When it comes to sex and relationships, we as a society have progressed greatly from the relationship rules set by our parents' generation. But despite that progress, open relationships are still often met with a raised eyebrow; the thought process seems to be that the sole purpose of relationships is to fall in love.
At Temptations, a balmy, picturesque sex resort in Cancún, I met a great number of couples exploring their sexuality with like-minded individuals. Throughout the visit, I found that open couples, swingers, and similar non-monogamous unions are as authentic as any other relationship in terms of their bond. Ground rules that prioritize safe sex, partners' feelings, and set boundaries make these relationships refreshingly modern and exceptionally honest.
A study conducted by the University of Michigan analyzed the relationships of 2,000 people and found absolutely no difference between monogamous and consensual open relationships in terms of relationship satisfaction and love. What they did find were lower levels of jealousy and higher levels of trust among those engaged in committed open relationships. The team also found that an individual in an open relationship had more satisfaction, trust, commitment, and love in their primary mate than in their extramarital relationship.
Of course, there are some disadvantages. People in open relationships were found to be significantly less satisfied with and less committed to their relationship than their monogamous counterparts. “Overall, the outcomes for monogamous and consensual non-monogamous (CNM) participants were the same, indicating no net benefit of one relationship style over another,” researchers concluded.
If the idea of open relationships appeals to you (as it does to many), it’s important to enter the lifestyle responsibly. To ensure this happens, Complex spoke with three accredited relationship experts to share their best open relationship rules and guidelines.