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Just the Facts

Joe Newton

I’m a woman in a hetero marriage. We’ve happily played with others a bit but not recently because we have a small child. We are both bi and in our 40s. We talked about getting the monkeypox vaccine, but I didn’t think it was urgent because we’re not currently having sex with anyone else. Here’s my question: What should I do after learning that my husband got the monkeypox vaccine without telling me? I noticed a red bump on his arm, and he said it was nothing. After I said it looked like the monkeypox vax reaction, he admitted he got the vaccine but didn’t tell me. I was in favor of him getting the vaccine, so I’m totally panicking because he sneaked to get the shot. I think he’s cheating. It’s 2 AM where I am, and I just ordered two at-home HIV/AIDS...

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... at-home HIV/AIDS tests and I’m getting a full STI panel at my OB GYN on Monday. What should I do? I’m a wreck. Seriously Panicking Over Unapproved Shot And Lies By the time you read this, SPOUSAL, those at-home HIV/AIDS tests will have arrived, and you will have your results. You’ll also have seen your OB GYN and most likely gotten the results of your STI tests. Assuming there were no unpleasant surprises—assuming you’re still negative for all the same things you were negative for the last time you tested—what does that mean? While I don’t wanna cause you another sleepless night, SPOUSAL, your test results can all be negative and your husband could still be cheating on you. But in the absence of other evidence—in the absence of any actual evidence that your husband has cheated on you—I think your husband deserves the benefit of the doubt. Getting the monkeypox vaccine is the only fact in evidence here, SPOUSAL, and it’s a huge leap from, “My husband got the monkeypox vaccine without telling me,” and, “My husband has been cheating on me with other men during a public health crisis that has primarily impacted gay and bi men and wasn’t using condoms with those other men and knowingly put me at risk of contracting monkeypox and HIV.” If your husband has a history of being reckless about his own sexual health and yours—if he tried to go bare without your consent when you played with other people, for example, and that incident and others like it fueled your freakout—I don’t understand why you’re still married to this man. Zooming out for a second… I can think of a few very good reasons why a married bi guy might decide to get the monkeypox vaccine even if his partner wanted him to wait. First, those shots haven’t been easy to get. If the vaccine became available where you live and/or his doctor offered it to him, it was a good idea for him to get his shots even if he’s not currently sleeping with anyone else. And why would his partner—why would you—want him to wait? If you didn’t want him to get those shots as some sort of insurance policy, e.g., if you wanted cheating to be needlessly and avoidably risky as some sort of deterrent, that seems pretty reckless. Sometimes, SPOUSAL, the likely excuse is the honest answer. I’m guessing your husband got his shots because he hopes you—the both of you—can start playing with others again in the near future and he wants to be ready. Guys have to wait a month after getting their first shot before getting their second shot, and another two weeks after that before they’re fully immune. (Or as immune as they’re going to get.) If your husband has been looking forward to opening your relationship back up—by mutual consent—sometime in the near future, he most likely wanted to be ready to go when you decided, together, to resume playing with others. And he didn’t tell you he was getting the shots because, although he wanted to be ready to go when the time came, he knew you weren’t ready and didn’t want you to feel rushed or pressured. My analysis of the situation presumes your husband isn’t a lying, cheating, inconsiderate, reckless asshole and deserves the benefit of the doubt here. You know your husband better than I do, SPOUSAL, and it’s entirely possible that your husband has proven himself to be a liar and a cheat and an inconsiderate asshole and a reckless idiot again and again and again. But if that’s the case—if he’s all of those horrible, no-good, disqualifying things and, therefore, not deserving the benefit of the doubt here—I would ask you again (and again and again): Why are you still married to him then? I need advice as to how to restart the “sex with others” part of my life because cancer surgery left me without erections, and it is not fixable. I can have intense orgasms if I masturbate or get oral sex on my flaccid penis. I am a 73-year-old male, and I have been into kink since I was a teen, so I understand that there is much more than PIV that can give one pleasure. I also understand that for the vast majority of people, PIV is what sex is about. People come on to me often, so I have no problem attracting people. What is your advice as to how to present this issue when someone shows interest in me? With online dating, I would like to be upfront and put it in my profile, but I’m a public figure and can’t just post a picture of myself in a dating app and disclose this. Do you have any suggestions about dating online where I can omit putting my picture? I’m attracted to females, cis and trans. I have never been with a transgender woman, but after surviving cancer I am more open to everything now than I was before. (Seeing the end of life up close really removes a lot of blocks.) I am not attracted to males at all. What word best to describes my sexual likes? Giving But Not Hard You’re straight—expansively, capaciously, wonderfully straight. As for dating apps… Don’t hesitate to post your photo. Most people were meeting online before the pandemic started, and the few remaining holdouts—with a push from public health authorities—got onto dating and hookup apps in March of 2020. While someone might notice a public figure on a dating app, no one whose opinion matters will bat an eye (so long as your profile doesn’t list your particular sexual interests), and only an asshole (whose opinion will be dismissed) would attempt to shame a public figure for having a PG profile up on a dating app. As for PIV… Save the discussion about your dick and how it works now—and it still works (intense orgasms at your age!)—for your first face-to-face meeting. And the PIV work-around/work-with seems obvious. You can use your tongue, fingers, hands, toys, and vibrators to get your partner/partners off and they can do (or help you do) what gets you off. And when you’re with someone who wants/needs a good pounding—when you’re with a woman who can get off from penetration alone (a minority, but they’re out there) or you’re with a woman who gets off from penetrative sex combined with another kind of stimulation (like a vibrator, deployed deftly and simultaneously)—use a strap-on dildo. With the rise in popularity of male chastity devices and orgasm denial as a form of D/s play, it’s not uncommon to see cis men—gay, bi, and straight—using strap-on dildos to fuck their partners. (Well, it’s a common sight if you follow the same perverts and porn stars I do on Twitter.) There’s no reason you couldn’t use a strap-on during vanilla straight sex, just as lesbians have always used strap-ons during vanilla lesbian sex. As for what sex is about… Sex is not about PIV. Or PIT or PIB or PIG. Sex doesn’t require penis at all, bio or silicone, soft or hard. Sex—good sex—is about intimacy, connection, and pleasure, and nothing increases your odds of having great sex than good communication. I’ve long said that gay people are better at sex than straight people. (Okay, okay: #NotAllGayPeople, but the average gay person is better at sex than the average straight person.) It’s not because gay people are magic, it’s because we can’t default to PIV, which means we have to talk to each other about what we want before we have sex, and conversations about basics like oral, anal, and JO make it easier to have conversations about kinks, fetishes, and fantasies. (And they make it easier to talk about limits and boundaries too.) So, the honest conversation you need to have with potential new sex partners—what you can do for and with them, what you can’t do for and with them—will not only result in you going to bed with the right women (women who won’t have a problem with your inability to get hard), but result in you having much better sex with those women as well. Better sex, even, than guys who can get hard. I bought some drawings from this woman in Norway. She sent me a photo of her putting the drawings in a tube to be mailed. When I saw her picture, I was immediately attracted to her. That was October 6th and we’ve been texting ever since. I suggested coming to see her, but she doesn’t want me to make a special trip. She suggested I wait until I’m coming to visit family there. (I have family there.) In the meantime, I’m on a dating app here but have little to no interest in meeting someone else. I can only think of her. I typically go to Norway to see family once every few years. If I do go to see her, I would rather not tell my cousins I’m coming, since my family tends to dominate all my time when I visit. What do you suggest? Obliging Norwegian Seems Keenly Enticing You aren’t obligated to notify your cousins that you’re coming to Norway, ONSKE, just as you aren’t obligated to get this woman’s permission to enter Norway. So, book a trip, and let her know you’re going to be in Norway. But I would suggest booking a refundable ticket. Because while you can know for a fact you’re attracted to this woman, ONSKE, you can’t say with absolute certainty that she’s attracted to you. For all you know, ONSKE, this woman was just being polite to a customer on another continent—and maybe hoping to sell some more of her art—and you’ve misread her signals. (I mean, if she was really into you, why would she suggest waiting YEARS–until your next family visit rolls around, to meet in person?) Even if she does want to meet you, ONSKE, there’s always a chance you won’t click. So, book a flight, keep your expectations in check, and have a backup plan, e.g., other people you’d like to see (surprise your cousins?) or other countries you’d like to visit (I hear Austria is lovely this time of year). questions@savagelove.net Listen to Dan on the Savage Lovecast Follow Dan on Twitter @FakeDanSavage. Columns, books, merch, and more at Savage.Love.