Relationship Types

I have always found one-word relationship definitions to be very restricting and unrealistic. I know that labels serve some purpose in simplifying things in life but with complex interactions like intimate relationships I find the simplicity to be harmful. As the below chart highlights, there are a shit-ton of ways to be intimate. I’m not sure of the source of this image but it appears to leave out by-the-books monogamy where two people are only intimate, have sex, and are in love with each other with no cheating by either partner. I guess that would be a bubble outside the graph but in reality many cheat and many have monogamish relationships where certain levels of intimacy and sexual exploration exist.

What I really find unfortunate about the quick definitions we put on relationships is it prevents (and even makes taboo) discussions that get deeper into the details of relationships. It is inappropriate for me to talk to one of my couple crushes (of which I have several) and ask them if they are more open sexually, if they swing or are into BDSM. If I ask these things it is assumed I am hitting on them or looking for a play partner when in reality I may just be interested in the relationship dynamics between two (or more) complex people. I find people and sex fascinating, I would love to know how my friends and acquaintances approach these issues and relationships.

Anyway, I found the image interesting even if it isn’t complete (can anything like this be complete without reducing it down to each individual relationship in the world?).

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