Ms. Behavior®: Forced Monogamy and Feeling Funny About Fantasizing


Dear Ms. Behavior:

What do you think of a man who demands monogamy before even being in a relationship? I met Joel at the gym and we’ve had several dates that have, surprisingly, not resulted in sex. Joel is great and sexy and smart, but he refuses to sleep with me… unless I promise not to sleep with anyone else while we date.

I’m capable of monogamy, but don’t see why I should agree to it without knowing whether or not Joel is the one. (Isn’t sex one of the ways you decide if someone is right for you?) Joel is not pushing for an emotion commitment before getting to know me, but he insists on sexually fidelity if our relationship becomes sexual. I asked him if this is a fear-of-HIV issue, but he says “No.” He’s not willing to compromise about it. He says, “ If it’s not worth it to you to give up anonymous sex for a few weeks to check it out with me, fine. Don’t have sex with me.”

If I did agree to Joel’s terms and stopped having sex with others in order to date him, wouldn’t it be dishonest?  I’d be agreeing to be faithful under false pretenses, i.e., not because I love him but just to get him to have sex with me. I don’t really understand the point. On the other hand, I guess there’s no harm in giving myself a rest for a few weeks.

I’m confused about whether or not it’s wrong to agree to something I don’t really believe in. I’ve also considered telling Joel I’m not having sex with anyone else, but doing what I want to do anyway, since it won’t harm anyone.

Also, what if I have sex with Joel and it sucks?


Dear Tony:

You’re making this way too complicated. If you find that sex with Joel sucks, don’t do it again. It’s not like he’s asking you to sign up to have him be your only sexual partner for life – just while you’re with him. Here’s the cool part: If you have sex with Joel once and don’t like it, you can blow every racquetball player at your gym the next day.

You don’t need to believe in Joel’s premise, or even pretend to think it’s a good idea. The question is only whether or not you’re willing to play by his rules. If you’re willing to give yourself “a rest” from your usual tricks, that’s fine. If you’re not, that’s also okay; there’s nothing wrong with passing up the opportunity to date Joel. But don’t be a rat and pretend to be monogamous when you’re not, just because you believe it “won’t harm anyone.”   Ms. Behavior’s powers do not extend to clearing anyone’s Karma


Dear Ms. Behavior:

Is it okay to fantasize about other people while making love to my partner of four years?  I’m not cheating, am I? I mean, don’t fantasies about others help keep couples together?

-Far, Far Away

Dear Far, Far Away:

You’re not giving much information, are you? There’s probably no harm in having sex with your partner while fantasizing about Lady Gaga, Sarah Michelle Gellar, or Venus Williams, or even Jake Gyllenhaal for that matter. There’s not much chance that you’ll meet one of these people or that the focus you place on these fantasies will harm your real-life relationship.

But if you happen to have a real-life crush on a friend or coworker, you should at least try not to think about that person while you’re in bed with your partner. Thinking of your crush at the wrong time –the moment of orgasm, for example—will only enhance your feelings for that person and create distance between you and your partner. It’s not exactly “cheating,” but having a private fantasy- about tying up your next-door neighbor and licking honey off her breasts, for example– while your girlfriend’s face is between your thighs might be an obstacle to feeling close. Of course, you can always tell your partner what’s going on in your head, reciting what’s happening as if you’re reading subtitles on a movie screen. This could be sexy and help you stay connected to your partner, physically, emotionally, and romantically.

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