Savage Love



That was an astounding violation of trust. GIMP definitely needs to dump her, and I don't really think the relationship has a chance of being salvaged.
GIMP-- Dump her. Consider that she let you find the photos on the phone on purpose because she wanted you to dump her or because she was having trouble being honest any other way. It's hard for me to believe she was just that stupid.

When you consider taking her back, weigh, on the one hand what it would be like to stay in a relationship with someone you can never entirely trust against, on the other hand, the possibility of never finding anyone you click with so well. I'm inclined to recommend letting her stay dumped, but we're in different situations. As I'm straight and not in a wheelchair, my chances of finding someone are greater, and I'm in no position to know how you see it.
FFF-- I agree with Dan and would add: Let's say that at some point down the road your worst fears come true and your boyfriend says that he'd like to pursue some aspect of his polyamoury dreams. Is that really so bad? A lot of things can happen between now and then. You may grow to like the idea. There may be something you'd like to request of him that he wasn't initially into but he's willing to consider for your sake. You could work a trade.

There's also the possibility that it doesn't happen. Be glad he was able to be honest with you and share his thoughts. What you don't want is for him to up and leave because you're suddenly "not enough." That would be a hideous betrayal, but he's given no indication that he's the sort who would do that, right? So relax. It sounds terrific.
LBS-- Terrible idea. I can see all sorts of things going wrong with it. For one thing, he might lose the weight, and you might not feel like having sex with him for some health or emotional reason of you own. For another, he might not lose the weight, and you might feel like you want to have sex with him anyway.

But more than that, weight loss is a complex issue that has to do with a lot more than mere incentives. If losing weight were a matter of wanting to enough, there wouldn't be a fat person on the planet. EVERY fat person wants to lose. The question is how. (Someone is going to quibble. O.K. maybe there are people out there who want to be fat, but if desire to lose worked, fat shaming in the media would work. Look around; it doesn't.) If you want him to lose, if he wants to lose, he's going to need:

-Advice from a medical doctor.
-Help following the advice in terms of the right meals made available at the right times.
-Help following the advice in terms of help getting exercise: a gym membership, time put into the schedule for exercise.
-Advice from a psychologist who can screen him for depression.
-Advice from a better doctor who can look into thyroid or other endocrine issues.
I'm a woman, and if my husband were holding out on me and then offered me more sex if I did something he really wanted... well, if that something were losing weight, then I would blame my fatness for his loss of desire for me.

And then I would lose weight.

But if his desire for me didn't come back with my slender figure, that would be a problem. That would be true if it seemed like he wasn't really into it, too, and was just doing it out of obligation.

So, LBS, watch out. If he gets fit and attractive and you're still rejecting him, it will be that much easier for him to find women who will want him!

As far as using sex as an incentive, in general... sounds less than romantic, but if it works for you guys, it works!
I'm a woman, and if my husband were holding out on me and then offered me more sex if I did something he really wanted... well, if that something were losing weight, then I would blame my fatness for his loss of desire for me.

And then I would lose weight.

But if his desire for me didn't come back with my slender figure, that would be a problem. That would be true if it seemed like he wasn't really into it, too, and was just doing it out of obligation.

So, LBS, watch out. If he gets fitter, more conventionally attractive and more confident and you're still rejecting him, it will be that much easier for him to find women who will want him!

As far as using sex as an incentive, in general... sounds less than romantic, but if it works for you guys (if it doesn't hurt his feelings), great!
"Sex every time he drops three pounds followed by sex once a week once he hits his target weight?"

Gee, if he were only skinny enough, you'd be having sex a full, count 'em, four times a month! As an incentive to keep those pounds off, of course. Not because you're all, you know, hot for him or something.

Face it, lady, you're just asexual.
I'm glad Dan gave me the go-ahead to use bribery if I'm ever in a similar situation. *saves web page*
* avast is right though once a week is "incentive"? Please.
thank you, avast2006, for confirming for me that I was getting the math right. If sex once a week is an increase in the amount of sex that they're having, no wonder the poor bastard is consoling himself with food. I only want to have sex with you if you're thin, but even then not really? Um, no.

I agree wholeheartedly with Crinoline. Both weight loss and libido are very complicated things, with possible shamefests lurking around every corner. Also, it's up to the guy, but if I were a man who was offered a pity fuck for losing three pounds, I'd find it both patronizing and icky. Plus most people's weights fluctuate at least that much. (On the bright side, that means he could keep "losing" the same three pounds over and over ...)

Maybe they should both take up a pleasant form of exercise they could do together, and combine that with working on their relationship? Like, I dunno, walk around Green Lake (or the equivalent wherever they live) and make a point of smooching under a tree at least three times along the way? (This is just a hokey example off the top of my head, not necessarily a prescription.) The point would be to have something concrete to do that would be rewarding in itself.
GIMP - I'm married to my best friend, beloved partner, person I am joyfully committed to spending the rest of my life with. He would never, fucking NEVER, even consider betraying my trust like that. Our total trust is one of the best parts of our relationship. Could you ever have that with your violator?

I think Dan's advice to you would have been absolutely perfect if he'd sent it to you privately. But now...well, are you absolutely sure your soon-to-be-ex never reads his stuff and doesn't know anyone who does? Because "oh, yes, honey, I've been missing you so bad and I got into therapy to try to straighten myself out - of my own accord, not because I thought it would win you back" - well, if I heard that from someone who had already proven herself massively untrustworthy once, and I knew she could easily have read Dan's "how to get back your dream girl that you screwed over" advice...I'd have trouble trusting.

Maybe I'm being paranoid. But if I'd been violated and taken advantage of the way you have, I think a little paranoia would be justified.

Best of luck. You're worth someone who would never violate your trust like that, so dump her post haste and don't even think about taking her back unless you can somehow satisfy yourself that she's really earned the trust you deserve to be able to give.
FFF - Unless you are about to have children (no mention of them in the letter) with the bent over boyfriend, why fret about the future? Isn't the benefit of being child-free being able to walk away from relationships that no longer work?

More importantly, I can't visualize how the strap-on-wearer was able to come from being only the penetrator. Vibrations on the strap-on?
And you gotta dump the motherfucker like you mean it. You can't be a lesbian about this.

@ Tim Horton

Really? Most adult women worry about the future. Child-free or not...

I've never used a strap-on since I'm not big on sex toys but anything that hits against your clitoris repeatedly can get a sensitive girl off.
I've reread LBS's letter. "I just need to shut up and put out more, and I'm working on that."

In what universe is that an okay statement? I'm trying to imagine those words in someone else's mouth or in another situation. I can't think of one where it makes sense. How did something like that get internalized? Did he convince you that this was true? You talk less and have sex more, and then what happens? You suddenly become happy? He suddenly becomes happy? Your relationship improves? I don't have a lot to go on, but something about that reads like he's threatening you. This is so wrong on so many levels.
Sorry LBS, but sex once a week is not an incentive for anything [Whoopie, I'm getting sex from my partner once per week!]. It sounds like you two are having sex once per month, in which case I would recommend to him: DTMFA.
Crinoline@16: it sounded to me as if she was paraphrasing something Dan's said before (which doesn't necessarily make her statement any less creepy).
Oh, and @7 avast2006: duck, kiddo, 'cause a shitstorm is a comin' your way!
I notice that Mr. Savage--rightly--doesn't say "snooping is always wrong." In this case, it was right.

One more thing, when you dump someone, no matter how justified it is, don't count on them being available for a get-back-together at any later date. It's not impossible, but it's unwise to count on it.

As for gendered politics, the ideas of women, men, sex and weight might not be fair, but they are what they are. Why shouldn't we use that to our safe, sane and healthy advantage while we can?
@13 - check out the Feeldoe, or maybe the Share and you'll see...
avast, she's not asexual. She says they're having less sex, and that a "big part" of that is his weight gain. Following that logic, if she enacts this system and sticks to it, it's totally possible that his weight loss would make her want to fuck him more.

It all depends on if this guy can actually and practically say that he will find sex to be an effective reward to weight loss and not get his feelings hurt. And if she actually follows through.

DTMFA to GIMP, as prescribed.
FFF: That's life, that's relationships, total satisfaction is an endpoint no one will ever reach, and expecting it from your SO is a recipe for disappointment.
GIMP - It may well be tempting to take her future ex back at some point, but what Mr Savage omits is that the nonunringable bell will forever create a power dynamic in the relationship that will probably corrupt one or both of them. I shan't say "dump and stay dumped" but it is a definite factor on the Con side. It's like the reason Hercule Poirot disapproves of murder, not because he disbelieves that some people deserve to be murdered, but because committing murder has an adverse effect on the character of a murderer.

FFF - What a very nearly Prudielike thing for Mr Savage to say - [he has decided that he prefers the kind of relationship he's in now, with its perks and drawbacks, to the hypothetical polyamorous scenarios he used to contemplate, which would've had their own perks and drawbacks]. He just stays on the right side of the edge (Ms Prudie usually advises lines that are so patenly Meaningless Twaddle to Utter in Tricky Situations that anyone over the age of four will correctly feel patronized and resent the condescension), but I can finally see why he calls himself a fan of hers. Good, because I was losing sleep over that.

LBS - I award Ms Eirene a mulligan on the clunky advice; that one sliced right into the pond. "Let's take up some physical activity together" has rapidly shot to the top of the Prudie-worthy chart. It's done about as well as possible here, but I think that particular try just reads too clearly as You're Too Fat. However, Ms Eirene is generally a person of reasonable thoughts, hence the mulligan.

Ms F's last paragraph @20 has a sort of chic to it, but whay safe, sane and healthy advantage does she think exists for women in this situation? I know it really isn't my place to comment on heterosexual relationships, but so much of last week's thread was so adversarial, and now here perhaps it's just going to escalate. If I were in Recruit Bisexuals Mode, I'd be quite content to impersonate Geoffrey Plantagenet (of the Lion in Winter version) watching Henry and Eleanor go picnicking off each other.
@16: I read "I just need to shut up and put out more" as a wry acknowledgment that she realizes that on some level she is making excuses. Not that he is threatening or otherwise controlling her. If he actually was threatening her to force sex more often, how is it that the frequency is still somewhere well below four times a month?

@19: I know. I don't care. It was a calculated rude remark. If people can't take an offhand crack, let them eat dropped canned ham.

@22: She also says that if he loses the weight, she intends their sex frequency to _increase_ to once a week. Meaning that currently it's well below that rate. If she isn't asexual, she's fucking deprived. Either that or she is masturbating a lot, in which case she has plenty of libido but is punishing him by withholding. No brownie points from me for that, if that's what's happening. Additionally, she says she doesn't really believe that losing the belly will make her particularly hot for him. She is not coming at this situation with anything that speaks of actual desire for her partner, thwarted or otherwise.

Frankly, from here it sounds like she is intending to make the quantities she quoted for incentivizing the weight loss the pretext for setting an upper limit of once a week. I hope the poor bastard loses all the weight, gains a six-pack and some biceps, and then finds some other woman who actually thinks he's hot stuff and can't wait to rip his clothes off the other six days a week. (Okay, I don't actually believe that. But I do intend it as a cold splash of wake-the-fuck-up.)

Letter Writer is of course free to chime in with additional comments telling exactly why my interpretation is full of shit.
@7 and @10

It's perfectly normal to lose attraction if your partner changes their weight significantly. I'm not attracted to fat people, I wouldn't date a fat person, and yes if my previously thin partner became overweight, I wouldn't want to have sex with him. At all. It's not a matter of her being too shallow, it's about him not bothering to maintain a minimal level of physical attraction.
I am polyamorous but have never actually been involved in the polyfidelity relationship I've always fantasized about. Instead I've been involved in several long term, multi-year monogamous relationships. None of them have ended because of my polyamorous desires; the current one has been going for 4 years and the last was that long, too. Sure, I can fall in love with more than one person at a time, but if a girl I want tells me that she only wants monogamy--and I really want her--I don't even consider that a sacrifice. I consider it my good fortune to find people so wonderful that I would rather be with them than some hypothetical love triangle.
As a person with a disability, I've run into devotees a bit. . .

In my experience, a lot of people drawn to disabilities are actually drawn to perceived weakness. They want to be in control (tho they may think of it as being caring and protective), and they often don't treat us as equals, as GIMP's lady certainly did not.

The problem as I see it, is GIMP's lady friend didn't trust her judgement. She could have been honest at the outset, or three dates in, anyway; and asked for a chance to prove that she was different. (trust me, it'd be refreshing.) She could have asked GIMP to pose, and they could decide together how far to let those pics spread. But no, she didn't treat GIMP as an adult capable of making such decisions. This lack of respect plus a decided aptitude for deceit would scare me off. And break my heart. Mine goes out to you, girl.
@24 Okay, here's one very good reason why your interpretation is full of shit. I am a young, balanced, sex-positive female dating the partner I've been most attracted to in my life. I also cannot imagine having sex every day, or every other day. I have other actual interests than sex. I don't need it like oxygen or food. THIS DOESN'T MAKE ME ASEXUAL OR ABNORMAL. It makes me me. Back the fuck off.
@25: Yes, I agree with you, but that wasn't my point.

My point was that offering an increase all the way up to, gosh, once a week is a) a pretty pathetic "incentive," and b) indicates a current sexual drought bordering on sexless.

GIMP, leave her!!!! She DOESN'T deserve you!!!
I'm really sorry that happened to you. I hope
you can find someone who is GGG and worthy
of a LTR with you.

@7: avast2006: Here's a nice, big Santorum cream pie from Auntie Grizelda: Asinine comments like yours are largely why I'm happily asexual. Hey, don't bitch back at me or anyone else, avast! You're getting hit with your own bag of shit, so you'd better close your eyes. You might want to close your mouth, too.
@19 Approaching 40 in LA and @28 apples: You beat me to it: right on.
@28: And how much of the rest of my analysis of the Letter Writer applies to you? Are you the Letter Writer? Are you treating the Letter Writer the way she is treating her husband? If not, then you are not a very good example to illustrate the point. I was talking about Letter Writer, and the overall impression that SHE presented: her apparent situation, her apparent attitudes, her stated offers, all in unique combination. Not about all women in generalities, and certainly not about you in specific. Back the fuck off yourself.
Um...avast2006: Maybe you should change your blog name to bombast2006?
@30 For those who have been reading Savage Love and SLOG for less than a few years: I'm actually on avast's side in this debate.
@30: Wow, I can say stupid things on the Internet and cause you to be asexual? I feel so powerful. (I'm going to blame it all on the cough medicine, and go to bed now.)

One last thing: GIMP, don't give her a call. I don't know whether you can consider reconciling, but don't initiate it. She will take that as an unreasonably large capacity for forgiveness on your part, or think that she is the one with the upper hand in the relationship -- since you were the one making overtures after being the one to dump her, it tends to indicate you regret dumping her -- and the next transgression(s) will be worse. (Obviously that's the last time you will let her take a photo of you, but I have no doubt she will get creative in order to feed her "devotion.") She needs a hard, sharp lesson, and hopefully will take it to heart with her next relationship. Me, I wouldn't take her back, and I hope you find someone better soon.
Drat. in 31 I meant to reply to @27. Sorry, 28!
GIMP, I don't hit women, but your bitch girlfriend makes me want to make an exception and slap her face so hard they'd be able to get my fingerprints off her driver's license photo in a decade. I disagree with Dan here--I'd dump her and everyone who has anything to do with her.
This would be an embarrassing question if this weren't an anonymous forum:

Is there something particularly lesbian about breaking up with someone in an ambiguous way?
GIMP : I don't have a visible disability, but I'm vulnerable too, and I did marry a manipulative liar. I lost 10+ years of my life and I came very close to suicide several times. I'm out of it now.

Please DTMFA. And don't take her back.

Vulnerable people are better alone than with a manipulative people. A manipulative POS will make you feel like she's "the one", because everything will be so great, so perfect, so exactly how you've dreamt it to be. All fake.

Such people give you the time of your life, they transform themselves, they bend over to please you, not because they care about you, but as a way to get you hooked on them - because they have so little self esteem that they need someone to seem to need them in order to exist, and they specifically target vulnerable people.

Do a simple check : who were the previous SO of your girlfriend ? Are they still friendly ? If not, big red flag. Run.

Once you're hooked, once manipulative people know you're going nowhere - then the abuse starts. Love doesn't exist in the heart of people who want others to be dependent from them. They need you to feel whole but once you're theirs, they find that they've not become whole. And then they resent you.

They start experimenting with treating you badly and see how far they can go and get away with. Out of boredom, they make your life a hell, just for thrills. They end up hating you, because they've invested so much efforts in conquering you, and yet posessing you doesn't fulfill them.

You got lucky in finding pictures now - clothed ones for now. But there will be naked ones. Do you want to never ever be able to sleep in peace ? Dump her hard and now. And never call her back. Manipulative POS don't change - therapy doesn't work on them.
@29 avast2006

Setting an ideal goal of once a week did seem on the low side to me too... but who knows, maybe it's exactly what the husband has been pleading for ? We have no info on their actual sex drives. As for deeming it as bordering on asexual, you've exagerated a bit - which is perfectly fine with me, I like a laugh - the lady did say she had libido issues, and is working on them.

I would advise LBS to actually promise less sex than what she's comfortable with. That way, her husband will be pleasantly surprised if the "once a week" she's promised turns out to be more - and not disappointed if it's only once a week. But then, she'll have to give the "once a week", or let the husband know that it's time to move on. And... please LBS don't have kids while your marriage has not resolved this issue.
I don't understand why people are offended by Avast's comments...If you have to work your way up to having sex a few times a month, there is some sort of issue. If the letter writer is asexual, or very close to it, she may be happier if she were to recognize this fact and work her marriage around it. If she experiences desire, just not for her husband, and is interested in sex, just not with him, I can see where the assumption of asexuality may be offensive, but honestly, I didn't see anything in the letter to suggest this scenario.
@FFF People change. Wanting to fufill someone may look noble, but it's not realistic. LTR are about being able to stand each other long-term, being there for each other as a companion, not about being everything for the other - that's already hard enough to achieve.

Who will you be, 20 years from now ? Who will he be ? Maybe he'll have a dry spell, and you'll be very frustrated with his loss of sex drive, and then what ? Will you end a perfectly fine relationship after 20 years, just because you're sexually frustrated, and it poisons your everyday life ?

Or will you want to have a talk with him, and tell him that despite dearly loving him, you now need more sex or different sex, and you'd like to have a FWB on the side, because then the whole sexual tension thing that's eating away at your relationship would be resolved, and you could go on in enjoying life together peacefully ?

A relationship is about trust. If there's already jealousy, forget it. If you know you can trust him to bring the "should we transition into monogamish" talk before he actually does it behind your back, go for it. For all you know now, you could be the one needing first to transition into monogamish, or polyamoury.
Avast is right that increasing to sex once a week is pretty pathetic, but from the letter it sounds as though she just has a really low libido. If her libido has been waning to the point that she can't envision herself fucking her husband more than once a week even if he returns to his ideal weight, she should see a doctor just to get her various hormones checked, maybe change hormonal birth control methods, etc. But if she's had a higher libido in the past, she's not asexual (at least not in my understanding of the term...aren't asexuals people who have never had any interest in sex?) But she for damn sure has a serious problem, and her little weight loss plan will be like putting a band-aid on sucking chest wound--not only devising a pitifully weak solution, but refusing to acknowledge what the real problem is. Fat or not, her husband deserves better.

@7 If she sees sex once a week as a serious chore, I'd bet that she's the sort who won't fuck while she has her period. So the husband's best case scenario might be only three times a month.
I think GIMP should DTMFA, but I don't think she should consider taking the bitch back. The violation was simply too great. I can barely wrap my mind around it, frankly. The self-centeredness is just astounding.
Dan, I wonder if it's a good idea to recommend deceit to GIMP, and then publish that advice. It's fairly likely that some devotees read here, and that this column will be discussed on their sites.
Dan, I'm thoroughly surprised that:

a) you'd even hint that GIMP might TTMFB

b) you seem to be unaware that you can't get a cellphone without some sort of camera in it these days.
@37 Stereotypically lesbians rarely break up without alot of trying to stay together and tears and then eventually they become friends.
@ Hunter

Well that was quite the Fox News cut of what I said! The "rather than" part was kind of important.

"I'd rather have my eyes gouged out than go to the dentist"

Hunter's cut: "I'd.... have my eyes gouged out"

No, that's not how inserting elipses into quoted text works.

Run along!
Tangent, but: On what planet is once-a-week sex asexual? It's low-normal, which means it's too low for a lot of people, but there's nothing abnormal about it. I know we all want to prove how hot-and-ready we are, but really, the judge-y shit has got to go.
I wouldn't want to be the LW or her chubby hubby, though: getting obligation fucks sounds just about as appealing as giving them.
I agree with you avast, it's just that your first comment with the blanket term "asexual" was vague and overreaching. I believe you have sufficiently (and thensome) explained yourself.

@Countless people: what is "normal" for their relationship is not for you to judge. Once a week may be low to you, but if that's a standard number for them, why must we jump to conclusions about issues and whatnot? I think most men would prefer to have sex more than once a week, (and so for her weight loss plan to succeed, she'll probably need to up the reward to at least twice a week), but judging them on their libidos and their normalcy and saying that their frequency is just all wrong and low isn't helpful. Note that she only states "we're not having as much sex as we used to." Maybe their high *was* once or twice a week.

You know, there are couples who have far less sex than that and are capable of happiness.
Rarely do letters on here hit me as hard as GIMP's did. It's just abhorrent that someone would take advantage of someone's vulnerability. I'm so sorry and I wish you the best in finding someone who truly is "the one."
Avast is doing the work of the angels here. Keep it up.

"But I'm wondering if it's ethical to suggest incentivizing his weight loss with more sex."

It is not an issue of ethics, but rather effectiveness and manners. I think most guys would find that pretty insulting---hey, for every few pounds, I will give you a pity-fuck!. (How would YOU feel about that?)

But everyone has different turn-ons, so if he lights up at the idea and hisses a slitty-eyed, "Oh, yesss.....that would be so hot" at the very idea, I would say you have found a great idea. Chances are he is not into the idea, though, so you should present it only in a fairly positive, upbeat manner in a "Would this help you?" sort of way.

"I don't think losing the beer belly will make me want to drop my pants all the time, but it couldn't hurt, right?"

Honestly, as others noted, it sounds like your real issue is low libido. If so, woman up and face that fact. And that fact is something you need to address BEFORE you start telling this guy that it is his weight, the dirty dishes, the long hours at work, or whatever other of the 984 excuses women (it is typically women, folks) give rather than simply copping to a lower sex drive than the partner.*

Finally, people, don't get fat and expect your partners to lust for you the same way they did when you were thin. It doesn't work that way, and quit pretending it should.

(* Please, no triumphant reply posts saying, in essence, "I have a higer sex drive than my male partner, so *there*, I have negated your general observation that men have higher sex drives than women." A 5'10" woman does not negate the fact that on average men are taller.)
I don't suppose she asked the question, but I wish Dan would have commented on the whole idea of devotees. It's not quite like a fetish where a specific action or object is involved... or just something someone prefers to have done to THEM. It's about a view of a group of people. I'm disabled and I certainly know they are out there but I really am mixed up about how I feel about the whole thing.
I'm with you, @49 and @50.

Many men (and many WOMEN) want sex more than once a week. Many think once a week is just fine. As long as all members of the relationship are satisfied, who are we to judge what is "normal"?

I had a long-term marriage where it was obligation fucking. And I came to think that I had a low libido. Turns out, once I DTMFA and found a man who didn't just treat me like a hole to be stuffed once a week, life got a lot more interesting!

Jeezus, WTF? Go see two Dr's and weight loss is a hugely complicated issue and they need to get their glands and hormones checked so they have fallback excuses before they even try. STFU! Maybe he simply stopped working out and started upsizing every meal. Most people can lose weight if they apply themselves. It's not always some hugely complex medical issue, in fact it rarely is.

The LW's husband should write a letter and sign it "Likes Wife Hornier". He got fat, she lost her libido. Are the two connected? Maybe, maybe not. I feel for him more than her though. He should lose the weight and when she continues to be a no-libido having, excuse-making, conniving bitch, then he should DTMFA!
@ 53

"It's about a view of a group of people."

Unfortunately this isn't the only fetish of it's kind. Think about it - people do this with race, body type, nationality, profession and more.

To be clear, I think it's sketchy (ethically) but I just wanted to point out that disability fetishes are not stand-alone in this sense.
@50: I'm hearing you, but I don't think the average guy (I'm not so sure about the female side of that) is really happy with once per week. So, if a couple is doing it once per week, I would bet that one of the partners (could be either one) is living with some resentment.

Over the years on Savage Love and SLOG we have heard from numerous people complaining about the infrequency of sex in their marriage, and Dan has stated that he purposefully does not post and reply to such letters because they would drown out everything else. It seems LBS falls squarely into this pattern even though he chose the letter for other purposes.

On my part, I view twice per week as maintenance sex and notice that if I'm having sex once per week then I build up enough tension that I become grouchy, sullen and stressed; not healthy for me or my family. Yet, I would consider myself pretty average in that regard, for a guy. If I were the husband in LBS's letter I would DTMFA if we couldn't work out a much higher frequency [and it's not just an issue of sex, but of overall level of intimacy].

From my perspective, LBS may as well be asexual. Having to ask for sex and having sex put off indefinitely really destroys a marriage...we've heard this enough from people over the years. The intimacy and connection that once was there is lost in people who develop differences in libidos. So, to me, if the sex (an overall indication of the level of intimacy and connection) is less than once per week, then fuck it. The partner's libido is low enough that I'm happy slapping an asexual label on it.
@53 I wish there were a way for a disabled person like GIMP to take pleasure from a relationship with an open devotee (not a secret one, like GIMP's asshole girlfriend).

I loved this line: "I have full sensation. (Boy howdy, do I!)" Perhaps if both people understood that it was a fuckbuddy situation, not romance, they could both get something out of it, without the disabled person becoming so to vulnerable to manipulation...
55-- Normally I'd agree with you. Weight loss is first a matter of trying to lose with the standard advice out there: Eat less; exercise more. That's for the person who has gained a few pounds a year since college, is now 40 years old, 40 pounds overweight, and unaware of how the desk job and the doughnuts at 10 o'clock have added up. For that person, I recommend weight watchers, no doctors needed.

But look at what's been described. LBS's husband has put on so much weight in 3 years that she's no longer attracted to him. I suppose we could say that he's put on all of 10 pounds, and she's using that as an excuse for her non-attraction. (Isn't there a difference between having a low libido and being asexual, more than a difference in scale?) But it sounds like something more is at work besides the normal way middle aged people gain. I don't know what it is so I suggested doctors-- with the full knowledge that the first doctor would suggest exercising more and eating less. Then, when that was tried, and if that didn't work, another doctor to do a more complete work-up.
When I was just out of high school, I dated someone who gained 80 pounds during our relationship. I never admitted to him that the weight gain bothered me, but in fact I found it a huge turnoff; I went on having sex with him because that was expected of me, but forcing myself to have sex with him made me wonder if I was asexual because I started to hate the thought of sex. Feeling obligated to have sex with a partner I wasn't attracted to damaged that relationship a lot, and eventually I broke up with him because I would rather have never had sex again than had sex with him. So I come down on the side of addressing the weight gain.
However, LBS' plan for incentivizing the weight loss with sex is dangling a carrot, and with that carrot comes a big ol' problematic stick: what happens if he fails to lose the weight? LBS might feel justified in withholding sex in that situation, because LBS is already not interested in sex--increasing the lack of sex and introducing a new "Well you didn't do this for me so I'm not doing that for you" dynamic to the problem.
Wouldn't a "let's get fit together" approach work better? LBS can go to the gym with him, they eliminate junk food from their home, they make healthy lifestyle choices together. Exercise may even improve LBS' libido, as it has for many people I know. And because LBS and the husband are making similar sacrifices for his weight loss, the husband won't feel like there's an unreasonable demand (i.e. one LBS wouldn't meet if their positions were reversed) in play.
61, if she approaches him and says, "Look, that extra 40 pounds you have there, it is squicking me out, and we need to get that gone", that is perfectly fair.

But her letter is kind of giving away the real game at the end: she is not really that fired up about the prospect of him being a hard-body either. Asking her to face the possible to likely truth that her proposed sex schedule (once a week, as a treat!) is an indication of relatively low libido makes sense here. If only because hubby might lose the weight, and she will simply continue on blissfully with her once-a-fiscal quarter stuff (my fact, not hers), wondering why a now slim-hubby seems increasingly distant and spending so much time at that gym...
Please tell me I'm not the only one who's brain saw "Devoteeeeze" and immediately went "devodeeeeeez nutz."
Maybe she just can't conceive of sex, until she sees a guy that turns her on. Why are we postulating here? They'll sort it out!

I liked the column this week Dan, well done.
@64, I totes thought it'd be a column about Devo.
@33: Huh. Your post from @19 really fooled me.
@34: You're not powerful. You're a trolling fool.
Take your cough syrup and go back to bed.
@23 By "safe, sane and healthy advantage," I mean that if LBS's husband thinks that celebrating weight loss milestones with sex is motivating, they should got he f#$@ck for it, even if the underlying social ideas about sex, weight loss, and male and female ideals are unfair.

"Lose weight and I'll pity-fuck you" is depressing, but "You lost weight? I know how HARD it is to DO that. Wanna do something else, hot stuff?" can be motivating.

Basically, LBS is writing about her husband, not overweight people in general. If they're married, then we can expect that she knows him well enough to know whether he'll see this as a celebration, a pity move or a copout.

As for whether LBS is creating this problem with their low libido, who knows? (Answer: her husband.) Yes, sex once a week sounds a little rare, but some couples find that to be plenty. Maybe these guys are one of them.
Am I the only one here who thinks GIMP should be contacting the police about her invasion of privacy? Sure seems like a law was broken when someone takes intimate photos of you and posts them online for others to jerk-off to. What GIMP's partner did is worse than cheating in my opinion.

If GIMP didn't have a disability would the whole "maybe get back together with her someday" even come up in discussion? I get that GIMP's pool of prospective partners is lowered because of her disability but the advice still feels a bit off to me.
Regarding GIMP, I do wish it had been mentioned that just because somebody is a fan of a characteristic you have (disabled devotee, Asian fetishist, chubby chaser) that doesn't mean they should automatically be distrusted or disqualified from dating the object of their interest. Most everybody hooks up with people who have specific qualities that they find attractive. Whether it's big tits, rippling abs, red hair, or whatever. I can't imagine someone saying "I found out from his porn that he likes women who are thin and young. I'm thin and young, that means he must not be interested in me as a person." Similarly, if they're attracted to an outlying characteristic that you have (and are therefore weirdos) that just means they're physically attracted to you. Which is not a bad thing.
Projecting from my own experience here, but is it possible he put on the weight because she stopped fucking him? I used to have a ripped physique while my girlfriend was about 40lbs overweight when I met her. Even as she lost weight, the sex dropped off dramatically and I soon found myself feeling resentful and eating more and exercising less to compensate. Sure, if I helped out around the house more, lost weight, wooed her more...THEN there would be more sex. So I lost weight, started doing more chores (even though I had a full time job and she had none), did more things to show she was appreciated and surprise surprise, even less sex (I know, couldn't have seen that one coming).

So, yeah. Whatever the problem LBS has, it's likely in her head. I don't think she needs a doctor, I think she needs to be radically honest with herself and decide whether she truly is attracted to this guy or not. And if the answer is "not" she needs to quit torturing this guy and move on to someone she is attracted to.
LBS, vigorous sex can burn a lot of calories, you know. Just sayin'.
Don't allow fattening food in your house, LBS. It's fairly easy to avoid the ice cream, chip, and soda aisles once you get used to it.

You should encourage your man to exercise WITH you and give him lots of positive reinforcement. It will reduce stress, help you sleep, and most importantly make you both look healthier. These are good things for the libido. Give more thought to your bodies and your minds will follow, or at least mine did. I'm not particularly athletic, but we love yoga and biking together.
Second letter got me humming the finale of Avenue Q. "Everyone's a little bit unsatisfied. Everyone goes 'round a little empty inside. Take a breath, look around, swallow your pride, for now, for now..."
--Why I Agree With Dan That GIMP Might Consider Taking Her Girlfriend Back Some Day--

Any one who is in a relationship at some point has to weigh the advantages of putting up with what we've got against the chances of finding someone better or ending up alone. That's all of us whether we're able bodied, dumb, employed, gay, in a wheelchair, old, poor, pretty, rich, smart, straight, ugly, unemployed, or young. Some of us, depending on which of the above categories we fit into will have an easier time attracting someone we like. Then add finding someone we're attracted to back, and the chances of finding a good match go up or down accordingly.

For example, if a straight, good looking 22 year old man with a good education and a great job complained that his girlfriend liked sex but not as much as he did and was sometimes sloppy around the house, I'd tell him to keep looking. He'll likely find someone he's more compatible with down the road. If a divorced 65 year old woman with a lot of debts found a guy who adored her, was willing to accept her as she is, but didn't like sex as much as she did and was terrible about putting his laundry into the hamper, I'd tell her consider him a gem and accept his marriage proposal. Reverse the sexes in my examples, and I get the same answers.

Now look at GIMP. She knows she's in categories that mean far lower chances of finding someone she clicks with and who clicks back with her. She's lesbian, in a wheelchair, and isn't interested in anyone who's attracted to her because of the wheelchair. Right there, her chances are pretty low. (But they go up with the fact that she's professional and smart.) She's got a woman who, on the plus side, she's very compatible with, someone she feels deeply about, someone who gives her orgasms, and is someone she thinks might be The One. On the minus side, the woman lied about being a devotee and betrayed her terribly with the posted photographs bit. It's easy for me to say to dump her, but I've never faced the very real possibility that GIMP has that she may end up alone or at least with someone she's not half so compatible with.

Note that GIMP's girlfriend is unacceptable for 2 reasons. The betrayal with the photographs is something she can make amends for in time. People have done worse things and overcome them. I'm not sure about the devotee thing. Generally fetishes don't go away, do they, even with counseling and a desire to make them disappear?
@ cocky

People aren't criticizing her for being less attracted to him if he puts on weight (I sympathize) people are critizicing the fact that she's implying the most sex her husband could possibly get is once a week. If that was the most sex I could ever have for the rest of my life I'd be reaching for the Haagen Dazs too!
@70 "just because somebody is a fan of a characteristic you have (disabled devotee, Asian fetishist, chubby chaser)..."

If a guy is interested in a transwoman, it's hard for him to accept that she intends to be a woman, in the end. Their goals are at odds. Similarly with a feeder: if her fetish is to feed her guy and see him get larger, while his goal is to slim down, then they're incompatible.

On the other hand, if you love being Asian, and your guy loves Asians -- I'd see that as a win/win and no one else's business.

The problem with people who fetishize a disability is when they are interested in you because they see you as weak. If you in fact want to be strong (in whatever ways you are able to be strong), and they constantly undermine you... then you are incompatible.

@75 "GIMP isn't interested in anyone who's attracted to her because of the wheelchair."

That's not true. GIMP is wary of those people, but she didn't dump her girlfriend for being a devotee. When she dumps her, it will be for being a disrespectful bitch. And right she is.

It's one thing to be attracted to someone and another thing to be fetishized. Do you have any friends that are Asian women?
@70, but GIMP didn't discount this woman because she was a devotee. She continued to date her because of all the wonderful things they'd learned about each other in those eight months. She's dumping the devotee (we hope) because said devotee took unauthorized pictures of her for lascivious purposes and put them on the Internet. You don't have to be a kinkster of any sort to merit a dumping for that.
GIMP, I don't think you should get back together with her, once bitten twice shy and all that. Just knowing she has the capacity to do that will erase any trust I would have in her.

"You can't be a lesbian about this." lqtm. We lesbians don't have a very good name when it comes to break ups.
As for using sex as an could work but it sounds like a bit more is wrong with your relationship than low libido and weight gain.
I admit I used the word "asexual" to be provocative (to the Letter Writer), but there were reasons behind it:

1) I'm guessing her current sexual frequency is once a month or less, and she doesn't seem to mind. Folks, once a month or less is the clinical definition of "sexless marriage." You can get angry about that if you want, but that's what a family counselor will tell you.

2) She is talking about increasing the sex frequency during the weight loss period to somewhere between once a week to once every three weeks, depending on how aggressively he loses or fails to lose the weight (that's how I calculated once-a-month sex in #1), and she views that as an upgrade.

3) She sets a target goal of once a week if he maintains his weight. No talk about more than that. I can only conclude that's her best offer. Whether he is fine with once a week is between her and him, and he probably thinks it's a huge improvement if it's going up from once a month, but one half hour out of the 168 available in any given week can hardly be objectively called "constantly."

4) She states right out that she doesn't want to blame his weight for the libido drop, and also doesn't really think his losing the weight is going to magically make her horny for him, and yet she is setting up a system in which his weight loss is central to how she is expected to respond. This strikes me that the weight loss is a false flag draped over the real problem.

She may not be literally asexual, but she pretty obviously doesn't actually desire the man that she is about to put through the weight-loss regimen. She doesn't ever talk about how god, she used to not be able to wait to rip his clothes off, but now she is repulsed, and she can't wait to have the old him back. It's all about setting up a system that's about some sort of fair return for him for his efforts. That does not speak to me of desire, it speaks of setting up a distraction and frankly, a whole system of excuses not to have sex. Didn't make your three pounds yet? Sorry, no sex. Try again in a day or so. Maintaining your weight? Good boy, here's your once a week. What? No, it's only Wednesday. You got yours on Saturday already. You added a few on that cruise? No sex this Saturday. Drop three of them, though, and you get a treat. Yeah, I bet that will make him feel seventeen brands of attractive over the long haul.

So if the question is, "is it okay to incentivize his weight loss with sex?" my take is that the approach you suggest will ultimately come across as manipulative, and over the long run will make him resent you even more, unless you can generate and demonstrate some genuine enthusiasm over and above your relatively meager numbers. Your system is not going to be the solution itself. It may help things along, but if you are not very sensitive to how you handle yourself and him, it may make things worse.
@ 82

Um, I'm no expert but the "fucked up racial hangups" you mention are kind of a big deal? I think when it's a trait you've faced discimination for it's a little different than having small or big tits.

And again, I'm no expert, but if people are only attracted to their own race that's more likely to be due to racism than a fetish. The thing is, most racial fetishes are racist. That's the rub, they're based on racist notions turned sexual and that's why people don't enjoy being targeted. At least I've never met anyone who did.

So for example. I'm petite. Some guys borderline fetishize that. It doesn't bother me. Wyh? Because my body type has never adversely affected my life chances. A good friend of mine is Asian and says there's a huge difference for him between a girl that's attracted to him in general and some small town girl who thinks he's "exotic".

I don't think there's anything wrong about tending towards a certain race or races - we all have our own aesthetics. But that's not the same as fetishizing.

I'm with you.
@82 - What's the difference?

The boob-lovers treat my breasts as the cherry on top of the fabulous cake that is me.

The fetishists can't actually see me - to them I am nothing more than a great rack dragging a woman behind it.
@ or cocky

Let me put it this way instead.

If you like big butts and you cannot lie then it's totally kosher if you happen to find yourself attracted to black women more often than, say, white women. On the other hand, if you have some bullshit racist idea that being with that woman will somehow be fundimentally different than being with other races of women and that's why you find her attractive - then that's fetishizing race. And it's not okay.

Is that clearer?
@83 Asexuality is a sexual orientation, using it as a negative descriptor to be provocative is being an asshole. That is why people are taking issue with it.

What we seem to have here instead if a woman who has lost the previous interest she had in sex. I think they need a marriage counselor to determine why, chances are the weight gain is part of it but not all. Maybe the reason is because she's never had enjoyable sex with him so now that the initial hot and heavy period is over it's a chore. Maybe they had kids and she's stressed a lot. Maybe work is leaving her exhausted by the time she gets home. Incentivizing weight loss with sex though is certainly not the answer, I agree with you on that.
@ 90

That last sentence was a tongue twister! Um... if I'm understanding it right, the answer is "no".

Again, not pretending to be an authority on the subject but finding skin tone in itself to be pretty or appealing is no more racist (to my mind) than finding eye or hair colour appealing.

Like there's a difference between finding the physical qualities common to an ethnicity attractive and having racist notions about that ethinicity like "oh wow, she's gonna love me long time".

Here's an example of some writing on the topic.…
Avast@83 or anyone else - what's considered average frequency for couples in relationships greater than 10 years?
@52 (Snowguy): Thank you. You wrote everything I was thinking, and did so succinctly and without using inflammatory language.

Haha, I think both men and women find racism kind of offensive. I don't really think it's a chick thing.

For example: the straight man I mentioned.

How you described yourself? That's not fetishism. The stuff in the article I gave you (did you read it? very different than what you mentioned) is fetishism.

Personally I tend to end up with guys who are mixed. It's not a conscious thing and there's no specific mix that I gravitate towards although they're typically part caucasian (boyfriends and ongoing FWBs have been native/caucaisan, egyptian/lebanese/scottish, japanese/colombian/german, black/white, whatever etc). I don't think I have a 'fetish' for it, especially because it's not a conscious thing - it just ends up that way.
@93,94 (cockyballsup): I am really loath to turn this into a "(all) straight women feel this way; gay men (all) feel that way" definition. I don't think that people's responses to fetishization or objectification falls out along gender/orientation lines as much as all that. I think that different people will react differently: some people are far more sensitive to what they perceive as being objectified or fetishized than others, who don't even notice it. Some will notice and not mind; some will be flattered.

It seems safe to say (though undoubtedly someone will argue this) that fetishization is at the extreme end of the objectification scale, or that they're related, different more in degree than in kind.

I wouldn't call your preference for Latinos either a fetish (which suggests a NEED which is out of the realm of "normal" or "typical," or necessarily define it as objectification. If you happen to note a preference for Latinos, but are capable of seeing each man as distinct and unique and as possessing qualities apart from just being "Latino," whatever that connotes to you, I don't think it is objectification. They're men who happen to share the same ethic identity.

If you are capable of dating or getting sexual satisfaction from non-Latinos, I don't think this constitutes a fetish. Also, having a racial/ethnic preference, since it falls within the realm of "normal" doesn't qualify as a fetish.

I have been overtly objectified once or twice--men who made a point of explicitly letting me know that it was one very specific body part of mine that they were attracted to, to the point where I got annoyed because they didn't seem to notice or much care about the rest of the human attached. It was a totally different feeling than I have when someone makes it clear that he thinks I have a beautiful smile or gorgeous pair of breasts, or beautiful eyes or a great ass. I've heard all those things and heard them with a range from pleasure to irritation, depending on how interested I am in the man uttering them. I like the idea that a body part I was born with and can't do much to change--my large, round ass--is attractive to men I find attractive, and I will admit in total honesty that I rather enjoy knowing that even men I'm not interested in find it attractive. That doesn't offend me at all. But I have had men approach me telling me that they thought a great ass--and then acting as if that was all that they saw me as: The Girl With The Amazing Ass. Or more likely, The Amazing Ass that happened to be attached to that girl. And that is offensive. I can't explain it any better than that. Maybe you have never experienced that level of objectification before.

I have had a man tell me he liked me because of my hair color, because he "likes blondes." The way he said it made it sound like I could be Attila the Hun but it wouldn't matter as long as my hair was yellow. It also made it sound as though if I were still the same person, but no longer blonde, he wouldn't be interested. No doubt he was entitled to his preferences, and he prefers blondes, but there was something about the way he said it, that made me feel as though to him, the color of my hair was the most compelling thing about me. I may be drawn to a particular ethnic group or hair color or body type (actually, I don't have a particular "look" I'm attracted to, but I understand the concept), but ultimately I want to date more than a head of hair or some eyes or whatever. I can admire some feature of a man, but see it as a *feature* of the man.

For the love of god, do not use sex as a bribe for your partner to lose weight. Are you going to do weekly weigh-ins where you stand over him and give him a big gold blowjob star for every pound he loses and check-minus and a bottle of jergens for all the pounds he gains? That will make both you and him feel like you are his mommy and Jenny Craig counselor. Sure sounds like a recipe for hot sex to me. Ick.

I don't see anywhere in the letter where you have talked to him like a human being about this situation. I would try that. Honest, direct, compassionate, frank. He needs and deserves to hear what you are thinking and you need and deserve to get it off your chest and out in the open. If you think you can support any efforts he may want to make towards healthy eating and exercise, do it! Just don't make it all about micromanaging his process and don't feel like you have to make a production out of it and don't own it. Put in what you can deal with and no more. It's his job to take the right steps.

At any rate, I have been in a relationship during which I lost a lot of weight and my SOs low libido didn't change, so don't think his weight loss will magically fix your sex life. Maybe, but it's not guaranteed.
Sorry for all the errors in post #97--this is why you should always proofread!
@92...there is surprisingly little scientific research into this area. A 1995 study of married and cohabiting couples found an average coital frequency of less than 7 times per month and these couples were mostly young and had been together just over two years on average.…

The sexuality group at Indiana University published the results of a big survey not too long ago...I will see whether they have more recent data. Most of the press around their study related to condom use and specific behaviors that people engaged in...I don't remember anything about frequency.

Research on sexual behavior is fraught with challenges due to "social desirability bias" in other words people sometimes give the "right" answer even if it is not true (of course I use condoms with casual partners!) Computerized rather than face-to-face interviews tend to yield more accurate results.

My suspicion is that many people overestimate the average. Lots of people here are dissing weekly sex, but I suspect that once a week is typical or even frequent for a great many couples, especially those in their second or third decade together and those with young kids in the house.

Keep in mind...Savage Love readers are not a representative sample!
Ms Crinoline @75 - It's certainly plausible, but I'd definitely advise anyone in GIMP's position to reenter such a takeback with as full a knowledge as possible of how Having forgiven So Huge a Betrayal would play out between them. There are people for whom having such automatic claim to the moral high ground would prove an irresistible temptation to a very slippery slope, likely regardless of the quality of the rebuilding relationship.
KN@100: yes, absolutely, and how many people even really KNOW? I sure can't keep track.
I must be in Cynical Mode - I suspect that Mr Balls' post @93 would bother people if he were being so harsh about the less privileged race, but doesn't bother people as it stands because he's only taking empowered people down a peg.

I think in general I'll agree with Ms Cute's post @97, though it strikes me as reasonable at least to examine the possibility of a general tendency breaking along certain lines. I envy you, though - my only good feature is that I have tennis legs, but nobody ever sees them; I have quite forgotten what it feels like physically to attract people.

Ms Driasis, although Mr Balls didn't mind and I don't think you were trying deliberately to erase, it would help me in a similar situation, given my war with the therapeutic professions, if a post you might ever address to me making a point similar to #87 used the pronoun "one" instead of "you".
Mr. Ven, You might be surprised that a feature of yours you don't especially admire would turn out to be one that other people find attractive. You may not ever know it because your admirer might be either off your radar or not overt in his/her admiration.

For every man who has expressed admiration for my ass, there are doubtless 10 that don't like big butts--usually, it's one of those 10 that I'm interested in! Not to mention, finding a well-fitting pair of pants is nothing short of a miracle.

Also, I don't know about you, but people I like become more attractive to me. I realize that this isn't objectively true, necessarily, but all my friends are gorgeous. Men I have been involved with got better looking as I got more emotionally involved, and eventually, my non-involved preferences were changed by past positive associations. Thus, though it was once a feature of some men that grew on me as I grew to love them, I now find big noses attractive for their own sake!
@72, you win the whole jar of marbles.

I disagree with Dan: GIMP needs to dump her and never look back!

Regarding LBS, sex should never be used as a tool to manipulate someone else's behavior that way, particularly when it's an issue as sensitive and personal as weight gain. I predict that if LBS tries to implement her plan, it will be disastrous for her marriage on several levels, and it will be entirely her fault.

The only time it would be okay to use sex as an incentive or reward in that way would be when it is actually part of some sexual or romantic game you're playing. Otherwise, it's just plain mean and shitty, and if you'd be willing to do that to your spouse, the relationship has more serious problems.
Ms Cute - I appreciate that phenomenon, though I don't get it instinctively - largely, I suppose, because I have so few and so weak physical preferences myself. It's not that I'd particularly want to experience anything, but it would be nice not to have to guess how certain things would feel.

As for the specific you mention, at least you have an unassailable reason for supporting Serena Williams should you feel so inclined.
@89 Noadi: Thank you so much for expressing what I meant to say, better than I did!!! This is the point I was trying to get across to avast2006 in earlier posts. I felt that he was advising to LBS to play asexual as a form of negative punishment, and I think that's a pretty cruel and shitty way to get sex---from anyone.

And I agree with your other well stated concerns, too. Additional stress from work, kids, and/or no longer attracted to one's spouse/mate/partner/BF/GF, etc. can contribute to major time-to-see-a-marriage-counselor deal-breaking issues.
@avast: Please see my comment to @89 Noadi. Using asexuality like some weirdly negative reinforcement was what I was peeved about, rather than @19's predicted upcoming frothy shit storm your way. The "Santorun cream pie" remark was an attempt at humor, by the way.

I had a lot of sun today.