Dear Em & Lo,
Recently my boyfriend of six months has asked me to fool around (and maybe have sex) with another man, so he can secretly watch. We have a very healthy sex life (7-10 times a week) and both feel deeply in love, but he says that this desire is a real turn-on for him. I am not interested in having sex with another man, but can understand why it might turn him on.
My fears are that after the act, we would have trust issues and our relationship will be destroyed. I love him very much and do not want to lose him. I want our sex lives to be exciting and fun… but would this one exciting time ruin our relationship? I think it might be a turn-on, but I would never be able to allow him to do the same thing with another girl. Of course, I don’t think that is fair. What should I do?
–Conflicted But In Love
You’re totally right to be conflicted. In fact, you’re totally right to be totally shitting yourself at the thought of doing something like this. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s right or wrong for your relationship, but you’d be an idiot if you went fearlessly into that kinky night. This is a huge deal, and something that is very right (and very hot) for some couples, but very wrong (and very destructive) for most couples. So, how can you figure out which kind of couple you are?
Let’s start with him. Has he ever done something like this before? Sure, the idea might turn him on, but how does he know the real-life version will? You have to be some kind of advanced human being — i.e., one who’s missing the jealousy gene — in order to handle this, let alone get off on it. Is there anything in your relationship to suggest that he’s this sort of being? Or, more pertinently, to suggest that he’s not? Ultimately, of course, he can make all the promises in the world, but there’s no guarantee that he won’t see you differently after something like this. In fact, something like this will change your relationship, there’s no way around it. Perhaps for the better (you both suddenly decide, I want to be almost-monogamous with this person for the rest of my life!)… or perhaps not. That’s the risk you take. Because without risk, where’s the taboo-breaking fun?
But it’s not all about him, is it? Listen, it’s one thing to try out a new position you’re not all that fond of, just because your boyfriend’s into it. But to have sex with someone when you have zero interest in doing so? Then he starts to sound more like a pimp than a lover. And have you told him that if you did something like this, you’d be incapable of reciprocating? If so, does he understand that you wouldn’t then “owe him one”? And that, actually, he’d kind of owe you one: next time, he’d be the one that had to indulge your fantasy.
Perhaps the two of you can start off in the shallow end of the kinky waters first; that way he can experiment with how much he’s truly comfortable with, and you can experiment with what sort of exhibitionism/voyeurism (if any) might turn you on. Try talking through this fantasy together during sex, maybe focusing on a specific guy. Browse online personals to fantasize together about who you might “pick.” Visit an adult chat room for a little cybersex with a stranger while he watches you type. Go out to a club together and have him watch you flirt with strangers, see how it makes him feel. Go to a saucy night club and dirty-dance with someone else in front of him. Go to a sex party but just have sex with each other — or just watch other people have sex. There are plenty of progressively saucier things you can try out before you actually take the step of bringing in an outsider.
It may be that any of the above is enough of a turn-on for both of you and you decide to stop there. Or one of you may find something too weird and ask for a time-out, which is totally, completely acceptable, by the way; if it simply doesn’t feel right to you, then you should say no, even if it’s a relationship dealbreaker for him. (Hey, no one said it was easy out here for a pimp.) Or perhaps you’ll both get so turned on that you decide to dive head-first into his original idea. But at least this way you’ll be going in with a little more information about how you might handle it, and how your relationship might withstand it.
Your friendly lifeguards,
Em & Lo