The Hot Mess Created by Lying and Stereotypes
It pains me that monogamous relationships are often seen as the only option for male-female couples. I think that your desire for sexual contact with men is perfectly legitimate and normal, and I think that you and your girlfriend could potentially negotiate an open relationship that allows you to satisfy that desire in a way that feels safe and acceptable to both of you, and perhaps allows her to fulfill some of her own desires as well. Tristan Taormino’s Opening Up book and website is a great first place to start exploring non-monogamous relationships. However, the absolute worst way to start a conversation on this topic is to cheat and get caught, because open relationships require an enormous degree of trust and communication, both of which are damaged by cheating and lying. Rather than jumping straight into a threesome to try to repair this damage, I think that acknowledging the harm you caused to your girlfriend and your relationship by cheating, discussing your reasons for wanting male sexual partners, and learning as a couple how healthy open relationships function are good first steps.
I agree that it is possible for anyone of any gender to have a sexual encounter that doesn’t involve a romantic attachment. I don’t think “proving” that this is possible is going to help your situation. If your girlfriend is worried that you have a romantic attachment to someone else, it may be because she feels that this means that you love her less, or that you’re going to end your relationship with her to be with someone else. This is how we are taught to think in our monogamous “all-or-nothing” culture. It’s not necessarily true, but your girlfriend needs time to articulate her fears and figure out what actions on your part will help her feel secure in your relationship again. You having sex with more men before the two of you work on this is not the solution.
Laura Anne Stuart owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee’s East Side. She has a master’s degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than fifteen years. Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXPress? Send them firstname.lastname@example.org. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.