-Aren’t you ever torn by jealousy?
I was asked this pointed question by a friend of mine over a cold beer one evening. We had been discussing the latest libertine adventure of Aliki and me.
– Of course, there are moments when I am.
His next question was even more pertinent:
– Then why do you do it? Is it not sadistic?
He was not making fun of me. It was an honest question. I know that he is intrigued by the kind of sexual exploration that Aliki and I lead and he is interested in trying it out himself. That made his question even more crucial. It set me thinking.
The truth is that Aliki and I never sat down to make a plan of how we want our sex life to develop. When we met, from the very first day, it was clear that we were sexually very compatible. In previous relationships, this was not the case. So we found ourselves drawn naturally towards sexual exploration. But the limits of our sexual space were only pushed back one tentative step at a time. Possibly because of that, I have never really asked myself the question: why do we do it despite the jealousy?
Pain is so close to pleasure
I have come to the conclusion that the right dose of jealousy is healthy. Before meeting Aliki I admit that I didn’t know the meaning of the word in the sexual sense. So it is with her that I first experienced the sting of the green-eyed monster. Jealousy is obviously partly related to trust: the more you trust a person, the less jealous you are because you know you are safe. There are limits, however. No matter how much I trust Aliki –and I do, with my life- I cannot help feeling pricked when I see her at the centre of attention of other men. Yet, at the right dose, that pain is both sexy and effective. It makes me want and appreciate my partner even more!
What might sound even stranger is that often I get more jealous by somebody kissing Aliki or looking at her than actually doing other things to her. I guess what I mean is that it is the intimate stuff that makes me react. Now, intimacy is very relative. I find deep kissing and fondling more intimate than casual sex for example. So at a recent party, Aliki handling another man did not bother me much. But a guy who kissed her passionately annoyed me deeply. I know that what I have said above counts for Aliki as well because we talk about it regularly after each experience.
Jealousy à la carte
I have spoken to several guys who are in libertine couples and they have all admitted to varying degrees of jealousy. Those with longer experience avow that after a few years they have reached a point where they know their partner so well, that they no longer feel the sting.
That may very well be the case. Aliki and I are, however, unsure we ever want to reach that point. We find it reassuring that seeing each other getting close to other people does not leave us untouched. Jealousy, in a sense, and only in healthy doses, is that element that keeps us sane in an environment where it’s easy to lose oneself in sheer hedonist pleasure.
But relationships evolve and as long as the two people in that relationship evolve in lockstep it should be fine. In ten years’ time, I can perfectly imagine us having decided to give up swinging altogether. Or maybe we will have gotten more into it and notched it up a few levels. Who can tell? What matters is that our sexual space is still strong and healthy.