3 Signs Your Partner Respects Your Sexual Independence
A hint: it’s not the permission to cheat
The problem with monogamy is that it can easily make you too territorial if you’re not careful.
The longer you spend having sex with your partner, the less novel the sex gets; and yet, the more familiar it feels, the more possessive your ego can grow. Sex is the only thing you two agree to share together, with nobody else involved.
He belongs to me, I used to think about my ex-boyfriend when we still dated. I own his sexuality because I’m the only person he shares himself in this way with.
To a certain degree, this total exclusivity feels nice. It’s beautiful to have something you keep only between yourselves, something that bonds you on the physical as well as mental level, something that makes you feel loved and safe.
But it can also get nasty if you don’t pay attention.
Jealousy, possessiveness, I’ve felt it all — and it never helped my relationships in any way whatsoever. Least of all in the realm of sex.
Tying your partner on a leash and never letting them keep their sexual independence can actually be a huge turn-off and lead to pretty bad consequences. In her book The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, a relationship coach Esther Perel says:
“The prominent sexuality researcher Robert Stoller describes this kind of objectification as an essential ingredient of sexuality — not treating the other as an object, but seeing the other as an independent sexual being. It creates the healthy distance that allows you to eroticize your partner, which is essential if you want to remain sexual with a person who becomes family.”
Seeing your partner as someone who’s always in charge of their sexuality and whose sexuality doesn’t relate only to you is apparently at the core of healthy sexual relationships.
And speaking from experience, I can confirm this theory. My current boyfriend and I keep a very free flow of sexuality between us, and it makes us bond on a much deeper level. We explore each other’s fantasies, tastes and preferences without judgement, without making it all be about ourselves only.
And we’re better for it.
When I talk of sexual independence, am I saying polygamy is the only way to go? Absolutely not.
Am I saying you should let your partner cheat in order to keep their sexual freedom? Hell, no. Having come from a household wrecked by adultery, I hate cheating with every bone in my body.
But am I saying a healthy relationship consists of letting your partner keep their sexual freedom in certain ways?
Here are the signs your partner respects your sexual independence in a monogamous relationship, and vice versa.
Your partner understands you can be attracted to other people
Entering a loving monogamous relationship doesn’t automatically strip you of biological instincts. Sometimes, you meet people you find hot, no matter how in love you are with the person you date.
There are billions of people on this planet. It’s almost impossible for you to fancy one single person in the whole world. The way I see it, you meet your partner, fancy them, fall in love, and decide to choose them every single day.
You choose your partner over dozens of opportunities. You choose them over the hot people, the funny people, the people you’re attracted to as if with a magnet.
Choosing your other half doesn’t erase the fact your body is capable of being attracted to others, though. And there should be nothing wrong with that. My partner and I regularly comment on what people we find attractive, boys and girls, and compare our tastes. It lets us know each other better and have fun at the same time.
When you’re in love, one person can easily define a big part of your sexuality. I know because that’s how I often feel in my relationship. However, my boyfriend and I always keep a fraction of our sexuality to ourselves — we allow ourselves to be sexually independent by accepting our attraction to others and by trusting each other that we will not act on it without permission.
My partner once told me, “If I met someone I fancied, I wouldn’t let my feelings develop.” That’s the kind of honesty I want. Sure, he can fancy people. But he’d never act on it. He’d distance himself from the situation. He’d choose me over a potential opportunity.
That’s how I know he loves me.
You don’t see self-pleasure as cheating
To each their own. Every relationship has slightly different rules, and it’s up to you how you define them.
However, masturbation is personally a big part of my sexual freedom as an individual. It should be allowed not only when your partner is gone, but even when they live with you and are always there to have fun — because sometimes, you just want time to yourself. You want to make yourself feel good on your own.
And that’s okay.
People who hate it when their partner masturbates say things like, “Aren’t I enough for you? Don’t I make you feel good? Why would you engage in sexual acts without me?”
Well, these people usually have self-esteem issues. Their fear of not being sexually satisfying enough translates into forbidding you from enjoying your sexuality in any way independent of them, which can lead to lots of suppressed anger from both sides. A partner like that needs you to prove to them that they’re worth it.
That’s definitely something to work on. A sexually healthy and confident partner knows their worth and doesn’t use you to boost their self-esteem. All they care about is mutual pleasure, which is the main point of sex anyway (well, apart from reproduction if that’s what you’re after).
Masturbation is an act of self-love. Of relief. Of enjoyment. It’s unique in its own way and your partner should know it’s not any better than having sex with them — it’s just different.
It’s your own body. It’s okay to touch yourself however often you want.
You explore fantasies together
And tell each other about them. Sexuality is such a broad spectrum with regards to everything, and it’d be a shame if you didn’t let your lover see that side of you and learn from it.
A monogamous relationship is the perfect space for trying out sexual fantasies because you feel comfortable with each other. You know you’re baring yourself to accepting eyes, to kind words, to no judgment. Sharing your fantasies can bind you on a brand-new level and raise the sexual satisfaction in a relationship because you feel free to be yourself in any way possible.
My boyfriend and I always talk about our fantasies. And not only after we masturbate — we discuss them after sex as well. Sometimes, we’re in our own heads during sex, spinning strange fantasies where we’re the main leads but in different situations and roles.
“What did you imagine?” is a common question after sex. We’re not scared to admit we’ve added a hint of taboo or strangeness to the sex in our minds, and we’re always curious to discover more about each other.
Sharing your fantasy together and role-playing is, of course, another great way to go.
It’s completely okay if you’re not up for sharing your spouse with others in sexual ways. I love monogamy and I cherish what I have with my boyfriend. No matter if we ever try out threesomes or something similar, having sex with each other only is always going to be a beautiful experience that I treasure.
But I also think our sex life is so great because we allow each other to remain sexually independent beings even though we’re monogamous. This lets us remain free in ways that count, as well as keep the excitement alive.
Perel asks in her book:
“Is it possible to stay alive with a life partner? Can we experience the otherness we crave in the midst of familiarity, and what does it take?”
It takes healthy sexual independence. It takes space, a tiny bit of space, to keep to yourself. It takes trust and confidence.
Most of all, it takes love. Because when you love your partner for who they are, you accept their sexuality doesn’t belong to you. It’s theirs and theirs only.
There’s freedom in that realisation, too.