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Every human- woman or man- dreams of open relationships. According to various studies, estimated one among five Americans involves in an open relationship.
In some parts of Asia, open relationships are extremely common while in a few societies, they are an accepted practice. Yet, some cultures frown upon an open relationship.
Similar to every other human tie, open relationships are also rife with pros and cons. Every relationship has a psychological, physical and material impact on human, regardless of their location, age or gender.
The practice of open relationship is nothing new. Ancient Indian mythology states that Hindu deity Lord Krishna had some 16, 108 wives.
Ancient Indian scripture Mahabharata that dates back to around 10BC speaks of the open relationship between Draupadi and the five Pandava princes who “shared” her as a common wife.
In Judaism, the Torah (Old Testament in Christianity) speaks about Abraham having a relationship outside wedlock with Hagar but with due consent by his wife Sarah.
Despite extensive debates, it is well known that Islam permits men to have as many as four wives.
It is thus evident that open relationships- in some form at least- prevailed since ancient times and had the religious sanction of sorts.
In modern times, where spirituality seems relegated to the backseat, if not boot, open relationships have been classified as non-monogamous, polyamorous and other esoteric terms.
#2. Pros and Cons
These classifications, however, serve no purpose. An open relationship simply means having sexual intimacy with one or more partners, without strings attached. It can occur within a family, household, social circle of the public at large. Therefore, we look at the benefits and flip sides of open relationships.
#3. Nymphomania and Satyriasis
Nymphomania and satyriasis are now defunct terms that describe a physiological condition called hyper-sexuality.
It affects women and men. Hyper-sexuality is generally a result of excessive hormone secretion that impacts the brain and leads to an uncontrollable urge for frequent sexual activity.
Persons afflicted by this disease have two options- vent their lust or fall victim to severe psychiatric disorders.
There are no known treatments for hyper-sexuality: it involves suppressing libido with strong psychiatric medicines, chemical or physical castration for men.
For persons suffering from hyper-sexuality, open relationships serve as a mean to satisfy abnormal desires without indulging in heinous crimes like rape and pedophilia.
#4. Financial Wellbeing
In some communities of Asia, women and men have more than one sexual partner to ensure financial well-being.
Rather than enter marriage, they prefer open relationships within a closed group. Members of the group meet financial needs of the person- whether female or male- in return for intimacy.
While financial stability to some degree is assured, it can leave a person engaging in such open relationships prone to severe mental trauma or physical abuse: it is humanly impossible to satisfy everyone within a group on any given day.
#5. Continuum of Marriage
Open-ended relations between a married person and another of opposite gender can help save marriages.
However, open relationships are useful to save a marriage only when the two spouses are firmly committed to one another.
This type of open relationship is beneficial for couples where one spouse is chronically sick and unable to provide intimate pleasures to the partner.
Rather than breaking up, the partner permits the spouse to enter into controlled, open relationship with one or more mate.
Though beneficial in saving marriages, it can render the couple prone to blackmail and exploitation. In some communities, the couple may also be ostracized.
#6. Safe Vent For Libido
This is the single biggest reason for open relationships. Women and men look for satisfying carnal desires without cumbersome marriage and with multiple partners.
Understandably, such open-ended relationship is very enjoyable. Those who enjoy it experience the exuberance of meeting and dating new partners frequently, without the need to stay committed.
Most people dream of such open relationships but few actually venture to find them. While these kinds of open relationships may work wonders for self-confidence, they can spell disaster for a person’s mental wellbeing.
Taking too many contraceptive pills and intimacy with multiple partners adversely impacts reproductive health.
#7. Single Moms
A shocking example about the flip side of open relationships is a large number of single moms.
In 2015, a report released by Department of Statistics of the Philippine government sent shock waves through that country: 53 percent of all children born and registered in the Philippines were classified as illegitimate.
In developed countries, single moms may find some ways and means to earn money and support children.
However, single moms in developing and underdeveloped parts of the world are at a severe disadvantage when it comes to supporting and educating kids born of open relationships. It has severe repercussions on the mom and child, family and society.
#8. Sexually Transmitted Disease
An open relationship is the single largest contributor to the global pandemic of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections and resultant Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Though medical practitioners recommend using condoms, it is well known that these contraceptive devices have microscopic pores that allow pathogens to pass.
There are instances where people have contracted HIV due to faulty condoms or wrong use.
Due to grey patches in medical science, HIV infections can take as long as 90 days to detect.
Those with multiple partners will also be unable to identify from whom they acquired this deadly virus. Worse, they end up spreading it to others.
Additionally, open relationships also render a person prone to other sexually transmitted diseases of relatively lesser severity including gonorrhea and syphilis, among others.
#9. Societal Stigmas
Regardless of how permissive a society, persons engaged in open relationships tend to be frowned upon.
They are considered as careless and irresponsible members of the society. In some communities, they can face ostracism when their adventures come to light.
In such cases, persons in open relationships may find themselves isolated and left with few or no friends. They can also be barred from jobs and will not receive invitations to weddings, parties and other social events, due to suspicions over their character.
Even worse, they may find themselves on the wrong side of the law, should any partner complain of harassment or sexual exploitation.
Open relationships can result in the worse nightmare for any human- destitution. Generally, enjoying open relationships is possible only till a specific age.
This is due to physical limitations of the human body. People lose their attractiveness and charm as they age.
Hormonal change causes a dip in libido. As people mature in age, they find it increasingly difficult to find partners for open relationships. Worse they cannot find partners for a stable relationship such as marriage too.
Bereft of any relatives, people who engage in open relationships suddenly find themselves lonely and destitute, with nobody to care. They are forced to spend the remainder of life alone unless lucky enough to find a partner.
#11. In Conclusion
Open relationships are increasing by the day. The phenomenon is not alarming or worrying as long as a person knows where to draw a line between open relationships and marriage.
As we have seen, it is impossible to continue open relationships with any woman or man without a few inherent risks.
However, for those who can limit their desires and rise out of open relationships, it is possible to get married and thwart financial problems, loneliness, and destitution.
There are dozens of match-making agencies and matrimonial websites that facilitate people of all age groups to find suitable, life partners. Some of these websites are free while others charge membership fees.
Nowadays, it is also possible for women and men to find partners from other countries. Once called ‘mail order’ brides or even grooms, the system now functions in a more legalized manner.
It has found legitimacy in several countries. Open relationships do serve a purpose.
And they also have a flip side. Hence, before entering any relationship it is worth evaluating pros and cons of open types. It can help you enjoy life better and stave off future problems.
My name is Manish Yadav and I’m the owner of the blog "Love Finds its Way". My advice does away with the manipulations and mind games recommended by magazines and the surface level advice of TV gurus… We’ll dive DEEP into the psychology and biology of desire and give you actionable steps you can use today. Over 900,000 men & women have transformed their relationships as a result, and I've been featured in Lifehack, Return of Kings, Menimprovement, Urban Dater, and so on... ...and no... We're not here to play games so you can manipulate your significant other... ...My only intention is to help you and your partner have a healthy and loving relationship by working on your intimacy with each other. And we’re just getting started!
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