Sidney+Hicks+Mo'Nique*The idea of having a marriage filled with mutual sexual relationships may be a turn off to many people, but for Mo’Nique and her husband Sidney Hicks, it suits them just fine.

Especially since the pair, who has been married for 11 years, have been involved in an open marriage for a number of years. Chatting about their situation on their Play.It podcast, “Mo’Nique and Sidney’s Open Relationship,” Mo’Nique touched on the reaction that stormed in when she confessed to Essence magazine that her and Hicks were in an open marriage.

For Mo’Nique the criticism was a complete surprise.

“People didn’t understand,” the Oscar winner said. “They thought it was about swinging and orgies, and then there were individuals who are vehement about God, and they were bringing God into their opinions.”

“People lost their minds,” Mo’Nique said, “and the criticism has never let up.”

READ RELATED STORY: You Won’t Believe Why Mo’Nique Approves of Open Marriage (WATCH)

Nevertheless, Mo’Nique and Hicks have weathered the storm with their marriage remaining strong. Still, that didn’t prevent them from initially having to get on the same page as they ultimately established rules for their open marriage.

“Sidney had this one thing he had to teach me, and that was reciprocity,” Mo’Nique shared. “He said, ‘If you can have that, it’s only fair that I can have that, too.’”

“I wanted to continue to see the gentlemen that I was seeing, and I felt comfortable telling my best friend,” she said, meaning Hicks. “I’m grateful he taught me I had to play fair.”

The couple’s longstanding friendship was a key factor in laying the foundation for their open marriage, which, according to Hicks, gave him and Mo’Nique “a level of flexibility” in their relationship.

“Before she was my wife, she was my sister,” he said. “And there have been moments when she was like my little girl. When you go through all these dynamics with someone, you understand them.”

“We got into this knowing that we both wanted to be with someone who’s going to allow you to be who you are,” Hicks continued. “I think one of the most romantic things you can do as a couple is be honest with each other. And we are.”

Although Mo’Nique and Hicks’ open marriage has more than worked for them, the arrangement continues to ruffle feathers with critics.

Helen Fisher, a Kinsey Institute biological anthropologist and author of “Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage and Why We Stray,” feels various rules open marriage couples make regarding what is and what isn’t allowed is a notable obstacle preventing long-term success with open marriages.

“They may say you can’t have dates on Friday nights, or you can’t have someone call at the dinner hour, when the children are around,” she told theJasmineBrand. “They’re people who want it all: to preserve their deep attachment to one partner and have romance with others. And they want to be honest about it. But what they don’t tell you is that our brains don’t do that very well.”

READ RELATED STORY: Mo’Nique Says Hollywood Won’t Allow Black Actors to Be Great

As for Mo’Nique, Fisher isn’t buying any claims that there’s rational thinking going on with her situation with Hicks.

“If you could get her to talk about how she feels or how her husband really feels, you might find that beneath all this talk about how, intellectually and cognitively, they understand what they’re doing and it seems to make sense, emotionally the human animal has a very hard time with it,” Fisher said about the entertainer. “My guess is that they’re not terribly different.”

Mo’Nique and Hicks beg to differ as they believe their marriage will last.

“Defining what makes a marriage work is like asking one’s interpretation of success,” Hicks said. “It’s defined a different way by every person you ask.”

“For us, it’s defined by openness and not fear. If one of us feels jealous, we talk our way through it,” added Mo’Nique. “What we have is real and honest. It’s changed my life and saved my life.”

For more about Mo’Nique and Hick’s open marriage, click here.