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Jerked Around

Joe Newton

I’ve been with my wife for ten years. We are both 36 years old. We moved in fast and didn’t take time to learn certain things about one another. For example, I watch porn, which she only found out about after we moved in. She had a visceral reaction. She told me it was a dealbreaker for her, no negotiation. I agreed to stop but didn’t. Fast forward ten years and now I’m medicated for ADHD, which makes it much easier to avoid impulse behaviors like looking at porn. We have come close to divorce over this issue, as well as over how toxic I was before getting treatment for my ADHD. I’ve contributed my share of negativity to the marriage.

Now, as it stands, the agreement we have is that I will not watch porn of any kind. This is where we really start to differ. To her, porn is...

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...nd. This is where we really start to differ. To her, porn is masturbating to ANYTHING. Looking at porn? Not allowed. Looking at women in bikinis? Not allowed. Coming across something that sexually charges me and masturbating to it? I have betrayed her trust. So, I don’t watch “porn” anymore but I feel extremely resentful about how I am controlled. The latest example of this was when she was helping our kid play a game on a device that had to be connected to Facebook. Mine was connected, and a message came up with a recent conversation. In it I thanked a friend for being there for me, checking in on me, sending jokes, etc. This friend likes to send funny memes, some of which are risqué. I mentioned that I appreciated his jokes, even the ones that would have “upset my wife.” She is now accusing me of using friends (and memes) as loopholes to get around my promise NOT to look at porn. I’m so tired. I have so much shame around masturbation now and I feel like I have no privacy. We are about to see another couples’ counselor. Any suggestions for me? Worried About This Constant Harassment Eroding Relationship I don’t know exactly what your wife has had to put up with. You mention toxic behavior on your part prior to seeking treatment for ADHD. Toxic energy, toxic actions, toxic toxins—whatever you did, I’m going to assume your bullshit came close to intolerable, WATCHER, and award your wife some points for putting up with your bullshit. With that said… Giving up porn is a price of admission some are willing to pay. A person with an otherwise healthy relationship to porn—someone who, like most people, can enjoy porn in moderation, someone who can use porn without neglecting their partner sexually and/or being inconsiderate about their partner’s feelings—sometimes falls in love with a person who, for whatever reason, can’t stand the idea of their partner watching porn. Some people have sensitivities, others have insecurities; some on the Left have political objections, some on the Right have religious objections. Giving up porn is not something I would ever agree to, but a reasonable person might agree to stop watching porn (or pretend they’ve stopped watching porn) for someone they love. But if the person who insisted their partner stop watching porn later defines absolutely everything as porn—porn itself, non-pornographic photos, good-looking people walking down the street, memes shared by friends—then it was never about the porn. It wasn’t about their insecurities or their political objections or their precious religious beliefs. It was about control. And the worst thing about controlling people is that they’re never satisfied. No matter how much control a romantic partner gives up, it’s never enough. A controlling person’s demands escalate slowly at the start of a new relationship, WATCHER, when it’s still relatively easy for someone to end things. But once the relationship is harder to exit—once leases have been signed, marriages have been performed, children have been born—the controlling person’s demands not only escalate rapidly, they also tend to become more arbitrary and irrational. (No memes? Really?) Your wife’s bullshit is intolerable, WATCHER, and you shouldn’t put up with it. Everyone is entitled to privacy, even married people. Likewise, everyone enjoys a zone of erotic autonomy, even married people. Experiences you fantasize about, when and how you masturbate, things you can safely do without violating your monogamous commitment and/or putting your partner at risk… not only shouldn’t someone try to take those things from you, it’s not in anyone’s power to take those things from you. We can’t police our partner’s fantasies. Ideally, our partners feel safe sharing their fantasies with us and involving us to the extent we can or wish to be involved. But we can’t prevent our partners from looking at whatever they want to look at, provided they’re considerate about when and where, and we certainly can’t stop our partners from thinking about whatever they want to think about, dick in hand or no dick in hand. Get a divorce. Or get better at telling your wife what she insists on hearing, doing whatever you want when you’re safely in the zone (of erotic autonomy), and covering your tracks. P.S. If the last couples’ counselor you saw didn’t turn to your wife at the end of your first session and say, “You’re a fucking psycho,” they sucked at their job. I am a gay man in a large Canadian city and I have a question about monkeypox. I have been seeing a male escort for several years and have built a friendly relationship with him. We both received the monkeypox vaccine in late June. My question is whether I should stop seeing him while monkeypox is still running rampant. Some further background—he is still advertising for clients online and he’s told me that he’s still sexually active and doesn’t always use condoms. I know he is in a financially precarious situation, which is why he escorts, so I don’t blame him for doing what he must. It pays the bills. I honestly miss him and our intimate connection, but I’m afraid I’d contract monkeypox even though we’re both vaccinated. Should I take a pause in seeing him because he is still having sex with multiple people? Worried About Monkeypox “Other than ‘acne, bug bite, or monkeypox,’ the biggest topic of discussion in the MSM [men who have sex with men] world right now is about how much protection vaccination provides,” says Dr. Carlton Thomas, a gastroenterologist who has been a leader in the effort to educate gay and bi men about monkeypox. So, WAM, you’ve gotten one shot—your first dose of the monkeypox vaccine—and the escort you see regularly got his first shot. Can you safely hookup with him again? “Sadly, we do not have any up-to-date research on antibody levels,” says Dr. Thomas. “Based on data from 2009 and 2019, I can offer ‘good,’ ‘better,’ and ‘best’ scenarios while we wait for better data. There seems to be a pretty good level of antibody formation and protection two-to-three weeks after the first shot. The levels and protection are better after three-to-four weeks. Older studies suggest your best level of protection—96-98% protection—comes two weeks after your second shot, if WAM can get a second shot. And that’s really good if true, because no vaccine is 100% effective.” Dr. Thomas has heard from men who believe they got infected with monkeypox up to three-and-a-half weeks after getting their first shot—so if you want to be as safe as possible, you should put off seeing your escort until after you get your second shot. “We really need to give our bodies time to allow the vaccine to do its job,” says Dr. Thomas. “But some places are only giving out one shot, and infection rates are dropping where only one shot was given—in Canada and the United Kingdom—and that’s a good sign.” Finally, WAM, you say you like this guy and that he’s in a financially precarious situation. You can show your support for your escort by booking a session and taking him to dinner instead of hooking up (boys still gotta eat) and/or by booking an online session with him and having a wank. Follow Dr. Carlton Thomas on Instagram and TikTok @doctorcarlton. Follow him on Twitter @doctor_carlton. I’m into having my neck bitten, nibbled, and sucked on. Most people like that a little, but I fixate on it to the point that it feels like a kink. I also like it hard. The problem is I’m an adult and I don’t want to go around with a neck covered in hickeys. But the amount of pressure I enjoy (it really has to hurt) inevitably leaves marks. Is there any way to avoid walking around looking like a 15-year-old girl with her first boyfriend other than only indulging during turtleneck season? I’m not really a makeup person and past attempts at covering up made my hickeys look even more alarming. Visible Bruise Is Totally Embarrassing Considering how popular the dangerous practice of sexual choking has become—discussed in a recent column—someone who spots a bruise on your neck is likelier to think, “Holy shit, she’s into choking and needs to ease the fuck up,” than they are, “Holy shit, she’s been making out with 15-year-old boys and needs to be locked the fuck up.” A ring of finger-tip-shaped bruises around your neck? People will think you’re reckless (or in danger), not immature. Some practical advice… There is a way to enjoy the sensation of having your neck mauled, VBITE, without walking around looking like you enjoy being violently throttled. Put your arm behind your head, bent at the elbow, rest your head on your arm, and turn your head away from the raised arm. It’ll raise your neck up and expose it, instantly making you feel more vulnerable. Also exposed and vulnerable in that position: your upper pec, lower tricep, and upper lat. Your partner can hold the hand you placed behind your head, making you feel even more vulnerable to their teeth, and then move from neck to pec to lat and back again as they bite, nibble, and suck. If your partner can go easy on the neck and hard on your pec, tricep, and lat, your nerve endings in all four places will be firing so quickly the sensations will blur together. It’ll feel like your neck is mauled just the way you like, but the bruises will be hidden under your arm. questions@savagelove.net Listen to Dan on the Savage Lovecast. Follow Dan on Twitter @FakeDanSavage. Columns, podcasts, books, merch and more at savage.love.

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