I came out after a number of years of “playing straight.” I had two relatively long-term monogamous gay relationships, then converted a friend into a boyfriend. We bought a house, got a dog, and live in the burbs. Supposedly, life is good.
I’m a fairly athletic guy, and I started playing sports partly to overcome my internal homophobia. My partner isn’t athletic. He likes to stay home, watch movies, cook with real butter—consequently, he’s out of shape. Our relationship is great in that we have a high degree of true honesty between us—he’s a trustworthy guy, and I love him and his family.
The issue is that I often feel stuck. I’ve dealt with some anxiety and am taking medication to help. I’m a fairly balanced guy, but I still feel the urge to get out and be with other guys I find more attractive. I’m with the guy of my dreams—in every way except that he’s bear-shaped, and that’s not my thing. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even want to go out with friends because I’m afraid I’ll have a few beers and end up giving in to my own urges to play around with another guy, and I don’t want to cheat. My partner is generally GGG when it comes to trying new things, but it’s not really working. I’m just not attracted to my guy sexually.
Please don’t say, “Well, if you don’t want to fuck him, you should just move on.” I’m looking for some real advice. My partner and I have talked about three-ways, messing around with another couple, things like that. I haven’t felt comfortable exploring that area because I think he would have an emotional meltdown if I actually expressed an interest in any other guy. —Seeking a Solution
I’m forbidden to offer you the obvious advice—leave the boyfriend because you’re not sexually attracted to him—because you would prefer some real advice. And since you’re not going to leave, I guess it would be a waste of time to point out that your creeping sense of misery and despair, which has you medicating yourself to stay in this relationship, is only going to get worse. And I can’t advise you to sleep around, as that would be cheating. And you can’t open the relationship up because your boyfriend, with whom you enjoy a “high degree of honesty,” would have an emotional meltdown if you told him the truth about how you’re feeling.
So what advice do I have for you? Uh…start drinking heavily, I guess, because you’re really fucked, SAS. Your sexual dissatisfaction and sense of being trapped are only going to grow—until, of course, those feelings are overtaken by feelings of resentment, and soon thereafter you’ll be subconsciously sabotaging the relationship in a desperate effort to act on a completely understandable desire: to be intimate with someone who actually turns you on.
Look, SAS, I’m not trying to be an asshole (being an asshole has always come easy). But I want to tell you to leave—to part now on good terms, to accept that this wasn’t meant to be, to convert the boyfriend back to a friend—just as you suspected I would. And you ruled that advice out. So I did the best I could under the circumstances.—Dan
For the past 15 years, I’ve identified as bisexual: I’ve been in monogamous relationships with men and women. I married a wonderful guy a few years ago. However, I recently realized that I identify as gay. I’ve talked to my husband about this, and he’s OK with it. I decided to stay with him and remain monogamous. We have a great relationship—and great sex. We left open the possibility of me taking a female lover in the future, if needed. For now, I’m happy with him. I flirt with girls, we talk openly about my preferences, but I haven’t had sex with a woman since before I married him. And I’m OK with that.
So, here’s my dilemma: Is it right to call myself a lesbian if I’m married to (and sexually involved with) a man? I hesitate to stay with the “bi” label, since I have no interest in other men. Can I call myself a lesbian even though I’m not sleeping with women?—Lesbian and Married to a Man
I wanted to respond to An Unmarried Woman. As a result of her “nice, funny” husband-material boyfriend’s “boring” sexual style, AUW has begun to cheat on him with her ex-boyfriend.
I married my version of her boyfriend. So did many of my friends. Years later, all of us have:
1. Left our nice husbands because the sex was so unexciting,
2. Had affairs, or
3. Complained endlessly about how we feel trapped and frustrated in our sexually unfulfilling marriages.
AUW needs to walk away, and she needs to do it now—before she feels crummy about cheating, before she “settles” for bad sex as a trade-off for “settling down,” and before she has any kids whose lives will be affected by her future unhappiness and whatever steps she takes to deal with it.
Part of the problem here is that your standard advice to DTMFA doesn’t always apply, Dan. AUW’s boyfriend is not a motherfucker; he’s a good, decent, caring, funny, responsible man, a potential life partner. Women are strongly socialized to downplay their own sexual needs in relation to their desire for security and stability. We’re taught that this is the mature decision, and that what’s important is that we choose the “good” guy. Only trailer-park sluts—ignorant and sex-driven—would value good sex above all that more “important” stuff.
But as you well know, Dan, good sex is damn important, and our desire for it doesn’t necessarily fade over time. AUW should think about this: Even when there’s a strong sexual connection, over time, the novelty wears off, people have to “work” at keeping the sex hot, and children and bills and the daily grind take their toll. Where does she think she and Mr. Nice Guy will wind up sexually in 10 years if they have an uninspired sex life now?
AUW should wait for someone who “worships [her] pussy” and who is in other ways appropriate for the long haul. You can get a lot of your needs met outside of marriage, AUW, without being unfaithful. You can laugh, talk, go to movies, knit, etc., with friends, and it’s OK. But once you go outside the marriage to fuck, you have crossed a heavy line. Marry someone who can meet your sexual needs. —Me and Everyone I Know
Thanks for sharing, MAEIK, and you’re right—DTMFA doesn’t apply in this instance. So let’s coin a new catchphrase. You like him/her but he/she bores the hell out of you? “Try and let that person—that kind, good person—down as easily as you can. Be careful with their heart!” Or, “TALTP—TKGP—DAEAYC. BCWTH!” Hmm, kind of unwieldy. Got a better idea? Send it in.
Oh, and lots more advice for AUW can be found at thestranger.com/savage/unmarriedwoman.
Dan Savage’s most recent book, The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage, and My Family , is on sale now. Send your Savage Love questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. A new Savage Love podcast is available for download every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.