Need help with ENM Consent Agreement

mf1438

New member
I'm a 68 year old African American male married 28 years. I'm stuck in a sexless marriage. We are both retired empty nesters. She lost all interest in sex but I'm not ready to hang up my tennis shoes yet. Sex keeps me vibrant and alive. It gives me an intimate connection with another human being

I would like to pursue a shame and guilt free LDR sexual relationship while staying within my moral boundaries.

Masturbation is not a sin and I have the ultimate say as to what is acceptable to me when engaging in solo sex. However, I like mutual masturbation and to some this crosses moral boundaries and is considered cheating.

What are my moral boundaries? Since I'm married, I'm told by many that it does not matter what I want. What matters is what my wife wants. She is the judge, jury and executioner. She accused me of cheating when I told her that I was sexting with someone online. I started this activity when she started refusing me sex years ago.

I have to live within her moral boundaries because we are equally yoked but at the same time I WANT TO BE FREE.

So I'm hoping that ethical non-monogamy can give me a structure, rules that I can work within. Some things she already agreed to, but anything that involves interaction, even though it is just online, she considers cheating.

No, I do not want a divorce.

No, I don't want to give up sex for the rest of my life. .

No, I do not want to be labeled a cheat. Infidelity and adultery are painful words for me to hear associated with me. I am a man committed to reclaiming my integrity.

Is there any way outside of total abstinence to escape the moral shackles of a sexless marriage?

Does anybody here have any experience negotiating ENM consent agreements?
 

TXretired

Member
Welcome. This sounds like it will be an uphill battle. But, the little engine made it work, hopefully you will as well. Talking with your wife about your needs would be a start. The book “Devine Sex” by Philo Thelos was a great book for my wife to read. We read it together and discussed each chapter as we completed them. For me it confirmed my beliefs. For her, it really opened the door. Best wishes.
 

mf1438

New member
Thanks for the book reference. Can you be a little more specific, either here or in PM? What beliefs were confirmed. What door was opened for her? Yes, it is an uphill battle, especially since I've been having a hell of a time finding poly friendly people.
 

Evie

Moderator
Is there any way outside of total abstinence to escape the moral shackles of a sexless marriage?

A heartfelt conversation with your wife will be the bottom line, but I'm guessing you know that part and are currently looking into what options you could put on the table.

You know what you want... discretion first and foremost, so you want to find someone out of town you can go and have sex with once in a while. Far enough away that no one in you and your wife's circle get wind of your behaviour. I get it, I've got friends over 20 years younger than you in the same position. Sexless marriage, still want a sex life.

What you haven't mentioned is if you see this sex partner as someone you can share romance and/or friendship with. And, if so, considering, morally, how it might affect them to be kept at arm's length from your "real" life. Who would contact them if you can't? Right now, I understand this sex partner is a fantasy person and your focus is on convincing your wife that you would still be a faithful and committed husband if you were able to have sex with someone else. Just bear in mind that if you find such a person, then you and her are likely to develop an emotional bond, too.

Other books often recommended are Opening Up, and https://www.morethantwo.com/
 

mf1438

New member
Girl is not a fantasy. I found a willing sex partner who is also in sexless marriage. She lives 8,000 miles away and is OK with online only. It became emotional too and when I told my wife I found a sexting partner she said I’m cheating and it opened old wounds. She is right. We had agreement from 2017 and sexting and online affair are on taboo list. We’re in counseling now to address my infidelity. I’m hoping to negotiate a more permissive consent agreement.
 

GalaGirl

Well-known member
Sounds like you cheated on the 2017 agreements. You have apologized to wife, and working with her and the counselor make new agreements.
Could have them include what to do if the agreements pinch again. And this time? If new agreements don't actually help you any? DO NOT AGREE. It's easier not to cheat on agreements if you just don't make them to begin with.

Could say "This is a heads up. These agreements? There is no space in them for me to meet my own needs. I am telling you now because I don't want to cheat on agreements. Instead I'm telling you up front that this doesn't work for me and I won't be keeping then any more. "

Wife can be upset or not by that declaration. Later? She can be upset or not that you have other sex partners, but it's not cheating on anything. It is not a secret, not a surprise, and it's just how you are dealing with meeting your needs since you cannot meet them in a sexless marriage.

It's ok for wife to decided she's done with sex and closing that chapter of her life. It is her body. Her choice.

But your body belongs to you. You have sex needs. You are not ready close that chapter for YOU.

Talk to the counselor to help you both arrive at a decision.

Because you might be ok in a sexless marriage with wife, so long as it was fully open or open-ish on your end to at least include sexting and online sex with people.

But wife might not enjoy being in a sexless marriage that is also open or open-ish. Something has to give somewhere or else you both accept you cannot continue married.

I think you both could talk and consider.
  • Do you or wife feel deprived and unhappy here?
  • Is the lack of sex compensated by any tender and caring attitudes of your spouse? Does she provide this? Do you provide this?
  • Do either need sexual activities beyond solo masturbation?
  • Can you each imagine a fulfilled and happy life without sex?
  • Can you satisfy your sex needs through masturbation, sex toys and/or with a third party? Can she?
  • Can you wife deal with that? In what way? Like she can deal with you having online sex partners, but not having IRL partners?
  • Can you deal with that? In what way? Like you can deal with her having online sex partners, but not having IRL partners?
Otherwise you both may have to rethink separation or divorce. Then she's free from any sex stuff she no longer wants. And you are free to pursue sex without worrying about it breaking agreements between you.

Galagirl
 
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mf1438

New member
Sounds like you cheated on the 2017 agreements. You have apologized to wife, and working with her and the counselor make new agreements.
Could have them include what to do if the agreements pinch again. And this time? If new agreements don't actually help you any? DO NOT AGREE. It's easier not to cheat on agreements if you just don't make them to begin with.

Could say "This is a heads up. These agreements? There is no space in them for me to meet my own needs. I am telling you now because I don't want to cheat on agreements. Instead I'm telling you up front that this doesn't work for me and I won't be keeping then any more. "

Wife can be upset or not by that declaration. Later? She can be upset or not that you have other sex partners, but it's not cheating on anything. It is not a secret, not a surprise, and it's just how you are dealing with meeting your needs since you cannot meet them in a sexless marriage.

It's ok for wife to decided she's done with sex and closing that chapter of her life. It is her body. Her choice.

But your body belongs to you. You have sex needs. You are not ready close that chapter for YOU.

Talk to the counselor to help you both arrive at a decision.

Because you might be ok in a sexless marriage with wife, so long as it was fully open or open-ish on your end to at least include sexting and online sex with people.

But wife might not enjoy being in a sexless marriage that is also open or open-ish. Something has to give somewhere or else you both accept you cannot continue married.

I think you both could talk and consider.
  • Do you or wife feel deprived and unhappy here?
  • Is the lack of sex compensated by any tender and caring attitudes of your spouse? Does she provide this? Do you provide this?
  • Do either need sexual activities beyond solo masturbation?
  • Can you each imagine a fulfilled and happy life without sex?
  • Can you satisfy your sex needs through masturbation, sex toys and/or with a third party? Can she?
  • Can you wife deal with that? In what way? Like she can deal with you having online sex partners, but not having IRL partners?
  • Can you deal with that? In what way? Like you can deal with her having online sex partners, but not having IRL partners?
Otherwise you both may have to rethink separation or divorce. Then she's free from any sex stuff she no longer wants. And you are free to pursue sex without worrying about it breaking agreements between you.

Galagirl
Thanks Galagirl, this is pretty much exactly what I had in mind. ;)
 

3908

Member
Welcome MF1438,

I'm in a "Christian" marriage and my wife wont consent to anything related to poly. although we don't have a sexless marriage, I do desire more affection than she provides and would like to seek that and an emotional connection with other women.

she says in our marriage vows we agreed to monogamy.
I've been interested in poly for almost 20 years, but only in 2020 figured out what to call it.

we have had some big arguments in the past about my interest in poly but since I have been on this forum people have talked of not arguing but backing off to keep lines of communication open so I have backed off and its helping with communication. last night we had a casual talk about poly, and she is hung up on how god sees it, and how the bible is against it, yada yada yada.

good luck with your wife, I hope you can come to a consent agreement

take care
 

mf1438

New member
Welcome MF1438,

I'm in a "Christian" marriage and my wife wont consent to anything related to poly. although we don't have a sexless marriage, I do desire more affection than she provides and would like to seek that and an emotional connection with other women.

she says in our marriage vows we agreed to monogamy.
I've been interested in poly for almost 20 years, but only in 2020 figured out what to call it.

we have had some big arguments in the past about my interest in poly but since I have been on this forum people have talked of not arguing but backing off to keep lines of communication open so I have backed off and its helping with communication. last night we had a casual talk about poly, and she is hung up on how god sees it, and how the bible is against it, yada yada yada.

good luck with your wife, I hope you can come to a consent agreement

take care
Thanks for sharing and letting me know I’m not alone! 🙂
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Welcome MF1438,

I'm in a "Christian" marriage and my wife wont consent to anything related to poly. although we don't have a sexless marriage, I do desire more affection than she provides and would like to seek that and an emotional connection with other women.

she says in our marriage vows we agreed to monogamy.
I've been interested in poly for almost 20 years, but only in 2020 figured out what to call it.

we have had some big arguments in the past about my interest in poly but since I have been on this forum people have talked of not arguing but backing off to keep lines of communication open so I have backed off and its helping with communication. last night we had a casual talk about poly, and she is hung up on how god sees it, and how the bible is against it, yada yada yada.

good luck with your wife, I hope you can come to a consent agreement

take care
The Bible can be interpreted in many ways. Also, it was written millennia ago, by men, in a harshly patriarchal culture. There is conflict in the Bible about female empowerment, and much ado about goddesses, such as Asherah, in competition with Yahweh. Etc. Was Dinah really raped, or did she choose to have sex with a male from another tribe? Why did Yahweh tell Eve she must only desire one man, but he didn't tell Adam he must only desire one woman?

I could go on and on.

As for the OP, I know it's difficult to have a sexless partner, or even one who has a much lower sex drive. Humans are not naturally monogamous. We have constructed this so-called monogamy while always turning a more or less blind eye to practices of polysexuality/polyamory. The libidos of mono couples are quite liable to be different. Women go through a hormonal cycle every month. We are hornier when we are ovulating. We are more or less horny when we are pregnant, lactating, on hormonal birth control, peri-menopausal or fully menopausal.

Personally, I became much, hornier when perimenopause began, and it has remained high as I become menopausal. Other women are the opposite.

That all said, it's very very difficult to buck our hypocritical society. Most women in their '60s are not as open minded about sexuality as I am. Divorcing can very well reduce your status, and cause economic loss. Some people would rather give lip service to monogamy and pretend their partner is not having sex with another person, just to maintain their status. In France, for example, affairs have been "open secrets" for hundreds of years. Courtesans could and did even end up with quite high social status.

There are still women who "let" their husbands cheat. We all have seen movies where a woman's mother will tell a woman to let her man roam, but keep herself looking good, and he'd come back to her (and she'd maintain her status). Even young women today still can pretend their husband is faithful, make a fuss about the idea of polyamory, but still give the guy plenty of space to go online, watch porn, and do whatever else, hire a cam girl, flirt on online groups, PM and flirt, have cybersex, even take off physically and not question where or with whom they have been, doing what.

However, your wife has you between a rock and a hard place. She won't have sex, she won't turn a blind eye to even cybersex, and yet, she won't consent to a formally open relationship! This is actually quite unfair. She puts her status in the relationship above the needs of a man she professes to love. Your needs, desires and interests don't really matter to her. You're just supposed to repress these desires. Masturbation only does so much. Having sex with another human being is, as you know, much much different. Some people may prefer masturbating to porn to actually having sex. But others do prefer actually having sex with a person!
 

mf1438

New member
The Bible can be interpreted in many ways. Also, it was written millennia ago, by men, in a harshly patriarchal culture. There is conflict in the Bible about female empowerment, and much ado about goddesses, such as Asherah, in competition with Yahweh. Etc. Was Dinah really raped, or did she choose to have sex with a male from another tribe? Why did Yahweh tell Eve she must only desire one man, but he didn't tell Adam he must only desire one woman?

I could go on and on.

As for the OP, I know it's difficult to have a sexless partner, or even one who has a much lower sex drive. Humans are not naturally monogamous. We have constructed this so-called monogamy while always turning a more or less blind eye to practices of polysexuality/polyamory. The libidos of mono couples are quite liable to be different. Women go through a hormonal cycle every month. We are hornier when we are ovulating. We are more or less horny when we are pregnant, lactating, on hormonal birth control, peri-menopausal or fully menopausal.

Personally, I became much, hornier when perimenopause began, and it has remained high as I become menopausal. Other women are the opposite.

That all said, it's very very difficult to buck our hypocritical society. Most women in their '60s are not as open minded about sexuality as I am. Divorcing can very well reduce your status, and cause economic loss. Some people would rather give lip service to monogamy and pretend their partner is not having sex with another person, just to maintain their status. In France, for example, affairs have been "open secrets" for hundreds of years. Courtesans could and did even end up with quite high social status.

There are still women who "let" their husbands cheat. We all have seen movies where a woman's mother will tell a woman to let her man roam, but keep herself looking good, and he'd come back to her (and she'd maintain her status). Even young women today still can pretend their husband is faithful, make a fuss about the idea of polyamory, but still give the guy plenty of space to go online, watch porn, and do whatever else, hire a cam girl, flirt on online groups, PM and flirt, have cybersex, even take off physically and not question where or with whom they have been, doing what.

However, your wife has you between a rock and a hard place. She won't have sex, she won't turn a blind eye to even cybersex, and yet, she won't consent to a formally open relationship! This is actually quite unfair. She puts her status in the relationship above the needs of a man she professes to love. Your needs, desires and interests don't really matter to her. You're just supposed to repress these desires. Masturbation only does so much. Having sex with another human being is, as you know, much much different. Some people may prefer masturbating to porn to actually having sex. But others do prefer actually having sex with a person!
Thanks for sharing your perspective. Yes, I feel it is unfair, yet 99% of the people who chime in say she is justified in her disdain for me "cheating". The good news is that she signed up for counseling together. We'll see if she will loosen up the short leash a little bit. At least now I know what to ask for. "still give the guy plenty of space to go online, watch porn, and do whatever else, hire a cam girl, flirt on online groups, PM and flirt, have cybersex, even take off physically and not question where or with whom they have been, doing what."
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
I'm not sure who these people are chiming in, 99% of which say your wife is in the right, and you are basically a disgusting beast. I'd say you were blessed even in your late 60s, with a health libido and are feeling extremely frustrated, perhaps even lonely. That doesn't sound disgusting to me.

If you look around the internet you'll see that ideas about monogamy are changing a lot. More young people are open to polyamory or polysexuality. More people are not getting married. People are getting married later. People are delaying having kids, or not having them at all. Divorce has gone down slightly, just because people aren't getting married, lol.

I was born in 1955 and I was a hippie in the 1970s and I haven't changed. I'm into alternative things of all kinds. I ended up separating from and divorcing my husband. Within months of separating, I found a poly partner and we are still together. Yes, I left my ex h (we'd grown apart), when I was 53 and he was 55. I put being true to myself before the concept of keeping our marriage intact. Not that we didn't try. We did! We did tons of counseling. But ultimately, we needed to move on. (We're still friends, though, and coparents always.)
 
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mf1438

New member
I'm not sure who these people are chiming in, 99% of which say your wife is in the right, and you are basically a disgusting beast. I'd say you were blessed even in your late 60s, with a health libido and are feeling extremely frustrated, perhaps even lonely. That doesn't sound disgusting to me.

If you look around the internet you'll see that ideas about monogamy are changing a lot. More young people are open to polyamory or polysexuality. More people are not getting married. People are getting married later. People are delaying having kids, or not having them at all. Divorce has gone down slightly, just because people aren't getting married, lol.

I was born in 1955 and I was a hippie in the 1970s and I haven't changed. I'm into alternative things of all kinds. I ended up separating from and divorcing my husband. Within months of separating, I found a poly partner and we are still together. Yes, I left my ex h (we'd grown apart), when I was 53 and he was 55. I put being true to myself before the concept of keeping our marriage intact. Not that we didn't try. We did! We did tons of counseling. But ultimately, we needed to move on. (We're still friends, though, and coparents always.)
Thank you for your moral support. I was born in 1952. I also grew up in the days of the "flower child" and miss those times. My wife is 8 years my junior. She was born in 1960. She grew up in a different time and in a different way. Sex to her has always been a marital obligation versus a welcome erotic delight. To each his own. I accept her limitations and I'm willing to sacrifice sex IRL. I'm just trying to open things up so I can have some guilt free fun online. 😁
 

TattooedUnicorn

New member
Hey there! I am pretty new to this world and all so take my thoughts with a grain of salt. I can sympathize with your need for that sexual release and with your wife' s concerns. I'm....I suppose sort of in the same boat as your wife(the still working super hard on mindshift from mono part) but while I don't personally agree that sexting/cybering is cheating I definitely understand the feelings there. It sounds like you are working really hard to both get the things you want while not wanting to hurt her and that is so awesome. Mindshifts are really hard and I imagine harder as people tend to get really set in their ways as time passes.

I wonder if you might consider, as you and your wife seek help and counsel, rather that 'sexting' as if from your own perspective but more in the perspective of writing a character. Instead of using first person perspective of 'i' 'me' 'my' 'you' 'your' you, instead, go the route of 's/he' 'him/her' and such. Perhaps your wife might feel the threat lessen if it is from such a perspective, as though it isn't you in this fantasy specifically, and might be a way of easing forward to it being first person perspectives? It's small and silly maybe, I don't know, but perhaps some babysteps will help with larger steps as you guys try and walk down this road together.

Whether that idea is amenable or not for you, and your wife, I hope you guys can find a resolution where both of you are happy and fulfilled😊
 

mf1438

New member
Hey there! I am pretty new to this world and all so take my thoughts with a grain of salt. I can sympathize with your need for that sexual release and with your wife' s concerns. I'm....I suppose sort of in the same boat as your wife(the still working super hard on mindshift from mono part) but while I don't personally agree that sexting/cybering is cheating I definitely understand the feelings there. It sounds like you are working really hard to both get the things you want while not wanting to hurt her and that is so awesome. Mindshifts are really hard and I imagine harder as people tend to get really set in their ways as time passes.

I wonder if you might consider, as you and your wife seek help and counsel, rather that 'sexting' as if from your own perspective but more in the perspective of writing a character. Instead of using first person perspective of 'i' 'me' 'my' 'you' 'your' you, instead, go the route of 's/he' 'him/her' and such. Perhaps your wife might feel the threat lessen if it is from such a perspective, as though it isn't you in this fantasy specifically, and might be a way of easing forward to it being first person perspectives? It's small and silly maybe, I don't know, but perhaps some babysteps will help with larger steps as you guys try and walk down this road together.

Whether that idea is amenable or not for you, and your wife, I hope you guys can find a resolution where both of you are happy and fulfilled😊
Thanks for the idea. I’ll have to ask what she considers sexting. I think she’s thinking it is sharing nude pics. I’ll check. 😊
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Thank you for your moral support. I was born in 1952. I also grew up in the days of the "flower child" and miss those times. My wife is 8 years my junior. She was born in 1960. She grew up in a different time and in a different way. Sex to her has always been a marital obligation versus a welcome erotic delight. To each his own. I accept her limitations and I'm willing to sacrifice sex IRL. I'm just trying to open things up so I can have some guilt free fun online. 😁
Ugh. I don't think being born in 1960 and a teenager by 1973 guarantees you believe that sex is an obligation for women! Free love, swinging, feminism, etc., were very much a thing in those days. We did not go back to Victorian times in the 1970s lol. If she's telling you this, she is sadly mistaken.

If your wife has always thought of sex as a duty and a burden, she is probably asexual. No wonder she doesn't understand your needs. I'm surprised you stuck it out this long. Why did you?
 

mf1438

New member
Ugh. I don't think being born in 1960 and a teenager by 1973 guarantees you believe that sex is an obligation for women! Free love, swinging, feminism, etc., were very much a thing in those days. We did not go back to Victorian times in the 1970s lol. If she's telling you this, she is sadly mistaken.

If your wife has always thought of sex as a duty and a burden, she is probably asexual. No wonder she doesn't understand your needs. I'm surprised you stuck it out this long. Why did you?
Why did I stick around? I love her. We have so much in common. She is a perfect match for me. I say I am 95% happily married. We have children together. We have a wonderful life together. Solving my sexual problems would be icing on the cake. 😊
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
95% happy, with no sex, and being castigated and shamed for having a sex drive at all? Gosh, if I was in that situation, I'd sure be less than 95% happy. Sex is too important to me. If I had a partner who tolerated my sex drive, and would, for example, at least hold me while I masturbated, it would help. But if he or she was actively disgusted by sex, and especially by my sexuality, I'd be kind of miserable.
 

TXretired

Member
While sex is important, commitment to my wife is priority. It is a concept that many don’t understand. I do. mf1430, you are not alone. We o still screw up, we then rebuild. That is life.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Hello mf1438,

It sounds like you need to tell your wife, that you need to sit down with her and draw up an ENM consent agreement. Then, after she is sat down with you (e.g. at the table), explain to her that you are willing to sign an agreement in which you are allowed to pursue a shame- and guilt-free LDR sexual relationship while staying within your moral boundaries. You would want to be free to pursue a woman long-distance, for sexting and mutual masturbation. After you explain this to your wife, offer to let her be the one who actually writes the agreement, so it's in her words. Then you will sign it.

To be brief, I would say that there is nothing wrong with wanting to get your sexual desires fulfilled. Your wife denies you of sex. So it should be no surprise to her that you want to get sexual fulfillment through other avenues. I know you love her, she is a perfect match for you, you do not want a divorce, but at the same time, you don't want to be labeled a cheat, and that is what your wife has done to you. Yes, you need her consent for polyamory, but she should be willing to give her consent when she understands how unfair the sexless situation is for you. If you lost your interest in sex, that might be different.

Your counselor may be able to help with this.
Regards,
Kevin T.
 
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