Savage Love

Safety Valve

Comments

1
Santorum making headlines again - http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/02/ric…

Good work Dan!
3
Good advice to CB. In my experience, overeager, unnecessary communication, especially when one partner doesn't wish to discuss or dissect the act of sex, can be harmful to the relationship.
4
"try to resist the urge to lesbian this thing into the ground by communicating it to death."

Truer words were never spoken. Well done.
5
"Lesbian this thing into the ground" - Hilarious!
6
AHA, you know, he might consider it "straighter" if there WAS a woman present while you were blowing him. I volunteer to chaperone!

Just ignore the sketchbook. >>
7
I am actually having a hard time imagining what a meaningful dialog about how awesome one's sex is would sound like. I mean, I appreciate a "wow! damn! that was amazing! I may not walk for weeks!" as much as the next gal, and would probably start wondering what was wrong with me if I didn't get that kind of reaction every so often, but I picturing some sort of "Honey, we need to talk" scene where you sit down, have a cup of herbal tea, look meaningfully into the other person's eyes, and say, "I just think we need to talk about the fact that you totally rock in bed. How do you feel about that?". What's the desired result? "I really appreciate you letting me know how you feel, Susan. When you say that, it gives me a feeling of validation. How does that make you feel?" And all of this when you could just be having the awesome sex that you want to break into small discussion groups to workshop.
8
TYTF - this isn't some special circumstance, it's a classic mid-life crisis. I'm 39 and half the men and women I know are going through some variation on this. Dan is exactly right - think about whether there's a way to put excitement back in your life without breaking up your family.
9
RE: AHA - who cares how the "straight" friend wants to label/characterize himself? It's his closet, let him decorate it however he damn well sees fit.
10
As a lesbian, I also found "lesbian this thing into the ground" hilarious. Let's just say I'm glad Lindy West isn't a lesbian or I'm sure she'd find it offensive.
11
Wow! The first comment!!! I am baked as I write this so this is first impressions and very offensive- let the flames begin!

As a gay man I don't think Dan understands that MOST women are not interested in threesomes, polyamory or letting their husband fuck around. Maybe the highly charged sexually libertine women who write for his advice (where can I find them again?) are down with the safety valve fuck around advice but that is definitely not MOST women. So good luck with that conversation but you may want to save up for a lawyer first.

You all thought that marriage was this patriarchal institution to oppress women: WRONG!! Actually marriage was invented to oppress men and channel that insatiable sexual drive into caring for his family, children and the one piece of ass he is allowed to have. It worked fairly well (for men at least) for the first 10,000 years or so until the Women's movement said: "Not only are we limiting it to one woman per man, NOW we are saying that the one spittoon a man is allowed to have also gets to determine how much (or how little) sex the man gets. My body, my choice, after all. Ya, ya, lots of women (at least a lot who read Dan's column) are in the same boat with a spouse who won't put out but I bet the ratio is 30 to 1 in the "real" world so spare me the highly sexed comments from under appreciated women. On second thought hit me with them! It will give me something to do on the 28-29 nights a month when my wife gets to exercise her "choice" to tittilate, torture and sexually deprive her husband.

An alternative for the guy might be to just fuck around and lie like a woman about it (Oh now I have done it!). If both sides have just a bit of plausible deniability to hang on then the arrangement proposed has worked for thousands of years. You pretend to be faithful, she pretends to believe you and the whole family goes on- that is why they call it wedded BLISS.

However as a gay man, Dan obviously understands lesbians: "Resist the urge to lesbian this thing into the ground by communicating it to death" is really great advice. I was not familiar with Lesbian drama before his column but I am hardly surprised. How could it be otherwise with two emotionally erratic, periodically irrational beings in a relationship- even if they ARE cycling together...

The advice to AHA is spot on. As a gay man, Dan obviously has a finely tuned gaydar. But this does seem to conflict with previous statements about how "normal" men can accept blowjobs from other men without getting the gay on them. I always thought that was wrong. Sure a straight guy might do a circle jerk as a teenager and even lend an assist but to lay back and accept a blowjob from another guy and then claim straighthood is way, way over the top. I don't think the dude is floating there thinking about pussy and full, soft, woman lips on his dick. Dan nailed it- again. The dudes bud is sending more than mixed messages and he should go for it.
12
TYTF, your wife knows you're on the make. Don't think she's so blind/stupid not to notice you're throwing yourself at baristas half your age. She's already planning her escape from YOU.
13
Um, is it just me or does that first letter give the impression that this guy's wife has no fucking clue that he finds sex with her boring? TALK TO HER ABOUT IT FOR FUCK'S SAKE. Read some books, watch some videos, try some new stuff. If that doesn't work, THEN talk to her about stepping outside your marriage.

Also, how much of the burden of caring for the house and kids is she shouldering? Does she take on most of it while holding down a job? That can really kill bedroom creativity, ya know.

@8, dude, you're right, it sounds JUST like a mid-life crisis.
14
Love the use of lesbian as a verb. But let's not jump to conclusions: "When I try to talk to her about this" could also mean "when I say 'That was the best sex I've ever had'"... I'm sure not every lesbian lesbians everything lesbian.

And Citrine @ 8 is right: TYTF's letter has "mid-life crisis" written all over it.
15
Could TYTF be any more boringly normal? It's hilarious that his idea of a wild time is "nightlife, crazy friends, and good drink."
16
NOT impressed by Mr. Flailing, who wants to talk about what HE wants - but not with his wife.

He doesn't record any effort he's made to spice things up (he just complains about wanting to nail other women and says the sex life with his wife has cooled) and his first reaction is to run away? Maybe he could try TALKING to her before doing anything.
17
I'm with 13 & 16 - show her the letter you wrote, Flailing, and see if she (a) wants to spice up her boring suburban life too, or (b) wants to protect her boring suburban life from the financial hardship of supporting two households on the same money, or (c) wants to release you from marriage so you can both hope for happiness with other people.

I don't understand 11 & 12, who assume that she already knows what's in his head. As the wife when this same midlife crisis hit my family - no, I didn't know. And yes, I wanted to know. We chose (a), and, thanks, it's working out okay so far.
18
Although @11 does have a point that Flailing might want to consult with a lawyer before showing his wife the letter he wrote. Never hurts to understand your financial/legal situation.
19
Loved the response to TYTF, especially this: "...all so you can make an embarrassing pass at a barista who has zero interest in fucking you." I always laugh whenever a guy acts like the only thing keeping him from sleeping with the barista and every single woman at his gym is his wife. Uh-huh. It's easy to get delusional about how much tail a single man can get when you've been married for years, I'm sure. And sure, maybe it's a quality thing over a quantity thing. If two novelty lays a year is better than 3 a week of the routine variety, I suppose go forth. But just remember that married men have more sex than single men, so if you want to bone, you should probably stick it out.
20
#11 yep, you come across just as much an idiot as you claimed you would. Marriage is a patriarchal institute to oppress/enable everyone. Its origins are in economic stability. Not love. Or sex.

Furthermore, when my ex boyfriend asked to be in an open relationship I was NOT up for it. But that's because our relationship was already rocky, and that was his (weaselly) way out. If I were in a LTR that was loving, stable, honest (can't necessarily identify TYTF's as that) then I could definitely see myself being OK with some fooling around on the side. Just cos you're wife is holding out on you doesn't make all women lying, conniving PsOS

PS I'm not sure being stoned at 9am excuses being a dick

PPS Great work Dan, per usual
21
I don't understand why Dan thinks TYTF wants out of his marriage because he wants a second wife, a second marriage, a second family. Nothing in his letter even implies that. He wants out because he wants to NOT be tied down to one woman; he wants to be a poon hound.

It strikes me as completely misguided and inappropriate for Dan to warn him that his "second" situation will bore him as much as the first one did; he's not LOOKING for a second situation. He just wants to be single. That's what his letter says to me, anyway.

I think if he moves out and gains a single status, but remains an active parent, both he and the wife - and subsequently the kids - will be better off. It's certainly worth a shot.
22
I appreciate you posting, answering tytf's letter, especially after last weeks she will not. I was glad to read a male's perspective on this. I also liked the advice on trying not to home wreck unnecesesarily and just have a fling on the side. It does sound alot like a midlife crisis, I'm a married 40 yr. old man. One must take advantage of quality somewhat youthful erections while one can!
23
@ 21 - Dan says "You dog around for a few years and before long you shack up with a new woman"... and I'm sure that's what happens most of the time, since middle-age guys soon come to realize that the baristas they end up making embarassing passes at generally have zero interest in fucking them. So they find one who does and shack up with her, for fear of ending up alone.
24
@ 20 - Marriage was not initially conceived as a patriarchal institution, it was indeed meant to force men into taking their responsibilities for their children - before DNA tests could confirm paternity, marriage/official monogamy were the only way to force a men to recognize the children of the woman he was having sex with as his.

That's not to say that laws and religions, made by men, didn't turn it into a patriarchal institution, which they obviously did.
25
Danny you wanna see the real problem with romance, peep this video made entirely by women: http://vimeo.com/19843219
26
Kudos to Dan for pointing out that Mrs. TYTF may find their current life just as stultifying as Mr. TYTF does. There's a good chance she hasn't yet articulated this even to herself, and that it's lurking under the surface as an unnamed dissatisfaction. There's also a good chance she's way beyond bored and already having an affair or plotting her own exit.

Nobody gets married in joyful anticipation of the tedium that often comes with long-term commitment. It takes effort and communication to keep things fresh. Mr. TYTF also may have considered that securing his own "freedom" will result in much less freedom for his wife - and likely not nearly as much freedom for himself as his fantasies may lead him to believe. After divorce, they each will still have to deal with the mundane details of life, plus the logistics of joint custody. The added expense of a second home will leave him with less disposable income for living the wild life, or picking up new women.

Mr. TYTF could do himself and his wife a great favor by having a frank discussion - though I'd suggest he not open with "I can take or leave this boring marriage, provided I get to fuck other women." For example, he could tell her that he sometimes (often, constantly) misses the person he was and the life he had 10 years ago, and ask if she ever feels the same way. Even if she doesn't, it's only fair for him to let her know that he's dissatisfied, and give her an opportunity to help turn things around if she's willing/able, rather than make unilateral decisions in their partnership.
27
off topic. I'm in love with EricaP.
28
@11 I think a little research on the history of marriage is in order for you. Marriage today is not the marriage of 10,000 years ago and monogamy was not the norm at least for men. Just like the animal kingdom the more offspring you sire the more assured your bloodline will go on. The history of marriage is not one of commitment to one wife because of love and family but rather to money, power, and status. Women were treated as chattle to be bartered. Marriage is and was a contractual arrangement that historically favored either the male, the father of the bride, or the families. The women's movement just gave women a more equal footing in what had been a lopsided male dominated arrangement.

This distorted view of marriage history really irks me. Off topic but related those opposed to marriage equality consistently spout that marriage is between one man and one women and has been for thousands of years. It is simply not true.
30
@28 - Women have largely (not completely) controlled sex and reproduction, which is an ENORMOUS source of power. Patriarchy is part of a counterbalance to that power. The Women's Movement, as much as I support it, creates imbalance in marital relationships by giving women more power in society and within marriage, without any counterbalance to the sexual-reproductive power women already hold.
31
Okay, getting a little sick of all of the well-intentioned and well-reasoned critiques of monogamy on this site.

Monogamy is HARD. We know. Everyone in possession of a working set of genitals knows. We want to stick them into/be stuck by everything we see. We get it.

But a 'safety valve affair,' if such a thing exists, surely involves discretion on a sarchophagal order. 'Asking permission first' - AKA laying an ultimatum - is in fact asking the other spouse to play the part of the sex-negative harpy that broke up the marriage, in your grand narrative of emotional disconnection.

If you want the thrill of cheating, you have to accept the guilt of being a cheater. Take ownership of your sins. Don't ask your poor wife or husband to shoulder that burden for you, and for God's sake don't do it predicated on the mealy-mouthed idea that 'they probably want it as bad as I do.'

If you want to have sex with someone other than you're married to, and you want to do it with the knowledge and consent of your spouse, there are ways to negotiate that. But that is NOT AN AFFAIR. Calling it such demeans the relationships of thousands of couples in open marriages, poly marriages, or marriages with threesomes on the table.
32
@28, @11 is a troll. You're not gonna get anything satisfying from trying to engage him. He's not interested in understanding anything.
33
Sounds like Flailing needs to try to lesbian his marriage back into shape before he throws it overboard.
34
11: with that misogynistic historically-challenged screed you spewed above, you should be grateful to ever get any. Ever. Under any circumstances.
35
The "straight" dude in AHA's letter is fooling himself. If you like men to suck your dick, you are gay. If you enjoy getting jacked off by other men, you are gay. If you stuff dildos up your butt, you are gay. Just because he's doing it with no one around, doesn't make it any less gay. This so-called straight man is just trying to have his cock and eat it too.
36
And the best way to open up your relationship is to let your partner go first.

@29: so how would you propose to counterbalance this "sexual-reproductive power" that women have? Perhaps a tax of 30-something percent on all of their wages? Or maybe a correspondingly higher share of the gestation and child-rearing burden?
37
#11--maybe not so good to post baked
38
Confidential to AHA:

Believe it or not, it's quite possible that that friend of yours really is straight, or at least 98% straight.

I recently met a middle-aged married father of three at a work-related seminar. We had lunch that day and then stayed in touch via email, mostly as a way of keeping our businesses linked. At one point he asked me if I were gay. I told him yes, and he dropped the conversation.

A few weeks after that, he asked me to meet him for lunch. While at lunch, he popped a wild question on me. Basically, he wanted to experience anal sex with a guy.

We negotiated some terms, and met at a local hotel. He did his thing, and we both enjoyed it. He clearly isn't interested in doing it again. He just wanted to know what it felt like.

I think A LOT of straight men have done this at one time or another, but that doesn't make them bi... it just makes them open and honest and adventurous. Maybe that's how you should see your friend: as an adventurer.

39
@13, I agree. It would seem that there haven't been any attempts to communicate with the wife and spice things up. I don't disagree that a safety valve may end up being the answer, but I think an emphasis on their sex life should come first. Then, an open relationship could be a supplement to their improved sex life or used to postpone divorce.
40
@11. All the sexually liberated libertine women *I* know are just DYING to have no-strings-attached sex with misogynist douchebags, so I am really confused about why you're not getting any, Professor!
41
@ 38 - But how would you call that straight acquaintance of yours if you learned that he'd told the same story to and had his "once-in-a-lifetime encounter" with 100 other guys?

We just all need to remember that people lie - it's part of human nature - and that some people lie whenever its convenient for them. Some only lie to others, some also lie to themselves because they can't accept their true nature.

That said, it IS possible that AHA's friend is straight. Just not "quite" possible.
42
@27 - swoon...
43
@31 "'Asking permission first' - AKA laying an ultimatum - is in fact asking the other spouse to play the part of the sex-negative harpy that broke up the marriage"

I disagree. You can say - "I love you, and I love sex with you, and I want to keep having sex with you... but I can't help also feeling that I want something else, too, because life is short and then you're dead a long time. Do you ever feel that way, and do you want to talk about how we can approach this together?"
44
Guess what? People are boring. Every single person in the world is boring. The older a person gets, the more boring they become (and more often). You are boring by yourself, you're boring when you're with other people. Especially if you have kids, you are SO FREAKING BORING. This is not a travesty, it's the human goddamn condition.

I don't understand why people get married unless they are prepared to be bored. fucksticks! If you want some excitement in your life, try losing the financial security and lying awake at night wondering how you're going to feed your family next month. But if you've got the security taken care of, prepare to be bored/boring.
45
@21,

He's not necessarily LOOKING for a second situation, but that doesn't mean he won't END UP in one.

Read @19's note if you haven't already. If he does leave, he'll most likely end up wandering aimlessly for the first six months or so. Occasionally, he'll get lucky. More often, he won't. Eventually, he'll find a woman that he likes who likes him too. Most likely, she'll want to be in a relationship if they're going to be fucking regularly. To avoid losing the opportunity to fuck this new woman, he'll agree to a relationship and eventually end up right back where he started. He'll tell himself that this time it will be different because the new girlfriend is so much different than his ex-wife.

Bottom line is, his wife has NOT become boring; HE has become bored with HER. And there's nothing wrong with that. It's natural and understandable. But he's misreading the signal if he thinks that the grass is so much greener on the other side. If he and his wife still love and respect each other, then he's better off trying to talk with her and see if they can spice up their lives together.
46
If a man enjoys having sexual pleasure with another man he is gay or at least bi.

I have to laugh at people who can deny that when their dick has been in another man's mouth.

I think Grouch Marx said it best with


"Who are you going to believe? Me or your own eyes?"


Get real.

47
My own reply to TYTF:

Grow the fuck up.

You knew what a marriage vow was when you made the commitment. You knew, when you inseminated your wife, that children are a lifetime responsibility. And, now that you have something a lot of people never will - a stable relationship, a family of your own, and a good friend with whom you can spend quality time on the sofa - now, you want out.

Guess what. You made a promise to her. You made a promise to your kids. Now you get to keep it.

Stop being such a selfish, whiny fuckknuckle and act like you give a shit about the people closest to you.

By the way, a guy in his 40s trying to bird-dog women is not trendy, cool, or a sex icon. He's just a creep. When he's abandoned a wife and kids to do it, he's a creep and an asshole.
48
I was a serial cheater for years until I realized that one more affair wouldn't do anything to satisfy my lust for other women. It would always be there no matter how many girls I screwed. Ultimately, screwing other people ended up being a pretty empty experience. Then I married a bisexual woman. Hell, just knowing I could go off with someone else is enough of a pressure relief for me.

I wish TYTF could have stood his ground on what he wanted from his relationship. I think Matisse has a pretty good article this week on this subject as well.
49
Not much to say, for once, other than GREAT advice Dan. I wish more folks thought through what marriage to someone else will be like - ie - Can I stand the small annoyances about this person? Their laugh/sanitary habits/ideas about money? Do I not mind being bored around/with them (not that as a constant state it's okay, but that's part of the long haul)? Can I talk to them about the things that really matter to me &/or turn me on? ARE THEY MY FRIEND, as well as someone I am in love with? It's not IF you will be bored with someone someday, but when, & do the things that you have in common hold you together & keep you mostly content when that occurs.

Spoken like a longtime married person, Dan. ;)

I think he should try talking to her. She deserves honesty as I bet the #1 LW is gonna cheat if he doesn't get to scratch his itch.
50
@41.
Yeah, I see your point and would tend to agree in most cases (I've had my share of married "straight" men over the years, so I know the signs).
In his case, however, I tend to believe him. He's 50, lives in the same town, and seemed extremely nervous and "green" when the act took place. There was no kissing or cuddling, and we talked a little afterward about how it had compared to sex with his wife. We've met for business lunches since and he seems to have absolutely no interest in repeating. Again, I just think he was curious.
51
@44: Too many competing definitions of "boring".
There's a difference between a life without bigtime peaks and valleys, and a life that doesn't have anything in it that excites you or brings you joy. We don't need to lead flashy lives but if you're waking up every morning and wishing you could just stay asleep, something's wrong. We all deserve better than that.

(And yeah, novelty is one way to stave that off. Maybe novelty is no substitute for true contentment and inner peace, but it's still pretty awesome in its own right.)

Also: "Every single person in the world is boring." No, that's simply not true, and the only people I know who feel that way are dysthymic misanthropes who see the world as boring because they don't feel jackshit, except maybe occasional flashes of resentment and hatred. I hope neither you or the OP are in that boat (yet).
52
TYTF, you say you still love your wife but your sex life has cooled, your days run together with mundane activities, and she become boring to you. Guess what? You are probably just as boring to her, if not more so! What do you do? Get your butt off the couch, turn off the TV, find activities that aren't mundane. Hire a babysitter and go out for some of that crazy nightlife and good drink you once enjoyed. Just because you're married doesn't mean you can't go out and have fun. Order up some kinky sex toys to bring the spark back into the bedroom. Treat her like the princess she is and remind yourself why you fell in love with her--and still love her. Your little mid-life crisis is not divorce-worthy. Your marriage is not on the rocks. Do what you need to do to fix things. If you can't figure it out on your own with your wife, counseling might be an option that you should consider.
53
I get when a married guy whose wife has refused sex for years wants an outlet. But TYTF just sounds like a total douche to me.

1)"I loved me some women" - really dude?

2) "my present girl" - Wow, I wish my boyfriend called me that. *Swoon*

3)"mundane activities like watching TV, going to the store, and hanging out with our kids" - Yeah, shopping for food and spending time with your kids is just torturous. If you aren't doing body shots off a model while skydiving then life just isn't worth living anymore.

4) "nightlife, crazy friends, and good drink" - Sounds like the yearbook blurb of some too cool high school kid.

I hope his wife is secretly cheating on him already.
54
*rolls eyes* Guess what, TYTF? You have kids. There is no "out", even if you get that divorce. Like many dads, you will probably get the kids every other (or even every!) weekend. So much for banging hot baristas on those nights. On the weekends you are free, you will be too broke from paying support to be able to afford the lifestyle you desire. Raising kids is exhausting, period. Shouldn't have had them if you can't hack it, but it's too late now, buddy. Take some ownership of the situation and talk to your freaking wife. Please also remember the old adage "a housekeeper is cheaper than a divorce". Maybe you can both go out and get some fun for less than the cost of splitting up.
55
To CB! You're telling your girl that you've never had better sex than with her......which means that in that moment, you're comparing her to every other woman you've ever had sex with. Which is how many in your girlfriend's mind?? Even though you're telling her the sex is great, which you think she should hear as the main message, you're bringing up an obvious imbalance in sexual experience, which could surely be a place of insecurity for her. Plus, you said she's a few years older than you, another little piece of the insecurity ("i'm older and less experienced"). And even though she's obviously uncomfortable with you talking this way, sounds like you keep putting it in her face : COMPARISON. to your other lovers. "Honey, reallly! YOU get the Blue Ribbon for being the BEST!!" (Because i've had SO much sex with SO many other partners, i KNOW!)

Stop pushing your sexual experience on her!! Shut up and let her have some more of her own, with you!
56
@ 52 -- Agreed. Getting some on the side won't alleviate the boredom TYFT feels when he's at home with his wife and kids. Knowing he has some extracurricular action waiting for him might make his domestic existence more bearable, but he owes his family a lot better than that. He should work on rejuvenating the marriage he entered into before seriously considering changing its terms.
57
#35: If you stuff dildos up your butt, you are gay.

Um, no. The prostate feels good when it's stimulated - and the nerve endings will feel it just the same whether the deed is done by a man, a woman, or a toy.

Having said that...the fact that this guy got a realistic dildo does make my gaydar go off a little bit. It's not like there aren't a zillion penetrative toys out there that are just colourful and abstract. This dude chose a dick-n-balls. One has to wonder why... :D

To the guy who wrote the first letter: it's entirely possible that you're bored because you're BORING. Your letter complains that you and your wife hang out on the couch all the time but doesn't mention that you've ever tried to initiate anything more fun (kinda seems like you're putting the blame for all this boring-ness onto her but have you been doing anything to shake up your routine?). It's entirely possible that if you made an effort to do cooler things with your wife, you'd both enjoy it...and spending time with her in a new context would fire up the spark again.

It's a bit ridiculous that anyone would recommend a "safety valve" affair when you haven't even taken the basic measure of trying to fix your marriage first. I don't agree with those who've said that marriage is destined to be boring so tough shit - marriage does not have to be boring. But you have to work at avoiding ruts and keeping things interesting. You can't just passively let the current carry you along and then be shocked and outraged that it's carried you someplace not so fun. You ended up there because you didn't do anything to steer the boat elsewhere, dude. If you don't absorb that lesson then you will end up bored and dissatisfied even if you break off your marriage and end up with someone else.
58
To CB! You're telling your girl that you've never had better sex than with her......which means that in that moment, you're comparing her to every other woman you've ever had sex with. Which is how many in your girlfriend's mind?? Even though you're telling her the sex is great, which you think she should hear as the main message, you're bringing up an obvious imbalance in sexual experience, which could surely be a place of insecurity for her. Plus, you said she's a few years older than you, another little piece of the insecurity ("i'm older and less experienced"). And even though she's obviously uncomfortable with you talking this way, sounds like you keep putting it in her face : COMPARISON. to your other lovers. "Honey, reallly! YOU get the Blue Ribbon for being the BEST!!" (Because i've had SO much sex with SO many other partners, i KNOW!)

Stop pushing your sexual experience on her!! Shut up and let her have some more of her own, with you!
59
@ 50 - Since you already know the signs (nothing like experience, is there?), then you can take my post @ 41 as rhetorical, and not specifically directed at you nor relating to this acquaintance of yours. After all, this is really about AHA's straight friend (who IS getting deeper and deeper into his "absolutely not gay" homosexual behaviour).

I'd say from my personal experience, though, that the lack of kissing and cuddling is not really telling - it could also be part of the lie a supposedly straight man tells himself so as not to be confused about his identity. (Please don't interpret this as me contradicting you on your acquaintance's straightness, I'm just stating that I've seen this behaviour rather often in closeted men).
60
The last line of Dan's advice is one of the greatest ever.

The equivalent of "To be or not to be" for Shakespeare.

I remember at least a decade ago, there was a letter from a really bitchy and disrespectful guy who wanted advice about bleeding during anal sex, and Dan said "Go walk your bloody ass down to the bookstore and read about it." (That was before internet age. Wow I'm old.)
61
@ 35, 38, 41 et al

Who gives a shit what you call it? If a guy likes an occasional bj from a dude, but identifies as straight who cares? Why do we need to label everything and worry about definitions? Just let the guy identify as straight and give him some head once in a while. Sounds like everybody comes out a winner.
62
Mmmmm... nearly middle aged divorced dude, with kids, a custody battle, legal fees, alimony and a mortgage on a house he doesn't get to live in, available every other weekend and no holidays, who left his family because he wasn't getting enough? I'd hit that.
63
@ 58 - Very true.

64
Why are gay guys always worried about proving other guys are gay? Who gives a shit what that wanker calls himself? He's just another straight guy who LOVES cock, much like many Republican representatives....
65
@ 61 - We do. And that's a good enough reason to discuss it.

The real question is : Why do YOU care if we do?
66
@ 64 - Thanks for providing (part of) the answer to your own question : Because these "not gay" guys who enjoy dick often turn out to be our worst enemies in the public arena, like those cock-sucking Republicans who vote to ban gay marriage.

I don't see anything wrong with exposing hypocrisy.
67
I'm a straight male with a fetish for slim, 100% passable-for-female transsexuals. After studying them, transporn, and transsexuality since 2007, I've seen and met a few who could put my last 2 bio ex-girlfriends out to fucking pasture! The thing is that my luck with women is so bad that all the ones I wanna fuck are either out of my league, not single, or inaccessible! The good news is that once I get the one I'm attracted to, I have the power to take her on an incredible life's journey, but I'm also more focused on staging my triumphant return to college to study Psychology. I'm caught between a [female] cock and a hard place (I know. Right?)
68
@61

I'm not sure how much it MATTERS, so to speak, but it's odd that the guy keeps insisting he's straight while indulging in a lot of homosexual activity. He gets blow jobs from his friend, he jerks his friend off, buys a realistic cock-and-balls dildo... sounds like he is, at the very least, not entirely straight. He can call himself whatever he wants, but that's no reason why the rest of us can't call a spade a spade.
69
#11, I choose to believe that you are just as much of a dick sober as you are stoned.
70
only boring people get bored!
71
@38: thanks for the mental image ;)
72
TYTF You are having a midlife crisis. Chill out and tell your girl what is going on!
73
I'm with Canadian Chick. The guy in the first letter just sounds so positively lame and self-unaware. Wow, you are 40 and not as thrilled with life as you used to be? What a shock! If only Hollywood would make a million movies about that, comedians could joke about it, maybe even come up with some catchy term for what you're experiencing!

And this, this gem: 'I am far from conservative. I love nightlife, crazy friends, and good drink. She was aware of this when we met because we ran in the same circles.'

Aware of what? That young people generally go out, enjoy drinking and have friends (some 'crazy' – lemme guess, he likes to streak? Has a fauxhawk at 45? Goes to Vegas and comes back with dirty stories? Totally wild!)? That often, when they have kids, they need to do 'boring' things like shop for groceries?

Dude, please, get a clue, read some books, you are not a unique snowflake.

And that guy who posted the video to that misogynist video (oh sorry, it can't be, your mom's a woman!)... ehh, never mind. Something tells me you are the guy from AHA's letter.
74
TYTF advice is all wrong, but predictable from this site. MOST people who enter marriage are expecting monogamy. TYTF should have maybe asked himself whether this woman was the woman for him before he got married and started a family!

Dan should have explored how to get the "spark" back with his wife. How about a sex therapist? Why is the "safety valve" the only option?

I don't know what planet you think people are living on Dan, but every couple I know who has ever "opened up" the marriage ends up with the cheating partner finding someone better and then leaving the spouse.

TYTF should grow a real pair, realize he is starting his midlife crisis, and get some counseling. If he wants to be a horndog and fuck everything he sees (or try to), then he should accept that he is not the marrying kind.
75
@74- how many couples do you know who didn't open up their marriages, and then got divorced?

how many couples do you know where one or both is having sex with outside people, but not telling you about it? I think you don't have any idea.

So people get divorced without outside-sex and people stay together with outside-sex... Tell me again why you think there's a cause and effect operating here? That if a marriage opens up, that will cause them to divorce?
76
@46: Actually, that was Chico. But he was dressed as Groucho at the time.
77
Rereading TYTF, I'm struck by this bit:

"...we look very traditional. But I am far from conservative. I love nightlife, crazy friends, and good drink. She was aware of this when we met because we ran in the same circles."

At no point in his letter does he say that he's tried to discuss his domestic boredom with her and found her unsympathetic. Yet "She was aware of [his love of nightlife etc.] when we met" suggests that he thinks she simply *must* know how discontented he is now, without his having brought it up, just because she should remember what he used to like 10 years ago.

And "we ran in the same circles" suggests that she shared his enjoyment of those things back in the day - yet it doesn't occur to him that she might also be discontented now, for exactly the same reasons he is.

Assuming that our partners can read our minds, and that we can read theirs, isn't a great basis for making major decisions. Time for a real talk, preferably over piña coladas in the rain...
78
Dan's advice to TYTF is generally spot on, but he tends to forget one major detail about relating to other people who are not your significant other:

Your significant other is there for a reason. Back when you were single and dating, you were probably going through a fair number of candidates trying to find someone who didn't drive you nuts. This is why dating sucks in the first place.

As someone who's in an open relationship and who gets to nail other women (and men!) besides my wife on a somewhat regular basis, I can pretty much guarantee that while the grass seems greener on the piece on the side, there's something around an 85-95% chance that the cute barista will drive you nuts. Probably inside of a couple of hours. I generally find myself coming back to my wife at the end of the day and saying "oh thank god I'm with you!" One of the reasons which of course, is that she lets me nail other people.

@64: Straight guys who love cock are called bisexual, by the way. :P And "straight guys who love cock who don't like to admit it" are called closet cases. They're also generally undateable. I don't recommend the practice of pursuing relationships with them, and neither does Dan.
79
Dan, this lesbian just bust a nut - bust an ovary? - laughing when you used "lesbian" as a verb. Just perfect.
80
@ Erica P -- 74's main point just echoes the opinion of earlier posts that opening up a marriage at the first signs of a rut seems a bit premature. TYFT sounds downright lazy and unwilling to take responsibility for his own feelings of boredom. He obviously wrote into the right column if he wanted to hear that renegotiating the monogamy of his marriage should be a first course of action.
81
@ 77 - And maybe they'll realize that they both like making love at midnight in the dunes on the Cape.
82
@ 80 - Maybe Dan just realized that the question is not if the guy is going to have sex with other people or not - since he most definitely is, and he was obviously only looking for permission to do so. There doesn't seem to be much sense in trying to convince him otherwise, so what you can do is advise him to talk it out with his wife. Who knows what will come out if it? Maybe he'll realize his wife is also bored and they'll end up finding another type of safety valve.

If you push the guy in a direction he's already made his mind no to go in, then he'll probably just do what he's already planned, and no one wins.
83
AHA: does he ever date women, sleep with women, talk to you or anyone else about women? Not solid proof one way or another, but the way he talks about them may provide some clues.

It's possible that he's so narcissistically focussed on his own pleasure, not much caring where it comes from, that straight/bi/gay has no functional meaning for him and he calls himself "straight" because it's easier socially. The hand job(s?) could just be his way of reciprocating - since he has enough manners to realize he should - without actually doing anything he considers intimate.

The much simpler explanation is that he's not yet comfortable admitting he's bi. If your attraction to him is mostly physical and friendly, stop worrying about making him accept the correct label and just enjoy your odd bedfellow.

If your attraction is getting romantic and you're hoping he'll admit to being bi AND to having feelings for you - pushing him to come out before he's ready increases the likelihood of him blowing up at you and stomping out of your life. You'll have to decide for yourself whether it's better to take that risk or not.

What you should NOT do is make yourself physically available to him while silently pining for his affections, or worse, lying to yourself about any romantic feelings you may have. You don't owe it to him to enable his denial at the expense of your emotional well-being.
84
@ #11 - You are a fucking idiot.

@ #47 - Exactly. <3

@ #48 - For the love of all that is fucking right, please understand that being BISEXUAL DOES NOT EQUATE POLYAMORY It's a common misconception.

@ Dan - Excellent responses.
85
TYTF -- definitely mid-life crisis. Perhaps monogamy isn't for him, but he's been doing it for a full decade, so I'm not so sure if it's an issue of wanting an open marriage.

Sounds like text book mid-life crisis. Get to that point where the decisions you've made lead to regret or double thinking those carefree days of youth and all the paths you didn't choose. But you've got to remember that there is a lot of good from the path you have chosen. Love isn't all novelty and infatuation---it can be a lot more, if you let it. But getting older is scary and it seems like this guy is reacting like a lot of folks do when confronting their own mortality in a mid-life crisis: trying to recreate situations of their youth (i.e. nailing the cute barista) when it's not about that at all.

At the very least, this guy has to talk to his wife, and perhaps a counselor to see if this really is an issue of someone wanting out of a happy, stable monogamous relationship, opening the relationship up or, what I guess is more likely, some misplaced feelings of fear and loss of youth parading around as mistaken lust.
87
Spot on again, Dan, to TYTF! Another great column!

This is only one of a zillion reasons why I will never get married again, and am better off single. The last thing I'd ever want is to be dumped in my 40s by some mid-life crisis whining lookist schmuck who'd only get bored with Malibu Barbie once she turned 25.
I agree: boredom goes both ways.
88
@81, who doesn't? Aside from all that sand...

I'd actually like to see Mr. and Mrs. TYTF dress up, go to a bar together, pretend they don't know each other, and flirt their heads off with strangers. He'll get to stretch his wings a bit, and his wife will suddenly seem less "boring" when he sees other men cross the room to buy her drinks just because she smiled at them.
89
FYI: The BJ contributor in question is "Mistermix," not "Mastermix."
90
AHA
Whoa! Three letters and (at least) three deluded people.
TYTF
You and your "girl" (sic) were on the same page 10 years ago until you married and had kids (number of kids unknown). I get the impression she's been the one stuck with them which is a very draining existence; but you've also been there engaged willingly with her in all of these boring domestic activities. It's as if both your brains switched from single=exciting to married=boooooring.

Why did it take you 10 years to address the issue (at least to Dan) and come up with (in your mind) the only answer. To get out of the relationship so you can go out and have that exciting high life you used to enjoy. Well, guess what? Behaviour that was considered normal for a young man is less attractive when you know the guy has dumped his wife of 10 years and is less attached to his kids because he's out prowling for fresh meat. Unless you're fabulously wealthy or terrific in bed, who'd want you with all of that baggage.

So, TYTF, instead of all of this "I need", "I want", "I-I-I" whine, how about addressing the monotony that is parked in the monogamy spot first. Talk to her. Say that you remember some of the wild and crazy things you used to do in the beginning and that, though you acknowledge your responsibilities as parents within a more stable family structure, you'd like to recreate some of them. Or even start some new ones.

You want excitement? Then arrange to pick her up in a bar (it could be fancy or a dive), pretending you're strangers (and maybe she won't wear any underwear and will tell you so). Flirt, touch outrageously and leave with each other. Send the kids away to another family member's place and bring her back to your "bachelor pad" if you can't afford a hotel room. But, unless you're going to give your current relationship a shot, you don't get a free pass to run away from your responsibilities to your current family. Bleh to conventional mid-life crises.
CB
Not only are you deluded, but so is your gf. So far, she hasn't been with a woman except for one-night stands. And she has anxiety and self-esteem issues. So is it possible that the only time she's hooked up with a woman is when she's gotten some liquid courage? Or, besides the insecurity, is also uncertain about her sexual orientation. Because she doesn't sound at all sure of herself.

You, OTOH, are old enough to know better, yet are ready to declare your forever true and undying love ... based on the best sex you've ever had ... and some dreams and goals you share. Dan came up with one perfect phrase. I'd like to add another. You say you're in it for the long haul. There's another "haul" I can think of. Stop U-hauling her prematurely! You're freaking her the fuck out.

You don't need to compound it by telling her about how extraordinary the sex is. What if that's something she's never heard before and thinks it's fake flattery. If she's insecure, the worst thing is hyperbole. It's okay to be sincere, but what you're doing is going to scare her away.
AHA
Does it really matter what your "Straight" self-identifying friend calls himself? Right now, he's enjoying some fun sex with you, spends the night in your bed, and he's open to the possibility (at least when he's alone) of going further. Don't push so hard to get him to "admit" he's at least bi (as you are) if not totally gay. If he's not harming anybody by acting outwardly homophobic (which is where loathesome hypocrisy comes in), let him keep his so-far harmless delusion. If it turns out that he is bi/gay, and you haven't pressured him so that he stops being close to you, but have been patient and supportive, you may still get that happy ending with him. And, even if you don't, you won't have wrecked a friendship.
92
Hey TYTF, I met you the other night where I tend bar. You were the guy with the thinning mullet/ponytail/shaved head and the brand new cowboy boots/ biker boots/versacci shirt, right? You talked about your boring/evil/controlling wife and how much you wanted to get divorced, but you didn't want to hurt your kid(s), then you left me an inappropriately large tip and tried to give me a great big slobbery kiss at the end of the night. That was you, right? Or maybe one of the other dozen, pathetic, forty-ish men I see every night.

Yes, it's a mid-life crisis. No, I don't want to fuck you. Now go home and give your poor wife some decent oral sex. Buy some nice toys from Good Vibrations. And for god's sake, shave off that ridiculous goatee/mustache/soul patch.

Good Luck.
93
@35 I'm sure that a guy can stuff dildos up his ass and not be the least gay. Why not do it in the shower for the sheer pleasure of it? Just because the dildo is phallic shaped makes the act gay?

Also, I think that you can probably get sucked off by a guy on an occasional basis and not really be gay or bi. But what cinches the guy's gayness is the willingness to jerk off another dude. Why would a straight man do that?
95
@11--Bravo for that misogynistic, rape-apologistic pile of shit post.
96
@57 Might depend where you buy your toys. If you go into a Babeland, Good Vibrations, or any other decent sex-apparatus shop, your choice of shape and color might be relevant.

But, if you walk into an average old-style porn store that mostly sells DVDs, the selection of toys can be fairly pathetic. You'd be lucky to find any dildos other than fleshtone, never mind non-representational ones.
97
@11. More like... the way you use "spittoon" is why no one will fuck you.
98
TYTF didn't just say he was bored with sex; he said their entire life was a rut. He is too young for this, he wants to party and drink and fuck around like he used to, he might as well write that he wants a toupee and a sports car too. He's having a mid-life crisis and he doesn't need to have an affair. What he needs to do is get into therapy and learn to live with his age and stop confusing comfortable coexistance with a rut. Happy old couples don't get to be happy old couples by bailing when one of them decides they're just too young to be old.
99
You know what else is weird? How TYTF starts off by insisting "I am a straight man." Maybe that's a signal that he's not actually so straight these days. Maybe, like AHA's friend, he has actually been lusting after men. If husbands are generally nervous about asking their wives about extracurricular sex, I bet that goes double if they have to admit that they want to fuck men, not women...

100
"all so you can make an embarrassing pass at a barista who has zero interest in fucking you."

I LOLed.
101
#11 Professor must be a troll...He's gay but married to a woman whom he's pissed at for not putting out every single day--wtf? What gay man would want to have sex with his female wife every day?
102
OOPS...he was talking about Dan being gay, not himself...still think he's a troll, though.
103
I will join @ 11. I have always felt that the detriment dealt to straight marriage by gay marriage was the absence of ownership. Marriage was an act of slavery, not recognized and then promoted after the french revolution. Basically it boils down to this. If Matt and John have an "equal" marriage. Then how does Ed tell Jodie to do the dishes and cook the dinner?
He can't. Fucker has to help out. We are living in an age where two people finance a family. The traditional lines of marriage establish hierarchy. What are we to do with out it? Boo hoo.
Life goes on, except for those that aren't allowed a paper that says they matter to each other. Funny how said piece of paper tells others how they have to define their marriage. whether it is between a man or a woman, or a safety valve.
104
I don't think Dan's advice to TYTF is very good here. As @31 said, I think even broaching the subject with his wife could potentially be a kind of emotional abuse, making her feel like the bad guy for not giving him a "safety valve" when really he's the one who is on the verge of failing in his commitment. I'd only advise bringing it up if he thinks there's a real chance she's secretly interested herself. Otherwise, he should cheat discreetly--not because it would be the right thing to do (it's not, he's still a Cheating Piece Of Shit, this doesn't meet sane standards for absolution) but because being a CPOS is better than rubbing her face in how much he wants to be a CPOS.

That said, while the advice ain't great, Dan's lament at the start of the column is fantastic. Monogamy might have a lot to commend it, but take away the risk of procreation, add modern defenses against STDs, and I'm somewhat agog that we'd still make it central to lifelong commitment. Advising the folks trying to juggle sex with domestic commitment often seems futile. It seems the only way to win is not to play.

Maybe these thoughts should be a letter of their own to Dan, but...I'm a gay man with a great sex life and lots of friends, but not much overlap between the sex life and the friends. I've been most comfortable having sex with people I'm not close to, because when the sexual allure wears off we can go our separate ways without at least one of us getting torn apart. And the most stable and rewarding relationships of my life are with people I don't have sex with--or people I've stopped having sex with, so that the waxing and waning of mutual attraction doesn't ruin the relationship. I struggle with this all the time, and can easily believe that mostly I'm just sort of fucked in the head (I certainly don't need to be reminded of that.)

But then I read letters like TYTF's, and it leaves me at least somewhat frustrated that we're fighting huge civil rights battles for the right to marry our sex partners regardless of their gender, while still treating sex as if it's the primary characteristic by which to judge a good marriage match. Secretly, I long for a form of domestic commitment recognized by society and government that just takes the expectation of sex out of the picture altogether. Safety valves and open marriages point in this direction, but they still call for some form of sexual compatibility, even if it's just mutual acceptance that your sex partner has other sex partners. Where's the liberal churches encouraging people to commit domestically just because they love each other and get along well, even if that love is sexless? Where's the activists and columnists making space for that in our social imagination? Why does everyone still seem to think that you *should* want to have sex with the person you'd commit to live with and support and love till death? I wish society's conversation were at least a little bit more open to the idea of serious domestic commitments based on fraternity rather than sexuality.

As for AHA, I doubt getting this guy to call himself bi will get him to enjoy the emotional connection of sex. He's using the straight label as a shield so that he can have sex with you without feeling emotionally obliged, and you're enabling him to do that. I ain't judging--I've been there, and the sex can be fun for awhile.

But in my experience, when he does finally come out to himself about being bi, it probably ain't gonna come with the realization that he wants to deepen his emotional connection with you. Quite the contrary, you're the guy giving him sex without all those pesky emotions. If he ever does open up to the idea of emotional commitment to a man, your previous sexual relationship isn't gonna put you ahead of the game--it's probably gonna count against you. Probably the best thing you can do both for his sexual self-awareness and your own self-esteem is to tell him now that you'd like to *just* be friends. DTMFA.

And now that I've totally laid my own personal hangups about sex and love bare, please be gentle?
105
TYTF--Dan's right. And speaking as the grown child of an acrimonious divorce, divorce is the gift that keeps on giving--years of child support, fights about holidays, the future grandchildren, wife #2, aka "that slut your father married"...you'll still be tied to this woman for the rest of your life regardless. May as well make a better accommodation now.