Let's blame it on Dan Savage — or more accurately, send him a thank you pie — that Flick and I opened our relationship less than a year ago. We'd had 21 years of mostly successful monogamy, but after seeing a live recording of the Savage Lovecast last October, we started discussing our relationship and what we wanted it to look like in a way we never had before.
We were in a really great place in our relationship, celebrating 18 years of marriage and having better sex than we'd had in many years, perhaps ever. There'd been the usual miscellaneous ups and downs in our partnership, and we’d had a few years of lacklustre lovin', a common occurrence in long-term partnerships, but due to a variety of reasons, we had over the previous year, come together better than ever.
Partly, it was due to me being in my 40s and coming into a confidence I hadn't dreamed of in my younger years. I'd been incredibly insecure in my 20s and it had been hard to own my sexuality. I'd had a few bisexual adventures, with Flick’s consent to explore outside our marriage, but other than admitting my attraction to women, I just couldn’t step up and announce what I wanted in sex, though admittedly, I don’t think I knew myself. In my 30s, I'd essentially tried to shut down my sexual self after an indiscretion of the non-ethical kind had come to light, and I’d slut-shamed myself into turning off all but the essentials, even long after Flick had forgiven me and moved on. I backtracked all our baby steps into exploring kink and other more adventurous sexual play so that I could be the good wife I thought I should be.
Fast forward 10 years of hairshirt-wearing good behaviour and I slowly found myself again. I saw my doctor and a couple Psychiatrists and learned that I wasn’t just high strung but had Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Figuring that out, and getting some treatment, let me label the constant worry about how Flick might react to my sexual desires and get some distance from the debilitating thoughts. Slowly, I was able to be a complete person again, a person with a sex drive that wasn't abnormal or deviant, but that was a healthy, essential part of her.
Sitting in the theatre at the live podcast listening to Dan and Dr. Lori Brotto discuss studies that showed the key to long-term couples' sexual happiness was sexual adventure, I knew Flick and I had to shake things up. What kind of adventures could we have?
Public sex was the first thing I thought of. I’d recently read an article in the local queer weekly newspaper about a sex club operating downtown. I’d had no idea that such a thing existed, but now that I knew, I really wanted to go and get fucked in front of an audience. I’m a raging exhibitionist, but it has to be in an appropriate setting (Hey, anxiety!), and a sex club was the perfect combo of both appropriate and public.
High on both of our lists was a threesome with another woman. I'd really wanted that to happen when I was doing my bisexual explorations in my 20s, but the women I'd played with were partnered and our guys weren’t into the tradesies proposal I put forth. I’d had no idea how else to find someone (this was back in the mid-90s when internet dating wasn’t the default setting).
Shortly after we started discussing various options, I had a work trip out of the country for a week. While I was away, Flick told me about a hot, flirty Brazilian woman he'd met at the conference he was attending.
“Ooh, I'm sad you didn't score and tell me all about it,” I messaged.
“I didn't know that was on the menu,” Flick answered.
“I hadn't realized until recently, but it is,” I replied.
At that moment, I didn’t feel the sick dread I'd always felt when a hot woman flirted with him. Gone was that ever-present sense of she's so much hotter/sexier/prettier/more fun/wilder/buxom than me. He'd be crazy not to leave me for her. All I felt was arousal and giddy excitement that he could have an awesome adventure, and that I could get all the vicarious details. I hadn't heard the term ‘compersion’ at that point, but I was feeling it. I was feeling it right then and also later on as I lay in bed grinding against my vibrator and imagining the possibilities. Oh was I feeling it!
The hot Brazilian woman no longer felt like a threat because I'd come into owning my awesomeness. Flick could go have an adventure, but then he’d come home to me. He’d be crazy not to.
When I returned home we fucked like crazy — the other thing good for the sex lives of long-term couples: separate vacations. We planned our next move, booking New Year's tickets at a local swing club my one openly open friend recommended, and we started talking threesome.
(To be continued)