Today we’re talking to a married couple about their marriage and sex. It’s not your average, conventional marriage. They share a relationship that many wouldn’t be comfortable with, or admit to wanting to have. Be sure to share any thoughts you have in the comments.
This week, we’re covering a topic that is both an interest to most people and a taboo subject…sex. The two of you have an unconventional relationship. Can you explain it?
Wife: “I guess you’d just say that we have an open relationship. We don’t really do labels too much. If you start labeling stuff, then it starts imposing rules and regulations. When that happens, we’ve found it tends to cause a riff in the relationship. The key thing about this is you have to honest. Brutally honest. And you have to be able to talk about it. Because it IS an intimate thing, whether it involves just the two of us, a third person or us going out on our own…we have to be honest about it. So if he has a date, and he has a date coming up, and talking about these meet and greets (that’s what we call them)… If the possibility were to arise about having sex, it’s like “is that ok?”. We go over, kind of ground rules but it’s an “as the situation arises” kind of thing. We don’t have any stated rules really.”
Husband: “It’s just communication. That’s the main thing. Us with each other, before anything happens. Stating your intentions, exploring any possibilities. Just communicate with each other and let each other know what’s going on at all times.”
How long have you been together?
Wife: “We’ve been married 13 years and together for 17.”
You mention that in your open relationship, it might be adding someone into your sex life or going out separately with someone else. Has your relationship always been like that?
Husband: “It hasn’t always been like that. We experimented a couple times, right after we got married. We started becoming more open to each other and more comfortable with each other after marriage. Then, when our daughter was born, we hit a dry spell. We had so many different priorities…moving, new job…there were just so many other things to distract us from it, so we didn’t really pursue that until, maybe, 6-8 months ago.”
Wife: “I guess you could say, in the beginning, it was for my sexuality because I’m bisexual. He’s hetero. In my early 20’s, I’d only been with him. I was trying to come to terms with my own sexuality. Trying to figure out…not “figure out” what my sexuality was, but if you’ve never been with a person of the same sex that you are attracted to…I was already in a committed relationship with him, but I was honest and told him how I felt. He was on board with it, but let’s face it…what guy isn’t gonna be on board with that? It was really an experiment to see if that was really something I legitimately enjoyed and had a good time with, and I did. But we never really actively pursued it. It was kind of like, if it happened, great. If not, whatever.”
Husband: “The first time was unbelievably average.”
Wife: “It was! But it was a friend of mine, so it was comfortable in the aspect that everybody could laugh and have a good time. We’re not these sophisticated, Christian people that this is our entire life and we’re so serious. We look at it like, it’s fun. It’s sex. Sex is supposed to be fun.”
Has it ever become a problem? Has jealousy ever come into play here?
Husband: “To me, it was never a matter of jealousy, it was more so not knowing what her expectations were. At certain points, the communication was kind of lacking and I didn’t know what her intentions were or how she felt about the situation, what category the situation fell into…whether it was purely physical or it was purely emotional or a little of both. It was just the not knowing that made me a little uneasy, but never jealous. The way I see it is, it’s not for me, it’s for her. It’s all about her getting what she wants and needs that I can’t give her. It’s unrealistic for me to think that I can provide 100% of what she needs physically and emotionally after we’ve been together for so long. One person cannot be everything for another person. It’s just not possible. So I just have to remind myself that it’s not about me, or her and I. It’s about fulfilling her needs and desires and once I voiced my concerns and she clarified how she’s feeling about the particular situation at that moment, I felt a lot more comfortable about it. Jealousy never really came into play.”
Wife: “I don’t get jealous. My whole mantra, my entire life, has been that if someone is going to leave you, no amount of jealousy, begging, no amount of pleading, nothing is going to keep somebody there if they actually don’t wanna be there. It doesn’t matter what you do. You can act like a crazy person, you can act like a saint. If they are not completely vested in you as a person, they aren’t going to stick around.”
Husband: “You’re prolonging the inevitable.”
Wife: “That’s life. That’s with friends and acquaintances as well. You can’t beg, borrow or plead with people to stay in your life if they don’t wanna be there. Honestly, he gets more fulfillment out of emotional attachments with other females. He likes being a fixer, making them feel good. It’s all about making them feel good, for him. Where on my end, if it’s with a male, it’s purely physical. I have no interest in any other males emotionally, other than my husband. I know that sounds like a horrible thing to say, but I don’t. I’m not an emotionally vested person in a lot of people anyway. And I’m not gonna waste my time on a piece of fun.”
Is it easy to find other people that share your interest?
Husband: “It’s a lot easier to find somebody that wants to spend time with you alone, rather than someone that’s willing to spend time with a couple. We found that, traditionally, people that wanna spend time with a couple are just a little bit crazy.”
Wife: “It’s a rare and elusive unicorn. They’re mythical creatures. There’s something a little off kilter with each and every one that we’ve encountered. But they’re majestic little beings. You just take them as the gifts they are and release them back into the wild and say “Wow, that was crazy!” And then you just go on with your day.”
Husband: “You have to, in dealing with that, expect a little bit of crazy. Not, burn your house down, crazy. Just regular…”
Wife: “Young, unable to fulfill commitments or get back to you, or maybe they’re flighty. That sort of thing.”
Husband: “A lot of times,they’re curious about it more than anything and once they figure it out and understand the situation, they kinda lose interest or start having feelings and it becomes complicated for them seeing that, no matter what, I’m gonna sleep next to my wife at night. Whereas they’re going home to be by themselves. I’m sure that’s gotta be taxing on them. I try to be as supportive as possible and we always encourage them to date other people. We never ask them to be exclusive. We just ask them to be safe and to be honest with us. So we encourage them to date other people and to continue to look for what would make them happy.”
Where do you find people and does this play out at home or at a neutral location? I’d be nervous not knowing what level of crazy I was dealing with.
Husband: “Usually, like the people we’ve been with together, I’ve talked to them long enough that I feel comfortable that they’re not gonna get dangerous, crazy. I’m a pretty good judge of character as far as that goes. I usually have a conversation with them for a while before we ever meet, just to feel the situation out. I’ve had several that I’ve talked to that are so into the conversation that I just let it die. You can tell that they’re not really into it, they’re more for the attention than they are in meeting up. At that point, there’s no sense pushing the issue and I’ll just let it die.”
Wife: “We’ll go out to dinner with them. Usually it’s with the females. There’s never been a male that we’ve both been with. It’s always females. We like working as a team. I know it sounds really weird.”
Husband: “I think it’s a lot easier for a guy to go into a blind situation with certain expectations and be comfortable with it than it is for a female. A female needs to meet in a public place. They need some kind of reassurance that the wife is actually ok with it and that I haven’t been lying to them.”
Wife: “I’ve actually been asked on two occasions, taken into the restroom and asked, if I’m on the up and up and know what’s going on.”
Husband: “It’s understandable.”
That’s actually reassuring that there are people with moral ground and want to be sure it’s being handled honestly.
Husband: “Everybody we’ve met has had a high degree of morality. If not, that’s not somebody I’d be interested in meeting. That’s one of the things…honesty and morality…that I look for. I make sure it’s there before we pursue it.”
Wife: “In all honesty, our goal is to find somebody that we actually can both spend separate time with and time together with that we enjoy as a person…as a friend with benefits.”
Husband: “The casual thing, I couldn’t do it personally. I at least have to know a person. There has to be some sort of connection. Just casual, one night stand, pick somebody up at a bar…I just really don’t work like that.”
So basically, you look the same way for someone that you would as if you were looking, individually, for a companion in life?
Wife: “Well, they ARE people. In the basic sense of the term, they are extra play things. In the basis, most horrible, animalistic, term, they are play things. But, like play things, you would take care of them. You would want to make sure that it’s something you want to play with. That’s what it is. It’s not love making, it’s play time.”
Husband: “If it’s someone you couldn’t see yourself being a friend with, it would never work physically. It’s the whole talking, getting to know them, finding out about them…their likes, their dislikes. If I couldn’t see myself being their friend, there’s absolutely no way I could be intimate with them.”
Wife: “See…he is the more emotional of the two. I feel really bad sometimes. It’s just not how I’m wired.”
Husband: “I crave a lot of the new relationship feelings. The first time you meet somebody. The nervousness, the butterflies in your stomach, the holding hands for the first time, the compliments that carry so much more weight than somebody you just met. The first kiss, the look in their eyes, your first time being with them. That’s what really attracts me. But in the meantime, I get to know them and become friends with them. I have a couple of women that I’ve been with in the past, that I’m no longer with, that I still talk to on a daily basis. I’m a part of their life. I’m actually a friend even though we’re not intimate anymore.”
So going back to part of my question earlier, are you comfortable having them come back to your home?
Wife: “Yeah. I’m more comfortable having them in my home because I know where anything can be used as a weapon, if we’re gonna be honest about it. Plus, generally, I prefer to be at home. He will generally go, if he’s meeting them on his own, he’s more comfortable going out.”
Husband: “There’s only one time that I’ve met a female by myself and then she became intimate with the both of us. Usually we like to meet together for dinner but in this particular case, she wasn’t really comfortable meeting both of us at the same time. I went out with her. We went out to dinner. We played miniature golf. We had a great time. The next week, we all went out to dinner together. Everybody clicked. Everything went good.”
Wife: “That was a fun weekend!”
Husband: “It went really well. We pressed on with it. Everybody got along. You can generally tell somebody’s demeanor in regular conversation…how they answer questions…if they ask you questions…how they interact…you can get a good idea of somebody’s type of crazy.”
Wife: “We both have used Tinder. I’ve met two men off of Tinder and they were both phenomenal letdowns. I say that because, prior to these two, and this is within the last year, I’m 34 and I had never been with another man. I’ve only been with my husband. So, there was that whole curiosity…is it better? Is it any different? Frankly, the first time, it was just a phenomenal, amazing letdown. It was comical. It couldn’t have gotten any funnier if Seth Rogen had made a movie out of it. It was just a bunch of horrible mishaps and me just being like “I’m gonna press on with this because I have to know” kind of thing. When I did know, I was like “wow, that was terrible.” The second time was…fun. The guy was a complete jackass. I could see how lots of women would find him attractive and alluring, and boy was he enthusiastic in the bedroom. But, it just….yeah. It fell short. Which brings me back to my original point, because friends had told me because I’d only ever been with my husband, that I didn’t know what sex was. I was like “they’re all wrong”. So, even only being with one man, you can definitely tell the difference between having good sex and bad sex. The third person (man) that I’d ever been with was actually a person I met at my work. It was a crush. Apparently, he also had a crush on me. We started talking and he knew I was in an open relationship. He and I still talk. That was fun. It was not a letdown. But he’s also younger which is a new thing for me because I’ve never been attracted to younger guys. It’s different. Trying to balance male egos is harder than you would think it would be. Male egos are delicate things. I feel bad for the other guy because, unfortunately for him, I’m nothing if not brutally honest. I encouraged him to date. He’d just gotten out of a really long relationship and I tried to explain to him that this is more physical on my end. I appreciate him as a person, I find him humorous and funny, but he’s so much younger than me and he’s falling very quickly into the friends zone and I’m ok with that. It’s lust and I explained that the first night we got together and met and talked…that it’s just lust on my part…that there will never be a relationship on my part, especially with another guy. There will never be a type of relationship where I can see hanging out on a regular basis. It would just never work. Whereas with a female, probably just because I’m bisexual, I can handle, I think it would be much easier with a female. Generally because he’s attracted to the females, I’m attracted to the females. With women, it just seems like the personalities seem to flow a little easier. I don’t feel like I have an ego towards those women and I don’t feel like they’re vying for his attention. I don’t feel any hint of jealousy. I’m more an “in the moment” kind of person, so I never really get caught up in “oh my god, does she think I’m pretty? Does she think I’m not pretty enough for him?” I don’t get caught up in that petty shit with females. It just doesn’t happen. It’s just like “hey, ya wanna make out?”
Do either of your families know…
Wife and Husband (immediate answer before the questions is asked): “No!”
Wife: “We come from such a conservative background. We’re both raised that you got married, and if you didn’t stay married you at least needed to be faithful to that person. I was brought up Mormon so this is a complete departure from what I was brought up believing. But, that’s the thing too…as I said, in my 20’s, it wasn’t necessarily a revelation, I’ve always thought girls were pretty. It’s just, when you get out on your own and you figure yourself out, it’s like “Oh crap! I’m bisexual! That’s what that is.” It’s not something I ever thought about too deeply because I was programmed to: you’re supposed to meet a guy. You’re supposed to fall in love. You’re supposed to get married. You’re supposed to have a kid.”
Was that a struggle for you…coming to terms with that…because of your upbringing?
Wife: “Yeah. There are days where I still feel guilty about it like there’s something wired in me wrong. But quite honestly, what I’m attracted to and what I enjoy, doesn’t make me a person. It’s just a part of who I am.”
Husband: “Our sexuality doesn’t define who we are as people. We don’t seek other people’s approval. It’s something we share with each other, for our relationship and we’ve talked about it…that if it ever became a problem, we’d just walk away from it, no questions asked. If either of us ever wanted to stop, no questions asked, we just walk away. It doesn’t define who we are. It’s just something we enjoy doing. It’s actually had a lot of positive impact on our relationship. A lot.”
Husband: “The honesty. When I can sit down at the dinner table and look at her and say “Hey, do you mind if I go have sex with this woman”, at that point there’s really nothing I can’t talk to her about. The communication. It’s such a potentially explosive situation that you have to be very clear and concise with your communication. So it’s really taught us to calm down and think about what we’re actually feeling and to communicate that clearly rather than just spit out the first thing that pops into your mind. It’s brought our level of communication up so much.”
Wife: “It’s actually changed his parenting too. Our daughter doesn’t have anything to do with this. She doesn’t know and she will never know. Probably not till she’s in college and she puts things together and goes “wait a minute”. I can see that happening. His ability to communicate, he’s much more patient now. He stops, thinks about how we need to communicate something. It has had a positive affect on our parenting.”
Husband: “Also, our sex life, just the openness with each other. Some of the people she’s come in contact with, they’ve had certain ideals and views that we’ve never really thought about. We did a little bit of research into it and it s quite enjoyable. So just kind of pulling the best of each particular situation and condoning them in the bedroom. Our sex life has never been better.”
I would imagine that, for the people you encounter, it must be helpful to them to accept what they enjoy and realize there’s nothing wrong with them.
Husband: “We’re both very opened about it when we talk to anyone. Theres no secrets. I always tell people “don’t ask a question you don’t want the answer to”, because if you ask me a question, I’ll tell you the answer. Sometimes I’ve told people things they really didn’t wanna hear but I’m all about honesty. I’m not gonna lie or be deceptive to someone to get what I want. At that point, I’m just using them…”
Wife: “In a wrong way.”
Husband: “Yeah, in the bad way. I don’t agree with that. Like she said, they’re still people. They still have feelings that need a level of attention. Not that I don’t enjoy giving them the attention, but they deserve the attention. They are people and they are participating in our relationship. They deserve the same respect that I give my wife in the way of communication and attention.”
Wife: “As for sexuality, my whole deal is that I feel like my whole base thing is, sexuality for a lot of people is fluid. It changes. It can change. What you’re into at one point, you may not be into anymore. For example, ten years ago I don’t think I would’ve been into any kind of naughty playtime scenarios, BDSM, any of that stuff. But as I’ve gotten older, tastes do become more refined or they can become more exotic. I tend to view my sexuality as very fluid and in open about that. I’ve never been one to be quiet about my sexuality anyway. It is what it is and sex is suppose to be fun, something comical almost. My super power is that I can apparently help curious Bi girls decide if they’re Bi or not. So that helps. Like I said, he’s more the emotional and I’m more of the fun.”
Husband: “Also, what helped our relationship out a lot is with all the encounters separately, it’s not fulfilling as it would be being with her. It’s nice. It’s good to be lusted after but when it’s all said and done, and the dust settles, I’m not fulfilled emotionally, physically, spiritually, whatever. So when I do come home and we’re intimate again, it spills over into our sex life. The need to be fully fulfilled.”
What do you, or would you like to say to someone that doesn’t agree with your lifestyle?
Wife: “There’s nothing that you can really say. People are gonna judge about anything. Quite frankly, most people that are gonna judge already have their mind made up. I think it would be almost childish to think I can change somebody’s mind. I would try to stress that it’s important for them to understand, that like we said, this doesn’t define us as people. This is an extracurricular thing. It doesn’t drive our lives. What drives our lives is our relationship with each other and our relationship with our daughter and our family. That comes first. It has always come first and WILL always come first. Like I said, we’re responsible about it. We practice safe sex. We get tested regularly. We’re not doing this in a harmful, lackadaisical manner where we’re just hitting the town, blowing pants off of people left, right and center. We are selective. It doesn’t hurt anybody. We’re very clear from the beginning with the person that we’re going to be intimate with, or possible be intimate with, that they know the score. They know that we are married, that we will continue to be married to each other and that it’s about something that we like to do together. The extracurriculars that we’ve done separately, they are fun. I know my husband finds me attractive and beautiful and lusts after me, but that primal, animalistic lust that you have when you first meet somebody and you find them attractive, that’s the thing that I like. As great as that it, it isn’t fulfilling. It’s more about us being together, than us being separate I guess. People are gonna judge no matter what. It sucks because it’s not really that big of a deal if you come down to it. There are far more things to be worried about than what I’m doing in my bedroom.”
Husband: “For me to answer that, I go back to saying it doesn’t define as who we are. I wouldn’t even call it a lifestyle. Anyone that is curious and wants to know anything about , whether they agree with it or not, I’ll answer their questions. I’m very open about it. I’m not gonna try to push my beliefs on anyone. This situation could enhance a strong relationship or it could destroy a weak relationship. Every situation is different. Every couple is different. They do it for different reasons so I would never try to push someone into that that wasn’t interested in it. I have no problem whatsoever explaining how my particular situation works and I emphasize that each situation is different and the main thing is that both partners communicate and are on board, are of the same mindset. Even if they both want different things, they understand what everyone’s intentions are.”
That partially answers my final question of what you would say to a person contemplating adding this into their lives. Is there anything you’d add to that?
Husband: “I’d say just think about it. Analyze it on why you actually wanna do it. Be perfectly honest with yourself and with your partner. If you can’t figure out why you want to have someone else in your life besides your spouse, and you can’t communicate that to them, you have no business. You need to work on your communication skills before you work on enhancing your relationship in that aspect.”
Wife: “That’s an excellent answer. You could teach a class.”