Creating rock-solid, freedom-based relationships where monogamy is optional…

Who Is Rach Wilson?

Chantelle Austin International's Specialist Coach & Mentor in Non-Monogamy and Open Relationships Internationally

The Relationship Education We’re Not Given

(Published in AO Magazine – Issue 2)

With a title like that, where do I even start?! There is so much information that’s not taught and even less information that is considered “acceptable” so be prepared for this article to briefly explore things that you may never have heard of, let-a-lone considered; but at the end of the day, it’s here to broaden your perspective and offer a different point of view. If it happens to make you smile, giggle or blush, that’s a bonus!

I’m sitting here in my comfy jammies on a Sunday morning with the best husband in the world beside me, wondering why there are so many couples out there that are just surviving, not thriving. Or single people that are in and out of relationships because they can’t find the right person or have commitment issues. It’s a real shame because thriving relationships have the potential to effect every other area of your life; all the other good is amplified and so much more becomes possible with a solid foundation of love and happiness to launch from. I know, I know, somewhat sappy and cliché but it’s all true.

Part of the problem is a big black hole of education about sexuality, how to create successful and deliriously happy relationships, and what other relationship options are available! Imagine a shoe store with racks and racks of the exact same black shoe (okay yes, I’m a woman who likes shoes so a shoe store analogy works for me), then up the far back corner a small bunch of rainbow coloured shoes with sparkles and shiny bits (ooo shiny).

You ask the store person if there is anything else to choose from since black is well, boring and the same as everyone else is wearing, but the brightly coloured shoes are just a bit much. The store person answers “all of these at the front are perfectly acceptable; those up the back are for those “other” people…” He leans in close, checks that no one is watching and whispers “I have some other shoes I think you might like but shhhh, they’re out the back”. What he fails to mention is that they are popular but nobody wants to be the first to bring them out in the main store!

My husband and I are one of those people, the “in betweens”. The majority of couples today are in a traditional relationship and while some people are well suited to that style, not everyone comfortably fits in that black shoe even though they are wearing them. Then you have gay/lesbian relationships which are well known and becoming more accepted (finally!!!) but again, not everyone fits in that rainbow shoe, as pretty as they are. I occasionally try a pair on, enjoy it for a time and change shoes again.

So how many other shoes are out there? How many other kinds of relationships are available but are not out the front for all to see and choose from? There are heaps! And they don’t necessarily have a label or box you can put them in…

If we were to keep with the shoe analogy I have no idea what these shoes would look like but lets just say that some would look more adventurous, some would look less practical but fun for a night or 2, some would be quite open and less restrictive, and I bet some would downright scare the standard-black-shoe wearer out of their mind! But all would have an owner that fits quite comfortably into them and they’d come in various colours and shapes, not necessarily conforming to any particular style. I’m sure you’re imagining all kinds of things now and yes, I’m sure some of those shoes are dark red knee high boots… or is that just me?

Ok, let’s just look at some of the more major alternative relationship options and see who’s having the most fun:

Swinger – couples inviting others to join them just for some physical fun. Sometimes it’s just one extra to enjoy having a threesome, sometimes it’s another couple or a group. Those are the people that come into work Monday morning wearing that after-sex glow and a cheeky grin that shouts “if only you knew what I really got up to last night…”

It’s purely physical and that’s the distinction, there is no deep emotional connection between playmates, it’s just a way for couples to continue to explore sex and their sexuality (as many engage in same sex play). They catch up, play and go home and they enjoy having sex with other people for the sheer pleasure of it, it’s like having a human toy box! This is a great style of relationship to be able to try new fantasies and explore new sexual experiences as a couple, did you know that? Yeah, I wasn’t told about this one in sex education either…

Open – An open relationship is where a couple have agreed that it’s okay to have additional relationships outside of the partnership. This ranges from just casual sex to having another partner so it’s adultery with permission; not exclusively being with one person but with full disclosure to their partners about the others.

It’s not uncommon for couples to evolve from a swinger style relationship to an open relationship but it’s not a given, and some couples actually start in this style. It’s like having the freedom to be single and in a relationship at the same time, ever want to have your cake and eat it too? Facebook now gives you the option to list yourself in an “open relationship”, so I wonder how many decades it will take for the rest of the world to catch up? Who’s taking bets?

Polyamorous – a whole new level of relationship where it’s no longer just a physical thing. It’s having more than one loving, intimate relationship at a time with the full knowledge and consent of everyone involved. This is the husband and wife with their boy/girlfriend kind of scenario. Note, that is just one possible configuration…

This kind of relationship holds deeper connections for all involved and requires high levels of honesty and trust to be able to make it work for everyone, as do all of these alternative relationships. You would never know because there was no Relationship Ed at school to teach us how to succeed in a traditional relationship let-a-lone an alternative one with increased complexities! Watch out world if I ever get to create the relationship training for teens, they might learn how to create fulfilling and happy relationships!

We grow up with examples and education that says we should go out into the world, find that “special someone”, get married, have children and grow old together but we were never told that we have the capacity to fully love more than one person at a time in that “soul partner” kind of way. If we were told we could, and that it was okay to, do you think that there’d be more polyamorous and open relationships? If we were given some guidance on how to successfully operate in these relationship styles, do you think there’d be more people in them? And would they be happier? It’s just something to think about.

Now those are really brief descriptions and I haven’t even touched on all of the variations in each. It’s like giving you 3 types of dessert – ice-cream, frozen custard and gelato. They are all different in their own right but inside those are so many different flavours.

And then you can add to the mix the various sexuality’s which are certainly not covered in the sex education program and we have a whole other series of flavours. This is why relationships are fluid and shouldn’t have to be confined to one shoe box or another, or is it flavours… Ok, now I’m mixing my analogies, mmm, shoes and dessert… Doesn’t sound appetising does it. Either way relationships grow, change, evolve and sometimes only periodically fit a particular description, and for some they never do.

We have so many teenagers and young adults going through life being taught that their sexual identity is naturally straight, and that the alternative is being gay/lesbian but they don’t teach them that there are a great number of variations in between, let-a-lone that it’s okay for them to be any one of them. Bi-sexual seems to be the new gay now that gay/lesbian is more recognised and accepted, still not as acceptable as straight apparently, but we’re making progress thankfully.

Then we have inter-sexuals and trans-sexual which is where sexuality starts to become confusing, especially for the person themselves. We have such strong education from the world around us that straight is the only truly acceptable sexuality which alienates everyone who is something different, there are a large number of people out there wondering if something is wrong with them. If our education was to include all the major variations, with a clause teaching that everything is acceptable, we’d have a whole lot less depression, confusion, anxiety, shame, and guilt, and more of a willingness to allow ourselves to explore that side of who we are. When a person can stand tall and say “this is who I am” and “I accept you as you are because you accept me”, what difference will that make to the world?

So my mission, if I choose to accept it, is to educate people so they can create a “conscious relationship”. Now, what the hell does that mean? It’s my way of describing a relationship where the guidelines are determined by the individuals in the relationship and not based on external influences such as society, traditions and the people around them. It’s where they’ve consciously chosen the rules and boundaries in their relationship that are right for them as an individual, and as a couple. They pick their own damn shoes based on what fits best, now doesn’t that sound good?

Just so there is no misunderstanding, my intention is not to “convert” anyone to any particular relationship shoe style or dessert flavour, my intention is to educate people about their options, help them to decide what is actually right for them based on their own truth rather than forcing themselves to fit just one. I don’t know about you, but when there are so many other great shoes and flavours out there to choose from, why would I limit myself to the standard one, vanilla or black? Yes I admit, a traditional relationship for me is the most boring but that’s not the case for everyone.

If after consciously discovering their truth they decide a traditional style relationship is what’s right for them, awesome, that’s exactly what I want for them because they’ve consciously chosen it! But if they are living in a traditional relationship because that’s what they think they should, then I’m here to let them know that it’s okay to want something different; it’s not bad or wrong, and they’re not alone… you’re not alone 🙂

Imagine if they started educating kids about the various options, how different life would be once they reached adulthood. They would likely be at peace with their sexuality, choose a relationship option that worked for them, find someone that was compatible in that style relationship and thrive. They wouldn’t feel guilt over their sexuality or relationship choices or worry about people finding out, or force themselves to be in a traditional relationship because that’s what is acceptable.

People could be open and proud of their sexuality, no more shame or angst over what it could mean to be something other than straight. What a world where people are accepting of who you are and you can be out and proud no matter what your sexuality or relationship choice. Excuse me while I get lost in my image of a perfect world… care to join me?

Leave a Reply

Latest Posts

Private Contact

This is the free demo result. You can also download a complete website from