Inside an "Anything Goes" Sex Club

(Photo: Stelladiplastica (C) Medhi,
(Photo: Stelladiplastica © Medhi,

“Those who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.” – Mae West

In this post, we’ll look two alternatives to monogamy: an “anything goes” sex club and living with three lovers at once.

It’s very graphic, definitely not suitable for work (NSFW), and guaranteed to offend most of you.

If you’re chomping at the bit to express mock outrage, please check this out instead. For the rest of you, I’m hoping the below is hilarious and somehow helpful.

Lifestyle design is, after all, about a lot more than work.

And if anything below shocks or appalls you, please ask yourself: why does this make me so uncomfortable? Dig into the discomfort. Looking inward before lashing outward is good for the world.

Now, on to the taboo.


As some of you know, I’ve been conflicted about monogamy for a long time. I love intimacy, but my biology craves novelty…

So, what the hell is a guy to do? There is reality as we’d like it to be, and then there is reality.

This is where Neil Strauss often enters the picture. I’ve known Neil for years. He’s a seven-time New York Times bestselling author, arguably best known for The Game. In that book, he enters a subculture of pick-up artists as a hopeless nerd and comes out able to conjure threesomes on demand.

Not surprisingly, Neil went on a tear of sexual hedonism after his transformation, and many men read his book hoping for the same.

Then… Neil fell in love. Things got complicated once again.

On this blog and in the podcast, he and I have talked about kickstarting creativity and his genius writing process. But at night over drinks, we still discuss what two guys usually discuss: women. The same questions come up a lot:

– Are humans really designed for monogamy? Is it possible or even desirable?

– Should you choose excitement over intimacy?

– If you’re a driven type-A personality, can you really have both with one person?

– Would life be better if you could sleep with anyone you liked at any time?

– What if you could get a hall pass every once in a while?

Neil has spent the last six years attempting to answer these questions, and the result is a brand-new book called The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships. I’ve been reading drafts for months.

This post includes two of my favorite stories from his experiments, adapted and embellished for this blog.

It’s written from the perspective of a male, of course, but many women grapple with similar questions. These are challenging times.

MY SELFISH REQUEST: Please share in the comments what has worked for you! I’m a simple animal living in a confusing world. How have you navigated the above questions?

AND ONE IMPORTANT NOTE (added after much confusion): The below is written by Neil Strauss! It covers his adventures, not mine.

Now, enjoy the debauchery…

Enter Neil Strauss

Several years ago, I was in a relationship with a fantastic person. She was great. Yet I was miserable. I felt trapped. Being romantically and sexually with one person for the rest of my life–at least four decades, barring any cruel twists of fate–made no sense.

First, there was the science: I had interviewed evolutionary biologists, anthropologists, historians, geneticists, and more. I could not find a single shred of evidence supporting the theory that monogamy was natural. And when I talked to a professor who wrote the only major research paper I could find suggesting monogamy was good for civilization, even he admitted, “If humans, just by nature, mated for life and there were a very tight pair-bond, then we wouldn’t need all these marriage customs.”

As Stephanie Coontz, the world’s leading marriage historian, explained when I spoke with her: ”…Now you don’t have to [accept traditional marriage and family as a package deal]: It’s literally pick and choose. Cut and paste the kind of life you want. Family life and love relationships are essentially becoming a build-your-own model.”

So I decided to build my own relationship, and after some thought, this is what I came up with:

  1. It can’t be sexually exclusive, which rules out monogamy.
  2. It has to be honest, which rules out adultery.
  3. It has to be capable of developing romantic and emotional attachment, which rules out being a permanent bachelor.
  4. It has to be capable of evolving into a family with healthy, well-adjusted children, which rules out unstable partners and lifestyles.

Then I started experimenting. Some turned out far better than others. Let’s start with one of the winners.


Everywhere I look while traveling to Paris, I see young couples pushing sleeping children in strollers, carrying blanket-wrapped babies in their arms, hurrying along superhero-backpacked toddlers.

Each family makes me think of Ingrid, the girlfriend I broke up with, and the future I ruined. I wonder what Ingrid’s doing, who she’s doing it with, and if she’s happier living without my wandering eyes and ambivalent heart.

In Paris, however, everything will change. I will finally find the freedom I’ve been looking for.

First, there is Anne, a woman who’s been flirting with me on Facebook. She’s waiting in the hotel room when I arrive. She’s slender and toned, with dirty blond shoulder-length hair, minimal makeup, and boyish clothes. As I approach her, she looks deeply and mutely into me with quivering brown eyes. I take a step toward her, brush her hair aside, and we kiss.

We disrobe. Get in bed. Make love. Spoon. And then she says salut. It’s the first word we’ve exchanged.

Then, there’s Camille, an open-minded Parisian who some new swinger friends made me promise to get in contact with.

“Hi Neil. I’m meeting my friend Laura, who’s American just like you,” she texts. “She wants to go to a great switch club and I promised I’d get in trouble with her. Do you want to come with us?”

“Is it okay if I’m with a date?”

“Dump the girl. There’ll be plenty of dates for you there! And they all want to have sex :)”

This switch club sounds like a goldmine of open-minded single women. The only problem: I want to bring Anne.

“If you have to bring her, use the ‘We’ll just have a drink and watch’ technique,” Camille relents. “That’s how my boyfriend got me there in the first place, and look at me now! The club is by Montmartre. Give me a call after dinner.”

In my monogamous relationship last year, my credo was to say no. Only by saying no to others could I protect Ingrid’s heart. But now, I am saying yes—to everyone, to everything, to life. Because every yes is the gateway to an adventure. Whatever I am heading toward, it is a relationship that operates out of a place of yes.

At dinner that night, I do exactly as Camille instructed. Anne and I are with two women I met on a European press tour a few years earlier: a German fashion photographer and a Swedish designer. They spend most of the meal gossiping about people I don’t know.

“We don’t have to do anything,” I explain to Anne. “Let’s just plan on having a drink and watching, and we can leave right away if it’s lame.”

“I’m a little tired,” she replies, her voice barely audible. Throughout the day, she’s barely spoken. Instead, she’s attached herself to me energetically, gazing at me almost constantly with big, vulnerable, barely blinking eyes. I get the sense that she wants something from me or may already be getting it from me. “Is it okay if I go back to the hotel?”

“Can we come?” the fashionistas interrupt.

“You can go with them if you want,” Anne tells me softly.

It’s hard to read Anne. I’m not sure if she’s legitimately tired or just uncomfortable with the suggestion. “Are you sure it’s all right for me to go?”

“I don’t mind,” she replies.

I study her face to make sure she’s sincere, that it’s not a test to see if I’ll choose her. She appears placid and unconcerned. I ask three more times just to make sure.

“She said you could go!” the German photographer snaps at me.

We drop Anne off at the hotel, and she gives me a deep kiss and walks off. It’s a good sign: Letting your lover go to a sex club alone is actually a much more open-minded feat than going with him. As the taxi speeds away, the German photographer loops her arm in mine.

I’m determined not to wreck this orgy like all the others [Editor’s note: elsewhere in the book].

We arrive at the club just after midnight. I spot Camille instantly. She has long brown hair worthy of a shampoo commercial and skin so smooth and flawless that a metaphor to an inanimate object, like a pearl, would hardly do it justice.

She’s standing with two other women: Laura, her American friend, who looks like a burning candle—long and narrow, with a white pantsuit and a shock of short blond hair. And Veronika, a haughty beauty from Prague with lips like cylindrical sofa cushions, flowing brown hair, an overdeveloped nose, and a tall, thin, sensuous frame that reminds me of the actress Jane Birkin.

“Do we have to put on robes or towels when we go in?” I ask Camille, unsure what protocol is for places like this.

Camille looks at me like I’m crazy. “No, we just wear our clothes.”

That’s a relief. Despite my desire to be open, evolved, and shame free about sex, I’m still not totally comfortable with the sight of my own body. The first time I ever had sex, I was too embarrassed to remove my shirt. And the second and third times as well.

Behind us in line, there’s a Frenchman with a shiny suit and slicked-back hair. He looks like a shady businessman who snorts a lot of cocaine. “Since you have so many girls, is it okay if I come in with you?” he asks.

The club has a rule that all males must enter with a female—and I’m standing there with five of them like a glutton. I suppose this is what I missed when I was dating Ingrid: options, variety, adventure, discovery, novelty, the unknown.

“I don’t know,” I tell him. “It’s my first time here.”

As we wait, Camille and Laura discuss sharing toys, by which they mean boys. “Is your boyfriend coming?” I ask Camille.


“Does he know you’re here?” I’m asking not to judge her, but because I’m curious how their relationship works.

“No.” She smiles guiltily. Clearly, having an open relationship is no cure for infidelity. Almost everyone I’ve met in the scene so far has transgressed even the minimal rules of their supposedly open relationship.

Perhaps the problem with most relationships is that the rules start to become more important than the values they’re supposed to be representing.

Eventually two of Camille’s toys arrive, both in designer jackets and skinny ties. They introduce themselves as Bruno and Pascal. Bruno looks like a clean-cut college athlete, while Pascal, with thin-framed glasses, tight curls, and slow, well-mannered gestures, looks like an intellectual dandy.

Unlike the highly sexualized crowd at Bliss [another sex party], the men and women here aren’t divorced weekend warriors dressed like porn stars. Aside from the slick-haired businessman behind us, everyone here seems young, hip, well dressed, and silicone free. They don’t look much different than the crowd outside an exclusive nightclub. Evidently, after a night on the town, they come here for dessert. As the line starts moving, Laura takes pity on solo slick guy and invites him to come in with her.

“Do you know how I can tell these people are barbarians?” the German photographer says to her friend. “Look at their shoes. I wouldn’t wish a single pair on my worst enemy.”

I glance back nervously and think about ways to slip away from them. But it’s too late: We’re being let inside.

When we enter, a hostess asks us to check our jackets (which for some reason leads to sniggers from the fashionistas), then gives me a card that she explains will serve as my tab for the night. Veronika removes her blazer to reveal a loose-fitting backless dress that, when her stride is long, would get her arrested. “She will be my first fuck tonight,” Pascal tells me confidently as I stare mutely at the tan expanse of Veronika’s back.

We walk downstairs to an empty, low-lit dance floor dotted with stripper poles. The twenty or so people in the room are clustered against a bar, drinking away their inhibitions. Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” is playing. It seems so . . . obvious.

At the end of the anteroom, there’s a black door that leads to the fun. After her friends have drifted into the rooms behind it, Camille takes my hand and offers to show me around. “What about my friends?” I ask.

“They’ll be fine. Are you coming or not?”

I look over and they seem deep in snide conversation, concealing their discomfort by increasing their arrogance. I should invite them to join us, especially since I brought them here. The last thing I want to do, however, is walk around the orgy with them making obnoxiously loud comments about how everyone’s sexual techniques are so last year.

• • •

Behind the black door, Camille and I slowly wander through sunken living rooms and small porthole-fitted chambers, all in copious use, until we arrive at a space that consists of just an enormous bed and a narrow walkway along the front wall.

Most of the women on the megabed are completely naked while the men are still wearing dress shirts, ties, and pants. However, their pants are all unzipped or lowered and their junk is hanging out. Dicks are everywhere. Even the guys who aren’t with women are walking around the room with expectant cocks dangling in the air in case someone has a need for them. I’m the only guy who’s zipped up.

In the bottom right corner of the bed, Laura is on all fours with her dress up. Bruno pulls out of her and parks in Camille’s mouth while Pascal, true to his word, fucks Veronika against the wall. She’s standing up, facing frontward with one leg raised and her face flushed, in a pose that, if photographed, would incite a million sticky nights.

I don’t know what to do, how to get involved, or what the rules are.  This is the closest to a free-for-all I’ve ever seen.

So I sit in the empty space on the mattress in front of Laura, who’s still posed on her hands and knees expectantly. “Thanks for letting me come here with you guys,” I tell her, because I feel like I need to say something.

“Is this your first time at a switch club?” she asks astutely. This is probably the stupidest place I’ve tried to make small talk since the last orgy.

“Pretty much.”

As we’re talking, the creepy businessman from outside the club materializes behind Laura and rubs her pussy. Then he scoots under her like he’s repairing a car and starts eating her out.

“Is that cool with you?” I ask her. “I can tell him to stop if you’re not comfortable.” Here I go again: taking care of everyone’s needs but my own.

“That’s so American of you to say,” she laughs.

“What do you mean? How is that American?” I don’t even understand the comment: She’s American herself.

“No one’s ever asked me that before.”

“But I thought maybe—”

“I just want a cock in me.”

This is the kind of woman I fantasized about as a teenager: an indiscriminate one. And more than anything I’ve experienced so far, this seems like free sex–because there’s no spiritual baggage, drug baggage, or even much relationship baggage around it. In fact, there’s no baggage or encumbrances whatsoever, just randomly intersecting body parts. And now that I’m in the midst of it, I’m terrified. It’s so shockingly . . . open.

It’s not society that holds us back, it’s ourselves. We just blame society because not only is it easier but it’s a nearly impossible weight to move. This way, we don’t actually have to change. I thought I was fighting the system, but perhaps all I’ve really been doing is fighting myself.

Meanwhile, the slick-haired guy stops licking Laura and appears to be going for a home run.

I realize this is very crude, but the story takes place in a sex club. What else am I supposed to describe? The chandeliers? There’s nothing going on here but sex.

“Can you make sure he puts on a condom?” Laura asks.

“Okay,” I reply over-enthusiastically, grateful for the opportunity.

I have a job to do now. A purpose. I am the condom police. I watch him carefully to make sure he puts the rubber on. Then I worry that I’m creeping him out. But I won’t be swayed from my very important duty: no protection, no service. That’s right, sir, roll it on all the way. Otherwise I’m going to have to ask you to step out of the bed.

“It’s on,” I tell her with an air of authority,

As he thrusts inside her, Laura’s face swings closer to mine. Now’s my chance, I think, and I start making out with her.

And that’s when I realize: No one else here is making out. How many dicks has she had in that mouth tonight?

So I pull away. It’s time to say yes and unzip. I kneel so that my crotch is level with her head. And sure enough, she takes it in her hands, guides it into her mouth, and starts sucking.

“What do you like?” Laura pauses to ask.

Good question. I like this. What’s better than a blow job? Or does she want more specific instructions? Perhaps they have names for different blow jobs here—the spit-shine, the round-the-world, the confused American.

Like anything, I suppose sexual freedom is a learned art. I still need more experience to get comfortable.

Suddenly, I see Pascal’s head appear over mine. He whispers in my ear, “Veronika wants you.”

It’s music to my ears, especially since things with Laura feel awkward. I know she has an any-cock-will-do attitude, but I have a sneaking suspicion that my cock isn’t quite doing.

When the businessman finishes, Laura makes her escape. But instead of Veronika appearing, Camille kneels in front of me and takes Laura’s place with more enthusiasm. I’m not fully present because I’ve been stuck in my upper head, so I look around the room and notice a woman lying spread-eagled in front of me. I take her hand and start massaging it, and she massages my hand back. I move my hand between her thighs and start playing with her.

I’m starting to get comfortable here. Finally, I’m actually part of an orgy—awake, accepted, alive. I rear up tall and look around. Everyone is fucking and sucking.

Perhaps my previous disasters in CNM (consensual non-monogamy) have actually been necessary experiences to get comfortable at these things, learning lessons on the road to orgy mastery.

Suddenly I hear a guy’s voice exclaim loudly, “Tu es sur ma jambe.”

Nearly everyone on the megabed starts laughing.

Evidently I’m kneeling on some guy’s leg. I slide out of his way and notice Veronika crawling toward me on the mattress. I drink in her unique amalgamation of devastating beauty and awkward innocence, and I instantly harden.

I make out with her passionately. I don’t know why I keep touching people’s filthy lips, but I crave the intimacy and connection more than the anonymous sex. Maybe I am polyamorous—because it’s not just free sex I’m searching for, it’s free romance, free connection, free relationships, free getting-naked-with-someone-you-enjoy-and-who-enjoys-you-and-then-getting-to-know-each-other-even-better-afterward.

I seriously need to gargle with Listerine when I leave this place.

Meanwhile, Bruno has appeared out of nowhere and started having sex with the spread-eagled woman.

I pull back and look at Veronika’s face, and she bites her lower lip in response. There’s so much heat between us and we’ve only just met. I hope it isn’t because she was abandoned by her father (long story).

I run a finger across her lips and she sucks it into her mouth and . . . oh god, I feel like I’m about to . . .

But I don’t want this to end, so I pull out of Camille’s mouth.

“Let me suck you!” she begs.

This is the best night of my life.

I’ve finally entered the world I’ve been reading about in porn magazines and watching in adult movies since puberty. Just as women are trained by the media and society to look for their Prince Charming, men are conditioned to look for their nasty slut. Not for a marriage, but just for an adventure. Both are fairy tales, but a Prince Charming is nearly impossible to find, because it’s a lifetime illusion to sustain. It takes only a few minutes to play the role of nasty slut.

The only thing keeping me from fully enjoying this sexual paradise is the guilt: that Anne is in the hotel worrying, that the fashionistas are angry, and that because I’m liking this so much, it means I’m a sex addict, as is everyone else here. The counselors back at rehab have really done a number on my head. I used to be worried just about sexually transmitted diseases, but they’ve turned sex itself into a disease. And now, any time I’m giving myself over to pleasure, I hear a therapist’s voice in the back of my head telling me I’m avoiding intimacy.

Just as I promised my friend Rick Rubin I’d go all in on addiction treatment without doubt, I need to go all in on freedom without guilt. The answer will become clear over time: Either I’ll hit bottom, as others predicted, or I’ll find a solution that works for my life, as I hope. I need to get out of my head and be present for this experience. And to remember why I’m here: not just to have a lot of sex, but to find my relationship orientation and like-minded partners.

As my eyes meet Veronika’s again, I notice a dick hanging in my peripheral vision like a cloud covering the sun. Its owner says to me in a thick French accent, “All the girls here, they have been sucking your dick.”

“I guess so.”

“Do you like having your dick sucked?”

It seems like an obvious question, but I reply anyway, “Yes.” I try not to make eye contact. This conversation definitely isn’t helping my staying power.

“Would you like that I should suck your dick?”

“Oh, no thanks.” I don’t know why, but the situation seems to call for politeness. “I’m good.”

I suppose if I technically wanted total freedom, I’d let him go to town. But, I realize, the goal isn’t sexual anarchy. It’s that I want the rules around my sexuality to be self-imposed, not externally imposed. That’s the key difference—perhaps in everything.

The goal, then, is liberation: to be the master of my orgasm. I don’t want my partner to own it, which would be monogamy, but I also don’t want the orgasm to own me, which would be addiction.

My new admirer has inadvertently given me a gift. Though he doesn’t say anything else, I keep seeing his dick—on my right side, then my left, then a foot above me—as if he’s hoping that by just dangling it around me, at some point I’ll decide to show my appreciation. That seems to be how things work here. Maybe this is where all the women hang out who actually like it when guys text photos of their dicks.

A Valkyrie with long blond hair and missile breasts clambers onto the bed with her boyfriend. I eye-fuck her to get back into the spirit of the orgy. She holds my gaze. But before I get a chance to do a thing about it, Bruno appears out of the blue and starts fucking her.

I don’t know how he does it. This must be his tenth woman. Suddenly I remember that Camille has been down there sucking me for half an hour straight. I put on a condom, lie down, and move her on top of me.

Camille rides me as Veronika positions herself over my face. I am smothered in woman. If this is happening right now because my mother smothered me, then I owe her a serious thank-you.

Suddenly, a loud, condescending German voice fills the room: “Where is he?”

I tilt my head back and see an upside-down image of the fashionistas standing against the wall, staring into the mass of bodies.

“It’s just like him to do this to us!”

I try to shield myself underneath the women so the fashionistas don’t spot me.

“Let’s just leave without him.”

Their voices cut through the room, killing all sexuality in their path.

“So selfish.”

For a millisecond, I consider stopping. I should probably get back to the hotel and check on Anne anyway.

Then I think, No. This is amazing. I don’t want to stop this. So I’m selfish. Let me be selfish. They can leave and I’ll deal with it later. I’m learning how to take care of my own needs for a change.

In moments like these, the true nature of one’s soul is revealed.

“Let’s switch,” Veronika suggests. This is a switch club after all, so I slide out of Camille so she can swap places with Veronika. However, as soon as Camille’s lower orifice is free, Bruno is in there. The guy never misses an opportunity. I’m sure he’s a great businessman in the outside world.

Veronika slides her body over mine, her skin rubbing against my clothing, her back arched so we can see each other’s faces. I switch condoms and slowly enter her. We move against each other sensuously. Time slows. We fall out of sync with the rest of the club and into each other.

I gaze deeply into the world in Veronika’s eyes and she into mine—and it feels like love. Not the love that is a thought that comes with expectations of commitment and fears of abandonment, but the love that is an emotion that makes no demands and knows no fear. I’ve found, for a moment, love in a swing club.

Connected sex is a spiritual experience, but not in the way new-age western Tantra devotees describe it. It is spiritual because it’s a release from ego, a merging with the other, a discorporation into the atoms vibrating around us, a connection to the universal energy that moves through all things without judgment or prejudice.

Thus, orgasm is the one spiritual practice that unites nearly everyone on the planet, and perhaps that is why there’s so much fear and baggage around it. Because they were right both in rehab and the pseudo-religious sex cults: It is sacred.

And every orgasm. Is in itself an act of faith. An attempt to reach out. And just for a moment. Relieve our separateness. Escape from time. And touch eternity. And, yes!

As she drenches the mattress, I fill the condom.

Not only did I find love at an orgy, I think I found enlightenment.



“I moved in with three girlfriends and it’s been a complete disaster. No one’s getting along.”

That voice is, unfortunately, mine. I am making an emergency call to the smartest person I know in the world of polyamory. I would caution against, however, judging his level of intelligence from the name he goes by. It is Pepper Mint.


Months have passed since I made the decision to find a free relationship, and I eventually found three of them. So with a relationship roster that looks like a visit to Disney’s “Small World” ride–Anne, from France; Belle, from Australia; and Veronika, from the Czech Republic–we all decided to move into a house in San Francisco together.

And while months have passed since my decision to broaden my relationship horizons, unfortunately only a day has passed since we all moved in together. Problems came up that I just couldn’t anticipate, that weren’t covered in any books on the subject, that even the experts didn’t mention.

Like this one: The four of us traipse down the stairs, hungry and excited for a good meal. I get in the driver’s seat of the car. And… three women stand in front of the passenger seat of the car, looking confused and uncomfortable. They look to me to make a decision. But how can I pick favorites? That’s not going to help us live in equality this weekend. Eventually, we decide on a rotational system for the front seat: Alice will take the front seat now. Next time, Belle gets the front seat. Then Veronika.

It’s as ridiculous as it sounds.

The automobile was clearly designed by monogamists.

And that was just the beginning: Even though all three women were excited about being in a group relationship, and two of them had already had related experiences, by the end of that first night all together, I felt like I was on an episode of The Bachelor. Competition reared its ugly heads at a party that night, at which all three of them wanted to leave at different times, Anne became jealous when anyone else touched me, Belle became upset when I told her to be careful about touching me because of Anne, and Veronika was irritated with all the drama.

There’s a term popular in the poly world: compersion.

It was coined supposedly at the Kerista commune in San Francisco decades ago. And it’s the idea that if the person you love is with another partner, rather than feeling jealous, you can feel happy for them because they are happy. And if you love someone, you should be glad that they’re happy, whether or not they’re experiencing it with you, right?

Compersion is evidently a lot harder to feel than it sounds. And it already seems pretty difficult to feel.

So that night, in light of the clear and total absence of compersion, I ended up sleeping on the couch so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings.

The moral thus far: Be careful what you wish for.

So now, the next day, I was on the phone with Pepper Mint, begging for help. Things could only get better from here.

“You’re trying to run before you can walk,” he informed me.

“What do you mean?”

“How many people are in the house?”

“Four of us.”

“So mathematically that’s six relationships. And it’s hard enough to make one relationship work.”

I had thought of it as a single relationship, or three at most. But I do the math—n(n-1)/2, with “n” being the number of lovers in a poly pod.—and he’s right.

“But there was this guy Father Yod,” I protest, “who had fourteen wives and it worked for him . . . I think.” I realize I don’t know much about how Father Yod managed his relationships. In fact, I just looked at the pictures.

“Who’s Father Yod?”

“He’s like Charles Manson, but without the killing.” Actually, that’s not totally true. I recall reading online afterward that Father Yod was a judo expert who murdered two people with his bare hands in self-defense.

“What I can tell you is that a shared living situation is what we call an advanced skill,” Pepper says, unfazed. “But trust me, it can work. I just went on a weeklong vacation to Hawaii with my partner and her boyfriend. And it was totally smooth because the three of us had spent so much time together.”

“Right now, I can’t see us ever getting to that point.” I suppose after a few years, one can get used to anything.

“Do you want me to come by and talk to them?”


When Pepper arrives an hour later, we gather in the living room, desperate for a miracle. I dare not sit on the couch in case it looks like I’m favoring whichever girl drops down next to me, so I take an armchair instead. Veronika and Pepper sit in the other chairs while Belle and Anne share the couch.

I introduce Pepper to everyone and list all the problems we’ve had so far. He listens carefully, then responds as if telling preschoolers to play nicely with each other. Unlike with monogamy, our culture offers no schooling on how to make a group relationship work, no real role models to look up to, and few—if any—friends to turn to for advice. Even in movies, when couples decide to open their marriage, the results are usually disastrous and the moral of the story is to stick with what you’ve got.

“Here’s your first lesson in going out together,” he begins. He is a sharp-featured, pale creature with long black hair, a black choker, and a slow, measured voice. I wonder if he was always this calm and deliberate or if it’s something he learned from years of managing multiple relationships. “You need to talk before you leave and have a plan for party protocol. If someone gets tired, do they take a cab home alone or do you all leave together? And if it’s a sexual situation, decide ahead of time whether you want to watch or leave or join the sex pile.” This makes perfect sense, yet it never occurred to me: The art of group relationships is logistics. “I want to encourage you to do little check-ins with one another constantly, with the knowledge that you don’t know each other very well. This way you can start to build a team feeling together.”

We nod in agreement. I suppose I was naïve to assume we would all just instantly become attached and live in relational utopia together. I’ve made mistakes in every monogamous relationship I’ve had, but I learned from them and that made the next relationship better. So it makes sense that my first multiple-partner relationship isn’t going to be a runaway success. It takes experience and failure to get good at anything. This is my opportunity to learn.

“I want to add something that’s important,” Pepper continues. “You”—he points to me—“are the fulcrum. This is a long-known poly situation. The fulcrum is the only person in a relationship with each partner, but because of that, you end up torn in a lot of different directions. It’s a very uncomfortable thing, because you’re empowered and disempowered at the same time.” He turns to the women. “So I would like to recommend that you all try to de-center Neil a little.”

I heave a hopefully imperceptible sigh of relief. I watched several documentaries on poly pods before coming here, and many were led by people with a pathological need to be the focal point of everyone’s love. They didn’t seem to care whose feelings got hurt as long as the empty space in their own hearts was kept filled. But for me, it’s no fun being the center of attention when it results in collateral damage to other people’s feelings.

“So how do we de-center me?” I ask Pepper.

“The three of you”—he gestures to my partners—“should hang out without him and also start negotiating decisions that don’t have to go through him first. The easy part of the situation is you and Neil, and you and Neil, and you and Neil”—here he points to each woman. “The hard part of the situation is your relationships with each other. I have a saying: Poly works or fails on trust between metamours.”

“What’s a metamour?” Veronika asks.

“A metamour is a partner’s partner. So if Neil and I were both dating you, then Neil would be my metamour. And it succeeds between him and me, because we have the hard part but not the good stuff. So when you build trust among metamours, everything comes together and the group starts functioning. Does that make sense?”

We were in the dark before. This pale Goth guy is the light. He’s a relationship pioneer, mapping new realms in interpersonal space.

He tells us about the burning period, which is the length of time (usually two years) it takes couples who open up to deal with the issues and challenges that occur as a result. I learn about the joys of theoretical nonmonogamy, which is when two people say they’re in an open relationship—but instead of actually sleeping with other people, they just get to feel free knowing they have the option to do so. There’s the jealousy test, which you pass if you’re able to have a serious relationship with someone who’s sleeping with other people or in love with someone else. Then there’s fluid bonded, which refers to partners who feel safe having unprotected sex with one another, and veto power, which means that one partner can ask another to end an outside relationship—an agreement that Pepper feels can cause more problems than it solves. Finally, there are the wearisome cowboys and cowgirls who get into the poly scene, date someone’s partner, and then try to rope that person into a monogamous relationship.

“So what do I do if I want to spend time with Neil alone?” Belle eventually asks. “Every time I try to do that, he says it’s rude to someone else.”

“Try not making the request to Neil. Make it to Anne and Veronika. And if they both say it’s okay, then you can do whatever you want with Neil.” The corners of Belle’s mouth turn up in an unsuccessfully repressed smile. Pepper spots this and adds sagely, “But be willing to hear a no.”

Veronika sighs and uncrosses her legs. “It’s so hard to share a person,” she says. “It would be easier if we didn’t have strong feelings. But there’s always going to be this mental fight to have him.”

Although having three attractive women fighting over me may seem like an ego trip, in reality it’s nerve shattering. Whatever interest they had in me before they arrived seems to have been exacerbated by the competition. According to a copy of O magazine I once read, polygamous men live nine years longer, on average, than monogamous men. But I wonder how Oprah could possibly be right. Because this is definitely not good for my blood pressure.

Pepper turns to me: “What you can do to get them past that point is reassure them. I’ve seen really jealous people and people with a lot of abandonment issues get past their shit once the fear of loss goes away. A good nonmonogamous group is like a flock of geese, which is to say it separates and comes back together.”

Anne opens her mouth to speak. The words escape soft and unsure. Everyone leans in to make sure they catch them. “For me, I was really surprised last night because when everybody was touching, it was hurting me.” She takes a pause so long it seems like an intermission. “I have a complicated family history, so maybe I get more possessive. But I understand now that we have to make things work so this can be a relationship.”

Pepper’s talk seems to be straightening everyone out. The metamours are remembering that they didn’t come here to be in some reality-show competition, but to live, learn, and grow in a mature relationship together. “I would recommend letting go of expectations and trying to get to a place of comfort with everything,” Pepper tells her. “If things get weird, let them be weird. If you can all get to a high communication level, and learn the process of negotiation and setting boundaries and talking through discomfort, this will start working much better for all of you.”

Before Pepper leaves, the girls and I agree to hold house meetings every day, during which each person gets a turn to speak uninterrupted–like in the talking-stick circle I made fun of back in sex rehab.

As a sense of calm and understanding descends on the house afterward, Veronika makes egg salad sandwiches and we sit around the table, all on the same page for the first time. Then, with Anne taking the front seat of the car without incident, we visit Alcatraz. As we walk from the ferry to the island prison, Belle holds my left arm while Anne clutches the other. Veronika wanders behind, taking photos.

“I feel like I’m a third child whose mother doesn’t have enough hands to hold,” Veronika says as she catches up to us.

She takes Anne’s hand in hers as a group of frat boys walks by and gives me a thumbs-up. For the first time, there’s a group energy connecting us. Perhaps all of us just needed to let go of our expectations like Pepper recommended, adjust to being somewhere new, and allow the relationship to set its own course.

And that’s when something unexpected happens: I’m overcome by a powerful sense of unworthiness. It doesn’t seem fair that these women have to share me. Any one of them could easily have her pick of the guys here who keep looking at us. But instead they’re settling for scraps of my affection.

When I imagined living in a freewheeling love commune during my monogamous relationship, I thought I’d be adrift in a blissful sea of pleasure, excitement, and feminine energy. But instead I only feel embarrassed that I’m monopolizing three hearts.

I spent my childhood starved for the love of the adult figures raising me, feeling like most of their positivity went to my brother and their negativity to me. So being in a position where I’m actually getting so much positive female caring is a new experience. Maybe the real purpose of this relationship for me is to break through my walls and feel worthy of love—or whatever this is.


This was the quiet before the storm: One of the worst relationship storms I’ve ever experienced.

The situation lasted roughly a week, then turned into a triad with just Belle and Veronika, then turned into me alone.

The lesson: If a relationship with one person is difficult, then a relationship with three people is going to be three times as difficult—or, according to the Pepper sum, six times as difficult.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I am not a quitter. I decided that if I couldn’t make it work with three other people, then I’d definitely be able to make it work with ten.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

But that’s a story for another time.


Want more stories and more of the lessons learned? Of course you do. Check out The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships. I have my own dog-eared early copy.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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448 Replies to “Inside an "Anything Goes" Sex Club”

  1. Man I can say that after one failed marriage and some “challenges” in sexual freedom in my current one the question of being with one person has come up more than once in my mind. I like that Neil is doing the heavy lifting on tackling this one. I have tried living with multiple women in the past and as cool as you think it is. It isn’t matter of fact is it is hard and if you suck at managing one women don’t think you will be better at managing two. In every area of my life I have certain degree of control over what I do and the degree of intensity is based on me. Intimacy, sex, relationship stuff requires the other person and I have found that over time I struggle staying on the same page as that person and the relationship is affected. I feel like I evolve and out grow people rather quickly. I don’t have it figured out and often don’t want too. I am certain it will figure itself out at some point or I am just going to go the Christian Grey route.

  2. Hi Tim, there is one thing you haven’t checked out yet that might be the answer to being in a successful monogamous relationship that works with our biology. It’s called Karezza. Check out and read the book “Cupids Poisoned Arrow”.

  3. Hey Tim, the ‘monogamy’ questioned was answered for me when I actually fell in love. Importantly, I don’t mean dating someone for a while and chosing to love them (what most people do and I had done). When people say love hits you like a tone of bricks and changes everything… they’re right. It’s something you just know from the moment you meet someone. It also makes you care about the other person more than yourself, you actually lose the want to be with anyone else.

    Prior I hadn’t been properly monogamous for almost 8 years (after a break up that disillusioned me). And I like sex… a lot. But I’ve come to realise that it was a matter of selfishness. When you fall in love it isn’t hard to be monogamous. You want it.

    Without sounding harsh, most people have just never been in love. It’s not something you have to think abour after getting know someone. It’s just there.

  4. Hello Tim,

    First, I apologize in advance in case there are mistakes in my text, but be kind, English is not my first language.

    In my experience, I’ve felt the same urges and boredom in monogamy as I think most people do. We always want to find new and exciting stuff in all areas in our lives, how can we not want that for our relationships too?

    But I don’t really think polyamory is meant to work. Most people, even the most free-minded, have some sense of possession over their partners. Most people don’t even recognize the idea that we are not made for monogamy. Even if you are mentally well balanced and accept that your partner may be interested in someone else, it is still a hard pill to swallow. Living with more than one person at an intimate level? Even if you beat the odds and find two or more people that are comfortable with each other, intimate and mentally sane, it would still be difficult to pull off.

    I personally think I would be able to accept that my partner has some other sexual partners (as long as I can have them as well), but I’ve never been with someone who was or seriously monogamous or just an affair, so I haven’t tried. It would be tremendously difficult not to be jealous, not to feel that you aren’t enough, or not to feel like you have to swallow you own feelings in order to let the other person be happy. Fighting all of that can be tiresome, and I don’t think polyamory is worth all that trouble.

    I think more about it as I think about food: Yes, it would be nice to eat a lot of everything whenever you feel like it, but then your body can’t keep up, you feel heavy, bloated… I stick with a healthy diet for my mind, with someone that gets me and makes me feel loved. I can do long term plans, do fun stuff, and everything is nice and cozy. I don’t take the cake, even sometimes I crave for it, because I feel a lot better in the long run with my healthy diet, and, if you use your imagination, it doesn’t have to be as boring as you may initially think.

    EXTRA THOUGHT: I don’t think this is much discussed anywhere, but I have an hypothesis based on the people around me. I think people with above the average IQs think more about the nonsense of monogamy than people with average or below the average IQs. I personally have a high IQ, paired with decent social and personal skills, and I become bored of people a lot faster than they get bored of me. I usually get to the point in which a person doesn’t surprise me any more. I can predict their behaviour, I can tell why they act, I can see their flaws and I can see why they are stuck in solving some of them. And then I lose interest. Meanwhile, I have remained a mystery to most of the people I’ve dated, and they usually get a harder time getting over the break up, as they didn’t arrive to the point of getting bored of me. I know this may sound as if I am bragging, but I am not. I’ve been in the reverse situation too, some guys got bored with me. And I think they would have scored high in an IQ test.

    So, I really think polyamory is highly fueled by our incapacity of finding someone who keeps us amazed for a long time. Less intelligent people are fulfilled with long-term partners that someone more intelligent might find not enough challenging in the long-term. If you pair the lack of mental challenge with the fact that most intelligent people have had difficult childhoods (the nerds, geeks and weirdos of the world, usually mocked for being too smart and standing over the others), then you find out you have increased difficulty for finding the right partner. You probably want someone challenging, clever, amazing, sexy. Someone that is a mystery but still takes care of you lovingly. But you usually find challenging and clever people with lots of issues and social disabilities, too protective of themselves to let anyone in order to become a real functioning couple. And then find stable, loving people who make everything easy, but then you get bored. So you find yourself jumping from one challenging relationship to the next or stuck in a stable relationship wanting just a tiny bit more.

    I don’t know, it’s just an hypothesis. What do you guys and girls think about it?

    Answering your questions more directly:

    – Are humans really designed for monogamy? Is it possible or even desirable?

    I don’t think we are designed for monogamy, but I do think it is desirable (see the diet metaphor I used).

    – Should you choose excitement over intimacy?

    Depends on your goals in your life. Would you feel better with one or the other?

    – If you’re a driven type-A personality, can you really have both with one person?

    I think it is possible, but just really difficult.

    – Would life be better if you could sleep with anyone you liked at any time?

    Yes, if you could be able to live with the idea of your partner doing the same thing and learned to accept that your partner may turn you down sometimes for someone else. As I haven’t been able to eliminate that possessiveness of my mind, I prefer not to sleep around and appreciate the person I chose as my partner.

    – What if you could get a hall pass every once in a while?

    I think this would be healthy for a relationship, but still it is the same as the question above, just a little more manageable if you limit it in time.

  5. Well Tim, you ask & I feel much obliged to respond in gratitude for the kick on the butt that had me going in this path since creative live’s 4HC seminar, lot’s of tips from Neil too. I’d like to abuse the opportunity to congratulate you on the elegant bow spearhead magik y’all pulled there, A.MA.ZING!

    Ok, so now on with my two cents:

    – Are humans really designed for monogamy? Is it possible or even desirable?

    Desire is the problem and solution, not the possibilities. I desire to understand my desire first, let’s see if this life’s design is enough for that. I’d prefer a poly-generational-life, or simple life extension for dealing with obvious things like this.

    – Should you choose excitement over intimacy?

    Excitement is overblown and available everywhere you look, intimacy is scarce and the one need that we should all want, in case we all want to be in this planet for generations to come, or have a safe immigration plan for when shit hits the fan. Lots of dick and pussy won’t, even if excited with Viagra or Molly OD, resolve none of the above.

    – If you’re a driven type-A personality, can you really have both with one person?

    Type A-B personality theory sucks, leaves you bound to a 2 dimensional form of being. This is where the most important questions lies for me, would I be willing to spend my time understanding my being and the subtleties that entitle my own existence and those around me a.k.a “my Family”? Or spend time left in this meat package deciphering how to relate to other meat packages’ tiny holes. Ma, I think even enlightenment the way Neil described here could be achieved through hairy palm syndrome, and should start there actually: mano a mano, uno a uno.

    – Would life be better if you could sleep with anyone you liked at any time?

    No. Not mine, besides we have lucid dreaming for that!

    – What if you could get a hall pass every once in a while?

    I’d rather watch porn and fantasize with my only partner.

    Well and that’s how a great grandson of a red light district founder gets to live a deep and wide life happily married.

    P.S. avoided the religious part though, and we opted out of “the ring” social aspect(or lie) of it.

    P.S.S a friend just showed me a beautiful Oxytocyn Tattoo she had done on her this morning…Is Vasopresin really the “key” in man? P.S.S. Which brings me to how while that was happening I was hearing Neil’s Art of Charm podcast… on “delusional self” concept, I disagree with Mr. Manson and I do think we are indeed the center of our own universe, how we relate in this universe cannot be brought down to just pussy and dick issues. Unless mommy or their substitution is always there to change the diaper for you, like a true rockstar.

    P.S.S.S n(n-1)/2

  6. The author needs to move to Miami Beach! It’s common out here to date and have sex with multiple partners. The rules are simple: be honest/don’t say “we’re a couple” and never ever share living spaces. You can see Anne on Mondays, Veronika on Tuesdays, etc. And the women are also dating and have sex with other guys. Simple, casual and with a dash of intimacy… That’s the south beach life 🙂

  7. Love it! I myself have entered that world of anything goes, I’ve tried monogamy and I’m sure when the right person comes along I’ll be for it. I was in w relationship for 9 years we had threesomes all the time. Learned a lot, now I’m single and do whatever I like. It can be amazing sometimes yes I would like some one to cuddle worth but right now I’m living life to the fullest and its soooooooo fun!

  8. I understand both sides but when it affects me personally my thoughts change. I was raised to be your classic southern man. Faithful, one woman kind of guy. So monogamy is what I know. I’m a hopeless romantic which doesn’t help my view on this topic at all.

    I understand that when you’re single you can do whatever you want but I believe when you take that step towards a relationship it needs to be held true with every ounce of effort you possess.

  9. This was like watching a train derail…I didn’t want to turn away. But it’s total b.s. You’ll never find satisfaction until you accept that it may never come to fruition the way you imagine it.

  10. Tim –

    My wife and I have been married 20 years, and have been openly non-monogamous for the last 2 years. The four points of your relationship model are completely valid and work well for us. There are only two points I would add (writing from a ‘traditional’ MF marriage standpoint):

    (5) The female(s) is in charge. Always. The model only works when the female is in a place of power and comfort.

    (6) Either partner has veto power (per Pepper’s advice) and can call a return to monogamy (permanent or temporary), or can call an end to any outside relationship (casual or otherwise). The core relationship must be the focus, and non-monogamy is something that should be used to enhance rather than escape from it (else your point #4 doesn’t work). Those that practice NM in order to save their relationship are ultimately doomed to failure.

    Our approach to non-monogamy has ranged from what would be termed “swinging” (keeping things strictly casual and sometimes even anonymous), to friendships that have both sexual and platonic aspects, to more polyamorous-like (“swolly”) relationships with very deep emotional bonds (that have been both uniquely rewarding and painful). We usually play together, but have felt comfortable enough with some partners to grant the other a hall pass (why would either or us deny the other, or a friend we care for, happiness?). We’ve found that our sweet spot is to have a heart & mind connection with our partners, which allows for a deeper overall emotional and physical experience. The ability to be vulnerable is key.

    Most of our friends and family would not expect this from us. We’re pretty much ordinary, average, clean-cut professional types in appearance, and though we are not in the closet or ashamed of our approach, neither do we let our freak flag fly. We constantly dote on each other, are held up as a model relationship (at an age when many of our friends are going through ugly divorces), are hopelessly in love, regularly engage in PDA, are equal partners, have well-adjusted kids, are active in the community, take care of our elderly neighbors, etc.

    I have formed the theory that the practice of non-monogamy is an orientation, just as LGBT. When we are with the right partners, and we are taking the right approach, and we are openly communicating, the experience has been one of feeling whole and complete — like this is what we were born to be — and has brought us closer. I don’t think everyone is wired for it. Monogamy is not a social construct, and nor is non-monogamy a sin. They both are just what they are. Human sexuality is a complex, and oft times fluid, thing.

    A successful and happy marriage is one in which both partners can be their true self, and explore, and grow. That should and must include sexuality, whether through talk or through action. Note that I have not included information here on our gender preferences. I’ll leave that to imagination, as it is irrelevant to the main point, and all types are found in this community.

    (Side bar on STDs, which I see brought up as a concern in the comments. Done right, you are at no greater risk than casual dating. Those who pursue this practice tend to test frequently and play safely. Some may be surprised that there is a large number of healthcare professionals in swingland. We’ve also encountered a microbiologist or two.)

    Drop me a note if you’d like to know more. Happy to be completely open on the topic.

    1. I disagree with non-monogamy being an orientation. Before I met my GF, I wrote out an elaborate plan about travelling the world and impregnating different women in different countries and having short, intense romances with all of them for a variety of different experiences. I never fell in love or had a relationship before, only ONS and FWBs. But then I met my GF, who started out as just one of my FWBs, but immediately, I can tell that she was special and that I want to have the fullest and deepest experience with just this one girl, and now we are in a fully committed long distance relationship. We don’t feel trapped at all. We have complete freedom to do anything we want; other people simple don’t appeal to us anymore. They are just too high marginal cost and too low marginal value after all that we have been through together through the deepest psychedelic spiritual adventures.

  11. Lol 130 comments on a blog post in less than one day. Well done,Tim.

    Sex sells, anyone? This is a case of authors helping authors sell books. Neil must be out of money from the game so he dreams up a new book called the truth and gets his blogger friends to blog post raunch sex story excerpts.

    Don’t fall for it people.

  12. I find this fascinating. Currently married, pretty “normal” marriage.

    Apart from the obvious things holding me back (being married), one thing I worry about being male is how do you get into this world without coming across as being creepy.

    The other big thing is my performance. Currently I don’t last long at all (like max 1-2mins, more often barely get inside my wife before I blow).

    — Are there any resources for improving this? Its one thing that holds me back.

  13. interesting stuff!

    I went through a phase of wanting to have a ‘circle’ F-M-F or F-M-F-F, i used to study with Stephane Hemon up in Montreal ( I think Neil was actually dating his xgf Ghita for a bit.

    Fact is Tim, Neil, as Im sure he’d be the first to admit, is a fery feminine man. It lends to his writing style. He’s ‘yin’ and tends to attract the ‘yang’ in girls first and foremost. Mystery Method is basically designed to do this… Magic tricks, emotional spikes, false takeaways, etc. it attracts women who arent very present to their feminine essence ime.

    My read on you however is you want to be a masculine man too, and so the ‘game’ stuff is really just gonna mess up your energy imo. Indirect game is for nerds. Direct is for men.

    I feel its great you’re assaulting your ‘white knight’ karma head on (i.e. Condom policeman), but I bet when you’re done with all that the ‘right girl’ will actually come along– for me it came when being sexually unattached and adventurous lost its feeling of significance- once it seemed like everyone was being slutty it stopped being cool for me and I met an amazing girl whos on a parallel path as I am.

    Great post!

    -Ian in Brooklyn

  14. This sounds like a cuckold fetish. Getting off on the emotional torture of your partner sleeping with someone else.

    I mean no offense at all, but if you look at the type of people who are into this sort of thing, they are all very odd people (that Pepper Mint fellow being the perfect example, just look at his Facebook profile), they are the exact type of people you would imagine would have some sort of extreme fetish.

  15. Wouldn’t be easier to interview the master of multiple relationships, Hugh Hefner? Nobody in the world has.more experience in.this.field than him…

  16. This article was enlightening, and confusing. Do the majority of men secretly feel that monogamy is suffocating them, if so why are so few men bringing it out in the open? I would hope that my husband would just tell me so we could figure something out rather than him being unhappy.

    1. I felt that way for a long long time and that’s the reason why I never got into a real relationship until I met my GF. But now there are no more limited, because I completely changed the way I view and deal with women. Right before I met her, I decided that I must the pure complete human experience, without judgment, but also without bullshit or inefficiencies. Marginal benefit > marginal cost or bust. So from the very start, the relationship with my GF was very much a FWB situation, but we forced each other to improve or we move on. It was quite uncomfortable and we fought and broke up 5 times within the first month, but after that, we had truly improved ourselves in all aspects of life, as if we had experienced 10 years with each other. Now, we no longer have any conflicts and we are experience more variety and quality in life than ever before, despite being long distance now. Because we know that nobody else in this world could provide us with the same quality of experience and provide true fulfillment in life. We give each other complete freedom to do anything we want… and what we truly want is not to give into physical urges, but to Skype each to talk about wild ideas, and work hard towards our own dreams so that we can completely shock the world and create something magical while experiencing the greatest orgasm when we get back together again.

      This is coming from a guy who had 3somes, and is quite familiar with pickup artist tricks, and wrote a fucking business plan for travelling the world to efficiently seduce and impregnate multiple women in various countries. I don’t need any of that now that I have met her. Because at the end of the day, I don’t seek a trophy wife nor superficial novelty. What I really want is completely human experience and true action to change the world positively on a deep level, and that’s impossible when you spread yourself too thin.

  17. I’m not sure that I would have known that I was truly a natural monogamist were it not for becoming a successful doctor who also happens to be physically fit, tall and apparently, fairly attractive. As a younger man I would have thought that I’d seize every opportunity. But, now that I’m constantly flirted with, I realize that I really do choose and prefer the deep, lifelong intimacy of my marriage. Like most guys, I’m a visual guy, and when i see something good my mind wanders as much as anyone’s and plays the ol’ “what if game”. But, really, when it comes down to it, I know that the fantasy is way better than the reality. Why? Because the reality is that the hot girl that caught your eye isn’t a fuck-doll, she is a regular person full of insecurities, fears, wounds, sadness… and she is coming on to me in hopes of alleviating some of that for a short period of time. If I took her up on it i’d only be making it worse. Frankly, it’s better with my wife – even after 16 years, countless mutual memories, countless shared life experiences and raising 4 kids, each with their own challenging and amazing life path. So, is monogamy natural you ask? For me it is. To me it is the higher truth. To trade that for Poly would be like trading a Bentley for the RentaWreck fleet. I can’t blame a guy for trying, but if I’m honest with myself, Poly sounds like a road that is more likely to lead to loneliness than it seems.

  18. Was really hoping the switch party story would be sexy, but it was just sad. I’ve had group experiences, but we all had a genuine fondness for each other and an enthusiasm for physical connection that seemed lacking here. I don’t know, maybe this actually was great and he’s just not writer enough to transmit that. It just seems like a cold way to go; arousing maybe, but not much fun at all.

  19. Maaan great article, thanks for sharing it with us. As you asked in it, i will share my opinion on polyamory and my experience and ideas that i have become to acknowledge in this time.

    A group of friends introduced me to this idea of polyamory(having more than one relationship) even though all my life i was inclined to open and free relationships. I think this is because my values regarding a relationship are very similar to the ones promoted by polyamory: freedom, openness and sincerity. Although it’s tough going through a monogamous relationship(because the principles used in there are related more to the notion of power and control, not to the notions of growth, exploring each others dark sides and stuff like that), going through open relationships is a lot harder because it implies not projecting your fears on the other partener or partners but assuming them as being your own and taking responsability for that. Of course caring and gentle parteners that love you and care about you can help overcome those fears but it’s fucking hard opening your soul and letting other people see stuff that even you don’t accept about yourself(the nice part is that other people may have more experience than you, possibly have gone though stuff that you’re going right now and are able to help you overcome your challenges)

    I am now talking with 2 girls that i want to have a relationship with, we are still getting to know each other but things seem to go in the right direction. One of them confessed to me after telling her that i like her but i would like to have an open relationship that she taught a monogamous relationship would constrain her and i said that this is exactly what i don’t want to do :D.

    It’s hard knowing that her other partner or possible partner earns more than you, drives a finer car than you and it’s better looking or better in bed than you but again this is not a competition, if a person respects who you are and cherishes what you had together(before the new partner comes along) it will stay with you(they will not leave you like a damaged toy when they found a new and cooler one). This often happens in monogamous relationships.

    One other reason i particulary don’t like monogamous relationship is that so much shit is being covered up there, like fears and expectations being projected on the partner, it limits more than explores and stuff like that.

    For me personally brings up a lot of unresolved stuff and is sometimes scarry but exposing my fears to this amazing girls i am lucky to see and have around me helps me cope with uncomfortable stuff and solve them in the end :D.

    As for you my friend i have some pointers(i’m not trying to look above you or stuff like that, take them as friendly advices since i saw in your challenges some of mine :D) : first of all be true to yourself, don’t make compromises with you for the short gain of something (like you did with your friends you invited to the club and left alone, in my opinion you should have been a better host since you brought them to the club but you didn’t want to miss all that cool sex right ? :D. You could have come another day you know ?).

    Also regarding your situation with the three girls, from my experience i know that girls can be very very competitive and mean with one another and it takes you to sort stuff up and clarify the situation. For example in the car issue you had i would go upstairs or to a coffee shop and talk about why it’s important that one sits beside you and other 2 don’t ? Here they are projecting their issue on you and you shouldn’t accept them but talk about it, bring them to the surface and discuss(this for me is a very important point in being polyamorous opening up about stuff that you feel, discussing how you feel in different situations being them both good or bad).

    Your friend Pepper Mint has some good points for how to approach this situations but i think experience is a better teacher 😀

    Of course we all thought open relationship means a lot of intimacy with hot and cool girls/boys but at first it’s fucking hard since a lot of unresolved stuff comes to surface and you are faced with some of your worst fears but this is also the beauty of this type of relationships :D.

    I hope my opinion helped you, please excuse my grammar mistakes(English is not my first language) and if you want to get in touch leave me a reply and we’ll talk on facebook or on mail.

    Have a great day Tim

  20. Hubby and I have been happily married for 14 years, 2 lovely children, both grounded and from loving families. We are traditional, we have shared values, we want to raise our grandkids together. And…we are naughty (and very discreet about it). About three years ago we boldly turned fantasy into reality when hubby suggested I act on a mutual attraction between me and a friend. We have continued to dabble and be open-minded ever since. You CAN have it all! But you don’t get there overnight and you must be on the same page as your partner. It’s a huge self growth process, you have to learn to trust in deeper ways than you ever knew possible.

    These points have been the key to our success:

    1. Honesty 2. Both being truly happy and feeling “complete” before we embarked on this journey 3. Both feel grateful all the time for our lives and each other 4. Staying connected.

    The more secure we feel in our love and connection, the more we allow. It has been incredibly challenging and rewarding. I have loved how rewarded I have felt in my husband’s pleasures, perhaps as much as my own pleasures. And vice versa. It’s been a mind bending experience. Who knew marriage could be so fun? We are making this up as we go, so freeing knowing we have some “wiggle room” (excuse the pun 😉 and more sexy adventures to come!

    But for us, we would never openly live this lifestyle or let our kids know.

    I have a feeling that this may be the path for you, too, Tim F. You can have it all! Here’s my tip for you…if you fall in love with a world traveler AND she really loves to hear all the details of your past stories, she just may be the adventurer you can grow old with ;).

  21. I have been a long time subscriber to blog, have purchased books and followed content for some time. I have found a lot of your content very valuable I have decided to unsubscribe from the blog, unfollow the Facebook page and leave. I do not need content like this and do not want to be associated supporting it. Thanks for your other work but no thanks to this.

  22. As a college kid, the dream was to have a harem and be able to fuck everyday. I lived the frat life of take of shirt, flex, and acquire new one night stand girl. But after I met my current GF, I realized that’s not what I wanted at all. I wanted to get real depth out of a relationship and she already challenges me a lot. She is so creative and has so many multiple personalities that she felt like a different girl everyday. Also, I realized the value of the quality of sex, not just the quantity. We motivate each other to practice lifting, gymnastics, martial arts, yoga, and Wim Hof method so that we can have the best sex. I don’t see this self improvement spirit or whole picture outlook in other girls, so I don’t even feel attracted to other girls, who simply cannot provide the depth of the experience I seek. Even with my GF, it took months and lots of conflicts to unlock hidden sides of each other. No way this could possibly work if it wasn’t a one-on-one relationship. I think polyamory is fun when you’re single, but no way can you reach deep true enlightenment. Actually, when I first met my GF, I considered her a ONS or at most a FWB, but she was just so interesting that it was not worth my time nor effort to deal with other girls.

  23. To be completely honest, when I was married and in my 30’s this sort of lifestyle seemed very intriguing to me. I could say more about it but after being through a 20 year marriage, having an affair, my wife of 20 years being

    being unfaithful to me, being raised in the south, being a minister and the list goes on…I’m not sure what drives these desires. To be clear, I’m not sure if that lifestyle is an authentic desire that we have come up with or a result of something else. If someone can do it and they are happy and satisfied then good for them. However, part of mindfulness is having making the space to pause and ask “what is going on inside of me?” What is it that drives someone to want to be with every variety of the opposite sex? For someone who is so in control of their schedule, workout, investments and food choice…..for me….why is that the one area that doesn’t have a healthier choice? Desire is intoxicating. That is why I masturbate. It gives me space to have a quick fantasy and release tension. In my experience, again who knows what that even means or if it counts….but there is no end to sexual desire and can be as much of an addiction as mainlining heroine. Those are just some thoughts and I don’t know why I really feel this way. I’m not totally sure any of us can have an original thought that has not been influenced somewhat by the world we live in. Having said that, I’m having sex with a beautiful woman tonight. Possibly in a few minutes. But only one.

  24. I think perhaps the media have conditioned us to feel that every intense connection with someone has to lead to sex. I started to feel for me it was a “lazy” way to express a connection. That it actually became a lot more interesting (albeit challenging!) to consider if the energy was better channeled into something else: creating a business, co-authoring something, or just a perspective-altering conversation…

    As others have observed, I think it comes down to what your objective is. You only have so much time, attention and energy. Where do you choose to invest it?

    Personally, I love challenge and learning and variety, but what fascinates me is how deeply it’s possible to know someone. It suspect it might be an introvert thing (and it would be interesting to know how many polyamorists identify as introverts or extroverts).

    I operate on the principle “if you feel you can take it or leave it, leave it”.

    (Yes, even when it comes to sex.) This frees me up to pursue what I feel I can’t bear to turn down. Otherwise my life just fills up with disposable stuff – including relationships – and there’s no space for what I really love. Of course, love isn’t easy or convenient, and it can hurt like hell. So it’s much less anxiety-inducing to fill your days with Other Stuff.

    There’s a quote by Rumi:

    “But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,

    Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,

    Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.”

  25. Well, I’m a Mormon so I’m no stranger historically to polygamy. My great-great-great-great-great grandfather had five wives, I think it was, though he only had sexual relationships with two of them, the others were in name only. (Mormon polygamy has a very interesting history, but that’s not something I can sum up in a comment on a blog.) I’ve read some other accounts of modern polygamy. In “State of Blood” , Henry Kyeamba talks about polygamy in Uganda. If I remember right, he said that because of the imbalance of men nd women it was very common in Uganda for a man to have multiple wives. He said sex and chores were managed by rota. Everyone knew their place in the family and adjusted. It was a team effort- but that’s how any relationship works. Another interesting book on polygamy is “Voices in Harmony” published by the University of Utah press where women who are in polygamous marriages and happy talk about their lives. Those relationships are founded again on teamwork, trust. Everyone pulling together to make others happy and help out. I guess the problem I see in Neil’s scenario described here is that everyone seems to be going into the relationship for the fun and excitement, and whether you have one partner or multiple partners, you’ll end up disappointed because the fulfillment comes in putting in the work every day to take care of each other. From my personal experience with monogamy, my husband and I went to into marriage with the expectation that we were choosing someone forever. We married at what I suppose most people would say was ridiculously young- 22 and 25 after we had known each other for five months. We also came in with a ton of baggage because we came from abusive families and my husband had suffered a lot of sexual trauma. We have been through hell and back multiple times in the eight years we have been married. But we love each other more than ever. I married my best friend and that means that even when things get hard, we work at it because you don’t give up on your best friend. As for sex, you could say that we don’t know what we’re missing because we’ve never been with anyone else, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. We specialize in each other and there is a newness that comes from going deep with someone- depth rather than breadth. Anyway, that’s my two cents.

  26. Posts like these grab attention, and make for interesting reading. However, I always find myself questioning how close to reality stories like this really are. A room full of gorgeous people, with any-thing-goes attitudes, erupting into an anything goes sex fest just seems too much like fantasy to me. I picture the reality being a little more like the swinger scene in Borat. But hey, this kind of exaggeration sells books right?!

  27. I haven’t read all the comments here, but I’d like to speak up a bit for the pro-monogamy side. I’ve been an anthropologist and studied sexuality for many years (and made mistakes in my own life).

    First, if the theoretical aspects of this are interesting, the subject is titles “evolutionary psychology.” Two interesting bloggers on the subject are Athol Kay and Ian Ironwood.

    Monogamy was an important mating strategy for pregnant women, because in The Time Before Beer (pre-agriculture), it was critical to have a man around to provide for and protect children — and the man was more invested if he knew he was the father. Once agriculture came about, men wanted monogamy (or closed polygamy) as a way to ensure their wive’s kids were theirs, and the farm would stay in his genetic line.

    Times have changed, birth control exists, women can provide well for their children without a man … but we’ve got tens of thousands of years of monogamous history. Whether we’re physiologically bred to be monogamous or not, socially, it works better than anything else. That may change in the future, we’re in a historical time of sexual flux.

    Tim, a woman who understands how male sexuality really works (a rare thing, I was over 50 before I understood) can provide a large amount of variety to her man.

  28. I listened to “The Game” and I’ll probably listen to this as well when it comes out in Audible. Like “We Learn Nothing” my conclusion is these guys are idiots. Entertaining idiots, but idiots none the less.

    In regard to poor Mr. Strauss: the quote “I don’t need to stick my head up a steer’s ass to know if the steak is good” comes to mind. Perhaps there is a reason so many of us Mundanes are happier than him: we can actually make relationships work with our partners.

    Good luck and god speed Neil. I hope you find your answers before your search kills you.

  29. I’ve tried many permutations of relationship styles. The only thing that works I’ve found is finding someone you admire and who treats you well and committing to do the same for them.

    Once that’s the context than you need to be brave and honest with each other about what you each want and committed to having each person feeling loved and cared for.

    Inside of that frame then all things can be negotiable and the conversations can be ongoing. As Esther Perel says you’ll go through many phases of relationship if you last a long time.

    Sometimes it may mean getting a “hall pass” or even “carte blanche” and sometimes it may mean passing on something really hot because staying home and loving on them feels better. And sometimes it may mean breathing through your own feelings so your partner can have something they want.

    The challenge is that you can’t coerce this attitude nor negotiate it even. You need to be able to come from a place of deep respect for your partner’s well being and feel they are doing the same for you. Which means not trying to convince them to give you something.

    Everything else — monogamy, monagamish, or some flavor of poly — is just details.

    We have rules that work for us but they only work for us because we are committed to each other. Which means I want her to have as much love in her life as possible and I trust that she wants the same for me.

    Also we never fall into the thinking trap that what we do separately shouldn’t matter. We give each other permission to be human and have feelings and we prioritize a home that feels safe and whole to both of us. So sometimes that means passing on things that may seem fun (sexual and otherwise). And sometimes it means indulging.

  30. I am a selfish and self-centered person. I spent 25 years in a monogamous marriage, raising our two children and working. In that time I was subsumed in an identity of “mother-and-wife” and my needs and desires nearly always took a backseat to the needs and desires of the other members of my family. My husband was also a master manipulator who readily took advantage (without realizing it) of my tendency to want to please, so badly to please, that I always gave in.

    Once the kids were mostly on their own, I started to realize I had given myself up for everyone else. I vowed that would change, and would never happen again.

    So I am “solo poly”, and live alone but for my dogs. I enjoy two amazing long term relationships and have dated, trying other interesting people on for size, as it were, although I have not ever looked for any relationship. They’ve happened organically.

    I like it this way. I cannot imagine sharing a house with one other person and being happy, let alone sharing it with several other people and being happy. Perhaps some day I’ll have grown enough that I can negotiate my boundaries with housemates and not suffer much stress overall, but for now, this is how I prefer things.

    My partners each have their own homes, and I see each of them as though they are two, separate, quasi-monogamous relationships. THIS I do not like so much. I’d like more blending, but that is difficult given that one of my guys, with whom I have enjoyed a loving relationship for eleven years, lives 2000 miles away while the other is 15 miles away. They know everything there is to know about one another and my interactions with each, and can talk to one another via Skype when I am on a Skype call with the long-distance guy.

    Still, it is a hope of mine that somehow there will be more blending. That they can establish a closer relationship. Email, text, call, Skype with one another to consult or just to chat or ask questions. Without my participation. And when long-distance guy comes out here he is not so jealously hoarding my time (it seems “fair” to let him absorb me for his two weeks he’s here, or the 10 days I’m there, but it’s not really “fair” because it’s not how I want it to work). And that the two of them might head out to go see something that interests them mutually. A man-date.

    So. I “hear” what Neil is saying. I get that it’s tough to learn to negotiate among multiple people and have it work. The metamors have to be on good terms, easy with one another as well.

  31. I see this as a totally legit lifestyle for certain temperaments. So I’m not sure why there’s always a need to call out that there isn’t “a shred of scientific evidence that monogamy is normal.” I’ve never dated a guy who didn’t think the idea of wild sexual escapades sounded possibly fun, but in reality had no interest in that type of relationship. Because like attracts like. Just find your own people, but do NOT try to convince me, as a woman, that all guys are like this, because it just isn’t true. Lots of men are one-woman-only when it comes to how they are happiest in the real world.

  32. The idea that you can’t have intimacy and novelty in one partner is an irrational belief behind this whole premise of polyamory. Also with it is the idea that every fantasy we have should be fulfilled and that we should never try to harness our impulses. Or rarely. The cultural context of our increasingly hyper sexed society and all the brain scans on how this and other activities are priming the pump for an increasingly inability to reach true intimacy (emotional and physically and spiritually if you’re so inclined) is being ignored by people that are largely dissociated out of themselves in this area and seeking more and more novelty to satisfy dopamine channels to make them feel less dissociated and more satisfied. Instead of increasing our expanse and range of appetites to satisfy our changing brain, we might instead look at it less subjectively, and more globally – like Jurassic Park ‘just because they could…doesn’t mean they should’. We are mammals but we have functioning brains that other mammals don’t that mean we shouldn’t turn into animals despite how primal our sex drives are. The quest for more sexual excitement is a symptom of a changing culture that when we stop thinking about ‘what will get me off today more than yesterday’ we might notice a root issue that isn’t all good or for our good. What’s the real reason a person is never satisfied with just one person ? The answer isn’t to expand the experiences to suit the desire as much as it should be – why is that desire there in the first place. From a psychological perspective there is always a reason -but people tend to reject that because it’s boring and doesn’t soothe the hungry receptors in their brains that they don’t want the challenge of trying to control or maybe gain insight to. There’s a reason – scientifically – why porn, “deviance”, and other realms of experimentation have to keep pushing the limits and moving into extremes – it’s not because it’s human nature, it’s because it’s the same pathways as addiction and it’s changing the structure and function of our brains. Just because it feels good, doesn’t mean it is good. Cuz heroin is like that too.

    1. Tara you wrote : *What’s the real reason a person is never satisfied with just one person ? The answer isn’t to expand the experiences to suit the desire as much as it should be*

      Thank you Tara

      this is the most astute comment Ive read in all the comments for this post

      I also appreciate the comments people made about sex addiction linked with child hood trauma. And, really sorry to say it, but when you’re rich,famous and smart you have a lot more options. Actually, opportunities is a better word. Because I’m smart and attractive but have been celibate for over 6 years simply because I’m not in situations to meet women, I live like a monk so I just don’t have the contexts where women can say what they’d like to say to me. Just to offer a contrast

      The irrational aspect of all this : we don’t hand out our email and password on the metro. We don’t play with ouija boards. We don’t leave our inner city apartment door open on a friday night. We don’t tell our boss about what happens in our therapy session. No we don’t, we have boundaries because boundaires are essential to life, to biology, to survival, to be ALIVE in the highest way. But people think it’s okay to have no psychic, spiritual, energetic, emotional boundaries with a stranger by having the single most intimate experience we can have with another person, Do you realise that you are exchanging concsiousness with someone when you have sex? Do you realise that experience will reverberate upon your psyche, your heart, your energy body??!!

      Do you realise how much that can fuck up your inner and outer reality – just one encounter – for years to come? When you sleep with one person are you also sleeping with all the people they have slept with – energetically?

      And did anyone ever consider the objectification of women as a social (and other) disease of our culture – definitely coming through in Neils post and what I felt was a unclassy photo for the blog header – c’mon Tim!

      sublimation of desire rather than propagating desire (pun intended) is the reason we are in a human form

      Ken Wilbers pre/trans fallacy, most concisely articulated in the book Grace and Grit – really well contextualises the fallacy of thinking somethings a liberating experience when its really a conservative formative one.

      someone else touched upon this briefly here

      not saying I think Wilbur or his works are necessarily stable (!) but that early book of his is autobiographical and a wonderful, insightful touching read

      Highly recommend. But he nails the pre/trans fallacy and the create your own reality fallacy in there really well

  33. (any woman that would share one man with other woman or women? way to take us back to the dark ages and set the bar so very low … why would I ever need to set the bar so low that I had to share with others?)

  34. I can only speak from a man’s point of view who was married for 20 years before divorcing and now in an open relationship. Monogamy is NOT possible for men! We are humans with primal instincts. You can be happy and have a successful relationship, but you are still going to want something new eventually. It’s who we are. Don’t fight it. Embrace it. Just always play safe!

  35. I’ve often thought it’s a lot to ask of someone to be able to fulfill everything you need. But if you are going to be with them only for the rest of your life then you need a best friend before getting monogamous. I’ve only been tempted to sleep around in a monogamous relationship when something is lacking. Is it possible that one person can fulfill all our needs and never have us feeling unloved or unwanted in some way? I believe it’s possible, but not as easy to find as one would hope. We are all terribly unique. That makes it hard to find the right person. I have no problems with anyone who has an alternate sexual lifestyle. I personally think I’d rather a monogamous relationship as trying to please too many people can be taxing. I’m not against trying it, but it also means I become emotionally vulnerable and that isn’t fun.

  36. Polyamory, while it sounds good, and it’s worth talking about, really is still just an excuse to be a whore. It’s a way for people to hide from the fact that they can’t handle conflict. Jealousy and intimacy are real, natural things. If you can’t deal with it with one person, you definitely can’t deal with it with multiple.

  37. Hey Tim, love your blogs and podcasts. This is an interesting one. The search for excitement, intimacy, lasting connection, trust and respect…something we all are hardwired for. I’d encourage you and your readers to consider that for some people (emphasis on some) this search leads to sex addiction. Many of the stories Neil has described are stories I hear every day from my clients.

    I’m a psychotherapist and just yesterday launched an app called rTribe for those struggling with sex addiction. Check it out at Each person is on their own journey towards purpose and fulfillment. Sadly sex addiction is a growing pandemic, causes incredible devastation, and is little understood. If anyone has questions or wants to explore this further, let’s talk.

  38. While you have the energy and desire to play the field, you should thoroughly enjoy being single. The more you revel in your freedom, sexual and otherwise, the better husband and father you’ll be after you settle down, because you’ll know exactly what color the grass is on the other side.

    What you should NOT do is try to have your cake and eat it too. You cannot be tall AND short at the same time. Not all dichotomies are false. You may be able to *have,* but you cannot *deserve* 100% of someone’s heart without giving them 100% of yours. You, of all people, know that time is THE zero sum game.

    Depending on your future spouse, there are any number of levels of freedom that you can negotiate. From being able to look and lust all you want, openly and totally without guilt, all the way to an open arrangement. As long as it works for you both, i.e. you have to be fine with the love of your life also having variety.

    Most importantly, remember that one’s personal life can either support, detract, or replace one’s work. If you want a personal life that supports your work, then remember the words of Flaubert:

    “Be regular and orderly in your life, that you may be violent and original in your work.”

    Best of luck to you,


  39. Question for couples with kids that have chosen to explore sexually: honesty with your partner seems to be a common denominator, but how does this play out with kids? Can you be honest with your kids about your outside relationships? Why/why not? I haven’t heard many stories from a kid’s perspective about growing up in a home in which the parents are in intentionally open relationships.

  40. Tim,

    First off thank you for all you do. You have changed my life for the better in many ways.

    I think if it’s novelty you crave you should give it a shot. You will find out that you like things you didn’t think you would and you dislike things you thought you would be ok with. I am 27 years old and I’ve been in open relationships, had threesomes, dated girls who were into girls etc. but found that these usually only worked (for me personally) when I was emotionally detached.

    I will say if you are going to try these new experiences you will definitely face some fears (as some people have already mentioned) and may even get your feelings hurt a little bit. Especially if it’s with people you care deeply about.

    I’ve heard you talk a little bit about taking inventory of your overall happiness and I think that’s the best approach when going through all this. I’ve found that I am happiest when I seeing one person who has their own shit going on so they don’t “need” me and we enjoy doing a lot of the same things (climbing, snowboarding etc.). It’s a lot simpler than I imagined but I don’t think I could have come to this realization without experiencing the other side of things. It’s a lot like traveling for me in some ways. The more places I travel, the more I enjoy the simple aspects of being home.

    A book that helped me was “The Ethical Slut” by Dossie Easton.

    Keep doing your thanggg. You rock!


  41. To answer the question of what works for me, I absolutely need an emotional connection, and for me that requires the intimacy of a long term relationship.

    Presently that means an open and honest polygamous relationship, my girlfriend lives with her husband and two other boyfriends, and then another open relationship with a single guy separate from that household. I am equal parts amorous and forgetful, so it’s a relief to have the other guys there when I’m not, ensuring that she’s not being neglected just because I’m busy or distracted.

    Honesty and open communication is absolutely key, as we periodically have to remind her newest boyfriend when he gets stuck inside his own head. We each have things we need and things we want, and if we don’t make those things clear, it’s our own fault should we not get them.

    I’m really not one to tolerate doublespeak or speech that isn’t genuine, and in any healthy relationship I don’t think you can afford to pretend, and expecting someone to succumb to pressure or normalize without honestly speaking your desires is worse than arson for any relationship.

    Things are still going pretty well for me two years in, at the very least.

  42. Dude, I love your podcast, love your blog, and am an all-around fan. I also think Neil might have done some good in the world with his dating book if it encouraged a few shy guys to get out there and meet women. All of which, of course, is buttering you up for a criticism. This whole “struggle with monogamy” you and Neil claim to be having is self-indulgent, juvenile bullshit. You two are not unlike other men or women in any fundamental or interesting way. You’re two otherwise ordinary men who have the good fortune to be both famous and wealthy and, as a direct consequence, have more dating options than average. That’s it. All men (I can’t speak to female experience, but I’d say at least some women) would “struggle with monogamy” in that context. And it’s fine, I get it. Live it up if you feel like it. But spare us all the navel-gazing and self-congratulatory drivel about how one of you “slept with three hot women as an experiment.” So… the rest of us don’t have to? Sleep with lots of women, don’t sleep with lots of women — it doesn’t matter and nobody cares. Except for titillation purposes of course. The reality is that if you were both pumping gas for a living you’d still have beer, talk about women, fantasize about multiple hot women, but…be longing for just one. I’m reminded of a line from Casablanca: “How extravagant you are, Ricky, throwing away women like that. Someday they may be scarce.”

    Having said all that…if one were to want to go to that club in Paris, the address would be…? 😉

    Also in all seriousness: the podcast is amazing. I hope you never take a single week off from it.

  43. I love this conversation, it is more important than any of us men generally admit, and you have balls for sharing it so openly and honestly. Lots to add to this conversation I have…

    First and foremost, it changed for me as I entered my 50’s, and because I am only 58 I have to say it probably changes more as the years roll on. Eventually many men probably feel like I do – “Do I want to be alone as I grow older?” This becomes important once you start to realize your life is half over. All of a sudden you start looking for loyalty and friendship real hard.

    Because I am a “plan ahead” kind of guy, I wanted to get locked into a relationship by my mid forties with someone younger than me. Now, this part is selfish. Not just because I wanted a younger and firmer bedmate, but I was also thinking about the possibility (not probability) of needing someone to take care of me later in life, which I intend to make sure is not the case. But I would still rather have someone 70 to my 90 when the time comes, and, I intend to still be having sex then so it is far more likely that a 70 year old will get me laid, or blown.

    Now, that important stuff aside, what did I do as a younger man? I got married 3 times. Not optimal, but it worked. Each time telling my wife to be that I could not guarantee monogamy and then working out acceptable rules for the possibility. Not being a hypocrite, the rules were the same for both parties. Having that freedom took a tremendous amount of the pressure of “feeling trapped” off my back, and reduced the feeling of desperation that might have been there otherwise. Tending to like female strippers best, I would flirt and have the occasional rendezvous, but overall I ended up being pretty faithful. Why?

    It is just too much of a pain in the ass. It gets confusing and dirty no matter who you are with, even if it is paid and done with. And, it never seemed to be worth it. Either I would be afraid I had caught some disease, or would feel guilty, or would feel some other way that was uncomfortable and lasted a longer amount of time than the pleasure ever did. Overall, flirting and then masturbating was way better.

    But on the philosophical side, what If I did not want a long term relationship? (Which I do, that is something I always knew, the intimacy and security are important to me.) Well, I would find someone to be with on a fairly steady basis because first time sex was never that great for me. Had to do it a couple times to get things working properly, and, having sex with a condom is completely worthless in my opinion. But I think a person either wants a long term relationship or not. I have friends that love dating one woman after another and never feel they are missing anything. So the monogamy question is not something they worry about, only us men that want a relationship worry about monogamy.

    I think monogamy is an unfortunate rule that our society with its present level of consciousness has to live with for a while longer, but ultimately, it may not last. My real question is – with all your tech savvy friends why are we not being asked to contribute money to a startup with a technology solution? With all the geniuses out there, why haven’t we got an iOrgasmatron yet!

    – I want that gadget invented long before I die.

    I love what you do Tim, I love that you are so honest and I love that you are going through what lots of us go through. While I am a little jealous of your youth, I can also tell you there is a big part of me that breathes a sigh of relief that a lot of this stuff is all over.

    Final note…being a man was never supposed to be easy, I am just really glad I do not have to go kill Wooly Mammoths anymore.

    1. I read this comment and I want to gauge my eyes out… There are so many things wrong in society reflected here. In this patriarchy men just want woman for their looks, instead of wanting a partner. They are taught, through porn, tv, advertisement and everywhere, that they MUST want that to be men. And the thing is you guys believe it. You even think you are in control of your desires, while they have been piped down by society to you. Porn does too much damage molding our brains from a young age.

      I am personally having a lot of trouble trying NOT to be like a porn star in bed, as my sexuality had become mostly a sexualization of myself. I, for most of the time, was an actress in the sheets, doing stuff to arouse my partners. And do you know where did most of the enjoyment came from? From the power. I was in a situation where I could control everything and have someone at my mercy, amazed by me. I was so blinded by porn and other shit about what sex had to be like, that I forgot to enjoy the sex as an intimate act. I enjoyed it as a performance, but of course it then would get boring, because you don’t want to act in the same theatre your whole life.

      You guys try to go through sex to find some woman to whom to connect. You diminish us as objects, and discard us after our twenties ((this shit makes me want to vomit)), and then you feel unfulfilled. You find twentysomethings that could be amazing persons, and then you make them feel as if they are only worth what their body looks like. You make them feel like their brains are just an incomodity to you, and then you grow old and are surprised there are not too many interesting woman your age out there, and keep on hitting on twentysomethings, until they lose their self worth in a young age and then they directly feel discarded by society when they grow old. How many actresses in their forties or fifties have you seen lately, that are not just portrayed as secondary character moms? (more links that make me want to puke, here and here. Quoting: “Males 40 and over accounted for 53% of all male characters. Females 40 and over comprised 30% of all female characters.”)

      I really don’t think we are monogamous by nature, but society is VERY askew and disconnected of what our true desires are, and people reading this article could do a little bit to change this fucked up situation.

  44. I read The Game and even had my book club read it. I almost got kicked out for that but most Moms agreed that we would love our husbands to make the effort to get us to sleep with them through any technique outlined by Neil.

    I wanted to read this article but it was so boring I couldn’t get through it. Monogamy is so satisfying- for me. I would love to understand why it is not the same for men. My husband won’t tell me.

  45. Very interesting. I read ‘The Game’ which I thoroughly enjoyed. This was a very exciting, intriguing read. Thanks for this. Also love that song Eyes on Fire.

    Julie Voss

  46. you’ve clearly hit a hot-button topic here for lots of people. I don’t think there’s one clear way to do things. It’s about creating what works for you in your life – and being open and honest about it. No matter what choices you make, there will be repercussions – some messier than others.

    I strongly encourage you to check out Kim Amani’s work. [Moderator: link removed] She’s doing amazing stuff in this space (whether you’re monogamous, polyamorous, single, committed, male, female…) and she’d be a fantastic guest on your show.

  47. Quite a few years ago, my GF at the time and I fell into a relationship with her good (and hot) friend. It was the best 6 months of my life, sexually. But ultimately, all of the relationships ended.

    I’m not sure how having multiple partners can work. Ultimately it seems, someone gets jealous. I’m married now, but it’s a struggle to keep monogamous. Biologically, we’re really not evolved to be with one person, we’re here to spread our seed and continue the evolution of the species. It’s only socially that we’ve been converted to monogamy. And some guys are great at it, some aren’t.

    My 2 cents. Some will agree, some won’t. I don’t fault anyone for whatever direction you want to go.

  48. Hi Tim,

    This is so much yes!!! I don’t believe there is just one person out there who is going to fulfill all of my desires, needs and wants… and I am not just talking about sex. But just like you Tim, I crave intimacy and I believe we can go to the depths sexually, emotionally and spiritually with multiple people, cultivate strong fulfilling connections that are honoring of each other and live without limits from the programming we have been handed. I don’t look at it from the lens of biology but from the knowing of what feels right to me. In my experience what has worked is STELLAR communication between partners, the ability to hear and be in the others person shoes and create solid, clear boundaries around interaction. It is not easy and takes an evolved ability to take responsibility for yourself and others. – Thanks for putting these thoughts out there!

  49. Hi Tim – I comments if I could be sure this would be private, but because you need my email address, all I can say is “If you want women to respond, find a way to have it be anonymous.”

  50. Four months ago, exhausted and about to board a plane home from Atlanta, one of my girlfriends sent me a text informing me that she and some of our friends were throwing an impromptu sex party in my Manhattan apartment – and that I should “get ready” for it. And so, upon my arrival home, rather than collapsing into oblivion as I’d planned, I found myself hosting yet another multi-hour sex party and fucking another 5, maybe 6 women.

    Something unexpected happened that evening: I didn’t have fun. In fact, as the party progressed, all I wanted was for everyone to go home so I could rest.

    The next day, I broke up with 7 of my girlfriends, swore off group sex for the foreseeable future … and I became monogamous with a (very) sexually skilled woman.

    My sexual odyssey began around two years ago — when I took on one of my bucket list goals: fulfill every sexual fantasy I can imagine.

    I began my journey by studying tantra – to learn ejaculatory control, and to become skilled at lovemaking. For about a year, I did 3 hours a day of tantric “practices,” and by the end of that year, I not only learned how to have an “internal” (i.e., non-ejaculatory) orgasm, I also discovered ways to create levels of ecstasy, for me and my partners, far beyond anything I’d ever dreamed possible. Today I continue to practice tantra, and as a result, with my current partner, the sex just keeps getting better.

    I also studied seduction. Beginning with almost no unusual skills, again after about a year of practice, I got myself to the point where I was consistently bedding women within only a couple hours of meeting them – sometimes two at a time. (There’s actually a very cool bathroom in a bar at the top of the Standard Hotel where I’ve had sex with 10 women whom I met in the bar).

    And finally, I did the group sex thing, not only hosting multiple orgies, but trying out every combination of people you could could mathematically conceive of.

    And after all was said and done, like so many of my tantric friends before me, I’ve discovered that monogamy, at least for me, is the best answer.

    Here are the two biggest lessons I learned in my journey:

    First, multiple relationships and group sex seem to be VERY draining on the nervous system. In fact, everyone I know who’s actively fucking multiple people appears to have has far LESS energy than they otherwise would, and many of them seem really prone to disease as well. The truth is, as soon as I became monogamous, my energy levels massively increased – and for that reason alone, I can’t imagine going back.

    Second, the notion that an open lifestyle offers more variety than monogamy seems like it should be true, but it isn’t. What actually seems to be true is that one sexually skilled woman can offer me a nearly infinite variety of experiences, while 50 women with “conventional” sexual skills create almost no variety. (In truth, one of the major reasons I continue to choose monogamy is that I know how disappointing sex with most women has now become).

    So for me – at least right now – just like my tantric friends all said would happen, whenever I feel the urge for sexual adventure or variety, I now pursue it through tantra, and with a single women. And honestly, I’m really happy having made that choice.

  51. getting past all the baggage we bring about sex is not easy. Just reading the comment here makes me sad. Non-monogamy, however you want to label it: swinging, polyamor, open relationships, can be wonderful, fulfilling and ethical. It was the best thing we ever did in our relationship…and a relationship is what makes it work and what makes it difficult too. Even monogamous Relationships are difficult and require an investment. Just because you’ve opened up the sexual side does not mean it all suddenly goes away or gets easier.

  52. Tim, I’ve been with my wife for 25 years, married for 15, and I’m 42.

    A few details:

    – I’m an atheist (no religious bias)

    – I have a huge sexual appetite

    – I’ve never cheated on her (I practice an intense form risk vs reward, if/when the reward surpasses the risk, I could stray I suppose. Wife gave me her blessing with plowing Megan Fox if I ever have the chance 😉 )

    I don’t want to share on the forum what my “trick” is, but I have one, and I want to share it with others in the same boat I am. I’m just reluctant and it will meet with intense resistance from women (but not my wife).

    Aside from my “trick” I have two saving graces:

    1) My wife is HOT, half mexican, half swedish. Though she’s 42, she looks hotter than many in shape women half her age

    2) My wife has welcomed coaching and discussion to help me meet my novelty needs (which leads to the “trick”)

    I’m not saying I’ve nailed this monogamy thing, but I will assert I’ve found a method to make monogamy tolerable to enjoyable.

  53. I’m in my 40s and have been around, let’s just say, more things than the world. At this point having seen and perhaps nearly done it all, I’m fine with monogamy with a beautiful ex-actress with big green eyes and pouty lips over a decade younger than myself. We now two amazing boys and our sex life is still fantastic. Do I think about sleeping around and what it’d be like to continue my supercharged galavanting ways? Of course, I’m still a hot red-blooded male with loins that perk up at the sights of young beautiful women with rockin’ bodies and anything low cut with an amazing ass. But do I cheat? No, at least not yet. I guess having had so much sex since I was a teenager, while I love it, it has a slight “been there, done that” feel to me.

    I don’t believe we humans are programmed for monogamy, that we choose it, along those lines, we should feel free to make that choice and not shame anyone on either side for the decisions they make. That’s one less I wish I could tell my 20-year-old self, who was kind-of a dick (with a dick), picking on friends and acquaintances who chose to be with one person and not “have more fun.” Whatever someone chooses, be it with one person, or dozens every year, we should respect that.

  54. How much time does it take to process shame, guilt and jealousy? I do not have this kind of time or priority. It’s easy to claim liberation from society’s rules but not so easy to live, in my opinion. There are more important things to attend to.

  55. Tim: Long time reader since original 4 Hr Workweek, and have to say I am so terribly disappointed in this post by someone who had posted so many things that were life-giving for people. You’re better than this.

  56. Neil, you sound like someone I could chat with a long time. I hope you don’t mind a longer response to your article.


    I have always been fascinated by polyamory and polygamy. After all, I was raised Mormon (mainstream) in Utah, and whenever I would hear the stories of my ancestors I was intrigued by the purpose and ideal of multiple relationships ensuing at once. My fourth great grandfather (late 19th century) had 8 wives, and my blood runs through his fourth wife. But, I was raised strict Mormon monogamous, although I witnessed my father practice infidelity all his life- leaving a wake of negative drama in his path. Negativity I want to avoid with the virtues of honesty and intimacy.

    I went on my Mormon mission, went to BYU, got married at age 24, had four children by the time I was 31 years old. I grew up fast! By my fourth child however I was already investigating “out” of religion and into what I wanted to believe. My wife (at the time) did so as well with me. We both ended up leaving Mormonism, Christianity, religion, dogma, and traditionalism that took three years to conclude; but, almost 7 years later we are still piecing together our own personally developed practices of self fulfilling purpose and happiness- our own version of religiosity and spirituality that evolves with time, practice and wisdom.


    I resonate with Neil’s polyamorous desire to have interpersonal intimacy, while maintaing freedom in sexuality and freedom in relationship roles. I have been invited to orgy events here in LA, but I am reserved because I am not sure I can trust how I will feel once inside, much like your story reflected. I feel like you were expressing exactly how I would react in a similar situation.

    I got divorced primarily because I knew I was always a polyamorous person, but I wasn’t allowed to have those feelings. I was taught religiously that I was righteous if I suppressed my desires, reducing my desires to unholy lusts. I felt unworthy of love because I always believed I could love more than one person.

    My ex-wife was not the polyamorous type. Although, she tried it out with me a little because she loves me. But, it was too painful for her and I hated to see her in pain. At the same time I wanted freedom from the commitments we made in traditional matrimony. It had became something I no longer believed in- it represented everything that I was pressured to accept as an impressionable Mormon growing up. She didn’t believe in the traditions of Mormonism or monogamy either, but jealousy and insecurity were so strong in her- and most importantly, we have four beautiful children. So, what to do?

    My ex and I co-raise the children the best we can. Our children are amazingly resilient and we pay attention to their needs. I love being a father and a care-giver. I am keenly interested in my progeny’s upbringing.


    What do I do about my polyamorous ambitions? I still have a loving, intimate, and sexual relationship with my Ex. She is my FIRST lover, and still a cornerstone in my life. I currently also have two, soon to be three other intimate relationships with women of different backgrounds.

    The SECOND is young, never married girl in her 20’s- the jealous over-confident type (an illness of blind youth), and tries to win me over with lavish affection and gifts, and avoids the fact she knows I am intimate with others, despite it being something she knew about me from the beginning.


    The THIRD is in her 30’s, never married, but been through enough heartache after long monogamous relationships she has become wise, patient and cool with what life brings her next. She is my easy-going, reliable, highly tolerant lover. I talk with her about my other relationships more than with my own ex because she practices non jealousy as core to her happiness.

    The FOURTH is a new relationship not yet consummated, but I have known her for 4 years at a distance. She just broke up a recent long term monogamous relationship. She is in her 30’s with two children under 14 years. She is the most like me in personality and life approach. But, the relationship is still too new to know if she can manage jealousy and insecurity.

    I live with none of these four women. I prefer it that way. After becoming divorced I lived like a hermit for one year alone, having sex almost never with exception to a few fleeting flings. I learned to love having my own sacred space and “temple”- something I left behind when I exited Mormonism.

    I don’t know if I will try and live with women again… However, after 13 years of living a traditional family life I got pretty good at minding the needs of others and paying attention to women’s cues and tendencies. Women now see me as a “women’s man”, someone who understand’s their needs in bed, cooking in the kitchen, in the family room with the kids, at the grocery store, shopping at Macys, with a lot of hands on knowledge on how to raise children. They appreciate about me most that I love being affectionate and intimate whether in public or private. When I am with one of them, they are the only ones on my mind. I have become polished at intimacy. I don’t know where all of this will lead to next… Like my third lover, I am just going with the flow and see where it leads me next… Thank you Neil and Tim for sharing on this topic, I like you both even more now 🙂

  57. Having been married and poly (with kids) for over 3 year it’s pretty clear that Neil doesn’t have a clue about polyamory and a whole heap of ego issues – if he thinks it’s all about him and 3 women fighting over him without seeing other people, that’s polygamy and vastly unequal.

  58. I’m confused as to why Pepper Mint did not present additional options for their relationship dynamic.

    Why did they have to date/have sex as a group? Why couldn’t each woman have their own time/day with Neil? Did Neil have to be the only man or could the women have their own relationships outside of him/the house?

    Perhaps these answers are in the book, but it’s curious that these options weren’t on the table during that conversation.

    As I fall into the “solo poly” category, I am grateful that I do not have to navigate what feels like such a restrictive space.

  59. Are humans designed for monogamy?

    No. There is a very small percentage of mammals that form lifelong partnerships with one mate. With the overwhelming evidence in the news, gossip columns, and history, humans are not a part of that small group.

    Is it possible or desirable?

    Sure! With the right commitment and perseverance, I believe that a human is capable of making the decision to be with only one person. But that doesn’t mean that they will NEVER have any feelings or attraction towards another.

    Should one choose excitement over intimacy?

    Hmmm…should you let others tell you what is better for YOUR life? For some, excitement brings intimacy or intimacy brings excitement. It all depends on what excitement means to you. I can be intimate, in different ways, with different people – even if they are new to me. I can feel excitement with someone I have been with for a few months, or a few years. It depends on the person.

    Would life be better if you could sleep with anyone you liked at any time?

    Yes. But, again, that depends on what you want. I think humans like the idea of freedom, but also want some of the security that forms from bonding, partnerships, etc. If you could do anything you wanted, at any time, you would be pretty damn happy with your life.

    What if you could get a hall pass every once in awhile?

    Well, if it is a true hall pass. One where I could really feel comfortable that my partner would not treat me any differently knowing that I used it, I know I would like that.

    As a woman in my early 30’s, I have carefully maneuvered the societal rules in order to enjoy my life. Unlike the majority of women, I do not want to get married, I do not want to have children of my own (I am open to adopting) and do understand that as a human, I am member of a species that is not wired to devote my life to one person. It’s been a rough battle. Mostly because, growing up as a female, you are told that men will not want you because you are “used up” if you have too many partners, you will be considered a skank, slut, whatever other suitable name, unless you devote your life to a man that can provide for you – even though he might be out with others. I often asked my dad, “Why are there so many double standards?” He couldn’t explain it, but always said that I should never worry about what others think, there are always exceptions to the so-called rules, and I can live my life how I want to. I am happy I took his advice. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy having men, boyfriends, lovers, and/or partners in my life. But knowing and understanding that men are just as hungry and just as happy as I am having freedom and the options to do “whatever” is what helps me navigate the complex relationships between men and women. I am very picky and seem to find men that have the same outlook as I do. Sure, we would like to have our freedom, but we aren’t going to allow jealousy, and other negative emotions, get in the way of happiness.

    Again, there are always exceptions. I just find it funny when my friends come down on me for my lifestyle and my choices. I find it funny because just last week they were telling me how miserable they were. How they feel ugly because the sparks have stopped flying in their relationships. How they wish they didn’t have kids before traveling. How they sometimes wish they had my life…

  60. Albeit it, slightly more difficult for men, we women have the same struggle. My recent experience has been long term lesbian relationships wherein I introduce the concept of “open”. One of those experiences ended in divorce while the other is with my current girlfriend who I intended to marry. This time around when I first met her I explained my position on monogamy and although she has no interest in straying she understands the reality of being a primate. This level of understanding and free dialogue has been enough novelty for the time being. I’m not saying I’ll never have the craving to sleep with someone else but there is something very liberating about the conversation alone. As it stands we live our life in a relationship. Not an open one and not a monogamous one. That may be the issue when you draw the line in the sand. Firmly standing on the side of monogamy creates daily concerns with innocuous flirting and the like. Where as defining yourself as open or poly puts you in the mind of exploration. Subconsciously or even consciously living out the term. The thoughts about each are enough to drive you mad. Probably best not to think about which you are at all, in my opinion that is. The solution or at least a tool in the navigation of all this is perhaps not having any title but just treating sex and flirting and “cheating” as other obstacles in a relationship. On the same level as deciding where to eat dinner, which can sometimes be more stressful. Being “open” for me is being open to talk about everything and anything with my favorite person and it’s working pretty well.

    On a separate (or not) topic, if you ever find yourself in Miami Tim come by for a tequila. It’s not Casa Dragones but it’ll do.

  61. A different perspective is presented in a book written by Timothy Keller called “The Meaning of Marriage”. Single or married, it has some good words of wisdom.

  62. I am female and I have found that porn helps me. It prevents be from being in complicated situations(its safer) and prevents me from trying to explain my urges. I have not watched as much porn as I use to but when I get the urge I dedicate about 20minutes to my fantasy.

    Sex clubs are trouble for people like me.. Its either going on a extreme hike or porn…

  63. OK, my 2 cents from a woman’s perspective. I have been in lust once in my life. We dated sorta monogomously for 5 years and we had great passionate sex. We have come back to each other in between relationships (sorta) due to the passion. I desperately wanted a threesome with him with another woman, just never happened. I didn’t want to marry him (marriage is not for me), but I would have liked to have kept our long term sorta monogomous passion going. Enter a child on his side and things have kinda fizzled. I think it would be hell to live with 2 other women and 1 man, but I digress.

    What I and a few of my female friends would love is a semi-monogomous relationship. There would have to be some serious trust and of course a sense of adventure. No co-habitating, just the occasional sleepover with third person optional. There are more of us out there that really question the monogomy facade and feel it just doesn’t fit in our lives or our psyche. I don’t necessarily want to grow old with just one person, but I wouldn’t be satisfied with a sex club either. The passion is what makes the sex great and we all know that marriage, monogomy and kids kill passion faster than your significant other calling you in for a conversation while they are on the toilet.

    It is hard to find someone willing to play ball in this type of situation. I live my relationships hard, fast and passionately. As soon as the passion is gone, I am out. Who knows, I may change my mental game and conform at some point, but the biological clock keeps telling me to chase passion. Much like a forever batchelor chasing skirts, I keep chasing my next passionate relationship….

  64. Finally! A legitimate source willing to talk about what many people partake in and so few feel free to talk about. Having lived most of my adult life in huge urban areas, if anything we come up against the opposite end of the spectrum when people share far too freely. Nevertheless, this is a primal topic worth basic conversation. WOOHOO! Thrilled you went here, Tim.

  65. First off, the photo heading of this piece shouldn’t be a gratuitous shot of a mostly nude woman…a confused looking man seems like it’d be more appropriate.

    Tim, I’ve seen you flirt a bit, I worked in a restaurant that you frequented during my time there. You came on way too strong and the women were visibly uncomfortable. But whenever you talked to me (wedding rings = no threat) you seemed to let your guard down and open up, and I thought you were a totally enjoyable human. So, maybe just don’t try so hard to find an answer and then go looking for it. Let it find you instead. I ended up divorced at 23 with no idea what the hell I wanted, and resolved to leave it up to the universe. It was freeing, not to stress about it, and I’m now married to a fantastic guy who, for two years, was just a regular at the coffee shop I worked at. Just be you, let the good people in, and good things will happen, whatever they may be. LLAP dude

  66. Tim, you are making this more complicated on yourself that it has to be. If you applied principles you use in other parts of your life, this would be a no-brainer. But your horniness is shrouding your view. I am going to school you, amicably, with logic.

    First, be an essentialist (book by Greg McKeown). That means realising that EVERYTHING comes with tradeoffs – as any economist will tell you. Imagine that Neil’s relationship with the 3 girls had worked. Then it might have seemed like a case where Neil ‘got it all’. But you never get it all because, of course, there are trade-offs in every aspect of life. There are things that a 4some provides that a 1some (monogamy) cannot. But the opposite is also true. For example, confidence that your ‘soul mate’ will never leave you is something you can develop with a 1some but hardly with a 4some, at least not to the same degree. Therefore, make a list of things you get out of a monogamous relationship. Now do the same for a polygamous/ polyamorous relationship. Even in dimensions where you can tick a checkbox under both models, you must examine the depth and quality of the dimension in question. These will always be different, hence there are tradeoffs. For example, imagine you are in a loving relationship with one girl and she is okay with you going off and having sex with porn stars in exchange for money. So you get two things: fist, you get the relationship and, second, you get ‘masturbation in 3D’ without having to establish any emotional bond with the paid porn stars. Monogamous love, polygamous dick. But what are the tradeoffs? Will the relationship with the girl who lets you do that be the same as the relationship with the ‘traditional’ girl who does not? Those two girls are not the same girl!

    If you understand these trade-offs thoroughly, in this area of life as you do in others, the decision should become a lot easier.

    Make a list of the different relationship models. Assign scores from 1-10. Even if none gets a 10, chose the one with highest score and then enjoy the relief and freedom that comes with saying no to all the others.

    Trying to have multiple things at once always leads to conflict and unhappiness. Acknowledging tradeoffs lets you maximise quality over quantity. Again, read all of The Essentialist by McKeown purely from a relationship perspective.

    So much for choosing the relationship model. Now, relating to a single person. Here too there are tradeoffs – no partner is perfect in all dimensions and neither are you from your partner’s perspective. Which partner do you chose? The one where you are happiest with the set of tradeoffs.

    You may also try a relationship institution called ‘Couple Wish Time’. For a given set of time, say 30 min. once a week to start with, she will read that book you think all of humanity must have read. But for the same amount of time, she gets to ask you to do whatever would include you more in her world. You get what you put in.

    Here are a few extra hacks:

    – Stop wanking

    – ‘But genetics dictate that people are polygamous’. This may well be an overinterpretation of the mere fact that of course your body reacts to sexual stimulus. If you weren’t stimulated, you’d be dysfunctional. BTW: See above.

    – What ‘human mammal genetics’ and instinct dictate now (getting laid as much as possible) is likely to change once the evolutionary goal of getting laid, namely having kids, is accomplished. Sex drive towards several women makes sense, from an evolutionary standpoint, if sex with these women does not result in offspring – as it does not when your gf is on the pill or if you are using a condom. So tame your dick if she might be the future mother of your kids. Once you have kids, the tradeoff and cost of fooling around will be even greater and your hormones will make you want to stick around.

    – Historically, there have been men who had several women, mostly for reasons of economic or physical power. Think Middle Eastern harems, cavemen being the alpha male in their tribe, taking care of widows whose men died in battle etc. But monogamy is for maximising bonding and emotion, not for maximising power or sex. That’s why monogamy has emerged as the dominant model. Where monogamy fails, it is usually not because the model is bad for its intended purpose but because the particular relationship didn’t work – due to mismatch, breaches of trust, poor time management on one or both sides.

    – If polyamory or polygamy were happiness-maximising, humanity surely would have figured that out by now. The fact that the best model isn’t perfect is a separate issue.

    – Assumptions: If you assume ‘I am just not hardwired for monogamy’, then your first assumption channels the rest of your thinking. What if the ‘experts’ are wrong? Consider the points above. I am not convinced that feeling sexually stimulated means that I am genetically disposed towards polygamy.

    – If you are in a relationship but your dick wants diversity, you owe it to yourself to see how you FEEL during sex with other people while lucid dreaming – before you try it in the real world

    – If you like a girl’s scent around her neck and cheeks and you become addicted to it OVER TIME, it will feel very weird to smell other girls

    – Dreaming of really hot pornstars? You only deserve them if you have cultivated a pornstar body yourself. Do you have a sixpack and look like Channing Tatum? At least until then, shut up up about wanting to be with girls that look like the ones you find on .

    – Is your hedonism worth her likely pain? A tradeoff where the choice should be easy.

    – If you feel you need an extra pussy or dick in your life, a dildo, FleshLight, penetration machine or a lower- or upper-body replica might be a close enough substitute. With all the tech out there, you should be able to get creative. Besides, talking to your partner about a certain fantasy may be way easier than suggesting an open relationship.

    – Also, most men overestimate their sexual energy. Wanking 8 times a day, on some days, does not mean you will want to pleasure several women all the time. It is unlikely that you have the energy or the time to do what you fantasise about without making huge compromises in your ‘primary relationship’ or otherwise. Definitely not in the long run but probably also not in the short run.

    – Moreover, keep in mind that time is finite. Here is an example from platonic relationships. You allot a certain amount of time for your best friend(s). Whether you have one or three best friends will impact the amount of shared experiences and depth that you can give and receive in any of the relationships with your best friend(s). How much time does a ‘best friend’ deserve? This limits the amount of friends you can have before they become good buddies or nice acquaintances. Breadth always sacrifices depth, in all areas of life. For skills, being a jack of all trades might be better than being a specialist in many cases but the opposite tends to be true for relationships. Most relationships fail due to not putting in the time required. And you are thinking of adding relationships?

    Finally, stop thinking and go with your intuition. Cultivate empathy. As intimacy grows, you will stop thinking in terms of tradeoffs but you will start smiling when you think of – and embrace – how She is. Eventually you might say ‘That’s my girl and I wouldn’t TRADE that for anything in the world’.

    (I didn’t edit this so sorry for its ‘unpolishedness’)

  67. Hmm… Enlightenment? Shame on you? No. Shame is just a mental construct…but so is sex…I’m so confused… or maybe you are. Should I look internally and ask myself why this story is disgusting? Maybe you should look internally and ask yourself why three women sucking your cock in a room full of people having an orgy (with a bunch of naked dudes) is any different than one woman alone. The old fashioned reason was because you’re a pervert but in the postmodern era it’s because you’re a … well I suppose we haven’t come up with a word for you yet… but no shame…clearly you’re an innovator. “To the Moon!”

  68. Awesome article. My wife Emily and I are enjoying an open lifestyle for more than 10 years now. From our point of view it is very natural and there’s not a single reason for monogamy being more legit than open relationships. Mankind has lived a kind of swinger lifestyle for 5 million years. We are trying monogamy for about 5000 years now and it seems to fail for most people. Everybody should find the lifestyle that suites them best.

  69. Gee, gosh and Wow! I really admire the balls on Neil to experiment like he has. And even as a female, a number of things he wrote really struck a cord, “I crave the intimacy and connection more than the anonymous sex”. So true! In my experience, people are like different species of animals – some are truly happy with one person in a long and monogamous relationship, whereas others prefer a different flavour.

  70. I am a parisian women and I had heard of Neil Strauss 8 years ago, I immediately read his book “The Game” as I thought it was great to learn about attraction (in any relationships, personal, work etc…) . I think it’s a great knowledge but that not all people should know and that’s why it’s important to understand the power of attraction to be able to analyse if people are using it to attract you.

    I have seen a close friend go from an introvert who had never had any relationships to being an intro/extrovert who can have multiple partners per year.

    It is a great knowledge for men who put women on a pedestal and are not sure of themselves.

    this new text from Neil Strauss definitely resonates with me. I have been in a monogamous relationship for 5 years. It ended a few months ago and I have evolved so much during the five years that it didn’t feel good to continue to stay together. I continue to evolve everyday by creating new habits, accomplishing new goals and discovering new ways of thinking and living that I never could imagined.

    These changes made me think I could never find someone who would evolve as much as me. Not that we need to evolve on the same paths, because on the contrary it’s much more interesting to have different interests to learn from each other.

    I was in an open relationship with someone else before my monogamous relationship but falling in love made me forget about my ideals and I followed my wearisome cowboy.

    since this relationship I have met someone who is as open minded as me and we started a relationship. An open relationship. Because I did not want it to be just a theoretical nonmonogamy and because I wanted to test his ability to accept the nonmonogamy, I purposely made love with a friend. At first he was a bit chocked and then just relieved that I still wanted to spend time with him and that it changed in no ways my feeling towards him.

    I have to say that we are not in love with each other which is so weird as we are so good together as partners.

    it’s working so far and I am glad we can talk about our interests in other people. I think the relationship is easy because we communicate a LOT about it. Constantly to make sure we are on the same page regarding our feelings towards each others (and towards other people). I want to be informed if he is interested (sexually or else) in someone else, because I don’t want to learn it from someone else or during an awkward situation.

    And I am happy for him if he is happy having dates with other women. I have already had small feeling of jealousy, but I think the best way it to channel it to some sex role play with a hint of “you are only mine tonight”.

    it’s the kind of small jealousy that shows that you are having feelings for that person and it’s not just anybody.

    ps : I am really interested in knowing the address of that club in Paris… ^^ will look for it.

  71. Disappointing getting that strange deviant sex piece of sh&% email. Tim Ferris has gone down hill. Hope he gets his act together. Sounds like he’s taking massive amounts of HGH and Cialis and overestimated his readers tolerance for batsh&% crazy weirdness

    No thanks Tim

    Fun ride for awhile. Maybe this kind of crazy works for the swingers and xanax addicts you call friends and dinner party guests, but no thanks.

    Unsubscribed and never to return again


  72. Are humans really designed for monogamy? Is it possible or even desirable?

    Yes, we are designed for monogamy. The problem is that there is this evil one who wants YOU to cheat on everyone in your life. Why should someone marry you if you aren’t putting them first? Why marry at all if all we are going to do is just take what we can get and just bleep people over.

    What I am saying is that, if someone is willing to cheat with you, knowing you are married, then what is to say they won’t cheat on you? Why bother wanting integrity if you are going to not show integrity to them?

    People have had threesomes WITH mutual consent and then in the end 1 or 2 of them end up dead. Why? One of them has a conscience that realized their sin and decided the only way out of it was to kill. Their are many stories of Priest who violated their vows. Why did they violate? Because some of them were molested as children, others were sexually active as teenagers. Both had the same result – they needed sex 100% of the time and was never satisfied and was 100% addicted to this pleasure that can’t be satisfied by adding all these “worldy” things to it. Result? Some go on to join the one religion that bans it out right IF you become a Priest. Others join Naturalist/Nudist camps and think that if they join and dive in, then they will be satisfied OR it will at least become so “normal” that it becomes blase`. It didn’t work for my dad, it won’t work for you.

    Still others, dived in to the immorality and tried to find satisfaction. They tried every trick in the Joy book, every trick in all those mags, and even tried some new tricks taught to them by others who were seeking the same thing – satisfaction for a lust that you can never satisfy. Some of these people ended up raping and then some of those rapist murdered so that they wouldn’t rape that person again.

    Read Out of the Shadows. It is an Hazelton book, but does provide some insight. It is not a “God” book exactly. So Atheist, don’t sweet it.

    My Great-great grandmother lost her husband when Max was 4. She moved to USA where she got a BF who raped Max repeatedly for many years before she finally realized how bad it was and dumped him. Max molested his children. My grandfather molested HIS children – at least 2 of them. My dad was one of those children. My dad thought it was NORMAL for ALL men to think ONLY of intercourse 24/7/365. He didn’t know that this wasn’t normal. He took us to Nudist camp when I was 3. I knew at the age of 3 with OUT anyone telling me, that we did not belong there. I saw ALL willies rise to salute me when NO WOMEN were around AND they did NOT have reading stuff in their hands or in their laps. Think about this. Is Nudist/Naturalist camp natural and normal? Is legal child pornography natural and normal? Do you want grown men day dreaming about raping your three year old who barely has hair AND look like she just barely turned 1 years old?

    – Should you choose excitement over intimacy?

    You will never know the wonders of intimacy and how beautiful it is, if you are

    only searching for an emotional feeling. And, if you only want excitement, you

    will never get commitment. Why? Excitement doesn’t need commitment. What will you

    do when you can no longer be attractive to the special someone? What will you do

    when society disses you and refuses to have anything to do with you? What will

    you do, when society leaves you at the curb when you are considered a reject

    because you are no longer young and spry? Sure, money can buy you sex, but it

    will never buy you true love. True love isn’t sex. Sex is sex. Love is love.

    – If you’re a driven type-A personality, can you really have both with one person?

    You can, IF and ONLY IF you are willing to work at the relationship. Relationships

    take a lot of effort. If relationships were easy, then they wouldn’t be called

    relationships. Relationships are like ships that need to relate to each other.

    Everyone is different and requires different needs to be met at different times.

    Are you creative enough to meet those needs and still love the other person?

    Intimacy is hard for a sex addict to get. They brainwashed their brain (or someone

    else did this for them) to believe that intimacy is boring and emotionless.

    Intimacy – When that person holds your hand, think about their love for you. Not

    their willie up yours. That is sex. When that person hugs you. Think about how

    they will do anything with in reason for you. Think about how much they really

    care for you and you alone. Think about how if you were to be sentenced to a

    wheelchair tomorrow because you became a quadriplegic, they would still love YOU

    and be their for YOU. This is true LOVE. Sex will never get you this type of love.

    Intimacy can.

    – Would life be better if you could sleep with anyone you liked at any time?

    No, because only that one special person who really trully loves you, will stick by your side through thick and thin. If you were to lose it all, and become a

    homeless dude, would they run? Most would run. If you were to become a quadriplegic tomorrow, most will still run. It is the person that would stay by your side and help you pick up the pieces that is worth fighting for. This is the person who you can truly love and should love. And, have sex with. It is knowing how much and how deeply they care for you that makes that sex awesome. All this other jazz is just fake gold dust. All the glitters is not gold. What two nameless did to me, was not love. It was lust. Lust is not love. It was not fun. It was evil. I did not enjoy it because it did not include love. I was not supposed to enjoy it. It was all about them. They were self-centered and only thinking about their needs. I longed for true love. And yes, I do have a very very high sex drive. No one can ever satisfy it. Why? They are too busy being self-centered. They need to love me for real. Without that real love, I will never be and can never be satisfied.

    – What if you could get a hall pass every once in a while?

    See my above answers. I am not a virgin and not by choice either, really. I had no backbone, so couldn’t say no at that time. However, I can say no now. True love can not be found in jazzy sex with every tom, dick and harry who comes along with a new fake gold glitter. Rapist are never satisfied and they can get a new mate every day. They can do it differently every time and they still need more and more.

    It is better to go get help for addictions before you too, become a statistic.

    Not all addicts rape, nor do they molest. However, addicts are never at peace with themselves…and I mean truly at peace. They are never satisfied. They are always searching for more. Sex addiction is not something that is easily gotten rid of. It is something that we face every single second of every day. WE fight it daily. And yes, I do too, fight it daily. But then again, I was groomed as a very young child to be used to seeing porno. My dad never violated me physically, but he did admit to wanting me, just like the other men did – while this 3 year old swam laps in the pool. It was disgusting. I won’t look back. I will only look forward. I’ve healed from this. YOU CAN find true love, if you only look for it in the right places. The local pants party or brothel is not where. I will let the one I believe created us reveal Himself to you if it be His will. He gave you freewill. I do not right this to witness my faith upon you. I write this because this is my experience and my reality. I’ve been there, done that. I’ve changed because I wasn’t being satisfied.

    BTW, Hollywood isn’t interested in you finding true love. The biz, to use the correct word, really only wants you to be addicted. They want your children to be addicted too. How so? Crank 2 was rated safe for 14 yr old. Trust me, when I was THREE years old, I knew that he was humping a grandma. I was disgusted for the 14 yr old self inside me.

    Thanks for reading. (And no, I will not reply to comments, but I will read them.) Thanks!

  73. Surprisingly, the times when I was in relationships with 2-3 people were the easiest for me to manage. Looking back it was because I was extremely upfront with my intentions which made people that weren’t entirely comfortable with such set ups steer clear.

    I don’t think monogamy is for everyone. I know very few relationships that are truly monogamous — which I consider to be not only making the decision to be with only one person, but actually wanting only that person. However, for some people, other portions of a relationship are more important than fulfilling every sexual fantasy. I am not one of those people. I am also in a monogamous relationship.

    Yes, it surprised me, too. A bit over a year ago, I started seeing someone and lost interest in everyone else. We still have the option on the table that if one of us (more likely to be me, but who knows) finds themselves wanting sex elsewhere we will have that discussion.

    I still think it’s rare to find someone who provides everything you would want from a partner, and in fact it feels a bit creepy if you do. I found that in most cases, being involved with several people worked best for me, but I know it works differently for different people.

    You can’t force yourself to want anything other than what you do, but by figuring out what it is and finding people who want from a partner the parts of life that you want to share with them, you can begin to get what you want.

  74. Tim:

    With all due respect, you are asking the wrong questions. You should be asking the same questions that you typically ask: a) how do you enjoy the journey rather than the destination; b) how do you create a lifestyle that works for you rather than you work for and c) can you really have it all?

    Go to Desire RM or Pearl in Mexico. Have fun (you cannot help but do that), but also talk to the couples. The couples (and they are all one woman, one man couples) run the gamut of “the lifestyle” from a very little “watch and be watched” to no-holds-barred full-swap party-all-the- time let’s-get-it-on every week swingers. But virtually all those couples have one thing in common: outstanding relationships. Sure, those relationships, like all others, will go through their ups and downs and some won’t last. But you will find the answers to your questions.

    All that fun and family life (and kids) too?

    For the vast majority who go to Desire, it works.

    See ya there.


  75. to do what you like, establishing your will above God’s will is satanism in aleister crowley’s own words. it’s that simple. the standard Jesus spoke to us: to look & lust is adultery in the heart already. scribbling your own lines of morality, making it up as you go along, that is the wide path to destruction. emptiness & ultimate destruction.

  76. It’s exciting to me every time I hear someone’s story about how they’re crafting their own life and not following the herd.

    I wasn’t necessarily looking for a success story from Neil because we grow from every experience. Neil is definitely on a learning curve to make every relationship better and to craft a life of his own choosing. It’s enough that he shares the adventure with readers who have never known about or have wondered about paths not taken.

    I was lucky to fall in love with a swinger who was ready to settle for monogamy if that’s what I wanted. He was also prepared to show me a world I’d been so sheltered from that I didn’t know there was anything other than adultery as an option to monogamous marriage. We chose an open marriage from the start and neither of us have limits on who, what, when or where. Twenty years later, we’re still enjoying the ride (literally). Still in love, still best friends. Mutual respect is the key, closely followed by communication.

    We’ve embraced emotional monogamy by choice although the option for external relationships is always available should the situation arise. At this stage, though, playing with others and limiting it to physical fun suits us just fine. There’s no jealousy, no fear, no possession. Just love and laughter and fun.

  77. I believe we all want to be loved and have someone to love. There are momentary satisfactions and there are lasting relationships. When you are sick, lonely, happy, etc. it’s meaningful to have someone to be with. I prefer to share myself and my life with my partner, that kind of love making is real for me. Connection, lasting connection is what it’s all about. Working on my body, mind, spirit, and having a relationship with another is full and fulfilling.

  78. Had a look within and came up with this:

    Wow. Always learn something new every day. Didn’t realise so many rich and clever sexual deviants follow you Tim. When I read this post this morning, I thought you now feel finally safe to emerge from the shadows, drop the mask and reveal the darkness within.

    Highly damaged adult children always act out sexually. Sexual abuse, rejection, non-attachment in childhood and complex post traumatic stress response in adulthood to me, explain both your anxieties about monogamy.

    Just looking at the ratio of commenters who applaud this post and opponents, I’m convinced more than ever of the saying the whole world is a mental hospital without walls. Seriously. Tim, you are straying into matters of mental, emotional and sexual disorders territory. Morality even.

    Human brilliance and the quest for perfection and excellence to motivate mere mortals, that I get. Sorry, I can’t make the connection to today’s post. Keep it to yourself guys. Better still, create another site just for voyeurs and deviants. Looks like you have a sizeable audience ready, willing and hungry for that. If I had wanted to know all about the topic, am sure Google can satisfy my urge to know.

    Now unplugging from Tim Ferris’s matrix.

  79. I am uncomfortable with monogamous relationships.

    I feel like this may have rooted from the death of my mother at age 6, and me growing up with almost zero love and positive attention from any sort of woman figure in my childhood.

    But I get this sort of feeling of vulnerability, as if I’m putting all my eggs in one basket. When I’m in a monogamous relationship, I feel like the love I receive is a scarce resource, so I cling on to whatever I can get. This ends up looking needy and annoying, so she ends up pulling away. And my heart ends up broken leaving me wondering what the point of it all was in the first place. Which is very hard to recover from for me because of the reason above.

    This is also why I had fear of women, and a hard time talking to women throughout high school and up until my 20s. It was a loop of hardly any exposure, frustration, and negative feedback keeping me from any kind of love, intimacy, or relationships. I had to constantly get outside my comfort zone just in order to become comfortable with and enjoy the presence of women.

    Finally, today on the other hand, when I am polyamourus, I feel in abundance and have variety of the love, affection, and feminine attention that I crave. This way I can become very intimate without every clinging on and maintain a safe level of emotional detachment. Also leaving me able to focus on other areas of my life.

    This is how I operate, I understand it is abnormal in our culture but so is the incident I had at a young age. I understand what I crave may be my way of always trying to fill the hole in my heart from where my mother once was, which I’m working on solving. But until, if ever, I figure that out, this is how I function keeping my own emotional safety.

  80. Hi Tim, you asked for comments on your non-monogamy post: just wanted to chime in. I also don’t believe in this contrived sociological experiment. I don’t own my partner, who am I to tell him what to do? As long as everyone is safe, and everything is consensual, he’s free to do what (and who) he wants, and so am I. Tim, hall passes are a beautiful thing. Trust is so important as is communiction. My advice is to find a woman in “the lifestyle” for a long term open relationship. Welcome to the club 😉

  81. Tim. I really appreciate your openness on choosing non-monogamy. This is something I’ve been more open about this year as well. It scared me at first, but it turned out to be not so bad. (There’s a very vocal minority that has some notsonice things to say about it though).


  82. I’m sure someone else has mentioned it, or you know about it, but you may be interested in the idea of “monogamish” – an idea and term coined by Dan Savage.

  83. Neil & Tim

    I am Delighted that you guys are helping to mainstream alternative relationship models! It’s About Time more people had these conversations. Monogamy may work for some people, but it’s definitely not the be all, end all we’ve been trained to aspire to. Personally, I have always found the idea of monogamy unnecessarily restrictive; I’m grateful that I’ve made peace with myself that the only relationship(s) that would work for me are of the open kind. I do currently aspire to have a primary-type connection in my life, but it would certainly have to be in the open context. In the meantime, I am enjoying having loving & respectful connections with various people in my life. I Love the freedom and the life enrichment that comes with the open lifestyle.

    Btw, we have a budding & thriving polyamory community in Toronto 😉 Kudos again to Neil & Tim, and kudos to everyone with the courage to think outside the proverbial box 😉

  84. To your newsletter titled Experiments in Non-Monogamy: Sex Clubs and Polyamory, please know that the Bible declares that

    Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

    – Hebrews 13:4 King James Bible

  85. Get your partners in order.

    Be winning with #1….let #1 pick out #2…

    Or at least hip #2 that’s her #…that all good things flow through #1…her mission is to befriend, love, and serve #1. Remind #1, her mission is same in #2’s direction. And that if # 1 and #2 can’t work it out..,#2 gotta go…and continue shopping. Y’all will find the right “one”from there…more #’s may be added in same fashion….if so desired. I recommend living in community if you’re gonna expand beyond 3…..your play mates need play mates…who can all look each other in the eye, agree to play the game a certain way, keep their deals, and mediate…when needed💋

    Play On, Playahs😉

  86. So this is hilarious and so applicable. Like all of you I wrestle with the same external limitations but am motivated to achieve the same objective. I require an intimate relationship yet also require novelty. I’ve somehow found the sweet spot but although my permanent gf knows of my interests, she doesn’t know of the details. I have attempted a three way relationship and she was into it, but the other girl wasn’t. She didn’t want to engage foreign clam. I had a fling on the side instead.

    But that is just one example. I can’t contain my desire to pursue other women … many women .. young, sexual and beautiful women … but I also love being in a relationship with my gf and I truly love her. So I have this great relationship with her yet we spend enough time apart so that things don’t get too stale or possessive, and I can live out my rockstar desires without her knowing. The only thing she knows is that I believe in polyamory, yet I love her to death. So at the end of the day, I always come back to her. But in the meantime … HALLPASS!!! :::)))

    And if she gives me freedom, I will remain committed to her. But if she tries to cage me, our relationship will simply become dishonest and inauthentic.

    For most guys I know, monogamy is totally out of the question. They play the card with their women, but then play a different card whenever they get the chance. I prefer to at least be upfront about my beliefs and interests, though it doesn’t serve our relationship to discuss the details. The one thing of primary importance is to consistently provide undying love and attention to my regular gf and ensure she feels uncompromisingly she is the only important female in my life. The rest is just physical and for adventure/fun.

    Fuck. It’s just who we are. We’re animals. We’re biologically wired this way. It’s not our fault. Embrace and enjoy it. Only a fucking idiot would deny their own biological instincts, and that’s why monogamous mofos die sooner; their life sucks. Get into it man. Life is short.

    Viva Tim Ferriss.

  87. Hey Tim

    I’m going anonymous not because I’m ashamed, but because of the impact that what I say might have on someone that I know to be a fan of yours.

    I was involved in polyamory for a long while before meeting my now ex-boyfriend. What worked for me was that my partners all had a primary that wasn’t me. What that meant was that there were certain expectations I just couldn’t have of them and, similarly, even if they wanted to, they couldn’t ask me not to sleep with other people. Most of them didn’t want to ask me that, but one in particular would have liked to and most of them did think of me as their second (as opposed to one of many). However, we all knew what the limits were. What that left was the space to have deep, personal connections, love, friendship and an honest and open enjoyment of each others minds and bodies. I was connecting with two guys in this way on a fairly regular basis, but I had another two or three that lived further away, and we’d have these connections through text and truly beautiful, artistic photographs when we couldn’t be together physically.

    These were and are the most honest relationships I’ve ever had – I’m still close friends with all of them. I might even go back to them once I get over my break-up. But, if I could, I’d rather go back to my monogamous relationship. Not because I prefer monogamy, but what my polyamorous setup lacked was someone that would pick me. Someone that would be my partner. I tested the water with my ex when I met him, bit the idea was so far from his experience and comfort zone, I knew I couldn’t go there. Not yet anyway. And I believe in honesty. I wouldn’t keep it up behind his back, even if I did miss certain aspects now and then. I still had them as very close friends and confidants, just not as sexual partners. I stopped engaging in the sexting as well, because that had been pretty real and deep to me, so it would have been equally as deceitful to continue it, even if nothing physical actually ever happened. (I never actually even kissed the one guy. It was all by text, and yet it was so real, it’s hard to believe we’ve never more than hugged!)

    Ideally, one day I’ll be somebody’s primary. We’ll be honest and open. The poly- part doesn’t have to feature majorly, but it should be something we are comfortable talking about, and engaging in if the right person/people come along, that can bring more to our relationship and not try to sabotage it through emotional insecurity.

    Hope that helps!

    PS: I did experience two orgy’s, but only slept with one guy at both of them. I met him at the first one, and he became one of my regulars mentioned above. For the rest, I made out with one or two of the girls (let’s face it, naked girls are just cuter – and I’m not even bi-) and it was an eye-opening experience. Like Neil says, it blows your mind that you’re actually there and that this is actually happening. But from my perspective, I’m not a “nasty slut”, I’m a horny, mildly kinky, free-spirit. So I don’t like the nastiness. I like the honest connection.

  88. Hmm, .seen the reverse (1 woman, multiple partners living situation in SF)…after almost 12 months, everyone was seeing a therapist. What was difficult, they were all friends/confidents of mine. So how do you be fair to all? It was hard.

    For me, I knew early on I’m a monogamous person and looked/found a like-minded partner. While it has its own challenges, it’s not complicated. Complicated=oy vay; simple=dealable.

  89. Tim,

    For a proponent of life simplification, elimination, and at times outright minimalism, I must say I’ve raised an eyebrow at this one 🙂

    One of the grand things about life and getting older is that doors start to shut on you. When you’re young you can be an astronaut or the president. As you get older, your priorities realign and aspirations change to match. And to be honest, door closing on you is a hell of a relief – the pressure is off, so you can focus on what you realise matter most. Life simplifies and you focus on what’s essential.

    What I’m getting at is, find a great partner and be done with it. 80/20 rule comes into play: stop expending energy on the hunt, enjoy the spoils. It’s not only what you might miss out on by committing, but vice versa –

    Good luck mate!