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Starting a conversation with DH about women

45 replies

grumpystarfish · 22/10/2022 10:55

I've always known I was bi, and DH knows that I've had experiences with women before we met. However, getting into a committed relationship with him and getting married I thought that was it as far as that side of me goes.
Over recent months (probably years, if I'm honest with myself) the desire to be with women is getting to be something I can't ignore.
Everything else is great. I know people do have the kind of arrangement having is possible, but how do you even start the conversation? The last thing I want is to make him feel rejected or inadequate, but it's the one thing I can't get from our marriage.
Anyone successfully created an arrangement where this can work?

OP posts:
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K8ate · 22/10/2022 11:42

Is it a tricky situation for you.
The only way i can see it working is if you both agree on an open relationship where each of you can sleep with other people.
It wouldn't be reasonable for you to pursue sex outside of your relationship while expecting him not to do so.

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cheeseislife8 · 22/10/2022 14:04

This reply has been withdrawn

This message has been withdrawn at the poster's request

LikeMindedLady · 22/10/2022 18:42

I find ENM fascinating! Have you considered what your ideal arrangement would be?... Is it an arrangement similar to an open relationship that allows you to have sex with women but limits the connection that you can develop with someone other than DH or something closer to a poly relationship where you might eventually form a relationship with a woman, alongside your relationship with him.

I know of a few women who have 'permission' for the first scenario and it seems to work well. I wonder if it's because men can more easily imagine sex without a committed relationship and they maybe believe sex between women is different and accept this is something they can't offer their partners?

If other threads are anything to go by you'll be judged for even considering this option. You'll probably even get some bi people saying that being bi doesn't mean you can't be in a monogamous relationship either.

I do think that being bi can feel different for different people, some bi people consider that they are attracted to someone regardless of their sex... and monogamy is the same for them as for a straight person. Others, would describe it as being attracted to someone because of their sex and feeling very differently towards male and female partners, such that life feels like something is missing when you only have one type of connection.

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Reindeerinsummer · 22/10/2022 19:20

If you feel as strongly as you suggest, then not having the conversation may become untenable and start to impact your relationship. Yes, there is a risk in starting the conversation. But there’s a risk in staying silent too.

Yes, the conversation could be hurtful to your partner. But if not saying something leads to the breakdown of your relationship, that’s extremely hurtful and damaging too.

Of course, you’ll be burned at the stake on here for even suggesting that a relationship might accommodate your needs. But if your needs have changed, then your relationship may need to evolve too. Your partner may be more understanding of this than you think.

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cheshirebloke · 22/10/2022 22:30

Of course, you’ll be burned at the stake on here for even suggesting that a relationship might accommodate your needs. But if your needs have changed, then your relationship may need to evolve too. Your partner may be more understanding of this than you think.

I'm not sure about that, but I think losing exclusivity is a big thing - gender/sexuality is irrelevant. If a man came out as bi and told his wife that he wanted to open the relationship up so he could sleep with other men, I doubt there are many women who would be agreeing to that (just going by the threads on MN where this situation has arisen).


I think the OP's best option would be to suggest it as a threesome with another woman. That seems like the fairest way to pursue things. If OP isn't comfortable with sharing another woman with DH, then she shouldn't be considering playing away by herself.

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NoDatingForOldMen · 23/10/2022 12:00

K8ate · 22/10/2022 11:42

Is it a tricky situation for you.
The only way i can see it working is if you both agree on an open relationship where each of you can sleep with other people.
It wouldn't be reasonable for you to pursue sex outside of your relationship while expecting him not to do so.

I do kinda agree with this.

You have everything you want from your marriage, but you also want permission to go and have sex with other people,
How do you would feel when your husband wants to have sex with other people ?

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LikeMindedLady · 23/10/2022 13:10

@cheshirebloke I'd disagree that a threesome is necessarily the solution and would say an arrangement that allows OPs partner the option of pursuing his own 1:1 sexual connection would be better, at least initially.

Arranging a successful 3some can be very difficult... finding someone that you both like and who wants a 3some and who fancies both OP and her partner... well they're not called unicorns for nothing! 3some sex feels different to 1:1 intimacy too, having two peoples attention on you, sharing your partner, seeing your partner with someone else, all very different.

I would avoid trying to navigate all that, whilst also having your first f/f experience.

For me the dynamics of f/f sex are different to sex that includes a man. IME once you add a man the dynamic shifts and follows a more typical, linear path. It doesn't feel the same as sex that is just between women.

There's definitely a place for 3somes 😉but I think you all have to want a 3some - not have a 3some as a way to experience being with a woman for the first time.

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CoolAngelica · 23/10/2022 13:59

So essentially you are wanting your OHs permission to cheat. Just because it’s with another woman doesn’t make it right, the principle is the same.

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NameChangedForThisThr3ad · 23/10/2022 14:39

I don't really think the OP is looking for judgement. It's a confusing time and very much depends on the people involved. Everyone will have different views on this, and would feel differently if their partner approached this subject. As long as the two people involved are happy with whatever agreement they come to and are honest with any future encounters that's what matters, in my opinion anyway.

I also agree that a threesome isn't the answer, unless you both want that which is fine but it's an entirely different dynamic. Even with your partners support and blessing, meeting similar women might be difficult.

I think you need to be clear what you want first, and what you would like long term with your partner too before having that conversation then I think you just need to be brave and raise it. If he knows you're bi and have had relationships with women before then that side might not come as a huge surprise to him.

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Otterhound · 23/10/2022 20:26

You do need to have a conversation with DH. How you go about it depends on what you are prepared to compromise on.

ie If him sleeping with other people is a red line in the sand then you are reliant on him agreeing a one sided open relationship and so your approach will be very different to one suggesting a fully open relationship.

if you dont want him to sleep with others buts its ok for you as you’re bi consider that you might not fulfil all his sexual needs and someone else might do things you won’t. In short i think he is entitled to as much sexual adventure outside the marriage as you are.

not an easy conversation for sure

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Joystir59 · 23/10/2022 21:07

I really don't think being bisexual means you want sex with both sexes at the same time. It sounds to me as if you are actually coming out to yourself as a lesbian.

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cheshirebloke · 23/10/2022 22:10

LikeMindedLady · 23/10/2022 13:10

@cheshirebloke I'd disagree that a threesome is necessarily the solution and would say an arrangement that allows OPs partner the option of pursuing his own 1:1 sexual connection would be better, at least initially.

Arranging a successful 3some can be very difficult... finding someone that you both like and who wants a 3some and who fancies both OP and her partner... well they're not called unicorns for nothing! 3some sex feels different to 1:1 intimacy too, having two peoples attention on you, sharing your partner, seeing your partner with someone else, all very different.

I would avoid trying to navigate all that, whilst also having your first f/f experience.

For me the dynamics of f/f sex are different to sex that includes a man. IME once you add a man the dynamic shifts and follows a more typical, linear path. It doesn't feel the same as sex that is just between women.

There's definitely a place for 3somes 😉but I think you all have to want a 3some - not have a 3some as a way to experience being with a woman for the first time.

Well I've been the man in this situation, and that's how we resolved it. It's far easier to stomach your partner being with someone else if you're involved too. I wasn't particularly interested in bringing other people into the bedroom, but at least with a 3some you're all getting something out of it. It's not having two people's attention on you, it needs to be equal, all giving each other attention.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter whether the OP wants another man or another woman, it's non monogamy. And most partner's aren't going to be comfortable with that.

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Savetheclocktower · 24/10/2022 13:15

If the relationship is great apart from this issue i would probably avoid the conversation as it'll do more harm than good. Most partners are not going to be ok with their other half seeking out sex outside the relationship.

There have been other threads of people in similar situations who are bi or seeking women and its usually things are great but i cant control these urges, and wanting permission to look outside the relationship, but those arguments dont really hold up. Im sure if you asked most men they also have urges to have sex with lots of other women, its just basic biology, but thankfully most dont! When youre in a committed relationship you learn to keep it in your pants to put it bluntly.

And yes there are plenty of bi people in monogamous relationships, its called commitment and self control. Asking for permission to sleep around will just cause untold damage to what you say is an otherwise great relationship.

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Savetheclocktower · 24/10/2022 13:41

Reading your original post again you say you knew you were bi and have had relationships with women before you got married, now you feel like exploring. Im sorry but you made the decision to get married and be monogamous and now you feel entitled to change the rules. Youre going to put your partner in an awful situation. I would say the same to a bloke who gets married and realises he cant 'help' himself wanting sex with other women, if you think youll be that unhappy then best to split up rather than put your partner through years of insecurity.

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LikeMindedLady · 24/10/2022 13:59

I don't think anyone starting this kind of conversation is doing so lightly, they have obviously reached a point where it is weighing heavily on their mind and saying/ doing nothing feels more dishonest than having a difficult conversation.

If I was in a 'great relationship' and something was causing my partner great anguish I would want them to talk to me. Suggesting OP should split up with her DH without even discussing the reason or possible solutions makes no sense.

The outcome of the conversations may not be the 'agreement' OP hopes for but at least they will have discussed and reached a decision together.

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NoDatingForOldMen · 24/10/2022 14:22

Savetheclocktower · 24/10/2022 13:41

Reading your original post again you say you knew you were bi and have had relationships with women before you got married, now you feel like exploring. Im sorry but you made the decision to get married and be monogamous and now you feel entitled to change the rules. Youre going to put your partner in an awful situation. I would say the same to a bloke who gets married and realises he cant 'help' himself wanting sex with other women, if you think youll be that unhappy then best to split up rather than put your partner through years of insecurity.

Agree with this, assuming you got married for stability etc, it does sound like you want to have your cake and eat it, sorry.

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Reindeerinsummer · 24/10/2022 14:43

LikeMindedLady · 24/10/2022 13:59

I don't think anyone starting this kind of conversation is doing so lightly, they have obviously reached a point where it is weighing heavily on their mind and saying/ doing nothing feels more dishonest than having a difficult conversation.

If I was in a 'great relationship' and something was causing my partner great anguish I would want them to talk to me. Suggesting OP should split up with her DH without even discussing the reason or possible solutions makes no sense.

The outcome of the conversations may not be the 'agreement' OP hopes for but at least they will have discussed and reached a decision together.

If you had an issue in your relationship about money, or time, or jobs, you would discuss it with your partner. If they had an issue and they chose not to discuss it with you, but let it fester, then I suspect you would be hurt that they didn’t talk to you.
Why is sex different? The idea that you might throw away an otherwise successful relationship without even talking about this just seems so sad.
You may not get something out of talking about it. But you might, even if it doesn’t result in action, just understanding each better is hugely beneficial.
I’d be horrified if my partner felt so lonely that they couldn’t talk to me about something like this.

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Otterhound · 24/10/2022 17:05

OP seems to have done a runner
I think she is entitled to have the conversation.
If DH says not over my dead body or only if I can sleep with others then OP has a decision to make. Only if her decision is to cheat would that merit harsh judgement.

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Savetheclocktower · 25/10/2022 00:29

@LikeMindedLady Im sorry but where is the 'anguish' here? The OP is bisexual, has had relationships with women before she decided to get into a monogamous relationship and marriage to a man.. she now wants to have sex outside the relationship with women because shes still attracted to women (and seemingly always has been pre marriage) .. if anyone is going to feel anguish it'll probably be her husband whos going to feel like he's not enough for her, and has to decide whether to end the relationship or somehow be ok with her having sex outside the marriage.

I dont buy into the - if youre bisexual you cant be in a monogamous relationship - so you simply have to have sex with other people outside a marriage? Its just entitled and as someone said having your cake and eating it. Are we saying to all the married men who are biologically driven to want to have sex with every pretty woman he sees that its ok too? Or are we grownups who make a commitment when we get married not to seek out sex outside the relationship regardless of what we would sometimes like to do?

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LikeMindedLady · 25/10/2022 07:45

@Savetheclocktower the OP describes this as something she feels that she can't ignore. That it's been nagging away at her for years to the point that she is considering telling her DH that her sexuality and needs have changed since she married him. I can't imagine she just woke up and arrived here without a lot of questioning.

I can relate to the feeling of something fundamental missing and the turmoil of knowing that either you suppress how you feel and live your life feeling like you're being dishonest to yourself and your partner or you have a heart breaking discussion with the person dearest to you. Yes - I would describe this as anguish.

I get that not every person will feel this, many lucky people have perfectly settled monogamous marriages. Many people have a fixed sense of their sexuality throughout their lives. Great for them!

That doesn't mean everyone is the same and just because you don't recognise how OP feels doesn't make her feelings any less valid.

MN is very black and white, either you're married and monogamous or you must separate. There's a lot of relationship dynamics between those extremes that are worth OP and her DH exploring.

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HappyHumpDay · 25/10/2022 13:50

I agree with @LikeMindedLady MN opinion is so often stay and put up with it, or leave, and it’s so wrong.

Non-monogamy is not for everyone, but it works brilliantly for some.

OP, I was exactly where you are 12 months or so ago. I had bottled that part up of me for as long as I could, but the more I tried to put it out of my mind, the harder it became.

My DH and I are in a very good place and we talked about it one night. He had always known I was bi, so that bit wasn’t a surprise. And actually the fact that I wanted relationships with women also wasn’t particularly a surprise. He knew all my fantasies were with women, and his view is that it’s not a sexual need he can fulfil, so he is happy for me to look elsewhere. And not only happy, but actively supports and encourages me.

He sees it as my ‘hobby’. I go to new places, meet new people, have lots of interesting experiences. Those experiences just happen to involve sex!

Our relationship is unbelievably strong, and if anything this has improved it. I’m not saying everyone’s husbands would react like this, but only you know yours!

I didn’t make the decision to get married for stability, I got married because I love my husband, want to spend my life with him, and share all the ups and downs along the way. That has not changed at all, and he will always be my primary relationship.

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Savetheclocktower · 25/10/2022 14:42

@LikeMindedLady The OG stated that she has always known she is bi, has had relationships with women before deciding to get married and you're talking as if this is some bolt out of the blue that she still wants to have sex with women, like thats a surprise that a bisexual person is attracted to women still?

So where's the existential anguish here? Why the entitlement? It is basically having your cake and eating it. If you make the decision to get into a committed relationship and get married, why does your feelings regarding now a few years later wanting other sexual partners become an entitlement?

Its really quite simple. The OG has always known their bi, past relationships with women, falls in love with a guy and decides to get married in a monogamous relationship, has the stability of a marriage, presumably a nice lifestyle house etc, in OG's words a other wise perfect relationship, and now wants permission from her husband to have sex with other women outside the relationship because heck we have no self control and we simply have to be true to our authentic selves! Lets just tear up what we agreed when we got married. And lets give a green light for all those married blokes who suppress their authentic needs to have sex with as many women as they feel like whilst we're at it, seeing as we're apparently all so entitled and if we want something we'll simply have it, regardless of who we hurt along the way.

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Savetheclocktower · 25/10/2022 14:50

@HappyHumpDay would you be ok with your husband having a 'hobby' that involved him having sex with numerous other women outside the marriage? Or does it only work one way?
I ask because there seem to be a few posters on similar threads who do what you do and then state that they'd be horrified if their husband was having srx with other women or men, which says a lot really 🤔

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Reindeerinsummer · 25/10/2022 15:45

@Savetheclocktower
Its simple?

Have you never felt your feelings shift and morph over time? Are you exactly the same person you were twenty years ago? Is your partner? Have you never changed? Never learnt something new about yourself?

Being bisexual isn’t like ordering a hamburger from McDonalds, it’s not standard. It comes in as many shades and experiences as there are people and like all sexualities it shifts and changes. Just because the OP has always known she is bi, it doesn’t mean her experience of it or feelings have remained the same, these things can shift over time.

Similarly, there’s no reason why relationships can’t accommodate this, especially if they are happy and successful. OP, you are seeking something that your current arrangements don’t offer you. It doesn’t have to be a threat to those arrangements, but that’s something only you and your partner can discuss and determine.

@Savetheclocktower It may not be what you would want. No one is asking you to agree to it, and if they were, then it’s not your cup of tea. It doesn’t stop it being perfectly possible for others and their partners, who may want to discuss it here with empathy rather than judgement.

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LikeMindedLady · 25/10/2022 16:08

OP asked if anyone had an agreement like this... So Yes OP, I do know several couples for who this arrangement works really well. In some of them the male partner also has a similar agreement, should they want to pursue it.

There's no one size fits all, they've each negotiated their own unique agreement that works for them at this stage of their lives, many of them will renegotiate again as life and their needs change.

There are a few helpful books on how to start the conversation and some people find some kind of relationship counselor/ therapist helpful too. Only you and your DH can decide what works for you as a couple.

You will meet people who will judge you harshly for not conforming to conventional 'rules' but in the end, it's only you and your partner(s) feelings and opinions that matter!

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