A few years back, I encountered Dan Savage’s “Savage Love.” I never became an avid listener or reader, but one thing that truly resonated with me was the monogamish idea.
So we’ve got monogamy, more of a one-on-one equation, and monogamish, one-on-one with a twist.
My understanding of monogamish is simple: mutual embracing of all of your partner’s needs. So yes, if you all of a sudden want to go out and have a gangbang where firefighters jizz on your face, that’s awesome! BUT you do have to acknowledge that that may not suit your partner’s needs. In that vein, monogamish is a dialogue between two people dedicated to each other, about what they need from each other.
Dan (Mr. Savage if you’re nasty) advises people to be “GGG—good (in bed), giving (of equal pleasure), and game (for anything--within reason).” What I take this to mean is open-mindedness on both sides of the equation. The ish in monogamish seems to inherently denote multiple parties. However, I feel like for Savage it can also mean a movement away from the stiff traditional monogamous mindset i.e. you’re with me, don’t look, touch, or fantasize about anyone other than me.
Let’s look at this from a novice BDSM perspective:
Game for anything
Game for anything means that your partner will at least listen to any idea you have about sex. This doesn’t necessarily mean going along with it, but at least listening and brainstorming a way to satisfy that need or idea. Sometimes just being allowed to bounce something off your partner and break it down is refreshing. When there isn’t a way to do this, you get into the realm of shame, and that shit’s for the birds. Unintentional shame has no place in BDSM. This open dialogue exists to eliminate shame and create safe spaces where we can be as freaky as we want to be, so you and your partner can explore all ranges of kinky stuff.
Giving of equal pleasure
When you’re game for anything you can then start pleasing and satisfying your partner’s deepest darkest fantasies. This pleasure is not just physical. Pleasure is also visual and mental. Often, you don’t have to receive physical touch to feel pleasure. I find that, when I top, 85% of my pleasure is visual and mental. Power dynamics fascinate me, with all the different ways we submit or dominate in the spheres of our daily lives. While power is not always equal in relationships or sex, pleasure should be. Subs should feel like they’re getting what they need. Doms should feel like they’re getting what they need. Switches should feel like they’re getting what they need. This includes the after care ointments, chocolate, and conversation. Everyone should come away feeling pleased and comfortable thanks to the monogamish foundation of openness.
Good in Bed:
Game for anything + Mutual pleasure = good in bed.
My main sexual desire is to constantly push my boundaries. The idea of constant casual vanilla sex bores the living daylights outta me, while the idea of casual BDSM sex evokes a certain Jian Ghomeshi non-consensual psycho bullshit type of terror.
The complaint I have the most about sex is that my partner for that moment, whether long term or short term, wasn’t listening or paying attention to the situation or my verbal/non-verbal instructions. For relationships, this inattentiveness was mostly due to not being game for anything and becoming uncomfortable during the dialogue about sexual needs. Monogamy should offer a safe space for you to push the envelope as much as you want with someone you trust, ideally. Nothing should be taboo. The ish factor should offer that leeway for multiple partner play and general experimentation. That gangbang fantasy? Yea let’s try it? Golden showers? I don’t see why not! While you’re safe and trusting you can do whatever you like and be a sex rock star to your partner.
I’ve been wondering how to apply monogamish to my relationships. It just feels like it’s easier in theory than practice. Feelings are real, as is jealousy. Navigating real emotion while keeping a constant open mind while exploring multiple partners and pushing sexual boundaries, you will certainly encounter difficulties and challenges. I think that the dialogue and trust help me get through the hard stuff, but I’ve found that letting shit go is the most important thing. Letting go of the fear, letting go of the insecurity, and letting go of the hurt when you misperceive your partner’s motivation. In a way I feel like monogamish is only for the dedicated couple. It is far too much work for a couple who isn’t serious about each other. Or, maybe by starting off monogamish, relationships have a better success rate. But this is a conversation for another day.
Quest is a switch in training