In a relationship or life jam?
Lemme unstuck your life — send your questions to: [email protected]
I am in a sexless marriage, but I still love my husband very much. I have fantasies about being with another woman, and I even watch lesbian porn. I tried it once before, but I was so nervous I didn’t enjoy or remember much from it. I take my marriage vows very seriously, but the thought of being with another woman just for one night is tempting. I don’t know if my conscience would let me do it, but the thought is there. I know this is wrong, but I can’t help it.
—Wanting to be Touched
Hello Wanting to be Touched,
I want to begin by thanking you for sharing your question with me. It can be difficult to reveal our desires to ourselves, and even more so to share them with someone else. And, hopefully, by taking this first step, you’ll feel more comfortable sharing your desire with the person who really needs to know about it most: Your husband.
There is nothing, I repeat nothing, wrong with your urge to be with another woman. Sexuality is on a spectrum. That means you can be a woman who identifies as straight and is married to a man and still experience attraction to women. It means that you could go your entire life believing you were attracted to solely men and then wake up one day all hot and bothered for a lady — I mean, what straight girl hasn’t had a moment where Janelle Monae made them question their sexual affinity for men? It’d be OK if you tapped into your inner-feels recently and realized you’re really more asexual than anything else and just got married and did the husband thing because that’s what you were supposed to do.
There’s a whole lotta pressure to present as straight because our society is heteronormative AF, which means straight cis couples are privileged, and everything is tailored toward their needs and worldviews — think 99 percent of movies featuring straight couples, tax credits for getting married and not getting hassled by hate groups or blocked by the government if you want to do something awesome for the community like adopting a child. Depending on where you land on the ol’ sexuality spectrum, it’s frequently easier to just live your life as a straight person, doing as straight folks do, and not engaging with your full self. Which is what it sounds like you’ve been doing for quite some time.
It seems like you’re feeling a lot of guilt over being married to a man and wanting to be with a woman. But another way that our heteronormative society hurts everyone (You know, beyond all the bigotry and homophobia that limits the freedom of the LGBTQ+ community and has even resulted in the loss of lives) is that you were herded into this super-straight existence before you even truly knew what you wanted out of a relationship, much less life. And now you’re at this point in your life where you have questions and you’d really like answers. Answers only another woman can give you.
Now, I know women who’ve had this very conversation with their husbands. I know women who’ve had this conversation, and it went really well. Their partners were loving and understanding and willing to engage in ongoing talks, until they found a good solution for their marriage. But, honestly, I don’t think your marriage could handle a talk like that. Not right now at least (Or I would have spent this column giving you tips for opening up your marriage — I’m not anti-poly y’all, just not down with poly evangelists!).
You opened your letter by saying you’re in a “sexless marriage.” And I don’t think that has anything at all to do with your fantasies or desires to be with a woman. But I do think it’s a strong sign that there’s something that needs to be addressed between you and your husband, even if you do love him a lot and he loves you, too. I suggest you two begin couples therapy. First, answer the question of why you aren’t having sex, and then let your therapist be your guide in beginning a conversation about your need to be with another woman and what that means for your marriage. Sometimes, we just need a third-party to help us through difficult conversations.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be touched by your husband. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be touched by another woman. There’s nothing wrong with you. —Minda