ColumnGot a burning question for Stefanie, Ecosalon’s resident sex expert? Once a month, she’ll be doing a Sexual Healing Q & A in these pages, so whatever’s on your mind — bring it on. Today we discuss polyamory, fetishes, and what “normal” means. Email your questions to: stefanie at ecosalon dot com. Or tweet your question to @ecosexuality.
I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about the “polyamory” lifestyle from my hippie-dippie, kale-obsessed, yoga freak friends. God love them – they’ll try anything. I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for three years – approaching four this winter. I’m not open to sharing him with anyone else – I’m pretty jealous even when a chick looks at him on the street.
The thing is, I can’t seem to get excited about having sex with him anymore – this started happening like a year and a half ago. I’ll still do it (twice a week usually) but it makes me sad that I’m not as into it as I used to be. I can still orgasm, but I miss the butterflies that I used to get when he touched me — it’s just routine now. The other thing that’s weirding me out is that I’m attracted – like really attracted — to this guy at my office, and I often fantasize about him. So if my boyfriend, whom I love and probably want to marry, wanted to share ME through polyamory– I’d be all over it. Am I actually a polyamory girl in a prudish girl’s guise? Is this preoccupation with polyamory normal? What do I do?
First – it’s absolutely, positively normal. In our sex lives, most everything is “normal” – except activities that take place beyond consent. As I’ve written about previously, monogamy, though it’s deeply embedded in our culture as a norm, is probably not biologically “normal” anyway. Losing your initial desire for a guy that you were once mad for is perfectly normal – and very common. Despite the fact that polyamory is trending right now (there are even TV shows about it) doesn’t mean that it’s for you, personally. The good news for all of us is that we are in the middle of what feels like a second Sexual Revolution right now – led by the LGBTQIA community, who have shown the rest of us how to live beyond the bounds of hetero-normative cultural rules. No matter how much your sexual trajectory has thus far been dictated by notions of finding the “the one” and commencing your own little happily ever after, you can find space in the new world that’s being created. This should be a healthy, happy, guilt-free space where you get to experience maximum pleasure without hurting anyone.
Typical answers for your question would go something like this: “Get a sex toy,” “try bondage,” “create space for intimacy,” etc. But you’re smart – you’ve already thought of all that. The better answer for your questions about polyamory is that communication fixes everything, even if it breaks you up. Fess up to your feelings – at least tell him that you need more in bed, to start. You don’t have to go into total confessional mode and tell him about the dude from work, especially if he’s sensitive about this sort of thing. But if you’ve been living a lie in bed with your man – faking it to please him – you’re denying yourself the pleasure that is your birthright. Don’t live your life that way for one more second.
The guy I’m dating (dating may be too strong a word – sleeping with is more apt) is all over the map. When we first met, he was so hot (and hot for me) that I slept with him the first night. I have no shame about this – I hate those stupid “don’t give away the milk for free” types – it’s my milk and I’ll do whatever I want with it. Anyway, we’ve been seeing each other about two months, and the sex continues to be awesome. But lately in post-coital conversation he’s been saying stuff that makes me super uncomfortable. He asked me how many guys I’ve been with and I told him with no qualms. I’m thirty-four and I’ve never thought for a second that there was anything untoward about my “number.”
I have to admit that I’m kind of sexually addicted to this guy (like, I’ll always show up when he texts me because I can’t say no). Since he first asked me the question, it’s given me some pause about my history, for the first time in adult sexual life. If it were just one question I wouldn’t have thought about it again, but he’s been harping on it, and I don’t like the way his voice sounds when he talks about me and other men. He’s also into some very porn-y things, which I don’t really take issue with, but I wonder if they’re related to where he’s going with his line of questioning, because his preference is for scenes where a girl is cheating and her husband walks in. He also likes me to talk about other men while we’re having sex sometimes. It boils down to him wanting me to tell him that he’s the best I’ve ever had, I get that part of the psychology. Fine, I can do that (he’s actually kind of up there) but it’s weird. Does he have a fetish, and if so, should I be concerned?
Can’t Say No
There’s a lot going on here, so you should prepare to do some thinking about what it means for not just this relationship, but your sex/love life in general. He may indeed have a fetish, which is “normal” (see above question/answer about polyamory) but can still be hard for his lovers (you, in this case) to accept. This fetish is called cuckolding. He may not realize this is an actual fetish, but it’s still worth having a conversation about – gently and lovingly. It may be best not to have this talk in your usual sexual context — try opening the dialogue about cuckolding out of bed, over a meal, fully clothed. There is often something that needs to be psychologically unpacked where a cuckolding fetish exists, but again, that doesn’t mean it’s not “normal.” If he accommodates your needs in bed, too — you may be able to live with this as long as the two of you remain lovers.
The other thing that I’d like you to look more closely at here is the way you describe yourself as “kind of sexually addicted to this guy.” It’s all well and good to be totally smitten by someone so much that you can’t get enough, but here’s an important question for you — do you have a pattern of getting addicted to new lovers that don’t quite show up for you in the same way? You say he texts, you arrive — that’s the bit that I want you to explore. If you text — will he arrive? Or will he only show up when it’s convenient for him? You are clearly sexually liberated and get a gold star for your feminism (even if you don’t call it that). But sometimes our core issues with self-esteem interfere with our sex lives, no matter how strongly we identify with what’s right, fair, just, and appropriate. That’s what you’re working on, Can’t, and I trust that you’re going to get all your needs met.
Got a question for Stefanie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll answer it in the next Sexual Healing column.
Keep in touch with Stefanie on Twitter: @ecosexuality
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