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I found your column after a Google search. I saw your e-mail address at the bottom and was hoping for some insight. My issue is this: Two years into our 23-year marriage, my wife declared that she didn’t want to kiss me or perform oral on me. Several years ago, she had an affair and confessed that she not only kissed this other person but performed oral on them as well. Why them and not me? Should I just go find someone willing to do what I want? I have a high sex drive, but I find that I don’t want to sleep with my wife anymore because there is never any foreplay and a few minutes into it she’s telling me to hurry up. I don’t feel wanted, and honestly I no longer desire her. What do you make of this? —Hurting Unwanted Husband
Before telling you what I make of your email, HUH, I want to tell you what I wish I could make out of your email: a time machine. If I could turn all those pixels and code and whatever else into a working time machine, I’d drag your ass back to 1996 (and try to talk you out of marrying your wife) or 1998 (and try to talk you into leaving her after two years of marriage). But since time machines aren’t a thing—at least not yet—we’ll have to talk about the here and now.
Your wife isn’t attracted to you, and never was, or hasn’t been for a long, long time. And now the feeling is mutual—you aren’t attracted to her anymore, either. And if you’re seriously wondering why she kissed and blew that other person—the person with whom she had an affair—when she hasn’t wanted to kiss or blow you for 20-plus years (“Why them and not me?”), HUH, the answer is as painful as it is obvious: Your wife was attracted to her affair partner (that’s why them) and she’s not attracted to you (that’s why not you).
Now, it’s possible your wife was attracted to you a long time ago; I assume she was kissing and blowing you while you were dating and during the couple dozen months of marriage. (She wouldn’t have to announce she was going to stop doing those things if she’d never started.) But at some point relatively early in your marriage, HUH, your wife’s desire to swallow your spit and inhale your dick evaporated. It’s possible her desire to swallow/inhale the spit/dick of her affair partner would have evaporated in roughly the same amount of time, and she would have lost interest in him and his dick and his spit, as well. Some people have a hard time sustaining desire over time—and contrary to popular belief, women have a harder time sustaining desire in committed, romantic relationships than men do. (Wednesday Martin wrote an entire NYT best-selling book about it, Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity Is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free.)
Of course, it’s possible your wife isn’t the problem. You may have said or done something that extinguished your wife’s desire for you. Or, hey, maybe your personal hygiene leaves everything to be desired. (I’ve received countless letters over the years from women whose husbands refuse to brush their teeth and/or can’t wipe their asses properly.) Or maybe you’re emotionally distant or cold or contemptuous or incredibly shitty in bed. Or maybe you’re not the problem! I don’t know you, HUH, and other than the very few details you included in your very brief letter, I don’t know what’s going on in your marriage.
But I do know this: If you can leave, HUH, you most likely should. But if you decide to stay because you want to stay, or because leaving is unthinkable for cultural or religious or financial reasons … well, seeing as how your wife hasn’t wanted to fuck you for decades, and seeing as how you no longer want to fuck your wife, you should release each other from the monogamous commitment you made more than two decades ago. If you can adjust your expectations—if you can both agree to define your marriage as companionate, i.e., you’re friends and life partners, not romantic or sexual partners—you may be able to appreciate your marriage for what it is. But to do that, you’ll have to let go of the anger and disappointment you feel over what it’s not.
And to be clear: If your marriage is companionate, you should both be free to seek sex with outside partners. —Dan Savage
Simple question, probably not a simple answer: How do you keep things exciting once the shiny, new phase of a relationship is over? Is it normal to reach a stage where you know someone so well that they’ve become boring? Isn’t that just the fucking worst? —Same Old, Same Old
Recognizing that some people actually enjoy boring—I have it on good authority that some people can get a thrill knitting sweaters and sitting still—there is something the rest of us can do to keep things exciting once the shiny, new phase of a relationship is over: Go on strange and exciting new adventures together. Early on in the relationship, SOSO, your new partner was your exciting new adventure, and you were theirs. But now instead of being the exciting new adventure, you have to figure out what exciting new adventures you’d like to go on together—and then get out there and go on them. —DS
I’m a young, nonbinary ethical slut, and I have a question about a kink that one of my partners is discovering. We are very close, although we are not sexually active with each other at this point (we are currently long-distance). She has another partner with whom she is currently exploring “little” play. I feel personally uncomfortable with age-regression play, but I obviously want to be supportive and understanding. We have fairly good communication, and I am able to tell her when I feel uncomfortable and that I still love and support her but I just can’t talk about “little” play at the time. I would love to be able to talk about it with her and be supportive, and at the very least make sure I don’t say anything ignorant or hurtful to her. My question is this: How can I stretch my zone of comfort and learn about this kink in a healthy and educated way? —A Little Uncomfortable
If you want to get more comfortable discussing “little” play, i.e., adults pretending to be small children with other consenting adults, the Dream a Little podcast is a good place to start. It’s hosted by Lo, an AB/DL (adult baby/diaper lover) who has been a guest on my own podcast and who recently made an appearance in the column offering advice to a sad and lonely AB/DL. That said, ALU, you aren’t obligated to listen to your partner talk about this kink if the topic makes you uncomfortable—or just bores you senseless. Tell her that you support her and you know it’s exciting to explore a new kink, and while she doesn’t have to hide this from you, it’s not something you’re comfortable—at least for now—discussing at length. —DS
Email your Savage Love questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.