Relationship Agreements are the agreements that people make in regards to the sex they have inside and outside of a relationship. All relationships have agreements about how we live and operate in the relationship including things like whether you separately or together, how much time you spend together and what you do with that time, how you operate financially, who cooks, who cleans and what you watch on TV. The agreements below are specifically about the sex people choose to have. This includes sex with each other and or sex with other people.
There is no one relationship agreement that fits all people or types of relationships. All relationships are different and there fore so are the agreements we need to make. The relationship agreements you had in your last relationship may not be a good one for your current relationship. Indeed your relationship agreement may change throughout your relationship. Your relationship agreements must be based on what you and your partner want and feel, not what other people are saying or doing All relationships have a relationship agreements, not just open relationships. Exclusive relationships have a relationship agreements, that is, they agree to only have sex with each other It may sound trite, but assuming you are monogamous is not an agreement; it is an assumption, and those assumptions may be incorrect. So talking about your agreement is the best way to avoid misunderstandings. Basically Agreements need to be clear and spoken between both of you.
They must be agreed to by both of you. One partner suggesting an arrangement and the other not agreeing is not an agreement. Don’t feel harassed or coerced into agreeing to something that you are not comfortable with as you will often only regret the decision. If you are unsure about something you can continue to consider it, read up on the issue, or trial it to see if it is want you both want or if it will work for your relationship
Relationship agreement’s need to be specific and detailed. They should outline the type of sex that is allowed, with whom, where, when, safety considerations like safe sex, and alcohol and drug consumption, and other conditions that suit your relationship.
Some things to consider when deciding upon your relationship agreements
The type of sex that is allowed
Can we fuck other people? Can they fuck us? Or is only sucking allowed and who does the sucking etc maybe outlined. Esoteric sex may or may not be considered appropriate with partners, i.e. pissing, BDSM, or fisting. There may be activities that you only want to do with each other and not with other people sometimes that makes them special, and excites you to be with each other.
Who are you going to have sex with?
Is only anonymous sex allowed, i.e. saunas or random guys off the internet etc?, Some people prefer to have regular fuck buddies and saunas are a no go, others like to have the no repeat rule, that is no second encounters in casual situations, no phone number swapping etc. What about fucking each others friends.
Where are we going to have sex?
Some people only like to have sex outside of the relationship at public spaces such as saunas, beats, sex clubs and parties. Others have rules of only at the other guys place. Asking about if you bring causal people back to the “marital” home is important because even if it’s OK to bring guys home, is the bedroom ok, or is it only in the lounge area? What about if you do not live together are their rules about each others homes?
Some people only agree when one is away on business for others it weekends only or after big parties. Some people decide on only when the partner is at work, for others it anytime or only when they are both together.
It is important to have rules around safe sex both in and out of the relationship. We know from research that that 25% of HIV infections occur in the context of relationships, and many of these cases are where both guys think they are HIV negative, one becomes HIV positive during the relationship due to sex outside the relationship and then potentially places his regular partner at risk of HIV infection. Make sure your safety plan includes discussions about condoms. Condoms also reduce the potential of picking up and passing on a range of STI
Another safety consideration is STIs. It’s a good idea to increase your regular testing for STIs if you are having sex with more than just your regular partner and if you do pick something up to inform your regular and casual partners so they can get tested and treated as well
Safety might also include whether sex outside the relationship can happen if you are drunk or high on drugs. This safety aspect is important because often when people are under the influence of drugs and alcohol they engage in greater levels of risk , both sexually and personally.
Safety also includes your physical safety. If you pick up at a venue and head back to his place it’s a good idea to let someone know. That also goes for picking up on the net. Some couples make a point of texting each other to let the other know of where they are headed. Or you could text a friend and make it obvious to the other person that’s what you are doing.
How to communicate about sex
Some couples choose to only have 3somes with guys that they both agree on. Or to only do it together. Others only do it at group events or with sexual fantasies that they do not share, S&M, pissing, or even topping. One important thing to consider is how to communicate about the sex you have had outside the relationship. Even if this is only to encourage your partner to get an STI check up it is an important facit of having an agreement.
- What happens if something goes wrong?
- What happens if the rules are broken by either one of you?
- When will you revisit the agreement?
- What if one of you wants to change things in the agreement?
Relationship check- ins
Circumstances may change so it’s best to check in every now again to make sure that all the conditions of your relationship agreements are still valid and useful.
- Do some aspects need to be changed? If so which ones?
- What’s not working?
- What needs to be removed or added?
- Is everyone still happy?
Contact: ACON’s Gay Men's Education Team
ACON runs workshops with gay men that cover topics including relationships. Please get in touch with ACON’s Gay Men’s Education Team to find out what workshop works best for you.
Tel: (02) 9206 2000
Freecall: 1800 063 060
Hearing Impaired: (02) 9283 2088