08/14/2014 11:01 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Accidental Monogamy

For years, I've been adamant about the advantages of an open relationship. I've seen monogamy as a viable choice -- but for others. And, without resistance, for the first time in decades, I find myself giving myself fully to just one man.

Monogamy as deprivation --"I'll give up what I want for you..." is not appealing to me. Monogamy as exploration --"I choose to focus my attention on us in order to learn about intimacy and sexual creativity..." is turning me on!

How we frame what we are doing effects our relationship to the process. Negative framing can bring in unnecessary associations with loss and/or limitation. Positive framing opens us up to possibility and potential..

The other evening, the fellow I'm seeing asked me how I thought sexual excitement could be maintained in a dyad. My response was immediate: "We have to be able to bring our 'slut' into the relationship." Too many couples, hetero and gay, get caught in the Madonna/Whore paradox: "Once you are my spouse, my beloved, I can't get down and dirty with you." This is why an upper class European traditionally has two women in his life, the mother of his children (Madonna) and his mistress (Whore). I have renamed these parts Saint and Slut (less charged terms for me). My clients and friends who have continued to have great sex lives with their partners have been able to include both of these aspects of self within the relationship. I'm clear that the 'good man' role that I embody as a group and workshop leader, my Saint, would not encourage a wide range of experimentation in the sack. However, it's a real part of me. So is the sensual and wild creature, my Slut, he who makes sex such a blast -- for me and, hopefully, for my partner.

Monogamy is appealing right now because it's where I can learn something new about myself and about connection with another. I've done polyamory and I enjoy it, but it dilutes the focus. I'm excited about being with my guy as an opportunity to grow and develop.

A satisfying sexual relationship is both emotionally safe and adventurous. Intimacy thrives with familiarity and with freedom to experiment and take risks. I'm in charge in much of my life, for example. Therefore, surrender in sex tests my comfort level and excites me. Ideally, we are flexible and versatile in our roles both in life and in sex. However, we often find ourselves more comfortable or excited by a particular variable -- at least for now.

One of the things that has made sex so interesting for me as I get older is seeing that I can change. An act or role that once left me indifferent, suddenly can look or feel fantastic. I've found that a healthy sexual edge is about embracing authenticity and being willing to be surprised.