Our contributor Kristine deGuzman, a junior at UC Berkeley, has a confession to make:
It was my roommate’s 21st birthday a few Fridays ago, so my roommates and I decided to throw her a massive birthday party at our apartment. My boyfriend opted to chill in my bedroom for most of the night, while I mingled with the throng of intoxicated co-eds crowding our kitchen. Several cocktails later, I found myself considering hooking up with four different guys and one girl. At least. And every time I had even the slightest urge to stick my tongue in someone else’s mouth, I would go into the bedroom and slur to my boyfriend something along the lines of, “There’s a cute boy/girl in the kitchen and I sooo want to sleep with him/her.” He would respond by smirking, patting me on the back and saying, “Go for it.”
But then, of course, we ended the night getting into each other’s pants.
This scenario happens a lot in our relationship, and not necessarily during drunken party scenes. Some days we just come home and talk about the attractive people in our classes or clubs who we’ve developed schoolgirl/schoolboy crushes on, and then end the conversation with sex. For example, one time I came home rambling on about this cute guy in my French class who was quite the charmer, and my boyfriend, determined to show him up, managed to charm me out of my clothing and onto his bed. Crafty, no? And while other couples work out or go wine tasting together, we Facebook stalk our crushes together, almost as a strange bonding ritual.
Another borderline creepy activity that we like to do together while hanging out on campus (or anywhere public, really) is to comment on attractive girls and guys that pass by and decide whether or not we would consider dating them if we were both single (and bi). Most of the time our tastes in attractive people differ, but every now and then someone will pass by and we can both agree, “Oh yeah. That person is definitely worth fucking.” Yeah, we’re that couple.
I just feel like after a certain period of time, it becomes perfectly natural for people in relationships to be attracted to other people. The philosophy that my boyfriend and I have adopted can be summed up as, “Why fight it?” We have an implicit understanding that neither of us actually will act on these verbalized urges — we are both monogamous and know that sexual relations with other people are a no-go. We simply don’t hide these desires from each other, so there’s never any suspicion or speculation that the other is being unfaithful. And it’s made our relationship stronger. I know that despite the fact that he finds other girls attractive, he still places me above them all — and vice versa.
So what happens when couples fight it? I have a guy friend who’s been with his girlfriend for several years and he still can’t look at another girl without pushing the “meltdown” button in her head. In the beginning he tried to tell her about girls he had crushes on, but since his honesty led to some really dramatic break-ups, he’s decided “Ahh, well, ignorance is bliss.” They’ve gone through several “breaks,” and during each he’s managed to hook up with at least one woman, and his girlfriend is none the wiser. I suspect that the more he’s not allowed to even think of another girl, the more he does so when his girlfriend is away.
The idea that you can’t be attracted to other people when you’re in a relationship is just unrealistic and sets couples up for future problems. Human attraction is a basic instinct, and it’s really just a matter of acting responsibly. Just because you find yourself turned on by a girl or guy in the grocery store doesn’t mean your relationship with your significant other is flawed, and it doesn’t mean you’re an awful person prone to infidelity. I’m not saying everyone should adopt our brutal honesty policy, but I do think one day everyone needs to sit down with their significant other and just admit, “I’ve thought about screwing other people, but don’t worry, you’re still at the top of my list.”