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Advice – Is One Roof Policy considered ethical? [NSFW]

“My wife [26F] and I [27M] are in a semi-poly relationship. I have a girlfriend [23F]. My wife and I are into voyeurism. We don’t send pictures or other risky things but she enjoys wearing revealing dresses and we do visit a close topless beach a lot on summers. We also have threesomes with my girlfriend (mostly she prefers to watch though). We currently stay together which we all wanted but the official excuse we told ourselves was that our place was closer to her school.

I say semi-poly because my wife doesn’t have a guy she is as close with (sex is just sex to her) and I am not technically exclusive with my girlfriend. I wouldn’t be against it if my girlfriend wanted to go out with someone, she just doesn’t.

Yesterday we were discussing our sexual pasts. To be honest I didn’t know a lot about my wife’s “current” past with her partners either, just who they are (to be safe).

Anyway I don’t have a problem with her main partner, but with her other partner (early 20s male) he has a roommate (also male, probably early 20s) who would basically be around the house and they didn’t mind doing things while he’s around he’d usually make “funny comments” (her words). As far as I know nothing sexual happened with him and I trust my wife. I do know young guys though and considering the situation it wouldn’t surprise me if he was planning to make a move.

I don’t mind it too much, she can sleep with whoever she wants within reason. I have one major qualm, we don’t share our situation with anyone besides one mutual friend and our partners. Obviously there’s always some risk and that’s part of the attraction, but listening to her talk about them, I felt like they were the frat guy type.

This might be a bit paranoid, but I am worried about if he decides to take some pictures. Not saying they would, but girls just can’t see everything around them in some positions and my wife trusts them way more than I do.

I mentioned this to them as well but my wife thought I was being paranoid and my girlfriend mentioned she sent me pictures (implying I was being a hypocrite). I didn’t want to be a mood killer and dropped it, then we moved on.

When I was younger and immature, we had a “don’t bring partners home” rule. To be honest back then I probably wouldn’t respond well to another guy cuddling my at-the-time girlfriend in front of me. That was where we drew the line. I am less insecure with my kinks now and I think I am actually into a hotwife situation now.

Anyway I have been thinking about offering a one roof policy, at least from time to time. I’d like to know who she is seeing, make sure they aren’t jerks or untrustworthy guys. See what they are doing, see if she enjoys something I don’t do 😀 If it gets into my head, I have my girlfriend around anyway.

I think she would agree to it, we discussed something like this before but not in this context. I don’t know if her partners would, but she has no trouble finding partners and if I was still a younger guy I’d probably consider it my peak if I had sex with a FWB with her husband around. It’s a kink for me and I don’t get too jealous anymore so I wouldn’t care if they don’t care.”

Anonymous on /r/nonmonogamy.

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on Pexels.com

Dear Anonymous,

Even before we get to the ethics of the One Roof Policy – to demand that your partners bring their other partners to sleep at your house – it is very interesting to read in what ways you visualize your girlfriend’s and your wife’s perspectives in their relationships throughout your post. Take a second to look back at your post. Keep count of the number of times you’ve interjected with their words or imbued your own interpretation of intent behind their words and actions.

Ready?

I counted ten total instances in which you’ve inserted yourself into what your wife, your girlfriend, your wife’s main partner, or his roommate were doing, saying, or feeling.

  1. “…but she enjoys wearing revealing dresses…”
  2. “… (mostly she prefers to watch though).”
  3. “… but the official excuse we told ourselves was that our place was closer to her school.”
  4. “… (sex is just sex to her)…”
  5. ” …they didn’t mind doing things while he’s around he’d usually make “funny comments” (her words).”
  6. “I do know young guys though and considering the situation it wouldn’t surprise me if he was planning to make a move.”
  7. “… I am worried about if he decides to take some pictures.”
  8. “Not saying they would, but girls just can’t see everything around them in some positions and my wife trusts them way more than I do.”
  9. “I think she would agree to it…”
  10. “… if I was still a younger guy I’d probably consider it my peak if I had sex with a FWB with her husband around.”

And those were just your own words that you wrote down.

The self-projections themselves aren’t necessarily harmful. After all, you are trying your best to see things from their perspectives. But the way you project yourself into their own internal narratives is wrong and problematic. I’ll elaborate on why this is so wrong by talking about example six from above.

Photo by Adrianna Calvo on Pexels.com

There are two things going on here.

First is in your projection of how you were in your twenties onto someone else in his twenties. It is very important for you to understand that his perspective, his desires, and his wants & needs are all very different from what you have personally experienced. Just because you two happen to share the general age bracket and age in common does not mean that what you perceive to be his desires is based on his own personal experience; it is entirely based on your own experience. To project your past onto someone else’s current behavior is rude and condescending.

Second is the context in which that projection compounds onto other projections. In previous example #5, you say that the roommate doesn’t mind doing or commenting on things while your wife and her partner while (I presume) they have sex. How do you really know that? You probably heard about this through your wife, who probably heard about it through her partner, who talked about it with his roommate. That is under two unique levels of hearsay that got filtered through your wife’s partner, then subsequently through your wife, then onto you. So by the time you claim that you know what your wife’s partner’s roommate wants – to have sex with your wife – it is much more defined by your inner insecurity rather than something he actually wants for himself.

In example ten, you again claim that if you were a man in your twenties (which you are), you’d love to have sex with a married woman while her husband is still around. That is your own internal tape playing over what you think is reflected in their actual internal monologue. Not every twentysomething man is into non-monogamy. Not every twentysomething man is interested in sleeping with anything that moves. And not every twentysomething man is into fucking someone while their partner holds a cup against the wall in the neighboring room to listen in.

Let’s assume that your wife’s FWB’s roommate is actually interested in sleeping with your wife as you assumed so in example six.

Why is it not your wife’s decision to sleep with or not sleep with her FWB’s roommate? Do you not have any faith in her trust in self and her trust in FWB to make sure that she can manage her own relationships? Isn’t it her own judgment and decision to not pursue “jerks or untrustworthy guys”? What does that say about your projection of your girlfriend’s position of not dating anyone else?

Photo by Aleksey Kuprikov on Pexels.com

And let’s talk more about the voyeur/exhibitionist kink.

I am really happy to hear that you are growing into and accepting your kinks and sexuality at large more. A lot of cis men get caught up in stigmatizing their own sexuality into hypermasculinity. But I think you would agree that informed consent is essential to ethical non-monogamy, especially in the context of kink. And based on what you’ve outlined, you are already projecting how your negotiation is going to go with your wife (example 9) and how your wife’s partner is going to react to this new rule (example 10) without having had a single word exchanged yet. They haven’t had an opportunity to consent yet.

You say that you have had threesomes with your wife and girlfriend, and that your girlfriend prefers to watch while you have sex with your wife. I am really happy that you have that, but that is a level of trust that you’ve built and established with both your wife and your girlfriend that you have not established with your wife and her FWB. You have no idea what he is into sexually since you’ve never had a direct conversation with him.

You don’t get to blanket consent what your wife and her FWB does because that is not your relationship to control or manage.

Which is really strange because there is this recurring theme of deep insecurity that you display on both examples seven and eight even though his taking pictures should be right up your alley in terms of voyeuristic endeavors. That makes me think that your unchained insecurities (example seven) actually stomp all over your kinky desires to watch your partner (“I think I am actually into a hotwife situation now”).

Photo by Bob Ward on Pexels.com

This really isn’t about whether or not One Roof Policy is ethical. This is really more about whether or not you are being a good partner to your wife and your girlfriend.

In theory, one roof policy can come across as a more intense form of kitchen table poly. If you want to get to know your partner’s other partners, the absolute worst way to go about that is by setting false first impressions about what they’re like (“I felt like they were the frat guy type.”) before you actually meet them; because when they don’t meet the expectation that you’ve already set upon them (i.e. if they’re actually great, respectful dudes), you’re going to be upset by how he might be overreaching into your area of control.

And control is what it really boils down to. One Roof Policy in theory is not controlling. But the application is absolutely controlling and, in part, unethical. The backdrop in that rule is controlling in the very same way One Penis/Vagina Policies are controlling; you are dictating others’ relationships that which you are not directly a part of. Through One Roof Policy, you are requiring they blanket consent to you listening in (or self-participating) on their sexy endeavors.

And that is fine if everyone – your wife, her partner, your girlfriend – consents to it beforehand. But know that this rule comes from your sense of insecurity rather than your desire to participate.

Good luck.

Tea Time with Tomato is an informative relationship and sex advice column for both monogamous and polyamorous folks. By submitting your post, you agree to let me use your story in part or in full. You also agree to let me edit or elaborate for clarity.

I want to hear your thoughts and feedback! Please feel free to send me your questions and comments at teatimetomato@gmail.com.

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