The Ins and Outs of Modern Sexual Exclusivity

Modern dating can be a confusing ride, and it’s even more confusing when sexual exclusivity is an issue. Here’s everything you need to know about it. By Danielle Anne Suleik

The Ins and Outs of Modern Sexual Exclusivity

With all the relationship hang-ups being thrown left and right, it’s not surprising that everyone’s developing new and crazy agreements within their relationships. You’ve heard of relationship exclusivity, but do you know about sexual exclusivity? Well, you can find out about the ins and outs of this new concept between lovers and friends now.

A majority of people between the ages 20 and 45 engage in premarital sex. Most expect a relationship out of it, but a growing percentage is perfectly fine without the commitment. Because of this new perception, the rules of relationships – committed or otherwise – have developed certain subsets that not even the most knowledgeable relationship expert can decipher.

What types of relationships are affected by sexual exclusivity?

In order to understand the newfangled relationships these days, let’s explore the various relationships that have cropped up since the freedom of sexual expression became prevalent in the past fifty years.

1. Friends with benefits

This is easily the most popular and preferred relationship by people who don’t want to engage in a committed relationship. Two people – friends, strangers, co-workers, classmates, etc. – agree to have sex on a regular basis or if and when the mood strikes. [Read: 25 rules of being friends with benefits]

2. The extramarital affair

This type of relationship may involve feelings from both participants, but generally it’s just about acquiring sex from another person, even if you’re married or otherwise committed.

3. The threesome

When three people get together and engage in sexual intercourse, no matter what their genders are, they can agree to continue said relationship, but won’t consider it as more than an extremely adventurous sexual activity. [Read: 20 things you need to know about threesomes]

4. The backup plan

The people in this type of relationship will continue to see other people, but they will continue to engage in an affair when they are both single. It’s almost the same as friends with benefits, but the difference is that backup plans don’t plan on having sex with other people while they’re single.

5. The one night stand

This is probably the saddest of the bunch because one person usually wants to continue seeing the other. The problem is that one night stands are exactly what they sound like – a physically exasperating fling that occurs for one night, and one night only. [Read: 16 signs to know if it will just be a one night stand]

6. The online hookup

This is when people use online dating apps or social media accounts to find someone to hook up with. It can end in either a “one night stand” or a “friends with benefits” arrangement. [Read: 14 important dos and don’ts of online hookups]

7. The friendly daters

These are two people who know that they’ll never become friends, have had sex at least once, but still see each other on a regular basis. They will flirt with each other and go on dates and never follow through with anything more than that. They will continue to see each other as long as it’s convenient for them.

8. The exes

These people think that agreeing to have sex at random is a given. They have history, they know each other very well, and they don’t harbor any feelings for each other anymore. It’s all well and good, but it does increase the risk of triggering any dormant feelings they have for each other. [Read: The truth about sex with an ex]

Who else knows what kind of kooky relationships exist out there? These, however, are the ones that you frequently see in the dating community. Almost all of these don’t put any pressure on the people involved, but a new concept is on the rise: sexual exclusivity.

What is sexual exclusivity?

If one or both people who engage in any of the relationships mentioned above ask that they not sleep with other people while they’re seeing each other, they’re asking for sexual exclusivity. It’s different from the generic exclusivity agreement wherein two people agree to date each other exclusively, which includes sex and the other benefits of having a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Regular exclusivity requires a lot more responsibility and emotional investment. Sexual exclusivity only requires both people to keep it in their pants when neither is around. It means that they can’t engage in any intimate activity with anyone else and this includes the other people that they are seeing.

Why do people want sexual exclusivity?

It sounds very complicated when you look at it from an outsider’s perspective, but sexual exclusivity has some benefits that can actually improve a sexual relationship. It’s generally requested for health reasons, but it can also be because it’s better not to involve other people in your complicated set-up.

This lessens the risk of involving other people’s feelings. When you sleep with multiple people, it’s hard to keep some feelings from eventually arising. If you sleep with just one person, no one can get jealous or competitive. Everything will run as smoothly as possible.

Sexual exclusivity also allows you to enjoy sex without worrying about sexually transmitted diseases. When you have multiple partners, you’re risking your health and theirs as well. STD’s are preventable, but there isn’t a 100% guarantee that you can avoid it. Even if you use condoms, you can still contract skin lesions or even contagious diseases like the flu and many others.

How do you ask for sexual exclusivity?

If you’re interested in asking this from your lover, you need to understand that it’s not for everyone. It’s a strange request, especially if you take into account the fact that you are still allowed to see other people.

1. You need to establish rules about it

This means that you have to discuss awkward topics like emotions, timelines and the other people that you’re seeing. The benefits are all well and good, but sometimes that isn’t enough to entice a person to commit sexually to another person.

If you started out in a non-committal sexual relationship, you can expect that the person you’re seeing won’t be too quick to agree with what you’re asking. They agreed to have an affair with you, because it gave them the freedom to keep doing it with other people without the need to be exclusive. [Read: 10 casual relationship rules to keep it casual]

2. Asking them to be sexually exclusive is like asking them to go out with you

They might misunderstand your motives and think that you want to take your relationship to the next level. So before you ask your partner to be sexually exclusive, make sure that you are ready to explain the specifics of this new arrangement.

3. Don’t forget to consider how they feel about it

Don’t push them if they don’t want to do it. If you really want to sleep with just one person, you’ll have to find someone who’s willing to go along with your plan. If you tell them how strongly you feel about it, they might change their mind and consider the benefits as well.

Just remember that being sexually exclusive can also make you open to a deeper connection with the person you’re seeing. Once you’ve agreed to stop sleeping with other people, you are increasing the risk of falling for the only person that you’re intimate with. If it’s a risk you’re willing to take, go for it. Just be sure that you are mentally and internally ready to ask this from your partner.

[Read: 15 rules of having an open relationship]

Sexual exclusivity sounds like a good way to keep your sex life safe and healthy. It lessens the chances of hurting other people and you also don’t have to go through the usual hoops when seeing someone new just for sex. It’s the equivalent of having your cake and eating it by yourself!

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Danielle Anne
Those who can’t do, teach. I can neither do nor teach as well as others, but I can try. Aside from being a writer, I am also a physical therapist. My dream is...
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