What Should You Do If Monogamy Isn't Working For You? 7 Ways To Be Monogamish With Your Partner

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Many people are taught that being monogamous is the only way to be in a relationship. If they're aware of any other possibility, it's polyamory. But what if monogamy and polyamory both fall short for you? What if the thought of your partner seeing someone else makes you jealous, but the thought of not being able to see anyone else makes you feel suffocated? Fortunately, you don't have to settle for either one. You can enter the middle ground of being monogamish.

Monogamish couples aren't in full-blown open relationships; what they can do with other people is limited. But they're not completely monogamous either. They may have permission to look at, flirt with, or openly fantasize about others. What exactly they're allowed to do can vary widely based on what they and their partners are comfortable with.

"Most couples exist in the space between absolute monogamy and an open relationship," Astroglide's resident sexologist Dr. Jess O'Reilly, who did a TED talk about being monogamish, tells Bustle. "There are many ways to be monogamish."

Here are a few ways you and your partner might dip your toes into the territory of the monogamish. If you think you might be interested in stepping out of the bounds of pure monogamy, you could try showing your partner this list.

1Fantasize About Others

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Most of us do this anyway. But if you feel ashamed about these fantasies, you may actually be more likely to act on them, says Dr. Jess. You don't need your partner's permission to fantasize about others, but if you want to be open with them about it, you might share your fantasies or simply talk about the fact that you fantasize about other people. For your own sake, just eliminating the shame around your fantasies can help you enjoy them, avoid acting on them, and feel less restricted.

2Flirt With Others

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"In other cultures, shameless and harmless flirtation is a part of their daily interactions," says Dr. Jess. You might even have fun as a couple by flirting in front of each other. Just make sure you're not making the person you're flirting with uncomfortable.

3Go To A Sex Party

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You don't have to participate in sex parties or skip them entirely. You can your partner can go together to just observe other couples and use it as fuel for discussion (and fantasies).

4Take A Sex Workshop

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Visit a local sex toy shop for a sex class, or sign up for a workshop where you'll be in the same room as other naked couples but won't have any interaction with them. This'll provide you with a sexual adventure that involves other people without, well, involving other people.

5Watch A Sexy Performance

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If (and only if) you're both into it, you and your partner can go on a date to a strip club, burlesque show, or other erotic performance and enjoy the show together.

6Go To A Clothing-Optional Resort

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Many people use clothing-optional resorts to have sex in public or pick up sexual partners, but others just go about their daily activities naked. You and your partner can go as far as you're comfortable with, but just being in this setting can spice up your sex life. For a couples-only resort that allows all levels of monogamishness, Dr. Jess recommends Desire.

7Have Sex In Public

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This can be super hot for couples with an exhibitionist streak. While sex in an actual public place may have legal consequences (so join the mile high club at your own risk), sex clubs, sex parties, and sex resorts are often permissive settings for public sex.

Whatever monogamish activities you get involved in, make sure you and your partner agree on exactly what you're going to do beforehand and feel comfortable bowing out at any time if you stop enjoying yourselves.