Savage Love Mar 8, 2017 at 4:00 am

Defining Decency Down


I think the straight guy with the trans woman may not be so straight after all!
He'll go back for more.
DMG: Another possibility: If your wife is using a week-later yeast infection as an excuse to not let you go down on her, she doesn't enjoy oral sex.
Now, the question is whether she is one of the minority of women who simply doesn't enjoy the sensation, or whether she just doesn't like the way you do it. Talk to her and ask her whether it's your technique, if there's something you should be doing differently.
If you'll pardon the pun, the yeast infection excuse smells fishy to me.

PDUMN: Another vote that "exploring my sexuality" means "discovering my sexual orientation via experimentation."

CTOFA: Great answer, Dan. CTOFA, you're a cheating piece of shit. You didn't cheat on your wife; you cheated that nice woman out of knowing where she might possibly stand with you. Tell her immediately, and include the expiration date of this open relationship. She might be up for a fling, and if you're willing to see her again -- openly, honestly and marriedly -- she'll know you're not rejecting her because she's trans.
Aeros @1: Trans women are women. The LW is just as straight as you are.
Yeast infection note: Might also try the next batch of oral sex while using one of those vaginal dams or plastic sheets or whatever is used for totally 'safe' oral sex.

Also be certain that 'yeast infection' is accurate. A urinary tract infection could be the cause of her discomfort instead and you (or she) has the wrong term for it. Not everyone is an expert on these matters. I've used the two terms incorrectly.
I love that fact that CTOFA completely missed the fact that he's an asshat for failing to mention is marital status to ANY woman. It's sort of ironic that he probably thinks he's "progressive" for being sensitive to the feelings of a trans woman, but would have no issue dragging along a cis woman.
@1 Your perception of trans women is disturbing. She's a woman, he's a man, that's as straight as it gets. And the "he'll be back for more" comment ... wtf is that? He is pretty up front about being interested in her, that's not the point. At all. You might see her as some kind of fetish object, but he obviously doesn't because he's not an asshole*.

*he's an asshole for misleading her about being married, so I guess I should say he's not that kind of asshole

BDF @ 3 - Actually, there's no reason to think Aeros is straight. They might be projecting.
BOMB - 100% with Dan on this one. Also, your kids may want to look at / have that stuff some day. It would be one thing if you were watching the wedding video and crying or were constantly going through photos of just you and your ex and talking about how good things used to be, because that would imply a level of emotional unavailability that most partners would find disturbing. But you've just got it up in a trunk somewhere.

Armchair psychology time - keeping that stuff is very normal. And when people are bothered by other people's fairly normal behavior, it usually means that they have a similar situation that they are not handling well. I'm willing to bet she's hung up on an ex. But who knows, maybe she's just possessive and childish.
Lib @ 8 - "I'm willing to bet she's hung up on an ex. But who knows, maybe she's just possessive and childish"

Great girlfriend material, in other words.
Waitwaitwait... the last LW did not find out the girl was pre-op until they got home, and HE is the one who is a huge asshole for not mentioning upfront he was in an open relationship? That's ridiculous. This is a situation where either both of them are assholes, or neither one is.

I would go with neither one. Maybe I am doing this bar hookup thing wrong, but when I go home with someone I just met, I do not assume they are definitely open to a long term relationship. I assume they're open to spending a night together, and if we get back home and it keeps going well, we'll hook up. If I like them and want to see more of them after, I'll figure out if they feel the same way and proceed from there.

I mean, I was just in almost this exact situation myself, from the girl's perspective... went home with a guy, it stretched out over 36 hours, I felt a real connection and was into seeing him again, he then tells me he was already seeing someone else but it was open, and that wasn't so interesting to me as a recurring thing, so we went our separate ways. I remember it fondly as a great weekend, and it didn't even occur to me to be upset by his conduct or imagine that I had been deceived in our earlier interactions. (Like the LW fears the transwoman would think, it briefly crossed my mind "is he making this up because he's just not that into me?", immediately followed by "who cares, either way it's the same outcome")

This is the worst response I've seen from Dan in quite a long time. LW, here is some good advice: assuming you did not tell her any active lies, so far you have done nothing wrong. People having bar hookups often turn out to be unavailable or uninterested in long term relationships for a myriad of reasons other than wives in other states. If you want to see this woman again, tell her your situation and see if she's interested in hanging out on that basis. See what she says and take it from there. If she gets pissed off (and, again, stressing this, you didn't actually lie to her), just exit as gracefully as possible. It's not your fault if she filled in the gaps of your personality with things she just wanted to see.

Terrible response, Dan. Terrible!
DMG – I had a girlfriend who, due to some sort of urinary surgery she had had was very susceptible to urinary infections. We showered before sex and she always made sure to clean up and pee after. It helped. But that was a recurring problem and not a yeast infection. Lots of women get yeast infections for lots of different reasons, but unless you have astoundingly poor oral hygiene, oral sex probably isn't the cause. And if she's ever had sex more than once she should know this. I've been dining at the Y for 40 years and only witnessed a couple yeast infections. Since it sounds like this was a one-time problem, and not something that has been happening every time you boink, I'm thinking BiDan@2 might be right. It could be a handy excuse. Wash your face and gargle with Listerine first. Look honey! Germ-free!

BOMB – I've still got wedding photos and such around, Dan's right, your kids will be interested in them someday. Not so much the wedding dress. I don't know any brides (and my kids and their friends are all getting married now) who wanted to wear their mother's dress. Sell it on eBay to a bride that wants to save a few bucks. -OR- My girlfriend is a great seamstress, she's turned several wedding dresses into baptismal gowns, etc. Your girlfriend is controlling and out of line. Caveat emptor!

CTOFA – Dan's right on the money again. Repeat this ten times...
1. "Stringing any people along is wrong, period."
2. "Honesty is the best policy."

@BiDanFan: The LW is just as straight as you are.

How generous of you to lecture straight men about their sexual orientation.

There are an overwhelming number of straight, gay, and lesbian people who's sexual orientation excludes trans people, even if their concept of gender is inclusive. If you have a problem with that, perhaps you should direct your admonishments towards their genitals.
Yes, yeast may be an oft-incriminated citizen of Vagina City, DMG, but don't call for a "stop and frisk" policy. Only an asshole would do that.
I kinda-sorta agree with @10, though I wouldn't go so far as to say Dan gave terrible advice per se. I mean, the LW said that "over the course of the weekend" the girl was digging him. Implying they hung out more than just that one night. So it seems he'd have had some time to trot out the "I'm married, btw" line.

Still, @10 is kinda right that this is, as of now, just a one night stand. Nobody is obliged to deliver their life story right away. She didn't tell him she was trans, he didn't tell her he was married... ships that pass in the night.
@12 Yes, some straight men aren't attracted to trans women. Some straight men also aren't attracted to black women, or women with unshaved crotches, or women taller than them. None of those things, however, make the straight man less straight , since nothing about 'straight' implies that one is attracted to every single person or category of the 'opposite' gender. @1 is wrong because their comment implies that trans women aren't women, not because all straight men are attracted to (all) trans women.
LW2; a sad story, all those memories of your marriage, put in the trunk.
The gf is jealous perhaps? Doesn't want to see such strong momentos of your past and not see such a telling example of where many marriages end up. Is she hoping to be wife no2.
Like with men trying to tell their gf's or wives how life should be, men must resist the same from gf's and wives.
She sounds a bit controlling, so be wary for other signs. As Dan said, it's none of her business. You have a past that your children and you share which doesn't involve her.
She needs to respect that.
Wrong advice for CTOFA. He didn't owe her an explanation that wasn't requested before hand; but if he's feeling guilty he should just say, "hey, that was a fun fling, but that's all" and if she's halfway decent person, she'll understand. Being trans may be a significantly higher difficult setting in life, but all people experience pain upon rejection, even if they're straight white and cis.
Well, DMG never said that his wife or he thought that a yeast infection was an STI. Is Dr. Anika Denali Luengo assuming that either DMG or his wife associated a stigma with yeast?

There are all sorts of things that trigger yeast infections. I got a particularly strong one once and my gynecologist said it could have resulted from "especially vigorous thrusting" during PIV intercourse. A friend of mine gets a yeast infection when she has a lot of sex. My sister seems to get one at the start of every new relationship; presumably it's her body's way of adjusting to all the new microbes she comes in contact with.
Yeast infections (which aren't bacterial infections) generally have nothing to do with the urinary tract and are thus not UTIs. Peeing after sex, which is a good practice for women to help avoid getting the UTI cystitis, isn't going to do a thing to prevent getting a yeast infection.

From the way I read the letter, this episode of oral sex was a somewhat rare occurrence. A week later the wife noticed a yeast infection (she may only have been bothered by it after it was present and getting worse for a few days) and it sounds as though she's not prone to yeast and it was also a rare occurrence. So whether the oral caused the yeast or not (and it may have contributed), the wife has made the association. Just like although it proved to have been a totally unrelated stomach virus that caused me to vomit for three days after the last meal I ate was from Carls Jr. when I was 15, I still get nauseous if I think about Carls Jr. and won't eat there now. An association has been made and it's possible that the oral had something more to do with the wife's yeast infection than Carls Jr. with my vomiting.

So pointing out that yeast is always part of the vagina's flora, etc. is unlikely to be helpful. Maybe DMG could tell his wife how much he likes giving oral and how much he misses it and suggest they lay in a supply of anti-fungal medication just in case, and try at least once more. If this is the wife's excuse for not letting her husband go down on her because she doesn't enjoy it that much or is self-conscious or his technique is bad or something other than fear of getting another yeast infection, this would be an opportunity for her to be more honest. If there is a different reason for her oral ban, they should address it. This may mean that cunnilingus is off the table. It may mean that DMG tries to change his technique. It will definitely mean an open and honest discussion.

And if he eats her pussy and no yeast infection results, she may erase the association of oral with itchy discomfort and it might become a regular part of the repertoire. They may both come to be grateful they tried the experiment.
On the oral sex-yeast infection link, I can offer this with the caveat that my experience is as a foreskin-having intact man.

Yeast is a citizen of UnderTheForeskinville just like it is in Vagina Town and it can also have overpopulation problems there when new strains come to visit. I have gotten yeast infections under my foreskin after oral sex on a few occasions. So, I'd say that genitals (at lest the male sort) can get yeast infections after oral sex. However, In my case that's always happened within 24 hours, so something a week later sounds totally unrelated.

Oddly, on at lest one occasion, the yeast infection I got after oral sex then got transmitted to the oral-sex-giver's lady bits. So, it seems that the yeast that was living in her mouth caused problems for both of our genitals. Maybe my yeast infection was caused by abrasion more than the strain of yeast living in her mouth, but that I managed to transmit it to her vagina makes me think the strain was at issue.

I can't wait for the day when we can buy various cultures of healthy genital microbiomes and healthy gut microbiomes. Killing off an offending strain with broad-spectrum antifungal or antibiotic drugs and then expecting the necessary critters to just be replaced by ones that are healthy for us by blind luck was probably the height of medical science 60 years ago, but it's pathetic now. Also, treating one member of a committed couple for something like a yeast infection borders on the silly. If the issue is a strain that is incompatible for one member of the couple, it needs to be eliminated from both of them. Either that, or they need to stop seeing each other. I have stopped seeing at least one or two women after sex with them routinely resulted in infections under my foreskin.

I still can't imagine how I'd live without a foreskin though. That sounds so uncomfortable.
JyLckhart @10
I was wondering about that pre-disclosure myself, and after reading the letter again I still can't tell whether LW was informed in advance or not.
Apparently it wasn't an issue for him, so I suggest dropping it.

As for terminology, "pre-op" might be misleading as not all trans women opt for an op. I think BDF suggested "non-op" few weeks ago, which is a more accurate term.
@9 Yes, she sounds like a gem. And she managed to get him to question the validity of keeping the stuff to the point where he's going to a third party to get clarity, which probably puts manipulative on the list too. Actually, the more I think about it, the more I realize that the biggest issue is probably that she chooses to paint his behavior as odd rather than own up to her own feelings in order to get what she wants. "You keeping that stuff makes me feel like you are still attached to your ex and that hurts" vs "you keeping that stuff is abnormal." DTMFA

@12 Their sexual orientation doesn't exclude trans people. Sexual orientation is about gender. That's not up for debate, that's the definition. Trans women are women. Note that gender is not sex. Straight men aren't attracted to a pair of X chromosomes. See @15's response.
Am I the only one who recognizes the difference between gender and sex, but still thinks that sex matters? As a heterosexual female, a man having a penis is the norm. If the man doesn't have a penis, that is something I would want to know in advance, so I could decide how to proceed, or whether to proceed at all. I don't like pussy, and that really has nothing to do with whether the person having one is a man or a woman. I heartily disagree with @1s implication that trans women are not women, but I also disagree with @20. Straight men aren't attracted to a pair of XX chromosomes, but according to anecdata, most of them are attracted to female genitalia and would feel duped if they went home expecting that and found a penis instead.
Except that I don't think Dan's advice was bad, I agree with @10.

@19, I take the LW at his word, thinking that he heard from her that she intended to have surgery at some point.

If, as it appears from the LW, he didn't know she was trans until they were alone, she took a significant risk of rejection or worse. She withheld a much bigger bit of information than he did.

I have to wonder why the LW doesn't wear a wedding ring. Surely she would have noticed that. If it were important to her that he be single and available, she could have always asked.

In my twenties many years ago, I was prone to yeast "infections" (quotes around infection because it is generally considered to be an overgrowth). I noticed that I tended to have them more frequently if my groin/genital area got "overheated," especially in the summer. So, I switched to cotton underwear that "breathed" and, if I wore pantyhose, I cut out the crotch of my pantyhose. Interestingly, I noticed that I also had a recurrence when a latex barrier contraceptive was used during intercourse. My GYN (at the time) said that a sex partner who has an overgrowth of yeast (e.g., oral thrush) could possibly pass it to me although such occurances are not common. She suggested that I (1) thoroughly bathe and dry my external genitals prior to sex (and also thoroughly dry my genitals whenever I bathed -- she suggested blow-drying my crotch after showering), ask my partner(s) to brush their teeth before oral sex, have my partner use a "natural skin" condom over a latex condom (that went over like a lead balloon with my partner!), stop using my diaphragm, and eat yoghurt that contained multiple live cultures.

Did your wife self-diagnose or see her health practitioner for diagnosis? She might consider seeing her healthcare provider to perhaps have a vaginal smear done and, if there is any suspected metabolic glucose/insulin dysfunction, a fasting glucose tolerance test. Asking her GYN directly if her yeast infection was related to oral sex would go a long way to allay her fears of future oral sex because a one time yeast infection after oral sex is most likely a coincidence.
It is always a good idea to disclose anything that might make the other person not want to have sex with you before having sex.
Things like:
I have an STI
The genitals hidden under my clothing are probably not what you expect them to be
I am married or in a committed relationship
I voted for Trump.

Even if I was okay with any of those things, the fact that someone withheld the information from me until after the fact or until mere seconds before we were about to fall into bed would be uncool. I would feel as if I had been manipulated into sex.
"Stringing people along is wrong, period."

All lives matter, eh, Dan?

You're right, of course, but the letter writer has a point about the struggle of trans women. I know where he's coming from.
Essentially, if you think you have to hide something in order to get laid, that's typically the kind of thing your potential partner has a right to know before agreeing to have sex with you. It's called informed consent.
@11 Your response to DMG gave me the best belly laugh Thanks for that!
Tachycardia @21, You're not the only one. I also disagree with @1 (to the extent @1 is suggesting sex with a trans woman makes a man gay) and @20 (because straight men get to decide what being straight means to them, even if it's not what it means to @20 and because "a pair of X chromosomes" is a prerequisite for a functional biologically female reproductive tract, which I'm pretty sure is part of what attracts a lot of straight men to cis women).

I've never done it on purpose, but I'm personally not disgusted by the idea of sex with a person who has a penis. However, plenty of straight men are and they have the right to feel the way they do, although they don't have the right to make trans women feel bad by treating them like their very existence is disgusting. What do I mean "on purpose"? In the 1990s I received a blow job from a person who presented as female (at the time, I suspect that person would have identified as a cross-dressing gay man, but now would probably identify as a non-op trans woman), I didn't figure out the many very obvious indications that this person had a penis, not a vagina until I sobered up. My reaction was primarily amusement at this odd event and not disgust, but I still felt that the person had done a bad thing to have sex with me knowing that I was not aware of the anatomy involved because what if I had been one of the very many men in the early 90s who would have been upset and angry about something like that? It wasn't a cool thing to do. Fortunately, I didn't mind, so no harm was done.

And if @1 is only talking about the possibility that the LW may discover through sex with a trans woman that he likes dick and try getting it from a gay man, well, I guess that's possible. But I don't think that's what @1 was saying.
NoCute @26, Beautifully said. Probably more horny married men need to be reminded of this than anyone else, but trans folks should also keep it in mind.
I’m all for pre-copulating disclosure myself, just not sure when trans woman disclosure occurred. The language in the letter is not that clear as, “she turned out to be a pre-op trans woman” could have also happened in the bar.
I may be wrong.

I also think big part of the trans woman enthusiasm in regards to this relationship stems from being validated by a seemingly ordinary straight dude, which may make him view it as if she wants more.
I may be wrong again.

They need to talk regardless and the sooner the better.
I'm sorry, but the doctor is simply wrong. I had a partner that I saw every other week who was really into giving me oral. Like clockwork I would get a yeast infection. He blamed himself and gargled with Listerine, but the actual problem, according to my doctor was that all the oral threw off the pH balance of my vulva and made me more prone to yeast infections. This is actually a thing.

I can't remember the workaround I came up with, I think it was apple cider vinegar mixed with water douching after sex, but I remember it worked. Problem solved.
Re: DMG: Wow----yet another reason I'm so fortunate to have lost some weight and, with help from an amazing naturopath who caught it in time (4 years ago) and maintaining a healthy diet, my Type II diagnosis has been reversed and I rarely experience YIs anymore. Those who are experiencing YIs have my sympathy--they really are no fun.
After reading all letters to Dan and comments, BiDanFan @2, DonnyKlicious @11, LavaGirl @16, and nocutename @24: all great, spot on responses.
@9 Ricardo (re @8 lib_liberosis's comment on BOMB):".....maybe she's just possessive and childish". That could easily describe either of my sisters.
Spot on responses again, Dan the Man, especially to BOMB.
Agreed with you, LavaGirl, and others: BOMB's GF needs to grow up.
Dear CTOFA: what's your alternative? *Not* telling her you're married and faking your death when your wife comes back? Continuing to bang her on the side once your wife and you officially stop having an open marriage? You wanna fuck this lady some more, fine! She seems amenable to that. However, you seem to be trying to justify extending this relationship by saying she needs charity dick. She doesn't need charity dick, CTOFA.

Treat her the same way you'd treat any woman in this situation. If she decides to spend more time with you, tell her (BEFORE your next screw) that you're in an open marriage with a time limit, and put your availability cards on the table.
SNJ-RN @23
She suggested that I [...] have my partner use a "natural skin" condom over a latex condom

Strange advice. I always hear that using two condoms over each other is a very bad idea because they'll tear more easily. Why not use just a "natural skin" condom instead of a latex condom? (assuming a "natural skin"-condom = a latex-free condom).
JyLyckhart @10: "Waitwaitwait... the last LW did not find out the girl was pre-op until they got home, and HE is the one who is a huge asshole for not mentioning upfront he was in an open relationship?"

That's a very good point actually. Marital status and genital configuration should both be disclosed before you go home with someone.

Woof @12: I'm not "lecturing" anyone but Aeros, who made a transphobic slur and therefore deserves to have his heterosexuality challenged.
Not all straight men like women with penises. Not all straight men like flat-chested women, or tattooed women. But a straight man who likes flat-chested women or tattooed women is just as straight as a straight man who doesn't. The same goes when trans women are the subset of women in question. If CTOFA is never attracted to any male-presenting person, he has just as much claim to be a Kinsey 0 as anyone.
I'm not telling you or anyone else that you have to like penis. Or flat chests or tattoos. Like what you like. Our preferences are all valid.
(In other words, What Rhoanna @15 said.)

NoCute @24: Nailed it. CMD @30 and TS @35, I wish I could "like" your comments as well.
DCP123 @28: "And if @1 is only talking about the possibility that the LW may discover through sex with a trans woman that he likes dick and try getting it from a gay man, well, I guess that's possible. But I don't think that's what @1 was saying."

I think that's exactly what @1 was saying.
How is not mentioning that one isn't available for a long term relationship when going home with someone you just met "stringing them along"? Isn't it a given that most (or at least many) people who are looking for a one-night in a bar aren't thinking of the whole white picket fence thing? Granted, the reason usually isn't that one is in an open relationship, but as long as CTOFA wasn't cheating on his wife, and as long as his pick-up line wasn't "I want this to be exclusive forever," I can't see that he did anything dishonest.

That's the answer I had in my head when reading the letter. I read the other comments before typing. Interesting that the regulars (the folks I generally agree with) are taking such opposite positions.
Fichu@40: CTOFA used the phrase "string her along" in the context of stating that "I want to see her again, but I'm not really available for a serious relationship." Not disclosing his marital status initially (which CTOFA clearly had no problem with) wasn't "stringing her along" (but it was unethical, IMO); seeing her again without disclosing his marital status would be.
My current husband had all of his wedding photos, a wedding dress, and all of his ex-wife's clothes in his attic when I moved in. I helped him move them out and encouraged him to keep whatever he thought was important. I also suggested we ask if she wanted any of it. There were no kids involved. Of course, I did ask in a very kindly and loving way at one point, "why didn't you just throw this stuff out?" He said he just couldn't bring himself to do it at the time. In the case where there are kids who might want to hear about their parents' wedding, I think that calls for even more kindness. It's not sick. It's not like he has pictures framed everywhere of their wedding. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but the girlfriend's being crazy.

I saw a recent one of those "uplifting videos" on Facebook the other day. The father was asked why he kept doing nice things for his ex-wife. He said he realized he was raising his kids to be in functional relationships someday. It makes sense not to demonize his ex-wife or sweep the whole relationship under the rug. He's modeling good behavior for his kids.
CTOFA is one of those slippery people, who say they know something like trans people have a hard time, yet when given the opportunity to ease that pain.. puts their own needs first.
They were together over the weekend, it wasn't a one night stand. He had time to disclose his boundaries, to protect the woman.

I'm with @10 & @17.

A hookup is no more "stringing along" someone for an LTR than a date is "stringing along" someone for sex.

Sure, it's nice if it happens and some people may get their hopes up, but the person who doesn't want the same thing isn't responsible for the feelings of the person who was disappointed.

If you realize someone is developing feels, it's courteous to disavow them of it. But there's nothing to suggest the LW deceived his hookup!
@36 Registered European and @39 Hunter, I read SNJ RN's use of "over" to mean "as opposed to" or "as a better alternative than" not as literally on top of another condom.
MM @45 Ah! That makes sense.
For DMG: I think it's reasonable to make the case to your wife that she received oral from you many times without getting a yeast infection, and so she shouldn't intepret a one-time coincidence as causation. But I would listen carefully, in case what she really needs to tell you is that she saw this as a good opportunity to get out of having to fake her enjoyment.

To me it seems unlikely that someone who really enjoyed a particular sex act would be dissuaded from it by a one-time yeast infection. So that pushes me in the direction of thinking she wasn't a big fan of oral to begin with.

You wrote: "How do I win back her trust to let me go down on her? No one is about to mistake me for Sting when it comes to my endurance during intercourse, so having the ability to pleasure her without penetration is important."

I would think instead about opening up a conversation about sexual experimentation and finding new ways to give her pleasure. Oral and PIV aren't the only two options. You can penetrate her with your fingers or a toy, vaginally and/or anally; you can use a vibrator with her; you can experiment with some spanking if that sounds fun to her; you can let her rub herself on your body; you can explore dirty talk; etc. etc.

Don't pre-determine the solution; don't make it about "trust" -- just listen carefully to what she says she might want and be open to trying new things with a positive attitude.

SNJ-RN @23, seconding your doctor's advice that women with yeast infections try eating yogurt with live cultures. Worked well for me.
First LW: There are two possible problems. One is, your wife is completely clueless about her own health, couldn't be bothered to do the simplest research about oral sex and yeast infections, and likely has some anxiety issues.

Second possible explanation: Your wife doesn't like the way you give head and is lying to you about why.

Either way, a frank talk with her is past due.

Second LW: Dump the girlfriend. You're hanging on to mementos of your previous relationships in a discreet way, not festooning the house with them. Not only does it really not speak well of her that she even thought it, but she thought it was OK to tell you. I'd say dump her.
Maybe I've been too influenced by "Boys Don't Cry", but would a trans woman (or trans man) take the risk of going home with someone for sex without disclosing that she's trans? She could get beaten up, tortured, murdered! Me thinks the LW is fudging it, and she did tell him up front, but he doesn't want to tell Dan that. And CTOFA, you can avoid this type of problems by wearing your wedding ring. Yes, you might not get to fuck women who don't want to do married men, but there are lots of women who prefer no strings sex also, and would be happy to sleep with men who aren't available for LTRs.

BOMB, how did your girlfriend find out that you have these things from your previous marriage stored in a trunk? If she found out by snooping through your attic/basement/storage, it's a problem. She could be too controlling or have really low self esteem that will cause lots of grief with jealousy. But if she knows because you talk about your ex too much, then you might be the problem, because you haven't gotten over your ex-wife or your marriage. Give it some thought and figure out which. And I agree that your children will probably want to keep those mementos, so don't throw them away. But get counseling for yourself if you're still stuck on your ex, and break up with the girlfriend if she's overly jealous ans obsessing over your past.

Things that predispose you to yeast infections: oral contraceptives, pregnancy, diabetes. All of those change the actual pH balance of the vagina. If you have one of these predispositions, then it's wise to do the things like sticking to cotton underwear. Also, in case anyone is confused, the culprit in these infections/overgrowths is candida albicans. It isn't that closely related to brewing and baking yeasts, which are mostly saccharomyces and brettanomyces.

In the case of the letter-writer I'd want to see if any of those 3 major factors applied before I'd think of the oral sex as the issue. If it's just that she doesn't really like oral, there are lots of other solutions out there. Try getting a toy or two to help her arousal along. Make them part of the foreplay.
@3: And here we have a rare example of someone blind to bisexual privilege.

@15, 20: Oh, no, here it is again.

@37: And still at it.

Not all straight men like women with penises. Not all straight men like flat-chested women, or tattooed women. But a straight man who likes flat-chested women or tattooed women is just as straight as a straight man who doesn't. The same goes when trans women are the subset of women in question.

Very few completely straight men like penises other than their own. There's a huge difference between having small breasts (a secondary sex characteristic), or having tattoos (not a sex trait at all), and having a penis (a primary sex characteristic). It is a completely specious analogy. But perhaps that's like explaining the difference between red and green to a colorblind person.

I'm heterosexual and male. That doesn't mean I'm attracted to anyone who wears a dress and lipstick. It means I'm attracted to people who have boobs and vaginas and, yes, XX chromosomes (as in, someone who has been under a lifetime regimen of high estrogen and low testosterone and has fully functional female genitalia). If someone with a penis wants to have sex with me, I am categorically not interested. That doesn't mean I'm transphobic, any more than it means I'm homophobic - it just means I am heterosexual. There's nothing unusual about this, in fact it's extremely common.

If you happen to be one of the people who doesn't care what sort of genitalia your sex partners have, bully for you - that means you have a broader dating pool than I do. But you don't get to tell me what I'm allowed to be attracted to, and you don't get to redefine the term heterosexual to suit your own agenda, especially since you yourself are not heterosexual.

If someone with a penis who has sex with someone else with a penis and enjoys it chooses to identify as strictly heterosexual, that's their prerogative, but plenty of people would not agree with them, for perfectly good reasons. They wouldn't be a Kinsey zero, by definition.

@21: Oh good, a dose of sanity.
@51 those things could happen, but it's really sort of rare. A man's bedroom is not Vietnam. It might not be a campus LGBTW Club meeting either, and a trans woman faces more risk than most of us. There aren't really any good numbers on exactly how much more dangerous life is being trans, but someone tried to piece it together. TLDR, the numbers you've heard before are almost certainly false.
@51 iseult: The issue of non-disclosure in CTOFA's letter made me think of Hillary Swank's role (Teena Justin / Justin Teena) in Boys Don't Cry, too, and the highly possible risks of ugly, brutal consequences, as was depicted in the film, and @52 Hunter has further corroborated.
@24 nocutename: I nominate you the winner of the CTOFA thread. I agree with BiDanFan(@37): you nailed it.
@24 nocutename, Part II: I have been manipulated into sex, before. Definitely not cool.
@56 (re: iseult @51): Excuse me--make that @55 Hunter.
Not that it really matters, I guess, but I just noticed we have multiple comments under the same @ number. Last week it was double-@6; this week it's double-@17. Am I getting an extra chance to hit the magic number by technical default?
Iseult @51: "Maybe I've been too influenced by "Boys Don't Cry", but would a trans woman (or trans man) take the risk of going home with someone for sex without disclosing that she's trans? She could get beaten up, tortured, murdered!"

Yes, and yes. I have gone home with a trans woman who did not disclose. And trans people ARE in fact "beaten up, tortured, murdered" at alarming rates.

"CTOFA, you can avoid this type of problems by wearing your wedding ring"

Then he'd probably also avoid getting flirted with in the first place. I think someone who's married and in an open relationship is fine with not advertising the "married" part, but is certainly compelled to disclose the relationship status once going home together is being discussed.

Chase @53: "Very few completely straight men like penises other than their own."

Very few completely straight men are attracted to women who are six foot five, weigh 450lbs, and are amputees. That doesn't mean the straight men who are, aren't straight.

Bisexual "privilege"? Interesting word choice. Absolutely, the dating pool for non-op trans women, or for genderqueer people generally, is populated with far more bisexual people than monosexual people. Again, that does not mean that someone who is exclusively attracted to female-presenting people (and therefore not bisexual) but not bothered about their genitals cannot identify as straight. Read the rest of @37:
"I'm not telling you or anyone else that you have to like penis. Or flat chests or tattoos. Like what you like. Our preferences are all valid."

"If someone with a penis who has sex with someone else with a penis and enjoys it chooses to identify as strictly heterosexual, that's their prerogative, but plenty of people would not agree with them"

So you're saying that third parties have more right to define a person's sexual orientation than they do?
If you asked me, I would probably call such a person heteroflexible. But if he wanted to identify as straight, you're absolutely right that that would be his prerogative. And I'd be an asshole for trying to impose my own label on him.
Look: Just because some straight guys are okay with trans women does not mean that YOU as a straight guy must also be okay with fucking trans women. Some bisexuals like hairy men. Doesn't mean that I have to fuck hairy men.
Third comment: Many trans women do not like their penises. They do not involve their penises in sex. A straight guy could receive blowjobs and have anal sex with a trans women, the same way he would with a cis woman. No need for penis panic with these activities.
Evidently it is in poor taste to point out that PDUMN's behavior, even with the precautions Dan suggests, place him at high risk to gather and spread STIs. Even poorer taste to note that this is how we create Gay Plagues.
The Truth often stinks in the nostrils of The Enlightened Left....
@64: The Unbearable Commentor, you mean...

The Truth can be a heavy burden; do try to hang in there....
Hunter @63: Aren't you forgetting divorced men?
@66 I take it you're using "truth" in the same way that tRump uses "truth."
@67 – I agree BiDan, "if a guy at say 45 is not married, there's (perceived to be) something wrong with him" doesn't hold true so much anymore...probably the vast majority of unmarrieds, men and women, in their forties are divorced. It's so common, "no wedding ring" was never even a factor for me or my friends that were seeking marriage later in life. HOWEVER, if you're in your forties or older and never married, it would be something I would be aware of if I were looking for a lifelong partner. I'm generalizing, but it probably means you... A) Are more comfortable with being single having spent your entire life that way, B) Perhaps have a bit of a hang-up with commitment, C) Might be just a little more picky than most people, D) Have put "Marriage" down the list in your order of priorities, E) All of the above, F) None of the above.

We see what you did there,
can we play?

How about using safe the same way The Left does in 'safe' sex.
Or How about using Love the same way Dan does in Savage 'Love'.

this is fun...
Donny @69: Congrats on the magic number!

Is someone in their 40s who's divorced a safer bet than a never-married because they've already proven they're willing to make that commitment, or a worse bet because they've been through the horror of divorce and decided "never again"? (Depends on the divorce, I would assume.) Does the benefit of their greater life experience outweigh the burden of their greater baggage?

A missing option G (or E, if "none of the above" is always to be bumped down a list) would be someone who has been engaged, but the relationship ended before the marriage. That would indicate that someone *wanted* a lifelong partner, but for whatever reason things didn't happen as planned. I've known a few people who were engaged more than once but never married. This could be an exception to the general assumption that anyone who hadn't been married by their mid 40s probably either doesn't want to be, or shouldn't be.

Either way, a divorced man has got to be much better dating material than one who's currently married to someone else, unless you prefer to be a mistress/secondary. Some do. People and their diversity!
iseult @ 51
“would a trans woman (or trans man) take the risk of going home with someone for sex without disclosing that she's trans?”

Sportlandia @ 54
“a trans woman faces more risk than most of us”

Disclaimer: I’m identified as a non-binary genderian, somewhere in between and/or toggling. I’m not a “classic” trans woman, if there is such thing to begin with, nor do I claim to be the in-house trans correspondence.

When it comes to risk of violent acts trans women are in an enhanced risky position similar to that of gay men: posing a challenge to some, especially those who struggle with guilty attraction, and a notion that those who give up their manly rights are worthless or at least inferior.
Trans men and lesbians may also be at risk, usually lower though, since they are “stealing our women.”
I know, a bit harsh on men, but wanted to make a point.

The bar scene is real. Hoping that an aroused and/or somewhat intoxicated person would be encouraged to shed some inhibitions is common to all genders and orientations.
I share the view that introducing non-corresponding genitalia after leaving the bar is not only unfair, but can also be disappointing and scary to some who may not take it very well for different reasons.

To the divorced guy with wedding mementos in a trunk: two of my best friends in college got married right after graduation. Beautiful, cool, eclectic wedding followed by 3 kids, tumultuous 7-year marriage + very nasty divorce.

Fast forward...their eldest, an awesome 18-yr old is staying with me. Asks to see old photos of her dad. Leads to old photos of her parents' wedding. She had NEVER seen any pics of them together. They'd destroyed them all.

She was overcome. After a couple minutes I asked her what she was thinking.

"They are so young! And happy! I never understood how they were even ever together. It's so good to see that, at one point anyway, they were happy."

Save the mementos. They are for your kids, if not you. And ditch the GF if she can't see that.
@74 - Standing ovation, knova!
Firstly- the easiest, and cheapest, thing to do if you feel you might be getting a yeast infection is to peel a clove of garlic and insert it up into your lady parts. Works like a charm. I've spent years of my life without health insurance; it can make you an expert on what 'natural' shit works and what doesn't. But yeah- it does seem like she's just not that into the oral right now. I've gone through phases myself, now that I think about it.

As for the mementos from a previous marriage- she's a controlling jealous girlfriend. Beware. Divorce does NOT have to equal failure, it can just mean it stopped working and was time to move on. No need to forget/pretend it ever existed. Even if you never had children, but especially if you DO have children. I hate it when people are like that. As a widow of 5 years, I guess I've probably still got plenty of dead husband stuff hanging around, though I did dismantle the shrines after the first year. My boyfriend doesn't care. Hell, he's got a few mementos/pictures of ex's around his apartment- because he's 50 and I don't need him to pretend I'm his one and only. I had a very bitter divorced man try to date me. Total fucking turn-off to a widow.
@69 Donny Klicious: Congratulations on scoring the magic number this week! and
@74: I second Donny's standing ovation, knova--bravo!
@76 Patience: Bless you for sharing your poignant story about your past marriage. I am sorry to read about the loss of your husband. I left an abusive marriage, and agree heartily that divorce is NOT necessarily a failure, but that something didn't work and it was time to move on. I'm not dating, but going out with someone embittered about an ex, especially under your circumstances, would be a deal breaker for me, too.
@64 & @66: Trolling truly stinks in the nostrils of The Unbearable Commenter.
Lots of "trans women are women" dogma here. They're women... with maybe an asterisk?

Fact: Being interested in trans women indicates some fluidity of sexual identity.

If you were 100% straight you would know this.

I'm not saying it's wrong to be interested in trans woman if you are a "straight" man. It isn't wrong any more than it's wrong to be trans. You be what you are. But. I am saying it's not straight behavior. Because... it isn't.
Re: Patience@76 and her garlic in the hoo hah tip...being a huge fan of Italian cuisine, and just garlic in general, I'm thinking I might have to try this even without waiting for the GF to get a yeast infection...

Plus, it keeps the vampires away.
@79 While it may be relatively uncommon, there are in fact 100% straight men who enjoy sex with trans women. My fiance is one such man and has absolutely no reason to pretend to be straight - if he were bi, finding sexual partners would be easier. I'm sure there are people who are homophobic or simply uncomfortable with their own sexuality and pretend to be straight but that's not the case here.

It's fine for you to be attracted to only women who were also assigned female at birth but it's not ok to project your prejudices on other people and attempt to re-assign their sexuality based on what you are comfortable with.
Thank you, EnJen.
I have used the garlic clove method for YIs as well and it really does work. It gives you garlic breath though.
The most life-changing advice I ever got regarding yeast infections was to take probiotics daily. There are other great reasons to take them, including better throat health and GI health.
CMD @73: Another thought on why trans women/people don't disclose up front even though that puts them at risk of violence:
Many trans people are very self-conscious about their appearance and don't believe that they "pass." They might not disclose because they assume their transness is obvious. Think of the scene in The Crying Game: After the reveal, Jaye Davidson's character says "I thought you knew!"
How often this is the case versus not disclosing due to fear of rejection, I wouldn't want to guess.
Gou @79: I think you need an edit:
"Opinion: Being interested in trans women indicates some fluidity of sexual identity."
Fixed it.
Cocky @87: You shouldn't have to ask "are you married?" to anyone you meet who's not wearing a wedding ring. That's just paranoid behaviour. It's up to the married person to disclose.
Gou Tongzhi @ 79
Not sure I get the need for your self-proclaimed anti-dogma yet fairly dogmatic assertion. Why not letting others define themselves? Think “post definitional” if you must.

DK @ 80
Since my hoo hah does have a tip I’m not prone to inserting anything in it any time soon.
That said, Patience @ 76 garlic endorsement does make sense as over the years home brewed garlic drops proved as a cure for kids ear infections and adult sinus ones.
I thought that DDD stood for Disclose Downplay and Drop.

DMG - Disclose your need for giving head. Downplay it a bit and reassure her that your love for her happiness is most important, and you'll stay with her even if you can't give her head. Then drop it. Maybe she'll come around.

It may help the conversation move more smoothly if you ask what gets her off too.

BOMB - Disclose your need for your girlfriend to stop the control freak act and decide if it's a dealbreaker for her or not. Downplay it a bit and reassure her that if she really can't deal with a musty box of photos you'll get rid of them.. go bury them in a locked box somewhere I dunno. Then drop it. And look around for someone who's not such a shaming control freak...

PDUMN - Disclose your need to fuck around with hot guys on Grindr. Downplay the fucking a bit and play up the ways you indulge your own interests. Drop the idea of close relationships for awhile while you look around for someone you want to keep fucking. Then decide what kind of relationship would be fun for you both together.

CTOFA - Disclose your need for a casual or temporary relationship because you already have a wife. Downplay it a bit and reassure her that you understand if she doesn't want to see you again, and that she probably should be spending most of her time finding a balanced sexual relationship. Perhaps she may be mollified that you were under the impression that you had taken off your wedding ring for a cis woman for most of the night. And seriously drop the shady shit.

XG @44 A hookup is no more "stringing along" someone for an LTR than a date is "stringing along" someone for sex.
I also think you should disclose asexuality/medical problem preventing sex in your profile (or on the first date).

Sure, it's nice if it happens and some people may get their hopes up, but the person who doesn't want the same thing isn't responsible for the feelings of the person who was disappointed.
When we influence each other, we do cause feelings in other people. Everyone is responsible for their behavior. Everyone is responsible for managing their feelings. Feelings are reflexive. When I hear "I'm not responsible for their feelings" it always seems to indicate a disregard for others or an unwillingness to accept the consequences of their actions on others.

Taking off a wedding ring is done with the intent to mislead.
@76 Patience & @84 Calico Cat (glad to see you back!): Thank you both for your healthy yeast infection proofing tips and suggestions. Although I haven't had a YI for quite a while, this is good to know. One clarification on my part (my fault, actually, and what I really meant initially): I had been suffering from UTIs more often than YIs over the past few years. My susceptibility to YIs and UTIs was much higher when I was sexually active. By drinking tons of water, and avoiding use of public toilets if possible, may have proven the effective antidote to UTIs for me. I understand that drinking cranberry juice can help, too, but I wouldn't recommend it of one is diabetic (I am formerly Type II and really have to watch my sugar intake) because of the high glycemic content.
Interesting, isn't it, how garlic cloves can effectively keep so much evil away.
@87 cockyballsup: I wouldn't fuck a Republican, period. I already have---two men under the GOP influence at two separate times in my life, and am hopeful to have since learned from my gravest mistakes.
There's an idea: Dan the Man: If we were to mail the Trumpzillian Evil Empire (to every Trumpzilla Tower, and private richy-rich resort, compound, et. al) shitloads of garlic cloves would it finally go away?
@90 philophole: I like your analogy for DDD: Disclose Downplay and Drop.
@85 BiDanFan: I never saw The Crying Game, but I think you make a good point as to why trans women / people might not openly reveal their gender identities, especially if their own identity to them feels obvious (no need to disclose).
I disagree that a person is obligated to disclose a relationship status before a one-night stand: by definition, the other person is consenting to casual sex. Period. If a person consents to have sex with a stranger and that stranger happens to be in a relationship, the potentially aggrieved party is that stranger's partner. But in this case, LW is in an open relationship.

LW is probably not disclosing (announcing?) his marital status to potential casual sex partners for fear of scaring them off. That's okay; in practice, the standards for disclosure for a one-night stand are much less stringent than for a romantic partner. Suppose a woman seeking casual sex finds that mentioning that she is a mother often sabotages her chances. In my opinion, she is not obligated to mention this to a potential one-night stand, but does need to share this with a potential boyfriend.

Where I suspect LW dropped the ball is in his moral obligation to be upfront with his partners about his willingness or ability to commit. He is required to be open about what he is incapable of offering. He isn't required to tell casual hook-ups, "I'm in a complicated open marriage with a woman who lives in another part of the country" (unless he is asked about his relationship status). What he is required to say is, "I'm really not looking for a relationship right now."
@95: No one is obligated to do anything. A sort of golden rule would be to be honest about your status (marital, genital, and disease at least) well in advance of sex and probably before the two of you are at either one's home, and let the other person decide whether or not they want to have sex with you given that information.

It's not like someone's going to arrest you if you take off your wedding ring and allow the person you're hitting on to assume you're unmarried, which, by the way, could be considered lying by omission. But even if it's for a one-night stand, a lot of people might not want to have sex with someone who is in a committed relationship with someone else. And I think the decent thing to do is to give them a choice.

If you are a selfish asshat who thinks only of yourself, you (impersonal "you," not you, pythag3) can tell yourself that saying "I'm really not looking for a relationship right now" discharges your moral duty, but I don't think it's the same as saying, "I'm married, but my marriage is open." Pretending that it's a choice between saying "I'm really not looking for a relationship right now," and "I'm in a complicated open marriage with a woman who lives in another part of the country" strikes me as being disingenuous. Being really not looking for a relationship right now is not the same not being available for more than a one-night stand or a quick NSA fling. Even people who meet in bars deserve courtesy, and plenty of them have hopes of a pick-up turning into a real relationship or at least having the potential to do so.
@95: Yes, honesty might result in not getting as much sex. Oh well.
Plenty of real romantic relationships started as one-night stands, but the two people were unattached. You never know if people are going to like each other.

nocutename -- I respectfully disagree. (And you're right to qualify the "you"; this isn't something I do or have done.)

I don't think the other issues you mention alongside marriage act as appropriate analogies. Not only should people disclose STDs to potential partners, I believe it's their moral duty. When seeking out casual sex, a person's obligations include honestly answering questions that potential partners might have, as well as divulging information (like an STD) that can directly impact the other partner.

A person is not required to simply volunteer other private information that ruins their chances. In fact, that would be a ridiculous burden. Think about how interesting that would make bar conversations, though: "Hi! I'm smiling and appear fun-loving, but in truth, I'm an emotional wreck right now. I'm still in love with my lying ex-boyfriend and can't stop thinking about him, but I'm also desperately horny and want to re-learn how not to cry whenever I masturbate. I'm here because my closest girlfriends staged an intervention." That would be an example of an honest statement most guys would probably want to know, but that no woman should feel obliged to divulge.

Ethically, I believe he should honestly communicate that he is not open to a relationship. ("I'm not looking for a committed relationship or anything serious.") Once he communicates that, the women who consent to have sex with him should understand what kind of relationship they are consenting to (casual, no strings); though if they are hooking up with strangers in bars, they have to be open to that as a possibility. (I don't believe it's reasonable to feel outraged or even misled if a one-night stand goes nowhere.)

I guess I don't understand what impact his open marriage has on the women he sleeps with. Suppose he informs potential partners that he's not interested in a relationship, and they agree to have sex with him, and then no further relationship develops (per the information he has provided them). How is that different than if he weren't married but did those exact same things? If a person communicates that they are not looking for a relationship, they should be taken at their word. If (figurative!) you sleep with them, you can't feel disrespected when it turns out that, lo and behold!, they aren't open to a relationship -- regardless of the reason.
A bar pick up is a bar pick up. Both parties are taking chances with a stranger and should rely on their intuition (which is probably impaired due to alcohol), and ask a few pertinent questions before heading off into the night with some person one has just met. Trans people are being very naive to not disclose upfront, however those with STIs or who are married can just lie.
CMD @89: Very good catch! "Trans women are women" is "dogma," yet "being interested in trans women indicates some fluidity of sexual identity" is a "fact." Hmm.

Funny how, to some men, heterosexuality is so fragile it can be completely destroyed by one little prick. :)
@101, your last sentence baffles me Fan.
Are you saying men are not allowed to say they don't want to be sexually intimate with a trans woman?
I know I'd be pissed off to think I was going to be intimate with a cis male and then find out after some physical contact that there was no penis.
If men like Chase and Gou want to define heterosexuality for themselves as between a cis man and a cis female, that is their right.
Just as it's your's and CMD's right to include trans men and trans women in your definition of heterosexuality. I really can't see where the problem is allowing for these two interpretations of heterosexuality to exist side by side.
Lava @ 103
I have no problem "if men like Chase and Gou want to define heterosexuality for themselves.”
I still question the need and the logic to be the defining authority for everyone else.
Lava @102: It's a joke. Geddit? One prick, as in penis, and a guy isn't allowed to identify as straight anymore.

I absolutely agree, and have stated in several posts (37, 60, 61, 86), that no self-identified straight man is REQUIRED to include trans women in his preferences. However, no self-identified straight man should have the authority to tell another self-identified straight man that if he sleeps with a trans woman, he's no longer straight. Chase and Gou were not defining their heterosexuality as being exclusive of trans women. They were defining all heterosexuality as excluding trans women. Which is not within their rights to do.
Webster' defines "heterosexual" as "of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward the opposite sex." By that strict definition, I would posit that trans people fall in an area somewhere between same-sex and opposite sex. So "heterosexual" would depend on how "opposite" you need that area to be. Would the opposite of a dog be a cat? Let the debate begin.
Maybe I should have said "pre-op" trans people, where the distinction is a little blurrier. Anyway, it's all semantics.

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