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Asked and Answered

Joe Newton

Dear Readers: I hosted an “Ask Me Anything” at Savage.Love last week, where I answered as many questions as I could in 90 minutes. Here are some of the questions I didn’t get to before the buzzer sounded…

30s lesbian in a non-monogamous sexless marriage here. Do you think it’s ever possible to re-spark a sexual connection if both partners are open to it? The context: I love good sex and have had incredibly hot sexual connections with other partners, but sex in my 10-year relationship with my wife has always been infrequent, i.e., two to three times a year. She’s generally a very tired, low-energy person, and she’s so low-energy during sex that she’s literally fallen asleep mid-sex on a lot of occasions. This has done a number on my self-esteem, and the last decade of my life has been characterized by loneliness, yearning, and dissatisfaction. And lately,...

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...ions. This has done a number on my self-esteem, and the last decade of my life has been characterized by loneliness, yearning, and dissatisfaction. And lately, resentment has creeped in. You might tell me to go have amazing sex with other partners, but my wife is verrrry controlling of those connections and tends to treat me with a cold shoulder when I get involved with someone else. I’ve come to embrace the truth that this is not enough for me for the rest of my lifetime. I’m not sure how to dig my relationship out of this dynamic. We’ve been in therapy together for four years and although she says she wants the same exciting sex life that I want, nothing has changed. Help A Lesbian Out One of the superstar commenters at Savage.Love — BiDanFan — got to your question before I did, HALO, and I liked her response: “She says she wants the same exciting sex life that you want but her actions say the opposite. She only wants sex once or twice a YEAR, and doesn’t want you to have sex with anyone else. This isn’t fair. Four years of therapy haven’t solved anything. Your wife is paying lip service to wanting to re-spark your sexual connection so you won’t leave her. But how many decades of your life will you spend like this? But don’t go have amazing sex with other people yet! Divorce your wife, then go have amazing sex with other people.” That’s good advice — BiDanFan always gives good advice — but personally, HALO, I don’t think you have to wait until your divorce is final before you go have amazing sex with someone else. Hell, I don’t think you have to wait until you’ve even initiated a divorce. Your marriage is open and non-monogamous, which means you’re already allowed to get sex elsewhere. So, why wait? And if your wife gives you the cold shoulder — if she punishes you for getting sex elsewhere after giving you permission to get sex elsewhere — that’s something you should bring up with your therapist. Zooming out for a second: you can’t re-spark something that never sparked in the first place. Whatever your relationship is, whatever happiness it brought and still brings you, it has never been defined by a strong sexual connection. You need to stop feeling guilty and/or being made to feel guilty about the accommodation your wife made (permission to get it elsewhere) that made it possible for you to stay in this marriage as long as you already have. And if your wife won’t stop trying to make you feel guilty — by punishing you with that cold shoulder — then you’ll have to do something about it. I recommend an ultimatum: “It’s open on my terms — it’s open and joyful, it’s open without punishment — or it’s over.” Your wife may pick “over,” and that may be the best outcome for both of you. But she may decide… once she realizes she can’t control you with her moods and/or run out the life-expectancy-clock in therapy… to be happy for you when you get it elsewhere. My partner of four years — he’s male, age 59 — recently started having trouble maintaining an erection. He and I have discussed it, we’re both still having a great time, and he’s going to bring it up with his doctor soon. Any tips for being a supportive and enthusiastic partner when he goes soft? Do I switch up whatever activity I’m doing when it happens? Or do I carry on? How can I be a better partner in these moments? Having Anxieties Regarding Dick If your partner goes soft while he’s fucking you, HARD, you obviously can’t carry on. And if he goes soft while you’re sucking him, well, blowjobs are a lot of work and sucking a soft cock is (usually, not always) wasted labor. The better idea would be for you to pivot — I mean the plural you, the two of you together, without sighs or apologies — to an activity that takes the focus off his dick, relieving him of the pressure to get hard again during that session. He goes down on you, mutual masturbation, you bust out a vibrator, you could even borrow a page from the lesbians and get a strap-on dildo. There’s a lot two people can do without a hard dick in the room. My oldest child, age 23, just came out as non-binary. Their dad and I are happy for them and happy to see them live their truth. We are struggling a little with remembering to use the correct pronouns, but we know with practice we’ll get it. My child’s partner is a trans man. My child previously identified as a gay man. Does this change in their gender identity impact their sexual orientation at all? Can you help this loving and open-minded 55-year-old mom navigate this new territory?!? Mom On Mission You shouldn’t have to navigate this territory unassisted, MOM, because your child should be your guide. If you have a question about how their new non-binary gender identity might impact how they label or understand their sexual orientation, you should ask them. There are non-binary folks out there who identify as gay and lesbian — which can be confusing, as those categories can seem pretty binary on their face. It’s also possible that your kid now identifies as androsexual, i.e., someone who is attracted to men or masculinity, instead of gay or that your kid is workshopping a brand-new term for their sexual orientation and will soon alert the people who crank out new pride flag designs. They’ve surely given their identity/identities some thought — until recently young queers rarely seemed to think about anything else — but on the off chance they haven’t thought about how their non-binary gender identity intersectionally intersects — in an intersectional way — with their old sexual orientation, a well-intentioned question from mom (“Do you still identify as gay?”) should inspire them to give it some thought. Have you/anyone you know had a mid-life crisis? How did you/they handle it? How long did it last? Only asking as I’m slightly worried that my hubby (40-year-old gay man) might be having one and there are only so many saunas, bathhouses, threesomes, etc., I can indulge him in before I just get bored. Also, moving to a UK city-centre flat and going clubbing has zero appeal for me, a 35-year-old gay man. Any thoughts you could share? Tired Of Going Out When my husband was in his 20s… he didn’t wanna go out so much, and neither did I. But when he turned 30, he suddenly wanted to go out. So, I let him go out, and I even went out with him once in a while. But now that he’s in his 50s… my husband still wants to go out. Not as often, TOGO, but going out clearly wasn’t a midlife crisis or something he would get out of his system in a year or two. It’s something he enjoys, it’s something he needs. The secret to our success as a mixed introvert/extrovert couple: I don’t force him to stay home, he doesn’t force me to go out. So long as he’s home when I need him, so long as he always comports himself in public with the decency befitting a married man, and so long as doesn’t wake me up when he gets home (most important of all), it’s not a problem… because we don’t make it a problem. If you don’t need your husband by your side at all times and/or he doesn’t need you by his side at all times — if you’re fine reading at home alone while your husband, say, hosts a fetish party in a leather bar and tosses dildos to the crowd — you can make this work. I’ve learned recently that I’m sort of a demisexual: I like to have a more or less personal connection with someone before having sex. There’s a friend I’ve had sex with before but haven’t again since becoming closer friends. We have lots of sexual tension and there’s clear interest from both ends in having sex again. But for some reason he avoids it, and doesn’t seem all that interested, and he sort of strings me along. I’ve told him in no uncertain terms that I want to fuck, so the ball is in his court. How do I get him to cut through the sexual tension and fuck me already? I think it’d be fun to be his local trade. Fuck Me There’s tension here on both sides — but it’s not mutual sexual tension, I’m sad to say. The tension you’re feeling is sexual, FM, because you wanna fuck this guy (again). But he’s just feeling tense… because he knows you wanna fuck him (again)… because you told him you wanna fuck him (again)… but he doesn’t wanna fuck you (again). And he’s a nice guy, the kind of guy who doesn’t want to be unkind if he can avoid it, and so he hasn’t said no. He smiles, he laughs, he gently deflects… so gently, I suspect, that you’ve mistaken his attempts at (gentle, friendly) deflection as some sort of mildly flirty confirmation that he might still be interested. He’s not. And while he may think he’s being kind by not shutting you down, this particular kind of kindness — never quite saying no, never quite saying yes — isn’t actually kind, FM, because it allows someone to live in false hope, which is torture. Send your question right here on Savage.Love. mailbox@savage.love

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