Dear Amy:

My husband and I are in our fifties with grown children who are out of the house and on their own. We are youthful and healthy, and until recently, our marriage was monogamous.

Some time ago, we talked at length about sexual experimentation in the form of "open" marriage. In fact, my husband was the one who suggested the idea, and we struck a deal. We agreed that if I wanted to get involved with someone else, it would be okay with him and he would feel free to do the same.

Well, I did and he didn't.

Even though it's only a once-in-a-while thing for me (with one man), I'm finding it very enjoyable, almost addictive. My husband and I get along well and still share an active sexual life, but he's feeling slighted because he hasn't found anyone else, and now he's pressuring me to end my relationship. The other man wants to continue, and to be perfectly honest, so do I.

My husband admits that if he also had "something going" right now, he would be okay with my relationship.

The only one feeling left out at the moment is the guy who started this whole thing. What should I do?

Part of a Triangle

Perhaps you could take out a "personals" ad on your husband's behalf. "Wanted: Sexual partner for my husband so he'll let me have my fun."

I know that proponents of "open" marriage will claim that this version of marriage works, but your letter illustrates why it doesn't. What are the odds that both partners will find other fulfilling sexual partners at the same time, have relationships of the same duration and intensity, and not damage their marriage? Knowing as I do the odds out there in the shallow waters of the dating pool, the prospects are not good.

That's not the only reason why open marriages don't work. Mainly they don't work because the "openness" more or less negates the "marriage."

Perhaps you and your husband should have thought this through and come to a contract of sorts before you embarked on this adventure. What you are doing is fraught with risk -- sexual, physical and emotional.

Obviously, you and your husband need to negotiate this matter together. A marriage counselor could help both of you to open up about your open marriage.

Dear Amy:

I am the mother of newborn twin boys. I am writing to ask if it is appropriate for their father to watch soft-core porn movies on late-night cable TV during their 2 a.m. feeding. I am a little concerned.

I feel it is fine to watch them if it is your thing, but not while feeding the babies.

He has the volume turned down way low; I assume it's so I won't wake up. But is he really helping me with the night shift or is this an excuse to watch these movies surreptitiously? When I do wake up, he changes the channel or says something to joke about how silly it is.

This does not happen every night because most nights I am the one to wake up to feed the babies. But sometimes I don't wake up first and this is what I see. It just seems a little cheesy and unseemly to me, especially with the volume turned down low. I have not broached the subject with him yet and welcome your input.

Not Too Tired Mom

Most porn movies aren't enhanced by their soundtrack. Be happy it's turned down low.

"Adult entertainment" won't harm your babies (my daughter "watched" "Chinatown" repeatedly during her first months' late-night feedings). The content is important to you and your husband, and it sounds as if you aren't quite sure how you feel about it.

The first months of your twins' lives are exhausting and overwhelming for everyone. Your husband may be wondering -- as many husbands do -- if he will ever get his own personal porn star back. (That would be you, by the way.)

You should speak with your husband about this. If he makes a joking comment about his late-night viewing habits, then use that as an opportunity to tell him that you're "not too tired" for a little "adult entertainment." Talk is the one thing that never happens in porn movies, and it's something that you and your husband must do.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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