Sexual exploration | Setting ground rules
Setting ground rules with your partner is essential for healthy sexual exploration – as is revising them
Carefully discussing common ground rules with your partner is vital for sexual exploration. However, ground rules change as relationships evolve, and this is OK too. Xander and I experienced this first hand. One of our first ground rules for sexual exploration was never to get sexually involved with friends and become friends with people we see sexually. It worked well for a while, but now we’re reconsidering.
How it all started
Xander and I have been sexually adventurous from the very beginning of our relationship. Before even getting together properly, we were already discussing -and practising to an extent- spanking, tantra and different configurations for threesomes.
I know that this might be counter-intuitive: lovers tend to show their tender sexual side when they meet someone they really like. But Xander and I started on a different footing. This gave us one advantage. We dared to say things we had never been explicit about before. It’s easier to be authentic when there are fewer expectations from a relationship.
How it all changed
As our intimacy and commitment grew, we started expanding our sexual space and discussing our fantasies more in detail. We became closer and we could not pretend it was only about sex anymore. And all of a sudden, the stakes got higher.
Luckily, this didn’t cause us to withdraw from sexual exploration. But it meant that we now needed to establish our own ground rules. Setting these ground rules was a slow process: most of the times it happened through trial and error and after painfully detailed discussions. We have had plenty of heated conversations that left us steaming only to find solace in each other’s arms soon after. But then again, this is the pattern of our whole relationship with Xander. We get excited, we clash, we protest, we exhaust each subject of discussion (and each other), we make up, and then we move forward. Sex talk is not any different. It’s not always easy, but it works. And it’s definitely worth it
Our first ground rule – no involvement with friends
At the time, we did not have any experience in the Lifestyle, and we were both coming from a period of singlehood with only fleeting encounters. So when we started venturing beyond our bedroom, we were tempted to cast for people we already knew. However, even discussing it in theory, brought us face to face with the impossibility of living with such an arrangement.
-Let me get it straight, Xander. You’d consider us having a threesome with your neighbour and then what? I’d have to live with knowing you would bump into her, without me, knowing how well she sucks cock?
It only took a couple of graphic discussions like this one for it to become clear that neither of us would accept any sexual involvement with friends and colleagues. One of the most significant advantages of swingers clubs and the Lifestyle is that everybody knows what they have signed up for. There is no margin for potential interpersonal complications, or at least much less. This is not the case in the social context. Things would become too complicated afterwards -or awkward if the sex was a failure.
…and no social involvement with lifestyle friends
A lot of the people we met in the Lifestyle are particularly exciting and respectful. Yet the idea of seeing them socially somehow worried us.
-F&D are a lovely couple, Aliki, and I would be interested in getting to know them better. But it’d be just weird for me to invite them over for dinner. I wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing him talk to you about their kids and skiing vacations, knowing he’s thinking of how he is going to take you later.
Ground rules change too
Relationships are continually evolving, and ours is no exception. While we are still definitely jealous of each other (and we wouldn’t want it any other way), our mutual trust grows with time. On a recent visit to an Athens club, I was excited to see a Danish goddess going down on Xander, without feeling a grain of jealousy. When I was doing her husband a moment later, Xander felt the same.
Sometimes when you experience something first hand, when you see it with your own eyes, you demystify it and change your mind about it. Xander and I were making up the list of guests for our Christmas party recently. We surprised each other by coming up simultaneously with the names of a few lifestyle friends we would like to invite.
I am not sure this is a line we are prepared to cross yet. Or perhaps ever for that matter. The fact is, though, that we’re finding that our initial objections on the subject are evaporating. We might still not invite F&D for Christmas with the rest of our friends. But it’s not as unthinkable as it was in the beginning.
Where does it go from here?
Who knows where we’ll be 10 years down the line? We might stop swinging altogether or open up even more. Each phase in a relationship is different, and we don’t presume to know how ours will evolve. Right now, we cannot imagine being closed-door swingers or experiencing compersion. This doesn’t mean we cannot see how others do that, though. During one of our conversations, Marie told us how, with her partner, they had good fun opening up and becoming close friends with their Lifestyle circle. As always, we’ll take things as they come.
Your path to sexual exploration
We are curious to know how you have experienced sexual exploration in your relationship. Whatever phase you and your partner are in, what are your ground rules for sexual exploration and how have they evolved with time? You can comment on this post or send us an email.
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