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STRUGGLE SESSION: On Death and Lying, Bisexual Shenanigans, Drag Pronouns and More!

On Thursdays I respond to comments and criticisms from my readers and listeners. These posts are exclusively for Magnum Subs — so, if you’re already a sub, THANK YOU and read on! If you’d like to become a sub, subscribe here! Magnum subs get the Magnum Lovecast (more guests, more calls, no ads), the Maxi Savage Love (more Qs, more As, more Quickies), the Sex & Politics podcast, Struggle Session, and bragging rights: you’ll be one of my subs.

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So, the first question in this week’s column — my...

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...ou should’ve gotten an email this morning with the Zoom link! If you’re not already a sub and wanna join us for Savage Love Live, become a sub now! So, the first question in this week’s column — my monthly Quickies column — was from a woman who was so sick of waiting for her married lover’s terminally ill wife to die that she was drunkenly contemplating using the only leverage she had: calling her lover’s wife and/or her lover’s kids and telling them about the affair. To the LW’s credit, she knew this was wrong: she specifically asked me to tell her not to do it. Which is exactly what I did. An offended follower on Instagram took issue… Who would want to be married to a pathological liar anyway? The pathological liar here would be the cheating spouse and the person who wouldn’t wanna be married to that liar would be his dying wife. Christ, where to start? No one wants to be married to a pathological liar. Of course not. But I could see someone with a terminal illness wanting to remain married to the person who has been their primary caregiver. Stripping that dying person of their illusions shortly before their death — including the illusion that their spouse has been faithful to them — would not be a kindness. A dying woman isn’t exactly in a position to leave and start life over on her own on her own terms. I’m reading a lot into an eleven-word Instagram DM here, I realize, but I find it deeply frustrating when people can’t make a moral distinction (or pretend they can’t make a moral distinction) between the casual cruelty of a serial adulterer and the actions of an imperfect-but-loving partner who, in the face of a crushing emotional burden, sought sexual release outside the relationship. This affair has been going on for five years. If no one knows at this point — not the wife, not the kids — then this man has been extremely discreet. Maybe he had selfish reasons for being discreet (maaaaybe his dying wife is a rich heiress and he doesn’t wanna be cut out of her will), but sometimes people — and cheaters are people — are discreet because they want to spare their spouses avoidable and/or additional emotional pain. Because they love them, however imperfectly. “But he should’ve asked her for permission! He should’ve had a conversation with his wife about ethical non-monogamy!” Yeah, sure, okay, duh. Ideally, everyone should have open and honest and ongoing conversations with their partner(s) about their commitment and come to mutual agreements about making adjustments as their circumstances evolve and change over the long course of their lives together. That’s the ideal. That’s what Terry and I did. But going to a partner who is dying and saying, “Hey, I know you’ve got a lot on your plate right now and you’re probably feeling sad about your inability to be sexual anymore… but I was wondering if you would be okay with me fucking someone else once in a while seeing as you’re, you know, busy dying and stuff and don’t feel up for it anymore?” It’s easy to say, “Well, if he loved her, he would just go without sex,” but until you’ve been in that position — until you’ve been in his position — you don’t know how you would react or what you would need. Ted the Bellhop nails it: You knew what you were getting into from the beginning. If you blow up the lives of everyone involved because you can’t be content with your choices or choose to move on, YOU ARE A GIANT POS!!! (My apologies for the aggression here, but this is very personal to me as I’ve known some longterm care providers) OMG. Yes. This. Like Ted, I’ve known some longterm care providers — and I came to know them earlier in life than most people because of AIDS. I knew gay men in their twenties and thirties back in the 80s and 90s whose relationships had been monogamous and who were taking care of boyfriends (not husbands then) who were dying horrible, protracted deaths; some had permission from their partners to seek sex outside their relationships, some did not. But whether they had their dying partners’ explicit permission or not, the sex some of these men had outside their relationships made them better and more attentive caretakers to their dying partners. Some of their dying partners knew and were at peace with it, others were at peace because they didn’t know and/or didn’t want to know. JPW had some thoughts about the guy whose sister didn’t want him to date her friend…  The sister [could be] cock blocking the brother because she herself has the hots for this new girl. Maybe the caller’s sister is bisexual, and either has already hooked up or wants to soon hook up with this girl. Given the sister’s level of opposition to the relationship, I’d say that something like this isn’t outside the realm of possibility. What’s the opposite of bisexual erasure? Bisexual insertion? Bisexual infill? But yes! The caller’s sister absolutely could be bisexual — some of the best people are (and some of the worst) — and it’s entirely possible this caller’s sister is cockblocking him because she has secret bisexual designs on her female friends. But if I had gone there… if I’d called bisexual shenanigans… I’m guessing someone would’ve accused me of invoking ugly stereotypes about bisexuals (conniving closet cases!) and condemned my biphobia. (Can we get a ruling from you on this, BiDanFan?) Tyroga had some thoughts about using she/her to refer to drag queens… Drag pronouns (my 2c): She/Her when they are in drag, when you only know them as Drag Queens, or refer to them by their Drag name. If you know and use their boy name: he/him (if they are their preferred pronouns) when discussing boy things. So, for most folks not friends with a Queen, they’ll always be she/her. I got a call from a woman who was suddenly bursting into tears after PIV sex with her male partner, which we talked about in last week’s Struggle Session. A lot more comments came in about that call. Here’s the current list of the things that might be going on: postcoital dysphoria, stress, abuse, peri-menopause, disconnection, coming off anti-depressants, chemical imbalance, ADHD, babies, icked out by straight sex, hormonal birth control. Thingamajig asked a random question… Do you get calls from sad gay kids struggling to come out to shitty parents anymore? I feel like we haven’t had one of those in a long time. I hate to say that they were a “favorite” genre of call since those calls mean there’s a kid somewhere suffering, but they felt important in a way that the pubic hair on the toilet seat calls are not. And I felt like you usually managed to give the kid some hope that it would in fact get better. Of course, if it has gotten enough better that there really are fewer kids going through this, that’s great too. I don’t get as many questions these days from sad gay kids struggling to come out to shitty homophobic parents. While it would be nice to think that’s because there aren’t as many shitty homophobes out there… there are still lots of shitty homophobes out there. No, I think I get fewer calls from gay kids because my listeners and readers are aging along with me; I get way more questions these days about navigating middle-age and established LTRs than I do about sexual debuts, dating, or coming out. There are also a lot more online resources available to gay and queer kids today than there were even ten years ago. Nick had a great comment about learning how to have anal sex as a gay man — go read the whole thing — which prompted BiDanFan to say this about anal sex gone wrong… It’s a little mess, not the end of the world. Anyone who has sex that involves vaginas accepts that period blood is a risk; anyone who fucks butts has to accept a similar risk and be a grownup about it. Grownup, yes. Cavalier, no. Yes, shit happens, accidents happen, bodies are messy. But we wanna do our best to make sure shit doesn’t happen. And while I’m not a conspiracy theorist… I sometimes suspect… based on how adamant some people are about normalizing the happening of shit.. that scat fetishists may have entered the chat.) And finally… I’m deeply saddened to report that we received no nominations for Muppet-Faced Man of the Week this week. Maybe next week!

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