I just love the phrase and the cleverness of its construction that gives rise to multifarious nuances. This I got from an Australian woman who practices this with her boyfriend. They were featured in one of National Geographic’s Taboo series. Although it takes a pailful of yellow guts to be able to swallow a relational contract like this, it seemed to me quite plausible (and worth considering). Nevertheless, I, of course, do not see myself a participant in this very pragmatic if not out-rightly libertine view on sex and human relation.
Negotiated infidelity at its very core works something like this: Both man and woman in a romantic relationship (man-man, woman-woman are other possibilities) can have sex with other people so long as the either of them has full knowledge of the encounter and so long as there is no intimacy (i.e., (as defined by the Australian woman whose collagen-stuffed lips twitched while explaining this part) cuddling, spooning, and sleeping next to the third party participant). It has to be only just about sex and must not go farther than blissful orgasm.
I believe some would argue that the phrase is reeking with parallel irony, impossible in fact, that is, if we stick to the strictest definition of ‘fidelity’ (faithfulness and loyalty), but one cannot deny that the concept has merits worth looking-into. With an almost clinical explanation, the woman (apologies if I kept on repeating ‘the woman’, I did not get her name, not that I think she’s a lose woman therefore ought to be burned at the stake) said that monogamy is not natural for men. So instead of crying in the corner and blaming the world for her failed past relations, negotiated infidelity gave her a renewed outlook on life. Deeply satisfied, her boyfriend and she regularly invite people to their place to have sex with either of them. Her boyfriend reads book in the living room while she’s being humped by a man she met in a bar a week before, or she polishes her toenails in the other room while her boyfriend and a bespectacled woman are on their way to seventh heaven (if such exists).
I love how the phrase sounds and the darkness it conjures while its meaning is rather too clear for the word to qualify as a legitimate euphemism.
I am looking for ways to answer a lot of questions that bother me these days, questions I do not know exactly what, much less phrase them articulately, and along came negotiated infidelity. Not that these questions have to do with matters concerning my sex life (or romantic life), though some of them have, what the idea taught me is that having our minds boxed in well-defined compartments can be brain-deadening. It’s a fresh perspective that came from a totally old reality ordinary people in a relationship confront.
Infidelity is taboo in a civilized society. It is taboo, I think, because it challenges the pair groups that have been the very foundation of human societies which are fundamentally based on monogamous heterosexual union. However, the world does not keep itself from changing. It constantly evolves into something completely unrecognizable to those who lived decades ago. I am not saying this is a better alternative to the constricting monogamy for I know man is capable of coming up with novel ideas that work without compromising his tightly-held values.
In the mean time, negotiated infidelity is sort of exciting and interesting.