My fantasy

I want my girlfriend to have sex with other men -- with or without me. Is that too much to ask?

Published March 12, 2003 8:21PM (EST)

Dear Cary,

Being perhaps one of the slower gazelles in the herd, it took me 25 long masturbatory years to get laid. Thankfully, over the 10 succeeding years I picked up some speed. But during those first 25, I developed a helluva sexual imagination. And that side is quite a joy, really.

Today, as I gradually progress toward making more of my erotic desires real, I find myself surprised and maybe a bit dismayed at what I'm fantasizing. Forever and ever it was the dream of loving a determinedly bisexual woman. And I still cherish that aspiration, but I'm thinking such women are all too rare. Perhaps out of a desire to have a more "realistic" fantasy, the Dream Girl has morphed into a loving female partner who nonetheless partakes unabashedly of sex with other men -- with or without me. The thought is desirable enough that I am gently pushing my current good relationship in that direction.

But what does this say about me? Am I a cuckold? Might this change be the malignant product of a period of low self-esteem? Could it be simply that hardcore porn memes are propagating themselves in our modern society? After 25 years as a frustrated solo, three will probably never be a crowd to me. But I'd hate to lose respect for myself. Your views are appreciated.


Dear Dreamer,

Who knows where those memes come from, whether from pornography, from the unconscious, from some memory of the primal, sexually undifferentiated before-birth state of the undescended testicle that Matthew Barney's "Cremaster" cycle explores, from some core ambisexual or omnisexual being, from childhood Oedipal fantasies? Who knows. But one thing is clear: Most men do not fit the rigid male orthodoxy you see in the movies; in fact, much of that rigid male orthodoxy seen in movies and television seems to represent instead a kind of panicked mass flight from the terrifying truth: that most of us men are indeed amorphous and strange, filled with longings for all kinds of love.

Something else is clear as well, however, and that is that being in a relationship with an actual woman is very different from being in a relationship with your hand. The kinds of fantasies you may indulge in while you and your hand are alone together do not usually translate well into an actual hetero I-and-thou setup. Believe me, I've looked into this.

So while I think you should trust these fantasies and not be afraid of them, I also think you've got to realize that other people's inner lives are just as compelling to them as yours is to you, and that what you may be "gently pushing" your girlfriend to do is to subordinate her inner life to one of your devising. So be aware that you may encounter unexpectedly staunch resistance. You and she may both experience surprisingly strong emotions about this and not realize at first where they're coming from -- the same place that all these fantasies are coming from, your core sense of identity.

Try to put yourself in her shoes. Or, if she has tiny, tiny feet, just try to see the situation from her point of view. Imagine if you were being asked to play the part, say, of some conquering brute, some Mellors, some Rimbaud, or some other male stereotype that excites her but does not feel congenial to you. You would feel perhaps odd and uncomfortable.

I'm not saying any of these fantasies are bad. I'm just trying to remind you that you're not dealing with a paid actress; you're dealing with an autonomous person, and she may not respond the way the woman does in that dream of yours.

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Want more advice from Cary? Read yesterday's column.

By Cary Tennis

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