In an ‘open’ dilemma

Aurora155

New member
Hi everyone,

I’m brand new to this forum. A bit about me, I’m a 27 year old woman who has been in a monogamous relationship for 5 years with my partner (30yr old male). We own a house together and a beautiful Great Dane!

I don’t want this to come across as conceited, which it might 😬, but I’ve always considered our relationship to be better than most. At least those of my close friends etc. We have super open lines of communication, he is such a beautiful version of masculinity, he’s sweet and vulnerable and has no possessive traits. I think this is what attracted me to him in the first place, I’ve always found relationships with ideas of ownership a bit ick. We support each other fully, he is genuinely just such a good person and I adore him. For the first time in my life I’m excited about growing old because I will do it with him. I imagine us swanning around in Europe in our 60s.

ANYWAY, we do have one issue and that is our libidos are not matched. Far from it! He is much less interested in sex than I am and prefers cuddling, kissing and other forms of physical intimacy. Whilst this wasn’t a problem for the first few years, now we live together and are super familiar and our sex life has fallen off a cliff haha. It’s starting to affect me negatively as my sexuality is an important part of my identity and honestly I just really enjoy and miss sex. We have tried all the tricks to reignite it, but no luck. We’ve had many long conversations about it and last night we both came to the conclusion that an open relationship (casual sex only) might work for us.

I have heard soooo many times that an open relationship can’t be used to fix problems in a relationship and if the relationship isn’t 100% amazing then an open relationship will cause it to crumble.

So my questions is, from your experience do you think me being able to have sex partners away from my relationship will destroy it? Because it would be to fix the problem of my sexual needs not being met.

Any advice please! Questions we should be answering with each other before we commit to this? problems that might arise? Any and all info and advice is welcome. Thank you! :)
 

GalaGirl

Active member
Welcome.

We’ve had many long conversations about it and last night we both came to the conclusion that an open relationship (casual sex only) might work for us.

How will you keep it to "casual sex?" Like having only one night flings? Dump the sex partner if you start to develop feelings for them?

What if feelings happen and 2 people want to change the model to polyamory and 1 person does not. How would that play out? Is everyone prepared for it to go down to everyone single? Because it doesn't always go to "original couple and then that other person."

What if you partner decided that he also wants a sex play partner or cuddle buddy? Are you prepared for that?

So my questions is, from your experience do you think me being able to have sex partners away from my relationship will destroy it? Because it would be to fix the problem of my sexual needs not being met.

How it plays out is yet to be seen. It depends on the people involved.

Once you open that door, it's not like you can go back. Even if you and your partner return to a Closed relationship where its just you and him? It's not the same as never having gone there in the first place. So I suggested talking some more and doing some reading together to be sure you want to take this step.

Any advice please! Questions we should be answering with each other before we commit to this? problems that might arise? Any and all info and advice is welcome. Thank you! :)

Here are some links. Your mileage may vary.


HTH!
Galagirl
 

Aurora155

New member
Welcome.



How will you keep it to "casual sex?" Like having only one night flings? Dump the sex partner if you start to develop feelings for them?

What if feelings happen and 2 people want to change the model to polyamory and 1 person does not. How would that play out? Is everyone prepared for it to go down to everyone single? Because it doesn't always go to "original couple and then that other person."

What if you partner decided that he also wants a sex play partner or cuddle buddy? Are you prepared for that?



How it plays out is yet to be seen. It depends on the people involved.

Once you open that door, it's not like you can go back. Even if you and your partner return to a Closed relationship where its just you and him? It's not the same as never having gone there in the first place. So I suggested talking some more and doing some reading together to be sure you want to take this step.



Here are some links. Your mileage may vary.


HTH!
Galagirl

Thank you GalaGirl! Those are all really pertinent questions, some I had considered and many not. I will make sure we discuss all of those together. I’m also acutely aware that if we open it up, we can never go back to ‘before’. So, it’s certainly a decision neither of us are taking lightly.

Thank you for the recourses too! Really appreciate it
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
When you say your husband has tried everything to increase his libido, what do you mean? He's young to have no libido. Are his testosterone levels OK?

Why would you limit yourself to casual sex only? That would be something swingers do. We are a poly board so we are about loving more than one, not "sex only."

If you want quick hookups, with people who are determined to be fuck buddies only, there are swingers groups online, as well as clubs for more of an orgy scene.

But even swingers can fall in love. Most people who swing are determined to keep their primary relationships sacred, but it takes a strong mindset and certain actions to do that.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Greetings Aurora155,
Welcome to our forum. Please feel free to lurk, browse, etc.

I want to recommend a book to you; it is called, "Opening Up: a guide to creating and sustaining open relationships," by Tristan Taormino. It will help you know which questions you should be asking each other before you commit to this. Read it together. Another book you might want to read is, "Eight Things I Wish I'd Known about Polyamory (before I tried it and frakked it up)," by Cunning Minx. Of course, what you are fixing to do is not necessarily polyamory, you are planning on casual sex only. So only read that second book if you decide you are going to have romantic relations with the people you date.

Re: do I think you being able to have sex partners away from your relationship will destroy it? ... probably not, unless your partner gets jealous. But there are ways to handle jealousy. I can post a list of them if you are interested; let me know. In the meantime, read "Opening Up," it is a really good book.

Sincerely,
Kevin T., "official greeter" :)

Notes:

There's a *lot* of good info in Golden Nuggets. Have a look!

Please read through the guidelines if you haven't already.

Note: You needn't read every reply to your posts, especially if someone posts in a disagreeable way. Given the size and scope of the site it's hard not to run into the occasional disagreeable person. Please contact the mods if you do (or if you see any spam), and you can block the person if you want.

If you have any questions about the board itself, please private-message a mod and they'll do their best to help.

Welcome aboard!
 
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Aurora155

New member
When you say your husband has tried everything to increase his libido, what do you mean? He's young to have no libido. Are his testosterone levels OK?

Why would you limit yourself to casual sex only? That would be something swingers do. We are a poly board so we are about loving more than one, not "sex only."

If you want quick hookups, with people who are determined to be fuck buddies only, there are swingers groups online, as well as clubs for more of an orgy scene.

But even swingers can fall in love. Most people who swing are determined to keep their primary relationships sacred, but it takes a strong mindset and certain actions to do that.

Yeah, he’s had his T levels checked and they are fine. When I say ‘everything’ I mean we saw a sex therapist and a relationship counsellor and followed all the advice given. At the end of the day we all agreed it’s probably just how his libido is. Men have a wide spectrum of libidos, I don’t think it’s abnormal, even though pop culture would have us believe otherwise. We are just a bit mismatched in this area.

It’s a fair point that this a poly board, but I’ve already received some good advice and resources that can still help in my situation, so I don’t think it’s the entirely wrong place to be.

I agree that developing feelings is always a possibility even if it’s not my intent. So that’s a situation I need to discuss in detail with my partner
 

Aurora155

New member
Re: do I think you being able to have sex partners away from your relationship will destroy it? ... probably not, unless your partner gets jealous. But there are ways to handle jealousy. I can post a list of them if you are interested; let me know. In the meantime, read "Opening Up," it is a really good book.

Thanks for the welcome! And thank you so much for suggesting that book, I just downloaded the e-book and we’re going to read it together with some wine haha. I can’t see my partner being jealous and he is very open to it, so I’m hopeful this won’t be an issue BUT it is a very different situation. So I would still love to see your list. Best to have all the tools possible!
 

FallenAngelina

Active member
I don’t think it’s abnormal, even though pop culture would have us believe otherwise. We are just a bit mismatched in this area.
You're much more than just a bit mismatched. If sexuality is a high value of yours, then you and your BF are greatly mismatched. You're imagining the rest of your lives together and that is an incredibly long time to be partnered with someone who isn't into having sex with you. The way it wears is much deeper than simply finding other sex partners. Sex (or lack thereof) between nesting partners is essential to the relationship. It's not essential that both want exactly the same, but it is essential that both are fulfilled if the relationship is to stand the test of time. Looking to fill the gap with other sex-only partners can be fun for awhile, but it's not a solid foundation on which to build a lifetime relationship. The only way to know this for sure is to try it and you seem determined to try it.

A young man having little interest in sex is indeed unusual. It's not pop culture that tells us this, it's experience. The only young men I've known to show little interest in sex with women are either asexual or gay. I know that we all think we're informed and woke these days, but there's still reluctance and inner resistance for some gay people to come out to even themselves. This may or may not be the case with your guy, but there is definitely something more going on than you and even he is able to see right now. Whatever the underlying reason for his disinterest, you and he are a sexual mismatch and that is an enormous issue in a lifetime partnership. Before moving forward, I encourage you to be a little more honest with yourself about how important this is to you and don't downplay the unusual nature of his disinterest in efforts to hold onto a nesting partnership.

I'll mention that I've been involved in a swinging community that I'd consider to be very healthy and supportive. NONE of the couples or singles are involved because their partners are not interested in sex with them. ALL of the people in this emotionally healthy situation are involved because they truly enjoy sharing sexuality with others - end of story. The couples who have made this a life long thing (Covid days aside) are all sexually compatible and emotionally monogamous by nature. Nobody seems to be patching holes or struggling to keep themselves monogamously faithful. Successful long term swinging has to come naturally and has to come enthusiastically from both partners. It has to be genuine. It just doesn't last as a solution if one person is doing it just to make the other happy.
 
From my experience, it totally depends on the person who is you.

At one time, I'd have said the only consideration for you is how poly you are. If you are more mono than poly to simplify the situation, then meeting someone with a matched libido will ultimately spell the end of your romantic attraction to your current partner.

However, now I would say that it also depends on how you value sex. For some poly people, meeting someone who has a matched libido will have the same affect because they acknowledge that they need to be sexually matched in all their relationships. Experiencing sexual harmony with a partner highlights that need.
 

Aurora155

New member
You're much more than just a bit mismatched. If sexuality is a high value of yours, then you and your BF are greatly mismatched. You're imagining the rest of your lives together and that is an incredibly long time to be partnered with someone who isn't into having sex with you. The way it wears is much deeper than simply finding other sex partners. Sex (or lack thereof) between nesting partners is essential to the relationship. It's not essential that both want exactly the same, but it is essential that both are fulfilled if the relationship is to stand the test of time. Looking to fill the gap with other sex-only partners can be fun for awhile, but it's not a solid foundation on which to build a lifetime relationship. The only way to know this for sure is to try it and you seem determined to try it.

A young man having little interest in sex is indeed unusual. It's not pop culture that tells us this, it's experience. The only young men I've known to show little interest in sex with women are either asexual or gay. I know that we all think we're informed and woke these days, but there's still reluctance and inner resistance for some gay people to come out to even themselves. This may or may not be the case with your guy, but there is definitely something more going on than you and even he is able to see right now. Whatever the underlying reason for his disinterest, you and he are a sexual mismatch and that is an enormous issue in a lifetime partnership. Before moving forward, I encourage you to be a little more honest with yourself about how important this is to you and don't downplay the unusual nature of his disinterest in efforts to hold onto a nesting partnership.

I'll mention that I've been involved in a swinging community that I'd consider to be very healthy and supportive. NONE of the couples or singles are involved because their partners are not interested in sex with them. ALL of the people in this emotionally healthy situation are involved because they truly enjoy sharing sexuality with others - end of story. The couples who have made this a life long thing (Covid days aside) are all sexually compatible and emotionally monogamous by nature. Nobody seems to be patching holes or struggling to keep themselves monogamously faithful. Successful long term swinging has to come naturally and has to come enthusiastically from both partners. It has to be genuine. It just doesn't last as a solution if one person is doing it just to make the other happy.

The only reason I think the libido issue is ‘normal’ is because we saw two different professionals who told us that. Apparently it’s much more common than one might expect. He is neither gay, nor asexual. It’s also apparently normal to go through hyper and hypo-sexual phases. Which may be what is happening. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a huge problem for us as a couple.

I completely agree I need to be honest with myself about the gravity of the lack of sex. And I am trying to be. It isn’t an easy situation when someone you consider the love of your life has one area where they are incompatible with you. If it were emotional intimacy that was lacking, I’d be gone in a second. It’s difficult when I am so deeply fulfilled in every other way and when we do have sex, it is always amazing.
What you’ve said about patching is the thing I’m most worried about. I do worry that it can only work if it’s an extension of our sex life and not something to augment it. It’s really hard, maybe that didn’t come across in my original post, but I really am feeling and thinking about it deeply.

I do think the only way to know, is to try it. Which is why I’m here asking for advice! I appreciate your input
 

Aurora155

New member
From my experience, it totally depends on the person who is you.

At one time, I'd have said the only consideration for you is how poly you are. If you are more mono than poly to simplify the situation, then meeting someone with a matched libido will ultimately spell the end of your romantic attraction to your current partner.

However, now I would say that it also depends on how you value sex. For some poly people, meeting someone who has a matched libido will have the same affect because they acknowledge that they need to be sexually matched in all their relationships. Experiencing sexual harmony with a partner highlights that need.

These are two very good points to think about. I think by nature I am definitely more poly. To be honest, in all my previous relationships where I was sexually matched, I have still found the idea of other people appealing. But your other question on whether I need to be sexually matched with all my partners. That is a good question... I feel like I don’t really know the answer to this question yet. It is a distinct possibility that if I met an ‘external’ partner and we were sexually matched, maybe I would realise that is something I need in all relationships. I definitely have more introspection to do but I also feel I would only know the answer to that question, if I tried it? Thanks for giving me some more things to think about
 

TinCup

New member
It’s difficult when I am so deeply fulfilled in every other way and when we do have sex, it is always amazing.

Good morning @Aurora155 ,

Okay, not only have I read your story, I've lived it. Married longer than you've been alive. Trust me when I say that professionals don't always understand asexuality and in fact can cause damage. Asexuality has 'flavors' and the one you describe is one I know well enough that I dropped my lurker persona. I totally relate to the above quote.

I can't know if your husband is asexual, only he can, but I think exploration appropriate here because if he is asexual it isn't just a mismatched libido you are dealing with but also a mismatched understanding of exactly what sex is to each of you. You may be talking past each other.

Asexual people can have a libido, just so you know, so that isn't a clue.

Again, I can't know if it is the case but I'll highlight some of my experience worded to you as if it is:

You feel like your sexuality is kept in a box that only he opens.
[He hates this and doesn't want to keep you in a box but doesn't understand it.]

It is a rainy day, no life pressures at all, why can't we get naked?
[He just can't get motivated enough. Lazy rainy days are for cuddling under a blanket and watching a movie.]

You have a cyclic argument fueled by your perceived rejection (once again) and he wonders why you always do this? Probably in the middle of the night. You've been staring at the ceiling wonder how he, again, missed every single hint/clue/innuendo/request. You feel rejected and lonely. He just went to sleep. Like nothing is going on?!
[He missed them because he has no radar for such things. None. He doesn't understand the argument because everything in his world is just fine. It really does come out of left left field to him. And the biggy: he isn't rejecting you. Your perception doesn't match his because you aren't using a common language.]

It did sound like you may have already considered this possibility and have removed it as a concern. Someday someone will read your thread and relate so I thought I would illustrate a possible explanation in the off chance it will help someone. I wish I would have ran across this information long ago.
 
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Aurora155

New member
H
Good morning @Aurora155 ,

Okay, not only have I read your story, I've lived it. Married longer than you've been alive. Trust me when I say that professionals don't always understand asexuality and in fact can cause damage. Asexuality has 'flavors' and the one you describe is one I know well enough that I dropped my lurker persona. I totally relate to the above quote.

I can't know if your husband is asexual, only he can, but I think exploration appropriate here because if he is asexual it isn't just a mismatched libido you are dealing with but also a mismatched understanding of exactly what sex is to each of you. You may be talking past each other.

Asexual people can have a libido, just so you know, so that isn't a clue.

Again, I can't know if it is the case but I'll highlight some of my experience worded to you as if it is:

You feel like your sexuality is kept in a box that only he opens.
[He hates this and doesn't want to keep you in a box but doesn't understand it.]

It is a rainy day, no life pressures at all, why can't we get naked?
[He just can get motivated enough. Lazy rainy days are for cuddling under a blanket and watching a movie.]

You have a cyclic argument fueled by your perceived rejection (once again) and he wonders why you always do this? Probably in the middle of the night. You've been staring at the ceiling wonder how he, again, missed every single hint/clue/innuendo/request. You feel rejected and lonely. He just went to sleep. Like nothing is going on?!
[He missed them because he has no radar for such things. None. He doesn't understand the argument because everything in his world is just fine. It really does come out of left left field to him. And the biggy: he isn't rejecting you. Your perception doesn't match his because you aren't using a common language.]

It did sound like you may have already considered this possibility and have removed it as a concern. Someday someone will read your thread and relate so I thought I would illustrate a possible explanation in the off chance it will help someone. I wish I would have ran across this information long ago.

Thank you for this!! I definitely don’t think professionals are always right or across everything, I know there is limited quality research into things like polyamory and asexuality, and so clinicians are often at a disadvantage. It’s just the best info I have to go on at the moment. Thanks for being open with your experience as well!

The rainy day example is very close to home. He loves watching movies and cuddling but this very rarely progresses into anything. Whilst I don’t harbour feelings of rejection I did find it hard to comprehend how he didn’t think it was all that much of a problem. Mostly, when we talk about it, he says he cares because I care. Which almost does make me think he might be asexual.

I’m not privy to what he spoke about with the therapists in private, but the conclusion they came to was that asexuality isn’t the culprit. That doesn’t mean it’s cut and dried though!

Would it be okay if a pm’d you so we could talk about it a bit more? All good if not! Thanks for this insight
 

TinCup

New member
He loves watching movies and cuddling but this very rarely progresses into anything.
To him, this is making love.

I did find it hard to comprehend how he didn’t think it was all that much of a problem.
Because it truly is not to him.

the conclusion they came to was that asexuality isn’t the culprit.
Because they are probably using a black/white model of asexuality. If they asked, "Do you like sex?" and he answered he did then they may move on. But the truth is, there are asexual people that like sex.

Would it be okay if a pm’d you
Yes.
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I am quite sure that mismatched libidos are a common reason for people to cheat, or to open their relationship to ethical non-monogamy of one kind or another.

I don't understand asexuality. I can't speak with any authority about it. But it sounds like your partner (let's give him a nickname, Jeff) used to have sex with you in your first few years, before you were living together. You seem to blame his current lack of drive on too much familiarity, stemming from living together, at least as one factor.

Often, people can be NRE junkies. They only get horned up for relative strangers, and lose desire once the partner is "hooked," so to speak. So many people over the centuries have gotten married during NRE, only to find they don't like their spouse, much less love them, and do not desire them anymore. Instead, they want the greener grass on the other side of the fence.

This is actually normal. Humans are meant to be promiscuous. Another book that is very popular with polyamorists is Sex at Dawn, which investigates the history of human (and other primate) sexual desire and behavior. Lifelong mono partnering or marriage is only a patriarchal social construct. Monogamy is unheard of in the animal kingdom.

So, there are several things that could happen if you decided to seek another sexual partner. In my case, my libido is much stronger than my nesting partner's. Hers is NOT non-existent, but she's basically good with, on average, once every 7-10 days. I'd love to have sex every day, or at least 3 times a week. But I am also polyamorous and sapiosexual. I have to feel a warm personal intellectual connection with someone to want to sustain a sexual relationship. (Pixi is also polyamorous and has a bf/Master with whom she has sex and does kink. They love each other and have a life together; she goes to his place half the week. Maybe Jeff will eventually want to find an asexual partner to cuddle and watch movies, etc., with.)

If you do find someone desirable, you might start to really like them. And you might fall in love with them. You will probably experience NRE. When those hormones and endorphins kick in, watch out! This will change your relationship with Jeff. Hopefully it will be for the better, because as with Pixi, the more my sexual needs are met with others, the less pressure she feels to "perform," and oddly, that can increase her desire! Plus, she gets a bit of a thrill and feels pride when other people want me.
 

Aurora155

New member
I am quite sure that mismatched libidos are a common reason for people to cheat, or to open their relationship to ethical non-monogamy of one kind or another.

Without a doubt! I’ve hopped on an Asexuality forum as well, and ethical non-monogamy seems to be something many couples in sexual/asexual relationship pursue. As expected, it works a charm for some and not for others.


I don't understand asexuality. I can't speak with any authority about it. But it sounds like your partner (let's give him a nickname, Jeff) used to have sex with you in your first few years, before you were living together. You seem to blame his current lack of drive on too much familiarity, stemming from living together, at least as one factor.

I have only just started learning about asexuality and it’s much more of a diverse spectrum than I, or the sex therapist we saw, realised. Jeff does enjoy sex and does have a libido, but It’s just not something that is on his radar much. It’s take it, or leave it for him. He has explained to me now that he doesn’t feel anything missing from our relationship without sex, whereas I consider sex very important in general. I think I stopped initiating sex as much because we had so much going on in our lives and then I realised that he never initiated it. Because he just didn’t think to. I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around it! But at least I know a lot more about his feelings towards sex, and it’s importance, or lack thereof.

This will change your relationship with Jeff. Hopefully it will be for the better, because as with Pixi, the more my sexual needs are met with others, the less pressure she feels to "perform," and oddly, that can increase her desire! Plus, she gets a bit of a thrill and feels pride when other people want me.

Thanks for sharing how it works for you! It sounds like you’ve got a really good arrangement and it’s been beneficial. I am hoping Jeff will feel exactly like Pixi if we open up. Less pressure and hopefully less guilt that my sexual needs are not being met. I imagine I would feel more confident and happier as a person, and more able to enjoy my time with Jeff, without the sex elephant always in the room.

Now that we have this new info on asexuality, we’re definitely going to take it super slow and learn all we can before we pursue the option of opening up. But it’s good to know that ethical non-monogamy of all shades can work out well!
 
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