Who Can You Trust?

AA - the_Woman_Taken_in_Adultery
Rembrandt Van Rijn, The Woman Taken In Adultery, 1644

HER: When something exciting happens to me, my first instinct is to tell someone about it. But what if that amazing thing was that you had eight people in your basement last weekend all tangled up in your first orgy? Who can you tell?  That’s something that comes up frequently when we talk to other swingers, and very often, their answer is … no one!

HIM: That’s definitely one of the reasons we decided to start writing this blog, although I don’t know if we thought of it that way at the time. We had so many fascinating experiences and insights when we first started experimenting with non-monogamy that we were bursting to share what we had learned. We were on a sexual adventure — that turned out to be about a lot more than sex — yet we couldn’t tell anyone!

HER:  That’s not strictly true. We did tell some people.  You have your business partner, who you tell everything to, but that’s it. I’m a little more transparent (often to my detriment), and I’ve told several people. But I’ve learned the hard way that that’s not always a great idea.

HIM: It’s sad, really. Think about all the people who develop a sudden enthusiasm for hot yoga, say, or some new Netflix series, and they can’t stop talking about it. Yet this experiment we’ve undertaken is so much more exciting, and life changing, and we feel compelled to keep it a secret.

HER: I know. I had a terrible experience with a colleague who I thought I could trust. She had confided in me that she had been having occasional sex with a very young (barely legal) male client for a couple years, and that she had been considering open relationships as her best option for the future. Pretty heavy stuff. So, feeling I could trust her discretion, and using the logic of ‘mutually assured destruction’, I told her about our experimentation. She was intrigued. Then I dropped the bomb: I said, if she was interested in finding out more, she could read our blog.

HIM: Anyone who has read even a few articles knows that this thing we’ve created contains a ridiculous amount of information about our most intimate thoughts and experiences. Taboo fantasies and same-sex experiments. Hurts and insecurities. Some of our readers may know more about our sexual selves than they do about their own partner’s.

HER: So, of course, this woman went straight to work the next day and told the first person she saw about the blog. Within 48 hours, and without me being aware, at least twelve people in our office had heard some version (getting progressively worse) of her story about our ‘deviant behavior’. And she hadn’t even bothered to read a single article! It was a disaster. By the time it got back to me, my only option was to deny, deny, deny.

HIM: I don’t think I’ve ever seen you so upset. And beyond that, we had to move our blog, which was just starting to gain some traction, to a new internet address. And that meant starting to build an audience all over again from scratch.

HER: In retrospect, I probably should have known better. This gossip is just too juicy to keep to yourself, and gossip is social currency at work. So I would never again tell a colleague.  But there had been success stories before this that encouraged me to be more open with people. I actually talked about our swinging adventures with my ex-husband’s wife.

HIM: You are crazy!

HER: We hang out and drink together once in a while (that’s a story for another time), and I told her everything, from going to sex clubs to our amazing success with our long-term mfm threesome partner. I figured this wouldn’t shock my ex, because we had taken steps toward trying to set up a threesome and visit a club years ago (but we were young and chickened out). My ex’s wife was so intrigued that she convinced her man to go try a club. They had a great experience and went back a few times. The only caveat was that we had to check to make sure we didn’t go to the same club on the same night. That would be a little too awkward.

HIM: I have a friend that I would love to tell. He and his wife have been together since high school, and they seem pretty happy, but he’s desperate to get a blow job. They have a great sex life, as far as I know, but it’s just something she doesn’t like doing. Of course, her reluctance has made it a near-obsession for him. I’m actually afraid he’ll be tempted to seek one elsewhere and risk damaging his marriage because these things usually don’t just evaporate. I wish the two of them would try a club or a lifestyle vacation. He could get the blow job monkey off his back, and they would discover all the other pleasures to be had. But I just don’t have that comfort level with him. I bite my tongue and tell him to tough it out while actually keeping the cure to myself. I feel like it’s wrong, but I also feel like I need to protect us.

HER: Well, don’t beat yourself up over it. Simply telling someone may not solve their problem. I had the same relationship-saving motivation when I told my cousin. She and her husband have been together since they were kids, and they’re both curious about what else is out there, sexually. So I told her about what we’ve discovered. After a lot of conversation and planning, they actually tried hot-wifing. Talk about jumping into the deep end! She really enjoyed the sex with the other man, and she told her husband everything that happened — even showed him a video she had made of her with the other guy. They both found it a crazy turn-on, but soon it led to fights and accusations. I guess I needed to be reminded that swinging isn’t for everyone. Their marriage was not great in the first place. Bringing in someone else may revive the sexual energy, but it won’t resolve the issues of jealousy and insecurity at the root of their relationship. Not every couple can handle this.

HIM: Honestly, it makes me a little nervous that you’re so open with your cousin. She’s a bit of a talker and I worry that one day she’ll let it slip to your family.

HER: I know. She does have a tendency to do stuff like that, especially when she drinks.

HIM: For me, the big temptation is to tell my kids. Not all the details, of course, just a sort of general outline. They are both in their twenties and have had serious relationships. And both of them have talked to me in a roundabout way about their concerns over the sustainability of long-term monogamy. They’re reluctant to say, once and for all, that they’ve found the only person they’ll ever have sex with again. I think this is the case with lots of young people today. Yet I always bite my tongue and talk in broad terms about how there are other options, like polyamory. I might mention that big New York Times article on open relationships from earlier this year as a place to start, but really I want to say, ‘I know this works, because we’ve been doing it for four years!’ But I’m just not there yet. Partly because I don’t want to make the too much information mistake. Look at me: I’m in my 50’s and I have not yet accepted that my parents ever had sex, even once. But I also don’t want them going back to their mother and confirming all her worst suspicions about me being a sex addict. Which I’m not, by the way. She just thought that anyone who wanted sex more than twice a month had a certifiable clinical problem.

HER: And that’s really the main problem, isn’t it? You mention any flavor of non-monogamy and people will read deviance, addiction, depravity, and lack of true marital connection into it. They think that, if you’re living this way, you can’t be happy with each other, or that you’re on a slippery slope that leads to divorce, affairs, or child abuse.

HIM: So we bite our tongues and keep it to ourselves. Of course, we have this blog as an outlet, but based on your earlier experience, we have to keep it anonymous. That makes promotion a nightmare — pseudonymous Facebook and Twitter acounts, pictures where our faces are hidden. I wish it didn’t have to be that way. Maybe someday the world will be ready for true sexual candor, but that’s not the world we live in right now, so we’ll just have to enjoy in silence and hope the people who would most benefit from the freedom of non-monogamy discover it for themselves. So if we know you, and you’ve happened upon this blog by accident, um…it’s not us.

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