All Things Re-Considered


In writing our latest blog post, Ginger and the Professor – Revealed, we disclosed that one of the central discoveries in our path to the Swingset was the realization that we would never be able to satisfy all the sexual needs of each other. Our sex life has long been erotic, athletic, and multi-orgasmic. Ginger, like the Kelly Preston character in Jerry Maguire, often exclaims “Don't ever stop fucking me!” She is to the orgasm as Chicagoans are to voting–early and often. And I have always been happy to oblige.

Yet, there are some needs Ginger has that I just can't meet. I'm ok with that. No, actually more than ok with that. All of us in different open relationships, whether swinger, poly, or in some custom-built arrangement, share a comfort level in having another human being provide for our partners. In purely sexual terms, there are certain types of orgasms that Ginger can't have with me. Before opening our relationship, was she happy with the orgasms she was having? Absolutely. Yet, to deny her the pleasures of a skilled woman's tongue or having her mouth and pussy simultaneously fucked by hard cocks? A travesty!

We have actually become quite accustomed in our society to depending on others–in almost every every way other than sex, that is. I know when I was growing up that I was taught that part of the responsibility of having a car was to be able to maintain it myself. So I learned all about engine maintenance and repair. I still remember how it felt the first time I had someone else change my oil. It was like I was cheating. I felt guilty and shameful. I got over it.

Not that opening your relationship is as trivial as getting your oil changed. Yet, it exemplifies how cultural messages define our conception of responsibility, whether explicit teachings or implicit morés. To go deeper, consider how much we depend on others now for basic needs. I'm talking food and shelter. We depend on others for our food supply and for building our shelter. Pretty important stuff. How difficult do you think it was for the subsistence farmer to accept that his wife would be happier eating more than he himself could grow? Is getting past the monogamous filter for sex that much different? Does the cardiac surgeon have difficulty entrusting another physician to do her husband's vasectomy? Of course not. And trust me, there's much more potential for damage to his junk from that procedure than there is when sticking it in another woman's mouth.

In every aspect of a modern life, we've become interconnected and interdependent with others. Every aspect except sex, that is. Most still expect themselves to be everything for their partners in the bedroom.

“If my husband masturbates to porn, is there something wrong with me?”
“If my wife uses a dildo, will she need me?”

And with all of those expectations comes pressure. And feeling insufficient, which may just be the root of all jealousy. It's all internal dialogue. It's all in your head. The problem: you're set up for failure when you head down that road.

Getting outside of this mindgame is as simple as having conversation. For us, this wasn't the serious kitchen table how-do-we-fix-our-relationship discussion. For us, it was harmless fantasy play. I say harmless because we have a simple rule: talking about fantasy and having sex during fantasy talk is without judgment. We wouldn't hold whatever we were inspired to share in a moment of passion against each other. We discussed boundaries, especially in talking about what worked for us during our post-orgasmic bliss. We held the promise of considering each others' fantasies as something to fulfill a desire, not something that was lacking or deficient in ourselves.

The first time I told Ginger “I want to see you fuck someone else” was during a fantasy session. I honestly didn't know if that's what I wanted or not at the time. But after a couple of times observing how hard my cock would get and how wet Ginger's pussy got…well, let's say the answer was right there. Our bodies told us it was the right thing for us. Our minds eventually followed. As we opened up, we've come to learn that wanting all our your partners needs met is the root of compersion, or as some would say, the opposite of jealousy.

Nothing was broken in our relationship. We didn't need to fix it. But we are thankful to have taken the steps we have and learned about ourselves along the way.



  1. Ever since I kicked the habit of thinking monogamously, I've come to believe that one person can't satisfy all of another person's sexual or romantic needs. You're absolutely correct that we've become a society of interdependence. I think cultural pressure created the concepts of "soul mates" and "one true love" that confines so many to relying on one person for physical (and perhaps emotional) satisfaction. These monogamous belief systems have led to some interesting and troubling times in my own relationship.

    My girlfriend, who is wired for monogamy, defines her needs in a way that seems very strange to me. All of her needs that I meet are important, and the needs I can't meet are not nearly as important. She has even asserted at times that she has no other sexual and romatic needs outside of what I provide. I may be wrong, but she never seems to seriously want anything romantic or sexual from anyone else but me (fantasy is okay, but real life is NOT okay—very big line drawn in the sand). At first I thought this was a symptom of her low self-esteem or her intense fear of being hurt by sex (maybe it is; she has suffered from poor self-image and extreme sexual trauma for almost all of her life), but her repeated insistence of contentment with her lot has left me befuddled and curious. Maybe there are some people who really don't want anything from anyone but their primary partner? It's hard for me to wrap my head around.

    I don't have any problem believing that all of my needs are equally important—even the ones that she can't meet. I can be happy with what I have, but I understand and accept that there will always be someone out there who could add to the richness of my life. It's difficult for her to understand; I don't prioritize like she (apparently) does. What's a poly guy to do when his partner claims that he is meeting all of the needs that she needs to be happy? Discuss, explore, and learn about teach other.

  2. The Professor on

    Thanks for sharing your situation. First, I love the expression “kicking the habit of thinking monogamously.” It’s a succinct way to show that alternative patterns of behavior and thought process are a choice. You also wisely distinguish between the physical and emotional components of the “soul mate/one true love” paradigm. As you’ve identified as poly, the physical and emotional are going to be closely related for sure, but considering them separately may be of value as you work through the relationship. Different needs may relate to the physical component, while others to the emotional, and some to both. When you say that your partner is “content with her lot” it signals that she may prioritize her emotional needs (security) at the top of the list. All needs are not necessarily created equal–that I agree with. Yet, who is in control of the prioritization process? If it’s your religious leader, your mother, the milkman–anyone but yourself–that tells you how it should be…then I have a problem with that. Maybe through all this good dialogue and the no-pressure-it-doesn’t-have-to-go-there-in-real-life fantasy play, she come into agreement with your perspectives.

    It sounds like you are committed to working through these issues, which is great. I feel compelled to point out, however, that your girlfriend doesn’t have to be poly or have other needs in order for you to be poly and have other needs. It sounds like you’ve communicated your perspective with her. Can she accept that you are different from her and that you will continue to love her as you also go out and explore other lovers and relationships? This would be a “V” arrangement and she may have little or no interaction with your other connection. That’s her choice. Can she see that through this, you would be happier and more fulfilled yourself? If not, are you prepared to accept her choices as your own?

    Thanks again for sharing your perspective.

  3. Thanks for the thoughtful response; it provided food for a deep discussion earlier.

    It's most likely true that Dawn (my girlfriend) prioritizes security and safety over everything else. It's also likely that her prioritization process is based upon her previous experiences; most of it doesn't seem to be consciously chosen. We've been working on eroding her barriers, enhancing her boundaries, and mitigating her fears over the past couple of months, but reprogramming more than 30 years of trauma is a long process.

    She and I agreed that it's 99% likely that she'll never have polyamorous tendencies. (She's still struggling to understand the concept of polyamory as more than an abstraction.) She and I are perfectly fine with her not being poly; I certainly don't want her to feel that she must fit a certain mold to have a relationship with me, and she's been working on becoming more comfortable with the idea of me being with others. Part of her struggle is her difficulty with compersion. She has a hard time emotionally accepting me being romantic and sexual with others. Although this is mostly because of her programming, some of the problem is, unfortunately, due to my own poor choices.

    Less than two years into our relationship, I allowed my selfishness to get the better of me and slept with a woman that I really liked but whom Dawn did not approve of. I broke Dawn's trust, ignored her feelings, and in general acted like a complete ass. Looking back now, we see a number of things that we would have done differently; at the time, it nearly ended our relationship. We therefore have a healthy concern over becoming involved in a V-relationship. Although I can see the advantages for me, we don't think it would be beneficial for "us"—at least right now. It's a pretty big step from where we are standing today.

    Because trust and safety are her primary goals, and she doesn't necessarily want to foster a romantic connection with others, Dawn feels more comfortable about the idea of swinging than about the idea of me being poly. I'm content to let relationships be what they are, so both swinging and polyamory have a place in my belief system. Swinging is easier for Dawn to grasp as a "couple's sport", and because we are focused on building our relationship with each other it fits better into the present evolution of our relationship. If we engage in nonmonogamy, we're very likely to proceed on terms that Dawn feels comfortable with first, to build her trust in both me and our other partners. Swinging seems more likely at this stage, with polyamorous relationships (which Dawn has more trouble understanding and accepting) for me later on as our own relationship as a couple evolves.

    (Life does, of course, like to throw us curveballs, so we've discussed the possibility of either of us falling in love with others "prematurely", interesting people who approach us before we're ready for nonmonogamy, and other potential wrenches thrown into our carefully-laid plans.)

  4. We play at swinging and we play at polyamory… both are very different sorts of things, but one thing they have in common (besides not living a monogamous lifestyle) is that it allows us to fill needs that otherwise we would not ever be able to.
    Swinging gives us sexual fun that is much different than what we would be getting day in and day out with eachother. My wife and I also enjoy a few different sex games than each other so we have other partners to play those games with.
    The poly side of the coin grants us the ability to have other types of needs met. Social and emotional for the most part.
    I for example have a girlfriend that is a polar opposite of my wife in almsot every single way. She gives me emotioanl support that my wife doesn't.
    On the other hand my wife keeps me grounded. I am a dream chaser beyond all imagination and so is my girlfriend. We (if a traditional couple) would make a mess of things without my wife as an anchor.
    My girlfriend is cute and sweet. My wife is wild, agressive and a sexual animal.
    You can not have all that in one person.

  5. Being able to accept the fact that you are not able to fulfill all of your partners needs, whether sexually or in any other capacity, is one of the hardest things to accept. Honestly, though, that is a lot of pressure to live up to. And just like you should be able to accept your partners needs to have friends, work a fulfilling job or to want a gourmet meal well above your cooking expertise, it should not be unfathomable to realize that you could not possibly fulfill all of their sexual needs.

    I remember a time after about 6 years together that our sex life ran like clockwork, literally. We fucked at the same time, did the same things and even came together at exactly the same time. We used to pride ourselves that we were so synched that we could cum together every time without fail. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with simultaneous orgasms. It really is only an issue when your partner is multi-orgasmic and you both came together less than 5 minutes after starting to fuck.

    I denied her many, many orgasms. I also had no idea, nor did my wife, that she was a squirter. We learned that a year and a half into the lifestyle. I also could not be as rough with her as she wanted. i tried many many times and just couldn’t do it. And no matter how rough she liked it, she also could not flog the shit out of me like I wanted her to.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong accepting that you cannot meet all of your partners needs. It does not make you less of a man or a horrible wife. It just means you are human.

    Take the pressure off of yourself and your partner and start enjoying your sexuality the way you need to.

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