Published: July 20, 2011
I'm convinced that there are a lot more PTBMCs out there than people realize — that's "perceived to be monogamous couple," a married/partnered couple with an understanding about when outside sexual contact is permissible. But for most of these couples — for you, IIC, for your parents, for me and my husband — the term "nonmonogamous" isn't a good fit.
Tell an AMC — "actually monogamous couple" — that you're nonmonogamous, and they'll assume you're a couple of huge sluts, i.e., that you're actively seeking outside sex partners or that you're swingers. There's nothing wrong with seeking outside sex partners (in moderation!) or swinging (ditto!), but that's not what you're doing, IIC, it's not what your dad has permission to do, and it's not what my husband and I are doing. So if we — you, me, your mom — tell an AMC we're "nonmonogamous," we have to spend the next 15 minutes qualifying that statement. And that requires us to disclose more details about our actual sex lives than 1) we wanna say and 2) they wanna hear.
So I've got a new word to describe relationships like yours, mine, and your mom's, IIC: "monogamish." We're mostly monogamous, not swingers, not actively looking. Monogamish.
> Email Dan Savage