I’ve been in a monogamous relationship with my boyfriend for four years now, and I’m interested in opening up the relationship. I really love my boyfriend and I know that it would hurt him a lot if I brought this up, but it’s something that I really feel is what I need. We were virgins when we met and have only ever experienced each other sexually, but I feel like I need to experience other partners, but I don’t want to lose my boyfriend. What do I do? How can I get what I need without hurting him?
Like many people who write to us with questions, you are not alone here. The fears, challenges and curiosity you are experiencing are quite common for people who are in monogamous relationships and considering opening up. Fortunately, there are some fabulous books and resources out there to help you have these conversations with yourself and your partner. I will list some of those in a moment, but first I want to encourage you to remember that it is possible that no matter how carefully and clearly you communicate your desires to your partner, he still may not understand or may not be ready to explore this with you. And that’s about him, not you. You have every right to experience what you desire. If you convey to him that you love him and he is very important to you, and if you have built a foundation of trust in your relationship, those factors may make it easier for him to hear you, but he still may not be able to walk this road with you. On the other hand, you might find out that he’s been having similar feelings and fears as you, and this could be a new chapter in your relationship!
First, I encourage you to do some reading and exploring, as the following are great resources (we carry the first two in Pure Pleasure):
- The Ethical Slut, by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy
- Opening Up, by Tristan Taormino
- Beyond Orgasm, by Marty Klein
Also check out www.reidaboutsex.com. This is educator, therapist and speaker Reid Mihalko’s website, with some great communication tips for having ‘difficult’ conversations, especially in this department. He will also be teaching a workshop at Pure Pleasure later this fall, so keep an eye on our website’s ‘Sex Ed’ page!