Savage Love

Daddy Issues

Comments

1
I thought you'd point out that EH is an agist asshole.
2
I mean, you're totally right, but still.
3
Dan, NSMFA wrote in @96 in the SLLOTD, and it was premature ejaculation after all, not ED. Can you restore?

How do we know EH's age or gender? Maybe this is all some drama at the retirement home.
5
Great suggestion to CAS. I remember back when I was a teenager my parents found a kinky sex story I had written and tried to have a 'talk'. One of my least-favorite memories.
6
I love you Dan. You're right about all of it. I say this from the safe and serene place of having just consummated my first nonmonogamous relationship (all parties know and approve). Never would have happened in a million years without you Dan.
7
Monogamy, non-mongamy... Really, this is all about people wanting to believe something is NORMAL, and feeling bad and/or angry if someone else tells them it's not normal. Because apparently it's difficult for us to live with the knowledge that different people may prefer different lifestyles. Noooo, we need one of these lifestyles (ours, if possible) to be 'normal', so that we don't have to justify it by saying, 'I dig it!' Nooo, I don't do what I do because I like it; I do it because "it's normal".

Normalophilia is an intriguing condition. I feel like asking every person in the world: pick something 'normal' that you like. It doesn't even have to be sexual (though it's especially strong with sexual matters). Now, how would you feel if you liked it just as much -- but you happened to be only one of a few people who like it? If others said 'oh, how infrequent!' if you mentioned it. If you felt as if you had to explain why you like it ('cause, dude, 'normal' people don't).

Now you wouldn't like that, would you? :-)

Maybe Dan is right and monogamy is a 'burden' for most people. Maybe monogamists are right and it isn't. Either way, nobody is going to change their taste, is anybody?

(Except, of course, that there was social pressure in favor of monogamy -- so non-monogamic people had to suffer under the 'expectation of monogamy' and the prejudice according to which anyone who is non-monogamous is a liar, coward, doesn't know love, etc. That is indeed just prejudice, and should be abandoned. But let's not do the opposite, guys. Nobody needs a world in which monogamous people feel discriminated against because of being monogamous.)
8
#3 I doubt EH would mention the other woman's age in such a manner if her husband and herself were in that same age group.
9
@8, I can't help it, I like picturing EH as a 97 year old gay guy.
10
This is just hypothetical hand-wringing, but am I the only one who thought that perhaps the origins of CAS's bro's picture of dad could be the results of abuse? It doesn't change a single thing about the advice to CAS, but perhaps that's what they meant by "concerned and scared."
11
Mostly, I just don't know how to bring up non-monogamy without sending the spouse into a tailspin... even though I suspect he might be okay with it, the social conditioning is deep, deep, deep. If the conditioning trumps desire - or if he's truly not okay with it - how do we go on from there? Does opening up the marriage solve anything and allow us to continue on as partners, or would it be addressing a symptom, not the problem? How would we negotiate trust issues; what would the new standard be? How do you handle disclosure - DADT, need-to-know, some variant?

This is why "normal" is so damn seductive in a depressing, soul-killing way - it's a hell of a lot easier. No risk. Familiar, comfortable despair.
12
@11 can you bring it up as fantasy? Admit that sometimes before you orgasm you think about other guys (movie stars are the least threatening, I guess), and ask if he has any similar fantasies? Bottom line is there's no safe way to get through life. The "no risk" (aka "soul-killing despair") route can also lead to divorce. Or to a lifetime of unhappiness.
13
@6 -- Congratulations on doing it right, Tramu. We hear too much about the CPsOS in this column. Hope it was as fulfilling as it sounds.
14
Anyone think the first letter about the naked dad is a fake? Seems just sensational enough to make it to the top of the pile. Plus, writer: "telling my father would be a *complete dick* move" - har har. I say, FAKE.
15
@11: Erica's idea of bringing up fantasies is good; another suggestion would be to discuss what it would take to break up your relationship. That's how one of my friends opened his relationship; he and his gf were talking about hypothetical things that would break them up, and when they realized that "fucking someone else" was something they could both work through, it got the wheels turning.

As for whether openness would address problems in the relationship or just the symptoms - that's a tough call. All I can say is, do a lot of soul-searching, starting with: are you in love with your partner or kind of blah about them and sticking around out of inertia? Do the two of you have the communication skills necessary to pull off an open relationship? Maybe the idea of you being with someone else appeals to you, but how do you feel at the idea of him being with someone else - could you handle it? What would your ground rules be? Etc.

My bf and I have talked about playing with other people (although nothing's happened yet). We have some ground rules set up, and we've agreed not to even think about pursuing anyone else if we're having issues with our own relationship. I'm pretty confident that, thanks to all our discussion and planning, if an opportunity for other-people-makeouts comes up, we're equipped to handle it. Hopefully you and your partner can get there, too!
16
A CPOS is a CPOS is a CPOS and anyone who is in a relationship with CPOS is a POS. That NSMFA would choose to be in relationships with two CPOS makes her a double dipped POS. However she chooses to rationalize things should not obscure the reality that she chooses to be a party to behavior that places two families at risk. Granted that this would be true without her, still it says a lot about her own lack of integrity. It is telling that she makes no attempt to defend or justify the actions of the two CPOS. Her lame defense of her behavior as a marriage-saving device assumes that marriages based on lies, deceit, and betrayal are worth saving. Mine certainly wasn’t and I’m definitely better off free of it.

Dan is wrong, only two of the six possibly think they are in straight, traditional, monogamous marriages. The other four know they aren’t. Unless there is something more that Dan isn’t sharing, he is over reaching with his statements about how these people and their marriages are perceived. There are true monogamists, realistic monogamists, failed monogamists, deceived monogamists, and smug, self righteous monogamists. In some respects pseudo monogamists are similar to gays who married and had families as protective coloring.
17
Psst. Two people willing to lie to their partners, plus one person more than happy to be an accessory to those lies, might not be what you want the face of nonmonogamy to look like. It's common knowledge that people cheat, no matter how NSMFA might like to dress things up.

#11: I have a simple two step thought experiment for potential polyamorists. Picture your partner having hot, heavy, screaming sex with someone else. Now imagine them going out with someone else, becoming close, and bonding over interests they share that you're not involved in. If either of these images make you sick to your stomach, be warned; unless you're a total twat, both of the above will happen.

That's not to say that you shouldn't open your relationship up. You can always broach the topic as "I've heard something about..." to gauge interest. Just that I don't think enough people think through the flip side of opening things up - that your partners can also be expected to become physically and emotionally intimate with other people - and tend to torture both logic and their relationships in an attempt to undermine that.
18
I agree with those who have problems concerning your response to EH. How do you know that EH is not 95, and her humiliation doesn't stem from being dumped for a younger woman? And what in principle is wrong with an 87-year-old, outside of any context?
19
And yes my post is intentionally hostile and incendiary. Let the pillorying begin.
20
@Littlesoul42,
The tone of the letter is pretty incredulous. Like EH still hasn't shaken the surreal quality of this event. Not something you hear when a man chases a younger woman. As for what's wrong with a 87 yr old, nothing. But imagine that for your whole life you did everything to combat aging for the sake of being attractive...only to have your partner leave you for an OLDER woman.
21
@19 As long as it isn't about pet parents again.
22
how did dan not address the fact that this NSMFA woman waited 12 YEARS for her husband to "offer" sex outside the marriage. 12 YEARS?! how on earth do you encourage your husband to go see a pro dom and then wait 12 YEARS to finally get something for yourself?
23
Ms Erica - Cute, but then we'd know who EH is, as he'd certainly have been in the news when the couple married.

I suppose we could tell EH, if she's female, that he really, really REALLY doesn't want children.

Judging from what I see of a retirement home every week, possibles to toss out:

* she's outlived all her heirs
* she's not on a walker
* she has the best suite in the building
* she's the best bridge player in the home
24
@21 You must have me confused with someone else because I wasn't involved in the pet parent thread.
25
Thanks for all the suggestions. I've done most of the thought experiments on my own; as someone who's never had a problem distinguishing love from sex, a lot of those issues just aren't issues for me. The outside interest/bonding thing is fine, too - we both have always, always respected each other's need for space, alone time and separate friends. I don't think (for myself) that adding sex into the mix would be much of a problem... but depending on the time and attention I might have to give up, who knows? That could change.

And one more thing: we have a five-year-old daughter with some special needs that won't resolve for a while. This a major stressor; although I believe we deal with her particular issues very, very well, the road is grueling and exhausting. Again, I wonder whether an open marriage would add to or lessen the stress. More importantly, I will not do anything to endanger her home. Period. She needs both of us in one house. I'm not miserable most of the time, and when I am... well, you get the picture. How important is one aspect of my life compared to all the other wonderful parts of it? It's not all about me.

Sorry to go on. I have one good friend I can discuss this with, and that usually results in a litany of reasons to leave. Not an option. Thanks for letting me vent n a safe space, and for being so kind and thoughtful in your responses.
26
The Joe Newton illustration is wonderful.
And horrible.
27
One more thing: I had a long and interesting sexual career before marriage, including two polyamorous relationships. One worked very well; one was a constant dull drama (and therefore very short-lived). I think I flung myself into the normalcy trap and convinced myself that my natural proclivities were "wrong." This also includes my kinky side, which has been buried now for more than a decade. So here we are.
28
I love you, Dan. And I'm in a happy monogamist relationship... except for the part where my boyfriend and I both have sex happily on the side... and together because neither of us are impotent.
29
@ 27 -- My marriage has different dynamics than yours so I don't know if my advice is relevant. But as far as suggesting open marriage without putting your spouse into a tailspin: reassurance. Guarantees of loyalty, however you can provide them. At least, that's what I needed. And step up the affection. Show him you're suggesting an enhancement to your marriage, not an escape from it.

And he gets to play too, right? Might be worth stressing.

Also, here's a testimonial: opening up my marriage was the biggest, scariest, stomach-lurchingest decision this side of having kids, and I have no regrets. Downsides are obvious and issues of jealousy and insecurity had to be dealt with as they cropped up. But upsides outweigh them: my wife and I are closer and more committed now, and we've fallen in love again; our sex life is turbo charged; our sexual possibilities have widened; my wife transformed almost overnight into a more self-confident, self-accepting, sexual woman; and now that I know I'm in no danger of losing her, I've actually started enjoying her encounters, never mind the new appetite for pleasure they've awoken in her. In our case, everyone won (including her lover). I'm not saying it'll work for you guys, or for anyone else for that matter, but I thought you might like to hear from at least one husband who has no regrets.

And actually, now that I'm used to it, it's kind of exciting to know that my wife has a bit of the uninhibited slut in her (sex-positive sense, not derogatory). Maybe your husband can learn to appreciate the same about you. Good luck.
30
To EH: maybe she's a wonderful caring attractive woman (because that's independent of age)... and you're not (ditto).
31
Yes, little brother will totally know that big brother saw the daddy porn from that part about "along with what looked like gay porn. I didn't peruse your porn collection too closely because I wanted to respect your privacy". Just say you saw he had gay porn that mom and dad could easily find too and leave it at that. If the daddy stuff was not on top, the less said the better.
32
I think CAS has another sibling who is trying to get back at CAS's little brother. Why else would he have such obvious sicko porn - in hard copy, too - lying where just about anyone could find it?
Or perhaps the mother is the freaky one - she did direct CAS to the bedside table in the first place....
33
@15 perversecowgirl

Knock, knock. Who's there? Opportunity...
34
@16 - I think you misread Dan's response. He says that those six people's friends and family all think they're in monogamous marriages, and two of the six might even think that themselves. I'm not sure where you're getting the impression that all six of them think they're in "straight, traditional, monogamous marriages".
35
Or perhaps the mother is the freaky one - she did direct CAS to the bedside table in the first place....

I doubt it, but if she did, she probably was hoping the brother would have that uncomfortable conversation so she wouldn't have to.
36
@25 Your by the way middle paragraph changes the dynamics and a whole lot of other things.

Adding sex to the mix always complicates things.

I know personally just how much stress there is in being a caregiver. You are so right about it being grueling and exhausting. How tempting and exciting it was to escape; but I caution you that over time it will be increasingly hard to go back to the caregiver role. At least it was for me. Your level of frustration, bitterness, and resentment will increase if only because of how your escape contrasts with your caregiver role. Your marriage will probably suffer particularly if only one of you seeks the form of escape you are considering. You will be depressed more often and that will become apparent to your spouse. He will eventually put two and two together and associate it with your escape. More and more you will question whether the sacrifices are worth it. You don’t say whether your daughters needs are open ended, it will be easier if they aren’t and she displays measurable improvement over time. No matter how well intentioned your motives, how deep your love or how strong your commitments to your daughter and marriage are going in, they will wane over time (its only human nature unless you are really a saint or are willing to be a martyr) I have lived it and seen it happen with too many other caregivers. The role tends to consume pretty much everyone and everything, but then mine was an open ended commitment that I finally had to walk away from into order to survive when I increasingly self medicated with alcohol to deal with the hopelessness.

To all you other posters, I know your advice is well intentioned, but please refrain unless you are a caregiver, have been a caregiver, or have close personal experience with someone who is one. It really is a whole different world. Even the guilt associated with an affair does not come close to the long term guilt that can be associated with being a caregiver or for someone who walks away from the role.
37
I do feel like Dan kind of dodged NSMFA's question.

I can't help thinking of the Culture Gabfest's piece on Dan a couple weeks ago. With the exception of Dana Stevens, they all basically agreed with Dan about monogamy in theory and then promptly fell over themselves to say no, nothing Dan says applies to their own relationships, no sir, not at all. And these aren't cultural conservatives. These are just people in relationships that probably could not withstand the public pursuit of non-monogamy.

NSMFA's question seems dumb because we're reading it in Savage Love. But this isn't a kinkster with an unquenchable desire for something out of the ordinary that society frowns upon. This is something more boring than that. It's not that NSMFA's *can't* walk into a swing club or date a man in an open relationship with his wife. It's that these kind of things probably don't turn her crank. Which is fine.

NSMFA wants a husband with a dick that works. I know Dan's stance on divorce when kids are in the picture. But I think this may be case where it's not just that the husband can't give the wife what she needs, it's that the MARRIAGE can't give the wife what she needs despite the husband's good intentions. Being this guy's primary partner is an impediment to the kind of sex life she wants and I don't think there's anything either one of them can really do to fix that. IMO.
38
Monkey: Opening your relationship because you feel trapped is not a good move. The new relationship you add will be like any new relationship; some possibility of finding someone you can truly bond with, more likely to be exciting but ultimately requiring more energy than you get back out. I strongly suggest talking about kink with your husband, probably taking the initiative as well, but opening things up is astronomically unlikely to help you find that one special person who makes it all better.

You sound like you want people you can rest on when you're feeling too stressed, and if you're being honest, the opportunity to take a break every now and then. And there's nothing wrong with saying that you love both your husband and daughter, but that you also need to take a night off every now and then. Either separately by letting the other person stay at home, or together by calling a sitter who can handle your kid while the two of you date and unwind. Monogamy does not preclude close friends, and it sounds like outside sex is tangential to your needs now.
39
The first letter is so fucking fake!
40
I don't think anyone else here has said this, but Dan you were great on The Colbert Report last night! Such a fun banter between the two of you (esp when you made him lose it) and good to see you both sitting across from someone who can keep up.
41
The point is not whether monogamy is right, wrong, or even possible. The point is, those two women do believe themselves to be in monogamous relationships--**because their husbands promised that and have not indicated anything has changed**.

You can want out. You can just want something on the side. You can want someone new in. Whatever. But being deceitful is NOT the way to go.

So NSFMA can spare us all patting herself on the back for "saving their marriages." Please. If (or, probably, when) the wives find out, they will not see it with that way.

If the husbands are unsatisfied, it is their obligation to work it out with their wives, however hard it is, and even if it means divorce. Maybe some wives would truly prefer their husbands to get some discreetly on the side and never know, but you can't know that without asking, and presuming it to justify your cheating is ridiculous.
42
The point is not whether monogamy is right, wrong, or even possible. The point is, those two women do believe themselves to be in monogamous relationships--**because their husbands promised that and have not indicated anything has changed**.

You can want out. You can just want something on the side. You can want someone new in. Whatever. But being deceitful is NOT the way to go.

So NSFMA can spare us all patting herself on the back for "saving their marriages." Please. If (or, probably, when) the wives find out, they will not see it that way. They will feel deceived, betrayed, and foolish. They will feel the rug pulled out from under them (and their children, if any.) Except in rare circumstances, it will make them feel their lives have been a sham, and the person they most trusted is the reason. And even if some wives would truly prefer their husbands to get some discreetly on the side and never know, you can't know that without asking, and presuming it to justify your cheating is ridiculous.

If the husbands are unsatisfied, it is their obligation to be adults and work it out with their wives, however hard it is, and even if it means divorce. But you don't just change the rules unilaterally and without notification.
43
Re: CAS, his mom TOLD him to look in the drawer. No thoughts about the mom wanting the son to see that stuff and do something about it?
44
As a 13 year old gay boy in the mid 60's, I defintely went thru a blessedly short period where I was obsessed with my father's dick. Having grown up well adjusted, and an admitted size-queeen, I think I know why. He had by far the biggest dick I had ever seen. I was fascinated by it.
I also remember a recurring dream about the Giant of Jack and Beanstalk, and wrapping my arms around his fine member. Both were fantasies that quickly faded.
But as I matured, I did get further proof that I am genetically related to my father. Thanks Dad!
45
Every time there's a letter from an adult that involves finding something sexual and surprising in a teenager's private space (father porn on the bedside, sneezing fetishes on the computer history), I wonder if I should be cheering for the teenager for coming up with the perfect way to give the big FUCK YOU to the snoopers.
46
Sigh--we have to endure "normal soccer mom" again? Normal, at least, until one gets close enough to see that she's a lying, cheating bitch who justifies it to herself on the grounds that her lovers' wives don't have to worry about her stealing their husbands or their money? Please spare me these idiots. If the goal is to offer up examples of "non-monogamy: doing it wrong!", then this letter fits right in. Psst! Lady! Maybe if you spent less time fucking married men, the unmarried, eligible ones would be less "elusive". Idiot.
47
The last letter, the only two getting burnt there are the two women who don't know their husbands are "dipping their wicks" elsewhere. She's concerned about the integrity and it actually isn't her problem. She ought to just cut it off with both of them and start over with looking for a single man. It sounds like she's complaining over nothing, really. Oh, wait. I forgot about the typical, male, straight mind. As soon as they find out there's "no commitment" from the woman they're having sex with, that is when they "fall in love." I see her problem, now. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha...
The second letter sounds like a fake. Somewhere, there's a room full of frat boys laughing at a computer screen....
The first one was answered very well so not much more to add there. The guy may want to confirm that "dad" isn't being a bit too familiar with his brother, though. Otherwise, it is mortifying to have that porn stash found, that's for sure.
48
Gotta disagree Suzy and Infidel. A marriage is a commitment two people make to each other, not a commitment they extract from the rest of the world. NSFMA isn't cheating on her husband and she is not bound to respect marriages that are not her own. If the idea behind marriage is to grab a good partner before anyone else can claim them, well, you're doing monogamy wrong.

That being said, NSFMA obviously doesn't like doing it very much and would like to do things differently. Now maybe she's just had rotten luck and has only tumbled into bed with married men. Maybe she's got a thing for married men. As I suggested earlier, maybe swinging and open-relationships are a turn-off for her. I think she ought to leave her husband, co-raise their child responsibly, and date again because it seems pretty clear a publicly monogamous is what she's after. But that's just me.
49
Suzy - misdirected venom, there. You are doing what so many women do: blame other women for their husbands/partners infidelties. The two men who are cheating on their wives are in the wrong for lying to their spouses. So, if your husband, boyfriend cheated, you'd keep him and direct your anger at the woman he cheated with? That's a mighty tall order you're putting on one human being there - the belief that one man is so perfect that he isn't guilty of cheating but other women are always in the wrong. How do you know they aren't lying to their wives at every turn? That is usually the case.
Hmmmm, strange but not unusual priorities. In fact, it is typical.
There will come a time when you will want to believe in your own self worth and not blame other women. If your husband is cheating then HE is cheating and who he's cheated with is irrelevant. You may never even know them but you will STILL have a cheating, piece of shit who YOU supported in your home.
Figure it out. One day, you may have to rely on other women so you may want to get used to liking yourself as a woman AND giving other women a chance as well.
50

Dan,

Usually I can go along with you, but your response to EH revealed some distressing ageism and sexism.

Maybe because she's his soulmate?
Maybe because she makes him laugh?
Maybe because she turns him on?
Maybe because she's fun in bed?
Maybe because she listens and cares about him?
Maybe because she's tough and/or smart and/or brave and/or wise and/or playful?
Maybe because she shares something with him that the wife doesn't--like ethnicity, religion, political attitudes, interests?
Maybe because the relationship with the wife has been a downer for a while now?
Maybe because there really is something wrong with that wife (like her bewilderment and refusal to even consider there might have been something wrong with their marriage)?

The idea that a man who chooses to marry an older woman is either a gold digger or has some weird kink is--well, stereotypical, to say the least.

This 87 year old woman is a person, and, like almost any person, she has things that might attract another person. Without knowing the particulars, why speculate narrowly and crassly?
51

Dan,

Usually I can go along with you, but your response to EH revealed some distressing ageism and sexism.

Maybe because she's his soulmate?
Maybe because she makes him laugh?
Maybe because she turns him on?
Maybe because she's fun in bed?
Maybe because she listens and cares about him?
Maybe because she's tough and/or smart and/or brave and/or wise and/or playful?
Maybe because she shares something with him that the wife doesn't--like ethnicity, religion, political attitudes, interests?
Maybe because the relationship with the wife has been a downer for a while now?
Maybe because there really is something wrong with that wife (like her bewilderment and refusal to even consider there might have been something wrong with their marriage)?

The idea that a man who chooses to marry an older woman is either a gold digger or has some weird kink is--well, stereotypical, to say the least.

This 87 year old woman is a person, and, like almost any person, she has things that might attract another person. Without knowing the particulars, why speculate narrowly and crassly?
52

Dan,

Usually I can go along with you, but your response to EH revealed some distressing ageism and sexism.

Maybe because she's his soulmate?
Maybe because she makes him laugh?
Maybe because she turns him on?
Maybe because she's fun in bed?
Maybe because she listens and cares about him?
Maybe because she's tough and/or smart and/or brave and/or wise and/or playful?
Maybe because she shares something with him that the wife doesn't--like ethnicity, religion, political attitudes, interests?
Maybe because the relationship with the wife has been a downer for a while now?
Maybe because there really is something wrong with that wife (like her bewilderment and refusal to even consider there might have been something wrong with their marriage)?

The idea that a man who chooses to marry an older woman is either a gold digger or has some weird kink is--well, stereotypical, to say the least.

This 87 year old woman is a person, and, like almost any person, she has things that might attract another person. Without knowing the particulars, why speculate narrowly and crassly?
53
monkey@27 "my kinky side, which has been buried now for more than a decade."

Just wanted to give a quick plug for considering "kink on the side" separately from "sex on the side." Depending on how you are wired, it may be possible to satisfy the kink in ways that recharge your family rather than draining "more energy than you get back out" (@38) If you simply yearn to give or receive a good beating or spanking –- that can be very satisfying, and in my experience the interaction can stay at the level of friendship among fellow hobbyists, rather than becoming an emotional entanglement.
55
40devinderry-- Thanks for the timely reminder. I missed Colbert Report last night, saw your comment today, and caught the rebroadcast on Comedy Central just now. My only problem with the interview is that Colbert was so funny, such a good comedian, that it was a shame seeing Dan playing the straight man.
56
all the letters this week have an air of FAKENESS, specially the first one
57
For your advice to CAS, I agree with everything you told him to say to his brother, but his brother's Ipad may not be totally private (who knows if one of his parents won't borrow it for some reason) so it may not be great for him to download anything, though if he surfs and then deletes his browsing history, he should be in good shape. Also, since you need a credit card to access a lot of that material, his brother may be in a bit of a bind there too.
58
Am I the only one who thinks the NSFMA letter is bogus?

It's like cleverly disguised cuckold porn...he is a submissive, he can't get it up, she has multiple partners to satisfy her (which was husbands idea)...

I don't know...just seems like someone into cuckolding wrote out his fantasy from a wife's perspective. She needs a "fully functioning and capable" man to satisfy her, which would state that her husband is not only sexually defective...but also incompetent?
59
@58 - NSFMA is a real person. She has written in to a different thread to continue the discussion. Here's part of what she posted there...

>> I really appreciate all the comments and am fascinated by the whole topic and the complex issues that are raised. It is hard to respond to every point but I will say Dan was right about me being sarcastic about the 12 years of misery (and that PE is premature ejaculation) It WAS hard, I DID get depressed and it DID NOT occur to me to do anything other than to keep trying within my marriage to figure it out. But my husband and I always worked toward open communication and while I can't say I was never for a moment resentful, I can say I think we did pretty well talking about and plodding through these very, very difficult issues and for this I am proud of us. We have now been successful partners for 22 years in business and parenting while remaining best friends. And don't you all worry about his sex life! He is very well taken care of. On the issue of "find a single guy...." Won't a single guy fall in love or want more or want to fall in love with someone eventually? That means you are really talking about a series of single guys which means many partners over the coming years (if I'm lucky) and if the goal is to feel physically comfortable and have something that approaches a "normal" sex life in terms of frequency. Many partners just seems a physically, emotionally and logistically unsustainable option. I was looking for longer term solutions. Polyamory would be of much more interest but, as one respondent notes, more easily found in major metro areas where I am not. Also, I still have children at home and I can't see how we can make such a wholesale change in lifestyle at the moment. The idea of getting the blessing from the wives has been discussed and will be continued to be discussed. I can't be happier to have the conversation going more national every day thanks to DS and others.
60
I usually love Stephen Colbert, but I thought he was kind of a dick last night and didn't let Dan get a word in. (Dan seemed irritated too, with good reason.) For the general masses, Dan's ideas are too complex and intricate to be conveyed in 3 minutes, and it didn't help that Colbert took over half that time talking himself. Not a good forum for what could have been an awesome conversation. (Still love seeing Dan live, though!)
61
@39 Sometimes, even if a letter is fake, there are still things that can be learned for other, real, people who may be in a similar situation.
62
I sure wish this blog was organized as comments with responses in strings. It would be so much more like a real blog.
63
@60, you probably haven't noticed that Colbert does all interviews like that: infuriating to fans of the interviewee, but pretty much just like an opposition host (o'reilly) would. Imho it's good for liberal viewers to get a taste of how tough (and stupid) the opponents of liberalism can be. Colbert Report is a safe place for that.
64
"Because you just never know, do you?"

It's called lying, and if you do it to someone who thinks you care about them you're an asshole.
65
@60, and as far as Dan's response, I'd say he was pretty typical in being annoyed by Colbert's always interrupting to go for a laugh, and being a big enough boy to not lose his cool. He also sufficiently, if not entirely, of defended against Colbert's intentional caricaturing of his philosophy.
66
Best column in a while! Just watched you on the Colbert Report - nicely played. although, clearly men need, and in the last letter, did, recognize women have sectual urges too!
67
In regards to having sexual fantasies about family members:
With some discomfort and a lot of shame I have to admit that I was also having some of those fantasies back when I was nothing but an ever-horny teenager who didn't know shit about real sex and relationships.
The good news is that they were never pursued and totally faded shortly after.

That said, few years after all those family-related fantasies died so did my beautiful aunt. I ended up masturbating in her honor and refuse to feel guilty about it.

70
Maybe the father in swim trunks picture + magazine cut-out were a gag, and the younger brother was just careless about leaving it in his drawer. Doesn't necesarily mean the kid has a sexual obsession!
71
Late to the game, but one of the best aspects of an open relationship is your partner finding someone who shares the interests they have that you hate so you don't have to keep going to those damned opera/orchestra/country/rap/pop (pick your poison) concerts.

Nobody is perfect for everybody, but two people can get very close.
72
Letter 1 - not fake. I grew up in a 4 boy family and 'accidentally' finding porn was something that happened more than once. We are talking an era before the internet.
Great advice Dan, but just keep it to the basics - I saw your porn, find a better place to hide it.
Its very likely Mom saw it first and is subtly getting brother to do the talking, but really the best thing is to open an opportunity for little bro to talk - knowing he is not being judged.
Big bro could make an effort to mention in general family conversation other gay friends etc, and how fine he is about it.
And yeah its just a passing faze - someone who has been abused doesn't make fan-porn of their abuser.
73
Just saw your interview on The Colbert Report. Maybe you should just keep your mouth shut and stop pretending to speak for the entire gay community. You played right into anti-gay stereotypes and made all gays look like promiscuous sluts who believe that monogamy and marriage are incompatible. If it's possible, you gave homosexuals and even worse image in the minds of most heterosexuals than they already have. You messed up big time dipshit.
74
Re "Concerned and Scared," I am also concerned and scared (and while I think the advice given is sound)I feel that this situation DEMANDS some thoughtful advice regarding the possibility that the child is being abused by his father.
75
The sad thing about Dan's proposal is that he's not offering an alternative to the zero-sum game idea of marriage.

He's basically saying "let's go from monogamous, sexless marriages where the men are miserable (and 'monogamous' relationships where the men cheat) to nonmonogamous relationships" the problem is, that I'd wager that most of the women who don't want to fuck their husbands are going to be miserable if their husbands are fucking someone else.

Really it's just "lets have the wives be miserable instead of the husbands".

Unless there's something I'm missing.
Personally I'm still holding on to the fantasy that if my S/O gets laid on the regular with me then he'll be able to keep it in his pants around other women. I guess I'm just old-fashioned like that.
76
the second letter is fakey, fakey, fakey. Dan, do you contact these outrageous letter writers to verify the information? i know you did that with the young man whose gramma had a masturbating parakeet.
77
@49

Super sexist, but I'll say it.
Women expect better of eachother. If I ever was cheated on I would be mad at the man and I would break up with him.

It's not "as much" your fault, but helping someone cheat is also shitty and unethical.

So I would also be mad at the woman. Unless she didn't know he was in a relationship and he was lying to her, too. Then I'd buy her a drink. Maybe we could be pals.
79
It's like cleverly disguised cuckold porn...he is a submissive, he can't get it up, she has multiple partners to satisfy her (which was husbands idea)...

I don't know...just seems like someone into cuckolding wrote out his fantasy from a wife's perspective. She needs a "fully functioning and capable" man to satisfy her, which would state that her husband is not only sexually defective...but also incompetent?

The letter is not fake in the least but you are perceptive in discerning some of my husband's proclivities.
80
The first thought I had at LW1 is that the brother was PERHAPS being abused by the father. Maybe the brother can ask his brother some open-ended questions such as "how are things? is everything okay?". Maybe that would open the door?
81
@38: I appreciate your concerns and those of the poster whose name I'm too lazy to scroll up and find. Missing from your perspective, however, is a great deal of pertinent information - I'm simply not going to divulge every detail, for a variety of reasons. Some that I don't mind sharing:

The sexual incompatibility far predates our child's birth and the attendant issues. It's taken me this long simply to realize that my desires are not bad or abnormal.

We have a very strong support system, including relatives, daycare, schools, sitters, friends... the list goes on. Our daughter is not severely disabled. We have much, much more time for our own pursuits and interests than most people in our situation do, and we've worked very hard to get it this way. Part of that work has been extensive counseling and a recognition of the need to remain people first and parents second. Is it perfect? No. But I'm fairly certain that at this point, the "trapped" feelings you rightly deduce would be much the same with any child. I have a serious problem with breaking up a wonderful home run by two best friends who love each other and their daughter.

I've seen firsthand what happens to caretakers who subsume themselves in that role and either break out disastrously... or don't. If I'd wanted to do that, I could have - the opportunities are bewildering, really, and it's kind of a shock to realize how many people are okay with deception. But I'm not okay with it, or with burying issues by creating tangential drama.

To me, this feels much more like resuming the course of our marriage than trying to escape from it. It's been coming down the pike from the beginning, I suspect.
82
i HOPE the first one is fake. smacks of fakey fakeness.
83
#4 Your comments are a platform only for your SPAM
84
@75: Dan has nothing against monogamy. If you and your S/O are having regular sex, and have agreed to be monogamous, and are GGG, then that's awesome. His point, which is a good one, is that in those monogamous relationships, we need to stop pretending that monogamy is easy. Sometimes we fantasize about other people, and that's ok. We just need to be honest and admit that just because you love someone, it doesn't mean that you never ever like or lust after another person.

For sexless marriages, maybe it would make the woman miserable if her husband slept with another woman, but it is ridiculously unfair to refuse to let someone have sex ever again with anyone, including you, if you're married to them. To paraphrase Dan, if sex is not at all a big deal and it's totally ok to stop fucking your spouse, then your spouse should be allowed to do this not-at-all-a-big-deal thing with other people. If it is such a huge deal that you're only allowed to do it with one other person, then that other person should be willing to do it with you.
85
@75: "the problem is, that I'd wager that most of the women who don't want to fuck their husbands are going to be miserable if their husbands are fucking someone else."

Sorry, having real trouble dredging up ANY sympathy for that position. If you aren't interested in sex, then you aren't interested, period. Have the courage of your convictions. If you really, truly just don't want it any more, then you have nothing to say on the subject, other than "Thank you" to your partner for respecting your wishes and leaving you alone on that particular subject. If your partner is coming home happy, satisfied, and sharing their good energy with you as a result, you owe the other person a "Thank you," too, for taking care of your partner's sexual needs when you can't be bothered to do it yourself.

If you really can't leave the subject alone, then you have no business trying to opt out.
86
@48, 49: People may not have the same obligations to other people's spouses as they have to their own, but as human beings in general we DO have a moral obligation to treat each other decently and honestly whenever possible. So if you have sex with someone and you know that person is cheating with you, then yes, you do share moral fault in the situation. The fact that your moral fault is not as bad as the other person's fault is not the point; it only matters that you should shape up and not do this bad thing anymore.

@49, you're assuming a whole host of false things about me and what I said. What made you think I'd be less pissed off at my husband, if he cheated on me, than at the person he cheated with? I'd be pissed at her/him too, yeah, but my husband would certainly be the primary concern because he's the one who made the promises to me. The stuff you said about having to one day rely upon other women, or like myself as a woman, is utterly cracked out. What? I rely on other women all the time, have done so and will continue to do so. I like myself as a woman just fine. I would consider myself an immoral, stupid bitch if I were to sleep with a man who was already committed to some other woman, and that's that. There's no need to do that to someone else, period.
87
That EH letter was awesome.
89
@monkey. Thanks for sharing. I feel ya sister, I'm right there. I want to open things up and I think he would too, but there's always the chance it will make things worse instead of better and that is a really scary risk when there is a child involved. Although I know hubby agrees with non-monogamy philosophically, I also know he has a jealous streak and an affair would hurt him. So I'm left feeling torn between feelings of selfishness and a desire for self-protection/self love. Funny, I always assumed He'd be the first to stray.
90
I have to say that my first thought when I read C&S's letter was that the father might be incesting or might have incested the little brother. About 10% of boys are sexually abused, most abusers are family members - so it's very possible. But whatever the situation - erotic fantasy or sexual abuse - all that C& S can do is let his little brother know that he's there for him, with love and no judgment, in whatever ways he can. Whichever situation it is, it's very delicate. If the little brother is being incested, then this is a very serious trauma that could affect him for the rest of his life, and it would be incredibly helpful if he got some love and support.
91
Because you just never know...true, and not so negative. It's all really okay. Some of us just deal with figuring out our non-negotiables are actually quite negotiable. Cheers nonetheless.
92
While I have forgiven my cheating spouse I will never forgive her ex-lover. However, if I ever find out that has she continued or resumed contact with him its over. Whenever the opportunity to do him harm, whatever it may be, presents itself I will do so without a moments hesitation. He has taught me how to hate and made a lifelong enemy in the process. If I could destroy his life I would. I will celebrate any misfortune that befalls him and will let him know so. Forgiveness would be possible under certain conditions, but I doubt the cheating has the decency to do it. I have informed my wife of all of this when I took her back. Things can never be the same between us and I don't know if we have a long term future together. There will be no second chance.
93
I think "sexless marriage" is often an exaggeration. What if it's a sexdrive mismatch? How mismatched are they allowed to be before it's unfair? It's easy to say "I have no sympathy if she's not fucking him" but what if it's once a month? Once a week? Once every two months? Sex is a pretty diverse behaviour, one mans "happily satisfied" is another man's "sensory deprivation" (or woman's, for that matter).

I understand what you're saying, but it's not really as clear cut as it's made out to be. At one end of the spectrum you have "Honey, if you never want to have sex again I think it's only fair that you let me have sex with someone else" and at the other you have "if we're not having sex five times a day you're going to have to let me have a girlfriend (or boyfriend) on the side". The ends are easy (the one guy's reasonable, the other guy's an asshole) but what about the middle?

It may seem intellectually clear that "no sex = not a big deal therefore outside sex = not a big deal" but people seldom make such decisions based on logic, they make them on emotion. Emotion doesn't always yield so easily to if-then-therefore reasoning. Even a woman who agrees to the fact that it's fair and let's the man go for it may still be extremely upset on the inside. I see that as less than ideal.

To be clear, since a lot of people seemed to be adressing my comment as if I was one of these women. I'm on the high end of the sex drive spectrum and I don't really see any of this applying to me... I just feel for these women, to some degree.
94
Oh, dear god, @90, "incest" is NOT a verb!
95
SERIOUSLY, Nobody gives a shout out for Bonerstorm!!?

Yay Bonerstorm!
96
Gee Dan, keep telling me that my partner and I are going to end up cheating on one another one day, and I'm going to keep telling you that you are full of absolute shit on that point.
97
@78 re incest fantasies phase among young gay boys.

Glad you brought it up. I was about to do so but was worried it will come across as homophobic. And as someone who checked out some lesbian porn catering to women, it seems like there is a mother/step mother crush in that community as well.
And if you don't believe me check some Girlfriend Films productions, available both at Scarecrow and Blue Video here in seattle, or browse their website at
http://www.girlfriendsfilms.com/

It is also common for mostly-straight would-be- crossdressrs boys to try on some of their mothers' clothing.

Rest assured, it is very very rare that any of these fantasies lead to actual "incestation" (as wrote Libya @90 and was so urgently corrected by Chicago Girl @94)

Hope I didn't gross out any one, just wanted to let you know that it's mostly a phase among both genders and different orientations. As cokyballsup @78 summed it up, "It's harmless and nothing to worry about".
98
Oh yes. I made several sacrifices for her most notably staying in a place of her choosing with limited career opportunities and working at a shitty job (mostly because of the benefits) so she could stay home and raise the kids, which placed the entire financial burden on my shoulders. I'm neither a control freak or someone who expected or wanted a marriage with traditional roles. I never commented on or restricted her choice of friends or politics. Big mistake on my part. I want neither tea or sympathy and yes I have anger issues,
99
"Because you just never know, do you?"

Love that. Not sure who said it but I did hear an fitting quote regarding this once.. something along the lines of "You can never truly know what goes on inside a relationship"
- You definitely cannot know as those people can be completely different people when only in the company of each other. So there really is no 'normal' and there never can be. Kind of relieving actually!
100
gerontophile. Betty White calls them Wrinkle Chasers.
101
@93: It is, indeed, less than ideal. But if two people enter a marriage without an agreement that they will not have sex at all, and one person later decides they don't want to have sex, they can not expect their partner to also give up sex and stay with them. That's incredibly selfish behavior.
102
@96: Dan isn't saying one of you will necessarily cheat. But he is saying that if one of you decides they don't want to have sex anymore, there's a good chance the other will either cheat or divorce you.
103
I am straight, female, monogamous, and fairly straightlaced. Nothing in this column, NOTHING in the letters section or comments, has ever shocked me the way @90-Libya's message did. Please, PLEASE listen to 94 and promise never to use "incest" as a verb again. Better yet, crawl under the bed, give up your internet access, renounce the English language, and don't emerge back again until you're ready to rejoin society without doing so much harm.
104
I am also in a long term relationship with a married man, and I'm sick and tired of people, including my own friends, judging me because "I'm not doing the right thing." The wife knows I make him happy in ways she cannot, just as I accept that what they share together as a married couple -the history, the familial and community ties, the finances- are important enough for him to stay married. Would I like him to be all mine? Yes. But right now, these conditions are worth the price of admission.
105
A-muse, does the wife approve of or accept your relationship with your husband? If she accepts it, then I don't think people should judge you for not doing the right thing. If she doesn't approve of the relationship, though, then it's another story. Saying that she knows you "make him happy in ways she cannot" is not the same thing as saying she accepts it, which is why I ask. If she doesn't accept it, then that very recognition is probably a terrible source of pain, that you're helping to inflict.
106
@ 98 -- Your anger is understandable and probably justified. So much of the discussion here is theoretical and accommodating. It's refreshing to be vividly reminded what a CPOS actually does to their spouse. Betrayal sucks, betrayers suck. And rationalizations for betrayal look pretty feeble and sad and selfish once you see the hurt you've inflicted on the betrayed.

I'm impressed you gave her a second chance. Not that it's any of my damn business, but just be careful your anger doesn't sabotage any genuine attempts on her part to make up for the wrong she did. Not for her sake, for yours. Hope things improve for you.