An open marriage is “a marriage in which the partners agree to let each other have sexual partners outside the marriage” and it was first used in 1971, according to merriam-webster.com.1
Open marriages are “monogamish” (term by Dan Savage, Host of Savage Lovecast, several sources)2 and a form of “consensual non-monogamy” (CNM),3 since the partners are married without the intent to be exclusive sexually or romantically.
Partners agree on everything from types of sexual activity to accepted levels of emotional attachment to safe sex practices. Every open marriage has a different arrangement.
The sourced articles below provide more information on open marriages.
Footnotes: 1. merriam-webster.com, accessed 9/23/2018 2. accessed on 9/22/2018 3. “The Unique Benefits of a Consensually Non-Monogamous Relationship,” lehmiller.com, 4/26/2017
- Your Complete Guide To Making An Open Relationship Work
“Below, two experts share their thoughts on deciding if it’s right for you, and how to make an open relationship work. They are Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, a sociologist who has written several books on polyamory; and Courtney Watson, a licensed marriage and family therapist who specializes in sex therapy.”
Candice Jalili, thecut.com, 1/1/2018
- We Asked Couples Why They Opened Up Their Relationship
“One in five Americans recently reported that at some point in their dating or married lives, they’d been in an open relationship. But what does it really mean to be open? And how does this conversation come about? Surely it’s not as easy as pausing Netflix and asking, ‘So, um, you want to see other people?’
Or is it?
To find out, VICE chatted with three long-term couples about why they chose non-monogamy, what rules—if any—are involved, and why it works for them.”
Mica Lemiski, vice.com, 5/30/2017
- 10 Things People In Open Marriages Want You To Know
“In the New York Times, Susan Dominus explored the concept of open marriages, something more and more people are doing, but don’t necessarily feel comfortable talking about. Here are some of the misconceptions she breaks down in the course of her enlightening article. …
[1.] Open relationships can mean many things, arrangement-wise. …
[2.] Tammy Nelson, a sex and couples therapist in New Haven, Connecticut, called it ‘the new monogamy’ and even wrote a book with that title. …
[3.] Technology is making open marriages easier. …
[4.] People in open marriages are still judged. …
[5.] However, some people in open marriages are really, well, open about it. …
[6.] Sometimes a third partner can even live with the couple. …
[7.] People in open marriages prize keeping their marriages ‘normal.’ …
[8.] Open marriages make them more open, sexually. …
[9.] Open marriage is an option for people who crave differences in their marriage but still want to be married. …
[10.] Like any relationship, there are pros and cons. …”
Laura Beck, cosmopolitan.com, 5/13/2017
- Is An Open Marriage A Happier Marriage?
“If pressed to find language, the couples might have said they were in open marriages, a phrase first popularized in 1972, with the publication of ‘Open Marriage: A New Life Style for Couples,’ by Nena and George O’Neill. The book, which focused mostly on emotional openness, became a best seller, most likely because of a concept it introduced in three pages toward the end. ‘We are not recommending outside sex,’ the authors wrote, ‘but we are not saying that it should be avoided, either.'”
Susan Dominus, nytimes.com, 5/11/2017
- My Boyfriend’s Married, And His Wife’s On Board
“Back in March, the New York Times Sunday Styles section published a story about the open marriage of the actress Mo’Nique and her husband Sidney Hicks that created such reader interest that, two days later, the paper ran a comment-filled companion piece online. A few days after the Mo’Nique story ran, DirecTV debuted a new show called You Me Her, about a married couple in Portland who start seeing a woman; it was quickly renewed for two more seasons.”
Whitney Joiner, elle.com, 9/14/2016
- Are Open Marriages Psychologically Healthy For Couples?
“Many couples prefer permanent cohabitation, rather than marriage, and may refer to each other as ‘husband’ or ‘wife,’ despite not being formal married. And they are comfortable maintaining this form of relationship while raising children. They may view marriage as not so much a path to happiness but simply a legal contract ‘that doesn’t innately legitimize a commitment’ — and which they don’t need.”
Douglas LaBier, PhD, psychologytoday.com, 3/24/2016
- Real Couples Pull Back The Covers On Their Open Marriages
Gynecologist Draion ‘Dr. Drai’ Burch says desiring sexual partners other than your spouse is natural, though acting on those feelings is optional. ‘People want something new and fresh and hot,’ he says. ‘What happens between two consenting adults is their business. If you do consider additional partners, make sure you protect yourself and have boundaries set from the beginning.'”
Britni Danielle, essence.com, 3/1/2016
- Here’s What One Woman Learned From Taking A Year Off From Her Marriage
“Robin Rinaldi did what many women dream of but few actually do: she took a year off from her marriage and made an agreement with her husband that they could both sleep with other people for a set period. … That’s when she embarked on the Wild Oats Project. Rinaldi and her husband had three rules: no serious relationships, no sex with mutual friends and no sex without condoms.”
Charlotte Alter And Diane Tsai, time.com, 4/1/2015