Polyamory, Hotwifing, Open Relationships, and everything in between


klimt 3
The Bride, Gustav Klimt (1917)


HIM: Sometimes I feel like we’re very experienced in the lifestyle, but at other times the truth becomes obvious: we’re really just getting started, and a million miles from having it all figured out. Or anything figured out. And that’s actually a good thing.

HER: I think it’s because there are just so many options out there. There’s a whole world of sexual variety available once you know where to look, and we will probably only ever scratch the surface. But as we venture into the world of non-monogamy, exploring our boundaries and looking past them into other possibilities, it always makes for interesting conversation.

HIM: Yes, like yesterday when we got a message from a couple we had contacted on the dating website where we have our profile. They wrote, in part:

“We are experienced in the lifestyle, and therefore by now know what we like. In this respect, we are only into full swap. And because the sex is better this way, we tend to prefer separate bedrooms.”

HER: My initial reaction was, ‘Yikes! These guys are too hardcore for us.’ I appreciated that they were open about what they wanted right from the start, because I didn’t know if it was worth going any further. For me, the journey we’re on isn’t about wanting to have sex with another man: it’s about wanting to experience you sexually in new ways. I want to watch another woman enjoy your body, and you enjoy hers. I also love the four-way interactions that are possible when two couples get naked together. I like going down on a woman while she sucks your cock and her man fucks me from behind. That kind of variety would be impossible if we played in separate rooms. We might as well stay home and have sex with each other. At least we know that it’s guaranteed to be good every time!

HIM: I agree. And that’s why we wrote back and said that, while we might someday be open to playing in separate rooms with a couple we had become very familiar with, we definitely wouldn’t want to start there. They replied and basically backed off, saying it was more of a preference than a precondition. With that clarified, we decided we would see them after all. But that was not the end of the conversation, at least between the two of us.

HER: With the pressure off, I did start to think that, in theory, separate rooms might eliminate some of the complexity that make first times tricky. Think of all the things that are going through your mind in a four way: Are you connecting with this new person? Is your partner happy with their new playmate? Is the new couple into the both of you equally?  Then, if they both happen to be bisexual, you can multiply all of the above by two (or eight, I forget how logarithms work). Anyway, maybe if you just had one new situation to deal with, you would have a better chance of focusing in on your mutual pleasure.

HIM: I think the question of whether to play together or separately is interesting because it brings you face to face with the question of what you want from non-monogamy: are you looking for sexual variety as an individual, or sexual adventure as a couple? Although they have some overlap, they are very different goals.

Some couples crave different partners because they see waning desire as inevitable in a long-term relationship. They believe that the fidelity that provides emotional safety can also lead to sexual boredom. You can have security or excitement, they think, but not both. I heard someone sum it up recently when they said ‘imagine opening the new edition of Playboy each month to find the same centrefold every time’.

HER: That’s so not us. We’re five years in and still can’t keep our hands off each other (just ask our traumatized kids!). We got into the lifestyle because we wanted to enjoy sex without old-fashioned limits, but always together. Strange as it sounds, we’re almost like the husband and wife who take up bowling together. It’s an activity that provides a different way for us to enjoy each other’s company. We get to belong to a nerdy little subculture, meet other like-minded people, and have hours of interesting things to talk about. That’s closer to what swinging is for us.

HIM: I agree. In all the most meaningful ways, we’ve become that couple you see at the mall, wearing matching nylon club jackets with their names embroidered on the front and badges sewn on their sleeves. It’s just that our hobby involves our genitals. So?

But now that I’m thinking about it, there are two interesting hybrid preferences out there that blur the lines between between playing as a couple and playing separately: Hotwifing and Cuckolding. Now, I’m going to define these practices acknowledging that everyone handles things differently, and that there is some overlap between the two. Hotwifing involves a woman going on dates and having sex with other men with the enthusiastic consent of her husband. Yet, it is understood that the man will not have similar involvements with other women; it is a thoroughly one-directional arrangement. Cuckolding, on the other hand, involves a woman having sex with another man in the presence of her husband. Importantly, there is often a level of humiliation involved. Both the wife and the man who services her may berate the husband over the size of his penis or his overall virility.

HER: That sounds horrible.

HIM: I know, it does for me too. Yet, while both practices seem to be lopsided in favour of the woman’s pleasure, the man is almost always the instigator. It is usually his fantasy that is being fulfilled in the hotwife or cuckold scenario. Not that there aren’t instances of women proposing the idea, or becoming very enthusiastic participants, but you would be missing the point if you didn’t account for what the men involved get out of it. Although only one person is having the actual sex, the men are definitely getting off in a big way. Both are heavily couple-based pursuits.

HER: Neither of those scenarios interest me in the slightest. The humiliation aspect of cuckolding is a line I couldn’t cross. I know you can’t help what turns you on, and I’m game for pretty much anything, but I would be concerned if you got off on being insulted. That just wouldn’t seem like you. I guess if you were really hot for it I could try to understand it from a psychological perspective, but I’m glad you’re not.

As for hotwifing (a term I only recently learned), I don’t really like the idea of you watching or hearing about me with another man without being actively involved. I have definitely enjoyed threesomes with our single male friend, and you have sometimes taken a break to watch us together, but in those moments, my greatest thrill is the anticipation of you joining us again. I guess the ‘bad girl’ side of me likes that feeling of being caught in the act with another man. Now, if I was bored with you, I might feel like having permission to go on a date with another man was exciting, but I’m far from bored.

The hotwifing thing makes me think of two other categories of separate play: Open and Polyamorous relationships. They combine the sexual element of consensual non-monogamy with the permission to spend time with, and emotionally connect with, others. Couples in open relationships have a single, central relationship but are allowed to date other people. I’ve heard open couples say their partners can date and sleep with whomever they like, as long as they always come home to each other. Polyamory seems to take it a step farther by freeing people from the emotional constraints of a single relationship; instead acknowledging that you can love, have sex with, and be committed to more than one person at a time.

HIM: I have no problem with these types of arrangements at all, but neither do I feel drawn to them. I’m in the very lucky situation of feeling more sexually excited by you now than ever, and it never gets old. Let me give you an example. We just recently bought a flogger (your idea – super hot!) and using it on you makes me hard as a rock. It’s the fact that you like me doing this bad thing to you that drives me crazy. I just didn’t see that coming, yet it seems to happen to us regularly: we peek around a corner and discover some new thing that becomes a big turn on. At the same time, I’m loving everything about having a partnership with you that goes beyond sex. I can’t imagine that I used to face the world without you by my side. Including others at that level would just feel like diluting what I like best about my life.

HER: We have something that works for us now, but that doesn’t mean it would work for everyone or that our preferences might not change in the future. Whether it’s swinging together or in separate rooms, cuckolding, hotwifing, open relationships or polyamory, everyone has to find what works best for them and their partners. We’re lucky on so many levels: we’re having all our emotional and practical needs met in our marriage, we’re having the best sex of lives with each other, and we completely agree on what we want out of our sexual adventures beyond our own bedroom.

Go Team!


  1. Separate rooms is a topic that comes up very often among our friends, and I think that you guys really have the right sentiment here. It’s so much more about what works for us as a couple than about what works for everyone. A friend of ours uses the term “lowest common denominator”. So as a couple you only commit to the acts and situtations that make everyone feel comfortable rather than pushing your partner beyond their comfort zone. Interested to hear what happens when you meet this couple!

  2. Marie says:

    What a great read! You touch on a few things here that are near and dear to my heart especially polyamory. My preference is ‘sexual adventures as a couple’ but this is a topic that we frequently revisit since preferences evolve and sometimes change.

  3. Klint says:

    Good reading, as usual.

  4. Simon_72_Mel_76 says:

    That’s a great read guys. We are a non-monogamous married couple who have been together coming up to 21 years now. We never play separately however we do prefer separate rooms, for slightly different reasons set down by you. We have always had an amazing sex life of our own and if anything it is more enjoyable now than it was in the early years, much like you guys, to the oft time annoyance of our kids. How ever we would maybe call ourselves hyperheterosexual we have a very high sex drive directly attracted towards the opposite sex, and although we enjoy our own bedroom games daily having strong demisexual tendencies within our own sexual relationship, we also both enjoy playing with different partners on a fairly regular basis. It’s not really a voyeuristic thing for us, to watch each other pleasing and being pleased, it is pretty much purely sexual though and we find that making an emotional relationship isn’t what we are after. Our favorite description goes something like this. We are biscuit eating addicts and our all time favourite biccie is and always will be the TimTam, got to have our fix of TimTams everyday, our taste buds wouldn’t get what they needed without them. Sometimes though we like to eat a mint slice or occasionally maybe a chocolate Oreo or even a just a milk Arraroot to dip in a cuppa. We still have our TimTams in the cupboard but find mixing them with the others we occasionally have can kind of ruin both the flavours for us. It just gives us a bit of variety not because TimTams are getting boring, just because when it comes down to it we like all bikkies except for the stale ones. There is another reason why we do prefer separate rooms too. I really hope this doesn’t sound too arrogant, but both of us like to make very sure our play friends really enjoy themselves and put a great deal of effort into assuring that happens for them as well as our own pleasure too. Over the past 20 years we have found that it can cause some problems with the couples that we have played with witnessing their partners reaching some states of pleasure that are extremely heightened, even if they do state they like watching each other. In fact probably more take issue with this than those who are truly happy or turned on by witnessing the fun. We don’t like to cause such problems between partners and so this is another reason we prefer separate rooms. Each to their own though and if you like to mix your biccies, that is what you like, and should that be the case then mix away, who are we to tell you your taste isn’t right. Anyway hope that helps explain our reasons for our seperate room preference.

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