Some years ago I was in a relationship with a clever, funny, and highly-sexed woman. When we were together (for weeks at a time) we’d enjoy each other four or five times per day on average, though of course the first twenty-four hours after we reunited was always spent entirely in bed. The only breaks were for biological necessities, food, and something to drink.
Our problem was that we were usually separated by several thousand kilometers and neither of us could relocate. Our life pattern was a month or so together, then two or three months apart.
When you’re highly sexed, when your body and mind crave touch and strenuous sexual activity multiple times per day, extended celibacy is a challenge. There are negative physiological implications as well as psychological issues involved. And when you’re intelligent and informed about biology and evolutionary psychology you understand how arbitrary and unsatisfactory the concept of monogamy is for our semi-monogamous species.
We made a conscious effort to face up to the challenge early on, rather than hide behind platitudes about commitment or run away to embrace pop-psych nonsense about sexual addiction.
We resolved our dilemma not by simply agreeing to have an open relationship but by agreeing to a structure that incorporated our personal favorite power dynamic as a way to minimize the problem of distance. We wanted to create a situation where we’d be having sex with other people but in a way that would reinforce our relationship and help us to feel more connected.
Prior to us getting together, my lover, whom I’ll call Colette in order to maintain her privacy, had enjoyed plenty of sex with slightly more than thirty different men over the years but all her experiences had been vanilla. As I’ve always been dominant and a big proponent of variety, it was through me that Colette discovered the pleasures of submitting. We moved slowly, taking little steps each time, but it was clear she enjoyed the freedom that submitting perversely enables.
Our strategy therefore was to make her promiscuity a pleasurable consequence of her submission to me. This is very different from the cliché of the “cuckold relationship” in which the man is humiliated by his partner’s interactions with “better” men. In our case the scaffolding was her obedience to my commands, enabling me vicariously to “control” her sexuality.
Of course, in reality there was nothing to stop her from ignoring me and following her own impulses but because we were agreeing to co-create the situation we both understood what we had to gain by making the attempt and what each of us had to lose by sabotaging it either intentionally or unintentionally. Honest and open communication was our lifeline to each other and we were both committed to preserving it.
Colette created a profile on a well-known website catering to those who want no-strings sexual encounters. She took a bunch of selfies and she asked me to select ones for her to use. The pics were far racier than I’d expected, which told me she was embracing the notion with enthusiasm.
She began to search for suitable partners. As she’d never done this before she was initially nervous but rapidly became highly aroused at the realization there were literally dozens of attractive interesting men nearby, all of whom would be delighted to enjoy her to the full. Within twelve hours of registering on the site she went on her first date and had sex with him all night. One of the rules she had to obey was to thank whoever had her by giving him an excellent blowjob at the very end, and she obediently performed this task with relish.
The next day, after she’d rested, we chatted on Skype and she told me all about her encounter. I was very proud of her for having the courage to expand her boundaries and do something she’d never done before. I also found her account of her experiences highly arousing though, because I’ve never been able to masturbate due to a profound need for real physical and psychological connection, my arousal left me in a rather unsatisfactory state. But it was a small price to pay for the gains, which were her pleasure and our extended intimacy resulting from her sharing.
As she’d been a little trepidatious about how I’d really react, my satisfaction and encouragement reassured her immensely. This strengthened our bond even though by traditional standards we should have been indulging in a trite telenovela drama that would have left us both miserable and emotionally bruised.
As we were both concerned about the risk of accidental attachment, another rule was that she had to find and maintain a minimum of ten different lovers and never have dates with any one of them more than twice a week. On my side things were rather more complicated because whereas most men are very happy with an occasional no-strings encounter most women in the USA are conditioned to want much more wooing and emotional connection and exclusivity. This meant that I had far fewer opportunities and far larger hurdles to surmount.
There are classes of problem in life for which there are no perfect solutions and the male/female imbalance for casual sex is definitely one of them. Still, I was fortunate enough to encounter a small number of women who were looking for relief outside their marriages or who were between serious relationships but still wanted their sexual needs to be met.
So whereas Colette could enjoy sexual encounters most nights of the week, I had to make do with once or twice a month. Our compensation mechanism was that I had “control” over how many guys Colette would sleep with each week. On Sunday we’d review her work schedule and I’d tell her how many men I expected her to take that week. She’d happily comply. She loved having so much sex and loved even more the fact that I wanted her to be as fulfilled as possible. The fact that she was doing it “under orders” made it easy for her to accept her sexuality and gave every encounter a delightful tinge of naughtiness. Meanwhile I had the feeling that I was still central to her life despite being so far away. After each encounter she’d either give me the details during a Skype chat or send me a lengthy email. I did the same for her in turn.
As she became more and more accustomed to frequent sex with new partners, I encouraged her to push her boundaries a little. On one occasion I commanded her to arrange things so that she’d have sex with a dozen different men between Friday afternoon and Monday morning. Amazingly, thanks to some astonishing scheduling and logistics work, she actually accomplished this. When we chatted on Skype mid-day on the following Monday she was radiant and told me she felt as if she was floating high above the world on a cloud of pure bliss. It was something she’d never have dreamed of doing had I not instructed her to do so, and the result was highly beneficial. Sadly, we were never able to repeat this incredible feat of complex scheduling but it remained in her mind ever after as one of the best experiences of her life.
It’s worth making a few points now because a lot of people won’t easily understand the situation and will likely read into my account their own anxieties or misconceptions.
“What about the risk of STDs?” According to a CDC report about a decade ago, if you’re a middle-class professional with a health plan and you only have (unprotected) sex with other middle-class professionals with health plans, your lifetime risk of contracting an incurable STD is three times less than your lifetime risk of being struck by lightning. While Puritan America uses the fear of STDs as a way to make people anxious about sex and therefore refrain from it or spoil their enjoyment of it, the reality is that actual risk under the stipulation above is miniscule. We’re far more likely to be killed or badly injured while driving to a date than to be harmed from the exchange of bodily fluids after we’ve safely arrived. And of course there are always condoms even in the most benighted parts of the USA.
“What if some of the other guys have bigger cocks?” There’s a myth that a woman’s vagina is like a lump of clay: if you poke a small hole in it, the clay retains that hole and if you poke a large hole in it the clay retains that larger hole. In reality a woman’s vagina is an elastic marvel, capable (if she’s excited enough) of accommodating extremely large penises and later contracting back down to derive nearly as much sensation from much smaller penises.
As my penis is of average size (around 6.25 inches erect and average girth) I can either choose to live my life in a state of anxiety about larger penises or enjoy the fact that for the vast majority of women I’ve been fortunate enough to have been intimate with, my penis has been more than sufficient to provide pleasure as part of the overall experience. As one lover said to me many years ago, “A huge cock is terrifically exciting the first few times but after a while it’s just a cock. But you get inside my head and excite me in ways no other man has ever done. And your cock is always so hard, always so ready even after you’ve just cum, that I feel beautiful and desired and incredibly sexual every moment I’m with you.” I can live with this.
“What if the guy’s a creep? Isn’t it dangerous to go out and fuck strangers?” Colette quickly developed some heuristics. She didn’t respond to men who messaged her on the site, but instead reached out to likely candidates based on the quality of their profiles. She consciously selected men whose profiles were well-written and balanced. Then she’d exchange some messages and look for cues like reasonableness, patience, confidence. Men who were too eager or too excited or who bragged about their amazing sexual prowess were consigned to the trash mailbox.
For the first meeting Colette made sure always to choose a place like a restaurant or coffee shop so she’d have time to evaluate the guy. If she liked him, they’d quickly go back to his place and get down to business. If she didn’t like him, she’d politely decline and leave. These rules were made clear to each guy in advance and Colette had a large gay male friend on call who could show up quickly in the unlikely event a guy would want to press his case. He was never needed.
Our unlikely arrangement lasted nearly two years, during which time Colette had extremely pleasurable encounters with well over a hundred different men and not a single one made her feel badly about what she was doing or made her feel threatened in any way. Most relished the situation and enjoyed the “naughtiness” factor. Because her screening process was thorough, the men she met and bedded were intelligent, thoughtful, self-controlled, and good lovers. She learned a lot of new things about having sex and about her body’s ability to respond to novel kinds of sensation. She brought this learning back into our bed during those times we were together, so everyone benefited.
In general, she found black guys were reliably better lovers than Caucasians or Hispanics because they were more relaxed; there’s a neurosis about sex in the US zeitgeist that somehow black men have been able for the most part to avoid. But Colette also enjoyed some very good white and Hispanic lovers too, so as always generalizations aren’t entirely reliable.
On my side of things, although I had far fewer encounters with far fewer women, those women I did spend time with were likewise intelligent, balanced, thoughtful, funny, and highly sexed. Two even expressed a desire to have threesomes with Colette and me the next time Colette was in town but for various scheduling reasons this never occurred.
So what happened? Did either of us meet “the one” during any of these encounters and thus sunder our own relationship by accident?
No. In fact we were finally able to arrange our lives so that we could be together permanently and we had a wonderful couple of years before it became clear that for reasons of temperament we were better off as friends-lovers than as a traditional couple. We loved and appreciated each other too much to want to compromise each other and limit each other.
To this day we’re close friends and cherish the role we each have in the other’s life. I doubt we could have arrived at where we are today if we hadn’t had the honesty and communication skills necessary for our unconventional relationship during our long months apart.