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DEAR LIRA: My partner wants me to have sex with other men

My partner of seven years would like me to go out and have sex with other men. He would also like, occasionally, to be involved himself. He seems to think that I want this myself, and that it will make me happy, but I have never suggested nor wanted it. He says he wants me to do whatever I like as long as I come back to him, and never leave him. To be honest, I just find it all very strange.

There are various possible reasons for your partner’s requests. For example, he may be feeling that your sex life together needs a boost but does not know how to implement this – or even how to start an appropriate conversation about it. Or he may have reached a point in his life where he feels he needs to explore his own sexuality in a new direction. But considering his expressed fear of abandonment, it is also possible that he may be experiencing a crisis of confidence about his own ability to continue pleasing you himself, and is offering what he thinks are viable options.

Communicate your concerns about this to him in a gentle and reassuring manner. Use a nonthreatening questioning style such as “Please would you help me to understand your desire to open our relationship?” and “What would make our own lovemaking more exciting for you?” It is not unusual for a person to be excited by the thought of his partner being sexual with another man; in fact, it may reflect a wish to reclaim earlier feelings of attraction for you – an erotic charge possibly sparked by a rival’s challenge.

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