How I Have Sex: ‘I Became More Experimental With My Partner When I Started Seeing Other People’
In How I Have Sex, we bring you candid retellings of people’s sexual lives that explore the multidimensional nature of this human experience. In this installment, 34-year-old T. talks about attraction and desire in a polyamorous relationship.
The first time I had sex was after marriage; I got married when I was 24 years old. I didn’t know I wanted to be in a polyamorous relationship then, or before that — I didn’t even know about the word polyamory.
At that time, I think before I got married, I was happy with my one relationship. I’ve been together with my husband for 14 years now; we dated for about eight years, and I was content with that. But also at that time, I realized that I was giving work a lot more importance and work ended up taking a lot more time. I started getting attracted to other people when work sort of started taking less importance in my life.
About five years ago, we mutually decided to open up our marriage. We had a conversation because we both had been together for too long, and it was not possible to not be attracted to other people. After I told my husband about being attracted to another friend, we decided to seek sex outside of marriage. Then I tried reading up online about ‘open’ marriages and learned about ethical non-monogamy and polyamory. But that wasn’t working for me — so we decided to do whatever works, whether that’s a relationship or not. I’ve only sought out relationships, not just sex, outside of the marriage.
I wasn’t not satisfied in bed. Sexually I’m not too demanding; I don’t need much to be satisfied. I first remember thinking about sex when I was around sixth or seventh grade; on the cable at night, they used to put on porn. I think my dad used to watch it, and I was very intrigued by it, but I was never allowed to watch TV that late. My older cousins would turn on the TV in the room we shared, and we would watch porn to understand how sex is done, and I used to turn to my cousins to ask them what’s happening. They told me about penetration, and I explored some makeout sex with my cousin when I was young.
I wasn’t sexually active with anyone before my husband. What sort of happens in a relationship, or long-term relationship is, that nervous, butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling of being newly in love, that sort of fades. And I think I missed that more than I missed anything in bed. For me, polyamory is both — romance and sexual attraction.
But being in other relationships has not been possible; mostly because when we started opening up the marriage, no one was ready to be committed or be in a serious relationship with a married woman. So it has mostly ended up being about having sex — and me catching feelings, me being interested, me being heartbroken because guys aren’t interested. I’m assuming it’s because I’m married. But I am looking for a long-term relationship outside of marriage.
For me, emotionally, I think one more partner outside of the marriage will sort of be enough for me. Even in terms of being attracted to anyone outside of the marriage, it’s only been one person at a time. We’ve spoken about possibilities of threesomes, we’re open to it. But I haven’t met people I’ve been comfortable enough to have threesomes with, so things have not really happened on that front.
When we started seeing other people and having sex with other people, we started becoming more experimental in bed ourselves, with each other, which kind of made things better in a way. We do bondage with scarves, mostly; we played around with candle wax; we’re slowly going towards anal play; but being blindfolded while having sex is the best. We do talk to each other about our experiences in bed with hook-ups, but not about our other relationships, unless we have the other person’s consent.
Related on The Swaddle:
How a Polyamorous Man Adapted to Sexting Under Lockdown
I also masturbate a lot more now, once we opened up our marriage. My husband bought me two vibrators eight years ago; they lasted me a good seven years and stopped working last year. My best toys so far. Other than that, I have tried a strap-on, and it feels powerful. I love vibrators — they work very well for me — and usually, I like to spend my free time having an infinite number of orgasms with my vibrator when I am home alone.
Foreplay is definitely different outside of our marriage, because there is this new energy with newer people — just making out, just kissing, just being flattered a little bit, being attracted is enough to have sex. But within the marriage, I think we have to try a little more; we have to carve out the time, we have to try different things, because it’s not very easy to go from ‘what should we cook for lunch’ to having sex.
The erogenous zones for me are my neck, boobs, inner thighs, ass. For my partner, nipples are a very, very sensitive area, so I like playing with his nipples. A lot. I also like spanking him. His ears are very sensitive, so he likes me to blow air into it; it literally gives him goosebumps, so I love doing that. I really like doing whatever works for him, because that gives me pleasure to see him be excited. With other relationships, it differs with different people — it really just depends on how I’m meeting that person. A lot of times I have ended up talking about what they like in bed. But a lot of times, too, it’s just been straight to bed and figuring things out from there.
When it has been straight to bed, I think at least two to three times, guys have not been able to get it up. And while I understand it’s a hard — tough — time for guys when they are unable to get it up, it really hits your self-esteem when that happens. So with straight-to-bed, I’m always afraid — I have performance anxiety for them, I don’t want it happening again to another guy, because they just shut down after that. I then worry whether it’s me or whether it’s something else. It has been very difficult.
One good experience, though, was this one date, when they went down on me and I haven’t ever cum as hard before — and they did it twice. Cumming while someone is going down on you for the first time, that is rare for me. I will always remember that. Another time I couldn’t have penetrative sex because I was recovering from a yeast infection. I was in this hotel room with him, and we mostly dirty talked while I gave him a handjob. That was good.
I’m not dating anyone right now — it’s Covid times. Usually, my sex drive is low. Plus, right now, my mental health is not in a good place, and my work scene is not the best. If there is any other stress in my life, I tend to shut down sexually. Last year, during the lockdown, my husband and I were stuck at my mom’s house, and we didn’t have sex for the many months that we were there; family can be a huge turn-off for me. When I’m with family, I don’t have sex.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
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