Been reading your column for twenty years. I'm 34 years old now and I'm reaching out for advice for the first time.

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I've been with my partner for three years. I love him very much and I'm content in the other aspects of our relationship. Things have always been very tame in the bedroom, with little to no experimenting. I've been a part of fetish groups before and I miss the thrill. My partner refuses to take part in anything BDSM. I asked him if we could get a flogger to play with and he said he wouldn't use it. I asked him if he would mind if I took part in BDSM play groups—with the promise of no sexual contact—and again he said no. What, if anything can I do to get him to open up and explore sexually with me? He doesn't like anal, blowjobs are met with silence, and porn is out of the question.

Please Help Spice Up My Life

Cheating will spice up your sex life—I don't mean you should start cheating now, of course, as now would be a terrible time to start cheating. In fact, millions of people around the world were recently forced to stop cheating. (And stop swinging, which isn't cheating, and stop doing polyamory, which isn't cheating, and stop having threesomes, which isn't cheating, etc., etc.) But I gotta ask... have you considered cheating? Since you say you're a longtime reader, PHSUML, it would surprise me if you hadn't at least considered it. And I gotta say... if I were in your shoes... if my blowjobs were met with silence... I would’ve done a whole lot more than consider it. I'm not saying you should cheat. Not now. I'm just asking if you’ve thought about it.

Leaving is also an option. — Dan

I've thought about it on more than one occasion, I'm ashamed to say. But it's not something I could do to him. This is why I'm going back and forth. I could cheat, break his heart, and we could eventually break up. Or I could break up with him now for sex with random people. But I honestly love him and want things to work. He just has zero interest in opening up and trying new things. Do I cut him off until he's willing to try? Talking about my fetishes and fantasies didn't really work out. Do I try and open up the relationship? Do I just buy myself toys and forget about sex? I'm so lost. — PHSUML

Before I say more, PHSUML, I wanna say this: My perspective on your question is a little skewed. Because my sample is skewed. Because I constantly hear from people who were in your situation at year three—or month three—and stayed because "the other aspects" of the relationship were great, PHSUML, and in every instance their misery has only grown over time. Reading a steady stream of letters exactly likes yours from people who've stuck it out for ten or twenty years (or more!) and are still miserable... well, it doesn't fill me with hope for your future. This doesn't seem like a problem—based on my sample—that gets better over time. But like I said, PHSUML, my sample is skewed. I don’t get letters from people who were in your situation and whose partners eventually opened up to them sexually or who reconciled themselves to a sexless or sexually unfulfilling relationship and are now blissfully happy. Happy people don't send letters to advice columnists to let us know everything's going great.

All that said, PHSUML, once the world reopens I think you should insist on opening up this relationship as a condition of staying. Tell him you're willing to compromise: you're not asking to fully open the relationship—no intercourse with others—you just want an accommodation that allows you to seek some sexual adventure and fulfillment outside the relationship. You hesitated to play that card when you could—meaning pre-pandemic—because you love him and don’t wanna leave him and don't want him to leave you. Okay, sure. If that's what you wanna do, PHSUML, if you're afraid to even ask, then you'll have to accept a life without anal, porn, floggers, or enthusiastically-received blowjobs. And if you don't wanna be miserable, you'll have to learn to love that life. You say he has zero interest in opening up the relationship, PHSUML, and that may be true. But if he feels as strongly about being with you as you feel about being with him—if he loves you as much as you love him—maybe he’ll agree to “settle” for what you want instead of you having to settle for what he wants. But you'll have to force the issue.

As for this...

"Or I could break up with him now for sex with random people."

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That's a false choice. Breaking up with him now—or breaking up with him a soon as circumstances pandemics allow—doesn't mean having sex with randos for the rest of your life. You'll get to have sex with some randos, of course, and sex with randos sounds a lot better than the sex you're having now. And who knows? One of those randos could turn out to be your next boyfriend... and a much better one. — Dan


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

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