How to Do It is Slate’s sex advice column. Have a question? Send it to Stoya and Rich here. It’s anonymous!
Every week, the crew responds to a bonus question in chat form.
Dear How to Do It,
My wife and I live in the same small, conservative rural town we both raised in. After having been married for about 12 years, my wife and I began the “hot wife” lifestyle and have been hot-wifing about five years now. It was my idea, and she was initially resistant to it, but eventually said yes. I find it an incredible turn-on, and honestly, she has enjoyed it more than she ever imagined. There have been different men over those years, some of them longer term and some not. My wife video records these encounters, and they’ve really enhanced our sex life.
“Jay” entered our life about two and a half years ago. It’s hard to describe him, but he’s pretty much the perfect “bull.” He is handsome, well-traveled, speaks a half dozen languages, teaches at a college (with a Ph.D.), does fitness modeling, is well hung, kinky, and the man can literally have athletic sex all night. He is married, and his gorgeous wife is completely comfortable with his lifestyle, although she does not play herself. What’s more, he is completely down to earth, and you’d never know he wasn’t just a “muscle bro” unless you engaged him on some other topic like foreign policy or Persian poetry. He’s humble and unassuming outside the bedroom.
It is a joy to watch him with my wife, on video or occasionally in person. What’s more, I really enjoy him as a person. My wife and I have two kids, and they absolutely adore him and his wife, and constantly ask to go visit them, and on the chance meetings with friends and family, he puts them completely at ease. Of course, no one imagines he is our bull, although they do wonder how such a fellow found his way into our working-class, small-town lives.
The first couple months after meeting Jay, my wife was with other men twice, but mostly because I really pushed her. However, she soon announced that sex with other men (except me) paled in comparison with sex with Jay, and she was happy to continue hot-wifing but only with him. Although I do like the variety, I was OK because Jay is very kinky and exploratory, and he and my wife have done things she and I have never done, and it’s obvious she enjoys herself with him more than anyone else. I have pushed her, but she has given me a hard “no” to other men. I also think Jay has become more exclusive as well. For the first year, he regularly shared with us videos of himself with other women and couples (with their consent), but for the last year, he has complained of being “too busy” for other playmates.
So, because of COVID, Jay is now teaching online, and his wife is overseas for almost the next year. They had moved out of their apartment this summer, but since his wife is unexpectedly not returning (again, because of COVID), Jay just has been renting a room in town. My wife and I both work full time, but our children will also be learning online this fall. My wife has suggested that we let Jay move in with us until next summer so that he can take care of our kids as he works from our home; it would be free (COVID has brought some financial uncertainty, and things are already tight), the kids love him, he’s handy around the house, and we both trust him completely. She told me she broached the subject with him, and he said he would be happy to, and his wife green-lighted it as well.
I’m not sure what to do. My interest in hot-wifing is strictly sexual, but I think my wife and Jay are basically in a polyamorous relationship. I don’t feel as if our marriage is threatened, and I don’t think Jay or my wife have any intentions to break up our home or his. However, I do believe their relationship much more than sexual now. But is there anything wrong given I don’t believe it will change the status of our relationship? I do admit I feel jealous about their emotional relationship. And while I am a little envious of his physique and athleticism in bed, the feeling of compersion when I see her with him is perhaps the most sexually stimulating experience since seeing her with another man for the first time, and part of me would really like that night after night. I am sure if he were living with us, they would be at it all the time, so I’d get my kink fulfilled full time. But is moving in a man I am pretty sure my wife also loves a good idea even if it gives me sexual gratification?
It’s obvious my wife REALLY wants him to move in, and I don’t think her reasons are primarily financial. But it is actually a really good solution to our child care problem; he’s great with the kids and will enrich their lives in ways she and I cannot. The alternative is to hire someone we barely know to both provide child care and ensure school work is happening online, something it just does not look like we can reasonably afford. And that leaves the final problem: If we do go forward with this, how to explain our handsome, brawny, male live-in Ph.D. babysitter to our friends and family? Am I just being paranoid that if we do move him in, people will inevitably talk and guess what is going on, or is it just my knowledge of his role in our life that is coloring my perception?
Rich: It sounds like maybe they got to a pretty good place, but the writer’s mention that he had to talk his wife into this kind of play—”It was my idea, and she was initially resistant to it, but eventually said yes”—is a red flag. Him saying that he “really pushed her” more recently to try is a huge red flag.
Stoya: And thinking of moving Jay in so that he can “take care of our kids as he works from our home” feels pretty exploitative at that.
Rich: Yes, it’s a bit overly transactional upfront. It’s one thing when that is how it works out.
Stoya: I don’t like it at all. That was a visceral reaction on my first read-through.
Rich: Are you familiar with the “hot wife” lifestyle? I am not—is he describing a cuckold variation?
Stoya: It’s cuckolding lite as far as I know: The husband (or boyfriend) encourages the wife (or girlfriend) to pursue outside sex, but the husband isn’t humiliated—he’s just turned on by the wife sleeping with other men. There’s also vixen/stag in addition, which seems to put extra emphasis on the man also being “dominant” and simply turned on by the woman exploring sexually.
Rich: I understand this is all, ideally, negotiated, and that such relationships can be very gratifying to all involved. Maybe it’s the accompanying attitude, but there was something about referring to Jay as “our bull” that also didn’t sit well with me.
Stoya: That’s pretty par for the course. I’ve known one cuckholding couple, and one former bull, and heard from others who are into being cucked, and it generally leaves me a little queasy. There’s a lot of objectification toward the bulls, and a deep racial element in the U.S. that people just can’t seem to stay away from. Vixen/stag doesn’t have the same squick factor. I’ve never heard a dude into his partner vixening use the term “BBC,” basically.
Rich: Interesting. We had a great expert answer to a question about race play recently that went into scenarios where that can work, but the self-examination often isn’t there.
And I don’t mean to judge, but there’s just something about the terms of power extending beyond the bedroom in this scenario that, at minimum, I think sets the scene for drama. Are we to believe that Jay is actually going to live in service of this couple? They’re basically unicorning a bull.
Stoya: WHY IS THERE NO TOUCHING ONE’S NOSE EMOJI? That’s exactly what this scenario seems like. He’s there as a prop who is also majorly overqualified as a babysitter—and has his own real job. Meanwhile, the writer is worried about people in town gossiping. “But is there anything wrong given I don’t believe it will change the status of our relationship?” So much is wrong.
Rich: Right. I very much support expanding the notion of family beyond the agreed-upon nuclear “ideal,” but it’s still a fairly difficult endeavor to pull off, and I think in order for it to be successful, the philosophical and interpersonal foundation has to be rock solid. And I’m not quite convinced it is here.
Stoya: It’s clear that the writer would be getting a lot out of this arrangement, and I’m not sure Jay would be able to get the same kind of quality time with the wife that he has been so far. Specifically, because I think our writer would require a lot of emotional labor both in fulfilling his kink and assuaging his ego.
Rich: Yes, and given what he’s written, it seems indeed clear that Jay and our writer’s wife are in a polyamorous relationship. And so, he needs to accept that and the situation for what it is in order to build upon it. You can’t move the guy in with a sense of ambiguity regarding the dynamic. And I know these things are touchy and feelings are generally in a state of flux, so this subject might not easily come up, but I think it’s necessary to be entirely clear here about what’s happening.
Stoya: Especially when that dynamic causes jealousy for one or more people.
Rich: Yes. I went into this fairly open minded that moving in Jay could work for everyone, but the more we tease it out, the less confident I am that that’s the move.
Stoya: There’s a chance this could work out well for everyone, but there’s a bigger chance it could explode in everyone’s faces, and in a way that affects the kids, to boot.
Rich: I think much more communication and clarity is needed before taking such a life-altering step and moving Jay in.
Stoya: I’m curious why you’re still open to the idea.
Rich: There’s a scenario that I can envision in which everyone is actually getting something out of the relationship as it exists, even if not-so-great things happened in order for the situation to get to this point. I’m open minded about the idea of people expanding their families, and the logistics/function of the relationship do sound harmonious. But! It’s too hard to call without hearing from the other involved parties. I don’t want to completely dock our letter writer points for looking at this situation a bit selfishly/egocentrically, since that’s something humans do in general. Maybe I’m just feeling optimistic today!
Stoya: Oooh. A rare disagreement. I think you’re being very optimistic here.
Rich: It had to happen at some point. You think there’s no future for these three?
Stoya: I think the writer is so self-absorbed about this thing that he’s been doing for five years (i.e. he’s had plenty of time to get over the newness, develop some self-awareness, and talk openly with his wife and Jay) and has the gall to say he pushed his wife into this twice in a single letter. He’s doomed until he pulls his head out of his butt.
Rich: Well, I hope at least that our chat prompts the great dislodging.
More How to Do It
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