Does having a threesome mean the relationship is an open relationship?
Threesomes, swinging, and open relationships are terms that are used interchangeably but each term has a specific meaning. Without understanding the meaning of each term it leads to confusion and misunderstanding.
We all know threesome is a broad term meaning three people having sex together and it is used to cover a variety of situations. What many people do not realize is the term implies an encounter whereby the couple remains emotionally monogamous to each other but brings in a third person in order to enhance their sexual enjoyment of each other. This means the term is used ind describing a couple that occasionally participates in the activity and for the most part, has a close relationship.
Swinging is a term, this author feels, is over-used and it has almost become meaningless. The term dates back WWII and it described the practice of fighter pilots who shared their wives due to the high mortality rate but the practice itself dates back to biblical times.
Today, swinging implies a lifestyle choice. This means a couple that participates in having threesomes does so on a regular basis and the practice has become a part of their life. This means the difference between the term swinging and threesome implies the degree to which the practice is a part of the couple’s life.
An open relationship can take on many forms, such as cuckolding / cuckqueaning, menage da trios, friends with benefits, or polyamory. The defining feature of an open relationship versus a threesome or swinging is the couple, in an open relationship, forms a secondary sexual relationship with someone outside of their primary relationship. This means each individual in the relationship, can choose, to have a relationship with someone else. It also means the difference between an open relationship, swinging and a threesome is in an open relationship emotional monogamy is lost.
Defining the difference
This brings up the question, is all swinging and threesomes an open relationship? In this author’s opinion the answer is no. First in a swinging or threesome situation the activity is done together in an effort to maintain emotional monogamy. Second, an open relationship tends to involve relationship formation whereas the others focus on sexual enjoyment instead of forming a relationship. Such a difference means there is a different relationship dynamic at play.
Next, it brings up the question what about a couple that swings or has a threesome but one of the plays alone on occasion. The answer comes down to the reason for playing alone and the frequency. If it is something that is done on a rare occasion and it done for heightening sexual enjoyment then the answer would be it is not an open relationship.
Finally is it possible to have an open relationship while maintaining some form of monogamy? This author believes cuckolding / cuckqueaning is an example where the submissive member remains monogamous and receives sexual enjoyment from their partner’s sexual encounter. The other example is a friend with benefits. A friend with benefits relationship implies there is no monogamy and it is a choice. This means the friends can, if they are not already in a relationship with someone else, choose to remain monogamous to each other.
The terms threesome, swinging, and open relationship describe a relationship based on the frequency of group sex and the extent to which the couple remains emotionally monogamous to each other. Even though each term describes these characteristics, it still means there is some interpretation that must occur. Hopefully by discussing these terms in more detail it will help the reader understand the differences between them.
- Why some couples choose full threesomes (3somes.wordpress.com)
- Threesome Terminology (3somes.wordpress.com)
- Threesome myths (3somes.wordpress.com)
- Having an uncomplicated threesome (3somes.wordpress.com)
- FAQs about cuckolding (3somes.wordpress.com)
- Where do negative feelings after a threesome come from & how to address them (3somes.wordpress.com)
- Are ‘Open’ Relationships Also More Open to Communication, Trust? (atlantablackstar.com)
- Problems with quid pro quo as a negotiating position for threesomes (3somes.wordpress.com)
- Debunking cuckold myths (3somes.wordpress.com)
- What are People’s Perceptions of Open Relationships? (psychologytoday.com)