Are Threesomes a Gateway Drug to Open Relationships?

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Photo: Ryan Stuart/Corbis

Five years into our relationship, I let my boyfriend sleep with another woman.

It wasn’t that monogamy wasn’t working. We were a committed, happy couple who enjoyed each other’s company, laughed at dumb stuff, and had great sex. But we were 27 and itching to do something crazy — something that would make the hurtle toward 30 feel less like a death march. A threesome seemed like a good place to start: exciting enough to test the boundaries of our sexual adventurousness, yet harmless enough in the long run if it went horribly wrong.

We weren’t the type to go up to women in bars, and the thought of asking one of our friends was just too weird. Later that summer, we met a young art student at a friend’s party. She was the free-spirit type, the kind who wrote poetry and talked about spirit animals without irony. She had short, light-brown hair and a come-hither smile. She touched my arm and asked if I’d be willing to edit her application for an art prize. I pulled my boyfriend into a corner. “This is it!” I whispered excitedly. We spent most of the night chatting with her, and asked for her number at the end, promising we’d continue our stimulating discussion on the pros and cons of palmistry over a drink the following week. As we were saying good-bye, she leaned in and kissed me on the mouth — a quick, chaste kiss not unlike one between two close girlfriends. But it did, I thought, betray some kind of unspoken desire.

We kept our word and invited her out for cocktails the following Friday night. I had spent most of the day curled up in a ball on the couch, refusing food or drink. Darryn had tried his best to soothe my nerves. “You know you don’t have to have sex with her if you don’t want to, right?” I did want to have sex with her, but I was also considerably freaked out. How would I know what to say, or do? I was relying strongly on alcohol to guide the way. We met her at a fancy bar by the water and made our way down the cocktail list until someone — probably me — suggested we go dancing. We jumped in a cab, got to the club, and, within 20 minutes, I was making out with her on the dance floor. I went to get another drink and when I came back, I found her making out with Darryn. After 20 more minutes of this, I yelled in her ear, “Do you want to come back to our place?” She smiled and said she’d always fantasized about sleeping with a couple. “Well,” I offered, swaying slightly, “now’s your chance!”

We spent the next four hours in a feverish tangle of sweaty limbs and crumpled bed sheets, passing out around dawn. When we woke up, Darryn made scrambled eggs and we sat cross-legged on our balcony, talking excitedly about the night before. I confessed to myself, and later to Darryn, that I’d found the sight of him going down on another woman sexy. I’d had little reason, up to this point, to doubt the conventional wisdom on monogamy — that it alone was the key to a happy, healthy relationship. Suddenly, that perspective seemed woefully misguided. What did it mean that I enjoyed watching my partner having sex with another woman? Why didn’t I feel jealous or insecure?

It was all we could talk about for the next few months. We delighted in our own prurience at every opportunity — over coffee, at the bus stop, at dinner. It felt like we’d been let in on a great big secret and we were laughing at the mere mortals who weren’t privy to its exhilarative power.

The plan was to keep seeing our art-student friend, but she went and got herself a boyfriend a few weeks later. Finding someone as free-spirited would be a challenge. One night, I jokingly suggested we hire a high-class escort. We laughed at this for a few weeks, but then started giving it serious consideration. The more we thought about it, the more appealing it sounded, both for practical reasons and for the added benefit of providing us with a pretty great story. We spent a week searching online for a reputable escort agency — the price per hour was a good indicator — and finally settled on a leggy brunette named Karen. There was no online booking form: You had to call up, leave your name, credit-card details, and hotel. I felt incredibly juvenile making the call. I was too nervous to even sit down, and I had to bite my arm several times, hard, to keep from laughing. We booked a fancy hotel in town and met Karen in the lobby the following night. We took her up to our room, me giggling like a total jerk the whole way because I’d ignored Darryn’s advice and drunk half a bottle of red wine to calm my nerves. She kindly broke the ice with a story about an animal-rights march she’d participated in recently, and, after confessing she didn’t much care for Jonathan Safran Foer’s latest collection of essays, she asked if she could give my boyfriend a blow job. I raised my glass in her honor. She left two-and-a-half hours later, with half our monthly salary.

A few weeks later, I went out of town for work. Darryn called me one night to tell me the art student had asked to hang out. “We can wait until you get home,” he said. I thought about it. “What if you and her were to hang out — alone?” I suggested. This took Darryn by surprise. I explained I was curious to see what would happen. I obviously enjoyed watching Darryn with other women, but would things feel different with me out of the room? We had been very adult about the whole thing so far. I was ready to take some risks.

It turns out the art student still had a boyfriend, so she wasn’t looking for anything more than a friendly drink. The fact that this news disappointed me was in itself a revelation. When I got home, Darryn and I decided to initiate an open-relationship trial run. How many people feel ashamed for even daring to think about the prospect of sleeping around? Here we were, excited by the prospect. The only “rules” we set were that we wouldn’t actively seek out people to sleep with, and that we would tell each everything.

A few months later, an old friend of mine from out of town came to visit. I’d always had a bit of a thing for him — Darryn knew about this and teased me endlessly about it — and, since he was single at the time, I thought why the hell not. I discreetly made my new circumstances known, and, a few nights later, we organized a plan to go to dinner. I skipped around the apartment like a nervous 15-year-old, trying on dresses and asking Darryn’s advice. “Nothing that screams, ‘Fuck me now,’” he cautioned. He’d organized to go out with some friends that night, so he wouldn’t have to be alone. I finally picked a light-blue dress — more girly than provocative — and kissed Darryn good-bye, laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation.

At dinner, even though I’d known this guy for years, I was suddenly self-conscious. Normally, I’d be confident and flirty, but now that sex was a certainty, I no longer knew how to behave. We talked about films, books, art, gun control — everything but the fact that we were going to have sex later. We didn’t even kiss until we’d each had a few cocktails. We finally jumped in a cab and made out all the way back to his place. I felt strange taking off my clothes: No one but Darryn had seen me naked in five years, if you don’t count the art student and the sex worker. Also, even though I knew I wasn’t cheating, a small part of me couldn’t let go of the idea that what I was still doing was wrong. But once things got going, I started to relax and enjoy the sensation of an unfamiliar body next to mine. (I asked him recently for his impressions of that night. He said our chemistry and the level of comfort we’d already established through our friendship served us well, and that he trusted me not to make any decisions I would regret.)

I got up early the next day and went home. I was proud of myself for going through with it, but also a little frightened. I had to speak to Darryn. We spent the rest of the day holed up in a diner across the road from our apartment. He didn’t want to hear too many details; he seemed satisfied with the knowledge that I’d enjoyed myself. We decided we could keep going as long as we were careful to immediately come clean about any feelings of doubt, or insecurity. We drank our milkshakes and went home.

A few weeks later, we both signed up for Tinder. We were honest about the open relationship in our profiles, and, a few weeks later, I was helping Darryn dress for his first date. (I vetoed his blazer and tie in favor of jeans and a T-shirt. He took the blazer anyway, and, according to him, the first thing his date did was compliment him on his “style.” Whatever, man.) I made him promise to text me every few hours. After he left I tried distracting myself as best I could, but I couldn’t sit still. I kept checking my phone. Finally, he texted to say it was going well. An hour later, he texted again: They were going back to her place. I panicked. “USE A CONDOM,” I texted back.

When he came home the next morning, I wanted to know everything: what she was like, what she said, how she’d acted. What they did. Knowing everything made me feel composed, as if I’d been in the room with them. I needed facts, not guesswork. But I wasn’t jealous; mostly just curious, and, if I’m being honest, a little turned on. We began going on a few dates a week, separately. I had pretty shitty luck: I rarely went on a second date with a guy, and almost never got to the point where I liked someone enough to want to sleep with them. (Guys on Tinder, right?) Darryn, on the other hand, was meeting cute, interesting women every week. While not all of his trysts ended in sex, the intimate details of other’s people’s lives made the experience totally worth it. Almost every woman Darryn met was interested in our experiment. Some even wanted to meet me. Since I wasn’t getting much action anyway, this eventually led to us supplementing our individual adventures with a steady run of threesomes. We also made a few close friends this way — last week, we hung out with a friend we met on Tinder, someone we’ve both slept with on separate occasions. Darryn had left his belt at her place and she’d remembered to bring it along. It was a surreal moment.

I do still occasionally get jealous, particular when women hint they want more from Darryn. One kept sending him poetry she’d written and asking for writing advice. Another asked for handwritten letters. As long as the interactions are purely sexual, it’s fine. But once they cross over into emotional or intellectual territory, I get uncomfortable. It’s like these women are trying to muscle in on my territory. The jealously, however, is not unwelcome. It reaffirms our feelings for each other. It also keeps our own personal sex life interesting: Watching other women fall over themselves for Darryn makes me hyperaware of my own attraction to him.

Ultimately, we look upon each new conquest as a shared triumph. There’s no competition between us. Some couples in open relationships give each other free rein but insist on not knowing of each other’s affairs. We work as a team. Our interest in this isn’t purely sexual — we like having the kinds of conversations and connections that are usually off-limits for people in relationships. While other couples at the coffee shop argue over whose turn it was to take the dog for a walk, we vet each other’s Tinder matches. When our friends ask us what we did on the weekend, we have to make up something less exciting than the truth. We’ve become better at communicating our feelings, both in general and to each other. Our experiences, together and individually, have helped build a rare trust between us that we could never have with anyone else.

We got married last year. The few friends we’ve confided in about our situation have asked if we could ever go back to monogamy. Sure. But why would we, when this is still so much fun? Besides, I’m not sure that I still believe that monogamy is the basis for a healthy, happy relationship. Darryn and I have met plenty of people who’ve confessed to all kinds of infidelities, friends and lovers alike. Some said they considered broaching the subject of sexual experimentation with their partner, but were scared that it would lead to a breakup. Others said they preferred to just get it out of their system and hoped they wouldn’t be discovered.

A few months ago, my first lover started dating someone. We went for a drink recently, and I asked him how it was going. He confessed he was hoping to convince her on the merits of an open relationship. She, not surprisingly, wasn’t keen. I warned him it’s not for everyone. “I know,” he said. And then we kissed.

Original article on NY Mag’s The Cut

#AdviseUD: How Do I Stop Loving A Married Man?

Dear AdviseUD,

 

My name is Lucinda, I am a new employee at an accounting coy in the United states, I have been single for the past  3 years. I broke up with my ex due to long distance relationship constraints after he moved back to Africa.

I got close to my Supervisor who is a few years older than I am and we became very close. He likes the things I do, from music to food to clothes and he is super smart and very disciplined. For the first few months of our friendship (which was initially platonic), I didn’t know he was married with a kid, until we both realized that our friendship was gradually becoming intimate.

He never wears his wedding rings, apparently he is the type of guy who isn’t too keen on wearing wedding bands.

Now, its really hard to stop being friends with him and I really need this job. We both do our best to avoid each other now but it is not really working since we work in the same place 5 days a week.

I come from a strong Christian background and it is against my religious belief to be intimate with a married person. Help! what do I do?

Lucinda.

Dating site experiments, hooking up people who should have hated each other

“When we tell people they are a good match, they act as if they are”
Image by: Gallo Images/ Thinkstock

OkCupid, a top US matchmaking website, regularly mismatches users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service revealed, weeks after Facebook admitted to misleading users in a psychological study.

“When we tell people they are a good match, they act as if they are,” co-founder Christian Rudder wrote in a blog post. “Even when they should be wrong for each other.”

Conversely, couples told they were bad matches, even when OkCupid’s algorithm showed the opposite, were less likely to exchange four messages.

“Most ideas are bad,” Rudder wrote. “Even good ideas could be better. Experiments are how you sort all this out.”

An IAC spokeswoman said OkCupid planned to continue with the experiments, which are known in the business as A/B testing.

OkCupid is one of the top U.S. dating services, behind Match.com, eHarmony, and Plenty of Fish, according to the Pew Research Center.

In June, Facebook users were outraged when it was reported that the world’s largest social networking site had manipulated news feeds to see how viewing more positive or negative posts affected users’ posting habits.

The researcher who led the study apologised for the anxiety news of the experiments caused users, but stopped short of saying the company would halt the practice.

My “Naked” Truth – S*x after you are 50

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Naked, I stood at the closet doors with the lights on and made myself ready. I took a deep breath and positioned the mirrors so I could see all of me. I consciously worked to remove my self-believed inner image. I opened my eyes and looked very carefully at my body. And my heart lurched at the truth: I am not a young woman anymore. I am a woman well-lived. My body tells of all the years she has carried my spirit through life.

I am a 59-year-old woman in great health and in good physical shape. I stand five-feet, nine-inches tall and weigh 135 pounds. I wear a size six in both jeans and panties, and my breasts are nowhere near my navel. In fact, they still struggle to make it full-up in a B-cup bra. My thighs are no longer velvet and my buttocks have dimples. My upper arms wobble a bit and my skin shows the marks of the sun. There is a softness around my waist that is no longer perfectly taut, and the pout of my abdomen attests to a c-section that took its bikini flatness — but gave me a son.

Why this brutal scrutiny of myself? It was time to counter the damage of my culture, my own soft-held fear and to pour warm love on my own soul. It was time to claim every mark and not-perfect inch of my own body — a body that had been called “too wrinkled” by a man who was fetched by my energy and my mind, but did not like the bare truth of me. His name was Dave and he was 55 years old.

We met on a dating site. Dave was interesting, gentlemanly and bright. He held my hand and toured with me on long bicycle rides. He drove many miles to come to my door. He made meals for us both and ruffled my dog’s happy head. I was enticed and longed for the full knowing of this man. And so, we planned a weekend together. That’s when things got confusing, unspoken and just-not-quite there. We went to bed in a couple’s way — unclothed and touching — all parts near. Kisses were shared and sleep came in hugs. I attempted more intimacy throughout the weekend and was deterred each time.

On Monday evening over the phone, I asked this man who had shared my bed for three nights running why we had not made love. “Your body is too wrinkly,” he said without a pause. “I have spoiled myself over the years with young woman. I just can’t get excited with you. I love your energy and your laughter. I like your head and your heart. But, I just can’t deal with your body.”

I was stunned. The hurt would come later. I asked him slowly and carefully if he found my body hard to look at. He said yes. “So, this means seeing me naked was troublesome to you?” I asked. He told me he had just looked away. And when the lights were out, he pretended my body was younger — that I was younger. My breath came deep and full as I processed this information. My face blazed as I felt embarrassed and shamed by memories of my easy nakedness with him in days just passed.

We talked for some time more, my head reeling at the content of the conversation. He spoke of special stockings and clothing that would “hide” my years. He blithely told me he loved “little black dresses” and strappy shoes. He said my hair was not long and flowing as he preferred, but that was okay because it was “cool looking.” I felt like a Barbie Doll on acid as I listened to this man. He was totally oblivious to the viciousness of his words. He had turned me into an object to be dressed and positioned to provide satisfaction for his ideas of what female sexual perfection should be.

He explained that now that I knew what was required, we could have a great time in the bedroom. I told him no. I would not hide from my own body. I would not wear outfits to make my body more “tolerable.” I would not undress in the dark or shower with the bathroom door closed. I would not diminish myself for him — or for anyone. My body is beautiful and it goes along with my mind and my heart.

When I told Dave that I never wanted to see or hear from him again, he was confused and complained that I was making a big deal out of nothing. He whined that I had taken a small part of our relationship and made it a major event. I didn’t even want to try to explain the hurt and the horror that he had inflicted upon me. I actually felt sickly sorry for this man as I hung up the phone. It was after this call that I went to the bedroom and gently stripped off my clothes.

As I looked in the mirror — clear-eyed and brave — I claimed every inch of my body with love, honor and deep care. This body is me. She has held my soul and carried my heart for all of my days. Each wrinkle and imperfection is a badge of my living and of my giving of life. With tears in my eyes, I hugged myself close. I said thank you to God for the gift of my body and my life. And I said thank you to a sad man named Dave for reminding me of how precious it all is.

Robin Korth enjoys interactions with her readers. Feel free to contact her at [email protected] or on Facebook.

12 Reasons Co-habiting Is Not Good For Your Relationship.

1. You don’t have to factor him into your apartment search . Believe me, it’s twice as hard finding a place when you’ve got to accommodate another person’s requirements for a home. (For instance: Maybe you don’t give a crap about a doorman building, but he does.)

2. You get the bed all to yourself at least a few times a week And uninterrupted hogging of the bed all night will make you wake up as a better girlfriend.

3. The sense of mystery can endure at least a tiny bit more. Or, in plain English, you can wake up and take a big fancy dump without him pretending not to hear it in the nearby bedroom. Wait what? I mean girls don’t poop girls don’t poop girls don’t poop girls don’t—

4. You always really want to see each other when you hang out. As opposed to coming home from work, saying hi to him and being whatever about it, and then hanging out in different rooms for a while.

5. When you have a fight, you can cool down in your respective places. Because once you live together, the post-argument options are:
(1) one of you being exiled to a friend’s house or a bar and (2) silently watching The Daily Show in bed together, still fuming. Fun times, right?

6. You can have your friends over without dealing with him being home during girls’ night. I have been one of seven girls crammed into one bedroom watching The Bachelorette while the hostess’s boyfriend floats like an annoyed ghost past the doorway occasionally.

7. You don’t have to put up with his friends hanging out too long/eating things/breaking things. Basically, your apartment is a carefully curated and delicate Pinterest board until they fart all over it and your boyfriend might not clean up sufficiently and then you’ll get mad.

8. You get that one free, peaceful, productive weekend day to yourself. To run errands, do some work, window-shop — whatever it is you do when you’re not spending the morning sleeping in with him. Alone time means you’ll appreciate him more.

9. His crap is not lying all over your place, annoying you. It’s hard enough to keep your home clean without a live-in boyfriend.

10. You don’t have one of those pre-baby joint-custody pets that inevitably makes breakups harder. I mean, maybe one of you has a pet, and the other one loves it, but it’s not like your shared pet.

11. You’ll have fewer, if any, fights about money. Because you won’t find yourself in conversations like, “I bought the can opener we needed last week so you need to pay a little bit more of the electric bill.” (Doesn’t that turn you on, though?!)

12. Or fights about the temperature of the bedroom. The national anthem of live-in couples is a little ditty called, “Baby, I’m Freezing, Can I Turn the AC Down?”

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9 Dating Rules Before You Begin A Serious Relationship

Before you begin a serious relationship with someone you met online or through social media, you should consider the following steps.

1. Finding a partner is a project and requires time and energy. If what you want is a long-term relationship, approach it with your goals in mind. The right mindset is key: Start out by knowing that you are in control of the process.

2. If you’re looking online, do your profile with a friend — this will help you lighten up. Don’t boast or be self-deprecating. Be funny, short and concise, and don’t sound too cutesy. A photo that shows you actively pursuing an interest is good because it offers information without being wordy.

3. Scan profiles selectively. Pick out three or four guys and signal your interest. When you contact someone, refer to a remark he/she made in their profile. If someone shows an interest in your profile, remember that you are not obligated to respond unless you want to. You be the judge.

4. With several prospects, start an email exchange. But limit your emails to no more than two or three before suggesting a face-to-face meeting. Anyone who wants to prolong emailing is not interested in a relationship. He/she likes the anonymity of email flirting. Avoid this person — he could be married, in another relationship or just a creep.

5. Pay attention to whether there is a good balance in the conversation. Does he dominate? Do you? Are you finding common interests? Avoid talking about your or his problems. Do not give advice even if he is begging for it; this is a bad way to start. Stay upbeat.

6. Offer to split the check. Nowadays, single, college-educated women under the age of 30 are often making more money than men, so don’t stand on ceremony waiting for him to pay.

7. Wait to see if he initiates an email or text. If he doesn’t, cross him off your list. He’s not interested or available. Start over.

8. If he emails or texts (or makes the extra effort to make a phone call!), respond, but move along and suggest meeting again. This should be a real date with a fixed time and place. If he wants to keep it spontaneous, with something like “Let’s try for Tuesday,” don’t bother putting it on your calendar. It’s just not likely to happen.

9. After you’ve met, beware of texts that arrive at odd times and are friendly but unaccompanied by a suggestion of a date. These are false positives because they suggest more intimacy than is real. Don’t be taken in. Most likely, he’s bored and is just playing with his phone. Respond only if you have seen him in person within the last week.

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Will my wife learn to love her vibrator more than me?

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My wife and I have been happily married for 10 years, and we have s*x often. Three months ago, however, after we discussed it, my wife bought a “realistic” vibrator. I’ve found myself growing steadily intimidated by it. I know length isn’t that important, but girth definitely is: and the girth is quite drastically different. I just can’t shake the idea that she’ll find my “normal” size less appealing over time.

Girth is not necessarily important at all – in fact many women use their vibrators outside their vaginas. Men tend to be very focused on their penises, and are frequently goal-oriented about intercourse, but most women are usually far more interested in clitoral action. Why not take up the gauntlet from this plastic penis and do what it can’t – provide subtle, direct human stimulation where she likes it best? Become an even better lover by asking her exactly what kinds of strokes she enjoys and where; maybe she will even show you. Encourage her to let you know exactly what it is she needs and, at the same time, give her a better insight into your own needs. A vibrator cannot provide love, romance, fun and true intimacy, so instead of obsessing about it, put your energy into creating some delicious eroticism and lovemaking that’s not all about your genitals.

Why You Should Give Cougar Dating A Try

I shared one of those funny Facebook photos recently that said, “Madonna is 55, her boyfriend is 22. Tina Turner is 75, her boyfriend is 40. JLo is 40, her boyfriend is 26. Mariah Carey is 44, her husband is 32. Still single? Relax. Your boyfriend is not born yet!”

Who knew that as women over 50, we’d have so many options to choose from when it came to dating men? Believe it or not, lots of men want to date us — older men, men our age and even younger men are trying to catch our eye.

I must admit the latter, known as Cougar Dating, was a little hard for me to wrap my head around even as a Dating Coach. Yes, I’d dated men three to five years younger but it felt like men 10 to 20 years younger were living on a different planet.

Back when I was in my 40s, younger men would write me online all the time and I’d always say, “Are you looking for a mom?” They’d quickly tell me, “No way!” They just felt younger women were too high maintenance for them and had far too much drama in their lives.

I had to laugh at the high maintenance comment I heard time and time again from these young men. They just had no idea what it took to look good at 50. Hair alone can be a full time job, whether its plucking it from places you never knew hair could grow or coloring it constantly just to hide the grey.

As women over 50, most of us are not willing to head over to the local Steak and Shake for a date. No, we want to be wined and dined at nice restaurants, and for some of us only the best will do.

Our high maintenance ways were just hidden from these young men since they don’t live with their mommies anymore. Somehow, they’ve created this great fantasy of who they think we are, and that is what they want to experience.

I’ll be the first to admit it feels fantastic when a younger man asks you out. He’s probably surrounded by young women with their smooth complexions and youthful glow on a daily basis. Yet here he is, willing to skip out on younger, toned bodies because he thinks we’re cool, calm and low maintenance even with wrinkles around our eyes. Imagine that.

More recently, I bumped into this gorgeous late 30s or early 40s young man who was a cross between Hugh Laurie and George Clooney. We sat down and started talking and laughing.

The next thing I knew, he was asking me out. I was momentarily stunned. This handsome young stud wanted a date with me? He could have had the pick of the litter his own age and even younger, yet he was asking me, a 50+ year old woman, on a date?

I wanted to burst out laughing! Instead, I played the game and flirted with him, while having a charming afternoon being courted by a young handsome man. In the end, I did not go out with him. As much chemistry as we had, I actually found it hard to relate to a lot of what he was saying, but that afternoon was fun and he sure did make me feel good!

As great as it is for the ego, a younger man is in a totally different stage of his life. He might be just getting his career going or have minor children at home from a previous marriage.

He grew up at a different time too. All of those shared experiences Baby Boomers have in our collective memories happened when he was too young to remember — or wasn’t even born yet!

You may find that a man closer to your age is a better fit as someone you want to share your life with. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun trying the cougar thing for a change.

What is so great about dating a younger man is that it makes you think outside the box when it comes to available men. Most women feel like there are no good men out there to date.

The truth is there are plenty of quality men available. You just aren’t giving them a chance! By dating a man younger than you are, you’re stepping outside of your comfort zone. If you are willing to try different ages, body types, careers, and backgrounds, you just might realize that there is a plethora of good guys out there waiting for you.

Written by Lisa Copeland for Huffpost

#AdviseUD: My wife no longer wants s*x with me so I’d like to have an affair

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I am a 65-year-old man who is married to a lovely lady who no longer wants sexual intimacy with me. She wants me to cuddle but as soon as I get aroused she gets annoyed. I can’t touch any part of her intimately without her getting angry. We have tried talking about it but she says that is the way she is and I have to accept it. This has been really going on since our last child 25 years ago but has gradually become worse. I still love her very much and cannot imagine ever leaving her. But I have a very high sexual desire and get my only satisfaction from porn. I have been invited to attend a swingers club, with a friend, but am too scared to do this as I’m not well-endowed. My real dream is to find a woman in the same situation and have our own private affair. Is this possible? Please tell us what to do.

I haven’t had s*x for 10 years

Sexual healing

I am a 34-year-old heterosexual woman. Apart from a few dreadful one-night stands, I haven’t had a partner, or sex, for 10 years. I come from a very strict Catholic – and violent – home and have always been very shy and wary of men. To make matters worse, four years ago I had a labia reduction that went wrong. I feel as if I will never have sex or a partner again. I do meet men, but always back out of sex as I’m self-conscious and inexperienced.What can I do to get over these problems?

True intimacy, which is the basis of good sex, or a strong, fulfilling partner relationship, can develop only when we free ourselves from focusing on our imperfections. It takes time and courage to show ourselves to our partner, but building the necessary trust is a vital part of the process.

One-night stands are best left to those who can handle them – mainly people who have developed a capacity to enjoy non-intimate eroticism. For you, achieving a loving connection with a partner should occur well in advance of full physical love-making.

Learn to be more positive about your body and sexuality in general. Everything you have experienced in your life has contributed to the way you feel about these aspects of you, and they are nothing to be ashamed of. You are a survivor, and you deserve to be appreciated for that – and for your many other appealing qualities.