Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr. Margarita Holmes.
Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in three continents, he has been training with Dr. Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives
Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.
Hi Dr. Holmes and Mr. Baer,
My boyfriend (let’s call him Jim) and I have been together for four years now; he’s my first boyfriend, first everything. Everything has been great, he’s the best guy I know, I love him dearly, and I know he loves me, too. Lately, however, whenever we’re having sex, I find myself thinking of another person just so I can reach orgasm because if don’t, I really won’t enjoy the sex.
This person (let’s call him Matt) I keep on thinking about is someone I met online and is clearly attracted to me. Matt knows well that I have a boyfriend. He’d just always comment and reply to my stories/posts on social media and flatter me. I am not romantically attracted to Matt but I find thinking of having sex with him extremely exciting and it makes me so horny.
I love Jim and I can’t imagine myself marrying someone else but him. But I feel like I wanted to explore my sexuality with other people, too (not necessarily with Matt). To add to my confusion, Jim recently told me that he wanted us to have a threesome with another guy, saying he has this fantasy of seeing another guy have sex with me. I really appreciate his honesty and I felt bad that I couldn’t tell him about my sexual frustrations/secrets because I feel like I’m already cheating with him.
Is this cheating? Should I just come clean to Jim about what’s bothering me? I’m really confused and not sure if what I’m going through is normal.
Hoping for advice,
Thank you for your email.
Let’s start with your first issue – you cannot orgasm without fantasizing. This seems that this was not a feature of your first few years with Jim but is a recent development, so you need to explore what has caused it, particularly since it has occurred relatively early in your relationship and you cannot imagine marrying anyone else. For example, has your lovemaking with Jim become jaded (same old, same old) or has the attraction between you simply diminished? There could be many reasons and it would be a very worthwhile exercise to pinpoint what has happened, if only to know whether this is going to be a temporary or permanent problem.
Secondly, although you do not give your ages, it appears that you are both at the beginning of your sexual odysseys and only now becoming aware of the myriad options that sex has to offer. Whether it is fantasies, threesomes, BDSM, or whatever, there are many possibilities to explore, if exploration is indeed what you and/or Jim want. Just as in Grade 1 you may have imagined that little Tommy was your “one and only,” so as you begin to understand the extent of your sexual inclinations you will reappraise the desirability, or not, of your partner (currently Jim). Jim too has embarked on a similar journey and has only recently revealed his interest in threesomes. This may or may not be of interest to you in the short term but it also has implications for your longer term future, as, on one hand, he may cease to be marriage material if that marriage has to be non-monogamous. On the other hand, fantasies and threesomes may be simply part of youth’s sexual experimentation and a passing phase; only time will tell.
Finally, now that Jim has revealed his fantasy about another guy having sex with you, perhaps this is the moment to be more open with him about your own fantasies. Secrets, especially sexual secrets, are not conducive to a truly intimate relationship and this may offer another opportunity to find out if you and Jim truly have a long-term future together.
All the best,
Thank you very much for your letter. Like Mr. Baer, I agree entirely that you should share your sexual fantasies with Jim. Lovely man that he is, he’s already made it easier by sharing first. You did not judge, did not even balk. Thus you validated him.
This is, of course, interpreting Jim’s action in the best possible light: he shared because of deep trust in, love, and respect for, you and not because he didn’t care how you felt and just wanted you to know this is what he wanted. But his reasons need not affect yours: you trust him, it may start resolving any issue of possible emotional cheating, and you have eschewed keeping sexual secrets from him.
In a way, you can’t lose. If he honors your truth-telling as much as you did his, terrific! It’s another sign this relationship could last over the long haul.
If he becomes judgmental, etc., the sooner you know, the better. Among other reasons, you can explore where you want your relationship with Matt (and/or other people) more fully. This does not mean you cannot explore the above even if you stay together with Jim, but right now is the best time to find out how far you can tell him the truth. If you find out it’s not really very far, either because he has preconceived notions of what men can want and what women should want, or he chooses anger and ultimatums instead of an open mind and a heart that listens, etc. then it would be best to be shot of him, don’t you think, Jana?
Now is also the best time to look for your tribe — be they female, male, bi, trans, etc. — and find people you can play with and/or people you can be completely (or as close to) honest with.
You ask something really challenging: “…because I feel like I’m already cheating with him. Is this cheating?” So challenging, in fact, that I feel I cannot do it justice with the space left to answer. Please, if you’d like to explore this further, could you write us once more?
All the very best,
Please send any comments, questions, or requests for advice to firstname.lastname@example.org.