I am a happily married man for 12 years and we have two kids. I love and adore my wife and we have a wonderful sex life. We are 100% monogamous and happily so but we do enjoy fantasizing about many things. We are fortunate to be very open and honest in our private sex life with one another. The honesty has helped us learn how to better pleasure one another and it is refreshing to not feel bad or guilty about a fantasy or turn on.
I often think about her having sex with another man, woman or couple. We talk about it and it stokes the fire. We often speak of who she is attracted to (real person we know not a celebrity) which makes it more exciting and we might tell each other a story of her being with a man or couple we know as I watch. I like the thought of seeing her be pleased and am a very visual person. She has noted attractions to casual acquaintances and friends and I enjoy it.
However she has developed an attraction for one of my friends and I have noticed every time we have this fantasy talk it is now always with him. One night we decided to role play and she wanted to pretend I was this guy and she was incredibly turned on physically, more so than when she is with my without the talk. A couple weeks later we had another fantasy talk (no role play) about her and him and I again noticed she was very, very physically turned on. I am happy we have this openness and honesty but also fear she may not be as turned on by me as this new fantasy man. I am not foolish to think people can only be attracted to their mates nor is that healthy. We appreciate beauty in all however I do not want to continue to stoke this fire if it may ultimately be bad for our relationship. I do not think she would ever cheat but is this fantasy someway suggesting it would be ok? What does it say about me that I fantasize about her with other people? I do have other turn-ons so this is not the only way which we have sex or get off but I am curious what your take is on this. Also, she regularly fantasizes about women when I touch her which i have no problem with but maybe in totality this too should be a red flag or I should just go with the flow and allow her to enjoy the thoughts and continue to openly share them. What is your take on her sexual turn-ons, mine and is there any red flags for our relationship as a result?
You are definitely playing with fire with the kind of fantasizing that you are using. Fantasy can be a wonderful part of a healthy adult sexuality, but there are some cautions to keep in mind. Of course you must together establish the rules that will govern how you use fantasy, but here a some we have adopted. These are not in any way required rules for any other couple. It is just that we have found these rules serve us well.
- No one gets physically hurt.
- Stop mean stop and no means no.
- We always honor the value and integrity of our relationship when deciding whether to engage in a particular fantasy. We strictly avoid any fantasizing that would in any way threaten the relationship or threaten each other.
The first of our rules speaks for itself; we believe it is essential that both of us feels physically safe and secure.
The second, also speaks for itself, but I would add this suggestion: Establish a red light code word that either of you can use and if either of you speaks that word out loud, you both cease and desist whatever you were doing, instantly.
So, the first two points are all about physical and emotional safety and security. If you are really going to explore any and all fantasies you may have been keeping inside privately, establishing this position of safety will open that up so you can both dare risking to reveal what your real fantasies are.
The third of our rules is extremely important; it establishes relationship security.
We have made a conscious decision, and commitment, to make our relationship the most important thing in our lives. More important than our children, more important than our work, more important than our individual interests, such as time spent with avocations. Answering your question about fantasy, is not the correct place to go into more detail about this commitment. I would add however that having this agreement in place means that both of us refer all decisions back to this: How will this affect our relationship? Will this threaten the relationship? Will this threaten my partner, i. e., make him or her insecure, afraid, betrayed, dishonored, diminished, disrespected, etc.? If yes, we strictly avoid that action, behavior or situation.
By the way, if we determine that a particular fantasy does or is likely to threaten the relationship, or our partner, we do not even indulge those fantasies privately. You might think that as long as you keep a fantasy to yourself, that it does not matter, that it could not affect your relationship, that as long as your partner does not know about it then there could be no harm. But this would be an error of judgment. Emotionally, energetically, and spiritually we are all connected to the undivided divine consciousness. There are very real possible negative consequences from privately indulging in fantasies, disregarding whether or not they would be harmful to the relationship.
One of our spiritual teachings is that each of us has the power over 1) what we think about and 2) how we think about what we think about. In other words you are driving your own bus and you decide the subject of your thought attention, and also whether you think about that subject in a positive way or a negative way. Exercising this power is part of your mind freedom. If you are unable to master your thinking process, if in other words you have not found the «off» switch for thinking (including fantasy), then it is urgent to start some meditative practice and begin to learn how disengage from constant thinking. There are hundreds of meditation practices to choose from. The only criteria for choosing would be that it appeals to you, and in this case, I would suggest picking one that both of you are interested in and learn it together at the same time.
Clearly, the fantasizing you mention, is threatening your relationship and each other.
The bottom line therefore is to apply internal discipline to stop indulging in fantasies that violate your established fantasy rules. The first step going forward would be to have a conversation with each other about what fantasy rules you want to agree to. Then honor those rules, or threaten the ruin of your relationship.
Thank you Al, some terrific insight in here. I do not questions her commitment to me and our relationship. Is it reasonable to think that your mate should not be attracted to someone other than their spouse? Is it better for your mate to keep that to themself or to share the thought? Just because a mate has an attraction to someone else it may not mean they desire to stray. I do agree, it is unwise to continue to feed or delve into this and focus our energies on one another but I also do not want to make her feel ashamed or guilty for those thoughts. One of the greatest assets of our sexual relationship is the openness and I fear if I insist that door be shut it may be worse. I am certain she would be fine with doing away with that talk but would think it would surely privately fester so which is worse in your view? Yes, ideally it would not even exist privately but I just do not think that is human nature. People have attractions and appreciations of others in many ways. I am very curious on your thoughts. Thanks so much.
Thank you Al, some terrific insight in here. I do not questions her commitment to me and our relationship. Is it reasonable to think that your mate should not be attracted to someone other than their spouse?
It is not reasonable to expect your mate should not be attracted to someone else. Attraction is very much an animal instinct, governed by factors and working according to hidden principles that probably no one fully understands. However, it is quite reasonable to expect your mate will not act inappropriately on that attraction. What is appropriate depends upon what conscious, specific agreement you have with each other about fidelity, monogamy, and sexual activity (or even sensual activity) with other persons. If you have not talked about this, if you have not made a conscious agreement about this, then you have no real authority, or rights, to deny your mate to act on attraction to others.
If that happens and you are unhappy with the result, the thing to do, as soon as possible, is to have that conversation where you come to agreement about what is allowed and what is not allowed. If you have already had such a conversation, then your mate’s behavior will either be in conformity with those agreements, or not. If not, then you have to decide what is the next step. An obvious next step is to talk about what happened, and you can explain why you believe your mate’s behavior was a violation of your understanding of the agreement, and most importantly, how that makes you feel. How that makes you feel, to be of any value to either of you, must go beyond any possible surface anger; in other words, you must reveal that your mate’s behavior makes you afraid and/or hurts you, including more detailed explanations of how and why you are hurt or afraid.
Is it better for your mate to keep that to themself or to share the thought?
Some are able to handle the revelation that their partner is attracted to others, but many are not. I suggest you make this part of your specific agreement, i. e., whether to reveal to each other, attraction to others. Generally, I see no value in telling your mate about your attraction to someone else every time you see a pretty face or great body. I would on the other hand expect that one mate would talk with their partner when an attraction to a particular person becomes strong enough that they doubt their ability to resist acting upon that desire. If you have an agreement to honor fidelity and practice monogamy, that agreement carries with it the responsibility to refrain from indulging in paying attention to the attraction you feel for other persons. For example, if that attraction is dangerously strong, it may no longer be possible to spend time with them, or else you risk the danger of inflaming the fires of a passionate infidelity; in other words each of you refuses the temptation to play with fire.
If the temptation is too strong and one of you are incapable of turning away from it, then the relationship is definitely threatened and may come to an end in some significant hurt and suffering for the partner who gets dumped for someone else.
Just because a mate has an attraction to someone else it may not mean they desire to stray.
I do agree, it is unwise to continue to feed or delve into this and focus our energies on one another but I also do not want to make her feel ashamed or guilty for those thoughts.
What I am talking about has nothing to do with shame or guilt. It comes down to taking responsibility for yourself, making some tough decisions, and honoring your commitments. So it is all about responsibility, honor, trust, love, etc. Some people are mature enough for that; some have the character necessary to commit to love one person, and retain their sexual expression of love to that one person, other’s sadly, are not. Alternatively, it may simply be a choice of values, e. g., each person is completely free to choose to have sexual relations with anyone they want to, and with as many sexual partners as they want to. It is only a question of maturity and honor, in the context where two lovers have agreed that they are monogamous and will honor a commitment of fidelity. I am not suggesting that choice is required, but if it has been made, then what I am saying would be relevant.
One of the greatest assets of our sexual relationship is the openness and I fear if I insist that door be shut it may be worse. I am certain she would be fine with doing away with that talk but would think it would surely privately fester so which is worse in your view? Yes, ideally it would not even exist privately but I just do not think that is human nature. People have attractions and appreciations of others in many ways. I am very curious on your thoughts.
You would not be shutting any doors for your partner, she would choose which doors to shut and which to open, and which to walk through. But that all depends upon your relationship agreement. You either have one or you don’t. If you do, then it is freely entered into; neither partner coerces the other to enter into such an agreement.
The really tough decisions in life always involve, choosing between two things, both of which you want, but which are mutually exclusive, i. e., you can only have one or the other. Agreements about fidelity and monogamy bring this out very starkly. If you have chosen fidelity and monogamy, then you cannot also have sex with anyone other than your mate. If you do act on attraction to another person, not your mate, and have sex with them, then you are in violation of your agreement and the relationship will be powerfully threatened.
When there is an agreement of fidelity and commitment to monogamy, if that is experienced by either partner as a burdensome duty, that they must force themselves to honor, then it is not likely to be sustainable. This only reveals that absence of real love. When the love is real between two people, the commitment of fidelity is a gift given to each other, and is not a struggle or burden to carry.
People who love each other take great joy in reserving their sexual expression to the one person who is their primary mate. Typically they have also learned the skill of sublimating their sexual energy. This means they are able to move life force energy up away from the genitals, where it is typically experienced as lust (sexual desire for another), moving the energy up to the heart chakra, where it will typically be felt as love, compassion, kindness, etc., which need not be expressed sexually at all.
Tantra sacred sexuality teaches how to do this. A weekend workshop is a great place to start learning how to do that. We offer Tantra weekends monthly in our home near Ottawa Canada.