Long story short: I cheated on my boyfriend three years ago. I admitted it nine months ago, and we've been in couples counseling for six months. My BF is very responsive in therapy, where we're working on his control issues, and he says everything the therapist expects him to during a session. Twenty-four hours later, though, he'll say, "I was listening to Dan Savage's podcast..." then take back everything he said to our therapist. He then ignores our therapist's advice because of some advice you gave to a differently situated couple!
Could you please tell your readers and listeners who are in counseling to ignore you and listen to their therapists?
Your No-Good Counsel
I won't go that far, YNGC—I will not be ignored—but I will go this far: It sounds like your boyfriend is still angry about the affair and isn't being fully honest during those therapy sessions. He's saying what he thinks the therapist wants to hear instead of owning his anger—pardon my psychobabble—and justifies his postsession backsliding/truth-telling by pointing to some fool thing I might have said on the podcast.
You can tell him that I said it's fine if he's still angry, and that's something he might want to talk with your therapist about, but I would appreciate being left out of it. And you can tell him I also said this: If he wants to stay with you, then he needs to forgive you and work on rebuilding trust. If he can't forgive you, he needs to leave you. But to jerk you around like this—even if you're the one who transgressed—is a dick move. And it's not the kind of dick move that I want to be associated with so, again, he should leave me out of it.
All of that said, YNGC, I'm thinking your boyfriend isn't being honest with your therapist—about his anger, about your relationship, about anything—because he maybekindasorta perceives these sessions to be a joint effort to shift the blame for your affair onto his shoulders. (A joint effort on the part of you and your therapist.) You say you're "working on his control issues" during these sessions. That's nice. If your boyfriend has control issues, YNGC, then by all means work on 'em. If you're not working on your own issues—if your therapist doesn't think you have any issues—then I don't blame your boyfriend for not taking your therapist or these sessions seriously.
I'm a 24-year-old female and I've just started seeing a great guy. The chemistry was insane—he's a great kisser, he loves going down—and this had me thinking that the sex would also be great.
We've now slept together a few times and... it could be better. He's got all the moves—not to mention being really well endowed—but he just lies there like a dead fish. Very little thrusting and he doesn't use his hands. I've asked him to do it doggie style (some improvement) and I've said stuff like "Faster! Harder!" (also with some improvement). But any momentum he gets is fleeting. It's like he's thinking too much about the act instead of losing himself in it.
I really like him and enjoy his company. But sexual compatibility is really important, too! How can I address the "dead fish" issue? Is this going to be a deal breaker?
Everything But The Sex
He appears to be concentrating ("thinking too much about the act"), he keeps thrusting to a minimum, he isn't using his hands in ways that might heighten your arousal or his own... hmm...
You might want to ask this great guy—who does great with at least one sex act (oral), but not great with at least one other (vaginal intercourse), but has already demonstrated the ability to improve (if only fleetingly)—if he used to have a problem with premature ejaculation.
Based on your description of what he's doing/not doing, EBTS, it sounds like your boyfriend is following the standard-issue advice given to premature ejaculators. To train themselves to last longer, preemies are advised to concentrate, to pay close attention to their arousal levels (so they don't get to the "moment of no return" too quickly), to thrust slowly and carefully, and to not overload themselves with too much additional stimuli (groping your breasts with his hands, say, while he's inside you). Your boyfriend may not be really "losing himself" in sex because he fears it will result in him coming too soon. This would also explain why he's a different man—and a better lay—when he's going down on you.
If I'm right, and PE is the issue, you can work on upping the intensity levels. It'll take time, EBTS, but it sounds like this guy is worth the investment.
I'm a 27-year-old gay man in a three-year relationship. My boyfriend has always been the mature one, I the immature one. Yesterday, I discovered he has a special e-mail account to look for sex with strangers. I saw chats and other evidence of cheating. We are not having safe sex since quite a long time. We are planning to start living together soon. He has always told me that he is incapable of cheating and many times said that if one of us would fail and cheat, it would be me.
I haven't talked to him. I cannot sleep.
Help My Disappointed Heart
Your boyfriend is a manipulative POS. He wanted the freedom to fuck other guys but didn't want his boyfriend to enjoy the same freedom. So he made you feel like you were the problem—he convinced you that you were the immature one and that you were the one most likely to cheat, he maliciously undermined your self-esteem—so that you would be too busy worrying about and scrutinizing your own shortcomings to notice his. DTMFA.
BEFORE WE GO: So... I've got some space to kill, and not sure what to do with it.
Do I come to the defense of J. Michael Bailey, the Northwestern University prof being attacked for inviting his adult students to stay after his popular human sexuality class to watch two adults engage in a wholly relevant display of human sexuality? Do I beat the hell out of Maryland's backstabbing, born-again bigot Sam "Political Suicide" Arora? (Don't have the room to unpack his transgression, dear readers, so you'll just have to trust me on this: Send a furious e-mail expressing nonspecific disgust to email@example.com.)
Do I ask my readers to go to www .recalltherepublican8.com and make a donation? Or go off on the latest anti-gay religious bigot to be exposed as a hypocritical sexperv? (Again, no room to unpack here—you'll just have to Google "Reverend Grant Storms," "arrested for masturbating in a public park," and "children were present" for all the details.)
Or do I use this space to promote the upcoming release of the It Gets Better book—It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living, edited by Dan Savage and Terry Miller—which comes out March 22 and can be preordered now at www.itgetsbetter.org or Amazon.com?
Oh shit. Out of space.
Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.