Last spring my Wife and I were in the thick of catching up on housework on a Sunday morning. This is a typical weekend endeavor for us as a result of the literal human tornadoes that we created. As usual, I had my headphones in as I work more efficiently that way. On this particular day my mood was standup comedy – Youtube clips of Mark Normand to be specific – and the only reason I remember to that level of detail is because of what happened next. I was in the front room, working on the disaster area otherwise known as our arts and games closet, when the jokes stopped playing. That usually means that one of the tornadoes has found my phone but little do they know that when my headphones go silent, I know something is up. I turned to leave the closet and apprehend my device but when I cleared the other side of the door, I found my wife waiting for me. Holding my phone. Then she asked me, “Honey, what’s a cuckold?”
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Well, fuck. Was she snooping? No. It turned out She just wanted to surprise me by playing one of her new favorite songs. Seeing as I don’t pay for Youtube Premium and have to leave my phone unlocked and on the table to listen to videos, she had the perfect opportunity to swipe it. At this point I was thinking to myself, “This a perfect example of why I should just pay for Youtube Premium. It’s only ten dollars per month. Am I really that cheap?” Then I remembered that it was 9:30AM and my wife was asking me what a cuckold was.
One minute I was jamming Uno cards back into their package and trying to determine which of the thousands upon thousands of scribbled art drawings strewn about the floor were too special to be recycled, the next minute I was being questioned about my sexual fantasies. Not just any one either but the one that I have long been the most ashamed of. My level of embarrassment has been so great that I still struggle to say the word “cuckold” in front of my Wife at full volume. Needless to say, I was super not prepared to have that conversation with Her, never mind the fact that She could not have been more disarming. I was too triggered in that moment with all the years of pent-up guilt and shame. So, I did what any reasonable person would do in that situation: I frantically snatched my phone out of Her hands and ran away.
Hide and Seek
Where exactly did I think I was running? I hadn’t thought that far ahead. There was nowhere in our house that She couldn’t follow me, and follow She did. In my panic, all I could do was exclaim “I don’t want to talk about it” over and over like a broken record to try and get Her off my tail. All the while She pursued me with giggles and reassurance that it was okay, She was just curious, and I could tell Her. In that moment though I just couldn’t, because while She wasn’t treating it as a big deal, every talk we had about sex was a big deal to me. I always made it a big deal.
Every tiny little hint of my sexuality that I ever chose to open up to Her about had to be a high-stakes, sit-down talk. It couldn’t just be a casual, in-passing conversation like She was trying to initiate then and there. I didn’t have that level of comfort in communicating about sex because for most of our relationship, we just didn’t. Having both come from repressed backgrounds free from comprehensive education about sexuality, relationships, communication and therapy, the early years of conversation were difficult, often emotional, as we struggled to find our way together. Being the non-confrontational person I am, I started to hold my feelings close instead of sharing them. I felt like I was doing Her a favor by not burdening Her. This was an incredibly immature and bad idea. Now our sex talks had become pressure release valves interspersed among long periods of silence. Each time we both knew going in it was going to be difficult, it was just about how much. I am the reason why I dread sex talks.
I now understand how detrimental it is to a relationship (and personal mental health) to hide things from your partner. That is just not what a partnership is. By giving in to my fear, I was robbing my Wife and our marriage of potential to grow in understanding and compassion for each other, even if some friction came along with it. Some friction is inevitable when two (or more) individuals enter into a relationship; it’s an opportunity to work, learn and grow together. We have since had several frank discussions about how my awkward hesitation and constant waiting for the “right moment” creates that high-stakes pressure for Her and dooms the conversation from the start, not makes it better. However, I had gotten used to giving in to fear for a very long time and that is why, even though we are now both different people, more mature, open-minded, empathetic and in love than ever before, my old habits die hard. My first instinct is still to hold back and run away.
Well, after a minute or two of pursuit and reassurance, my Wife finally relented. I had turned a simple, innocent question into a cringe-y spectacle and now it was over. I had gotten what I asked for but it didn’t feel good. In fact, the moment She walked away, I felt sick, embarrassed and sad. My Wife had written me a blank check and I wasted the opportunity to cash it. Instead I made an ass of myself. We went back to cleaning. Now I had a pit in my stomach. I wanted to try again and talk to Her but the moment was over. Instead, I took the rest of the day, sat with my feelings, nursed my bruised ego and bought a bottle of wine (for the evening, not for my ego).
That night, after the children were in bed, we settled into our room. I opened the wine and probably sat around awkwardly for a moment before re-engaging our “conversation” from that morning. I apologized for my behavior, stated my regret for wasting a genuine moment but most importantly, explained why I acted the way I did. I started the story from the beginning with my first relationship in college, the comparisons to her ex-boyfriend and the infidelity. I talked about the early years of our marriage, our struggles finding our sexual footing and my very tumultuous relationship with porn, how I used it as a crutch to avoid dealing with my issues instead of pressing deeper into our relationship. Then, I explained what a cuckold was, what it wasn’t, how porn portrays a false and negative view of what it actually is, how I had a very damaging relationship with that porn early on in our marriage and how I have come to a much better place with cuckolding now thanks to some awesome resources. She smiled, sat, listened, asked some follow-up questions and then…it was over. It was not a big deal. We went on with our evening routine of binging TV shows (probably Outlander, Maisel or Schitt’s Creek at the time). I was not shamed or judged or made to feel like a freak. I was made to feel heard and accepted. I felt more intimate and connected to Her than ever before.
The Right Direction
That night was a turning point for me. My deepest, darkest secret desire was out in the open and nothing bad happened. It was a proof of concept. I realized that all along, my worst enemy had been myself. The day that I ran away taught me that maybe I could stop running for good. There was nothing to be afraid of. I learned how wrong I had been for so many years in our marriage to run away from my Wife instead of run towards her, not just with sexual things but with anything. I knew that I had to make an honest effort to improve my self-confidence so that I didn’t slip back into my old ways again. Something had to change.
Although my interests had already shifted from more conventional porn to amateur content and real stories, it was still just a means for excitement. I wanted something more substantive, something real. Thankfully, platforms like Patreon and Twitter afforded the opportunity to connect with likeminded people for the first time. I was able to see guys just like me sharing their stories, working out who they were, owning it and loving it. Finally I started to feel validated, heard, inspired and not alone. My goal of feeling more secure in myself started to become reality. Community was the key. Today, I feel like I am still running, just in the right direction.
If you run for long enough, eventually you will trip and fall. Last week I was typing away on our laptop, finishing up the last paragraph. Usually I write blogs on my phone but ever since the touch screen took on a mind of its own, I’ve been writing with a full keyboard (it’s nice, I might stick to it). My Wife, working on Her own project nearby, asked me was I was doing. I mumbled that I was writing. She asked what. “A post,” I said as vaguely as possible. “Are you going to publish it?” she replied. I hesitated. “You have a blog?” There was a surprised eagerness in Her voice and now we have come full-circle to another question. I know, after all the paragraphs I just wrote about honesty and transparency and the lessons learned, I still hadn’t shared my blog with my Wife. I swear that I always intended to, I was just waiting for the right moment. It’s not my fault it took so long to come.
“I want to see it!” I shot her down. “Come on, let me see!” It hurt inside as I said no again. To my credit, I was in bed still recovering from being sick and not feeling very playful. This was not the right moment I had been waiting for. If I’m being honest though, I’m not sure when that right moment would have come. I was using it as an excuse because, once again, old habits die hard. I was giving in to my fear yet again. Finally I confessed that yes, I do have a blog, it’s called Cuckold Kisses (I whispered the c-word) and it’s about my thoughts and feelings and sometimes fantasies about my sexuality. She let it go, the moment passed and that sinking feeling in my stomach returned. Later that evening I apologized for shutting down Her enthusiasm (I do see the trend and hope that someday I will learn from it) and promised that very soon, I would share it with Her. She dismissed my apology, further reinforcing how all this was not a big deal to her. It was to me though. It meant a lot to me to not fail where I had before.
It’s a strange feeling to want to do something and not want to at the same time. I desperately want to be brave and have radical intimacy with my Wife about everything. I want to break the habits of fear and secrecy that have defined so much of my relationship with Her. I want to take this one life and make the most of it living in freedom, not fear. At the same time, it’s scary to be vulnerable. It’s one thing to talk about fantasies, it’s another to share all the porn you watch, every picture and video you like, and every thought that you decide to write out. Maybe that’s common amongst couples, I honestly don’t know, but it’s daunting for me. However, while it’s scary to be vulnerable, hopefully very soon I’ll learn that it’s worth it. For so long, my online activity, be it on Twitter, Tumblr (RIP) or just my overall browsing history, has been my safe space, a place where I can explore my sexual desires free from judgement of others. I have to ask myself, though, why would I ever feel the need to be “safe” from my Wife, the person I’ve chosen to share life with? So you, reader, have my word that by the time you are able to read this far, the link will already be sent to Her phone. It won’t be at the perfect moment and I’ll live. I will learn to stop holding back secrets and the next time She has a question, I hope that I won’t run away.