Should I just keep schtum?

Dear Suzie,

I have been married to my wife for two years and we have been seeing each other for many years before that. I feel I can be honest with her about many things, except when it gets to that tricky subject, sex.

We have spoken about it briefly in the past and I have briefly expressed to her my fantasies, as has she. One of my biggest, is to have a threesome, specifically with me her and another (straight) guy. I know that she has said that she has fantasised about it before. Now I know that reality doesn’t always rise up to expectations but I wanted to suggest to her that if she wanted to pursue this further I am more than ok with it.

The only thing is I don’t know if I should mention it. I feel that it would be taking a much bigger step than just revealing our fantasies to each other, and I don’ t want her to think I am some kind of freak, and I certainly don’ t want her to think that I am pushing her into anything she doesn’t want to do.

So should I just keep schtum? Or is it better to be open and honest?

Of course, on the whole, it’s better to be open and honest. But it depends WHAT you mean by being open and honest, and it depends on WHY you are being open and honest.

Some people use the ‘open and honest’ ticket to unburden themselves, and by doing that pass the buck and the burden. It’s as if they had a big, fat parcel of guilt or whatever, and when they dump it in the other person’s lap, they feel they can walk away feeling better about it.

Problem is, the other person is left having to deal with that parcel. I’ve seen that many times with couples where one has been unfaithful and finally tells the other. The one who has been unfaithful then feels fine – he or she can breath a sigh or relief. The one who’s been told feels awful – now they’ve got that parcel to carry! And the other one may refuse to continue the conversation because as far as they’re concerned, the issue is closed.

Sometimes “being open and honest” can be used as a weapon or perceived as blackmail. You may offer her your fantasy, thinking you’re doing so with no pressure or expectation, and be entirely genuine in that. But it may not be how she sees it. And of course, underneath your protestations of ‘only wanting to be open and honest’ you may very well know you want to influence her to your way of thinking. And it makes it harder for her to recoil and say no, when you’ve gained the moral high ground by being so open and honest.

I think you’ve already seen the pitfalls of trying to actualise a fantasy; what is exciting and satisfying in fantasy, where you have total control over what happens, can be less so in reality, where everyone else has their own input and agenda and reaction and need. Some couples are happy to keep her own dreams strictly to themselves. Some like to talk their fantasies over and playact fulfilling them. And yes, some do go that extra mile and do them for real. And I am sure there are some people who manage this very well and are happy with it. But I’m equally sure there is frequently an imbalance with one partner loving it and the other only going along to keep their partner happy. If you want to consider this further I’d suggest you have a look at one of my books on sexual fantasies – click on “Books” on the right – and follow the tips I give for being safe rather than sorry.

But let’s put aside the question of whether you should ask her to act out your fantasy of three in a bed. Surely the big issue is that after many years of knowing her and two years of marriage, you seem to be saying that the two of you have difficulty in communicating properly about sex. Before you run you need to walk and before you negotiate three in a bed surely you need to address feeling comfortable and secure in talking about the basic aspects of your sex life – does it fulfil you both, can you talk about what you want and need, or don’t want and don’t need.

So start talking – not about fantasies but about the reality; what you like about your sex life with her. Encourage her to feel safe and secure in sharing what she likes, and then both of you can talk over what you’d like to do to satisfy each other in the future. If you’d like a bit of support in this, consider seeing a Relate therapist. Not because there is anything wrong, but to help you fine tune your relationship so I doesn’t become distant or difficult. When you can be open and honest about the basics, you can move on to the frills. Good luck!

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