Sex Q&A: How an Open Marriage Works

Maya from New York, New York asks:

My husband suggested that we should experiment outside our marriage a while ago. We’ve been married for 17 years.

I agreed, and he gave me the chat ID of this very attractive man he worked with. This man is a sort of a player and has been with many women. We started chatting and slowly I told him what my husband had suggested. He took a while to digest this idea, but he was excited about it.

We chatted about everything, all the time, and quite often sexted. We even met once for drinks and talked late into the evening, but nothing happened. We have tried to get together but it just hasn’t happened. Either something came up or we were in an argument.

Please tell me where this is going. I think that we might never have a sexual relation. If that is so, then what is this?

Liam’s Response:

Thank you, Maya, for this intriguing inquiry. To experiment with sexuality beyond the bounds of previously accepted mores is a tantalizing, yet trepidatious expedition. Indeed, it is often the anxiety and fear that really makes the trip worth taking. In the West, we are overly fascinated with definitions because we use them to enforce what Terence McKenna referred to as “control icons.” In an effort to find numb comfort in every situation, to eradicate all natural fear and sorrow, we are driven to define every single thing in our lives and to value reason above the more subtle fluid aspects of nature. Sexuality is one of those things that’s very hard to define. We coin phrases for its practice like menage a trios, threesome, bisexual, cuckold, fetishism and BDSM, but the effort simply leaves us with little more than a blurry haze of emotional want and misgiving. My advice to begin with is: stop trying so hard to define what is happening. You’re on a magnificent adventure. Having decided to step out on this path, start seeing yourself as an erotic explorer who is shunning the rituals of conformity and embarking on a quest for altered perception by way of sexual expansion. Embrace every fear, every joy, even every confusion and live for the experience itself.

Successful marriages are built on very few basic factors, and as indicated by Big Momma from Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the problems always start in the bedroom. The biggest reason I see for the dissolution of marriages after many years is the failure of the couple to evolve together sexually. Everyone who enters a long-term committed relationship must be willing to embrace the fluidity and change that are the natural evolution of a healthy sexual life. It seems to me that you and your husband have evolved together very well to this point. This sort of adventure is one you both might find very erotic and enlightening… And bonding. I see that your spouse is very excited by the idea of it, which isn’t as rare or odd as some would like to make it seem. In fact, having his wife indulge in a sexual relationship outside the marriage is a popular fantasy among men in long-term relationships and an experience many pursue. Your husband has shared a very vulnerable part of himself with you and has gone to much care in choosing a partner who he feels will be kind and respectful. Someone who, as you say, has had some similar experiences already.

Now this man he’s chosen is experienced, that’s true, but not the way you might be assuming. He hasn’t had a bunch of pornographic encounters or casual hook-ups just for fun. He’s not one for convention, but I sense that all his relationships were relationships of their own kind, with courtship and conversation, and all the pushing and pulling and frustration. This man understands that the dance of love is more than an hour or two in a motel room. Sex without all the courting and romance falls rather short of what he knows makes the experience worthwhile. He’s more the Dangerous Liaisons type than College Girls in Heat… More Emmanuelle than Debbie Does Dallas. All truly sensual encounters have their own unique flavor and flow, melody and madness, complete with fighting, loving, raised expectations and dashed hopes. The fact is, this man is courting you. He’s making you wait. He’s making you crazy. You’re doing the same thing to him. Savor this time. Relish it. Be a bold, brazen lady; a vixen and seductress. Let the whole thing unfold as it will with no expectations and no remorse. And be prepared for your marriage to change as well. Passion unleashed is sublime.


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