Style Sex & Relationships

Thursday 22 August 2019

Dear Mary: I agreed to go swinging with my wife but I couldn't see it through

If swinging is not for you, then you should tell your partner.
If swinging is not for you, then you should tell your partner.

Mary O’Conor

Me and my wife have talked several times about maybe bringing someone else into our bedroom. She is bisexual and has been vocal about wanting to be with a woman every now and then.

I myself am OK with this and I'm even curious about bringing another man in. Not for me, but for her, although she has never expressed an interest in another man.

We recently went to visit some of her old friends, one of whom just got married and is a person that she's been sexual with many times.

While we were hanging out and drinking the topic of swinging came up. My wife immediately said that we were into that although we never really had a conversation about making an actual arrangement.

I went along with it because I thought it might be fun and I was drunk. Things did start to happen but it never got as far as actual sex because I couldn't do it.

I felt like I ruined everyone's good time, especially since I've expressed that I want to do things like that. There's been a knot in my stomach since then.

I don't know how to talk to her about it and she senses that there's something wrong with me.

I can understand her being comfortable as it's one of her best friends but her husband is not. My wife just met him and I just met both of them the day before. I don't understand how it was so easy for her but not easy for me.

What do I do? How do I have this conversation? Why do I have to feel like there's more to it than just a thing that happened?

My heart can find the links to what she thinks but my brain just keeps suspecting that there were other things at play.

Mary replies:  This seems to have been your first time venturing into the world of swinging. On the other hand, your wife has a lot of experience in the bisexual world. She also had sex many times with her friend so part of the scenario was familiar to her.

It seems to me that things progressed too quickly for you. At a very practical level you shouldn't have expected to be able to function sexually when you were drunk. It is also possible that you were unsure as to who would do what and to whom which would have made you fairly nervous. All of this means that it would have been better to have had some discussion about it all prior to the fantasy becoming a reality.

You are going to have to talk to your wife about what happened, and my advice is to be as open as possible with her regarding your feelings about the evening.

Men often find it difficult to talk about feelings so try to run through what you want to say in advance. It is very important to tell her that in principle you had no problem with the notion of swinging, if indeed that is still the case now that you have had some experience of it.

You put it very well when writing to me that you felt you disappointed everybody so tell her this and she will take it from there and either reassure you or agree with you.

Whatever happens you will feel better when everything is out in the open.

If, however, you feel that swinging is not for you then please tell your wife.

You are perfectly entitled not to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. It may be that you experienced jealousy on seeing her being sexual with her friend's husband which is quite understandable.

After all it is quite a leap to go from being agreeable to your wife having sex with a woman from time to time to both of you participating in a swinging foursome.

You can contact Mary O’Conor anonymously by visiting or email her at or write c/o 27-32 Talbot Street, Dublin 1. All correspondence will be treated in confidence. Mary O’Conor regrets that she is unable to answer any questions privately.

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