It’s #TBT and time for a vintage piece. This originally ran in September of 2013.
Question to the Sexpert:
“I didn’t fully realize or come to accept that I was bisexual until after I had been with my current boyfriend for about a year and a half. When I came out to him, he was thankfully very understanding about it. I know I really love him and I never plan to leave him but now I feel like, since we are in an exclusive relationship, I will never get to experience being with a girl. What do you do when one partner is interested in some type of open relationship but the other isn’t?
I’ve told him that I’m interested in experimenting with a girl but it’s not something he’s comfortable with. He’s doesn’t like the idea of “sharing” me with someone and I totally respect the way he feels. I would also never want to do something that would cause him to lose trust with me.
Another problem is that I have this friend who’s a girl who’s interested in a physical/sexual/romantic type of relationship with me and I’m interested in her too. I told him about her and the only thing he is comfortable with me doing with her is kissing. He feels like doing anything else would be cheating.
I’ve assured my boyfriend that my desire to experiment with girls has nothing to do with him “not being good enough for me” and that I don’t want to leave him. I just feel like he and I have these conflicting desires and I don’t know what my options are. This means more to me than just wanting to fool around with a girl, it’s a part of my sexual identity I’ve never gotten to experience, but should I just drop it to avoid ruining our perfectly good relationship?”
You’ve got yourself a predicament and one that is not uncommon. The way I see it, you have a few options:
- Keep talking with Boyfriend. Find out what matters to both of you. Sometimes it seems like a binary situation: you either get to go fuck girls or you don’t. He either caves or he doesn’t. But sometimes a discussion where you talk about the feelings behind what you’re saying can elucidate what really matters to you both.
- Say, “Boyfriend, I love you, but my desire to be with women exceeds my desire to keep our relationship intact. It’s like that butterfly analogy… maybe I’ll learn that you really are the one for me and when I come fluttering back, I’ll be resolute, knowing with certainty we’re meant to be.”
Since you have a pretty good thing going, I suggest talking for now and digging deeper into both your wishes and his.
A Non-Sexy But Apt Analogy:
Let’s say you and Boyfriend were debating where to move next. He says New York. You say San Diego. The compromise is most certainly not Bristow, Oklahoma.
The solution is to ask, “what is it about New York that you like?” and he says “I need a big city with a significant art scene.” And he asks, “what is the draw of San Diego?” and you say, “I need to be by the ocean, in a place where it’s easy to find healthy vegan food.” Then you can look around and see that maybe find that LA meets both of your criteria, or Miami. Straight up compromise means you both lose. There are lots of options where you get your needs met, if you think outside the box.
What Counts as Enough Lesbian Sex to be Satisfactory?
Same thing with your hopes and fears: talk about what you want to get out of an experience with a woman. Do you want to just want to taste pussy? Are you into your friend enough that you want to date her? Conversely, what are his hopes and fears? What does the idea of you with another woman make him feel? Is he really incapable of sharing your energy or is he fearful that some sapphic dalliance will leave you cold for him?
Since you cannot predict how anything will go (trying out a poly situation, threesomes, staying in your current relationship and settling for fantasy), we’re all just guessing and projecting. But we can articulate what our needs are in a way that enables more productive conversations.
So far you’re both doing a good job by clarifying what you’re both comfortable with and being honest about the friend with whom you want to get sexual. It’s good that he’s not shutting down dialogue or acting as though he’s not bothered by girl-girl relationships (which some guys think they have to be cool with or else they’re not being real men). And it’s good that you’re thinking about this with commitment to both your partnership and to your desires.
No, But Really…What Do You Want?
So again, revisiting what it is you want. You say -it’s not that he’s not enough for you- but clearly no one person can be everything to someone. What is it that a woman would fulfill that he does not? Is it simply the desire to experience a woman’s body? Is that something that can be experienced another way? Can you watch lesbian or threesome porn together? Can you and your girl exchange massages without crossing boundaries set by you and Boyfriend?
The dilemma is, in many ways, one of retrospective regret. If you’d come out sooner, you might have sewn some more oats, as it were. I have some lesbian friends who wish they had been out as young girls so they could have hot high school makeouts. They feel like they majorly missed out, despite the fact they now have girlfriends or wives. Nothing can be done about that. But they can role play with their current partners, pretending to be 13.
Mono: as in ONE
Ultimately, you face the same problem all bi people do: if you decide to commit to a monogamous person, you don’t get to act on a big part of your attraction template. And really, all monogamy puts that limitation on us, regardless of orientation. Boyfriend has presumably agreed to not sleep with anyone else either.
Committing to monogamy means knowing that it closes some doors. The idea is you picked the best door for you, and won’t risk losing it. But if you find that idea too oppressive, you might just be a person who is meant to be some version of polyamorous and perhaps Boyfriend, while he may be awesome, isn’t equipped to be your long-term partner. But if the thought of losing him is too horrible, then back to the discussion room we go, to work out what our hopes and fears are and find out if maybe San Francisco isn’t right for the both of you.