Savage Love: Guilt Ridden

Dear Dan,

My husband and I have been married for 16 years. We have been polyamorous for the last five years. We are a bit mismatched sexually in many ways. Polyamory was our solution. For much of this time, my husband had a girlfriend. Before I go on, let me say that I adore my husband in all ways except sex. We are raising a child together and are a good fit otherwise. I no longer have any desire to have sex with my husband. Lots of men and women write in to complain about their partner's low libido. This is not the case. My libido is fine. I just don't want to have sex with my husband. Whenever we would have sex in the past, I would get anxious and try to avoid it. We each have our issues. He feels insecure and has trouble maintaining erections. I always felt desexualized — not by him, but when I was younger. Being a poly woman dating in my 40s has been incredibly empowering and sexy. But my husband's experiences have been different. He is frustrated because it is hard for him to meet women, and his frustration is made worse by the fact that I don't want sex with him either. When he had a girlfriend, our sex life wasn't as much of an issue. What should I do? He's unhappy. I'm frustrated. Neither of us wants to divorce. Should I force myself?

— Lady In Baltimore Isn't Desiring Obligatory Sex

It is a truth universally acknowledged — in the poly universe anyway — that a married poly woman will have an easier time finding sex partners than a married poly man. Some men in open/poly relationships present themselves as dishonest cheaters rather than honest nonmonogamists because women would rather fuck a married man who's cheating on his wife than a married man who isn't cheating on his wife.

Go figure.

Anyway, LIBIDOS, the answer to your question —should you force yourself to fuck your husband? —depends on your answer to this question: How badly do you want to avoid divorce? Because if your husband can't or won't pretend to be cheating, LIBIDOS, and if women won't fuck him because he's in an open marriage, your refusal to fuck him could wind up incentivizing divorce.

So to save your marriage, LIBIDOS, you might wanna fuck your husband once in a while. Forcing yourself to fuck someone is tiresome and dispiriting, I realize, but you can always close your eyes and think about someone you'd rather be fucking — a time-tested stratagem employed successfully by millions of people in loving, stable, and sexually enervating/dead marriages.

And since you're off the hook when your husband has a girlfriend, LIBIDOS, you might wanna do everything you can to help him find a new one — a stratagem employed by tens of thousands of women in poly relationships. You don't want your husband stewing alone at home while you're out fucking your boyfriend(s), LIBIDOS, because that ups the odds of your resentful/unfucked husband asking you to close up your relationship again or asking you for a divorce. So help him craft messages to women he contacts online, go to play parties and poly mixers with him, and vouch for him to women he's interested in.

But between girlfriends, LIBIDOS, you'll probably wanna fuck him once in a while. Lube for you, Viagra for him, pot for you both.

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