March 14, 2013 at 3:08 pm EDT | by Michael Radkowsky
Advice: Same old boring sex?
unhappy couple, advice, gay news, Washington Blade

Our Advice columnist says that closing an open relationship may be key to reigniting the dying fire in the bedroom. (Photo by iStock)

Hi Michael,I’m writing this letter with my husband because we both pretty much feel the same way.

Can you keep a sexual relationship interesting when you’ve been together for a while? Because it’s not happening for us anymore. We both are way more attracted to other (hot) guys than we are to each other and sex with them is a lot steamier than sex with each other. It’s also easier and hotter to get off with a hot porn scene than with my husband.

We went into this relationship with great ideals about monogamy and wanting to stay together forever. But our intimate relationship got dull over time and we both wanted more heat and passion.

Now, when we have plenty of good/great sex with other people but none with each other, we’re feeling like we may have lost something special. While we want to stay together as a couple, without sex we’re sort of like roommates. We also don’t want to have boring sex for the rest of our lives and sex with each other got pretty boring a while ago.

From what we hear from almost all our gay friends, this is extremely common: lackluster sex leading to open relationships. But what do you do about the downside, which is a marriage where we don’t feel that intimately connected any more?

Michael replies:

You are in a pretty common dilemma for gay men. Maybe because it’s been more acceptable for gay men to have sex outside of their relationships than it is for straight people to do so. This fix for a dull sex life is easier and more obvious than figuring out how to have a good sex life as a couple. The downside, of course, is that when you’re having lackluster (or worse) sex with your partner and hot sex with other men, your relationship is going to suffer.

It is true that sex is usually more exciting with someone when you first meet him.  And it’s normal for the heat and intensity to cool over time. However, it’s a myth that sex and lust must inevitably dwindle as your relationship matures. While sex cannot stay the same, it absolutely does not have to fade away. The thrill of sex with a long-term partner is different from the thrill of sex with a new partner. It usually leans more toward closeness and connection.

If you want to resurrect a passionate sex life with your husband, you do have to work at it. Here are some steps to take:

First, consider closing your relationship. Yes, I know this is an unpopular stance that some say is impossible, but when you can easily have hot sex with another man, why would you bother putting in the effort needed to have hot sex with your long-term partner?

Second, I suggest that you end (gasp!) your use of porn, for several reasons. Porn sets a very high bar in your brain for what is attractive and hot. Repeated use of porn to reach orgasm can make it exceedingly difficult to reach orgasm without porn, because you’ve re-set your arousal threshold to a very high level that may not be achievable in real life. And porn programs your brain to focus on having an orgasm as opposed to having relational sex with another imperfect human being.

Third, work at finding ways to nurture romance and affection, rather than taking each other for granted, or worse.

Fourth, find ways to make sex interesting by making it your job, not your partner’s, to turn yourself on. A great way to do this is by taking risks. Just as complacency is a great desire killer, uncertainty can be a great turn-on. Step out of your comfort zone and let your husband know you better as a sexual being. Talk about what you like to do or have done to you, as well as what you don’t like. Make a move that you are not comfortable making, but want to make. Intend to have sex with your husband as you have sex with a stranger. Letting your husband really see you sexually can be scary, but also erotic.

Finally, make the conscious decision to reduce your focus on orgasm, which puts pressure on both of you to “perform” rather than enjoying the entirety of your sensual, emotional and physical connection with each other.

Michael Radkowsky, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist who works with gay couples and individuals in D.C. He can be found online at All identifying information has been changed for reasons of confidentiality. Have a question? Send it to

1 Comment
  • We have been together for 35 years and made our life and paths our own. Though he was into the 1 to 1…I was more like…it’s sex…physical…like ice cream…I like all different kinds of flavors but it doesn’t mean I don’t love you. Yea…we have had other 1:1, 3/4/group and in it all…we had fun, we were safe and brought back stuff into our relationship, including open communication, that otherwise we would not have experienced and were able to enjoy later together. If it feels good…you both agree…do it…just remember it’s just sex….bring it back to the romance.

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