How to Spice Up a Monogamous Relationship
Easy ways to incorporate polyamorous practices into your monogamous relationship.
Written byStacey Leigh
A handful of studies have found that non-monogamous couples report higher levels of sexual satisfaction than monogamous couples. The response to this generally has been a lack of surprise, but the reasons may not be what you think. It’s not because we have a constantly revolving door of new sex partners and wild adventures. In fact, most studies show that we are reporting higher levels of satisfaction with the sex we are having with our regular everyday partners.
Some of the researchers have speculated that this is because years of non-monogamy has conditioned us to develop good habits of communication with our partners, especially when it comes to sex and fantasy. As someone in two long-term non-monogamous relationships myself, this theory makes a lot of sense. A lot of the habits of good sex are totally applicable to monogamous relationships, too.
Here are some of the ways we make it work.
We keep an open space for dialogue about our sex lives and relationships.
Nothing shuts down a conversation quicker than a partner becoming reactive or defensive. Because non-monogamous relationships live by their ability to stay honest, keeping an open dialogue is super important to us— in my own relationships, my partners and I have navigated things like sleepovers, non-barrier sex, and evolving agreements about outside casual partners, all thankfully without big fights or drama.
Monogamous couples can develop and maintain this space with each other as well. It doesn’t mean that you have to agree to everything or even most things. But if you have the ability to put anything on the table for discussion, you’re giving your partner the opportunity to share desires with you without fear of receiving judgement or anger.
Foreplay starts outside the bedroom.
Because we don’t share physical space together as much as some monogamous folks do, we need to stay connected in between. We make sure to stay emotionally and sexually connected when we aren’t in the same space, revving each other up until the next time we see each other.
Sex doesn’t have to be spontaneous.
Scheduled sex is anything but boring! Because we’re all adults with busy lives, we can’t usually just pop on over when the mood strikes. But rather than having this make sex feel like a chore on a to-do list, this makes it a sexy time we actively look forward to. And since I have a pretty good idea of when it’s happening, I can do my nails, shave, pick out a cute lingerie outfit, both for my partner and to shift myself into a sexier state of mind.
Find ways to see each other in a new light.
When a lot of new couples open up, they’re surprised to find that their desire for each other actually increases. One of the reasons for this is that they’re looking at their own partner through the eyes of other people. Remember how they stopped you dead in your tracks when you first started dating? When you open up, you’re reconnecting with that fresh, newness of them again.
This doesn’t have to mean actually putting yourselves back on the market though. This can be finding a way to connect with that side of your partner. Maybe dressing up a little sexier on date night and meeting up at a single’s bar or dance club where you can see other people checking out your partner.
There are all kinds of kink.
The non-monogamous and kink communities aren’t necessarily the same, but there’s a lot of crossover. Even if pain isn’t your thing, there’s tons of kink elements from dominance/submission to tickle torture to erotic massage. Check out a few kink community listings in your area for munches (these are social mixers of other kinky folks who will be happy to talk to you about what they’re into and give you advice in exploring) or kink events where you can watch different kink practices and get a feel for what turns you on. You can also learn more in virtual and in-person classes.
When non-monogamous people seek out sex with new partners, they’re often seeking that sense of play and joy in sex. Some of this can come down to just re-framing the way you look at sex with your partner. Instead of seeing it as an assumed part of your relationship, try looking at your sex life as a chance to bond and connect with each other through a sense of play.