My Boyfriend Doesn't Share My Kinks. Should I Let a Friend "Help Me Out?"
Sam W replies:My boyfriend and I really love each other and have a lot in common, but while I’m incredibly sexual, he has little to no interest in sexuality. He’s the only person I’ve ever had sex with and because he’s not into all the kinks I am, I feel like I’m missing out. I also have never had an orgasm, neither from intercourse nor by my own hands. I’ve been telling one of my guy friends about my struggles and he has offered to help me out a little, mostly with helping me be able to climax. Kinda like a sexual physical therapy. And he’s willing to allow me to live out my kinks with him, whether they be physical or not. Breaking up with my boyfriend isn’t an option because I love him so much and can’t bear to hurt him. He has also said he’s not fond of open relationships. My sex drive has been driving me nuts and I need to scratch this itch that my boyfriend refuses to. But I can’t hurt him. Am I being irrational? Should I just be honest with him or should I just accept my friend’s offer without saying anything?
You can't see it, but I'm holding a stop sign up to the computer screen right now, because you need to hit the brakes when it comes to your friend and his oh-so-generous offer to help you cheat on your boyfriend. That's what he's offering, by the way; it's not sexual physical therapy if you're a) not paying for it and b) not able to be honest with your partner about it. If you really, really want to explore your kinks with your friend, then you need to break up with your boyfriend first. Going behind his back is not fair to your relationship or to him, and if you love him then you need to be honest with him and end things cleanly rather than betray his trust.
I'm sorry if that feels harsh, or if it's not what you want to hear, but right now you're heading towards a decision that's going to hurt multiple people, including yourself. There is nothing wrong with wanting sex frequently or being interested in different kinds of kink. And there's nothing wrong with having multiple partners or being in two relationships at once. But the minute dishonesty enters into the picture is the minute the scenario stops being okay.
Given that your boyfriend is not interested in opening the relationship, and we've taken the option of having sex with your friend while still with your boyfriend off the table, let's look at some other possible solutions to your situation.
An option I've already mentioned is breaking up with your boyfriend to pursue a sexual relationship with your friend. I'm not a huge fan of this option because your friend is giving off some sketchy signals. When you confided in him about sexual issues in your relationship, his reaction to offer to "help you out" was a self-serving solution. Instead of listening to you, sympathizing, and maybe offering some advice or distraction from your worries, he suggested something that puts you in a sticky situation and disrespects a relationship that is important to you. Those aren't the actions of a friend; they're the actions of someone who's attracted to you (and maybe has been for a while) and sees this as a chance to finally have sex with you. Because I wasn't there, I can't know if you're the one who steered the conversation towards him "helping" you, but even if that was the case, he should only have been open to the idea if he knew it was an above-board, agreed-upon arrangement between you and your boyfriend.
Another option is to address some of the issues in your sexual relationship with your boyfriend. You and he have different levels of sexual desire. That's incredibly common, and even in couples where desire levels are closely matched there's no guarantee that both people will want sex at the same time. Stress, life changes, feelings about the relationship, medication, physical health, and a host of other factors can influence how much a person is interested in sex at any given moment. If you're the partner who wants sex more often, you have to make sure you're not pressuring your partner or making them feel obligated to have sex with you more than they actually want; if pressure or coercion are present, true consent is difficult at best and impossible at worst. Part of evaluating whether to stay in a relationship is looking at how much your partner wants sex, how much you want sex, and whether you can live happily with that balance. It sounds like your boyfriend has always had little to no interest in sex and there's nothing to indicate that's going to change, so you need to be honest with yourself about whether you can be happy with that dynamic in the long term.
Similar mismatches can exist with kinks or other sexual interests. Chances are good any partner you meet won't perfectly align with you on sexual preferences. These mismatches are why communication and negotiation are important. Now, when I say negotiation, I do NOT mean you should try to talk a partner out of a hard boundary. If someone says, for instance, that anal sex is absolutely a no-go for them, you need to treat it as such and not try to coax or coerce them into having it. I'm talking about those moments when one person is interested in doing a certain sexual thing and the other person goes, "that's not in my top ten favorite sex acts, but I don't mind it and I love making you feel good, so I'm game!" Or moments when one of you is raring to go and the other says, "I'm not aroused right now, but give me a few minutes with this trashy novel/sexy song/particularly smutty fanfiction and I'll be ready and eager to go." It may be that there's room for that kind of compromise between you and your boyfriend. I suggest you and he go through a yes, no, maybe so checklist to find out all the ways that your desires do, and do not, overlap, and talk a bit about if and how he might be willing to do things differently in your sex life.
There's also the fact that you've never orgasmed from partnered sex or from masturbation. If you already feel like you're missing out on the sexual front, I'm betting the lack of orgasm is also frustrating you when you're with your boyfriend. The truth is, if you have yet to orgasm from masturbation, it's hard to orgasm with a partner. Good, satisfying sex requires communication to help partners understand what movements, pressure levels, and activities feel good to each other. If what gets you off is still unknown, communication becomes difficult, and that can leave you disgruntled with your body or your partner (especially if you've bought into the myth that a partner should automatically know how and be able to make you orgasm). This is another reason that being sexual with your friend is not the best solution here: he's not going to be any more knowledgeable than your boyfriend about how to make you feel good or help you orgasm, because you still don't have the information needed to tell him what helps you reach orgasm.
So, your next step is to devote time to sexual self-exploration. You can try all sorts of things when you masturbate, from switching up positions to adding sex toys into the mix, to see if they're pleasurable. If you think bringing elements of your kinks into masturbation sessions will help, you can try that too. Some people will watch or read material about their kinks, others will simply fantasize about them. The more you learn about your body and how you respond to different sexual stimuli, the more satisfying your sex life is likely to be. Masturbation also helps you in those "I need sex right freaking now!" moments. It's a handy way to be sexual when your boyfriend isn't around or isn't in the mood, while simultaneously discovering what gives you pleasure. It's a double win!
It may also be helpful for you to examine the significance you've assigned to your kinks. Kinks can be a very enjoyable and for some people they help take sex from "meh" to "WOOHOO." However, unless I'm misunderstanding the situation, you've never actually tried the kinks that interest you. It sounds like you're seeing them as the key to achieving all the sexual satisfaction you feel you've been missing, but that isn't necessarily so. While you may discover that your kinks are as fun as you'd hoped, I'd caution against thinking of them as the core of your sexuality or the solution to your no-orgasm-woes without any first-hand evidence of how your brain and body respond to them in practice, and not just in fantasy. You're setting yourself up for a lot of frustration and disappointment if they don't live up to your expectations. Lots of people do like their kinks once they try them, but there are many people who find that a kink they were theoretically into turns out to not be for them in the real world. Also, focusing on the lack of kink opportunities as the main issue can lead you to overlook deeper factors, like communication, that are an absolute necessity when it comes to having happy sexual experiences (kinky or otherwise).
If added communication and experimentation don't help the situation, then you're back to the break-up option. Ending a relationship because of a sexual mismatch may feel like you're breaking up "over nothing," but this is a more common reason for breaking up than many people think. As sad as it is, sometimes otherwise compatible people have sexual desires and boundaries that can't mesh comfortably. While sex isn't the most important element of a romantic relationship, or even a necessary one, sexual compatibility often does matter. If you're constantly unhappy with your sex life, be that because you feel your needs aren't being met or you're under constant pressure to have sex, that poisons the rest of the relationship. As sad as that outcome may be, and as much as I hope you and he will be able to find a balance that works for your relationship, it's better to end a relationship honestly than with the deceit that comes with cheating. Both you and your boyfriend deserve to be with partners who are better suited to your sexual needs, even if it means you're no longer with each other.
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