Why you should care
Because “sex” and “good enough”? Not sexy at all.
EUGENE, SIR: My wife has been dying to lose weight in the eight years since she gave birth to our first and only child, and finally, she has. I am talking, she went from 190 pounds to about 130, which makes her very happy. We’re both 40 and have been married 10 years, and we dated for five years before that, so I’ve always known her to be big. One night, we were going somewhere and she asked me if she looked hot. I thought I could tell the truth and be nice when I said that I liked her more before, but she got really pissed off. So now she’s acting like I’m stupid or her enemy, neither of which is true. By the way, I am not heavy myself and I work out, so I support this. I just like heavier women. Oh, I think she’d also trying to punish me by withholding sex. Is there something I can say that would explain what I meant? — Dan
Dear Dan’d If You Do: You know, I think it was noted Scottish psychiatrist Ronald David Laing who said that insanity was a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world, and so it is you find yourself in a classic no-friggin’-win dilemma. If you’d been too excited about the new change of events, there’d have been suspicion about your real feelings going as far back as, well … as far as the eye could see. If you’re not at all excited, which it seems you’re not, you’re a hater whose envy and jealousy have conspired to keep you permanently joyless at your wife’s sudden turn of good fortune and beauteousness. On her side, you have, maybe, an increase in the amount of male-eyeball attention and a creeping sense of I-deserve-BETTER!-itis.
This is what we in the trades call “an okeydoke.” Or kinda what Muhammad Ali called the rope-a-dope, a move designed to fatigue an opponent into a series of fatal errors that leave him overmatched by fight’s end. So is there something you can say to fix this? No, and frankly, you shouldn’t even try.
You’re sitting at the crossroads of a series of life shockers: hitting 40, being married a decade, an increasingly dependent offspring and a raft of big questions not all of which have to do with you. What’s more? There’s nothing you can do about any of this outside of staying the course. I mean, we can drive as badly as we want sometimes, in full faith and confidence that the guardrails don’t move, right? You are that guardrail. See the guardrail. BE the guardrail. She either emerges from this whole, or not. Here’s hoping it’s whichever one you prefer most. But if you’re asking for advice from me, I’m going to have to say, honestly, best to just try to ride it out. Which includes saying less at this point, not more.
EUGENE, SIR: My husband won’t let me perform oral sex on him. He was sexually abused, but not by a woman, so I don’t know how this matters. Anyway, it makes me think this is an excuse and that I do it badly, so last year, at a New Year’s Eve party, I had too much to drink and next thing I knew I was messing around with a friend of ours. I stopped before too much happened other than oral, but I want my marriage to work and I miss oral. — French Kisser
Dear Francophile: How do I unpack this without sounding unkind? Your attempt to causally connect a casual infidelity to your husband’s sexual, let’s say, quirk? Not so cool. Which is to say, if you’re going to fellate someone whom you’re not contractually connected to, just do it without all the rebop. Your husband’s past sexual abuse could be/probably is serious, and he should see someone about this. Making sense of it even at this later date might make a whole hell of a lot of sense, for him and you. Then? Maybe deal with righting your sexual ship vis-à-vis him and oral sex. It may take a bit. It may take a bit longer. But it’s part of that whole “in sickness and in health” vow. And if you want your marriage to “work”? This makes a whole lot more sense than fellating friends and running the risk your husband finds out and disagrees with the curative powers of strange salami. And yes, that’s what we professionals call it.
I think you correctly think this is a mistake. And it is. But only if what you want is to stay married. Seems like you do. So start helping to fix what’s broken before breaking it even more.
New Under the Sun
EUGENE, SIR: I like to be choked during sex, but I don’t want to get killed doing this. How do I vet potential partners so that I don’t get killed? I’ve tried talking this through, but on one occasion a guy who seemed to understand went a little off his head in the heat of passion. So, how? And don’t say safe words — I had one that time and it didn’t work. — Name withheld by request
Dear Choked Up: Orgasms to die for, only you don’t want to literally die for them? Fair enough. The best way to broker kink is to do so in a nonsexual situation, say, on the couch after dinner. A dry run that in and of itself might be hot? Worth a try. But trying to jump-start a novice? Much too much of a heavy lift for something like this. And don’t give up on safe words, for no other reason than, like seat belts, they might help and can’t hurt, and they provide much-needed structure in an environment where structure is usually the first to go. Be careful and good luck.