Welcome to Relationship Rehab, news.com.au's weekly column solving all your romantic problems, no holds barred. This week, our resident sexologist Isiah McKimmie tackles a woman whose fiance is encouraging her to have a one-night stand before they get married, whether couples should have weekly "check-ins" and if you should be worried if your husband watches porn.

Should I have a one-night-stand before I get married?

QUESTION: I'm a 29-year-old woman and have been with my fiance for six years. We're going to get married in October and I love him so much but I worry that I didn't experiment enough with my sexuality in my early 20s. I've never had a one-night stand with a stranger and have never been with a woman. I told him that if I was able to live my life again, I'd make sure I did those two things before I met him. To my surprise he said I should do them before our wedding day - his thinking is that I'll be more likely to commit and be happy if I get it out of my system. He suggested I do both on my hens' weekend away in September. What are your thoughts on consensual non-monogamy before a wedding?

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ANSWER: My thoughts on consensual non-monogamy before a wedding are the same thoughts I have about consensual non-monogamy in any committed relationship.

It's a valid choice for people to make but it's not a decision to be made lightly - it can have a huge impact on your relationship. Personally, while I've previously engaged in ethically non-monogamous relationships, it isn't a choice I'd make again in future.

There can be benefits to an ethically non-monogamous relationship. Unfortunately, I usually see couples for whom things didn't turn out as planned. I've had many couples attend Couples Therapy to deal with the consequences of consensual non-monogamous encounters that they thought would improve their relationship.

Some agreed to non-monogamy thinking it would spice up their sex life together, allow them to 'settle down' or because monogamy no longer felt right for them.

The biggest mistake I see couples making with ethical non-monogamy is underestimating the impact it will have on their relationship.

Even if you both agree to this, don't be surprised if strong emotions arise. Your partner may feel somewhat betrayed, despite giving you the green light. He may feel jealous, angry or insecure.

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While consensual non-monogamy is possible in relationships, it should not be entered into lightly. Picture: iStock.
While consensual non-monogamy is possible in relationships, it should not be entered into lightly. Picture: iStock.

Non-monogamy requires a lot of communication. Most people also underestimate the amount of communication required before, during and after the encounters.

Your fiance may genuinely be blasé about you having sex with other people, but there are a lot of details you would benefit from discussing together.

Are there any boundaries about who you sleep with? Would he be more comfortable with it being someone you know and trust or would he prefer it to be with someone you never see again?

And what about your feelings in this? While a one-night stand and sex with a woman are exciting fantasies, the reality of acting out fantasies is often different to what we expected. How might you feel afterwards?

What will you do together if your fiance experiences unexpected emotions afterwards (in the lead up to your wedding)?

I completely understand wishing that you'd experimented more sexually before settling down with one person. I often speak to people in therapy who share this regret and wonder what other encounters might have been like or whether it would even help sex in their marriage.

However, there may be other ways to navigate this dilemma such as having different encounters with your fiance, having a threesome or visiting swingers or BDSM clubs together.

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Sexologist and couples therapist Isiah McKimmie.
Sexologist and couples therapist Isiah McKimmie.

Should couples have a weekly 'check-in'?

QUESTION: My wife has suggested we have a weekly "marriage check-in" but I think it's too much. What would be the benefits of doing this?

ANSWER: Research supports your wife on this.

A weekly relationship check in is something I recommend to my clients to iron out small issues that are going on and give you a chance to connect with each other.

Here are some helpful questions to ask each other:

What have we been doing well in our relationship lately?

What would we like more of?

How have I been a good partner for you this week?

Is there anything I can do to help you feel more loved?

This isn't the only time you'll need to spend together though to make sure your relationship is strong. Ensure you also have time to connect daily, go out for dates and continue to have fun together.

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Your partner watching porn is not a reflection of their attraction to you. Picture: iStock.
Your partner watching porn is not a reflection of their attraction to you. Picture: iStock.

My husband watches porn, should I be worried?

QUESTION: I found out my husband watched porn and feel horrified. Is it normal for a grown-up, married man to access this kind of material?

ANSWER: Yes.

It's completely normal.

It's also normal for grown-up, married women to watch pornography. It's actually normal for any adult to choose to watch pornography regardless of their relationship status.

Humans have been creating and viewing erotic art for thousands of years.

While some people may have moral judgments around pornography, be concerned with ethical issues related to its production or worry about the implications pornography has on views of 'realistic' sex, it's totally normal to watch it.

It's not a reflection of your relationship or his attraction to you.

 

 

 

Isiah McKimmie is a Couples Therapist, Sex Therapist and Sexologist. For more expert advice follow her on Instagram.

If you have a question for Isiah, email relationship.rehab@news.com.au

 

Originally published as Man's shock sex request before wedding