Relationships have historically been prepackaged – ’till death do us part monogamy. However many people have failed to live within these limits with painful consequences to themselves and those around them. Now there is a move towards designer relationships based on the participants needs and preferences. The move towards conscious sex is bound to affect the relationships we make with each other. This book is a great contribution to that ongoing debate that has seen the equal acceptance of women, homosexuals and now each person’s own unique sexuality.
Written by two people who live in a ‘designed relationship’ for many years it covers and comments on all the possibilities that are currently available. There are reassuring quotes from those who have found the benefits of various combinations. As we have largely inherited the package of monogamy the writers assess its precepts and practices over a long history. They then challenge the misconceptions that have grown up around non-monogamy.
A key issue raised by monogamists is commitment and cheating. This is covered by the need for design’’ to include all the parties consensually. In contrast to monogamists the main issue that polyamorists champion is of honestly dealing with jealousy, which taints so many relationships. In confronting jealousy’s real roots they have discovered a new experience called compersion: ‘taking pleasure in the pleasurable experiences of others.’ Although it sounds like an obvious aspect of healthy love it is severely challenged in close sexual relationships.
There is a good chapter on relationship skills, which have to be so much more attuned when dealing with more than one partner. For those wanting to explore crossing the boundaries of their current relationship there is plenty of advice about how to go about it safely. Overall this is a good guide to how to have happy monogamous and non-monogamous relationships.
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