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My husband wants to watch me have sex with other men

I've been married 22 years and about 6 years into our marriage my husband started asking me to have sex with other men because it excited him.

I was horrified and said no. I know my husband has always looked at pornography (I found out a couple of years into our relationship when I found magazines under our bed) but I wasn't aware of his feelings about wanting a 'hot wife'. He continued to ask me and tried to bring stuff up in the bedroom , asking me to tell him about being with another man etc and asking me about my past sexual encounters.

I wanted to make him happy and although I don't have a massive sex drive I do enjoy sex so eventually I agreed to meet a man for sex. It was exciting, like when you are first with someone new, but I didn't feel 'right' about it so after 2 or 3 encounters I put an end to it. A couple of years later I was 'hit on' by a man and when I told my husband he said I should go and have sex with him.

I knew it did it for my husband and I had done it before so after some agonising I agreed. I felt very let down and angry afterward when I didn't hear again from this man after having sex with him and adopted an attitude, I think, of I'm good for sex so let's go and have more which my husband was delighted about. I clicked with one of my encounters and warned my husband that I might be developing feelings for this man and my husband suggested that we could live polyamorously and I should continue.

At this point, I was still sharing details of my sexual acts with my husband but as I read more about polyamory and developed more feelings for my male friend I felt that I was 'cheapening ' my other relationship by using it with my husband,  particularly as my husband had started to become very 'crude' about it all, using language I didn't like, asking things of me. We discussed having an open relationship where he could find someone to meet the 'kink' needs that were becoming evermore apparent, I felt that just me wasn't enough for him sexually and that I was being used as a 'tool'.

A number of things occurred and he did meet someone who was very 'dirty' in her approach to sex. I found it difficult because I can be a very jealous person so he decided to put a stop to it  (not at my request). However,  when we were intimate I felt he wanted me to be 'dirty' and now our sex life is nonexistent. I don't know how to change the fact that I keep thinking about stuff he has said/done/wanted me to say/wanted me to do. I do love him but don't want to be intimate with him.

I think you’re being bullied by your husband.

Somewhere in all of this, you’ve adapted your behaviour to accommodate what he wants but everything about it appalls you. Yes, you enjoyed sex with someone else for a while but then felt your feelings for that person were rejected and that he basically saw you as an occasional shag. Yes, you excite your husband when you give him the low down on sex with other men. But underneath all that, I sense there’s someone who feels obliged to go along with his wishes and desires to keep him.

Sorry to be so blunt about this...

Some relationships thrive on sex outside the primary partnership. That’s because each partner is fully and happily signed up to it and neither feels depleted by it or obliged to continue. But if you were really honest with yourself, that’s not you, is it?

I’m not remotely surprised to hear you now find sex with your husband so difficult. Perhaps that’s because you feel it would almost be like having a threesome because, in his head, he’s focusing on you and other men, not just you. Again, whilst that can be a real turn-on for some relationships, I don’t think it's working in yours.

I also wonder whether not wanting to be intimate with him is one way of expressing how angry, sad, betrayed, and yes, jealous you really feel.  I say that because what’s missing from your letter is any description of you letting your husband know how hurt you feel about his ‘requests’ and understanding what has prevented this from happening might be a really good starting point in thinking about what you want for the future both for you and for the couple relationship. 

In most healthy relationships, we want to please and be pleased by our partners. We can get some needs met some of the time and there’s an ebb and flow to giving and taking. Challenges can be discussed and where necessary ‘agreements to differ’ don’t threaten either partner.

Where sex is concerned, there are often differences in what’s wanted, how often, and how much. All this can be negotiated and each partner needs to consider how they can occasionally compromise. It sounds though like you’ve been doing all the compromising and reluctantly meeting the sexual needs of your husband to the detriment of your own needs for caring and intimacy. 

Finally, I was struck by your sign off which suggested a resignation to where you’re at together in this relationship. You’ve written all this down with the hope I think of simply being ‘heard’ by me because all the feelings inside are not really being heard at all by the person you love and most want to get through to.

I’ve suggested one way of looking at the situation you’re in at the moment and of course, you may or may not agree with it. I do though think you need to find your voice in all this and what it might mean or enable to happen if you felt more able to tell your husband how you feel and what you would want to be different. Counselling could help you.  Out of that might come tough choices but the thing about those is that once taken, you can more readily be ‘you’ and not the ‘you’ someone else requires you to be.  

Do you have a question to ask Ammanda?

Ammanda Major is a sex and relationship therapist and our Head of Service Quality and Clinical Practice

If you have a relationship worry you would like some help with send a message to Ammanda.

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