Polyamory.com Forum

Polyamory.com Forum (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/index.php)
-   Poly Relationships Corner (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=4)
-   -   Should I offer him an open marriage? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3701)

researching 09-11-2010 02:05 PM

Should I offer him an open marriage?
 
Hi everyone, aside from just spending about an hour lurking around reading old threads, I am brand new here and really in need of advice.

I am trying to decide if I should offer my husband an open relationship.

I've been with him for more than 10 years, and married for more than 7. I was a virgin when we met, but he was very much not.

Up until (literally) two days before our daughter was born, we had a fantastic sex life, with nearly identical sex appetites and tastes.

Then childbirth happened, followed by nearly two years of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is designed to kill your sex drive - you're supposed to be nourishing your existing baby, not conceiving another one, after all - but I thought once she was weaned things would get back to normal. Instead, it's more than two years later and I still have next-to-no interest in sex. We've slowly worked our way back up to about once a week, but it's something I regard more as a chore than something to look forward to. I barely even masturbate anymore, and I used to do that several times a day, even when my husband and I were having sex daily, or close to it.

My husband, meanwhile, still wants sex every day and I know the last four years have been really hard on him. He has been incredibly patient and considerate so far, but I am making no progress at all on re-finding my sex drive and I feel awful about it. I've been thinking for months about offering him an open relationship as a way to make sure his needs are met while I'm trying to figure out what the hell is wrong with me and fix it, but I'm scared it could make things even worse.

My main concern is how to do it without destroying my sexual confidence even more. I've always been a little insecure sexually, partly due to natural shyness and lack of confidence and partly due to his much greater sexual experience level, but it was mostly covered up by sheer sexual appetite in the past. Now that the appetite is gone, the insecurity is all that's left. I can tolerate, and even enjoy, a little good old fashioned missionary action (missionary was always my favorite anyway) but when he wants me to take a more active role, I balk. I don't enjoy it that much in the first place, thanks to the dead sex drive, and I feel incompetent, silly, or both. This hurts him, which makes me feel more guilty and more insecure...

He's a very attractive and charismatic man and will have no trouble finding extramarital action if that's the course that we decide to take, but I'm afraid that seeing him satisfied by other women in ways that I no longer can will do even more of a number on my sexual confidence issues.

Does anybody have any advice or tips for how this could work?

Sorry for the novel - I figured I'd get better advice if I was thorough. I'll be happy to answer any other questions people have also.

Magdlyn 09-11-2010 04:24 PM

Gosh, that's a tough one. I don't think opening your marriage just so he can get some sex is the best idea... What have you done to increase your interest in sex? Some people do have low sex drives, and some are actually asexual.

Have you talked to a doctor? You might have a low thyroid issue happening. That can affect sex drive. Thyroid issues are quite common after pregnancy.

I had next to no sex drive while breastfeeding. But I think it was mostly exhaustion from caring for my kids. I had 3 kids in 5 yrs. My youngest breastfed til he was 4. When he was down to one nursing a day, and finally sleeping like a log all night, my sex drive came rushing back, like crazy! I've been making up for lost time ever since.

However, I had plenty of other parnters before I met my soon to be ex husband, and lots of sex drive before kids and finally, after. And since he and I broke up, lots more sexual exps as well. Missionary is delicious, but there is so much more out there.

Ragabash 09-11-2010 05:47 PM

I'm going to second Magdlyn on this one, you should see a doctor first to talk about the problem.

There's also the distinct possibility that even if you do offer your husband the option you're still the only one he wants to be with. Up until I met someone myself fairly recently (and even then I'm moving very slowly with that) I couldn't imagine being with anyone but my wife even though the option was there. It may be the same for him despite his previous experience.

More than any of that, though, you should do it for yourself. Don't put yourself in the position of doing things you might not want to do just to make him happy at the cost of your own happiness. If you choose to go the direction of an open marriage, you need to do it because it's what you both want.

Quath 09-11-2010 06:07 PM

One of the advantages of poly is that one person doesn't have to be "everything" for the other. For example, if he liked horror movies and you did not, he could go with someone else. However, most of those types of examples could be accomplished with a good friend. Sex is kind of different.

There are some good poly situations in which someone was into BDSM or some fetish that their partner was not interested in. So it worked out well for their partner to find someone else who was also into that kink. It is somewhat similar to your situation in which you have very different sex drive than your husband. An open relationship can see to it that both of your needs are met. So I don't think it is a bad idea.

However, I do agree with the others that you should see a doctor. But it may also be stress from feeling like you have to give out sex. If it were an option, you may feel better to act on your sex drive. Also, if you ever dated someone, some NRE may kick in and help your sex drive.

My wife is in a very similar situation to what you are in. Her sex drive has been dropping over time. It started out daily when we met and now it is a struggle to go for once a week. She has been to her doctor, but the doctor didn't find anything wrong.

vodkafan 09-11-2010 07:18 PM

This is a tough one. I don't know enough about poly yet so maybe I shouldn't even be answering.... but it sounds like your marriage is pretty strong in all other areas.
I think what might happen is that intially you will be quite happy that his sexual needs are being met; but that when you will feel threatened is if you see any signs that he is enjoying an emotional relationship with the new partner.
On the other hand, this big thing (you worrying about your sex drive) has been hanging over you for a long time. You might even find that taking the pressure off for a time, your enjoyment of making love might start to come back.

redpepper 09-11-2010 07:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ragabash (Post 43936)
More than any of that, though, you should do it for yourself. Don't put yourself in the position of doing things you might not want to do just to make him happy at the cost of your own happiness. If you choose to go the direction of an open marriage, you need to do it because it's what you both want.

Oh I SO want to echo this. Please, please don't do anything for him! He is a good man for being patient, but I don't think opening your marriage is going to help AT ALL if you are where you are now. It will just complicate things.

Be patient my friend. You have a 4 year old it sounds like. I got my drive back around the time my boy was 5. I mean really back! I just kept at it until my hormones changed. PN, my husband and I watched porn together, talked about fantasies, masturbated together, had basic connecting sex (missionary is very connecting) and then my drive began to rise. Now it's back where it was... which is similar to where you were. I would suggest that that woman is still there, just your hormones haven't changed back enough yet. They will eventually if you are patient, but if you start messing around with an open relationship and getting stressed out that your man is not happy then I fear it could keep you from getting there.

If upon taking this into your own hands nothing changes to your sex drive, perhaps some couples therapy and medical assistance would be a good choice and worth exploring.



Quath brings up a good point that it could be that your drive will increase if you add others to your relationship and you might find that eventually you are interested in experiencing that. Go for it if you feel you are ready and have done a lot of processing about how that would manifest, what your goal is with that kind of lifestyle. But please don't try that out in the state you are in right now. You need to be confident, secure, and feel empowered to be able to say no to it as much as yes... even in the moment it could happen that another is in your sex life...

I say "another in your sex life" because no matter how you think of it in terms of your husband with another or others, this other persons WILL be a part of your life because once he goes there, there is no turning back and you will have to deal with the out come. It might be a one night stand where he never sees the person again, but that kind of energy can last a life time in a relationship. Be prepared for that. It could change a perfectly good connection into a devastated one.

MonoVCPHG 09-11-2010 07:36 PM

Not everyone is poly. Some people bond through sexual intimacy. My concern is that your husband is like me...capable of only loving one person intimately. You may end up losing your husband or end up being a babysitter. There is also the potential that the idea of your husband having sex with another woman will completely turn you off of him...not everyone gets turned on by the idea of their partner with another. I defintely agree you should seek medical advice. Be careful opening this pandora's box; it is full of a potentially very destructive energy called NRE. Some things cannot be undone.

Magdlyn 09-11-2010 07:45 PM

Besides the potential thyroid issue, what is going on emotionally/romantically between you? You need intimacy and good couple energy to feel sexy. Or, I mean most women do. Do you get out on dates? Is your son ready to spend a weekend with a trusted friend or family member?

It can be hard to switch from mama to sex kitten on a dime. One needs to make that transition.

redpepper 09-11-2010 07:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Magdlyn (Post 43959)
Besides the potential thyroid issue, what is going on emotionally/romantically between you? You need intimacy and good couple energy to feel sexy. Or, I mean most women do. Do you get out on dates? Is your son ready to spend a weekend with a trusted friend or family member?

It can be hard to switch from mama to sex kitten on a dime. One needs to make that transition.

Very good point Magdlyn! Thanks for pointing that out... I remember getting on that. Hard work, but very worth it. If came after the staying in and doing sexy things together like the porn watching etc. Then we went out and I dressed up, got active physically, felt good about my bod again and felt I could rock it in bed shortly after. Perhaps a regular date night would help for these two!

AutumnalTone 09-11-2010 08:01 PM

My question is this: Have you discussed it with him? The whole discussion is useless until that happens.


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:40 PM.