Columns Jun 1, 2011 at 4:00 am



Take Bill Clinton, for example....
Er, how the heck does this guy have time to find a new woman to have sex with when he has a newborn baby at home? Methinks there is more going on in this relationship than he makes out. (I'd also like to say that the more he disappears and sticks his wife with all the baby care, the less likely he is to get any action once she comes out of the baby-care fog.) News flash: New baby = it's no longer all about you.
Wrong Challenge choice.

They'd have to get hard while Dan sux 'em off!
What does ATTW's sign off mean? Twice the size? Twice the wifely ability??
ATTW is an asshole. His wife just gave him a baby and now he's upset about her weight? Here's an idea- watch some porn and stfu while he has sex with her. Don't most men fantasize about other women during sex anyway? He can't just focus on what he still likes about her body? So she has all of 20 extra pounds of baby weight and he can't just man up and have sex with her? How about if he feeds and cares for the baby while she gets a chance to go for a walk or do something she likes? Because all she's been doing for the last 9+ months is caring for the baby- she might like to have a chance to do something for herself for once. Plus, what's the sense in leaving her when another woman might just as easily gain weight from having a baby. He'll just find those same 20 lbs of baby weight on the new wifie, so he should just learn to deal until his wife is back on her feet.
For NMR: What have you tried, besides lying there looking happy? If you're used to pleasing your husband, you may be omitting practices that your new guy would like. Ask your lover to masturbate for you, and watch how he touches himself. Ask if there's anything specific he'd like you to do. And give him some more time to just feel comfortable with you.
If we're going to be scientific about it, we're going to have to have some controls.
1. Start out straight, give BJ without enjoying it (no visible erection).
2. Choose to be gay, give BJ and enjoy it (visible erection).
3. Choose to be not be gay, give BJ without enjoyment (no visible erection).

I know it's a lot to ask of Dan to accept all these blowjobs, but sloppy methods lead to sloppy results. Uh, no pun intended.
Wow, I'm impressed with Dan's response to ATTW. In the past I've thought he just doesn't get issues related to pregnancy or post-pregnancy, but here he seems to get it just fine. I'd even add that "twice the wife" may not enjoy being twice as big, and could use encouragement and support from husband in getting back into shape. Then they might both be happier, though the fact that ATTW asks this question at all is pretty grim.
ATTW - you basically are looing for "permission to cheat" from Dan by setting up an illusion of choice. Is it better to abandon my dog in a field or take him to the pound to be euthanized?

You owe it to your family to be there, and if you get caught cheating, you aint gonna be there. It makes sense to give it a shot with the wife and get in shape together. Also, make sure you are reglarly drained - either via the wife or solo - don't make decisions with a loaded gun.

If you are going to cheat, maybe pay cash for a prostitute and go with an HJ to minimize dieases.

I have to tell you though, I fear for your relationship - you can completely lose desire for the mother of your child over some extra weight? Please don't consider procreating again until you have this figured out.
I believe Dan has mentioned the 'get hard without even touching it, like a real gay guy' before, in a similar challenge to Tony Perkins (?)
ATTW: you didn't read any of the baby books, did you?
Love the advice to "Almost Twice The Wife." This guy wants to jump ship just a few months after the baby? Yeah, how about giving it some time. And as with any relationship in which one partner needs to get fit, how about trying to do some physical activity (walking with the baby) and eating healthy- together!
Images one and two are unusually instructive displays of relationship nuances. Possibly useful for future explanations of Schwarzeneggerunpleasantness, non-monogamy, and other arrangements.…
(click the images for more detailed explanations.)
Images one and two are unusually instructive displays of relationship nuances. Possibly useful for future explanations of Schwarzeneggerunpleasantness, non-monogamy, and other arrangements.…
(click the images for more detailed explanations.)
Another bit of advice for the guy whose wife doubled down, so to speak. Breastfeeding. There are many advantages to breastfeeding for both mother and child but one "advantage" is that it takes a huge number of calories to produce the amount of milk needed for a healthy child. If she were to maintain a healthy diet (not saying a reduced diet, just a healthy diet) it's very likely she will start shedding pounds rapidly over the next 6-9 months.

If her presumably loving husband were to offer to "help out" around the house by picking up some of the grocery shopping and cooking duties he could cook her a healthy diet himself. That way he ends up with a slim trim wife and he comes out looking like a rockstar instead of a prick. Everybody wins! :) A good veggie, or chicken, stirfry can be delicious and filling while still being low calorie.

One final note. Unless Dan did some serious editing of that initial email there's no indication that she bulked up as a result of having the child. She may have been bulking up well before she got preggers. Whenever it happened though my previous advice stands.
@15 Well, to me the tone defintitely sounds like "she had a baby and now she's fat and I don't like her". Which is a real dick-ish attitude to have.
ATTW - your wife needs you emotionally. Dan makes excellent points about post-partum women physically, however they are also crazy hormone-filled and are taking care of a new being. It takes some time to learn to be 100% responsible for someone else's life, and to take care of yourself. She needs help and to be taken care of as well. Do things for her and you will see her able to "take care of you" in return.
@16, agreed that's what it sounded like but the whole message was so brief and had so little info that I can't be sure.

Either way, my advice stands. He should "help out" with grocery shopping and cooking "since she's so busy taking care of the baby" and he can help with an overall healthier and lower calorie diet. After that the breastfeeding will burn those pounds off super fast.
I just went to the youtube channel and tried to find the video where Dan issued his first choicer challenge a long time ago. Can't find it! Dan! (Or TSARY)! Please post that link for us. It was hilarious.
I always tell choicers that if being gay were a choice, they should be able to "choose" to be attracted to someone of their own sex, then I challenge them to do so. Their idiotic answer is usually, "Sure I could, but I choose not to, because I don't want to".

Now I just tell 'em, "Yeah? Maybe you have a point. Maybe being gay IS a choice. Now who the fuck are YOU to tell me I don't have a right to make that choice?
What about bringing in yet another guy? Maybe that's what he needs to get aroused. I could drop by with my glass-cutting boner if you'd like to experiment.
Two theories:

ATTW has never been married or had a child and probably has never had a serious relationship. He likes to internally freak out over his non-existent partner getting fat and ugly as an excuse to never get involved in the first place.

ATTW is an unloving husband and father who deserves to be kicked to the curb. Unless his wife doesn't mind going without affection and loving sex indefinitely, it's only a matter of time before she gets out of dodge, cheating or no.

I think theory #1 is the most probable.
Attw is Almost Twice The Dbag. You can't decide if you want to leave your wife or leave your wife and your baby because you wanna get your dick wet? Do your wife and the kid a favor and leave. The last thing your daughter needs is issues because you think woman should be a size 0 even after birth. Grow up and get yourself fixed so no you can't make this mistake twice.
Given the frequency with which raging homophobes are actually big fat self-hating closet cases, I'm thinking that the boner provision doesn't really save the Choicer Challenge from potential misfire.
Your choicer challenge is going to fail, Dan. It is only a matter of time for some gay-hating closet case agrees to suck your dick while maintaining a rock-hard erection, all the time proclaiming that he is 100% heterosexual and he chose to blow you to prove a point. In fact, he is so willing to prove your point, he'd like you to get hard again and fuck him up the ass. Yes, like that. Harder. HARDER. I'm totally straight and gay sex is a delicious, dirty choice.
@15, even if she had been large before the pregnancy, the fact that the baby is here indicates that this guy didn't have, or had much less of, a problem with her weight.
ATTW: Wow, just, wow. You should have warned your wife before the pregnancy that you were a shallow wannabe-CPOS. Now she's effectively stuck with you. I bet she feels like total shit right now regarding your attractiveness to her.

Makes me wonder if every woman should "trial" gain weight at some point before marriage or procreation. I didn't do it on purpose (blame depression and depo provera) but my husband did all the right things: got me to a therapist, a trainer, a gym, and started cooking a lot of healthy meals, gave me time while reassuring me of his love for me. I still felt like shit about my body but I have major respect for him handling it the right way, and now I'm losing weight and firming up and we can both enjoy it. ATTW should take a page from his book if he wants to have his wife and kid a year from now.
People are so unprepared this day and age to have kids. Let me break it down for the boys:

1. Have sex all the time to your incredibly attractive wife.

2. Knock her up.

3. Watch her gain 50 pounds and go hormone crazy.

4. Watch a human being come out of her now stretched to the limit vagina.

5. Be exhausted with her while caring for an infant that wakes up every three hours.

6. Spend the next year trying to figure out how to be romantic again with a wife/mother/person-whose-body-just-went-through-nature's-equivalent-of-a-train-wreck while caring for a screaming, pants shitting, beautiful child.

7. Have sex, even though you're too tired, twice a month or so, while you adjust to your new life.

8. Spend the rest of your life busting your ass to be honest, open, and fair in your marriage, and responsible, loving, and patient with your child, so your kid learns how to have healthy relationships.


I love being a dad, and husband, but I had to recognize I was no longer a young dude who gets to fuck whenever he wants. Grow the fuck up and welcome to your new life.
Re NMR: So, Mr Savage suggests it's (likely enough) a medical problem, Ms Erica suggests it's a technical problem, and Mr J suggests it's a numerical problem. No real surprises, and any of them could be right. I joined Mr Savage in wondering as I read the letter how NMR "knew" her Toy Boy had been able to perfom at full extension with his previous partners, though I shall pass on any opportunity to examine the evidence.

I'd look for differences. There's an inference that she might be his first married partner. There's another that she's likely to be older than he is - by how much? Is she well outside the age range of his previous partners? She refers to him as the boyfriend. Is this more serious than his previous relationships - or less serious, perhaps, from his perspective? Is he used (another inference) to being a secondary partner, and are they on the same page about that?

The current arrangement might even turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Without Mr Happy, it can't be all about him (a situation which some women would surely enjoy, even if they would not want it to last very long), and for all we know it may be sparing the NMRs that wilting moment we may remember from a few weeks ago experienced by the husband who enjoyed the MMF three-way until he gave the penetration command. Perhaps Mr NMR might be willing to scale back his outside activities to match hers, and it could even become a feature of the agreement. Probably not, but it might be worth a conversation.
What @27 said. Don't go OH GOD SHE'S FAT WHAT DO I DO. But after she's know...exhausted and physically wrecked from just having passed a human being through her body...he could bring up "hey, you've gained a lot of weight, and this causes problems for x y and z reasons." Hell even if he doesn't want to bring up the "now you're not attractive thing," there's a perfectly good angle in "I want you to be healthy, and being overweight isn't healthy."
@29 Mr. V
You are a pleasure to read as always. I must clarify that my speculation is not about the size of the group, though truthfully more can be merrier. Rather I am wondering about the hunk's orientation.

I have been in bed with a straight woman and a gay man. The gay man could not get interested in the presence of a woman. Alas, my long gone, misspent youth. I shall content myself with glass-cutting videos.
32 blowing is also a beautiful art form.
Sorry, "Root", while I'm a childbirth educator, a breastfeeding advocate, and a mother who breastfed her children exclusively for the first six months and continued to breastfeed each child until he or she was almost 3 years old, I can't agree with you that breastfeeding will necessarily make this postpartum mom/wife shed pounds quickly. Breastfeeding burns about 200 more calories a day than being pregnant did (that's 700 calories more than a non-pregnant person), but as we all know (or should know), all bodies are not the same. Some women shed pounds quickly and others hold onto the weight until *after* they stop breastfeeding (perhaps their body wants to hold onto the fat reserves because it thinks the body might need it to nourish the child). Throw in thyroid problems that can be triggered by pregnancy (hyper or hypo) and you have a decidedly not-one-size-fits-all kind of issue. I love Dan's response, though. This dad is ready to cheat or leave already??
ATTW sounds like a douche for the reasons Dan pointed out, but I'll take exception to Dan's postpartum sex advice. It is reasonable to give a new mother 3-6 months to get back into the ol' sex game, but six months to a year? Forget it. Unless the new mother has had major complications, that is way too long a period to expect a husband to wait.

I think the lack of sex is less the physical problem and more the fact that, in a good and fair relationship, you've got two exhausted people who are busy raising a small and very needy human being. It might not mean a sexless year, but it'll probably mean a considerably-less-sexy one.

I think the indignation is regarding the TIMING of his request to cut bait. This isn't two or three fat years after the pregnancy. His daughter is an "infant." Unless his wife has announced to him that she plans on staying fat forever, what kind of lunatic decides to dump his family over his wife's post-pregnancy weight-gain?

And yes, some people gain more weight from being pregnant than others. My mother actually ended up losing 10 pounds. My friend gained 70. Everyone's body is different.
@34 >> It is reasonable to give a new mother 3-6 months to get back into the ol' sex game, but six months to a year? Forget it. Unless the new mother has had major complications, that is way too long a period to expect a husband to wait. >>

I know we have this fight all the time, and I know that "men have needs," but god, I still get riled up when I see it written this way. This reeks of bad sex attitude, where sex exists to give pleasure to the husband. Can't you guys try to write it as if you are used to your wives enjoying rather than dreading your touch?

Here's a free rewrite:
I'll take exception to Dan's postpartum sex advice. Doctors often suggest waiting 6 weeks to have intercourse, but my wife and I never stopped giving each other sexy looks and strokes, even with a newborn. She loves when I brush her hair and bring her a sherry as she cuddles with the baby. And once the nursing stopped being difficult, she would give me a wink and flash her boob at me as the baby latched on. We could never have waited six months to start having sex again. Thank god my work lets me come home for nooners, as she's usually less tired during the day.
Agree with Dan: the 20 yr old hunk has erectile problems and is lying. He's either hiding a mother of a premature ejaculation problem or he can't get it up at all. When I was 26, my 24 year old, otherwise healthy, not overly drunk boyfriend would sometimes come without getting more than 50% hard. He improved over the 6 mos we were together, but not that much. Then the immature dumbass moved away and dumped me, hoping to miraculously improve with a different, unsuspecting female. Reports were, he did not.
I think everyone is missing the biggest obstacle in Dan's choicer challenge!! How is DAN going to maintain an erection with John Cummins' mouth around his cock?? Have you guys seen what that guy looks like? I'll proudly do it, Dan! We can make it a choicer challenge to see if gays can choose to be straight. No? I'll be waiting by the phone.
@39 I was proposing language that a guy might use, if he and his wife had good sex together.
I don't really feel strongly one way or the other about ATTW. It does seem like he's a bit of a dick. And yet it also seems that he's probably going to be viewed by many as a dick no matter what he does about his desires, simply because he dares to have them at all as a husband and new father.

Anyways, I'm having a really hard time seeing past all the stories and observed accounts of misery and and cleaning up excrement and living through endless piercing screams and sleep deprivation and sex deprivation and general adult-related-pastime deprivation and accumulated resentment to find the upside of being a parent. Are vasectomies painful?
"When he married her, he may not have really believed she would turn into a blimp, or even if he did calculate the possibility, when confronted by the reality, could not handle it. He's human."

Given that most people in this country will be fatter later in life than they were when they married, and that most women will gain weight after having kids, I think he should have realized this was a decent possibility. Weight gain, especially in such a short time frame after a birth, should in no way threaten his commitment to his marriage, unless of course he's an asshole. I can indeed envision major weight gain and corresponding difficulties, over the long term, causing legitimate marital or relationship problems. But this is not that situation.

Granted, not all marriages have to be monogamous or entered with the idea that it's for life. But when you DO enter a marriage with that idea, it would be nice to see some faint level of commitment to it later.
In the second letter, the woman married a baby, herself.
That guy should grow the hell up and tell his wife that he's a complete asshole and that he isn't grown up enough to have a child but that he will pay for that child until the child reaches the age of being able to make adult decisions.
I would feel sorry for any child who would have THAT as a male influence in their lives.
To the asshole, get a vasectomy today and still use condoms to protect others from any sorts of diseases that you will undoubtedly pick up because you are the sort of creep who doesn't give a flying shit about yourself or anyone else.
This guy isn't worth the time it would take to write any real advice.
It does make one wonder why in the world there isn't more attention paid to the way little boys are taught this arrogant sense of entitlement. Folks, they grow up to be arrogant, full of shit, men.
Presumably when you enter into the traditional (monogamous, for-life) commitment, you should have had some inkling that the person across from you will not always be as attractive to you as they are at that moment. And that you won't be, either, and you presumably hoped they would still love and have sex with you despite that, right? How is ATTW's situation all that different? Because it happened earlier than he thought? Or because her weight is something she can "control," but aging isn't under her control? I'm actually asking, because I don't get it.
ATTW needs to work harder at his job so that his wife can afford to belong and work out at one of them fancy gyms that has awesome infant care in them. Then she can get all fit and buff while the staff watches the baby. Otherwise ATTW at this point sounds like a real selfish immature schmuck. You can't have your baby and fuck other women, too, without being said immature selfish schmuck.

Even so, often new moms are too exhausted to get to the gym while they are a) not sleeping b) breastfeeding around the clock c) cleaning and cooking and taking care of the house like most SAHMs do. So, ATTW, help feed the baby, pitch in, cook and clean up 1/2 the time , change 1/2 the diapers and bring home more money and see if YOU still feel like having sex! Gawd!
too late, ATTW is already a shit of a husband, and a shit of a human being. At no point did he say that they aren't having sex, just that he wants absolution to go elsewhere for sexual gratification. Dan assumed that she isn't so inclined, and everyone else has gone along with it. Pregnancy changes a woman's body--some extra weight, larger breasts with a bit less bounce, stretch marks that could double as a road map. Guess what--age does many of the same fucking things to a woman's body. Oddly enough, most men who bitch that the Mrs has packed on a pound or two tend to be fatties themselves. My husband gave me no end of shit when I was up to 140 at 5'8 yet he has not retained his girlish figure(mine is back).

And seriously--who goes 6 weeks without, much less 6 months?
I'm sure the point has to have been made before but I'd like the point it out again that religion is something that people are protected for having. You cannot be discriminated against based on religion, just like race or sex. Now the argument against adding sexual orientation to that list is that it's a choice. What the fuck do you call your religion? That's a choice. I choose to be an atheist, you choose to be a christian/wiccan/muslim/purple people eater. So either stop being a hypocrite and add sexual orientation to list OR take religion off.
@Hunter78 I hear the "she got fat argument" all the time from men, but most of them don't seem to realize that they are far from looking their best later in life as well.
@#43: It's been my understanding that vasectomies aren't hugely painful. Most of the men I've known who've had them say that they are uncomfortable for a few days afterward. And if the way you express yourself reveals the only that you can imagine parenthood, having one might be a good option for you. Every man I know who has had one already had children, but if you're sure that you don't want any, then it would make good preemptive sense.
For what it's worth, however, children don't stay screaming, poop-filled bundles of sleep deprivation forever. And while they absolutely rob you of all the adult fun you might want to have any time you might want to have it, they more than make up for it (in my opinion) in bringing untold amounts of other kinds of fun into your life. And then they get older, and your time becomes your own again.
Just something to think about.
ATTW needs to be a bit more generous and get a fancy gym membership complete with in house childcare for infants for his wife. Then she can work out so she can lose the extra weight. Still she may be super exhausted since she just created a whole human being after all, so he can step it up and do 1/2 the housework, cook 1/2 the meals and change 1/2 the diapers! Otherwise he is being a selfish douche. Studies show that men that help with housework get more sex. Time to start scrubbing the toilets, ATTW. Or at least hire a housekeeper so your wife can have more energy to work out and have sex with you.
NMR - granted I am a straight guy and have no experience with erections other than my own. But I don't think Dan is right here. There is a big difference between a failure to sustain an erection e.g. losing an erection due to pressure/condoms/exhaustion/performance anxiety. Your description of never ever getting one over multiple encounters? Either your beau is gay or something is medically wrong. Enjoy the ride, but if you want PIV you probably need to get back on the market.
49/catballou, I agree completely: there is no reason to assume that these people are not having sex. The husband only said that she was now fat and he'd cheat in order to obtain gratification. That may simply mean that she is no longer "gratifying" him even if she's willing to have sex.

hunter78, what evidence do you have that she's not "fixing it"? Their child is still an "infant"--whatever that means, it means that not much time has passed with respect to being able to lose pregnancy weight. You also have no evidence that she wasn't "fat" before--the husband simply says she is fatter now, and he ponders gratification elsewhere or leaving altogether! He mentions nothing that would explain or justify his extreme reaction to a perfectly normal situation.
@47: Is there anything in the letter that indicates how long she has been overweight, how overweight she is, or if he's even mentioned to her that it's an issue for him? In fact, as someone above mentioned, there's nothing in the letter that actually indicates he's in the situation. If he had tried to broach the subject and was told, "Yeah, I'm fat, and I'm planning on getting fatter, and you can like it or GTFU because I don't care what you think," then I'd say you have a point. But there is no indicator that any of that happened. (Of course, there's no indication it didn't either. I may be assuming too much, but in general, I think if they leave it out, I can't assume it DID happen.) There are tons of reasons she could be heavier now, and some (not all) of them would be under her control. But a good partner would sort of be obliged to mention that it's a potential marriage-ender and give the other person a fair chance to fix it, right?
@49 catballou

Lots of us go 6 months or longer without sex.
31/55 You think NMR's lover is trying to prove to himself that he's not gay, by enthusiastically giving a woman repeated orgasms?
It's possible that he's conflicted in some way. He either has a medical issue or an orientation issue.
Patrick's bare feet got me rock hard, saving me the trouble of yet another levitra copay. Kudos!
@59, I vote that everyone use a similar strategy to prove non-gayness.

@61 I wouldn't trust ATTW to be anything other than an ass. He wants justification, probably not the most reliable of reporters. Let's think logically about the whole doubled her weight bit. Say that the wife was 145 pounds prepregnancy. The daughter is an infant, so pre pregnancy can be assumed to be roughly 12 months ago. Is it physically possible to double one's weight in a year? Do you really think she's close to 300 pounds?

Mr J - Numerical just sounded better than Orientational, especially because, as a side line, I really want to know how much older NMR really is. I am just getting a psychic feeling it's significant, even if both of them don't know so.

If this were my novel, Toy Boy wouldn't trust condoms to be sufficiently foolproof, and would secretly suspect NMR of wanting to get pregnant by him. Then again, if this were my novel, that would very likely be what she'd be about. But that's only because I have so many unanswered questions that I am grasping at something a bit eerie.
I hate to quibble, but the argument isn't really that one can choose one's sexual desires. Rather, the argument is that one can choose one's sexual actions.

They (or the minority who bother to think it through anyway) would argue that a person with homosexual desires can choose to not act on them much in the same way a "traditionally" married person with heterosexual desires can choose not to act on them with anyone other than their spouse.

So as much as the image of Eric Cantor keeping it hard while sucking off Dan Savage is amusing, it's irrelevant. You can't effectively rebut an argument while willfully misunderstanding it.
The effective counter-argument to the "choicers" isn't "No, it's not possible to choose." But rather, "It is unreasonable to ask homosexuals to forever forgo romantic love so that you can remain closed-minded and intolerant."
M? Ballou @63 - By everyone, do you mean everyone straight, everyone attracted (whether exclusively or not) to women, or everyone regardless of orientation?
NO FATTIES! NO OLDS! NO UGS! NO FUGS! And hell yes the infirmities of aging and the deterioration of looks and health that come with it are grounds to get the fuck out. They're no more nor less grounds than any other no fault problem. Some people aren't attracted to olds, and just because the person one's partnered with now is likely to grow old in no way obligates one to stay involved with them when they arrive...most of the people who do so because they don't have better options. While that's not flattering or romantic, it's pretty fuckin' accurate (old men pursuing younger and better flesh find it difficult unless they're billionaires). People grow apart, and becoming physically repulsed by one's partner is one of those reasons...and it doesn't have to be willful, but it is reason to leave.

And c'mon, over half of all households in the u.s. are led by single parents. It isn't the end of the world, and you're not automatically a bad parent for leaving if you meet your financial obligations to your kids and spend time with them.
@38, @39 - I must admit, as a long time comment reader, I was surprised by EricaP's comment as well. Good show, Ms. P, good show.
@65 you are absolutely wrong. The argument really is that we can choose not to be gay. These people believe that they can cure homosexuality, that they can reorient desire to hetero.

They're not just saying that gay people can choose to be celibate, or can choose to fuck women while thinking about sucking off Dan.

Now there are a few who say that homosexuals are fine and that it's the 'homosexual lifestyle' that is the problem. Those people hold the view you're describing, but notice that they distinguish between homosexuality - which they acknowledge as innate - and homosexual acts, which are clearly chosen.

Anybody who says that 'homosexuality is a choice' is talking about orientation, not acts.
Wow Erica (@38), I don't know where to start. When I'm commenting in SLOG it's not to practice sweet nothings or dance around issues. Indeed, the nature of the forum dictates that our comments be straight to the point.

I was picking up on Dan's advice (which he has stated repeatedly over the years) that new fathers be sensitive and give their wives some time before initiating sex. What he's never done before is suggest that that period may take up to a year. To me, that length of time is unrealistic, and I feel that Dan's advice is off base somewhat. Perhaps he's never been in that particular position?

If that riles your sensibilities, then OK, no skin off my back. But I'm slapping my forehead reading your scenario...why would I write such a thing here, or phrase it in such a manner? To score Mr. Sensitive brownie points or not inflame certain commenters?

In my case, I waited about three months after each childbirth to initiate penetrative sex (wife had caesarean sections due to minimal dilation), and it took a while (about six months) for her to really get back into the swing of I can relate, and I understand the issue.

And, finally, what's wrong with needs, and with a male's bluntly stated opinion? You roll your eyes at what I wrote, but I'm doing the same with your comment. Again, it's a blog that, frankly, has gotten a little stale lately, n'est-ce pas?
I wonder if ATTW's wife has a job on top of everything? Is she a stay at home mother? Or, is he expecting her to be supermom: cook, clean, take care of a kid, hold down a job, and lose weight all while enduring his bitchiness about her weight?

I've seen it before. My uncle did this (though I never realized it until later) to his wife. Admittedly, later, after they divorced, she never did lose the weight and get back to her pre-child weight. He eventually married a twig. But, during the marriage, he was pretty shitty.

Also, @71 Seriously? You're bitching about a year? The first year after having a kid? I dunno, but that's a fair time for a new mother to get back into the scheme of things. After that, barring other unusual situations (cancer, hysterectomy, etc), then the family is really going to suffer.
Somewhere in the Savage Love archives, there's a letter from a man whose wife gained a tremendous amount of weight a short time after they married and was doing nothing to try to lose it. I surprised myself by agreeing with Dan's assessment that the husband had, in a way, been tricked, and shouldn't be obliged to stay monogamous. I thought about it before today's column. It seemed that there were 3 considerations:

Tremendous change in appearance for the worse.
Short time.
No excuse or efforts to stay attractive.

I immediately saw it in terms of where one draws the line. I predicted (quietly and in my own head) that some men would use Dan's answer as an excuse to push those considerations towards their own benefit and do whatever they wanted. With today's column, I see that my prediction is correct.

Assuming that ATTW's letter is straightforward and that he's in the situation he describes (it's ambiguous and short on detail), the considerations become:

Just some pregnancy weight.
Baby is an infant, so under a year.
Wife might be trying, but it's hard to do when you're caring for an infant.

I agree with Dan here too. But now we've got some questions.

How fat is too fat before a man is allowed not to be attracted to his wife? 10 pounds? 20? 50? What about other lapses in appearance? A few wrinkles? Sagging breasts? Stretch marks? An off day from the flu? What if it's just a bad head cold or momentarily being too busy to apply make-up? Scars from a car wreck? Complete disability from a car wreck?

How long does the wife have? 6 months? A Year?

And how hard does she have to try to be attractive to him before he's justified in going elsewhere without being called a jerk? What if the gym doesn't work? Does refusal to get plastic surgery count?

I don't have answers. I'm just troubled by where my own logic leaves me.
A 20 year old man who is not getting an erection despite sexual activity of some sort with a woman is either gay or has a medical issue or has a serious psychological issue (which would also include being a gay dude fucking around with women and obviously not into it). If Mrs Robinson's marital status was that upsetting to him he wouldn't be getting her off at all, unless she's his boss or in some other weird position over him.

He needs to see a medical professional or a shrink, and she should perhaps consider someone less prone to drama. She's already got problems in her marriage, the side dish should not be complicated.

Also, Mrs R, on a personal note, wtf are you thinking? 20 year old men don't know how to fuck. If he does finally bone you it will probably totally suck.
73, I can see your points to some extent, but I also believe strongly men need to "grow the fuck up" a bit and accept she's simply not ever going to be pre-pregnancy again. Time creates those marks and wounds and asking someone to get cosmetic surgery including the often painful recovery that accompanies is so out of line. This is where the "GTFU" a bit comes in. It's sort of like how women get to accept balding, pot bellies, nasal hair, sagging asses, and ED.

If a spouse is trying their best to maintain a healthy and attractive appearance, yes, you're kind of a dick (or a bitch) for leaving. I'm not talking 100 lbs. I'm talking normal pregnancy 20-30, and the marks that can leave.

I really think men especially vastly underestimate the absolute havoc pregnancy can wreak on some women's bodies. Some do bounce back pretty well. Some take a bit longer, especially if breastfeeding. Several mom friends were never able to lose those last 15-20 lbs until they weaned. Believe me, she knows even better than you exactly where and how her body has changed, and she doesn't like it either no matter how much she may try to say she doesn't mind.

Keep in mind too... many women feel very guilty using money for things like say, a gym or cosmetic enhancements (and I don't mean just surgery, I'm talking laser or even waxing or even getting a freaking decent cut and colour) because they feel like they're stealing from the kids or family. Then the guy is trapped where if he offers her to go do this she thinks he just said he finds her unattractive. Well yes, he does, and she does too.

I really wish men could be a bit more forgiving of what childbirth can do to our bodies. It's not like we went and got stretch marks and lost our boobs just to fuck with you.

Before some man shoots back "I wish you could be more forgiving of our need for sex" I am not the one to bitch at here because I can't relate to those people who go months at ALL. I was attacking my husband within two weeks every time we had a child and we're on number 4 now. The sex was bonding, healing, and therapeutic for me. It was as necessary for me as for him. However, I also don't use hormonal birth control which is a huge issue for most postpartum women I think. I think most women would be floored to find out how much sex they want if they'd get off the hormones.
@73: This is one of the first truly thoughtful responses I've seen to this question. As a man who has gone through this once with a previous girlfriend (70+lb weight gain during a 1yr time period), I'm paranoid that I'm seeing my wife starting down this path as well. What I see is the lack of effort to DO anything about the weight gain. She'll weigh herself, look at herself in the mirror, and feel shitty, but doesn't take any action. Offers to go to the gym together or take walks together are constantly rebuffed; so now I do this by myself so I can at least keep myself fit. She only works part time and has cleaners to clean the house weekly, so time/energy are not the issues. Dunno what else I can do. I have the feeling that there are many other guys out there in my situation that just get shouted down as being shallow when they ask for help or advice...
Very, very good advice for ATTW. As a parent of 9 months old, I was nodding all the time as I read your answer. What I would add maybe, not to scare people from having a baby, is that with a little effort, understanding, cooperation and luck you can be back on sexual track in no time. With the woman now being MILF instead of just your sexy wife :)
Hunter78, you said she's not doing anything to fix it, but again, you don't know that. She could be doing all kinds of things and not losing the weight yet, or not losing it fast enough for her husband's taste. And even if you're right and she's not "fixing" it, when she still has an infant she may not be in a good position to do that, and we're also having to take her husband's word that her weight requires "fixing". Maybe it doesn't! Fat is not always some kind of problem in need of solution. I'm only looking at it from that perspective here because of the husband's stated complaint.

Furthermore, I too doubt that we're supposed to take it literally that this woman doubled her weight. Really, what would that be like, in what span of time? 120 to 140 in a year or so? It's also total BS that pregnancy is not a reason for major weight gain. I gained more weight during pregnancy than just about anyone I know--65 lbs!--but even so didn't come close to doubling my weight. To put that in perspective, I was very athletic beforehand, without excess body fat, and the OB found my gain completely healthy and normal. It took over a year for that weight to come off, and indeed the only reason it happened so quickly is that for a while I was ill and being fed on an IV for a week. When I think about my experience, the idea of gaining a lot during pregnancy and then taking a while to lose it again seems rather unsurprising and normal. I suppose it would be okay with some people, however, if my husband had chosen to step out during that year. If that's how you view it, I submit that traditional marriage simply isn't for you, but then, don't pretend to judge other people's marriages by those crazy standards.
Crinoline, I appreciate your whole line of inquiry, but I too am troubled by where your initial logic has left you. When you ask, "How fat is too fat before a man is allowed not to be attracted to his wife?" I'm not sure that's the real question. People may or may not retain their sexual attraction to one another at all times in the course of a marriage, for all sorts of random reasons, and it's not possible for anyone to "allow" that or not--it just happens.

However, people go into a monogamous sort of marriage knowing that appearances change, and as we age they likely change for the worse. If you're not up for monogamy even if your attraction to your partner wanes as appearances change, then I would say, don't enter that kind of marriage. There's no magic amount of time or lack of effort on your spouse's part that makes you immune from being a jerk for cheating.

The idea that the person whose appearance changed is somehow responsible for the effects of that change is also a little strange to me. If a wife gains 50 lbs and the husband is no longer attracted to her because of it, that's his responsibility and problem just as much as it is hers. The question is not just what she's doing to remain attractive to him, but what he's doing to remain attracted to her.

Some of the problems you allude to are serious because they involve deeper or permanent changes in physical capacity. What if someone's physical qualities change so much that it becomes impossible to continue a regular sex life? I don't think people are "jerks" in these situations as long as they deal honestly with the partner, remain supportive, and put effort into solutions. Weight gain could fall into this category, but those cases are more extreme, with broader health and lifestyle effects. A 50 lb increase isn't on this level.
@71 I don't want men to lie about their feelings -- I want them to care for their wives differently, and then talk about it, so caring for one's wife becomes normal. I believe from other things you've written that you do care for your wife's needs - but I wish you would write about her sexual needs at the same time as you write about your own. When you just write about your own needs --

>>> I waited about three months after each childbirth to initiate penetrative sex>>>

-- I feel as if her sexuality is invisible to you. I want men to notice more subtle sexual signals, so that they can appreciate a wife's sexuality by other means than engaging in intercourse. And why do I want this? Because I think it will lead to better, more thrilling sex for both partners. And less whining on Slog about wives who won't put out.
ATTW sounds like the scum of the earth. A new baby girl at home and he's bitching that his wife isn't as skinny anymore? Dirtbag.

The best thing a father can do for his kids is love their mother.

If you're going to stay with your wife, do it right. Don't give that little girl a sleazy example of what men are like. Grow the fuck up.
@43, Babies are overrated but when you start to see evidence that your kids are turning out to be wonderful people, then that makes all that previous diaper-changing and sleepless nights SO worth it! But you have to be capable of taking the long view and delaying gratification.
Hunter78, I took "she nearly doubled her weight" as hyperbole since he didn't actually give numbers. I think it's highly unlikely she doubled her weight and that you are taking his words too literally. If he said she gained a million pounds, would you believe that too?
I had a baby nine months ago. I'm not back to my pre-baby shape yet, but I'm gradually getting back into working out and will hopefully lose the weight in due course.

Know why I'm doing this? Because I'm not married to a whiny, immature scumfuck who thinks that the proper reaction to me doing all the hard labour of childbearing and most of the labour of childcare is to fucking cheat on me or leave me.

There's a simple answer to the problem. He needs to take out some hefty life insurance, and then step under a bus. There is no other solution.
It seems as though ATTW is looking for the go ahead to cheat. He's probably been wanting to cheat for awhile and just wants someone to say he's justified. He seems like an asshole to me.
@80 EricaP
"I feel as if her sexuality is invisible to you"
Maybe her sexuality actually disappeared for a time. Not invisible to him. Non-existent.

"This reeks of bad sex attitude, where sex exists to give pleasure to the husband"
If he has desire and she has none then the problem really can be viewed from the perspective of his need. There are lots of reasons why her desire may be gone, but begin by recognizing that his still exists.

"she would give me a wink and flash her boob at me as the baby latched on"
In my dreams! Your rewrite is a wonderful scenario, but one that didn't exist for me. She had no interest and her way of dealing with my interest was to actively discourage me from the gestures you list for fear that I might get the idea that they would lead to sex. Forget about the wink etc. She certainly wasn't going to encourage me.

For those of you not familiar with my story I am still married to Mrs. J and our son is 13. We have a sex life that is improving. I have always been faithful. Marriage is a life together. Commit to seeing it through to the end. It's worth it.
from @80: "I feel as if her sexuality is invisible to you. I want men to notice more subtle sexual signals, so that they can appreciate a wife's sexuality by other means than engaging in intercourse. And why do I want this? Because I think it will lead to better, more thrilling sex for both partners. And less whining on Slog about wives who won't put out."

Bless you EricaP.

I think we need to make a distinction between a partner's growing sexual disinterest in the face of his/her partner's growing waistline and the selfishness of a guy bemoaning pregnancy weight gain and not accepting that caring for an infant requires tremendous physiological and psychological changes for mothers. A less selfish person would masturbate until that period draws to a close and would try to understand that a dry spell is not that big of a deal when a new person (ffs!!!) needs so much care.

There is something entitled, obligatory and self-limiting-ly selfish about this "men have needs that women must provide" because it doesn't, as EricaP points out, treat women as equal sexual partners but as relief receptacles. If her pleasure and interest mattered to you, I guarantee you'd have more and better sex.

And, I've been reading Savage for over a decade and I don't recall a slew of letters where wives say that they're outright repulsed by their husband's aging or weight gain. I tend to hope that all human beings--yes, all--understand that real actual love is about something deeper and more accepting. The life you've built together should outweigh the power of ONE, and only ONE, of your senses, not to mention your memories and sense of loyalty and maturity.

And I say this as a woman who is incredibly turned on by porn--I am just as visual as most men. But I wouldn't throw a person to the curb who I claimed to actually love because they've aged or gained weight. If my man's losing his hair means I cannot fuck him anymore, I never loved him to begin with. But I think it's a whole 'nother level of fucking repulsive to hear this selfish asshole bemoaning a dry spell caused by pregnancy.

It makes me wish I was a lesbian... and I gave that the college try too.
catballou @49

I can't believe it hasn't been said already, but when you write, "My husband gave me no end of shit when I was up to 140 at 5'8 yet he has not retained his girlish figure(mine is back)," I hope you realize that anyone who complains that 140 is in any way too heavy for someone who's 5'8" is very, very screwed up.

That would put you at a BMI of 21.3, which is on the lower end of the "healthy" weight range. Some people naturally settle at weights that are lower on the continuum, but if your body reached 140, there's absolutely no healthy reason to think you've lost your "girlish figure" or to lose weight. Here's hoping the husband is either now an ex or has majorly changed his tune.
@75 Wendyhk - brilliantly stated.

Hunter78 - the reason ATTW's comments strike a nerve is the callousness with which he is willing to toss aside not only his wife but his infant daughter. He has an obligation to be there physically, emotionally and financially.

Although it is undoubtedly superficial to leave your partner over weight gain, he would do so 6 months in. If the wife was discarding her husband after erectile difficulties secondary to cancer while he was undergoing chemo, you would see the shallowness, no? Multiply by the abandonment of his own child and you can see why there is a lack of sympathy for him.

Notwithstanding all of this, @71, I am with you. One year is WAY too long to put sex off the table. Baby does not equal celibacy.
@88 maddy811

Thank you for your beautiful comment.

You wrote: "If her pleasure and interest mattered to you, I guarantee you'd have more and better sex."

My marriage is proof that that's not a guarantee you can make. Droughts have many causes. I never approached it as my having a need that she must provide for, but rather as a problem that we as a couple have. We have an imbalance that has varied over the years. If I had a lack of desire to match hers then maybe we wouldn't see a problem at all.
No Dan! You're giving the "Choicers" a perfect chance to 'prove' their case! Look at all of the closet-case anti-gay male politicians/preachers who are actually choosing to fuck women and not men (some much more successfully than others), despite the fact that they desire men and men alone! Granted, there's not as much chance they're going to give a guy head in so public a fashion, but I also think airport restrooms aren't exactly discreet. Behavior is a choice (though not one we have any reason to be coercing with respect to gender preference of sexual partners), desire isn't. For actual proof that homosexuality qua desire is a choice, the guy would have to be able to gain or lose an erection at will while blowing you, showing that he can control his desire for cock as a choice (although even then, he might just be good at compartmentalizing and using hetero fantasies to regulate erection). Huh, this is a difficult problem for which to generate conclusive evidence without being able to read minds. We may never be able to (dis)prove the 'choice' argument until we refine our mind-reading machines.
6 months to a year IS a reasonable time for a woman's hormones to re-balance, for her to SAFELY lose weight, and for her to not be so exhausted with getting up six times a night and taking care of her dumb husband and their baby. Physically, she might have healed, but the emotional problems might be really getting to her. I had post-partum depression for a good year after my first daughter, and it took me a long time to lost the weight...80 pounds of it. And I was healthy with that much weight gain. He needs to be more supportive. and she also needs to want to get off her ass and start making herself and her husband happy.
I agree with the "man up" posters here re ATTW. When a new baby enters the picture, you will get all of the following:

* less sex
* more crying
* more poo... more poo than you could have ever imagined
* more wife
* more husband
* less sleep
* less freedom
* less focus on you, in general

This is what you are signing up to as a parent, and it's pretty well documented. If you don't want this, it's easy enough to avoid parenthood with birth control.

Since you didn't avoid parenthood, it's officially not all about your dick anymore, and it's now (mostly) all about the one person who didn't ask to be a part of the equation: Junior.

Dan's advice is right on: give it some time and don't force yourself into a choice between two shitty options. While you don't need to resolve issues around your sexual gratification in the immediate time frame, Junior does need a good dad. Be one!
ATTW sounds like a panicking first-time father with no context or experience of parenthood to me. He needs some reassurance that weight gain is normal and that there's every chance his wife will be able to get her girlish figure back.

The knee-jerk "He's a selfish asshole" or worse, "He's a misogynistic monster who should go climb into a hole under a rock and die" responses read as misandry. They're neither fair nor attractive.
Re: who can go 6 months without sex?

The Choicer Challenge is problematic even with the Erection Enhancement, (which sounds like something in a pop-up ad). Dan is failing to account for the relatively high percentage of Choicers who are obviously self-loathing gay men in denial who'd have no problem maintaining a hard-on throughout.

Gore Vidal said something like 'There are no gay people; only gay acts.'
Can I take this to mean that you think that a man is justified in leaving his wife because she gets fat, as long as there is no infant involved?
ATTW may have a valid complaint if he wasn't exaggerating about his wife being twice her size pre pregnancy. On average a woman is supposed to gain 20-40 pounds during pregnancy 40 (IF she was UNDERWEIGHT before the baby) and 20 if she was normal weight. Thats a huge giant enormous leap away from being twice anybody's adult size. Hell right after having the baby the woman loses the weight of the actual baby, plus another pound from the placenta, another pound or two from her blood volume going back to normal, another pound from her uterus going back to size. Yeah he'd be an ass to fuss over things like a stretched out belly, stretch marks, and not so tight skin months after having a child but a permanent gain of 60+ pounds from ONE baby is enough to scare ANYBODY. You mean to tell him his wife is always going to look pregnant and be twice the size she was when he fell in love with her and he's supposed to still be physically and sexually attracted to the way she looks now with such drastic changes? That makes no sense. I've had two 8 pound babies through c-sections and started out 40 pounds overweight. My youngest is a year old now and my BMI, weight and everything is back to being BETTER than it was pre baby. I dont have a gym memebrship I just didn't want to have a 45 inch waist so I got off my butt and exercised every single chance I got. She should love herself enough not to want to remain twice the size she was before having ONE child. Anyone gaining an entire person worth of non-muscle weight needs to lose some of it.
Pregnancy is tough, and women can gain a lot of weight. Afterwards, in addition to the scary scary infant you now have (if you are first-time parents), there can be wicked post-partum depression.

Speaking from experience and as someone who had a onestepawayfrombedrest pregnancy, the depression (and the medication she may end up taking for it) can lead to problems losing weight as well as an overwhelming urge to either (a) commit suicide or (b) commit murder. If ATTW isn't helping by doing some of the housework, cooking, changing diapers, helping with middle-of-the-night feedings, and is still bitching that his wife is too fat, he shouldn't be surprised when she boots his ass out of the house, and should sincerely pray to whatever deity he believes in that she doesn't have a weapons permit.

Just saying.
Mr. J @86/87/91, you talk about your wife's sexual desire, so it's more clear that her sexuality is not invisible to you. Also, you approach the imbalance in your desire as a joint marital issue, which is more productive than labeling it her fault (as maddie811 said).

But if you want to talk about your experience: When you met your wife and started dating, she was a woman with a particular sex drive and sexuality. Maybe she wanted sex once a month, and to be touched a certain way drove her wild. Whatever the particulars – they existed. She liked sex the way she liked it.

Then things happened: you got married, had a kid, raised a kid. Did her sexuality (libido + particular turn-ons) change? If so, then is she concerned about the change? Can she be persuaded to see a doctor about possible hormonal problems?

I feel as if men say – "the sex went from once a week to once every two months, what's wrong with my wife." But they don't talk about what pleasure she used to get out of it, and how that has or has not changed. It is as if they don't know that part of the story. Without that piece, without bringing her own desire and pleasure into the storyline, it's hard to address the issue except by saying the husband should get his needs met elsewhere.
What nobody seems to have considered is that ATTW may not have wanted a child in the first place. There are lots of women who are so desperate to have a baby they don't give a shit that their partner may not be into it. Many of these women are also not really into sex and don't see any reason to maintain their appearance once they've had the kid. This is a politically incorrect topic but one that I'm sure hits home with a lot of reluctant fathers out there who, despite having been tricked into fatherhood, still feel pangs of guilt when they try to get their normal needs met.
@102. Wow. Just wow. Thank you for proving my point. Yes, women hate sex, trick men to getting them pregnant, and then deliberately starve men of sex. That is love, for certain.

If that's the caliber of women you know, might I suggest you expand your circle? If not, me thinks your judgment clouded by some serious issues of your own.

As for the person above saying that only misandry could explain myself and others calling this guy selfish: I, for one, acknowledged that partners should maintain themselves for each other. HOWEVER, i was also saying that *this particular guy* sounded selfish, and i was putting it in the context of the high volume of letters dan gets from men wanting to leave their wives for them having put on weight. I never said all men are this selfish or shallow, nor did I say that I hated all men as a collective group--I said these particular attitudes are self-defeating, shallow and selfish. If you can throw a lifetime and family away so casually, you didn't deserve either. And I stand by that, just as I would criticize this poor pregnant wife if she in fact turned out to be the trapping, manipulative shrew @102 pulled out of his ass.

Finally, reading these last few comments, it amuses me that some people take literally the claim that the wife "doubled in size." I'm sorry, but that rings like the hyperbole of fat phobia, not literal proof that the woman went from, say, 120 to 240 from a pregnancy. In my experience, men who cannot make a distinction between pregnancy weight and weight gain, normal weight gain and serious weight gain, and 20 pounds versus 60 pounds and up have issues about women's bodies and an unreasonable expectation about what the deserve as they age. The men I've known who suffer from this are sad sacks, at a loss to forever find youth and beauty, mistaking love for lust (and I'm a fan of lust).

So, again, at no point did i say ALL men, so spare me the misandry bullshit. Unless, of course, you're ready to point out the implicit misogyny of @102.
"If her pleasure and interest mattered to you, I guarantee you'd have more and better sex. "

Naive bullshit.

If she isn't interested, I could be putting the world into her pleasure and all that would happen is it would feel like I was pressuring her. It's frankly insulting that you presume up front that her needs _don't matter to him, or else she'd be a freaking porn star for him. I suggest you dump the Womyn's Studies 101 all-men-are-selfish-pigs complex, and realize that people get disinterested for all sorts of reasons having nothing to do with what their partner is or isn't doing. Hormones, feeling bad about their own weight or appearance, stress at work, money troubles, feeling inhibited with kids in the house, prudish upbringing, the list is as long as you would like.

But no, obviously the problem is that the guy doesn't give a shit about his wife's needs. What else could it be?

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