Ask A Bi Dad: How do I navigate conflicting desires in my open bi marriage?

By Lewis Oakley

December 06, 2023

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Photo credit: Pexels/RODNAE Productions

I’m a bi woman (33) and my husband is also bi (31). We’ve been married for more than four years; together for eight.

My husband has never had a sexual relationship with a man, but has kissed/fooled around a little before. We recently went out with a bi friend who’s in a long-term open queer relationship. I went home early and my husband came out to our friend and made out with him!

My husband came home and told me immediately. I wasn’t mad, but I feel like I was supposed to be. I’m actually really happy my husband can express his sexuality.

The complicated thing is that we have a semi-open relationship where our agreement is to do things together. For example, we’ve brought women into our relationship in the past, but it put a strain on my friendships with these women.

I’m also in the process of trying to conceive and struggling with fertility issues. So there’s a lot going on.

While I kind of want to reopen the marriage because I love how happy my husband is and can seriously empathise, I’m worried about the timing and causing future issues if we initiate intimate relationships with friends.

The final issue is that we both get jealous about the idea of going off and doing our own thing sexually. My husband also seems hesitant to share sexual intimacy with another man and me, which also appears linked to jealousy and worry over cuckolding.

I’m not totally sure how to proceed. What tips do you have for me to help my husband feel adequately bi without allowing him to just go off and do whatever he wants? It doesn’t seem fair to me when I can’t really do the same thing.

I can’t go to family or friends for advice on this because they won’t understand and think he’s cheating on me when that isn’t really the case here.

This is a lot to unpack.

Thanks for your help!

Marie

A group of 3 attractive friends smile and are locked arm and arm.
bigstock/Dean Drobot

Hi Marie,

Thank you for reaching out.

Congratulations on navigating this complex situation! It's no small feat and I do find it refreshing when I see two bi people in a relationship together living by their own rules. I agree with your concern about timing — it sounds like focusing on conceiving is of paramount importance to you. With that in mind, just because the option to open your relationship exists doesn't mean it's the right time. Trust your instincts; if they say it's not the right moment, prioritise your focus on building a family.

Also, I must confess, I’m curious as to why your open relationships seem to always centre around friends. This may be making things more complicated than they need to be. Have you considered using apps for a more no-strings-attached approach? You might have the right attitude but the wrong people.

As for your husband's hesitation to share sexual intimacy with another man and you, I think that’s entirely fine and I wouldn’t give it too much thought. We all have things that just don’t appeal to us sexually for some reason and there’s nothing wrong with that. Back when I was single, I thought threesomes with two other men were hot, as were threesomes with two women, but a threesome with a man and a woman just did not appeal to me.

To address your main question about helping your husband embrace his bisexuality, consider some practical outlets. Has he tried going to a gay sauna or nudist beach? There can be something that appeals to bi men about "male naked bonding". Obviously, there is no touching involved, but it can be an enjoyable experience. If he’s looking for something more community-based, perhaps getting involved in a local bi group where he can meet other men like himself might help him feel more connected.

Wishing you both the best,

Lewis

What advice would you give to this reader? Give us your take in the comments below.

Lewis Oakley standing confidently and smiling against a brick building.
Image/thegayphotographer

Bisexual people often have few other bi people to turn to for support or to ask questions. This means we often can’t build on the experience of other bi people and improve things for the next generation. Ask a Bi Dad is aimed at tackling this.

Lewis Oakley is one of the leading bi advocates and writers, campaigning to improve the public’s perception of bisexuality. Recognised by the Pride Power List 2021 and with various award nominations under his belt, Lewis has been successful in making bisexuality national news.

Lewis knows more than most how lonely being bisexual can feel, particularly in those early years. Now, confident in himself, his relationship, and a dad of two, Lewis recognises how rare and lucky he is. This is why he wants to help where he can by answering the questions of bi people from all around the world.

If you have a question that you would like a perspective on, please email to [email protected]. The briefer the email, the more likely I will be able to respond.

*Lewis is not a licenced therapist, and the advice offered in this column is not intended to replace or substitute for any professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological, or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist.

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