We need to know more about the injury. Can hubby not get it up anymore (and possible never again), or it just taking him time to recover from breaking both femurs? If it's the latter, i think wifey needs to suck it up for another 3 years and when the kids are off to college, hopefully hubby is healed up and they can get back to having semi-regular quasi-enjoyable sex.
Also, if this is just an itch that needs scratching, why not hire a pro?
I think your advice about dating women is good, Dan and I don’t have much to add. I do have a suggestion for resources if the writer is serious about wanting to quit drinking. I stopped drinking about 10 months ago (also never a daily drinker, but found too often a glass of wine was turning into 4) and I’ve been so happy with the decision. In looking to connect with other non-drinkers, I can across this website, and found a good connection: https://lgbtteetotaler.com/community/. The community is for LGBT folks who abstain from alcohol or are working to do so. Could be a good resource not only to work on her sobriety but to connect with other lgbt people who could relate.
Hey there GAI,
I can relate on a whole bunch of levels. Stopped drinking a while back after many failed attempts at moderation, and keeping that stuff completely out of the house was the only way for me.
And I'm in your situation: married and bi. But I took some advice I read here in the comments one time, and it made a big difference to me (but I don't know how far your husband's medical issues might be). That advice was: However much effort it would take to find a hook-up, that is the minimum amount of effort your primary relationship deserves. If you've been phoning in sex due to stress and difficulties, you can challenge yourself to get as filthy as possible with your partner, to let him see you and be seen. It's hard! But if the result is that you're happier at home, that's gold.
You've got a lot going on and I wish you all the best.
Sportlandia -we don't. She likes sex with women, penisless by definition, her hubby could also satisfy her without even having one left, if he was so enclined. What she needs is to be happy and live her sexuality fully and what you need Sportlandia, is to get out of your heteronormative admiration of monogamous relationships and open up a little -which is probably why you're here, reading this column, good for you!
@4 huh? What letter did you read? She's positioning this as a relief from her less-sex-than-before marriage. I don't see how the penis-having status of her potential additional lover should factor into your opinion at all.
"The husband: Ideally, GAI, you would get your husband's permission before establishing a regular FWB thing with another opposite-married bisexual woman. (Your future FWB would ideally get an okay from her spouse.) "
GAI, so you "melt into the couch with literally a bottle or two of wine...three times a week" though you're "actively trying to stop totally". Have you tried moderation? If so, then yeah, maybe go ahead and avail yourself of the means to "stop totally" please.
"what could I even offer to another woman?"
Aw, c'mon now GAI. You are not the only (quoting Dan) "...one who may not have the bandwidth for a full-time/full-blown relationship"; Dan suggests one obvious scenario. Look! (Looking greatly increases one's odds of finding.)
I write now to respond WRT the exchange between Sportlandia and ImNotYourMotherButt.
Since she's a bi woman, I see her husband-relationship, and the relationship she wants with a woman, as completely separate things to be addressed. I think that addressing both would be commendable, but the letter absolutely demands we address her need for same-sex relationship. In other words, addressing only her husband-relationship is not right.
This made me think of a coworker/friend talking to me about how he and his wife had opened their marriage. I asked where the physical stuff would happen if he met someone and a date went well. "At her place of course," he said, "my wife and I agreed nothing at our house."
"What if she's married or in a relationship?" I asked.
He looked confused. "I'm not going to do anything with anybody who isn't single."
"Why not? It would be the same situation you're in, you'd understand each other."
"Ugh, no. Somebody who's married would have a lot of baggage."
I could have written this letter, nearly word for word. Every failed attempt left me feeling like a failure and very lonely. Until I started volunteering at an LGBTQ drop-in centre while my kids are in school, on my days off. Like most volunteering, it has made me feel like I’m giving back to the community while also putting my problems in perspective. There are people who come in asking for help after their landlord evicts them coincidentally during their transition. Or kids who show up after parents kick them out for coming out. There’s health clinics and coffee groups dealing with very heavy topics. Anyway, my point is, hanging out with and helping these awesome people has made me feel so much better. I feel like I belong to the community. Plus, I am surrounded by out women every moment I’m there. If it was meant to happen I’m sure I’ll meet someone special! Which i guess I already have because I’m just a couple months I’ve made some very fun friends
The only way out is through, or in this case, the only way through is out.
🌈you think you’re having a nervous breakdown LW? I’ve just read we’ve got a decade to get our shit together or we will cook.
I think there is something about red wine that makes it easy to drink too much. It doesn't keep as well as white wine if you only drink part of a bottle, so there's an incentive to polish the whole thing off. It tends to make me lethargic, too, and the perfect activity when you're in that state is sitting around drinking more red wine.
I've never had a significant problem with alcohol as an adult, but the period in which I came the closeest is the one in which that was my drink of choice.
I tend not to keep liquor around the house because it's harder to regulate your intake when you have a big unsealed bottle. That's why the alcoholic beverage I like to keep in stock is beer. It comes in 12-ounce portions, and opening a new bottle is a committment to drink another 12 ounces; there's no "just topping this off."
Not discouraging LW from giving up alcohol entirely if that's what she thinks she needs. But if she were just looking to moderate her intake: you can get pretty decent wine in 12-ounce cans these days.
“Sex is difficult (illness in the couple, physical changes, stress) if not non-existent between us. I don't know how to improve things as he has lost confidence & the knack of it. I don't encourage him because the truth is every single fantasy or sexual thought of mine now involves women. I feel almost nothing when we do try it, and that issue was there before the accident & changes.”
GAI, I don’t think you get a hall pass to fuck women until you have begun to work on your relationship with your husband and making progress on your drinking. That means communicating, and yes, an investment in couples counseling and attendance at AA or a similar organization. Although you would like to frame everything through the lens of wanting pussy really, really badly, it’s these other issues (physical issues, lack of sexual connection, children, stress, financial issues, small town blues) that are magnifying your interest in same sex encounters and making you think that is the key to your happiness.
Your husband has lost confidence and the knack of it? GAI, what message does he get when you provide no encouragement to engage sexually, you’re absent during sex, and you’re drinking heavily, rather than engaging with him.
Oh honey. I feel for you, it is so oppressive having to suppress half of your sexuality because you're in a monogamous relationship. I've promised myself I will never do this again.
One question is whether your husband would be -- was ever -- OK with your having female side partners. I know now is terrible timing to bring it up because he doesn't have a satisfying sex life with you. One thing you should be aware of is that you will need to grant him the same openness you desire. Even if you have no interest in other men, he will want other women and you will have to accept that. Another pitfall is that with your sex life (and relationship) are already on the rocks, even asking might make him feel rejected enough to end the marriage. Are you unhappy enough that this is an outcome you might be okay with? You may want to phrase it as having only lesbian desires at this point in your life, which sounds close enough to the case, and would also be less hurtful to him personally.
From a practical standpoint, I'm bi and poly and would be happy to be approached by a potential FWB in your situation. So yes -- what you could offer another woman is exactly what you want from another woman. Minus the alcoholism, of course. Please do seek help for that.
Sporty @5: I don't know what letter you read. She's not positioning this as "my husband can't have sex due to his injuries, so I want to seek relief elsewhere." If she did, why would men -- who we've discussed to death are so much more available -- not be on her radar? She literally says "I feel almost nothing when we do try it, and that issue was there before the accident & changes." She had lost desire for her husband, and the accident exacerbated it. It sounds to me as if she is now -- perhaps always was -- essentially lesbian; she may previously have experienced attraction for men, but that might have been because her sex drive was higher then and she took what sex was available. Or she is truly bisexual but her desire for men has been tainted by her unhappy opposite-sex marriage.
Also, she never gave her children's ages. She could be "sucking it up" for a decade or more. Who knows what state her liver will be in by then?
Also, as we've discussed many times, feeling desired is a huge part of enjoyable sex for most women. Hiring a pro does not scratch that itch.
Ankyl @9: LOL. Someone is not being realistic about what he has to offer the people he is hoping to date. Nor about single people not having baggage -- LOL to that one! Someone in a stable marriage versus Jennifer Jason Leigh's Single White Female? I know which I'd pick. Thanks for the giggle.
Omar @10: Thanks for sharing your experience!
Sublime @14: Great comment. Couples counseling should be the first port of call for this couple, before a talk about opening the relationship. She made a vow to her husband, and he does "deserve more" -- stop feeling sorry for yourself and put some effort into your marriage, woman!
Interesting to get a "my wife won't fuck me" letter from the wife.
Curious @8: Men and women are still just people at the end of the day. It doesn't become magically not-cheating just because your affair partner and your spouse have different bits between their legs.
Dear GAI, if you want to Lady Chatterley it up, you still gotta do it honestly and talk to your husband.
@18 Traffic Spiral "Curious @8...It doesn't become magically not-cheating just because your affair partner and your spouse have different bits"
That is so obvious as to go without saying (and I try to be focused/concise, so I didn't address the well-worn-path-here of navigating her need to open up their relationship).
I do see your point @7 where I was focusing solely upon her hopelessness and simply urged her to "Look!" I agree it would have been better if I prefaced that with (so as not to assume she had integrity) "once you have open-ness" (and yes, I am urging her to get to that, whether or not her husband will choose to remain married to her).
There are two problems. If you don't want to have sex with your partner anymore you're relationship is now platonic and you need to be forthright about it. Until then the second problem that you are really horny should be satisfied by your hand. When you admit your lack of attraction and completely stop having sex with your husband (or become attracted to him again because you started talking again maybe) then you can worry about the next step, open relationship or divorce.
Many straight men will not open their relationship solely to same sex lovers because they would rather avoid messing around with men. But men can also be much less open about their bisexuality, so I think there is a chance y'all could agree to same sex only openness.. Also if he were much more uncomfortable when you had sex with men than women, he may want to stay monogamous while you date women only. But probably he will demand other lovers he is very into if you have other lovers you are very into.
I have found that I can channel attraction to others back towards jumping on my partner when we are getting along well. When we are not getting along well, my attraction towards others can exacerbate the problem, my thoughts are more escapist, my horniness doesn't lead to sex in the relationship, and that sounds like your problem. So. Figure out what you're gonna do with the husband first. You'll get awesome sex again, one way or the other, if you are strong enough to address this instead of drinking.
GAI: You only live once. Your children only have one mother. Your partner is a lovely guy who needs your support. What seems blindingly obvious to me is that you need to take the steps to get out of the self-destructive path you are currently in, including the booze and what's causing it.
Sounds like you really need to explore your lesbian side - both the sexual aspects and what it is like to have "a community". The latter is as important as the former, so that you can stop feeling like a freak and alone in the world, and can accept yourself and de-dramatise all of this.
By recognising you have a lesbian side, you are already half-way to the solution. The other half-way is finding how to explore it in a way that is the least destructive to your family. You need to start by discussing all of this with your partner, as honestly and lovingly as you can. Not recriminating him (it's not his fault), not apologising either (it's not your fault); there is no fault, this is just life in its full glory.
Give him time to digest this. Trust him that he loves you and wants you to be happy. Be ready to listen, as he too is likely to need things to change in ways that may surprise you. Agreeing to open your relationship sounds like the best option to me. Continuing to live together but with separate sexual lives is another option; separating in amicable terms (where you continue to support each other and raise your children as a loving family) is yet another. Cheating sounds like a terrible idea to me - it will just creates a time bomb that will inevitably explode later, making a much bigger mess. Doing nothing sounds to me like the worst possible option, given your current path of self-destruction.
Don't assume you are being selfish by wanting your life to change for the better. Do this for yourself, for your children and for your partner too.
And stop the booze right now, you need a clear head!
If you can promise him that your only group sex would be with him.. that may encourage him to tolerate some girl only action on the side without straying further..
Again this is would be after you can calm down and talk and start volunteering with any LGBT center around and stop drinking.
I defer in the main to Ms Fan as the Expert Witness. As someone with extensive experience of a nightly-sozzled mother, I'm inclined to advise LW to make that Priority #1.
As for the numbers, I'll again quote Sarah Harding from To Play the King telling Tim Stamper, "I can get you any numbers you like." This seems the one area where that would be at its high-water mark of truth. But, either way, the letter adds further support to the idea that it is long past time for the letters to separate.
Really good comments, @20 Philophile and @21 Plural!
p.s. to my other comments:
I've re-re-read the letter, and I still don't see anything there that suggests the LW would cheat (er, beyond whatever the stats are on that given her serious and problem with alcohol which, yes, should be top priority). She doesn't say what she's said or not said to her husband. She "went to lesbian bars" but that doesn't tell us she would cheat.
Well, that she was "HOPING" when she went to those bars, \IF\ she hadn't communicated approriately with her husband, MIGHT suggest she's one of those people who don't address issues in the room they're in until they're about to step into the next room. Which of course is not the healthiest, most functional and honorable, approach.
GAI's frustrations seem overwhelming. It seems to her as if she has no outlet--for her sexuality, her lesbianism, even her ordinary promptings of physical affection. My heart goes out to her. But things don't need to be as bad as she supposes. She can break them down!
So let's break them down into three areas:
1) Her stalled sexual relationship with her long-term partner. He has lost confidence and some ability, taking this last just in a physical sense. They're having almost no sex. She needs to shake up their routine. Disturb their assumptions as to what the sex will be like, possibly what form it will take (there should be no assumption of default PIV, even of his dick being the focus of any pleasure), and certainly of roles: who will take the lead, will instigate, will be dominant. It's possible she will have to take a more dominant role to relieve a burden of responsibility from him--for him to satisfy or pleasure her, if he has physical issues or is beset by self-doubt.
2) Her gay pashes and generally unrequited feelings. Sure, she can act on these. She is not too old; she has not left it too late; she is not too inexperienced. If she had female lovers in her early 20s and has not since (reading in between the lines, this would seem so), then, sure, yes, she can resume dating women, and it may be surprisingly easy, psychologically and certainly physically. Dan is right about where she can find the women who will sleep with her. I guess she should get the go-ahead from her partner, and this could be easier if they make a genuine effort to do something about their own enforced and involuntary bed-death.
Perhaps her relationship with her nesting partner has moved from a sexual relationship of equals to a desexed relationship where she predominantly cares for him? This could be painful, but there could be equally no point resisting an inevitable change. If this is the case, then she can maintain her obligations towards him and her children, first of all, while finding one or more gay partners.
3) I think the drinking is a separate issue--and that it's right to tease it out from the other two as much as possible, even though GAI drinks because she sees no possibility of development in her life. I'd address this separately. Cut down realistically if you can't give up. If you can give up--you've said you think you need to--then do that. Cold turkey--as your present to yourself. Invest the time you lose to drinking in something meaningful--sharing interests with your partner, in his physical rehabilitation, in looking for sex or love with women, in your kids, if they haven't gone to bed. Alcohol isn't offering you a genuine respite. It's a coping strategy when you could do a lot better if you could find the belief to be proactive.
@20 brings up a good point. LW, if you open this thing up, be clear about what you want, namely, other women. You want to screw other women badly. Wine is not another woman no matter how badly you may try and use it as a replacement. Tales of the legendary six beer queer have their roots in reality, but those deserve to go the way of old queens' tales.
In any case, 20's point that he may counter with wanting a fair exchange is a good one. If this bothers you, okay, but keep in mind, your intimacy with him has by your own admission been comatose for some time now, and he will also feel he is entitled to his desires as much as yours. They may not be bi desires, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.
Also, he almost certainly is assuming that your silence on the subject of what's bothering you means that it's him and what he's doing, his injury or some such thing. He deserves to be let off the hook for this. Your kids, too, don't need the full story, but should be clued in slightly to help explain why you will be cutting down on your wine intake (and cutting up on your box lunch intake).
But however you slice it, may you slice it right into another woman's willing and fully, 100% informed pants.
@21. Plural. Good comment. I read nothing in GAI's letter that implies that she is the main obstacle--that resistance or reluctance on her part--is the main reason that she's not having sex with her partner. She's horny and would be horny for him. Her sexual drought, though, means that her thoughts are wandering to women--possibly because that's her strongest orientation, or maybe because the fantasies are easier to entertain without thoughts of disloyalty to her long-term straight (male) partner.
It didn't cross my mind that she would (want to) cheat without any explanation or conversation with her possibly disabled or impaired partner.
@8 curious & @11 lionface. Very good and compassionate!
@16 ah, I am happy to new report that "one-drop" theory now applies to sexuality as well. Spent 15 years in a committed, presumptively monogamous relationship with an opposite-sex partner? That doesn't mean shit, it's those fantasies about women you've started having since your husband's dick stopped working that are your "real", "true", "inner" sexuality. Meanwhile, blue eyed, white-skinned Jason Kidd is still black in America. Great stuff.
She says "I'm bi" so I've been happy to not question her, but
"the truth is every single fantasy or sexual thought of mine now involves women"
That sounds more like "every single" drop than like "one-drop".
Unless (quoting @16 BiDanFan) "she is truly bisexual but her desire for men has been tainted by her unhappy opposite-sex marriage."
Hi GAI, couple additional suggestions for you. Come As You Areby Emily Nagoski is a popular-science review of recent research on women's sexuality. I've been reading this column for nearly 25 years (good lord) and I learned things from that book. Things that it seriously pissed me off were not part of my sex ed classes! So whoever you pursue sex with, that's a present to yourself.
Next, I'm seconding whoever it was above who pointed out that PIV is not the only kind of sex. I'm sorry for your husband's injuries and how they have affected your sex life, but between one dick, one tongue, ten fingers, his brain and whatever other body parts you find useful, surely he has at least one remaining functional sex organ?
Finally, check out autostraddle.com. Dan and the commentariat here are a good source of advice, but I think you will also benefit from the AS community. There are a whole lot of us bi women married to straight men and we don't stop being who we are just because of who we're married to.
Good luck, replace the booze with things that will actually make you feel better, and I think you can make some amazing changes. :)
Until she addresses her drinking problem the other issues will merely keep compounding.
I'm less sympathetic to the LW than the majority here. I think the root problem here is the marriage, and the LW wants to run away but not run away. Have her cake and eat it too. LW, you aren't going to be able to fuck your problems away.
I think the bisexuality aspect here is a bit of a red herring. The LW is in a deeply unsatisfying marriage, doesn't want to put in the work to fix it, and to me women here are the mystical 'other' that she's missing. But the reality is that we all have some aspect of our marriages or relationships that is lacking. Her 'other' is women. But getting your other isn't going to fix your problems. The LW needs to deal with her marriage. And that might (probably) means ending it. After dealing with that, then go experience your other. But solving your bisexuality problem without solving your marriage problem is going to be solving no problems at all.
It would be one thing if the LW came across as in control, with a good sense of self, a firm handle on her family life but with an irresistible urge for women. If that was the case, I could see cheating (and I saw nothing in the letter that the LW had been or was planning to be open with her husband about this) as an acceptable least-harm style gamble. I.e. I'm desperate, I need this release and with it I can keep from disrupting my family life, with the low probability outcome of complete disaster.
But given the emotional wreck you come across as (and no judgement on that, mid-life crises do us all in), the likelihood that you can pull off an affair and keep it under wraps seems very low. The most likely outcome is a horrible detonation in the middle of your life that screws everyone and ruins your socially. Don't set yourself up for that outcome, LW. Deal with your marriage first.
@34. philosophy school dropout. I think the LW is a 4 or 5 on the Kinsey Scale--a mostly gay woman who happened to get into a long-term relationship with a man, perhaps because it was more culturally current where she lives. Her gay feelings have maybe been brought to a head because of her sexual frustrations in her LTR--though they were simmering under before. I would be out of sympathy with any advice that told her to mothball the queer side of her sexuality in favor of (one interpretation of) the monogamous commitment she's made.
The reason I'm sympathetic to GAI is that, if you look at the last paragraph of her letter, she's genuinely open to being told either, 'put your gay desires to one side for now' and 'accept that your relationship has ended, at least sexually, and start to explore'. She's at a loss but still capable of elasticity and humor in her thoughts, while awaiting the advice of the wise, well-informed columnist.
@29Sportlandia Which letter did you read?
Everybody else is commenting on the letter from the bisexual woman with a history of dating both men and women, whose sex life with her hubby started to go down the tubes when she fell in love with another woman and then actively started pursuing other same sex relationships (posting on dating sites, going to lesbian bars). All this was made worse by her hubby's workplace accident that may or may not have affected his dick.
Where did you find the letter about the mostly straight woman who started fantasizing about other ladies when her husband's dick broke? It sounds interesting; I'd like to read it.
I hope the letter it seems he read but we all didn't isn't pure projection; I wouldn't wish a broken dick on anyone absolutely including Sportlandia.
p.s. Wait, that's not true. I wouldn't mind Brett Kavanaugh's dick breaking. I'd add Donald Trump, but as we all now know his little toadstool isn't long enough to break.
Sporty @29: Always good to have the straight male viewpoint on queer female sexuality. Did you also miss the bit about her having always been attracted to and dating both men and women prior to this marriage? One's desires ARE one's true sexuality. She has only experienced attraction to women over the past several years, and has not enjoyed sex with her husband even since before this accident which may or may not have affected his dick. (She never said the accident made him impotent.) This, to my mind, makes her mostly if not exclusively lesbian. And her husband needs to know this, as he's probably beating himself up wondering what he's doing wrong.
Pijmaradus @33: You're misquoting Homer Simpson. Beer is BOTH the cause of and the solution to all life's problems. GAI did not become a repressed bisexual because she drinks. She is drinking to self-medicate, and no doubt that has caused more problems as well as exacerbating the existing ones. She needs to address the drinking, sure, but many alcoholics make the mistake of thinking that if they just stop drinking their problems will magically disappear -- then it's no surprise that they fall back off the wagon when the problems they were drinking to forget are still there.
DoubleM @36: Ha, snap. Don't forget the part of the letter where this straight woman's two "small kids" are prodigies who will be off to college in three years' time.
Curious@30 and PSD@34: Yeah, I'm wondering who is this "bi woman" people are discussing? Sure, she starts with "dated both men & women" (presumably only before marriage) but now reports, "my libido . . .gets whacked by lust . . . cute girl. . . beautiful woman. . . female firefighter . . . female colleague." and "every single fantasy or sexual thought of mine now involves women".
Maybe she was bi 20 years ago, but she sure sounds like a lesbian now. That happens. We've learned over the last 25 years that female sexuality is fluid (for some woman).
So they're in a mixed-orientation marriage. Which sucks for both parties. Acknowledging that could allow the husband to know it's not him, personally, that's such a turn-off (as he may be thinking) but his gender. And it could allow both of them to negotiate if/how they want to keep their family together and how each of them could get some intimacy with willing, eager partners. The Straight Spouse Network has some resources for both of them, although more for him. A queer-positive, sex-positive, straight-guy-positive therapist could help them a lot.
Is the booze the chicken or the egg? It could be one of causes or one of symptoms but I think more likely a symptom. She sees no hope of satisfaction within her marriage and no possibilities outside her marriage. It's hard to live without hope. It's hard to have urges and desires that one assumes can never be acted on. Alcohol (only temporarily) dulls that emptiness and those pains.
@29 You're going to have a hard time selling anyone on the idea that someone like LW who by her own admission now sexually thinks exclusively of women isn't queer, or whatever term you want to slap on "not straight." That's not one drop, that's practically the whole bucket.
DAVID @41: Well, as a bisexual woman who was once trapped in a monogamous hetero marriage, she may still be bisexual; she's just not experiencing any desire for men because she has access to a man whenever she wants one. She doesn't desire this one because the relationship has become so strained, and her mind is equating this man with all men so that she's not experiencing desire for any men. If she were out of the marriage, single and dating, her bi side might return. Or if she were allowed to explore this in an open relationship, the resentment of her husband might dissipate and she might feel desire for him once again. It's more complicated than bodies and genitals.
Or indeed she may have gradually moved up the Kinsey scale over the past couple of decades and may as well round herself up to lesbian. She's allowed to do that.
Ms Fan - Wouldn't "stuck" be better terminology than "trapped"? I'd guess that LW feels "trapped", and that getting her to feel only "stuck" instead might be helpful.
Venn @44: Upon re-read I did see that I was unclear with my antecedents. I should have written, "As a bisexual woman who was once trapped in a monogamous hetero marriage, I FEEL THAT she may still be bisexual." I was talking about my feeling "trapped," and no, I don't think anyone saying "you're stuck, not trapped" would have changed anything. Would phrasing her drinking problem as "she likes a tipple" be helpful? I think it would be more helpful to advise GAI that traps can be escaped.
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