How do you feel about having multiple sex partners? This can be in the form of serialized partners, meaning; one partner after the other but, for this discussion, we’re going with the explanation of having sexual relationships with more than one partner at the same time. Simply put, it is sex with Theo on Monday and then on Wednesday, you’re having sex with Keegan and maybe, back to Theo on Thursday. This controversial relationship type has been around since well before you were born and chances are, after your death, it’ll still be in play. It is a topic of discussion that you can’t help but run into as you trek through life be it online, in movies, or in reality. Whether it is being complained about, fervently gossipped about or just brought up in conversation, apart from situations of genuine interest, it’s often not spoken about in a good way.
Worldwide, a hearty number of people would argue “but isn’t that what dating is? The aim of getting to know different people intimately?” as they themselves see no issue with the flirty promiscuity. Heartbreak and depression but, perhaps most often, sexual insatiability are driving the car of reasons as to why folks engage in sex with multiple partners. This, to be honest, can have serious downsides both health-wise and emotionally. For instance, there’s Kaya, who has sex with multiple partners without being exclusive with any. Now, although she carries feelings for a number of them, again, she isn’t exclusive with a single one. Kaya, in this case, is having sex with whomever she wants and by definition of the word itself, she is dating. Now, if Kaya were to decide to become exclusive with one of her partners, she would also be considered to be dating that person romantically.
It gets a bit confusing because the word ‘dating’ has shifted in meaning over the years. Wikipedia, “While the term dating has many meanings, the most common refers to a trial period in which two people explore whether to take the relationship further towards a more permanent relationship; in this sense, dating refers to the time when people are physically together in public as opposed to the earlier time period in which people are arranging the date, perhaps by corresponding by email or text or phone. Another meaning of the term dating is to describe a stage in a person’s life when he or she is actively pursuing romantic relationships with different people. If two unmarried celebrities are seen in public together, they are often described as “dating” which means they were seen in public together, and it is not clear whether they are merely friends, exploring a more intimate relationship, or are romantically involved. A related sense of the term is when two people have been out in public only a few times but have not yet committed to a relationship; in this sense, dating describes an initial trial period and can be contrasted with “being in a committed relationship”.
On the contrary, there are those who, at the thought of latching oneself to another human – be it romantically, sexually, or even both, are instantly turned off. To them, thinking about a lengthy period of time where they’re to subscribe sexually and/or romantically to just one other, is about as appealing as bearing witness to projectile vomiting. Therefore, as a form of protection they form connections that, for them, are just skin deep. You might at this point be wondering, “does this even work?” or querying if happiness is a “thing”, thing, or just a fleeting “thing” in these situations. It could just be that these folks know that for them, the traditional, one man to one woman relationship type is an absolute no-go. Therefore, they choose to engage in relationships that bring them full sexual satisfaction as opposed to occasional sexual satisfaction along with feeling bad about their desires outside of the relationship.
The ability to have sex with as many people as one would like and be open about the sexual things they like without feeling any guilt, judgment, or shame is known as sexual liberation. In the early 2000s, it was referred to as hook-up culture, and in 1964 it was referred to as “permissiveness with affection”, or the belief that love excused premarital sex. Today, such a notion can best be described at best as antiquated. For folks born after 1980, according to TIME magazine, “the most important sexual ethic is not about how or with whom you have sex, but open-mindedness.” In today’s society, “love is no longer a prerequisite for sexual intimacy; and nor, for that matter, is intimacy a prerequisite for sex.” In society back then, it was understood that yes, sex occurred. However, the sex seen as acceptable was between married couples and always between a man and a woman. Not surprisingly, sexual freedom was heavily craved and would take the form of lots more sex, free of inhibitions and with whomever you liked. In more familiar words: Sexual Liberation.
The words sex and loneliness sound weird together and even feel odd being paired together but, here we are. Such feelings can force couples to tap in sexually with another or possibly, others. Word to the wise, sexual loneliness is a real thing. Let’s see, take this online user’s (OU) relationship with her now ex-girlfriend into consideration. Three words, one horrible meaning: Lesbian Death Bed. When they got together, like most couples they were completely locked in sexually, absolutely engrossed. The OU, heavily associated with ‘The Roots Of Loneliness Project’ series, shared, “As the months turned into years and novelty shifted toward predictable familiarity, our sexual attraction and routine became stagnant, leaving us both unhappy yet codependent. Though we still both desired and enjoyed one another’s company, we were unable to find enough time and desire to devote to our waning sex life.” Let’s talk about it. Sexual loneliness is a type of loneliness that comes about during extended periods of sexual frustration or isolation. The root cause of sexual loneliness is “When our sexual needs are not met, we’re left feeling frustrated and alone.” Upon conducting further research, factors contributing to sexual loneliness are sexual frustration, unsatisfying sex, sexless marriage or relationship, lack of sex drive be it yours or your partner’s, partner’s unavailability, pain and STIs. To be noted is that regardless of your relationship status, whether it be married, single or partner-focused, sexual loneliness will strike, as it does not discriminate. Humans are sociable creatures who crave comfort therefore, sex without strings attached is an all-round good time. To be noted, Bed Death can happen in heterosexual relationships as well.
Despite the prevalence of monogamy, a gigantic portion of humans are pretty obsessed with having sex with people other than their partner. Psychologist Justin Lehmiller asked 4,000 Americans to describe their sexual fantasies for his book Tell Me What You Want. Turns out that having a threesome is the most popular fantasy, by some margin. I mean, what is a threesome if not consensual non-monogamy which gives all partners explicit consent to engage in romantic, intimate, and/or sexual relationships with multiple people? This should not be confused with infidelity as this sexual encounter is one of pure consent. Now, let’s be honest for a second. Crushes creep up on us, sexual fantasies do too, and candidly speaking, the urge to act on them is strong. The thing is, most times, said fantasy and or feelings aren’t about one’s current partner. Time after time, these urges and feelings aren’t paid any mind because ‘I’m in a relationship’ and it’ll be cheating. For some, that is completely off of the table. The fact of the matter is that these feelings, if not addressed, encourage the person to choose to not be exclusive with their partner, since that would make it easier to act on what they feel without being in the wrong.