I'm on hiatus while working on a manuscript for a new book. In the meantime, please enjoy these classic Savage Love letters pulled from previous columns. I will be back when the book is finished. —Dan
Originally published September 7, 2006:
I am a 22-year-old woman, generally happy, but I have a problem with cheating. I have never been faithful to anyone, and I have had many relationships with men and women. I have finally found someone I feel like I can spend the rest of my life with, I am happy with him on every level, but I still cheat. I have been told this could be sociopathic, but I'm not sure. I have always really loved sex, all kinds, and have done everything short of urine/feces or illegal. I don't have any guilt, but I don't want my boyfriend to find out and leave me, or worse, stay with me as I continue to break his heart through constant cheating. Would therapy help? I hope you have some advice. I just wish I could stop.
She Kraves Acrobatic Nookie Konstantly
My response after the jump...
Why stop, SKANK?
You say it's not the skanking around that's making you unhappy—you enjoy the sex, you enjoy multiple partners, you enjoy everything short of urine/feces/criminal. If you're telling the truth—if you're not glossing over some deep-seated pain—the sex isn't the problem. What's troubling you is the deceit. You're worried that this boy, like the boys and girls before him, will be hurt when he finds out you're a lying, cheating skank.
But you can be a skank—and I'm using the term in the sex-positive sense—without lying or cheating. Have you tried being honest with potential boyfriends and girlfriends about your tastes and track record? Where there are no lies of commission or omission, SKANK, there's no deceit. And where there's no deceit, there are no boys whose hearts are broken when they find out they are being cheated on. Let prospective partners know who you are and what you're about before things get serious, SKANK, and your problem will be solved—i.e., boys and girls who want monogamy won't get involved with you. You'll encounter some rejection, sure, but if you keep the honesty thing up, sooner or later you'll find a partner who doesn't mind/thoroughly enjoys being cheated on. Ta-da, everybody wins.
Now, my advice would conclude with the previous paragraph if it weren't for the last line of your letter: "I just wish I could stop." If that's how you truly feel, SKANK, then perhaps there is something pathological about your behavior. And here's a little more evidence that your sexual adventures may not be coming from a particularly healthy place: Someone like you, SKANK, surely knows that there are men and women out there—wannabe swingers, the polyamorous, the growing legions of cuckold fetishists—that would kill to be with a woman like you. The fact that you haven't sought out any of these people and have instead dated and deceived the monogamously inclined is revealing. And what it reveals isn't pretty: If you've avoided the swingers, the polyamorous, and the cuckold fetishists, SKANK, and sought out only guys and girls that will be hurt by your actions, then you're not skanking around because you enjoy it. You're doing it to wound and drive off people who attempt to get close to you. And that's something you should definitely hash out with a shrink.