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Monday, 27 October 2008

More Than One

Written by  Marsha Ellentuck

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QDear WholeFamily Counselor,

I'm so happy to finally come across your web site... My name is Julie. I'm curious to know if there's anything that can be done about a husband and wife that have different opinions about having sex with more than just their spouse. My husband has expressed his curiosity about having sex with a girl friend and me.... Since we already have done this, I'm inclined to think he's manipulating me. He already knew the answer, so why is he asking me? I don't mind him having sex with my girl friends even if I'm not there.

So I thought to myself.... I should ask him what he thought about two guys and me, either with or without him. Well, I asked and he thinks that idea is gross and he would never allow it... I'm very sexual, love to try different things with an open mind... but lately, I haven't wanted sex with my husband.... It's so confining and dull.... Life has gotten real ugly around here.... the kids are unhappy, my husband is unhappy and I'm unhappy seeing all this unhappiness.... Is there anyone else with this problem?

Thanks for listening.

ADear "More than One,"

Not many couples can deal with the implications of having sexual relationships with other people outside of their marriage, even if it is something that the couple has agreed upon. Some couples think they can get their sexual needs more completely met if they "open up" the relationship, but people are renowned for giving relationships meaning, so "just sex" turns out to be something a little more complicated. In other words, you are risking your relationship with your husband in your search "to try different things with an open mind."

Your husband doesn't seem to be acting completely fairly, but I don't think anyone should do anything sexually that they feel is going against their integrity. I wonder if either one of you feels you are going against your integrity by having sex with other people. If not, then your husband could explore why he feels it's okay for you to have sex together with other women, but not with other men. Perhaps he feels it's a threat to his masculinity, or that you may find sex more pleasurable with someone else or perhaps he is afraid of a potential homosexual element.

At any rate, I would recommend exploring your sexual boredom with your husband. Usually, sex is "confining and dull" when one or both partners are not willing to risk trying something new with each other. It's sometimes easier to introduce a third person, because then the couple don't have to challenge themselves to reveal more about themselves to each other, or in other words, to risk becoming more intimate.

Marsha Ellentuck, MSW

Last modified on Thursday, 12 January 2012 14:13
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Marsha Ellentuck

Marsha Ellentuck

Marsha Ellentuck is a licensed sex therapist as well as a couple and family therapist. She received her master's of social work in 1978 from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work as a community organizer led her into the field of sex education, first with teenagers, later with all different populations, including parents of young children and pensioners. During her training as a couple therapist, Marsha realized the need to combine her sex education knowledge with her therapy skills and continued her training in sex therapy. Marsha Ellentuck works in a wide variety of settings -- a family therapy clinic, a sex therapy clinic as well as in private practice. She also gives lectures and workshops on many different subjects concerning sexuality.

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