Many of us have heard details of someone we know having sex outside of their marriage, but what if their partner was okay with it?
In fact, research has shown a growing number of Americans are living non-monogamous relationships.
According to an academic study published in 2016, as many as four percent of the population is currently living a consensual non-monogamous lifestyle. In addition, 20 percent have tried it at some point in their lives.
But what about here in Lubbock? We were approached by a group of people practicing one type of non-monogamous lifestyle and they wanted to share their story. Their identities have been hidden to protect their privacy.
“We somewhat have a secret society where we have our own private ventures that we keep away from the public,” one said.
While Lubbock may be a socially conservative area, there’s a group of singles and couple’s living a secret life behind closed doors.
“It’s an interest like any other interest outside your home that you do together,” one person said.
According to the group, while swinging may be something you might shy away from — for many of them, it has helped open up their relationships both physically and emotionally.
“If I’m standing here telling my wife she is the sparkle in my eye and is my queen and you are constantly telling her you love her then there’s no way it should be jealousy there because she knows that you are there for her and the rest is just a playground, you play and then you go home,” one person said.
“You’re causing yourself to take a step back when really and truly if it’s something you desire if it’s something that interests you why reserve it out of fear? Where’s the trust and communication there?”
“When you experience other people, you learn new tricks that will bring spice into your bedroom,” one said.
This group said they meet in a private space where they are legally allowed to gather, but that doesn’t mean they don’t live in fear of judgement.
“Society is very judgmental, that’s really the bottom line your friends and family may not be the ones looking down on you, but when you’re out there in your workplace or at your kids soccer game it can be a stigma so you want it to not affect your kids of course and not affect your workplace,” one person said.
There are no protections against discrimination in the workplace over sexual preference in the State of Texas.
“We just want people to see we are just regular hardworking people, law abiding citizens, we’re not scary people,” one person said. “We’re still normal people like you can friend us, they may actually see that what we do in our private time may help them in their life.”
Dr. Joe Currin, a researcher on sexual behavior and sexual health at Texas Tech, said there can be real consequences from living with that stigma.
“It negatively impacts them to the point that it can negatively impact how they do their job, how they feel about themselves, and with so much stress because of that it can affect them mentally and physically,” Currin said. “That’s probably why they don’t share that because they are worried about that negative wave coming back at them.”
Currin said this type of non-traditional relationship may not be what you would expect to find in Lubbock.
“If someone has a desire like in this case to have a non-monogamous relationship we don’t know all the things that go on in the brain that helps people form their sexual desires, but we know that there are different structures that dictate that,” he said.
Both Dr. Currin and the people we spoke with say communication is key to a healthy and long lasting relationship, regardless of your views on monogamy.
“It’s made us closer on a certain level I’ve never experienced before,” one person said.
“I don’t know how you’d build a relationship not built on solid communication, open honest being truthful with each other,” another person said. “When relationships don’t work out you see it’s come down to a level of hey there was a communication break somewhere.”