work out that well. Too many emotions and other things that come into play.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I agree that it’s been hard to find someone who would ‘get’ what we’re about and not interject all kinds of extrapolations about what’s going on that are not necessary. But it will happen – I do not let my fantasies stay that way, life is better than that.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I know my g/f would freak at the idea. It takes a open minded mentality to even start down that road. I’m glad you two found each other.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Do you think a conventional monogamous relationship would be a train wreck for the two of you or would it work? If that’s too personal tell to kiss your ass or whatever.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe If that’s what I wanted, then that’s what we would have had. I began our relationship by saying that’s never going to happen.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir OK. I also meant that completely metaphorically about kiss your ass before someone gets that in their mind.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe I think you and your monogamy are safe. :)~

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir :). Can you have a connection with more than one person at a time?

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I’ve done it before. I kind of fell into it without realizing it at first.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Well you better realize this time around and not let it happen.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Like I said, my g/f would freak, so I couldn’t act on the second connection, so that was kind of a miserable feeling.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Light bulb goes off. So you get your cake and eat it too?

wundayatta's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir What kind of relationship would you want your husband to have with these other women you would like to see him fucking? How would they come into your lives?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@wundayatta It’s not up to me to decide or foresee the future. Obviously, each relationship/connection develops differently. If he were to fall in love with someone or want to go in that direction, we’d talk about it and see how we’d adjust our lives so that he may explore this situation. People come into our lives the way all people do and then they get to know us and our relationship – sometimes I’ve asked people to join us – the one time I did this, she said no.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I didn’t thank you for taking the time to discuss your life in such an open, honest, and candid manner. You have a lot of class. I hope the rest of the jellies have enough class to not be judgemental and petty.

SeventhSense's avatar

Males have told me their love feels threatened in a way when their male or female partners physical looks change, usually more drastic stuff than just normal aging.
This is an interesting point and behalf of men thank you for sharing it. It’s an often overlooked aspect of the male psyche and it’s sometimes taken for granted that men just cheat and don’t think. I would never cheat but I would leave if I lost my desire for her.

On the flip side I’ve dated a woman recently who I’ve found out has been seeing a married man for 12 years and this was the reason her marriage broke up. I found this out after sleeping with her and she still wants to maintain “relations”. She’s shown me his picture and I no longer have any desire to have a physical relationship with her. I actually lost all respect for her: for dating me and still seeing him. Furthermore I feel she’s disrespected me, imagining I’d be involved in such an empty exchange. I’d have more respect for her if she was just a straight up promiscuous slut. I could never be a part time lover and if I felt compelled to leave my spouse for sex I would just get divorced and be single. But some people are terrified of being alone. And I do believe that is where their real fear of intimacy springs from. A deep seated fear of confronting themselves without the cover of another.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther