Dr. G Hits the Spot: Monogamy, or monogaFREE?

Written by Gretchen Lambert

Dear Dr. G,

Why is it so hard for some people to stay true to one person? It seems like men especially have a desire to not only be wanted by a lot of women (or a lot of men depending on the orientation) but actually experience those people in physical form. Why don’t I have the desire to have sex with every guy I meet? Why am I not drawn to hot butts or huge boobs if I am in a relationship with someone I value? I get that in the animal kingdom no one gets married, and I think monogamy only happens with penguins, but still, what is it that entices people to want to be with someone else? I like the idea of having one person love me and me loving them … only.   I’m sick of being trusting and getting hurt.

Dear Naiveté,

You have asked a question that I’m not sure anyone has the answer to at this point. I’ve actually asked that question myself. There have been times when I thought that social media has pushed the monogamy envelope far further than it was ever meant to be pushed. Yet there are faithful men and women who have good sex drives and may like what they see in other people, and their integrity as well as their love and respect for the person to whom they have committed to goes beyond their sexual yearnings. Why don’t you have a desire to have sex with every guy you meet? Well, that is a rather loaded question. There are some people who, because they were sexually abused as children, equate sex with being loved; therefore, any time they get the chance, they want to feel loved through sex. There are people who have a diagnosis of bipolar, and with that disorder comes hypersexuality. There are other people who just love being close and having sex. You, however, may be somebody who fits in the sapiosexual category. That means you are more attracted to someone’s intellect than their physical looks. Maybe ask yourself the question as to whether or not you want to have sex with everyone you find intelligent. If you are a sapiosexual, perhaps that’s the one way for you to explain the boobs-butt thing. Other than that, I don’t have a one-size-fits-all answer as to why people do or don’t want to be sexually gregarious.

For the sake of this column, I am going to assume that you are over 35 and have been through either a failed marriage or a few failed long-term relationships. Everyone feels love differently. I think we’d be hard-pressed to find five random people on the street who have the same definition of love and how they give or receive it. It can be very frustrating for someone whose love language is not physical touch to be in a relationship with somebody for whom physical touch means love. I don’t want to be stereotypical, but a good percentage of females feel loved when they are allowed to talk about how they feel and when their partner expresses love for them verbally, whereas males stereotypically feel loved through touch and are quite visual. (To be honest, the visual inclination is what causes a problem with monogamy for many relationships.) If someone who is very visual goes to the beach, chances are they are going to be turned on looking right, left, and center—and before they know it, one head is thinking for the other. However, that is no excuse for a person in a committed, monogamous relationship to skirt the loyalty issue. And quite frankly, that reasoning usually doesn’t fly with the other half of the relationship, either.

There is no guarantee in any monogamous relationship that monogamy will actually happen. I know that’s a scary, disheartening fact, but there it is. Time and time again, relationships have been ruined over people’s unwillingness to talk about what they are thinking or feeling before acting on those thoughts or feelings. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: communication and honesty are crucial to any relationship if it is going to make it long-term. Ol’ Jason Derulo had it almost right with his lyrics. Take the “dirty” out of it (or leave it in), and he is spot on: “All I really need to understand is / When you talk … to me.”

Gretchen Lambert has a bachelor’s degree in special education and a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. She currently does private coaching and consulting both domestically and internationally. To meet with her privately, get in touch with her at [email protected] “Dr. G” is her pen name. She isn’t a real doctor.

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