Negotiated Infidelity is a Crock

From the moment I saw this article on yesterday, I knew I needed to blog about it. And by “blog about it”, I mean “go through it line by line to call out it’s absurdity”.

3 Things to keep in mind as you read this.

1. The article was well-written, so props to Shanon Cook for doing a good job with it.

2. I am not writing this from some lofty throne of judgment. I have made more mistakes in my marriage than most of you have. This is about what I think is right, even though I admit that I don’t often do what I think is right. Also, I am often wrong.

3. As much as I completely disagree with almost everything in this article, I’m not mad about it. This post was done in fun, so if you want to get mad at me or at the writer or at the premise, that’s up to you.

Okay, with that out of the way, here’s my line by line assessment of this ridiculous treatise of “Negotiated Infidelity”. The original article is in black print, my comments are in blue.

Sugarbabe Favors Negotiated Infidelity

by Shanon Cook

Could letting your man sleep with another woman help your relationship?

I think they left the word ‘crumble’ off that sentence.

Author and former mistress Holly Hill thinks so.

Oh good, because the two things I look for in someone who gives relationship advice is that A) they’ve written a book and that B) they used to be a mistress.

“One of the main things that I have learned is that a woman that negotiates infidelity with her partner is far more powerful than a woman who is sitting home wondering why he’s late from the office Christmas party,” she says.

Yes, that’s right. Nothing more powerful than a woman who gives her man permission to sleep with other women. And you know what’s REALLY WEAK? Having open lines of communication to discuss things with your man like “how come you were running late from this Christmas party” and “Is there anyone at work you’re in an inappropriate relationship with”.

“It’s better to walk the dog on a leash than let it escape through an unseen hole in the back fence.”

Because as we all know, taking the time to build a strong fence of committed love is just too much work. There will always be holes. And you won’t be able to see them. And men are dogs.

Hill’s memoir, “Sugarbabe” details her yearlong adventure with a series of so-called “sugar daddies.” The book sold 24,000 copies in her native Australia, according to her publisher, and has just been released in the United States. Holly Hill is a pen name.

Because dog-men prefer to be walked on a leash by powerful women who hide behind pen names.

“I thought it was men that would like the book,” she says, “But in fact it’s women, because what it says to women is that if your man cheats on you, he still loves you, and he’s probably running about average.”

I didn’t think it was possible to take a dump on men, women, AND the concept of love in so few words, but she nailed it. Bravo.

Allowing their men to stray is a concept that’s difficult for most women to contemplate.

But don’t let that dissuade you from understanding how amazing it is.

But Hill says that if a woman takes the time to truly examine her relationship and considers Mother Nature’s unerring spell on men’s libidos, she might realize that letting her boyfriend or spouse know she’s OK with him having sex elsewhere is a logical way to prevent him from doing it in secret.

Because as we all know, it’s not the fact that your man is making love to other women that’s the problem, it’s that he’s not telling you all about it.

Oh and while we’re here, “Mother Nature’s unerring spell on men’s libidos”??? I haven’t seen such a blatant attempt to excuse men’s behavior since the first season of Madmen. “Men, your libido is from Mother Nature, and it is unerring and faultless. Therefore you must do what it compels you to do.”

“I think that cheating men are normal,” says Hill. “Monogamous men are heroes. Monogamy does have a place in relationships, but not on the long-term. Men are hard-wired to betray women on the long-term.”

If she lowers the bar any further, it will bisect the earth’s core.

Hill says, that of course it’s every woman’s right to refuse to have sex when she’s not in the mood or has a headache. However, expecting men to cope on their own with no outlet whatsoever is shortsighted and cruel, says Hill.

So cruel, in fact, that Taliban leaders have begun teaching the art of “sex withholding” in it’s torture camps. “Waterboarding is cruel,” one of them said, “but withholding sex is shortsighted AND cruel.”

The author, who holds a psychology degree from the University of Southern Queensland, says her experience as a “sugarbabe” taught her some valuable lessons about what drives men to seek sex outside marriage.

The valuable lesson she learned? That sex is what drives men to seek sex outside marriage.

Finding herself in financial dire straits after her married boyfriend unexpectedly dumped her four years ago (he had persuaded her to quit her job and enjoy his financial support as part of “the mistress plan”), she decided to get creative about her employment options.

So let me make sure I got this right: she was broke and brokenhearted because her married boyfriend lied to her and gave her the boot, so she decided to go into glorified prostitution?

Hill, who was 39 at the time, posted an ad online announcing her search for a sugar daddy, someone who would pay her $1,000 a week in exchange for her company, cooking, conversation, massages and, when they desired it, sex. She says the ad attracted 11,000 responses.

Yup, I had it right, just checking.

At the time, Hill says she saw a distinct difference between what she was doing and prostitution.

“I thought that because I was a 24/7 exclusive mistress that I wasn’t part of the world’s oldest profession, but with hindsight I was, because what I was doing … I was charging men for services, part of which included sex,” says Hill.

You mean those guys weren’t shelling out $150 bucks a day to toss around theories on LOST? surprising.

However, she adds, any married woman who no longer loves her husband but continues to have sex with him to retain the comforts of being married could also be considered part of that oldest profession.

So wait, expecting men to wait it out when you have a headache is cruel and having sex with him if you don’t love him is prostitution. Got it.

Most of Hill’s “daddies” were wealthy married men who surprisingly often opted for conversation, she says. While entertaining with red wine and exotic food platters she’d prepare in her Sydney apartment, Hill learned that most of these men sought her attention because they simply weren’t getting enough sex from their wives.

Did you catch that? Most men were saying, “I’m not getting enough sex from my wife, all she wants to do is talk, so I’m going to pay you $1000 a week to talk and not have sex.” #BS

“Men need to get their rocks off,” says Hill. “If a woman crosses her legs for any length of time and doesn’t arrange some sort of alternative for her man, he is going to cheat on her.”

Read that last sentence again, only pretend it’s an enraged Mel Gibson saying it on a recorded phone call. Seriously, do it….Changes things, huh? Funny how she can get away with saying something so insulting .

By alternatives, Hill is referring to her idea of “negotiated infidelity.” That shouldn’t be confused with an open relationship, which to Hill “has no rules.” Nor does it imply that it’s necessary that a wife allow her husband to hop into bed with whomever he chooses — unless of course she’s OK with that. Hill says negotiated infidelity could mean hubby makes a trip to the local strip club for the occasional lap dance or updates his porn collection.

“Honey, these VHS tapes are so 1997. Let’s dip into the ‘Lap Dance’ Budget Envelope to steal a few bucks away for some new DVDs.”

And in no way does it have to be a one-way street.

“Ideally the woman will want to stray as well,” says Hill.

Yes, that is absolutely ideal.

“Some won’t want to because they’re at home taking care of toddlers. But the woman definitely needs to negotiate infidelity as well, especially because that will generate her man’s competitive nature. The more lovers the woman has, the more attraction the man will have for his partner.”

Yes, nothing turns on a man more than the thought of her gunning for Wilt Chamberlain’s record. “Oh honey, knowing you slept with the entire roster of the Phoenix Coyotes last night has made you sexier than EVER!”

Holly Hill says her boyfriend, Phil Dean, can have sex with other women but he cannot spend the night with them.

You work that leash, girlfriend!

While (Phil)  Dean (her boyfriend of two years) has the green light to have sex with other women, he’s not permitted to stay overnight. He also can’t take his lovers away for romantic weekends. And Hill says she’ll have an all-out hissy fit if he spoons another woman.

“Why are you leaving Dean, we just met and had sex?” … “Sorry, my girlfriend has strict rules and won’t let me stay overnight. And please don’t tell her about the spooning.” (yeah, that seems normal.)

Hill, on the other hand, is allowed to spoon her lovers because Dean has no problem with that and recognizes that intimacy is an important part of sex for women. Hill isn’t, however, allowed to wear any of the outfits Dean has bought for her when she meets up with a lover.

“Listen Holly, when that stranger shows up for sexy time with you, you better be completely naked. If I find out you were wearing one of the outfits I bought you, I’m going to be very put out.”

Those rules sound artificial to Marcella Weiner, adjunct professor of Marymount Manhattan College and author of “Repairing Your Marriage After His Affair: A Woman’s Guide to Hope and Healing.”

Marcella Weiner. Perfect.

“Unless you’re totally dead inside of you and have no heart or no brains or no anything — when you’re with another person, you’re with another person,” said Weiner. “It’s not just here’s my penis, here’s your vagina that’s it. It is for some people — but that’s a mechanical kind of thing.”

Seriously though, thank you for finally bringing some sense to this conversation, Mrs. Weiner.

While it may not be for everyone, Hill is optimistic that if more people embraced the idea of negotiated infidelity, cheating could become a thing of the past, leading to fewer divorces and truly happy lifelong relationships.

So if more people cheat, cheating will become a thing of the past.

Or wait, are you saying that “cheating” isn’t getting it on with someone other than your spouse, it’s the fact that you’re hiding it? By this logic, it’s not cheating on a test if you lay your answers out in plain sight for the teacher to see. And hey, that will lead to fewer failed tests and truly happy students.

“We just have to be honest about the way nature created us, and we have to work with nature instead of working against her. This isn’t rocket science. This is what every man already knows and I think what every woman deep down already knows.”

Alright, that’s my take. I want to hear what you think.

Negotiated Infidelity. Legitimate alternative for committed relationships or crock of crap?

53 thoughts on “Negotiated Infidelity is a Crock”

  1. Wow this is absurd does CNN have no other news worthy news in all the world to report on. I guess sex sells literally!

  2. Hey honey, guess what? Sure I’m lazy and grumpy and am way less husband than you deserve, but according to a prostitute author, I’m a HERO! Now doesn’t that make you feel better? What? No, I don’t know this prostitute, Brian Allain introduced her to me …

  3. I enjoyed reading this post and I agree with all your points. While your response is humorous, I couldn’t help but feel sad about the initial article. It’s disheartening that there are people who support this messed-up logic and think that they can use “cheating” to get rid of “cheating”. It’s further proof that the covenant of marriage is becoming more and more devalued every day.

  4. I had the same reaction this article…only not as funny. But really, yuck. I’ve actually gone out with someone (once) who said that he could never be monogamous because it just “wasn’t natural”…and I had a co-worker whose fiance asked her to go to a swingers club. What the heck is the world coming to? or have I just been naive?

  5. Warped, skewed….. sad. I find it interesting that the author hasn’t been married. IMHO one of the strengths of marriage IS monogamy. But what do I know, I’ve only been with one sexual partner and have been married to that partner for 20 happy years. However we have never played with leashes…… hmmmm…..

      1. you’re not supposed to answer the question, allain. because i don’t have an answer to the questions. they were intended to be what we call rhetorical. or what THEY call rhetorical; i generally don’t use that word, myself.

  6. Wow. Anytime I hear someone talk about how unnatural it is for humans to be monogamous, I can’t help but think that just because something is hard to maintain, that doesn’t make it wrong. Isn’t one of the things that makes humans unique from animals is that we can control ourselves from our impulses, sexual or otherwise? If we’re incapable of keeping it in our pants just because our spouse says no every once in a while, how does that make us any better than the animals? Of course, I’m not married or a mistress-for-hire, so this is all my speculation.

    But could you start commentating on more news articles, Bryan? It made it much more entertaining and easier to get through to the end. :)

  7. What I think:

    1. This is what happens when you take God out of the picture and replace Him with “Mother Nature.”

    2. Your responses are hilarious and earned you 100 points.

    3. You omitted a very important “n” from the 11th word in this response: “The valuable lesson she learned? That sex is what drives me to seek sex outside marriage.”

  8. I’ve probably listened to too much Savage Love (Dan Savage is famous for his stance on monogamy: ie that it’s not for everyone and shouldn’t be considered the gold standard) but I think of negotiated infidelity the way I think of a lot of relationship and sex advice: it has to work for you. If you value monogamy, it obviously won’t work. If you don’t value monogamy that much – or if you’re willing to re-evaluate your stance on monogamy because your partner thinks of it so very differently and being semi-non-monogamous is his/her price of admission – then it might work. But it only works with open lines of communication and ground rules and trust – and lots of talking. So it’s not the easy way out, I think. And once there are ground rules, it’s not cheating (think of it as a kind of three-way: that’s usually not thought of as cheating, either). Or something like that.

    That tolerance for other people’s sexual practices aside, it’s not for me. My boyfriend places a high value on monogamy, and luckily I have no interest in sleeping with other people, so we’re a good fit that way. And I think it’s pretty obvious that negotiated infidelity would seem so strange and wrong to couples that subscribe to the Christian ethos on love and sex, as the baseline values are so very different.

    Those are my two cents.

    1. i guess where i have an issue with it is that i don’t believe sex is like getting a backrub or sharing a slurpee. i believe it’s an act that connects two people on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. and because of that it was meant to be a bond between two people.

      that’s why i’d throw a threesome in the cheating bucket, even though your partner is aware. You’re taking that bond meant for two people in covenant with one another and you’re bringing another body (and soul) into the mix. I just don’t think it’s healthy, but that’s my two cents.

  9. Oh and at the very end, you write, “I’ve said my peace” you might want to change that last word to the more appropriate spelling of “piece”.

  10. While I think the author of the original article takes things to an extreme, I also think you blast her a little too hard. I don’t think she’s suggesting having sex outside your marriage will save your marriage, I think she’s suggesting having open communication about everything, including sex and what you might call “competition” to your relationship, is healthy for marriage.

    When we were teenagers my mom always told my siblings and I that if we wanted to drink or try drugs or anything she would rather us tell her and try them out at home than be secretive about it. Aside from an occasional sip of wine I never took her up on her offer or snuck out to party, unlike friends who talked about getting smashed at underage parties. I think the concept of negotiated infidelity operates on the same principle. Instead of getting a sense of being forbidden to do anything, it becomes a matter of talking about your wants and needs, and respecting each other enough not to stray farther than is mutually acceptable.

    Allowing physical relationships alongside a romantic one might be extreme, but what about being friends with someone of your partners gender? Is it ok to give a friend a back rub or is that something too intimate to share outside your marriage? Do you let your partner see you looking at someone attractive or do you try to hide who you find attractive (whether you would act on that attraction or not)?

    I have a friend who has negotiated an agreement with her husband that she’ll let him drool over hot actresses as long as he lets her gush over hot actors. They can talk about who they find attractive and aren’t hiding it from each other, which i think they find strengthens their relationship.

    I believe talking about and negotiating such boundaries is important to any lasting relationship, especially in a culture that is so sexualized and can have such a diverse expectations for relationships.

    1. Beth, I know I might have been a little too harsh…but like i said in the beginning, my motive was entertainment and not to lash out in anger.

      That said, i disagree that “she’s suggesting having open communication about everything”. Maybe she mentioned that, but it was in the context of letting your man bang other chicks.

      I believe open communication about everything is VITAL to a good marriage. And this includes the topics you brought up. Friendship with the opposite sex, touching the opposite sex, talking about attraction, having an active thought life, and all that.

      While Sugarbabe might agree with everything I’ve just said, that was not the lede of the story.

      I was harsh on her because she’s telling guys all over the world that if their wife is not spreading her legs for them as often as his body tells him she should, that he should be allowed to get his rocks off somewhere else. to me, that’s the most self-centered, relationship-destroying advice you can give. but again, these are just my opinions.

  11. I read her article and then went back and read it with your commentary. SERIOUSLY?! I’d really like to see how that works for all of the people that are going to take her up on her advice in the long run–and how many STDs they all get. Your comments were great, but the whole article just left me shaking my head. NOPE–don’t think my husband and I will be trying this.

  12. Wow… I cannot believe that there are actually people in the world that believe stuff like this. I honestly don’t know whether to post this on my blog as my Thiefin’ Thursday funny piece, or just weep for how far some people have been led away from God…

  13. “sex-withholding” – short sighted and cruel
    I’m sure the Taliban probably do fear it more than waterboarding:) Especially since we had to give that up.
    What a ridiculous book premise. Now that the National Inquirer is doing “serious” reporting, I guess CNN decided to pick up the fluff. The book only sold 24,000 copies and that is newsworthy? I thought you had to be Dan Brown to get on CNN.

  14. “I think that cheating men are normal,” says Hill. “Monogamous men are heroes. Monogamy does have a place in relationships, but not on the long-term. Men are hard-wired to betray women on the long-term.”

    Hmmmm wasn’t she a mistress? Isn’t she perpetuating this unjust view of men?

    1. I’m only going to say this half seriously, but you are right: there’s many more centuries of accepted polygamy in biblical history than monogamy… the OT writers clearly thought God created man to “get his rocks off”… Then again OT law required a rapist to marry their victim. How’s that for a foundation of open communication and honesty?

      But, Bryan, you tore this up. This was hilarious! Thanks for the laugh.

      1. yeah, i guess some folks would say that we’ve come a long way from those OT times in terms of relationships.

        And hey, Solomon followed Sugarbabe’s advice to the nth degree and even he found all the cavorting to be meaningless, right?

          1. That’s pure comic gold.

            There’s something to say about the OT though- quite a difference between the kings having multiple wives and when say, David slept with another man’s wife. (not that I’m for polygamy in any sense)

  15. As absurd as this entire article and her line of thought and reasoning are, I truly appreciated you break down of it. Seriously…I was laughing so much that one of my office neighbors came to see what was going on. Too funny. Thanks for the laugh today!

  16. best. response. ever.

    “If she lowers the bar any further, it will bisect the earth’s core.”

    Any arguement to the contrary in invalid.

  17. Here’s something that perplexes me:

    According to Sugarbabe it’s “OK” for her committed boyfriend to have sex with other women outside of their relationship. However, he IS NOT allowed to spoon with these women because that is an intimate relationship that Sugarbabe only wants him to share with her. Furthermore, Sugarbabe is allowed to have sex outside of the relationship, but she IS NOT allowed to wear sexy lingerie purchased for her by her boyfriend.

    My question for Sugarbabe is this: if her boyfriend spoons on the couch with another woman would that be considered “cheating”? And I’m not talking about the good-time-lollipop kind of cheating that’s discussed in this article, but the actual relationship-destroying, trust-erasing kind of cheating. What if she wears one of her boyfriend’s gifts for another man? Would that be cheating?

    My guess is that it WOULD be considered cheating if one or both of these rules were broken. And, if that’s the case, what the heck happened that this woman’s view of intimacy became so skewed?! I mean, seriously! I wouldn’t be comfortable with my fiance spooning another dude, either, but how is the act of spooning more intimate than SEXUAL INTERCOURSE?

    Call it whatever you want – “open relationship”, “swinging”, “consensual filandering” – it’s still adultery. It’s still infidelity. It’s still a betrayal of trust.

  18. I read a very similar article (it might have been on the same woman) a few weeks ago, after one of my friends recommended it. Knowing that this article had been met with approval by many of my friends gave me an interesting perspective. When you ponder it for long enough, you’ll realize that this is really how people think nowadays. One’s own happiness has been the moral standard for ages, which means there’s no reason why people shouldn’t seek sexual “fulfillment” wherever they want. I find it astonishing that our culture has valued monogamy this long-why should they? At some point, people are going to start questioning why they are arbitrarily choosing this virtue when they definitely didn’t care about sleeping around before they got married.

  19. K, couldn’t decide which one-liner to post, so I have a few.

    “Hey, honey, check out this cool article I read!”

    wiener vs. Wiener. tough call.
    (btw, favorite comment was “Thank you…Mrs. Wiener.”)

    I have an idea: people are gonna break the law, do drugs, and steal crap. Let’s make it legal as long as they tell someone beforehand. That way no one has to be a criminal. War on crime won!

  20. To those wondering about the whole OT polygamy thing. Consider that in not one instance of polygamy, was it the preferred thing. Nor did it ever take place (when we have details) where it did not cause some strife or difficulty.

    The article here isn’t talking about polygamy though, or multiple marriages. It’s talking about trysts outside of commited covenant relationships.

  21. This strikes a very deep nerve in a lot of relationships. A lot of men do not want to “cheat” on their wives. A lot of women do not want to “cheat” on their husbands. And men or women are not hardwired to fail.
    A more fundamental issue raised here is the limitations that relationships have and what happens when those limitations prevent the limited partner from fulfilling the other party and the other person is left unfulfilled. If one’s wife (or husband) becomes uninterested, physically distant in his or her spouse, the spouse that is not getting the attention has needs that are unmet. So how should those needs be met? If the unfulfilled spouse finds someone else to pay him or her some attention, the distant spouse is not being “cheated” or losing out of anything that he or she wants. If the unfulfilled spouse remains unfulfilled, is suffering quietly a better option. This “negotiated” infidelity is better understood as one way of dealing with the frailty and limitations of human relationships. Stereotyping men and women is not helpful or constructive.

  22. 1. LMAOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BRIAN, AT YOUR COMMENTARY AND DOUBLE LMAOO AT Ms. Prostitute/Mistress/infidelity Guru Holly Hill…

    Thank you for your “educated” view on how a marriage should work and can possibly work better. I am 23 single and amazed at your lack of respect for the union of marriage. I cannot believe you wrote a book justifying your behavior and trying to push it as “Social Change”. Instead of eveloving spiritually it will lead us right back into more carnal times when cities were destroyed with “FIRE”. Congratulations on your degree in Psychology although I know for a fact C’s amd D’s also get Degree’s.

  23. K first of all how many of you can say you have NOT cheated? I love how everyone has this idea that oh no every should be perfect and men shouldn’t cheat and blah blah and it’s like people…come on. Like she said men are hard wired to cheat. And that’s not fiction. It’s true. I think people are so close-minded today that the thought of this is ridiculous. But honestly how many MEN in this blog would like this to actually happen. You know why men cheat? Because they love sex! And like she said if they’re not getting it at home they’ll get it elsewhere. That’s why there IS such a thing as cheating! Think about it people, do you really want to spend the next 75 years having sex with the SAME person…hell no. Or at least that’s what your man is thinking. Men don’t get married they surrender. I think a relationship should be equal and healthy and hey if you can stomach negotiated infedelity then I’m sure you’ll be married longer then anyone else in this blog…

    1. I think there is cheating for the same reason that there is murder, theft, and other awful things. The world is full of sin, and we as people are sinful, but there are ways to guard yourself. Cheating isn’t a heat of the moment decision. It’s premeditated. It builds from other experiences. So, you cut it off at the source.

      To say that we are created to inevitably cheat on our spouses and we cannot help the outcome means we serve an unjust God who has set us all up to fail. Also, I think this is an unfair evaluation of men. It seems discriminatory to me. How can we lump all men into one condemning statement? Sure, men are known to struggle with sexual desire more than women- on some levels. But to say they can’t control themselves? I respect my husband more than that.

      Our marriage isn’t perfect. But it’s free from the drama of infidelity and distrust. Sometimes we argue about money. We bicker about meaningless things because our baby was up all night and we’re tired. We work with people everyday who have to work through all of the baggage from previous failures in their relationships due to infidelity. And I thank God that I don’t have to deal with it.

      I realize that this isn’t because I’m a kind of super Christian. It’s because God has blessed us. And my husband has worked hard to keep himself sexually pure. And for that I owe him the world.

      Our marriage is satisfying. It is an encouragement to me. It is my safe place. I never have to second guess it or worry about it.

  24. Aah, don’t you just love it when people think that men are incontrollable animals who can’t help it if they stray, and it’s a woman’s job to keep them in line? Geez, this depresses the crap out of me.

    I find it kinda funny that Holly Hill, a sugarbabe, would tell us that in her experience, all men are cheaters. That wouldn’t have anything to do with her being, I dunno, a sugarbabe, right? It can’t possibly be a sample bias, IT MUST BE SCIENCE.

    I’m also bit confused, since what Holly Hill calls ‘negotiated infidelity’ is actually quite similar to an open relationship (they *do* have rules!). Maybe she’s just trying to coin a new term? It doesn’t really work if there’s already a term in use for it, though.

    Excellent article, Bryan! When I read, “[…]If she lowers the bar any further, it will bisect the earth’s core”, I almost burst out laughing in front of a client. Thanks for that!

  25. And now for something totally inappropriate, which I learned from #13 on the list here: “Superman that ho!”

    That, Bryan, is payback for posting that stuff about your poor grandparents, me not knowing what it meant, and subsequently finding out on Urban Dictionary.

    You should be ashamed of yourself!


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