From the Hit Me Up archives: Our resident agony aunt Rhona McAuliffe offers advice to a reader whose fantasy sex life is becoming a little bit too real.
I’ve been with my husband for almost seven years now and we have two small kids together. Our sex life has been a constant, even when I was heavily pregnant, or we hadn’t slept in months, or my boobs were still leaking, miraculously, we still made time to be intimate.
We’ve always played around with different fantasies and role plays. A regular favourite of my husband’s over the last year or so has been a threesome involving another man. Our fantasy threesomes used to involve another woman so I was curious about her being replaced by a man from the start, mainly because I’m not turned on by the two men/ one woman scenario and struggle to get into it.
Now, when we’re having sex, my husband often gets totally carried away with dirty talk about this fantasy man. They’re kissing or getting it on and I don’t even feature. I’m not watching or even in the room but I might walk in and catch them and then join in.
I feel rejected but am mostly just not into it. I’m also starting to suspect that my husband might be gay but this would be so out of the blue I can’t really swallow it. Excuse the pun.
What do you think? Is this a big red flag? Everything else is great between us.
Just Curious, Dublin.
The first thing I’d like to do is commend your seemingly boundless patience! I would be less concerned about your husband’s sexuality than I would be about the fact that he has almost written you out of his fantasy narrative. It’s one thing to explore the sexual boundaries of a healthy relationship and another to be a mindlessly greedy lover. The fact that you’ve been awarded a walk-on part at the end of your husband’s impassioned romp says it all really.
Whomever he’s with – man, woman or beast – there’s only one person he’s really thinking about and that’s himself. But more on that later. Up until now it sounds like you’ve enjoyed a varied and fulfilling sex life, despite having had to navigate some of the most potent libido killers – new babies, breast-feeding, sleeplessness and hormonal chaos. In that respect, you are a post-natal, sex-making anomaly; maybe even close to attaining mythical creature status in some circles, or at the very least in the small percentage of couples who can honestly say that their sex life was not impacted by the birth of their children.
Added to that, you’ve actively embraced role-play and have been happy to share your sexual fantasies with each other. You’ve progressed from classic threesome territory – woman/ man/ woman – to what may have started out as a cuckold fantasy. This is where a man fantasises about his partner – man or woman – having sex with another man while he watches. This dynamic is often built on the buzz of humiliation and degradation, where the primary partner feels that he is in some way unworthy of his highly desirable partner, whose needs must be met by a third party.
"For straight men in heterosexual relationships, admitting to fantasising about sex with other men is still heavily stigmatised and wrongly throws their sexuality into question."
There’s every possibility that your husband eased some light cuckolding into your fantasy scape so that he could eventually air his long-buried desire to have sex with a man. Without realising it, it seems – and because you are a generous and open lover who’s rolled with the script until now – he’s inadvertently outed himself. And that doesn’t mean that he’s gay or bi, or that he ever needs to label his sexuality but it does mean that he is at the very least curious.
For straight men in heterosexual relationships, admitting to fantasising about sex with other men is still heavily stigmatised and wrongly throws their sexuality into question. Conversely, it’s completely accepted and almost expected for a woman to share her desire to sleep with another woman.
Gay fantasies are as common for straight people of both sexes, as are straight-sex fantasies for gay people! The crux is in the follow-through. Out there in Fantasy Land, anything goes. You might be a multi-breasted warrior from Lesbos one week and a Dhungry member of the French Resistance the next. Or your fantasies might mirror situations which, with a little research and planning, could be realised.
That doesn’t mean that your erotic scripts are a rehearsal for the real deal but it does add an extra hit of this might actually happen one day fairy dust. Even though it probably won’t. Especially, in the fade of postcoital glow, if one partner gleefully crashes the portcullis down on those wild notions. But it might. You never know. So, now you need to get inside your husband’s head.
"Sexuality is a developmental process that alters depending on how connected you are to your sexual self and that it is very normal for your sexual preferences to change."
You could open by telling him that being an extra in his two-man show is not working for you; that you wonder if he’s been sitting on a desire to be with a man for a long time. Let him know that you have no interest in judging him but think it’s important to discuss, as if he’s hoping to progress to a live encounter you need to figure if it’s something you can or can’t navigate as a couple, This may all be too much for him initially.
He might have no interest in progressing to a real life scenario or may not even be conscious of his evolving desires, relegating them firmly to his fantasy world. Talking it out will help you both make sense of it all and encourage him to explore where he’s at.
On the flip side, he may confess that he’s already cruising Grindr, so brace for impact. Remember that sexuality is a developmental process that alters depending on how connected you are to your sexual self and that it is very normal for your sexual preferences to change. What you need to establish is where you fit in this potentially new dynamic. Will your husband be happy with bit-parts for his fantasy men, casting you again in the starring role?
Or will the hunt for a male unicorn begin in earnest? And that’s not the pony with the glittery horn, it’s the bisexual male who’s hot for married couples. So many options to explore, please keep us posted.