My heart quickened as my fingers impulsively clicked the “send” button. My husband was sprawled out on the couch across from me, completely unaware of how much courage I gathered to send the “fantasy map”. He glanced up but the weight of the moment was hidden by my reflexive smile. It was a random find online where human sexuality was mapped out over countries of the world. In place of their names were instead geographical themes including everything from BSDM, role playing, group sex, forced sex, golden showers, bestiality, other kinky things and variations of vanilla sex. One had to put colored pins indicated things they had previously done and liked, or things they had done but didn’t like, and pins for things they wanted or didn’t want to try. I had carefully placed purple pins along countries related to “open relationships” to indicate things I have not done but wanted to try. Although we always had great communication, it was nerve-wracking to tell my husband of over a decade that I wanted to experience other people.
My voice cracked as I said, “I just sent you something that you don’t have to reply to right now, but look it over. Let’s not discuss it until you feel ready.” He raised an eyebrow inquisitively. However, much to my dismay he did not immediately look at what I sent. As each month went by without word, a flush would creep up my fair skin as I thought about it. Oh my god, he must think differently of me. Why on earth did I send that awful map? I couldn’t help but avert my eyes to the ground when I thought about this, because the feeling of shame was so penetrating I was afraid that others could read it on my face.
We were hiking in the mountains one summer afternoon when I heard the words, “So you remember that map you sent? I’ve been thinking about it lately.” I stopped dead in my tracks on the trail and held my breath. His hazel eyes flickered in the fading sunlight as he said, “There was an area of the map that I can’t get out of my head. Do you really want to experience other people?” The lump in my throat was too large and too dry to speak so I clumsily nodded my head. He said, “I really find the idea exciting and hot.” The smile on his face melted my anxiety. Finally, I found my voice. “How does one go about this?” He chuckled and said, “Surely there is a website for this sort of thing.” We made our way back to the bed and breakfast to split a bottle of wine over negotiations.