XBTUSD on his non-monogamy experiences

Reader and regular commenter XBTUSD sent this essay on his experiences with non-monogamy and related topics.

I’ve been exploring the non-monogamous world for around seven years and have had a myriad of experiences pretty different than TRQ’s, and I hope sharing them might be valuable to his audience: I really respect the community he’s built [editor’s note: community of lunatics?], his writing style, and the quality of the discussions in the comments section. Maybe my experiences can serve as a useful counterpoint to TRQ’s and we can compare and contrast.

I first heard about ethical non-monogamy (ENM) at work, teaching a room full of people when my high school girlfriend called me (she had become a close friend after we stopped dating) to tell me about the threesome she’d with her new boyfriend. I was in my late 20s, had never had a threesome or even come close, and was thrilled to hear that this type of thing was happening for real. She’d recently moved out to SF and had gotten immersed in the ENM/psychedelic/tech scene out there, and her and the BF were exploring ENM. She’d always been one of the most sexually open women I’ve met—in high school, we used to go to concerts and have competitions to see who could make out with the most people—so none of this shocked me. The part of the story that did surprise me was that for the month following the threesome, they’d been having the best sex of their lives. This was a huge shift for me in terms of what I saw as possible.

After that first conversation, I resolved that this was how I wanted to live: have cake, eat it too. The problem: I was married and monogamous, and I didn’t think it was ethical to re-negotiate the contract after it was signed. I decided that if we ever split up, I would only be non-monogamous going forward.

A few years later, my ex-wife and I parted ways amicably, and I’ve spent the past 7 years exploring that world.

For context, I’m currently in a non-monogamous relationship with a woman who I’ve been with for around two years and don’t live with. Here are a few lessons learned:

People are fascinated with ENM, because almost everyone wants to have multiple partners. It seems too good to be true, and for most, I’d say that it is. Most men imagine their partner being monogamous and them sleeping with tons of other women and their woman not getting upset. Most women are thrilled at the prospect of being with a man who is not a jealous/controlling asshole. It’s often framed as a binary, one is either monogamous or not. I try and reframe it for people and get them to see that both monogamy and non monogamy are a spectrum, and as such it all exists on the same spectrum. We all get to choose where on that spectrum we want to be with any given partner. Justin Lehmiller has a great survey where he goes through a set of behaviors and asks “Is this cheating in a monogamous relationship?” You see from the answers that we all have different ideas, and few of us talk about them with our partners.

People commonly do things that hurt their partner but claim it wasn’t “technically cheating:” if you’re doing this, you’ve already lost. “Not technically cheating” goes by other names, like “an emotional affair” vs “a physical affair,” as some monogamous people are ok with one and not the other. All behaviors exist on a spectrum. Esther Perel points out that “monogamy used to mean one person for life and now it means one at a time.” The goal is to figure out where on the spectrum you’d like to be, and not be boxed in by the language.

The spectrum looks something like: “Mike Pence don’t ever spend alone time with another woman” → “ENM” → “Polyamory with multiple partners in love and living together.”

A lot of people (men and women) who I talk to about this, say, “I know myself, I’m too jealous, ENM would never work for me”. What’s interesting to me about this statement is that people assume their relationship to jealousy is fixed. If you’re a man who is not constantly growing your emotional skillset, this is not for you. But if you’re on this site, you’re constantly learning, changing and growing. Most people take for granted that when they start daygame, the first few hundred “sets” are going to be disasters. Approach anxiety and how they feel when approaching a hot girl is the worst the first time. For some it never goes away, for most it dramatically decreases as they build skills and their brain acclimates to new stimuli. Why would non-monogamy or jealousy be any different?

The first night one of my partners slept with another man, I thought I was going to die. I couldn’t sleep and just tossed and turned all night: the woman I love was having HOT SEX with another man. Social programming told me to go into a fear state. It didn’t help that the man in question was 6 inches taller than me, older, more successful, and all the other bullshit we get caught up in when we let our insecurities drive our emotional state. However, when I saw her the next day and nothing had changed, a lightbulb went on: all of the things I had spent the night fearing/imaging were made up. None of my worst fears came to pass.

I was finally inspired to write this post based on the conversation that started on twitter and migrated to TRQ’s most recent post about non-monogamy. If people enjoyed this, I’ll write more about my experiences, what I’ve learned, and more how to in terms of what’s worked for me to find partners, lead them, create a network, sex parties and creating a supportive social structure.

I’ve done most of the negative things mentioned by XBTUSD. I’d also guess that it’s not just social programming that led XBTUSD into a fear state, but psychological programming: before reliable birth control, letting your female partner f**k another man could lead a man raising another man’s child. Birth control and DNA tests prevent that result today, but the emotional parts of the brain long predate birth control and DNA tests.

XBTUSD mentions the first time one of his partners spent the night with another man. I’d be curious about the first time he spent the night with another woman, with his partner’s knowledge. I’d also like to know 1. What about his ex’s experiences made him connect the dots that something like this is possible? 2. Has he gone to sex clubs, and if so, what were those like? 

I’ll also say, I’m more fond of the couple-to-couple swap than the woman going off and doing her own thing, and me going off to do my own thing.

Long-time readers probably know my perspective on jealousy and non-monogamy.

Thanks to XBTUSD for his post.

Author: The Red Quest

How can we live and be in society?

17 thoughts on “XBTUSD on his non-monogamy experiences”

  1. To me it seems non-monogamy works the best if the reciprocity is observed.

    It’s easy for women to get laid. I doubt anyone would disagree with me. The quality of sex if the different question but I will leave it for now.

    So, if she runs amok and starts racking up notches, even the best of the players in the world won’t be able to keep up.

    And this is probably what I would consider a real jealousy. Not that she bangs other dudes. Is that I don’t bang enough chicks to keep up.


    1. Totally agree. It doesn’t work if it’s a competition. My experience has been that a women’s job is filtering mine is searching. It’s actually much harder for my partner to find guys she’s excited about. The pool willing is much larger, but very few are attractive to her especially now that her bar is higher. For me the pool is much smaller, but a much larger percentage are fun/interesting to engage with. I think for most people, jealously appears whether or not she’s getting more than you at any given time. It’s a skill dealing with it.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. > And this is probably what I would consider a real jealousy. Not that she bangs other dudes. Is that I don’t bang enough chicks to keep up.

      I always love your POV, Yoylo.

      I think you feel that way because you definitely have skill with women and can rope in new girls… so maybe it’s just an “imbalance of notches” that would bug you.

      As I see it, most men’s jealousy is about “having nothing at all.” In the SMP… most men don’t breed. Not at all. The next group of guys have a tenuous grasp on breeding options. The next batch, a come/go access to girls. That amounts to about 85% of guys, in my estimate. And when their girl spins off… that means no sex, but also no intimacy, no affection, no support, maybe no family, etc. They are bankrupt. That is closer to most men’s relationship to losing a partner and jealousy… and that is a serious biological threat.

      Jealousy is one of the most serious dragons I know of. I don’t suffer from it much at all… but I have a lot of respect for it.


  2. First of all, my thanks to XBTUSD for the comments. Great post. Well written as well.

    > I’d also guess that it’s not just social programming that led XBTUSD into a fear state, but psychological programming
    — TRQ

    Good call. That was THE glaring issue I saw in XBTUSD’s post. “Social programming” is this nebulous thing we throw out when we want discredit something or showcase our own “liberated” way of life. I’m not saying it isn’t real (in some circumstances), but it’s lazy thinking. I personally will need a much better answer than that.

    I would add that for me… “sharing partners” is not about fear… it’s about DISGUST. I am about to say some things I KNOW are not strictly “logically,” but this is my take:

    Bodily fluids (from sex/making out) are a hair-trigger disgust marker for almost every culture since time began (I got some of this from Paul Ekman’s study of emotions, BTW). If the guy on the bus next to you sneezes on you… it’s super gross.

    Bodily fluids are ALSO markers of intimacy (the more shared fluids, the more intimate). If you baby sneezes on you… no big deal. And when I make a girl squirt… it’s often into my chest/face… and it only makes me like her more.

    In a “monogamous” relationship, the “fluids” (and everything else) is shared between the two partners. When you bring in other people, (I’ll argue) you are “subconsciously” taking on the bodily fluids of the other guy/girl. It’s not well thought out – but IT IS FELT. You don’t have to know “why,” you just FEEL disgusted.

    I had a friend once that made out with a drunk girl that had just sucked some other guy’s cock. He was stoked at first, and disgusted/humiliated later as the story got around. What changed his mind? What is ONLY a mental difference? Once he knew he was exposed to “some guys cock,” even second hand, it was disgusting for him. And shameful. This is a super common interpretation.

    ENM/poly fails my test because the partners in some way ANNOUNCE the 3rd parties involved. I know the girls I am dating are not virgins, that they might have dated some other guy last night is totally possible, but I don’t have evidence that I can see/hear/feel that would push me from vague intellectual knowledge to a FELT sense of disgust.

    That is part of it…

    The classic “mating”/”is it really your kid”/”will he stick around and raise this kid” reasons are typically shopped out as to why the jealous/disgust responses are NOT a “socially conditioned” thing. But short term “disgust” at slurping up the remnants of people we didn’t choose to be intimate is real as well.

    Lance Mason used to say, “If it’s far away, it’s no big deal… but if it’s right in front of you, it cuts deeper.” Vague knowledge of “another” can be lived with in a way that “you’re telling me you fucked that guy??” often cannot.

    For me the “ethically” part is just insulting and crass – asking me to explicitly digest/accept her other lover. Even hinting at it would encourage me to drop her. Real “pro’s” in the Secret Society have always known to keep those details to ourselves… always… and the world is smoother (and I’d argue more respectful of the bigger picture).

    I know not everyone feels this way. I have heavy judgment here, but this kind of judgment isn’t uncommon. It is part of the story.


    1. > I had a friend once that made out with a drunk girl that had just sucked some other guy’s cock. He was stoked at first, and disgusted/humiliated later as the story got around. What changed his mind? What is ONLY a mental difference? Once he knew he was exposed to “some guys cock,” even second hand, it was disgusting for him. And shameful. This is a super common interpretation.

      This is what shame and social conditioning do to men.

      I had this exact experience in REALTIME during MFM threesome and I was OK with that.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. > This is what shame and social conditioning do to men.

        Again… I don’t think this has all that much to do w/ social conditioning. I think there are real biological/psychological reasons, successful mechanisms that protect most people over time.

        For me… I came from the “open”/poly/ENM culture in San Francisco. I was peers with that crowd. Deeply into a scene that was 1/2 dance, and 1/2 sex party (I was always there for the dancing, they were an insanely good crew to dance with). My “socially conditioning” was to want/accept all that stuff… but I never wanted anything to do with that scene sexually. I had girls from that scene really come on to me… and I would reject them (from disgust).

        And I just see it doesn’t work FOR MOST PEOPLE.

        > I had this exact experience in REALTIME during MFM threesome and I was OK with that.

        I know this is true for you. I completely believe you. And as always, I think you’re a special case.

        To make it PERSONAL: I once had to pick a girl up for a date, a girl I was dating. She had been taking a dance class, and while I waited for her to come out, I got to see her dancing (close, person-to-person) with other guys. I got to see them all lit up and smiling as they danced with her. When she came out… I didn’t want to touch her. Hugging her felt disgusting. I didn’t want to connect with her body, as I had just seen other men wrapped around her. Our date sucked that night. It was not her fault. I didn’t tell her what was up for me… but I learned not to put myself in that position again.

        I’m not saying it’s “logical.” I am saying lots of men feel this way.

        “The capacity to men to stop men from fucking our wives would have been one of the first things to evolve (to make sure they are ‘our’ children). The knee-jerk response ‘to kill’ any one that looks at our wife wrong, is totally natural when we are in First Stage. If you don’t feel that, you’re repressing it. There is a feeling that she is ruined if she gets fucked. You want her only with you.”
        –David Deida

        It’s not “social conditioning.” It’s a very “instinctive” reaction. I’m not defending it. But I am acknowledging it. And I’m identifying with it.

        You and I were on that thread where you said “sharing a girl can make her even more loyal.” And I would easily agree with you there (for certain combos of guys/girls). I am just saying that men that live comfortably in that space are “unusual.” Not “More evolved.” Not “more conscious.” They just have different reactions.

        You seem very real, very natural in this space. You seem JOYFUL in it. That is why I love to hear your POV. But I know you’re statistically rare – and your reactions won’t work for a large % of men. Poly/open/ENM is a fiasco for more people.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I just did my “disgust” argument above, but I can also offer this.


    I have said I won’t accept my lover even signaling to me that she is involved with other men. That is true, even as I intellectually assume (all of) the girls I am dating are/will fuck other guys.


    Let’s say some guy named Tom is after some girl named Lisa. Lisa is married or has a BF, but it’s “on” between the Tom and Lisa. Lisa is still “involved” (see me use a nice “far away” word there?) with her husband/BF, but Tommy really wants her. Let’s assume Tom cannot handle (nor wants) anything like ENM… but… Tom would get with this girl in a second, right?

    If you take 100 guys that are after a certain girl that is currently “dating someone else,” and those 100 guys have a chance to fuck her, I bet 95% of them will do it with no hesitation regarding the other guy.

    But… if we make Tom the husband/BF, and Lisa wants side action, and Tom can keep fucking her (he can have the whole relationship) as long as he is cool with Lisa fucking other guys… Now… I bet maybe 70% of guys refuse. Or fall apart. Or live with it, but lose self respect. It is corrosive for them, etc. It’s a loss.

    It’s a WIN when you step in as the 3rd party, a lot of the time. And it is a LOSS when a 3rd party steps in on you… even though there is another guy involved in both instances. I see how inconsistent that is… but is is viscerally true for me. No amount of “social conditioning” could convince me otherwise.

    I am describing a very common phenomenon. I PERSONALLY feel this way. And I realize it’s illogical to be okay with one and not the other… but LOGIC IS IRRELVANT compared to how the experience makes you FEEL.

    I want sex. But I want to “feel good” as I do it. And I have little to no “disgust” reflex as long as I am on offense, claiming access to a new girl. But if she LATER ON signals to me that she is involved with a new guy… I am disgusted and I walk away from her. I am not even tempted to stay.

    Jealousy doesn’t make me mad. It can make me sad – as in a “low energy,” apathy toward that person I was previously excited about. And it is almost always disgusting.

    But it only seems to trigger me when she is so “crass” to announce it once she and I are already established. I have fucked several married women. Several girls with BFs. No trouble. I was safely on the outside, even as I felt real emotion for those girls. I never felt jealous of their husbands/BFs.

    (Including the young married girl I fucked for two years before I moved to Japan. But she was very slick about not ever really showcasing her husband in any way… she never dissed him, not even once, but he was always a distant, “non factor” in her/my relationship.)

    This is the case as I see it.

    And GIRLS KNOW THIS… and they are much better than guys at keeping their “split attention” undiscovered.

    I think ENM/Poly is a very MALE/LOGICAL way for girls to get what they need. Some girls might like it as it absolves them of responsibility (“they were honest”), but beyond that… it’s a very “lawyer like” approach to natural “laws” of intimacy.


    All of this is said, BTW… with love and respect for the lives and choices of TRQ and Yoylo and men like them. I really like and admire both of those men. I know I am very judgmental of the lifestyle/concepts… but I can also take time to show my respect for some of lords of that territory… even I wouldn’t personally live there.

    Cheers to everyone here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nash, appreciate all your thoughts. I have a deep respect for your way of thinking and communicating. You made so many interesting points that you’ve given me fuel for the next post so I’ll respond there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am a judgmental and aggressive guy… but this crew is top notch. There is real experience and always great conversation here.

        Cheers to you. And thanks for kicking off this round of thinking.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, long time lurker here. I just made an account to comment here, lost way too much time with wordpress, but I might even become a blogger as TRQ always encourages us. Anyways, here’s my comment:

    As a monogamist, I’m particularly interested in how XBTUSD became a non-monogamist. He shared the light bulb moment. What happened next?

    XBTUSD’s post has made me question aspects of myself in a way I had never done before, and that’s much appreciated. I like how he placed monogamy in a spectrum and also called attention to the fact that nothing is fixed – including our emotions.

    I LOLd at the Mike Pence reference. (I also find it super odd that anal isn’t included in the table. Technically it’s been placed in the non-cheating category by default, right?)

    I see Yoylo and Nash already asked a lot of questions, way deeper than anything I could possibly come up with at this point in my journey. Thanks XBTUSD for sharing and TRQ for hosting, plus maintaining the community. Proud lunatic right here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do the blog… for yourself, and for others… don’t underestimate your own growth from it… https://theredquest.wordpress.com/2020/02/24/what-to-write-about-in-your-game-game-player-blog/

      I’ve noticed a missing piece of the player / red pill / f**k boy discussion online, a caesura, and have been trying to fill it in this place. Originally I began writing on Reddit but I realized that is not a good venue because it is too hive mind… so now, from what I can tell, the discussion is centered here… but Yoylo may pick it up… he has / will have many stories… but he is less keen to write than I am, right now.


  5. I used to lean towards non-monogamy, in a nearly religious way. Something about it seemed “right”. But I also did my best to keep my girls faithful.

    Eventually most were not faithful, and it gets troubling to have to keep passing around strong antibiotics to everyone. Some bacteria are highly resistant and very difficult and troubling. The meds can cause serious stomach problems because of killing off good bacteria, and then you need to do a poop transplant.

    And the drama and heartbreak.

    I’m not religiously inclined towards non-monogamy anymore. I’m also still a selfish rat bastard, so who knows what the future holds, but I’m happy to be settled down now again. That is working surprisingly well.


  6. It’s been explained to me that unexpected, and even expected, infidelity can have profound psychological effects on young women. And I’ve seen this first hand. Saw one girl have a mental breakdown and later become a prostitute.

    Saw another horribly heartbroken and near suicidally depressed.

    Saw lots. I loved non-monogamy, but the collateral damage wears on you. I’m not sure who can keep that up. Some people seem to claim they’ve got it all sorted, but I navigated minefields, and saw explosions after explosions.

    My current girl is deep down very similar to me, I think. Similar impulses. We don’t trust each other AT ALL. But we still keep things simple. Risk reward.


    1. It sounds like you have a lot more experience than I, and it’s quite possible this just doesn’t work long term for me. One way I like to think of it is as a controlled burn (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlled_burn). Since we know we want to fuck other people, how do we manage that tension. I’ve seen many many explosions in the monogamous world also. It seems that people always assign the causality of failed relationships to non monogamy when it’s present, but assume the failure was not due to relationship structure when it’s a monogamous one.


      1. Humans are a product of war. Villages and cities razed. There is no land that has not been conquered and reconquered; there are no indigenous tribes.

        All is fair in love and war. The girls will break your heart. You will break their hearts.

        Rapists make babies, and girls get wet for, and dream about rape.

        There aren’t happy rabbits and unicorns. It’s a mess. There is no advice.

        But. We are also evolved to feel the most contentment and happiness when we make others around us happy.

        But. Girls are evolved to fuck axe wielding terrorists.

        There is no actual solution, it’s all minefields. The only reason I’m in a happy satisfying stable long term relationship is because I caused so much very serious damage. I really believe that.


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