I've recently come out as a bi man. Luckily, I've found an amazing "bi curious" girlfriend who's understanding. We have great sex. The relationship is developing nicely. One problem though, curiously, is her bi curiosity. To feel comfortable committing to the relationship, she needs the option to explore girls. Which I've granted. Encouraged even. But paradoxically, my openness causes her insecurity. She's from a more traditional part of the country, and by not wanting her to be exclusive, I'm not fitting into the traditional role of committed boyfriend. There's also just fear of the unknown. Will she like girls better? We've been really good about talking this out, and have talked a little about bringing another girl to bed, but is that really the solution? As a decorated threesome veteran, does this sound like a road to bliss or a potential purple heart? Are there other, less cliche ways to support her exploration?
—Between bi and a hard place
She wants the freedom to explore her bisexuality, but she also wants you to be possessive? You kids these days and your wackery! I wonder if her insecurity stems from your bisexuality, not hers? I'm speculating, of course, but it's far more common for girls to fear that bi dudes are secretly closet cases, as I talked about in a column a little while ago. She might worry that if she's allowed to explore, you will explore too. (And you should have that right. It's only fair.) And maybe you'll decide you prefer gherkins, not merkins, and then wham, pow Armagayddon!
Marjorie Garber explains this more eloquently—and with fewer puns—in her book Vice Versa. She says threesomes are paradoxical: "[T]he lover gets to gratify both fears and desires: The fear that a partner will be unfaithful is related to a desire to be unfaithful oneself as well as to the desire to know and therefore control the other's fidelity."
It sounds like you two are good at communicating your fears and concerns. This is your best defense and offense when pursuing outside partners. Don't worry about being cliche. It's not cliche if it's what gets her rocks off. I suppose there's always a risk that same-sex-ploration will convince your girlfriend to become a full-fledged vagitarian, but you can never know until it happens.
As to her curiosity, let her take the reins. The more control she has, the less insecure she should feel. A threesome, if that's the route she decides to go, should be all about her. If she wants to lez-out while cushioned by the relative safety of her boyfriend's presence, great. Let her take charge and determine what she wants, who she wants, and what role she wants you to play. You might play a role in vetting or securing the third person in your party, but it should be minimal. Be encouraging, but don't be pushy. And of course make sure you've thoroughly discussed boundaries, code words and who will hold the sling when you attempt the Restless Badger long before the clothes start coming off. Above all, be attentive, honest and upfront with her. If you show her that you're a good boyfriend, she'll have no choice but to believe it, regardless of whether you're "non-traditional."
By the way, I'm delighted by your use of a war analogy to describe my experience with threesomes. For the record, though, the only thing I was ever "decorated" with is something I am unable to print here.
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