My husband and I are newlyweds who have been together for almost five years. Over the course of our relationship, we have discussed the potential of bringing other partners into the bedroom with us. Recently, we decided to go to an event for couples and single women. As this would be our first foray into this type of experience, we set up some ground rules prior to the event—primarily, no penetration or oral sex.

The event ended up being smaller (and decidedly more intimate) than we had anticipated and we ended up relying a little too heavily on our drinks to quell our nerves. We met a great couple and chatted with them for a while before deciding to make our way into the playroom. Amidst the initial kissing and light touching, those nervous cocktails suddenly rushed to my head. Apparently, my husband and I had a conversation in which we decided to forego our previously established ground rule of no penetration. Though he went forward with this and had sex with a new partner (both vaginal and oral), I ended up in the bathroom unable to keep the liquor down before any sex occurred with the man I was with.

In the morning, I was upset. He informed me that I had agreed to forego our ground rules in my drunken state. Now, I feel incredibly confused. I’m hurt—but I can’t tell if I’m hurt because I feel left out (after all, I was going to engage in sexual intercourse as well before the alcohol decided to intervene) or if I’m upset because I was too drunk to be making the decision to abandon the rules (he claims he was pretty drunk as well during this conversation). Either way, I know I don’t have any justification for feeling hurt—but I can’t seem to shake it.

I’ve been the proponent for bringing other people into our sexual experiences, but he’s the one who ended up acting on it. Did I bring this on myself? We clearly went about our first swinging experience all wrong—the alcohol being our biggest mistake. We’ve talked about the incident and he feels badly—but ultimately doesn’t feel to blame because I gave the go-ahead. I want to resolve this, but I’m having a difficult time not feeling resentful of him. Please help.

Was Hazily Objecting Oral / Penetrative Sex

You're right, WHOOPS—the alcohol was your biggest mistake. But let's tackle those conflicted feelings first.

On the one hand, WHOOPS, you're upset about a mutual-but-impaired decision to revise your ground rules. (At least that's how your husband describes the decision.) On the other hand, WHOOPS, you're upset you didn't get to fuck someone else after making that mutual-but-impaired decision to revise your ground rules. Hm. It seems to me that your anger with the husband is a little misplaced. Your spouse may bear more responsibility for how things unfolded—if you don't recall the convo about revising the ground rules, WHOOPS, then you were in no condition to consent to revising those ground rules—but your feelings about what happened next (or didn't happen next) either get your husband off the hook or hang you on the hook right next to him. Because if you were too drunk to consent to altering the rules, WHOOPS, then you were too drunk to consent to the sex you wanted to have with that other guy and would've had with that other guy if the alcohol hadn't decided to intervene*.

To put it another way, WHOOPS, you can be upset about one or the other of these options but not both:

1. You're upset about the rule change but you're not upset about the sex you missed out on.

2. You're not upset about the rule change but you are upset about the sex you missed out on.

Even if you were to pick one option—even if your feelings were logically consistent—the fact that you're upset doesn't change. You're upset. You have every right to be upset. You can't help but feel your feelings. But when we slap the "hurt" label on a feeling, WHOOPS, we're naturally gonna look around for someone to blame for causing us that hurt. And... your husband is the most convenient and obvious target.

My advice: peel the "hurt" label off this particular upset, WHOOPS, and resist assigning blame. Your first experience with bringing other partners in didn't go well, you feel let down, you feel like you missed out. But not every "foray into this type of experience" (or any type of experience) is successful the first time you give it a go. Plus, this attempted experience included booze, genitalia, playrooms, rules, and emotions, making fucking (see: your husband) a likelihood, but also upping the odds of fucking everything up (see: the both of you).

But, hey, you learned some things, WHOOPS! Things that are going to help you get this right next time!

Things like...

Don't get wasted. If you need something to take the edge off next time, try a little—very little—pot. It'll chill you out without obliterating your judgment, memory, or impulse control. But don't go too hard on the weed, either. Try something mellow, something like this. (Link kindasorta SFW.)

Revise your rules before the next party but don't revise them at the party. Reevaluate what you're both looking for from this experience. You say oral and penetrative sex was off the table, which means I'm assuming you were looking forward to... mutual masturbation? Having sex with each while people watched? It also sounds like you were always planning to share your husband at some point—full swap, the swingers call it—but now you're feeling (understandably) apprehensive, you fear a potential repeat, you missed out last time and don't want to miss out next time. So new rule: you get fucked (by someone else) first. If your husband still has a problem following the rules, this sort of scene—parties with with hotties, opportunities, and alcohol—might not be right for you. Meeting up with just one other couple in a bar or a restaurant, i.e. someplace without a fuckspace playroom, could be a better plan.

Take a break. Let this rest for a bit if you're feeling worked up. It'll be better to come back to threesome/swinging/playroom stuff with a fresh perspective than to bring in tension and anxiety.

* Alcohol is an inanimate (if fluid) object, and does not have agency.

Listen to my podcast, the Savage Lovecast, at www.savagelovecast.com.

Impeach the motherfucker already! Get your ITMFA buttons, t-shirts, hats and—soon—lapel pins and coffee mugs at www.ITMFA.org!