Ok,b been married 23 years. Husband got into a little fantasy play, now has decided that he wants more than one wife. I’m totally against this. It was ok I’m fantasy land, but not for reals. Our once wonderful sex life is all but gone, I mean I get a pity session every now and then but nothing like before. I love him, & don’t want to give up on him, but everything is about how much he wants to fuck someone else. I can’t just walk away from 23 years, kids, grandkids ETC. Help???

Have you told him that you don’t appreciate the “pity sessions” and would like to get back to having a sex life together that isn’t about him withholding himself from you to try and coerce permission to sleep with someone else? Is he willing to try and find a compromise there? Have you two tried to bring the ‘spark’ back without making the step into non-monogamy? Something like watching porn together that fulfills that fantasy, writing erotica back and forth about that fantasy, trying something new in the bedroom that is a fantasy you both share but isn’t related to this specific thing, etc.?

Have you talked with him about what his fantasy is actually about? There may be a way for him to scratch this itch in a less extreme way. There is also a big difference between “wanting more than one wife” and “wanting to fuck someone else.” What is your hard limit? Do you simply not want him to sleep with anyone else, or are you turned off by the intensity of the fantasy? Would you be okay with him having a discreet, don’t-ask-don’t-tell affair, but not with a full blown “other wife,” or is it the sexual infidelity that’s the dealbreaker for you? Would you be willing to try a threesome with him? 

Ultimately, though, your husband refuses to be present to your sexual and relational needs unless you let him sleep with someone else, and you refuse to let him sleep with someone else, you may be at an impasse. “I won’t stay with him if he’s going to act like this” and “I won’t leave him” are not positions you can hold simultaneously - at some point, you’ll need to decide what the best choice is for you, since you can’t change his behavior, but you can control yours.

I have two partners: my husband and my FWB. I am very attracted to both, I climax much more quickly and with much less stimuli with my FWB. There’s nothing they do differently; I just react more. My concern is when talking about my experiences with my FWB with my husband, that he will become aware of the difference and feel discouraged/unattractive/like a bad lover. Might this difference just be New Relationship energy at work? Should I downplay this ease of orgasm when talking with my husband?

It might just be NRE at work. It could be that he has some little technique that he does differently that you don’t notice. It could be that the size, shape, angle, and/or texture of his fingers or other fun bits matches up with yours in just the right way. If you honestly can’t figure out what causes the difference, it’s fine to just chalk it up to the mysteries of the universe or the rich tapestry of life. (If you can figure out the difference, it’s okay to gently request or suggest to your husband that he try some things differently!)

Now, I don’t want to be someone who recommends that you lie by omission - but I’m not sure you need to tell your husband about this specific difference. I think there is a difference between deliberately misrepresenting something because you don’t want to deal with someone’s emotional response to it, and just not saying something that’s unnecessary and won’t make anyone feel good. There’s dishonesty, and there’s tact, is what I am saying.

If one of my partners took me out to an Italian place, and the next week another partner took me to another, less amazing Italian place, I probably wouldn’t say “you know, the place Quandon picked was a lot tastier than this,” because not everything that is true needs to be said. Next time the subject of picking a restaurant came up, I might recommend the other one, but without needing to say “it’s the one Branston took me to, and it’s way better.” That my partner took me out on a date and picked a place that serves my favorite type of food is a situation that doesn’t need to be critiqued, even if it’s imperfect.

If there was something seriously wrong with the food, or if we got there and I really hated the place he’d picked, of course I’d say something. A major project in most people’s lives is finding that sweet spot between “doormat” and “jerk.” But if the sex with your husband is fun, and he makes you come, even if he doesn’t do it with the laser precision of an android specifically and individually designed to pleasure you, it might not merit comment. 

So unless you two have an agreement that requires a blow-by-blow of every sexual encounter, it’s probably not relevant. And even if you do talk about sex, unless you give specific timestamps of everyone’s actions and orgasms, this difference is probably not going to be super clear. It’s fun to talk about sex, sure, but you can mention something fun or interesting without going “oh, and also, he totally brings me to orgasm way easier than you!” If he asks, don’t lie, but there’s no real need to make that detail a part of the conversation. 

I recently had a threesome with a couple of friends, and it was fun in the moment, but later I heard them having sex again without me while they thought I was asleep, and then I regretted the threesome and felt gross about it. Is this normal?

Remember like 15 years ago when all the cool Hot Topic scene kids had buttons on their messenger bags that said “normal is a setting on a washing machine”? I don’t always advocate for taking life lessons from an angsty tween, but in this case, you could do worse. It doesn’t really matter whether other people have this feeling - you did, and it’s valid.

I can tell you that it is very “normal” to have strong, sometimes unexpected, feelings about, during, and after sex. Sex is a big deal for our brains and our bodies, and it can trigger all sorts of emotional and physiological sensations. Add that to the fact that most of us grow up steeped in a sex-negative culture that makes us feel ashamed or afraid of those strong feelings. Plus, in our heteronormative, monogamy-centric world, we are given few, if any, healthy ways to understand things like threesomes and non-monogamy.

So you’re okay. You’re normal. It’s okay to sit with and think about that feeling. Maybe it means that threesomes just aren’t for you, and that’s okay! It’s okay to try something and realize there’s something about it that you don’t enjoy. You can start to set boundaries around that to protect yourself now that you know it isn’t good for you. That may mean not having threesomes anymore, or asking future threesome partners not to have sex without you while you’re present.

Or, you could be battling some internalized shame and sex-negativity that is preventing you from enjoying something you otherwise would! Maybe you’ve been taught to feel gross and regretful about sex and want to unlearn that. Maybe the solution is to drag those feelings of ‘grossness’ and regret into the light, look at them sitting there all unpleasant and useless, and say “yeah, you don’t come from anything real and you don’t offer me anything healthy, and I reject you.” This is a process many people in the kink/BDSM community are familiar with.

Ultimately, it’s up to you whenever you have a feeling - you can decide that your feeling is telling you something important and helping you identify a something that’s not working for you; or, you can decide that your feeling is coming from a place of fear, threat, or shame and you want to understand and challenge it more. Either way, you’re normal, you’re fine, and you deserve to have a sex life that makes you feel good!

Is it a thing to have a closed relationship but like with a little bit of sexual freedom? Like, for me personally, the idea of having an open relationship makes me feel awful inside, I will always have the desire to have a closed relationship regardless of how many people I’m dating. But I also like the idea of my partner(s) and I going out and having a threesome/foursome whatever, but only together. The idea of my partner(s) going out & being with someone w/out me present makes me feel awful.

Yes, this is a thing! It’s often called “swinging,” or just “I’m dating this person but one of our things we like to do together is have threesomes.” It’s very common and possible to have this kind of arrangement. Set boundaries and expectations up front, stay healthy and safe, and have fun.

I get lots of questions asking me if something is “normal,” or “common,” or if other people do it, or if there is a name for it - and what I want to remind everyone is that it really doesn’t matter whether other people do it or whether someone else has invented a word for it. If it works for you, if it’s healthy and fulfilling for you, it doesn’t matter whether you’re the first person on the planet to want that arrangement.

You don’t need permission or validation from other people. This isn’t a National Park where you need to stay on the trails and are not allowed to forge your own. If you can clearly articulate who you are and what you want, the next step is to live your truth, not look around to see if anyone else is doing it!