From Monogamy To Open Marriage is a weekly column devoted to the discussion of pursuing sex and love outside marriage.
We’re lying in bed at the end of a long workday. This Friday we plan to meet up with a new guy and my husband just finalized the details this evening. His arms are wrapped around me and our legs are intertwined. He says “I still second guess myself once in awhile. Why do I like this? Isn’t it wrong to like this?”
One of the first giant green lights, that lit the way to opening our marriage up to sex with other people, was when my husband admitted to fantasies about sharing me with another man.
However, he was perplexed that this was outside of the norm. While the standard two-girls-one-guy fantasy seems to creep into most men’s minds from time to time, there’s something different about being aroused by the thought of another man pleasing and enjoying a woman he adores.
We know that the conservative Catholic family he comes from would see this as something degrading — something implying a lack of self-confidence and a lack of respect for himself or for me. Some might wonder if one of us feels that I don’t get “enough” from him. Others might think I am the one with the problem and because I enjoy sex with other men, perhaps I’m not a “good” wife. But when we ignore what we’ve been taught and what others might assume about a couple like us, we find exactly the opposite to be true. We want to live out fantasies (when they’re safe, sane, and consensual) together.
Had we known that being sexually open meant we’d become more loving, honest, and vulnerable to one another, we might have explored this much sooner. But rather than looking back and wondering “what if” we choose to enjoy what is happening now.
Our love and adoration for one another has opened a lot of possibilities for sexual exploration for us, rather than locking us in our bedroom with a promise to forbid ourselves from the mere thought of sex outside our door. In fact, the desire to indulge apart from one another is minimal, because we are wholeheartedly enjoying this journey together. Watching one another getting turned on is what turns us on the most. Because this goes against the grain of our culture, it makes sense that my husband would ask “why do I like this?”
When I searched for info to explain or identify why we love seeing each other sexually excited by someone else, it was pretty hard to find. Jealousy, even when displayed in extremely unhealthy ways, is deemed the rational response for anyone discovering a lover enjoying someone else. When I dug a little deeper and looked into what the polyamorous communities have to say about it, I found the phrase that matches our sentiment:
The feeling of joy one has when experiencing another's joy is an example of compersion. Being happy for someone when they get engaged or get promoted is an example of compersion. Many experts in the realm of polyamory believe that love and eroticism can be multiplied when shared, rather than divided. This is exactly what is happening with us.
Seeing one another partaking in our favorite sex acts with someone else, and talking about the experience after the fact, has brought us closer together.
Before we started pursuing our sexual fantasies together, it almost seemed as though there was an invisible divider between us. We didn’t speak as freely and as honestly about our feelings and thoughts. We were guarded and oppressed because we thought if we said too much, it might harm our relationship. Had we known that being sexually open meant we’d become more loving, honest, and vulnerable to one another, we might have explored this much sooner. But rather than looking back and wondering “what if” we choose to enjoy what is happening now.
Last week at The Geeky Kink Event, our expectations did not match our experience. This event opened our eyes to the many facets of kink, fetish, sex, and the uniqueness of how each of us perceived our purposes in this realm. We learned a lot about effective communication in a Polyamory for Beginners class taught by the Frisky Fairy. Mental health in relation to practicing BDSM was part of an extensive discussion in another class taught by a licensed therapist. We perused the vendor rooms (yes, the vendors had entire hotel rooms full of merchandise on the first floor of the hotel) and found intelligent, classy, talented people selling everything from butt plugs to striking implements to electro play devices.
We watched a variety of people playing in the dungeon in a variety of ways. The dungeon rules were very extensive, but hey, at least you could use needles, knives, melted wax, and strap-ons and condoms and all barriers for safe sex were provided! We met many great people, and my favorite happened to be a man dressed as Captain America who very respectfully told my husband that he wanted to have sex with me. (The cosplay is part of the geeky side of this event.)
We were glad to spend a weekend in a space where we could choose to openly express ourselves sexually. I wore lingerie all weekend and I will admit, it felt great to see so many eyes wandering my way (and let the record show that our eyes wandered ALL weekend).