Joe Newton

I was watching Dr. Phil on television the other day with my wife. He was talking to a woman who discovered, after marrying her husband, that he was a crossdresser, or at least had crossdressing tendencies. Dr. Phil counseled the woman to leave the man because of his "perversion," and told her that no one could ever be sexually satisfied with a crossdresser for a husband because he would always be masturbating while wearing her underwear, and so on, instead of sexually pleasing her. Mind you, the woman had three kids with this guy, and she actually didn't say that they didn't have sex. Then Dr. Phil got the husband on the phone and yelled at him for being dishonest.

From reading your column for a long time, I was under the impression that just because something turns someone on, it doesn't mean that nothing else turns them on. If I like blowjobs and my wife doesn't, does that mean we are sexually incompatible? How is this different? Or is Dr. Phil just projecting?

Perverts and Nylon Tights

As the mental image of a crossdressed Dr. Phil is too horrible to contemplate, let's assume he isn't projecting. Besides, it's more likely Dr. Phil is simply doing what daytime TV talk-show hosts are paid the big bucks to do: Tell women in the audience exactly what they want to hear. In this case, he's telling the wife of a crossdresser, and, by extension, all the wives of all the crossdressers watching at home, that their husbands are dishonest perverts, that the wives are wronged innocents.

Yes, yes: In an ideal world people would make a full disclosure of their secret sexual fetishes before getting married and making babies. But most straight people with "shameful" sexual fetishes deny and suppress them for years in what almost always proves to be a futile attempt to control and deny their sexual desires and live "normal" lives. (Out gay people, as a rule, don't suppress their kinks. Compared to a desire for same-sex sex and love, a "perverse" desire for leather, dress socks, stuffed animals, spankings, piss, Ashton Kutcher, etc. just doesn't seem that scary.)

And why do straight guys with bizarre sexual fantasies and fetishes try to keep them secret? Why do they suppress them? Because of people like Dr. Phil.

It's the Dr. Phils of this world who run around telling people that anyone with a sexual fantasy wilder than whipped cream on the wife's nipples is a freak. It's the Dr. Phils who spread the lie that people with wild sexual fantasies are not interested in "normal" sexual activity, no matter how much "normal" sexual activity they've engaged in over the course of their lives. It's the Dr. Phils who tell women with small children that the discovery of a run-of-the-mill sexual fetish is grounds for divorce.

Gee, color me Bill Bennett, but it seems to me that the damage of divorce for all involved (especially kids!) is so great that the wife of a crossdresser might want to take a stab at accepting or accommodating her husband's fetish before filing for divorce. And perhaps the woman on Dr. Phil's show might have gone there if the not-so-good doctor took the trouble to do a little research before he stuck his big, bald head up his big, white ass. (Hey, that's perverse!) Then Dr. Phil could've told her that crossdressing is a common fetish among straight men, and that most crossdressers are only interested in indulging themselves from time to time. Dr. Phil could've told her that most crossdressers enjoy normal sexual relations with their wives. He also could've told her that there are support groups for the wives of crossdressers, books she could read, and Internet chat rooms she could visit.

And he could've told her that while it may not be pleasant to contemplate her husband in women's clothes, she doesn't have to contemplate it constantly. If she can't go there, as the kids say, the least she can do is give her husband permission to indulge on his own during solo masturbation sessions. If his occasional indulgence takes nothing away from their sex life, she should be encouraged not to dwell on the mental image of her husband in panties, just as we chose not to dwell on the mental image of Dr. Phil in panties.

I got pregnant back in June--intentionally, with my husband of almost five years. The getting pregnant part was great, but since then, he's been totally uninterested in sex. There are no medical reasons why we can't be intimate. I've asked my husband about it and he doesn't want to talk. I've passed along books and articles about how sex during pregnancy is a good and healthy thing that won't hurt the baby. I've approached him while naked, I've snuggled up to him when he comes to bed and in the morning when we wake up, and the only result I've gotten is that he comes to bed after I've gone to sleep and leaps out of bed when the alarm goes off.

This morning I finally managed to lure him back under the sheets, and after he'd gotten me off he got up and left, telling me I should be happy because he'd given me "what [I] wanted." Well, hell, that's not what I want--I want us to enjoy each other before we're overwhelmed with kid stuff! I'm tired and frustrated and hurt.

Momma Violates Poppa?

In the spirit of telling women what they don't want to hear....

Has it occurred to you, MVP, that your husband might not be attracted to you at the moment? While there's no medical reason you can't be having sex right now, there are men out there who simply aren't attracted to their wives' pregnant bodies, and/or men who can't quite get past the "presence" of their unborn children. If your husband isn't attracted to your body right now or is turned off by the thought of his unborn child floating in a pool of his own spunk, there's nothing books and articles and nudity and towels and advice columns can do about it.

So what do you do? Accept the fact that your husband isn't up for sex and take comfort in the thought that your sex life will return to normal once the baby comes. (Yes, yes: You'll be busy when the baby comes, but resourceful couples carve out time for sex--and you sound pretty resourceful, MVP.) In the meantime, throw away the books and the articles and stop waltzing around the house naked. You're unlikely to get any physical intimacy out of him--no cuddling, no lingering in the morning--if he feels like every move you make is an attempt to initiate sex.

Tell your husband that you expect nothing of him sexually over the next few months but that you will insist on a certain amount of physical intimacy for the remainder of your pregnancy. He may not want to have sex but it's cruel to deny you any physical intimacy at all. Once he feels like you're no longer trying to initiate sex every time you come near him (at a time when he likely fears he won't be able to perform), perhaps he'll start coming to bed before you go to sleep and linger a bit longer in the morning.

There. It's answers like that one that will prevent me from ever having a daytime TV talk show of my own.

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