Hi hubby4 – you’re wading into some pretty interesting waters here! This is a much less discussed but possible route in navigating vaginismus as a relationship challenge. I can speak to this both as someone who has had vaginismus in the past and who has also dated polyamorously before.
The existence of a vibrant polyamory community and thousands of people who choose open relationships and feel that configuration best meets their needs, but your situation is a little more complicated than that. For it to ever work, it would have to be something you BOTH would want and feel is the best option for your partnership. There are also some questions you probably haven’t thought about yet – would you only have sexual relationships outside your marriage, or would you get to form emotional bonds too? Would your wife also get to date other people? How would it make you feel if your wife started having physical intimacy with another man even though that type of interaction seems to have left your relationship?
Before you dive too deep into these waters, I think you will need to first be honest with your wife about how much this is affecting you. You’ve been supportive in the past, and that’s great, but this problem has become a threat to your relationship and you owe it to your wife to let her know that the marriage may be in jeopardy if she has no idea you’re struggling to this extent. Sit down for a conversation and let her know how you feel about the lack of intimacy in your marriage and what you want. Once she knows what your needs are, she can be a part of solving the problem with you. Maybe instead of opening your marriage she’d rather work on rebuilding intimacy besides penetrative intercourse, or maybe it will be the push she needs to give dilators a try. I had vaginismus for almost 10 years and knew about it for 3.5 of those years before I sought treatment because a partner told me I needed to or he wouldn’t’ be happy in our relationship. That wasn’t an easy thing to hear, but the thing about vaginismus is that it’s easy to keep pushing it off and convincing yourself everything is fine even though you’re suffering through shame, deprivation, and pain.
Give your wife the chance to help decide together how to tackle this. If she truly isn’t interested in intimacy, then you can consider other options like an open marriage, but I think it’s worth getting her opinion first on how she wants to proceed so you can make a decision as a patnership.