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STRUGGLE SESSION: Cheating Husbands, Disgusted Teenagers, Sucking Champs and More!

On Thursdays I respond to comments from readers and listeners. These posts are for Magnum Subs exclusively. So, if you’re already one of my subs, thank you and read on! If you’d like to become my sub, do it now! Magnum Subs get the Magnum Lovecast (more guests! more calls! no ads!), the Maxi Savage Love (more Q! more A!), Sex & Politics, invites to Savage Love Live, Struggle Session, and bragging rights: you’re one of my subs!

First, up, this came in via email…

As I was reading through your most recent column on women involved with committed men, I found myself deeply relating to the shared experiences. I once stood on the brink of that situation, but then I fell in love and had a child whom I strive to provide with a father figure every day, amidst the chaos of modern times. When my partner returns home at seven in the morning after a...

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...hat situation, but then I fell in love and had a child whom I strive to provide with a father figure every day, amidst the chaos of modern times. When my partner returns home at seven in the morning after a night out, I wonder if I should feel jealous and search for signs of his betrayal. This ordeal is ruining my life because often when we socialize with friends, I feel like I’m the only one unaware of something. I await the day I am told, “I wanted to tell you… but I thought about your family.” Now, I ask myself, why doesn’t a woman — knowing a man is committed and will certainly use her without respect — not seek psychological help instead of ruining another woman’s life? Why not let the wife go out with her husband to celebrate the weekend instead of relegating her to a dull and restricted life? Why ruin her life? If your husband is cheating on you… and you seem to have enough circumstantial evidence to conclude he is… why not get a divorce? If you can’t afford to get a divorce… or you’ve decided to stay for the kids… why not see a therapist yourself who can help you grieve the marriage you hoped to have and learn to live more happily in the one do? I would recommend a therapist who is down to help you detach emotionally — to the extent you can — from your husband and seek out, when and where you can, whatever and whoever brings joy and intimacy into your life. But if you can leave, you should. If you can’t or won’t, do whatever you need to do to stay sane. Says Maddy via email… I’m listening to this Episode 28 of Sex & Politics and chewing over your guest’s assertion that divorce rates among the working class in the US are due to some cultural “degeneracy” since the same rates are not seen in poorer countries like Kenya, South America, etc. It took me a minute, but the actual true difference isn’t anything you guys talked about. It is cultural attitudes around domestic abuse and other bad behavior by husbands. Can the wife leave? Is she better off leaving? I have always had a very culturally diverse group of friends, many from countries that he mentioned. And the men on the whole are not more responsible than men here. The guy who spends all his time picking up 18-year-old girls at community college? If he were in Bolivia, he would still be doing the same thing — but his wife and kids would have to have it in their faces. Overall I don’t see his book as an attack on polyamory but on feminism — and his argument is part of the recent resurgence of proposals to strip women of the autonomy they need to create the safest environments they can given their circumstances for their kids when they find themselves paired with men who are not “good father” material. (The same could be said when a dad discovers the mother of his children is not fit or has become unfit; I know two families where mom became Meth-Mom and had to go.) Divorce, like abortion, are hard-won and necessary tools for women’s autonomy. Maybe this is something you can keep in mind for any future conversations on this kind of topic. Great point, Maddy, and thank you for writing in. As we’ve discussed on other episodes of the show, women in the west no longer need men to exist socially, financially, and politically — which is a fairly recent development. So, given a choice between a shitty man and no man, many single straight women are choosing no man; and given a choice between staying with a man who is or has become shitty, many straight married women are choosing to divorce. The choice to divorce wasn’t freely available to women a century ago — and it wasn’t just social stigma. Women couldn’t sign leases, own property (women were property), open bank accounts, find jobs, etc. Bringing back a time when women couldn’t escape terrible marriages — stripping women of the right to divorce — is one of the reasons terrible men like Michael Knowles want to make divorce harder or impossible to obtain. • Says Jenn via email… I just wanted to say THANK YOU for the interesting variety of guests on Sex & Politics. In the latest episode Dan mentioned getting criticism about the number of center or right-leaning guests, but as a “commie” myself, I’ve been loving it! I’m a longtime Magnum sub and hardcore lefty, and I always enjoy hearing Dan speak with people I might not have come across in my progressive echo chamber. Plus it’s always more interesting to hear Dan discuss and debate ideas with people that I don’t necessarily agree with. I like that the discussions are civil/respectful and always interesting, and usually change my perspective or give me new things to consider. So, a big THANKS to Dan for the variety of guests, since it’s always more interesting when two sides to debate, rather than two people just agreeing with each other for an hour (or left-wingers eating our own while the world burns). Says Mackenzie via email… Long time listener, first time responder. I wanted to comment on the response you had for the boyfriend of the mother of three in Episode 910. This man has a 15-year-old girl in his home who did not want to listen to him have sex. I was once a 15-year-old girl who lived with a stepfather. And now I am teacher who works with children. When I listened to your response, I had so many feelings. Fifteen years old is still a child, and this man is not her father. He is a man having a romantic and sexual relationship with her mother. Exposing children to sex in the home is considered a form of sexual abuse for children and can lead to trauma. This CHILD is trying to express her DISCOMFORT with the sex she is being exposed to with a man in her home. Also, as you are probably aware, boyfriends of mothers are common sexual predators. This type of exposure to sexual noises, contact, and the conversations that make the child uncomfortable could be bringing him pleasure or a way of grooming the child. I know that this is a sex podcast, but perhaps a conversation that does not center around the adults’ sex life would be more appropriate in this case. This could be important in investing in their long term relationship together as a potential step family. Grooming? • I didn’t get the sense the caller was deriving any pleasure from this teenager’s discomfort. Indeed, the caller described proactively taking steps — together with his partner, this child’s mother — to lower the volume and be considerate. And it wasn’t just the sounds sexual activity this kid was objecting to, but any expression of physical intimacy whatsoever between her mother and her step-father-in-all-but-name, no matter how minor. This is at time — I agree — when this new couple should be prioritizing making their blended/step- family work, but I don’t think it’s realistic to tell this couple… to do what exactly? Remain celibate unless and until they get they okay from all of this kid to resume having sex with each other in their own home? Refrain from any displays of affection? • Says Thingamajig about the same call… I agree with the broad outlines of Dan’s advice to the parents of the 15 year old, but not the idea of rubbing her nose in it when and if you do find other places to have sex. That’s just mean. Maybe she’s got some real phobias about sex. Maybe it’s the opposite; she’s jealous her mom has a crazy life and she doesn’t. Maybe it’s some of both. Whatever it is she doesn’t deserve to be mocked. More broadly, I think it’s really, really, really important for parents to remember that their children are not just “their children,” they are people. In addition to being your daughter/de facto step-daughter this person is your roommate, and it’s not a living situation she chose or can change. You have all the power here and you know what Uncle Ben said about great power. I think the steps you have taken so far are fair and reasonable (and her expecting you not to have sex isn’t), but please take her point of view seriously. I withdraw my advice to tease — not mock — this kid. (A kid who is being extremely obnoxious, as Jonathan points out in his comment.) When my parents divorced and my mom started dating and, yes, having sex with men who weren’t our dad in the house where her teenage children all still lived (and we were paying rent, because my parents couldn’t afford to get divorced but did so anyway), we all processed our shared discomfort — including my mother’s discomfort at her children becoming sexually active — with affectionate teasing and gentle mockery. It wasn’t abuse — and no one was groomed — it was humor being used to do what humor often does: acknowledge awkwardness and relieve tension. • BiDanFan sees things differently — and has some good, practical suggestions… I wanted to fake-barf at the guy who insists on subjecting a fifteen-year-old to the noise of his fucking her mother! Seriously!? Why is she in the next room to yours, is question one? Why are you making out right in front of her? Yes, you have a great sex life, congratulations — don’t subject her children to it! She’s only there half the time, and I’m sure she’s at school or otherwise out of the house some of the time she is there, so fuck when she isn’t? Or at least be discreet about it. Gross! The caller described “PG levels” of PDA, not making out in front of the kids. And I suggested moving her room away from theirs, if at all possible. But fucking when the kids aren’t in the house — or when they’re at a school — is a reasonable accommodation that the caller and his girlfriend should immediately implement. • BiDanFan’s comment about my advice for LW#12 in this month’s Quickies column — the woman who didn’t like sucking dick because she doesn’t like how dick smells and it always makes her puke (hair-trigger/dick-trigger gag reflex) — revived an age-old argument about who gives the best head: straight/bi women, bi men, or gay men. Mikesquared argued that most men can’t deep throat. Jonathan said that, at least in his experience, most men — at least the gay ones — can deep throat. BadKatDad jumped in to say… This idea that all men just “know” how to do deep throat is completely new to me and totally baffling. Deep throating is a skill that needs to be acquired and developed. Most people who say they can’t either don’t want to try, have never tried, or have a very powerful gag reflex they can’t control. I say people because this is not a dang gendered topic! Says BiDanFan… There is also the big dick/small mouth problem. And perhaps men are more willing to put in the work to learn, because they have the direct experience of what receiving a BJ like that feels like, whereas a woman may find the experience very unpleasant and reason she can please him in many other ways that are more enjoyable for her too. Jonathan jumped back in… Yeah, definitely not gendered. Gay men may have the slight advantages of very slightly larger average throat/facial anatomy and the enthusiasm of having felt the difference on their own dicks, but those are relatively minor and easily overcome with enthusiasm. As well as, generally, no sense that giving blowjobs is somehow demeaning — plenty of women don’t have that hangup, but some do. Some gay men get off on being and/or feeling demeaned when they’re sucking a cock — and since gay men are men, most gay don’t move through the world frequently/constantly feeling demeaned or threatened by men. For gay men, “demeaning” sex acts, role play, dirty talk, etc., feels more like a sexy place to visit and less like a prison we can never escape. So, yeah… what’s a bug for many women (getting your face fucked is so demeaning) is a feature for many gay men (getting your face fucked is sooooo demeaning!). But I have to say… I do think this is gendered. After decades of talking to people about their sex lives… I feel confident when I say that sucking dick is something (most) straight and bi women do for their partners, some quite happily, but sucking dick is something (most) gay men do for themselves, most quite hungrily. To give pleasure is great; to give and take pleasure at the same time… is divine. • Second-to-last word to SloMoPoMo… There was a discussion some weeks back, wherein a bi man proposed that women and bi men can be good at it, but pretty much only gay men really loved doing it. …and last word goes to comedian Michelle Wolf. • LW#16 simply asked, “SF or Seattle?” My response: “Chicago.” TruthLemonade had some thoughts… SF has the best weather, Chicago has the worst, but global warming is a thing which means Chicago is more bearable than it was in the past. SF is the most expensive, and Chicago is the cheapest… I see now that Dan was born and raised in Chicago, but has spent decades in Seattle. In “The West Wing,” the President says, “I meet so many people who can’t wait to tell me they’re from Chicago and when I meet them, they’re living anywhere but Chicago.” When people ask why I still live in Seattle when I would prefer to live Chicago — which is a superior city in every possible way — what Queen Elizabeth, I’m always reminded of what the late Queen Mother, said during WW2 when asked why she was still in London: “I can’t leave the King, and the King won’t go.” As much as I would like to move to Chicago — Mike Royko’s old apartment is for sale and I want it — I cant leave the King (Terry), and the King (Terry) won’t go. (It’s my fault. I made the mistake of taking Terry home to meet my family during February. Standing on the Belmont L platform on a windy twenty-below-zero day, Terry looked at me and said, “We are never moving here.” So, my advice to any Chicagoans in Seattle who wanna convince PNW partners to move to the midwest… take ’em home to meet the family in late September, not early February. (As for why I took him to Chicago in February to meet the family: someone died, big family funeral. That’s how Irish Catholics roll.)) • Some great advice for the opposite-sex couple just beginning to explore monogamishamy from superstar co-commenters Mathis & Lea. And tons of great feedback on my Facebook page for the woman who wants her ex-husband and new (and much younger) boyfriend to become besties. Says Pogo… My parents have seven marriages and divorces between them. Three for him, four for her. As a former kid who has seen more parental ex issues than most: don’t push it. Awkward is natural. It’s fine. No open hostility? Good. Let it be. Give it time. Civil isn’t a failure. Says Janet… The caller doesn’t need to “fix” anything. Just let their interactions evolve. That said, her ex might not be comfortable with the age difference. Turn the tables for some empathy — imagine you’re 40 and your ex has a new partner who’s 28. Possibly awkward! Says Andrew… I hated this call. Neither of these guys has an obligation to be anything but cordial to each other, which it sounds like they’re doing. The caller sounded incredibly controlling and selfish trying to force a friendship, which never works. Before we go… best wishes to Auntie Griz, who is facing health challenges. Here’s to a full and speedy recovery, Griz. Reading through the comments isn’t as much without your presence. And now… • Our Muppet-Faced Man of the Week… • Model Calum Harper! His runway walk is flawless, his Calvin Klein shoot is scorching, and his reels are hilarious! • Okay, that’s it for Struggle Session this week! New column and new podcast coming Tuesday! Thanks to all our Magnum Subs!

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