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Couple: is the contract of infidelity tempting you?



Separate dwellings, authorized adventures: the couple of tomorrow will be “fissionnel”, affirms sociologist Serge Chaumier. A new love contract, he says, for young people and for those who, after a divorce, no longer believe in the fusionary ideal.

The fusion couple is dead. Vive le couple fissionnel ! annonce Serge Chaumier dans The loving union (Armand Colin, 1999). His thesis: “More and more unions evolve towards a greater and greater degree of autonomy. But “professional couple” is not necessarily synonymous with infidelity. It is defined above all by the acceptance of a principle of openness on the part of the partners, each recognizing the other’s right to live outside oneself. For some, it is only a question of an independent social life, while others allow themselves more intimate escapes. “A vulture of theoretical writings on the question, this brilliant 35-year-old sociologist – celibate but having experienced different types of couple – has been interested since adolescence in what he calls the “friendly organization”.

His goal: to review the emerging practices that are still in the minority, but are still in the minority. His study, based on an impressive book and cinematographic knowledge – his doctorate was on the “evolution of conjugal models through film sequences” -, is supported by many testimonies of couples that reflect, according to him, a new trend. Who are they, these new couples? They are mainly young people in their 20s, for whom autonomy is a vital value, but also 35-40 year olds who, after a separation or a divorce that puts an end to the ideal of fusion lovedésirent appréhender l’amour autrement.

Fusion love : an intenable model

Dans le couple fusionnel, on partage les mêmes amis, les mêmes vacances, les mêmes loisirs. The contract: to live one through the other. To be alone in one evening? Unthinkable ! A simple friendship with a person of the opposite sex is proscribed or disapproved. A strayed glance can provoke a drama. First of all, this type of couple seems to be the most common model. Faux, affirms Serge Chaumier: it is in regression, because today’s men and women no longer want to merge in the couple but to keep their individuality”. This does not mean that the dream of fusion has lost our imagination, far from it! Merger love continues to be the perfect love. Simply, our practices are disqualified in relation to this ideal. Because the fused couple cannot live in reality: in order to do nothing more than one, the partners become separated. What is envoying at the beginning becomes less so with time, when the “I” is no longer “I”, no longer “I”, but “we”. C’est ce que la sociologue américaine Ti-Grace Atkinson (2) appelle “le cannibalisme métaphysique”. Si généralement on en sort vivant, l’amour et le désir, eux, meurent. “
For Serge Chaumier, the most important model is now that of the ” couple with limited autonomy “.

L’autonomie limitée : déjà largement accordée.

Here, each allows the other to “live his life”… up to a certain point. Each couple defines its limits and sets the degree of freedom that it considers tolerable. Some allow themselves leisure activities or vacations alone. Others will agree, in addition, to be able to dance, to flirt with third parties. A freedom that most often stops at the exclusion of sexual and affective investments: “You see your life from the moment that there is no sexual and loving relationship in play. ”

Pas d’infidélité donc, mais déjà de la culpabilité pour certains. Sophie, who feels the need to go on vacation alone with her son and a friend, feels bad about her husband: “I don’t love him enough”, she says to herself. When the couple does not correspond to the merger standard, many people think that they have been betrayed. In Canada, where sexual equality is more affirmed than in France, Serge Chaumier observes a greater autonomy within young couples: each partner keeps his friends with whom he spends evenings or vacations. This does not make them at all infidels. At least not necessarily.

L’amour fissionnel : s’ouvrir au tiers stimulateur

An additional step is taken by physical couples, called “open”, who do not set themselves limits a priori. Each partner can live sexual experiences, and sometimes even friendly ones, with third parties without having to be caught. “Faithfulness is expressed in time, not in sexuality, explains Serge Chaumier. The idea is that there is never replacement but complementarity. Therefore, there can be no rupture, but only more eloquence. Even if it remains a minority, this type of couple tends to develop: it forms a kind of bond with its partner, which is nourished by intimate relations with a third person. “To nourish… or to make it explode! C’est le risque évidemment, admits the author. At the same time, it is thanks to this risk that the couple remains alive. The desire is nourished of estrangement, of remissions in question. ”

Alterner fusion et indépendance

Anne and Jean-Louis have lived together for fifteen years and have a 7-year-old son. They alternate periods of merger and periods of independence, the latter lasting several weeks. Each has a place of retreat: she with her friends, he in a house in the countryside. And all of them have had adventures, sometimes sometimes sometimes poussées. Anne has had a regular friend for four years. They don’t feel sorry for each other, but they don’t talk to each other anymore, believing that they don’t have any account to give. “At the beginning, our relations could become violent, Anne remembers. With time, we have found our marks, and these continuous separations and retreats allow us to keep a strong and passionate relationship, without being stubborn. ”

Successive polygamy

Would the open couple be an issue in the family crisis? The monogamy that we have traditionally inherited leads us to change partners rather regularly, notes Serge Chaumier. We therefore live in reality a “successive polygamy”. And what if, instead of putting the relationships one after the other, and of renouncing each time the previous one, we were to live them in parallel?

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To live separately

Some, already, prefer to live separately to avoid the routine and the routine. Ainsi Paul and Léa, together for ten years, live together only at weekends and holidays. At the beginning, they lived together in Normandy. Then Paul, a freelance director, decided to take a studio in Paris, “for work”: “My intuition was right. The more Léa and I are separated, the stronger our relationship is. When we come back, it’s always a party. Every evening, it would certainly be a great one. Evidemment, ce studio est un luxe qui me coûte très cher. “In fact, the professional model concerns above all the single or medium-sized classes. In addition, Paul is faithful “because it is similar”, he pleases. But if he is more “open”, would he be as well behaved as his partner?

Cécile and Frédéric, 22 and 23-year-old students, together for two years, live separately. Elle habite avec un ami homosexuel, lui avec une amie étudiante. “Last year, my employer failed to leave and I proposed to Frédéric to come and live with me,” says Cécile. “Réfléchis bien, m’a-t-il répondu. Nous risquons de ne plus trouver nos marques.” Cela m’a paru très juste. There are some periods when we don’t leave each other, others when we need to go back to each other. It’s all done by ourselves. We both have the improvised and playful nature of this relationship. Et puis, brimer mes envies, ce n’est pas mon genre. Or it comes to me to desire other men. Frédéric has taken this bird with a lot of intelligence and subtility. Lui dit qu’il n’éprouve pas le besoin d’aller voir ailleurs. For the moment. Le jour où cela se produira, j’espère être à la hauteur ! ”

Un contrat de liberté : utopique ?

Dans le dernier chapitre de son livre, Serge Chaumier fait l’apologie du couple fissionnel. Soit. The idea is beautiful – he is not the first one to have thought of it -, but what is the point of the jealousy? How to suffocate in oneself feelings such as the instinct of possession? “The jalousie is not natural, affirms Serge Chaumier, but cultural. We “must” be jalousie, it is a social norm to which it might be good to adhere. Contrary to what we have learned, jalousie is not a sign of love, but a mark of insecurity and dependence. It is based on the model of the merged romantic couple, whose ideal is exclusivity. And when one exists only through the other, the least disturbing aspect is a denial of one’s identity. There are societies that do not rest on this concept of romantic love, such as the Muria of India (3), and which have not been able to cope with this southern fear. Dans le couple fissionnel, il n’y a ni ni “cocu” ni “tromperie”. On peut certes se sentir exclu, mais seulement si l’amour est renié. ”

Peut-être. But the transparency required by such a couple may seem very utopian. It would be enough to establish a clear contract, to talk and everything would be fine? Experience shows that there is often a gap between discourse and reality. Some, persuaded that they are ready to live this freedom, are shocked in the face of reality. The mere formulation of a fact, tolerated as long as it remains implicit, can cause drama. That said, couples who authorize themselves to have affairs, in secret, are perhaps not all hypocritical affectionates, but only people who do not want to transform their private life into a Chinese house-room! Experience shows that there is often a gap between discourse and reality. Some, persuaded that they are ready to live this freedom, are shocked in the face of reality. The mere formulation of a fact, tolerated as long as it remains implicit, can cause drama. That said, couples who authorize themselves adventures, in secret, are perhaps not all hypocritical affectionates, but only people who do not want to transform their private life into a Chinese house-room!

Décalage de rythme

Another obstacle: it is known that every couple that is formed goes through a fusion phase that can vary from one month to several years. What happens when one wants to continue the merger and the other says that “now it’s open”? “This rhythmic shift can, of course, provoke a rupture, agrees Serge Chaumier. But the merging step is not obligatory. Some couples choose from the beginning to live according to the professional model. And this is certainly not a problem if they are often made up of men and women who have already had a merger experience in the past, and who want to leave. Whatever the case may be, living in an “open” couple is not self-evident, because it is subject to enormous social pressure. C’est un modèle que chaque couple doit inventer, car il n’existe aucune recette valable pour tous. ”

Une seule façon d’aimer ?

We invent, we innovate, we create… In urging us to more freedom and in challenging an ideal of love considered as “the” norm, Serge Chaumier’s book reminds us that our way of loving is not the only possible one. Does this book evoke a vogue in the midst of utopia, or does it prefigure our future ways of living and loving? Let’s play !

The opinion of Willy Pasini, psychiatrist and psychologist, couple specialist.

La jalousie n’est-elle qu’une “norme sociale”, comme l’affirme Serge Chaumier ?

– Sexual jealousy is indeed “cultural”. But this feeling is deeply human and when it does not bear on sex, it is displaced. The African polygamous couples are very accepting of the sexual couple but become hystériques if one of them has more elegant clothes than the other. Another example is the ecchangist couple. The wife asks her husband: “Didn’t it bother you?” “Yes,” he answers, “but with him, you grew up stronger than with me!” The jalousie is sometimes the revealer of the good health of a couple : it revives the mechanisms of the deduction and reactivates the aphrodisiac power of desire. The presence of an intruder, for those who exhilarate infidelity, is an exciting threat.

Le couple du troisième millénaire sera-t-il fissionnel ?

– Oui, si nous savons extraire de la relation de couple le sentiment de dominant-dominé propre au désir sexuel et développer la tendresse, la confiance, l’estime, la générosité, etc.

To go further

4 – Auteur d’une Eloge de l’intimitéPayot, 1996, and “la Force du désir”, Odile Jacob, 1999.

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Family / Couple

The 4 favorite methods of women to achieve clitoral orgasm



Despite scientific advances, female pleasure is still synonymous with mystery. Many studies have investigated the clitoris and its secrets, but never has the word been so free on the subject. It is in this continuity that American researchers compiled the responses of a panel of 3,017 women between the ages of 18 and 93 to make their way the secrets of sexual pleasure and clitoral orgasm. Published in April 2021, this study highlights 4 techniques women use to make vaginal penetration more pleasurable: angling, rocking, shallow penetration, and pairing.

Shallowing: multiply the pleasure by a superficial touch

84% of women resort to superficiality to, once again, increase pleasure during vaginal penetration. Behind this name, which translates into French as “superficial”, hides a pretty shallow touch, penetrating right at the entrance of the vagina. It can be done with the tip of the finger, a toy, the tip of the penis, the tongue, or the lips.

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Family / Couple

Breath play or erotic suffocation, a dangerous sexual practice



It is sexual behavior that is controversial. the breathing game which literally means “breath play”, is a form of erotic asphyxiation practiced during sexual intercourse. But its dangerousness is often overlooked.

What is the breathing game?

ends sexual arousal”, defines the English version of Wikipedia. In practice, “erotic asphyxia” consists ofchoking your partner in the middle of a sexual act. However, playing with your breath can be very dangerous, even deadly. “May result in accidental death by suffocation,” the definition says.

However, despite the risk of injury or fainting, this practice has many adherents. A study conducted in 2021 among 4,000 American students indicates that 26.5% of those surveyed had drowned during their last sexual encounter. Another study carried out the same year on other students reveals more worrying figures: 58% of them have already been suffocated by a partner.

L’suffocation erotic it is also very popular in BSDM circles. A french website dedicated to this type of sexual practices, explains that this restriction of breathing is “practiced in different ways: hanging, suffocation, placing the head in a plastic bag or strangulation,” reports an article in female earth.

A sexual practice that can be deadly

Very risky, the breathing game was popularized by the porn industry, making it an act in its own right, especially in sexual relations marked by domination. But in reality, the consequences of this sexual practice can be fatal. Too much pressure on the larynx can cause death.

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Although there are no official figures on the number of deaths caused by this practice, Grace Millane, a 22-year-old woman, died from it in 2018. Police found traces of strangulation that could correspond to a “four to five minute” suffocation. His partner, Jesse Kempton, was convicted of femicide and sentenced to life in prison. The defense had confided “that the young woman had accidentally died at the end of a sexual game that had gone wrong, a version that had been categorically rejected by the jury,” he recalls. paris party.

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Family / Couple

Couple: what your position on the sofa says about your relationship



the posture adopted by couples when they sit on a sofait’s a window into your relationship status. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by Georgina Barnett, a British psychologist, on 2,000 cohabiting couples. “Tell me how you’re sitting, I’ll tell you if everything is fine in your relationship,” says the specialist in an interview with Stylish Maternity.

Sitting next to each other: a sign of imbalance?

While most couples tend to sit on the couch together, there are some pretty subtle signs that it can be signs of relationship problems. When the partners occupy only one corner of the bench and are too close together, this is synonymous with imbalance in your relationship. “The comfortable person in the corner takes up the space, is confident, and has power in the relationship. The other, on the other hand, seems less confident. He is looking for contact and reassurance, ”explains Georgina Barnett.

However, there is a nuance when they sit more in the center of the sofa, maintaining physical contact, such as a hand on the thigh or another. “Couples established in this way have trust your relationship and therefore can afford personal space. It is a mixture of intimacy and freedom”, analyzes the psychologist. But although in love, the latter no longer experience the passion of the first days, according to the expert.

When the position on the sofa heralds a crisis

According to the psychologist, time is serious in the event that the two partners are sitting at two different ends. “It’s even worse if her legs are crossed in opposite directions,” she says. This posture is generally a sign of a Tension in the couple. It can also be a sign that something was left unsaid or resentment, according to Georgina Barnett.

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And contrary to what one might think, if the partners are based on different bases, distanced from each other, it does not necessarily mean that they are in crisis. can only be couples comfortable enough with each other to have their own space. Although this study is based on a fairly large sample, its conclusions must be taken with caution.

to go further

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