Note: This post and episode contain some NSFW content — specifically, stuff that is sexually explicit.
Chris and Kim are a married couple living in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts — an area that's about an hour north of Boston. Kim works in accounting and Chris works in tech support. They have two kids, both in grade school, and they've been married for 13 years.
Amory and Ben visited their place a while back: a cozy, welcoming duplex with a plaque on the wall that reads, "Remember, as far as anyone knows, we're a nice, normal family."
And it seems like they are. But the couple has a very private secret — one they were willing to share with Endless Thread listeners and readers. A little while back, they decided to open their marriage up to new sexual partners and new experiences.
They're like many couples who practice what is often known as consensual non-monogamy, or CNM. Whereas polyamory involves being in love or romantically involved with multiple people, CNM usually means loving just one person but having multiple sexual partners.
After some sputtered attempts on Tinder and Bumble, the couple has had the most success finding other partners using Reddit, via the site's "RforR" communities. People use "RforR," or Redditor for Redditor, for everything from finding new friends to sharing poetry. Often, though, these communities are used to find partners for some form of hooking up. Chris and Kim, for example, posted originally to BostonR4R.
Posted by u/MVCouple to r/bostonr4r:
Hello out there Redditors, 36 year old married black female in a non-monogamous relationship, Husband and I are both under this account, we are looking for FWB's individually, So don't worry.
About me: 36, Light chocolate skin, big soft ass with smaller tits and big suck-able nipples. Thick and Curvy MILF. Not looking for any kind of a relationship past the occasional drink or meal, and good sex. You: 35 - 40(ish) average to chubby, preferably with a full beard (swoon!) Single or non-monogamous as well, I'm not bi, nor interested, but I've found that men in relationships are more inclined to suit my needs.
If you are married and cheating, or otherwise need a "Discrete" relationship, I'm not the lady for you, and please, remember that, I'm a lady first.
My husband is 100% aware of my actions, both here, on tinder/bumble, he's got at least one post out there for himself as well, there are no secrets between us. Will you have to meet him? Maybe? It depends on how I feel about you, probably not, but like all good things, we play it by ear.
Be honest, upfront with me and if we make a connection there may be some fun in our future, keep the conversation moving, I'm not looking for a pen pal, I'm not looking for a new friend, I've got standards, if you want to message me telling me you're going to destroy my pussy, you better be prepared to back that statement up (Lots of people are all talk it seems).
Just to set your expectations, We will not be fucking on the first "date", neutral ground, drinks, introductions and maybe a little making out, and if you're a good boy, you can grab my ass.
Seriously though, this should be easy, Are you in Mass? are you near the NH Border, eastern side? near the Merrimack Valley area? Andover/Haverhill/Methuen/Lawrence area?
We can discuss the particulars, but so you know the deal before saying hello, my house is off limits for any sex.
Hope to hear from someone fun and friendly.
They are not alone in seeking new sexual partners while still remaining married. As of 2016, researchers estimated that around 4 to 5 percent of Americans participate in some form of consensual non-monogamy.
Dr. Debby Herbenick is a professor at the Indiana University School of Public Health and she's been studying sexual behavior and health for about 20 years.
She says people have long been engaged in different kinds of open sexual behavior. She also says couples today usually set down firm rules about what they or their partner can or can't do.
"The key thing is that you keep talking with each other and you're honest with one another about how your feelings are changing or progressing because if you're not honest, then someone's going to hurt you without meaning to," she says.
Chris and Kim do have some rules: No falling in love, no anal play, protection for penetration and no marks. And, as Dr. Herbenick advises, they talk, talk, talk. They talk about expectations. They talk about what might happen if one of them falls in love with another person. They have open and honest communication, and they trust each other, which is why they've been successful so far, without jealousy and angst creeping in.
They want people to know they're regular, normal people. They don't have a sex dungeon in their basement or weird things on the walls.
"We're not different," says Chris. "We go to work, we pay taxes, we love each other."