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I am a straight male, 30, in a long-term monogamous relationship. I love my wife, we have good sex, and often. When we first got together, I had a mild foot fetish, and she has gorgeous pedis. We have done and still do foot play on occasion. But my fetish has grown stronger as time has passed, and I have grown thirstier for her appendages. They are all I can think about. I am still willing to do everything with my partner and make sure she is satisfied. I don’t want anyone else, and the relationship is wonderful other than this issue. It’s just that she is not much into foot play and is rarely willing to partake. When she does partake, it is brief, and then we are on to the next. How can I relate to her my insatiable desire for her lovely appendages without sounding like an absolute freak? Is it fair for me to ask for this after being together so long without the same need? —Fighting Extreme Erotic Tension
I didn’t run your letter the first ten thousand times you sent it, FEET, because any regular reader of my column—and someone who emails me on a daily basis for three years is presumed to be a regular reader—would know what my advice would be in a case like yours: Level with your fucking wife about your boring fucking foot fetish already, you fucking coward.
You downplayed your kink at the start of your relationship, and you haven’t opened up to your wife about how your kink has grown in intensity over the years. So she may think those brief-and-on-to-the-next foot sessions are enough to satisfy what you’ve allowed her to believe is a mild foot fetish. Would those sessions be longer, more intense, and freakier if she knew how central this was to your sexuality? There’s only one way to find out, FEET: Stop worrying about sounding like an “absolute freak” and come out to your partner as the absolute freak that you are. (“My darling, for years I’ve pretended that my thing for feet is mild, but it’s actually an all-consuming passion, and I need to spend more time licking, kissing, and whatever-the-fucking your lovely appendages or I shall go mad blah blah blah.”)
While your dilemma is stupid and your spamming is annoying (and your wife potentially fictitious), FEET, I chose to run your letter because this is actually a pretty good hypothetical: “Is it fair for me to ask for this after being together so long without the same need?”
Sexual boredom is a huge problem in many long-term monogamous relationships. We humans are wired—male, female, and everything in between; gay, straight, and ditto—to seek some degree of novelty and variety in everything we do. Two people who agree not to seek sexual novelty or variety outside of their relationship have to work at creating some of both inside the relationship or risk watching their sexual connection wither and die. (That’s not always fatal—there are plenty of happy and sexless marriages out there—but a dead sexual connection can go gangrenous and poison a relationship.) So one partner asking another to explore a newfound sexual interest—or one partner coming clean about a suppressed or downplayed kink—can be a very good thing.
There is risk in disclosing: What if one partner’s “new need” is another partner’s libido killer, i.e., something that makes it difficult or impossible for the disclosee to connect sexually with the discloser ever again? But I would argue, based on the mail I receive (a skewed sample, yes, but a pretty massive sample), that sexual boredom poses a much bigger threat to a relationship or marriage than coming clean about an old or new kink ever could. —Dan
I’m a straight woman who has been married for 10 years. We’ve been in a rut, emotionally and sexually, for a few years. My closest girlfriends think we’re bored. Neither of us has done anything to harm or sabotage our marriage. We are very good together, and the love we have for one another is huge. I have plenty of male friends, but there is one that I’ve been getting to know—a colleague—and he is a stellar human being. We really connect. He kissed me a few weeks ago. I liked it. I like him. The impact on my marriage has been strangely great. I disclosed everything to my husband. He said, “I couldn’t get in the way of your happiness. Is this something you need to explore?” This is the nonthreatened response of someone who truly loves me. We’re communicating better now, our sex life is off the freakin’ chain, and it is evident that we’re committed to working through things as a couple. So why can’t I stop thinking of my colleague? I think of him all day long. I think of him when I’m making love to my husband. I don’t plan on seeing him anymore. He is a distraction to my marriage. But what on earth do you do to get someone out of your head? —Wanting It Forever
If you feel like spending time with your colleague is a genuine threat to your marriage, and if protecting your marriage from genuine threats is a priority (and it should be), then keep doing what you’re doing: Keep fucking your husband, keep avoiding your colleague, keep feeling your feelings (because what other choice do you have?), and with enough time and fucking and feeling, your crush on your colleague should wither away.
But that said…
So far, it would appear that this affair—this emotional affair—has had a positive impact on your marriage. Far from threatening your marriage, your feelings for your colleague dislodged something that reinvigorated your marriage. (You’re out of that rut now, right?) So if your colleague knew you were married and didn’t ask you to leave your husband, and if your husband didn’t threaten to divorce you, but asked if this—meaning something more than friendship with this colleague—was “something you need to explore,” you might be able to have a relationship with your colleague without having to end your marriage. Love isn’t always a zero-sum game. —Dan
If a random guy hands a girl his number—unsolicited—on a piece of paper without even talking to the girl first, is it wrong for the girl’s boyfriend to send this random guy a picture of his shit? I think it’s okay to send a picture. Others seem to think it’s abhorrent. Also, I think worse things have happened to people who ask out girls with protective and insecure boyfriends. —Butthole King
Asshole move, BK, but it’s not really Random Guy to whom you’re being an asshole. RG is just gonna delete the pic and get on with his life. So it’s not really RG that you’re trying to intimidate or humiliate with your shit pics. It’s your girlfriend. You’re telling her that she’s stuck with a guy who regards her as his property and will react like a huge asshole whenever someone else expresses the least interest in her—even if she didn’t invite it.
And you shouldn’t act like an asshole even if she did invite it. Sometimes partnered people engage in a little innocent flirting because it makes them feel attractive and alive—and then, all cranked up, they go home and fuck the shit out of their partners—and if you can’t chill the fuck out about it, BK, sooner or later, your girlfriend is gonna get sick of your shit and delete you. —Dan