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Sex, Love and Cheating

Mar. 24, 2011
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I've been married to a really good guy for 10 years now. Two years ago, I ran into a guy I dated in high school. We talked a bit, and I agreed to meet him the next day for lunch. To make a long story short, since that time we've been very sexually active. I know I should break it off, but the sex we have is insane. After he does me, I feel relaxed and happy. I've even had multiple orgasms with him, unlike with my husband, who hardly ever brings me to orgasm. I feel really guilty because my life with my husband is really good, except that we have fights about his performance because he just gets on me and five minutes later he's done. I've tried to slow him down by getting on top, but he'll just grab my hips and move himself if I don't go the pace he wants. It's like he hears what I'm saying and it goes right out the other ear. I really didn't notice how little attention he gave me until I started cheating. I love my husband, but if he's not going to give me the satisfaction that I give him, I gotta get it somehow. I'd love to keep the best of both worlds. What do you think I should do?

This is the kind of question that makes me sad that we live in a society that holds up marriage—lifelong sexual monogamy where one person is expected to fill all of our physical and emotional needs—as the only relationship model. It's actually pretty rare to have a "perfect" partner who meets all of our needs well. If open relationships, non-monogamy or polyamory were more widely known, then you could have the best of both worlds: a primary partner/husband with whom you have love, stability and companionship and a secondary partner/boyfriend with whom you have great sex. Unfortunately, it's difficult to open up a monogamous marriage after a relationship with a second person has already started, so this is probably not a solution for you at this point.

I absolutely agree with you that you deserve a great sex life, that sex has to be a two-way street, and that a partner who just does what he wants for five minutes is not going to make you happy. However, I can't condone cheating and dishonesty, since that has the potential to hurt too many people and is probably not sustainable in the long term. The overwhelming odds are that someone will find out about your affair eventually, with drama and heartbreak ensuing. The main ingredients for successful open relationships (and all kinds of relationships, really) are trust, honesty and mutually negotiated rules, and you get none of that with cheating. You can successfully have more than one sexual relationship at a time, but only if all people involved know what's going on and feel respected and loved.

One way to have "the best of both worlds" in your current situation would be to let your husband know what you enjoy sexually and see if he's willing to meet you there. You say you've had fights in the past, which makes me think that the subject has come up before, but maybe not in a way that encourages good communication about the topic. How have you tried to talk to him about this in the past? Does he realize how important sex is to you? My general recommendations for difficult conversations about sex with a partner are to have them outside the bedroom (e.g. not immediately before or after sex), to avoid being accusatory (instead of saying "you always/never do this," focus on your own needs and desires) and to use the "compliment sandwich" technique (every suggestion for change should be preceded and followed by something he does that you do enjoy). What your husband is currently doing is not acceptable, and he needs to realize that, but it may help to phrase it in a way that's easier for him to hear.

You could also decide that sex is important enough to you to end your relationship with your husband, or to tell him about your affair and risk the end of the marriage. Ultimately, only you know whether companionship outweighs sex or vice versa in your relationship.

Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to
laura@shepex.com. 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.

Laura Anne Stuart has a master's degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. She owns the
Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee's East Side.


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