Just the Tip is a sex and relationship column hosted by queer non-monogamous kinkster Jera Brown. Here you will find interviews with sexuality researchers and educators as well as smart and compassionate responses to anonymous questions. If you would like to be interviewed or have a sex or love question you’d like Jera to answer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or DM Jera on Instagram or Twitter @thejerabrown.
I am currently in a relationship with my girlfriend of 6 months. She recently told me that she has had sex with approximately 100 men over an eight-year period. 20 of these men she still talks to. I’m having a difficult time with the situation because I know she bumps into some of these individuals Occasionally. I truly and honestly believe with all my heart she would not cheat on me. But I’m having a difficult time coming to terms with her past Partners. I know this is my problem and not hers. Every time she bumped into a guy when we were out my first thought in my mind is that he has probably had sex with her. I also have a hard time being at her apartment and laying in the same bed, couch, and going in the same shower where she’s had multiple people. I am trying to work through this without getting upset or angry with her. But I’m finding it difficult when she keeps bringing up past experiences in front of me. I’ve asked her repeatedly not to bring up her past partners because it upsets me very very deeply. please if there’s any advice, I need to bring closure to this so I can move on with my relationship.
I’m curious about what her intentions are when she brings up her exes. Is she trying to be hurtful or is there something deeper going on? Obviously, these experiences were meaningful to her, and perhaps she feels the need to talk about them in order to feel fully known and accepted by you. If I were you, I’d have a conversation about how to set boundaries where both of your needs are met. If she needs to be able to talk about how her experiences shaped her, for instance, then maybe you can set parameters around how the conversation is brought up and what details you feel comfortable hearing about.
Usually, good communication involves getting deeper. You need to explore why her exes make you uncomfortable. She needs to be able to communicate what she needs from you in regard to her past. For instance, is she afraid of being judged by you? Or are you afraid of not being enough for her? Start by articulating your own fears and create an environment where she feels safe expressing hers.
Also Make it a goal to figure out ways to affirm each other. Loving this woman means that you love the person that these experiences shaped her into. Embracing them is embracing her. And good relationships take brave work from both parties.
My husband and I decided to bring a friend into our relationship. The idea was that it would be he does stuff with her, I do stuff with her, he and I still do things together and every now and then we’d have a threesome. We talked about rules before and I told him what I thought I would be comfortable with. No penetration without me being there and whatnot. The problem is I’m feeling left out. She isn’t very assertive and neither am I. Even though we’ve all been together sexually, I don’t know how to assert myself into the role we had agreed upon. My husband doesn’t understand why I feel like this but he’s up until 4am with her and sleeps all day while I’m up early taking care of the children, working on school and all the housework. I’ve told him I feel left out and how his actions make me feel like he’d rather be with her but he doesn’t seem to understand and just tells me that even after he plays with her he always comes back to me. I told him I wanted to add a new rule that he can’t play with her unless he’s taken care of my needs first but he kind of brushed it off. I’m unsure what to do now. I don’t know if I should break off the sexual relationship between us all as we are good friends and I don’t want to ruin that. Or if I should find a way to assert myself into that girlfriend position with her.
It seems like this situation is exposing a deeper issue in your relationship with your husband. If he’s clueless about how being up until 4 am (with another woman or on his own) affects you and your family, then there’s either a communication breakdown or a conscious lack of responsibility on his part. It simply doesn’t sound fair unless the two of you have worked out other arrangements to split up responsibilities.
The same goes for feeling left out and wanting your needs met: is this a communication issue or a lack of concern for your well-being?
Yes, I agree that it would be better not to include another person until you’ve figured out your own issues within the relationship. It’s not that your marriage needs to be picture-perfect before trying new things, but you do need to have some tried-and-true tactics around communicating, negotiating, and meeting each other’s needs.
It’s common in these situations for women to be less assertive, especially when they have less experience exploring their own queerness. You can definitely work on being more assertive, and it might bring out wonderful things for you. Simply talking out your desires with your girlfriend might help. You can also schedule specific dates or sexy times in advance.
But I think you’ll have to sort through when the issue is you not being assertive enough with her and when the real issue is sorting out scheduling and responsibilities (and communication issues) with your husband. It sounds like you’ve told him what you need, and he’s not helping you obtain it.
Disclaimer: As always, there’s no perfect solution to any relationship issue and you may benefit from the help of a neutral, trained professional. Jera is not a licensed mental health professional, just a writer living as authentically as they can.