I Told My Husband He Should Sleep With Other Women

by Tanessa Holt
Originally Published: 
open marriage with husband, husband sex with another woman
Alex Iby/ Unsplash

Over the years, as my youthful energy has faded and given way to sleepless nights and sick children, laundry by the truckload, pregnancy, and the unpleasantness that can come along with that, I have realized that the sexual passion that once burned within me is feeling burned-out.

My partner and father to my children seems to have found the sexual appetite that I have lost, and his desires and advances for intimacy often go ignored. Before children, we were two young lovers with a ferocious appetite for each other’s minds, bodies and everything in between. Rarely was there a moment in our relationship that you could find us without our hands on one another, with friends and family joking often for us to “get a room.”

We loved everything that the other had to offer, satisfying our appetite for each other with nooners, sneaking kisses, sweet caresses in passing, and conversation that lasted until the break of dawn. We were the couple that inspired other lovers, as often told to us by strangers in passing. We fiercely loved and weren’t afraid to share that with the world.

A few months into dating, while still very much in lust, we got the news that a baby was in our future. Thankfully, my partner and I were both happy to know that we would become parents and had spoken about that possibility beforehand. The excitement for the baby grew and the weight of our new reality and responsibilities began to set in.

Things started to change for me as the stress set in. I had to quit working in the field that I had been in for the past decade as I was no longer going to be able to work away from home for long stretches once the baby was born. For the first time in a long time, I would be dependent on someone else, while also having a brand new baby be completely dependent on me. It was a terrifying time for me as I had spent so much of my life freeing myself from dependency and commitment of any kind.

I can remember having a breakdown on the phone with my sister, crying about feeling lost and not knowing who I was anymore or who I was about to become. Feelings of insecurity set into my relationship as my body changed and my emotions raged. My partner wasn’t helping much to reduce the anxiety I felt either, as there was no way for him to truly understand what I meant by “I feel like an alien has taken over my body and mind” on the rough days.

We were (are?) both gypsy souls at heart and had enjoyed the solo transient life for many years before finding each other. It was becoming very hard for both of us to grasp the severity of becoming parents, given that we both were so impulsive. I think I was about eight months pregnant at the time, and we knew that we had to move from where we were and couldn’t decide if we would head back East to be closer to his family or West to chase the work.

It was down-to-the wire when we had two weeks left in our apartment before our notice was up, and I had doctor appointments booked at either end of the country because we hadn’t been able to make a decision as to where we were going to be living. Finally, one day I had enough and made the decision to head East as it was less traveling (20 hours versus 7 days on the road), and we would have the added help of having family close (ha!).

During that time of uncertainty, I can remember going through dry spells where we lacked intimacy big time. Often I was exhausted, emotional, stressed, sick, or all of the above and didn’t have the energy within me to even think about having sex. He would try at night, snuggled into bed ready to sleep, and I would hear the words “wanna fool around?” But I had nothing in me to give, sexually.

Over time, he finally came to understand that I wasn’t going to be one of those super horny pregnant women that we sometimes hear about, and I think he gave up on the notion of us having the sex life we once had. I could feel the dejection from him whenever his advances went unaccepted. It killed me that I didn’t want to and didn’t feel like having sex with my partner, that I was causing a lot of the tension in our relationship by withholding physical intimacy from him.

It was at this time that I first entertained the idea of “allowing” (and I dislike that term because, truly, who am I to allow or disallow anyone from anything?) him to sleep with other women. I knew that, for whatever reason, I was not willing to give him what he was needing and it was starting to cause cracks in our foundation. I had thought long and hard about the implications of such actions, not knowing how I would feel if or when the time came, but I knew that it was at least a conversation that I had to encourage between us.

There is no easy way to invite another lover into your life, especially when doing so is not for your own satisfaction but for the sake of your relationship. My partner was quite shocked and seemingly uncomfortable with the conversation as I brought it up, and found it to be hurtful rather than helpful. I explained that this was my way of protecting what we had rather than ignoring the obvious elephant in the room, because, to me, what we have is so much more than just physical, so I am not fearful that another woman will enter into the sacredness of our relationship, should we walk through that door eventually.

This was not an easy decision to come to, and many times after the initial conversation, I have wondered if I have said and done the “right” thing. I guess we will never know what truly is right or wrong, rather we will only be able to identify what is right at the time or in the moment. And in the moment of our relationship when I am not able to fulfill all of my partner’s sexual desires, it felt right to invite in someone else who could.

I love my man with all of my heart and in order to have longevity in that love, at times we have to be creative with our solutions. This is an expression of my creativity.

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