Open Relationships: A Beginner’s Guide

     “It’s Ok, we’re in an open relationship”  is something that many in the gay community have heard at one point or another.  It seems that more and more gay couples are eager to jump in and give open relationships a shot. Unfortunately, without proper preparation, some end up bombing and exiting after their first outing. 

Preparation is key to a successful open relationship. Here are the first steps to take to ensure a grand opening.
1.Figure out why you are opening the relationship. 
Open relationships can be tricky, and it’s important to have the right mentality and reasoning going into it. Like anything else, there are good and bad reasons to open up. Some people think of open relationships as a way to fix problems in a relationship. That’s like the gay equivalent of “having a baby will save our marriage.” If you are trying to open the relationship because you feel you might lose your partner if you don’t… they may already be lost. 
If the problem is a bad sex life and you are trying to spice things up by opening the relationship, consider spicing up your sex life before you bring innocent people into the mix. Don’t expect other people to improve your sex life for you.  Chances are that it won’t happen, and it might create an unpleasant experience for everyone involved. If you can’t enjoy sex with each other, why would anyone else enjoy it?
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Good reasons may include medical reasons. Maybe one partner has a condition that makes sex difficult or impossible, but still wants their partner to have their needs met. Maybe the relationship is so strong and secure that you don’t feel threatened by the thought of someone else pleasing your partner or the thought of being with other people might genuinely turn you both on. Perhaps you both have decided that traditional monogamy is not right for you, but still want to be together.  
There are many good and bad reasons to open a relationship. The main thing to keep in mind is that a successful open relationship is one that will enhance a relationship, not “save” it. 
2. Decide what kind of open relationship is right for you
Will you be polyamorous and have full-blown relationships with others? A boyfriend swap? Will it be a play together sort of thing? Can you play apart? If playing apart, will it be a don’t ask don’t tell situation or full disclosure?     
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Those are important things to consider. 
3. Set boundaries, timelines, and guidelines. 
What is acceptable and what isn’t?  Will it be all poles no holes? Is kissing acceptable? Rimming?
Discuss every possible scenario and come up with boundaries that you can both agree on. Agree on when and where this is acceptable as well. Will you only do this on special occasions? Leap years? Every weekend?  Will you be able to do this at home or only on vacation? Also, don’t forget to agree on who is acceptable to be with and who is not.
There are some people we might not feel comfortable sharing our partner with and that’s ok. 
Friends? Coworkers? Paid professionals? Will you be able to play with them again or will it be one and done?
4. Prepare to share. 
Now that you have figured out why you want to open the relationship, the kind of open relationship you will have, and have set boundaries, its time to prepare. Confirm that this is something you both want and are ready for. Make sure to reassure each other of how much you love each other and value the relationship. Prepare yourselves mentally for what will happen. One way to do this is through incorporating fantasy talk (“it would be so hot to see you go down on someone”) into your foreplay beforehand. Doing this will let you both get used to the idea and see how you feel. 
Agree on a safe word and safe physical cue to indicate to the other that you have reached your limit and need to stop. Physical cues are excellent as they will be discreet. A light tug on the earlobe could indicate to your partner that you are not comfortable and are ready to peace out.

You are now ready to begin seeking out a third (or more) and make fantasy a reality.

As you venture out, make sure to continue to check in with each other and take care of each other emotionally. Respect your boundaries and safe words/cues. This will build trust and make everyone feel more comfortable, safe and protected.  Check in once more after its over. It’s important to make sure you each know how you feel and what you will be comfortable with moving forward. Lastly, don’t forget to reconnect and do something special just for the two of you.

Cheers to your big opening!


Have an experience with open relationships you would like to share? Let us know on Twitter using@GayBoyBible

Licensed Psychotherapist. Expert in LGBT, Gender identity, Fetishism, Open Relationships. Posting weekly videos on my youtube Channel: Carlos Cavazos ,LPC

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