4 Reasons Humans Are So Bad at Sexual Monogamy

Well articulated


As a culture, we love monogamy. But is it counterintuitive to our nature?

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Where Fantasy Meets Reality

We all have sexual fantasies.  But are there some that you want to keep in the realm of fantasies? And others you would like to act on?

I have always believed that most of us have a pretty broad range sexual fantasies.  These are the various scenarios we allow to play out in our minds while we masturbate.  Or the scenes in porn that intrigue us in surprising ways.

But for many of these fantasies, perhaps even the majority, we would to act on them.

Is this true?  I discussed this with friend and his wife the other night. He certainly felt this to be true.  He was shy about getting into the details, but he said that he had many masturbatory fantasies that he had no interest in realizing.  I feel the same way, but it made me wonder why.  If I am intrigued by something erotically, why would I not want to act on it.  I can think of a few likely reasons:

– sexy to fantasize about, its just not fun in real life – for many, BDSM falls clearly into this category.  BDSM is extremely popular fantasy, including the punishment and pain elements of BDSM.  But for many people I know who are into this fantasy, the idea of inflicting or receiving pain in real life has no appeal – erotic or otherwise.

– sexy to fantasize about, too risky in real life – think sex with a stranger.  The idea (especially for women I believe) is really intriguing, but in real life they would consider it just too risky.  Fair point.

– sexy to fantasize about, but just really unappealing in practice – I had a girlfriend once who was intrigued by water sports (pee play). She said she fantasized about it often and masturbated to the fantasy.  Like a good boyfriend, I agreed to engage in a little light water sports play.  Lets just say the reality did not live up to the fantasy.  In real life, she just thought it was gross being peed on.  Afterwards, she said she still liked the fantasy, it just didn’t work for her in real life.

In my mind, these are all very legitimate reasons not to act on your fantasies.  The one obvious one I did not mention on the list was what I would bet is the most common reason people do not want to act on their fantasies – they fear their partner’s reaction to the fantasy.  I think this is a shame.  The couple I mentioned in the introduction, where he said he had many fantasies he would not want to act on… I am positive that his reasons for not wanting to act on them is a fear that his wife would not approve… he is not even willing to disclose the fantasies.

IMHO, the ability and willingness to disclose your fantasies to your partner and have an open and honest conversation about whether you would want to act on some (or all) of them is a key factor in a happy and evolving sexual relationship.  It can be tough, but its worth it!

Sexual Permissiveness With Your Kids

Nothing forces you to reexamine your sexual beliefs like children.

I had coffee last week with an old friend whose daughter is now in University.  She has just arrived home for the summer and, of the first time, has a pretty serious boyfriend.  His daughter – a great kid – has been anxious to discuss the ‘rules’ for her, living at home for the summer. Can she stay at his place? Can they both stay at hers, and if so who sleeps where?….

I remember discussions with this friend when we were younger.  When he had just had kids.  He was adamant that he would be the sexually liberated parent.  He was pretty sexually open himself, and he was firmly of the view that kids would be having the sex they wanted one way or the other… so better to be open about it. He said he would be ok with his kids having boyfriends or girlfriends sleep over in the same bed. He would do the birth control talk… all that stuff.

Flash forward to he and his 18 year old daughter.  He can’t even discuss it with her. When the issue of the ‘rules’ for the summer came up, he bolted.  He said he completely froze and avoided the topic.  How daughter has bene home a week now and has tried to talk about it twice.  He has changed the topic both times.

I asked him whether he knew if she was sexually active while she was away. He said he deliberately never thought about it.

I told him that I was really disappointed in him.  Sticking your head in the sand is a no won scenario.  Whether you want to be strict or liberal, you at least need to show that you are capable of engaging with your kids on the topic of sex.

He’s disappointed in himself too, but he’s not sure how to get past it.  All I could tell him is that he better figure it out soon.. the summer clock is ticking.

Is Bisexuality Coming Out?

Is bisexuality coming out of the closet?

I had an interesting discussion with one of our old babysitters who is now away at college.  She told us that she was surprised at the number of people at her school – men and women – who were open and comfortable with their bisexuality.  I don’t think I knew a single person when I was in college who was bisexual and out; whereas now it seems to be quite common.

The fact is (or seems to be) that a great many are bisexual.  A famous sexual response study showed that almost 70% of women and 30% of men were sexually aroused by same sex images. While this does not indicated they are all into same sex relationships, it is very strong evidence that they have erotic associations with those of the same sex. From this, we can infer that they are somewhere along the bisexual spectrum.

A quick word on this notion of that bisexual spectrum.  It has been known for some time that we are not simply gay, straight or bisexual. For those who are bisexual, there is a spectrum of, roughly put, how bisexual they are.  The spectrum can be expressed in many different ways, but the simplest way to think of it is as an infinite number of points ranging from almost completely heterosexual (but with some occasional, slight sexual response to same sex) to almost exclusively gay (but with some occasional, slight sexual response to the opposite sex).  Within the middler ground of the spectrum there are  infinite combinations of attractions to same and opposite sex.

The point here being… lots and lots of people are somewhere on this bisexuality spectrum, and I find it fascinating that, at least in this women’s experience, young people are getting far more comfortable owning that aspect of their sexuality.

What If Your Partner Doesn’t Pick Up On Your Sexual Fantasy?

Have you ever shared a sexual fantasy with your partner and been disappointed with their reaction?  Or disappointed that it got no reaction.

We had a strange experience last weekend.  We were having drinks with friends, playing a discussion game that asked your advice in different sexual situations.  That lead to a discussion on what our sexual fantasies were.  The couple we were with (who we know very well and have open conversations about sex quite regularly) were very into the game and discussion, but when it got to sexual fantasied, things became a bit odd.

The ‘she’ of the relationship said that she would share her sexual fantasy with my wife and whispered it in my wife’s ear.  My wife got a huge smile on her face and said that was a great fantasy.  When I pressed them to share, our friend just said “S (my wife) will tell you after… when you’re in bed”.  I tried to get it out of her a few times but she held firm.  Later that night, when my wife and I were alone in our room, she told me about the fantasy.  It was good.. very good.

A couple days later, I saw she woman and told her I loved her fantasy.  She was happy about this but then told me that her husband didn’t even ask her about it.  She was obviously a little put off… she really wanted to tell him… or, more specifically, wanted him to ask about it.  But he didn’t.

She took it in stride, but wasn’t sure how to proceed.  She asked me if I could find a playful way of getting him to engage.  Ideas?

Is This Sexy or Slutty? Dressing For Your Age

As a mom, what is the line between dressing sexy and dressing inappropriately? In the world we live in – pretty conservative, a little judging, but otherwise good folks – it can be pretty grey.

My wife and I were going to start the morning at our local coffee shop. She doesn’t work on Fridays, so she was dressed casually. She put on a a pretty sexy top – it fits tightly to her body, is a bit low cut and has ‘cutouts’ at each shoulder.  By the standard of what many young people wear these days it is downright conservative, but for a 40 year old mom, it is certainly a bit risqué – especially in comparison with what her friends normally wear.

That led to an interesting discussion.  How do you dress so that you feel and look sexy, but within the bounds of what your ‘cohort’ considers acceptable.

A bit about our situation….  We live in (and largely hang out with people in) a neighbourhood that would be best characterized as upper class, politically liberal but in many ways socially conservative. People place a lot of emphasis on things like responsibility, parenting,  professional attainment.  Fun is certainly of secondary importance. My wife and I are pretty tight with the community, but at the same time are slight outliers… deliberately so.  We place way more emphasis on fun (as a family and a couple) and on sexuality (as a couple)  We think this is one of the reasons people tend to find us interesting and intriguing and why they like being around us… but within limits.  We’re not hosting orgies or sunbathing nude on the front lawn.  We try to bring a little spice to the neighbourhood parties, but we’re still ‘fine, upstanding citizens’.

So… back to the problem at hand.  My wife often wonders, how does she dress when she wants to look sexy and and fun, but doesn’t want to create a stir? A few options:

– Fuck ’em – dress exactly how you want.  I respect this perspective, but it’s really not hers (or our) style.  Sure it bugs us at times that our neighbours seem so sexually repressed, but we really don;t want to shock or offend them. They’re good people – they’re our friends – and we honestly don’t to offend them or incur their judgement.

– conform – the easiest thing would be to just dress the way the all dress – cautious, frumpy, borings… But this isn’t my wife’s style either.  She’s proud of her body and her sexuality and, while she doesn’t want to offend, she also likes to push people a bit.

– nudge the envelop – This is and expression I just invented, but it is this is the approach my wife has decided on.

Over the past few years, my wife has accumulated a wardrobe for work and casual (she is a senior executive in a  pretty conservative profession) that is on the edge of funky and sexy. Certainly acceptable, but drawing of attention.  She likes the sense of mystery and intrigue this creates. She likes that it makes people suspect that she may be a little wilder, sexier or more interesting than she appears from her profession or her normal social roles.

On behalf of 40 year old women everywhere, she is nudging the envelope toward a sexier life.

A Reasonable Request – Where Are All the Topless Women

About 10 years ago, there was a series of court cases across Canada that attacked municipal public indecency bylaws; specifically, these court cases challenged laws that made it an offense for women to be topless in public. The court, siding with the women bringing the cases, overturned the bylaws, ruling that the right of a woman to go topless was hers, and not for government to forbid.

Women were pretty happy with the decision, rightly seeing it as a victory over patriarchal discrimination. As a young man, who had not seen a lot of boobs, I was overjoyed. I thought Canadian beaches, parks and maybe, just maybe, even restaurants and grocery stores would be transformed into the French Riviera, overflowing with topless women (maybe even with thong monokinis to accentuate the look).

So where is the toplessness? In the ten years since this victory for women’s right and freedom I have barely seen a single topless woman on a Canadian beach, and certainly never at the grocery store.

When women won the right to vote, there was a rush to the voting booth. As we prepare for the 2015 beach season… Come on….