Questioning Your Relationship?

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “What if there is someone else out there for me? Someone better?” – welcome to being human. Think about it. We naturally question most big decisions, right? Is this the best deal on a car? Is this the best house choice? Is this trip worth this much money? What if I just left the perfect job for the wrong one?

Yet, when we question our relationships, we see it as some massive red flag that must mean something serious is wrong, and that our relationship is doomed (this is NOT referring to toxic/abusive relationships – in which case, yes – it is a red flag and can be serious).

Seriously, though…

There are 7 billion people in the world. Chances are, there IS someone else out there (probably several) that could be a potential partner. However, what are you willing to risk losing with your current partner in hopes to gain something with someone else? Meaning, is there someone else out in the world who is more attractive than your current partner? Ummm…duh. Of course! However, are you willing to potentially lose the emotional safety, for example, that you feel with your current partner?

When we don’t have the concrete data of how the “what if” situation could pan out, we tend to design it in our mind without flaws. So, let’s say you are questioning what life would be like with someone who has a higher paying job than your current partner. You’re daydreaming about the freedom you’d have and how your current financial stress would just vanish into thin air. You’re probably not thinking about the possibility that making more money could also mean more hours, more responsibility, and often higher stress levels. We don’t think about that part, because our fantasies (even non-sexual ones) are flawlessly created in our minds. I mean, why the hell would we conjure up a picture in our minds that sucked, am I right?

The “perfect” partner doesn’t exist. You know how I know? Because HUMANS. AREN’T. PERFECT. So, how the f*ck could we possibly put TWO imperfect people together, and expect perfection? Additionally, we are constantly evolving throughout life. So, what might be “perfect” for you in year one of the relationship, may not work for you in year five. This is the norm, but we don’t talk about it. Instead, we see thousands of messages on social media that preach otherwise.

It’s the old “80/20” rule that you may have heard. People sometimes lose the 80% that they already have, in hopes of finding the other 20%. I think we were designed to constantly seek a higher level of satisfaction in life; which on the surface seems like a cool thing. The downside is that we can’t compare our reality to a fantasy-based “what if” scenario, without our reality always falling short. A great exercise that I will often do with clients to ground them in their relationship, is to have them talk about how they met, what drew them to each other, and what they value about their relationship now. Unlike fantasy “what ifs”, we have actual data to reflect on when talking about our current relationship.

So, instead of asking yourself if there’s someone else out there for you, ask yourself what you would you be willing to potentially lose to find them?

Is the MFM/Hot Wife Fantasy Common?

Q: I’m a 54 yr. old male. I’ve had numerous partners, and lived out some fantasies. But my biggest one is to do a m/f/m or hot wife scenario. This gets me so hot. Is this common?
(heterosexual, male)

A: If I had a nickel for every time I was asked this question…

For context purposes, I’m going to address this question in terms of heterosexual couples. However, partner sharing is by NO means, just a “heterosexual thing”. Also, I might use the term cuckolding and hot wifing interchangeably. Cuckolding is a term that refers to watching your partner have sex with someone else. Side note: “Cuckqueaning” is the female equivalent of cuckolding. It’s when a female enjoys watching her partner being sexual with someone else. Anywho…

I’m happy to report that you are, indeed, “normal”. As a rule, I tend to steer clear from the word “normal” when talking about humans, because it really doesn’t exist – nor does it validate or invalidate any of our emotions.

Back to the fantasy…

On a psychological level, there is so much about this fantasy that makes sense. The bottom line being that it goes against societal expectations. Period. Men are expected to be territorial and not want another man to “win their prize”. I know you can’t see me, but I’m rolling me eyes – big time.

When it comes to our sexuality, it should be common knowledge (although it is SO not) that the more taboo – the more out of the norm a thought is – the MORE arousing it can be. If the norm is that men should never look to share their wives, or actually desire (gasp!) to watch their wives be sexually pleased by another man, then guess what? The OPPOSITE is usually what would be more exciting to fantasize about. Rarely will a man (or anyone, really) tell me that his biggest fantasy is something that he does on a daily basis.

Let me parallel this for a hot sec. I am OBSESSED with prison and death row documentaries. Why? Because I have never been to prison or death row, and it’s a life that is so foreign to the one I lead. Does it mean I am secretly some serial killer who wants to be read my last rights as I sit strapped in a chair? Negative Ghost Rider. It actually has LESS to do with the ACTUAL content of the documentary, and MORE to do with the fact that it is so far from my reality. Sexual fantasies are no different.

There are a number of directions this could go as far as explaining why a man might have this fantasy (all valid, by the way), but what really matters most is that there should be ZERO shame around it. So, let me try to shed some light on this fantasy for anyone else who has it (and I know there are many).

Especially in long term relationships, men can start to see their female partner in a light that doesn’t scream naughty vixen (don’t be fooled, women are HIGHLY sexual). Often, their wife might also be the mother of their children. This dives into the Madonna/Whore complex – where men have a hard time seeing their wives as sexual.

With that in mind, seeing their wife with another man is like seeing her in a totally different light! It reminds the husband that his wife is indeed a sexual being, can easily shed that pure and innocent hat, and turn into the object of desire very quickly. Additionally, there may be a surge of competition that comes up for the husband while he’s enjoying the view of his oh-so-innocent wife getting manhandled from behind by another man (you’re welcome for the visual). There could also be an ego and pride aspect to it. You have this super hot wife, and other men want her. You’re the “King”, and all of these men are looking to you as this lucky SOB who has the hot wife (*pats yourself on the back*).

Another reason could be compersion. Compersion is finding joy in witnessing another person’s enjoyment of something. A non-sexual example would be watching your child having a blast on the swing set, or seeing them win an award and being ecstatic about it. However, we’re clearly not talking about non-sexual things right now. Sexually speaking, compersion is finding happiness in witnessing your partner have a joyful sexual or romantic experience with someone else. This term is common in the polyamorous community, but is also a valid term in this hot wife example.

You wanna get clinical for a minute? Let’s talk evolutionary theory. Sounds fun, right?

Sperm competition is an evolutionary theory that when men suspect (or know) that their female partner is having sex with other men, it increases their desire to ejaculate inside their partner to, quite literally, compete with the other men’s sperm. It’s like a race to the egg! In the early 2000’s, there were two different studies done regarding sperm competition. One found that there was actually more sperm in the ejaculate when men watched cuckolding porn [1]. The other study found that when men suspected their female partner to be unfaithful, they tended to thrust harder during penetrative sex [2]. Some scientists argue that this may be a subconscious effort to force the other men’s sperm out of the woman’s vagina – or at least force the other sperm out of the damn way!

So, here you are thinking there is something “wrong” with you for being turned on by hot wifing/cucklolding, when in reality it may be an evolutionary response!

The moral of the story is this: Underneath the psychobabble rant I just went on, and far beyond the evolutionary theory that I just vomited, please know that YOU. ARE. HUMAN. Your fantasies are valid whether or not they are “normal”. Normal is not the goal with our sexuality. As a matter of fact, the word has ZERO place in the human experience at all. You know what is the goal, though? Consensual, safe, authentic, vulnerable, fulfilling, pleasure – and that will look different for all of us.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1617155/
[2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1090513803000163

Should I be a #HotWife?

sexy wife hot woman
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Q: Hey Nina. So my husband and I have been married for 15 yrs and together for 22. Very recently, he’s talked to me more about me having either like a boyfriend or just another person that I have sex with and then come home to him. He has mentioned that he thinks it would be so hot to watch someone have sex with me. We’ve been talking about it more and more.

At first, I thought this might be a way of him getting to have sex with someone else. I’m the only person he’s ever been with. He says it’s not, and that he hasn’t really found anyone that he would be interested in anyway. He works with a bunch of people who are younger than us, in their 20’s, and I guess this is more of a thing with the younger generation. He says we have our relationship and our love and this would be just a pleasure/fun thing.

I’ve been thinking about it more and more and was confiding in a male friend of mine that doesn’t know my husband. He thought it was interesting too and we wound up sexting the other night. I must admit, it was really hot. And my husband thought it was hot too! I think I’m into it now and my friend and I are working on a meetup time to kinda Netflix and chill. He says there is no pressure.

My husband is an analytical person and says he has thought this through thoroughly. What are your thoughts on this? I’ve expressed my fear to my husband about this possibly ruining our marriage, but he says no. Is this just another way to spice up a long term marriage as long as all parties involved know the terms and agree to them?

A: Hi there! Ahhhh…the infamous hotwife fantasy! The desire for a man to see his wife with another man is usually referred to as “cuckolding”, or being a “hot wife”. It can take many forms depending on what you and your husband are seeking out of the sexual experience. Some men enjoy being humiliated as they watch their wife with another man. Some men love to see their wife as the object of desire of another man, knowing she is “his” to reclaim afterwards. My best advice for this is to think about what exactly you want out of this. If it is to “fix” a marriage, I would advise against – big time. If it’s to spice up a marriage, I would think about what could go wrong and see how you would both handle it.

Questions like: What sort of contact is allowed with the other men afterwards? Does your husband want to know these men, or do they have to be strangers? What happens if you start to have feelings for another man? How will you navigate it if you start to feel that this is pulling you further from your husband, rather than closer? How will you communicate negative feelings?

Bottom line is this – consensual non-monogamy is becoming more openly discussed as we learn more about human sexuality. It can absolutely spice up your current relationship and enhance communication. On the flip side, there is also a risk that it can go south (and not in a good way), and you want to be prepared for that before jumping in. I would suggest starting slowly. If you are both comfortable with sexting other people and sharing that together, then go for it! Talk about the next steps as you go. Always communicate about your feelings and be honest about what does and does not work for you.

Best of luck!

Should we open our marriage?

open marriage open sign

Q: We have been seriously talking about opening up our marriage and I think I’m ok with it now. At 40 and having been out of the dating scene for 20+ years, I’m not even sure how to go about finding someone. I’ve been talking to a friend of a friend that may be interested and we have sexted once, but I’m not sure if he’s really down or not. Do you know other people that have open marriages? I’ve been hearing that the younger generation is more ok with open relationships. What are your thoughts?

A: Consensual non-monogamy seems to be getting quite the press lately, and I think a lot has to do with the internet. Although the idea of having multiple partners has been around for ages (think concubines, harems, etc.), it’s becoming less taboo because of the ability to connect virtually with so many others who are curious as well. I also believe that as we evolve, we are always looking to better “adapt” to new knowledge that we acquire.

A brief history lesson, shall we?

The truth, whether it’s easy to hear or not, is that sexual monogamy is not a biological “thing”. It’s a cultural and religious construct that many are content to align with. Marriage was more of a business/logistical decision to protect and preserve property and assets – it did not begin for love and sexual pleasure. Sexual monogamy was born out of wanting to control who women slept with so there was never a question as to who the child belonged to – again – this was important in terms of lineage and the passing down of assets.

Bored yet?

So, here’s my own take on what’s happened to monogamous relationships…

The main reasons for creating marriage and monogamy have sort of gone away for most of us, yet the expectations have remained. If someone is royalty or insanely wealthy and they want to know who their biological child is, we have paternity tests now. So….there’s that.

Now, we have monogamous couples who are married and wondering where lust and passion have gone, or why they are struggling to be satisfied with one person for a lifetime. Humans are not designed to be sexually monogamous. As a matter of fact, there’s only about 3%-5% of mammal species (humans included!) that are monogamous for life.

The urge to stray will be there because of human nature, but what we choose to do with that urge is what makes the difference. I speak to so many people who are riddled with guilt over lusting after someone else, and I have to explain to them that I would actually be MORE surprised if they weren’t! So, what do we do?

We make a choice. Sexual monogamy is a daily choice that we make – oftentimes without thinking. The truth is, we all have the free will to walk out and be sexual with someone else. So, what keeps us from doing it? Well, we already know that there are many who DO choose to act on the urges, and the consequences can be devastating to the relationship. Some may remain sexually monogamous but feel bored and resentful, and others may not have any issues with being sexually monogamous at all! Then there’s the rest…

If you haven’t watched the Ted Talk by Dr. Jess O’Reilly, titled “Monogamish”, do yourself a favor and watch it. This is where I believe most people fall in terms of monogamy. Research has found that very few relationships THRIVE in 100% monogamous relationships, and very few THRIVE in 100% open relationships. The majority of us actually exist somewhere along the spectrum. Now, before you take that the wrong way, let’s talk about what I actually mean by “spectrum”. Relationships aren’t always black and white in terms of sexual behavior.

So, what sort of behaviors can be found on this spectrum? Mind you, these would all have to be CONSENSUAL and AGREED UPON or else you’re risking betrayal, infidelity, and ultimately, the end of a relationship. To give you some examples (from more vanilla to less vanilla):

  • Flirting with other people (with your partner knowing)
  • Discussing people that you both find sexy, and maybe using it as fuel in the bedroom
  • Going to a strip club together and watching your partner get a lap dance
  • Sexting a third party (again, with your partner either participating or knowing that you’re doing it)
  • Exchanging videos or pictures with another couple online (there are safety tips to this, so please don’t do this if you haven’t thought it through. The internet can be amazing, but also very dangerous.)
  • Going to sex clubs to watch others have sex
  • Occasional make-out sessions with a mutually agreed-upon third person
  • Agreeing on specific parameters for consensual non-monogamy (i.e. must be in a different state or certain distance away, certain sexual behaviors being off-limits, not engaging in sexual behaviors with the same person more than once, no exchanging of contact information, etc.)

To answer the other questions – yes, I do know people who have open relationships. Does it work for them? Yes. Does it work for everyone? Nope. The younger generation seems to be more open to it, but they are also more open to other non-traditional lifestyle choices as well. So, I think as a general rule, younger folks seem to be likely to challenge the status quo, rather than roll with it.

My personal thoughts…

  • I think it can be a viable option for some long term relationships to keep the spice alive, and satisfy the sexual and emotional urge for variety.
  • I think people sometimes jump into it way too quickly, and unfortunately, it’s not something that can be erased. Remember that fantasy is almost always better than reality.
  • There MUST be agreements and parameters along the way
  • Take it step-by-step, and don’t go from sexual monogamy directly into sex with others – try the smaller steps first (see the list of monogamy spectrum examples above) and build a foundation as you go.
  • Communication is non-negotiable. Jealousy is a human emotion and not to be ignored. Just talk about it.
  • Opening up a marriage should never be done to save a failing one.
  • To remotely begin to navigate an open marriage, your CURRENT relationship should be as foundationally sound as possible.

I urge you to do your research first. Check out online communities of others who have been in the lifestyle for a while, and pick their brain. Sometimes, we get so excited about something sexual, that we neglect to think about what could go wrong. Seeking a sex therapist is also another option to help navigate this process.

Soap box over.