Savage Love

Brownie Points

Comments

1

Thanks NOSHIT, for reminding us that things could always be worse!

2

A public health specialist from Indiana who clearly has a head on her shoulders: couldn't Dr. Herbenick be seconded to lead a task force to address, say, some kind of national public health emergency?

3

SHAM sure is angry. If she is smart, she will get herself some counseling and figure out what SHE wants and how to get it. She was 9 years in an unhappy marriage. Now she could actually be HAPPY if she tried...and still Married if she feels she needs to be.

4

So...... is Savage Love taking a break from posting 5ish days / week? Sad about this... But hoping it means Dan is having a good time doing other work or on vacation!

5

@1 jack chandelier: WA-HOOOO!!!! Congrats for scoring this week's "FIRDT Award! Bask in the glory of leading the comment thread for SL: Brownie Points. :)
@4 KindnessisKey: Savage Love is taking a break from posting 5-ish days a week?
I hope all is well your way, Dan--or better yet, you're headed for a hot vacation spot.

6

Noshit - keep seeing doctors until one has some ideas for treatment, while experimenting with prevention (enemas, butt plugs?) and cleanup ease (towels, diapers?). I think it would help to talk about it with partners, if you have a treatment plan. And tell others that you have a great sex life, your boyfriend often fucks the shit out of you.

Ash - I don't think it's legit to reject your husband because he rejected you. Eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. I think you should make sure it's good for you, though. Ask him for what you need, shower beforehand, no kissing, etc. I'd also stop having sex with the boyfriend if it starts to affect the marital sex life badly, if you want to stay married. Like, if you start wanting to reject sex with husband, then stop seeing boyfriend for a bit. Life sucks sometimes but your husband could have taken up worse habits than smoking.

7

I think that the longer coronavirus takes to reach us, the more chance it has to mutate to a less dangerous form, cause when it kills, it often dies, while the less dangerous forms will continue to propogate, is that right?

8

NOSHIT: Butt plug! I mean of course you want to find a longer-term solution, but an emena will clean you out completely and a butt plug will keep anything in you don't want coming out, if you don't have the time or inclination to use an enema every time you have sex. Anal may have to come off the menu. Good luck.

SHAM's husband may be a cuckold or it may just be a case of garden-variety jealousy leading him to want to re-establish his alpha-ness.
I can't see enjoying sex with one's husband -- with anyone -- without kissing. I think now that Mr SHAM is interested in sex, SHAM has a stronger case for holding to her dealbreaker about smoking. Why did he start again this year, is my question, and my guess is stress. They should look at the whole picture, address whatever situation is stressing him out, and work together to support him quitting (can he switch to vaping?). But in the meantime she doesn't need to gross herself out by having sex with him, and remove that incentive to quit. (Second theory as to why he started smoking is that he too has a bit on the side, and she smokes.)

9

I'm not sure SHAM should stay married. Her anger is palpable - and as someone who loathes the smell of smoke, I feel for her. Long term, married parents who don't respect/have contempt for each other is going to do those kids more damage than a divorce.
If you're calling your husband an asshole, he's ignoring your established dealbreakers, and you don't want to have sex with him, your marriage is over in all but name.

10

Stand your ground Sham, you don’t want to have sex with a smoker. He’s got a choice, and he knew the deal.
Start with that.
Children, we seemed to have gone there last week. Not sure I’m up to another round. They come first, is the short version, for x yrs.

11

Having in the past been around both kinds of smokers without ever myself smoking, I recall that pot definitely smelled more sickly.

12

SHAM has every right to be angry. Spent most of her 20's being sexually frustrated and rejected and now the known deal breaker has been activated by her husband. Why this is not being viewed as him sabotaging the relationship I don't know. What an utterly selfish, stupid and inconsiderate thing to do and totally unfair on the wife and children. Imposing a financial burden and a health burden on the whole family and now suddenly he wants sex after all but reeks of cigarettes. Revolting behaviour.

Definitely start/keep fucking your boyfriend - you deserve it and you need it. You are NOT obliged to fuck your husband - he activated the deal breaker by his own decision, remind him of that if he complains.

See how quickly he becomes motivated to quit smoking when he realises he has ruined his sex life with his wife. Tell him sex will be back on when cigarettes are gone. If you don't issue the ultimatum he will just keep on smoking and you will be miserable about it for years. Support him to quit - there are so many methods and aids now available, from medication to nicotine gum and patches, inhalers and even vaping if all else fails. He is an addict and needs to address it if he wants to be a decent family man and husband and enjoy the privileges that come with that.

Sex with someone who stinks is degrading , having sex because you feel obligated is soul destroying, every time you do it you will hate him and yourself even more. Don't sit back and let this situation continue. Make your displeasure known and loudly on repeat or stay quiet and suffer for years to come. A problem like smoking doesn't go away easily - you have to make it go away.

13

Also @4 - I too have been missing SLLOTD. Where has it gone? Does anybody know? I can't find it for the last few weeks.

14

I'm off topic here, but Dr. Debby Herbenick--what to do about menorrhagia during sex?
What about those of us who, after 46 years too long of dysmenorrhea and menorrhagia (the clinical terms for shitty periods) just have no desire for sex anymore because it is too repeatedly uncomfortable and messy to be any fun at all?

15

@14: And people wonder why I drink.

16

@8, BDG: I like your second theory. Maybe it should be the first theory.

17

@16 I mean BDF.

18

Hmm. I'm recalling a couple of weeks back, Dan advised a man whose husband had grown a beard, to his express distaste, that he didn't have to have sex with him. Today he's advised a woman whose husband has started smoking, to her express distaste (and his own health!), that maybe she should have sex with him in order to bribe him not to leave her. Spot the difference?

19

The beard column, letter 2:
https://www.thestranger.com/savage-love/2020/02/26/42969519/savage-love

20

Sandwiches @12, applause.

21

Brownie points” and “ash-hole” are the reason SL still keep attracting language-oriented folks.

This penis haver always assumed the human plumbing system to be bundled up to some degree or another. While gas and liquid, an occasional need to fart or pee during sex, are more common and usually easier to manage than solids they can still be distracting and have a deboning effect on those in need and their partners.

22

I don't often feel naive but I wondered what a hot water bottle had to do with today's letters. Oops!

24

NOSHIT, I hope you find a good doc to work through this with you. There are various angles to come (and to cum) at it from; great advice from Dr. Herbenick; here are a couple more thoughts...

Are you otherwise regular? Is your diet and digestion such that whereas otherwise you'd deliver healthy movements once a day, but if you have sex in the middle of such a period you poop then too? In other words, maybe your digestion is suboptimal and working on that (diet is just one of /many/ physical, emotional, and lifestyle factors affecting digestion) could lead to a resolution.
Failing that, maybe you could learn to cum even with using the body mechanics that keep one from pooping when one doesn't want to.
(Ok, I'm questioning whether the following male-strategy can be extrapolated to females, but I'm reminded of a strategy Dan has for guys that can only cum with a 'death grip'; Dan suggests they take a break until their body wants to cum enough to cum without a 'death grip'. Just spitballing here, but if like [most] guys you don't go long between orgasms, maybe if you gave your body a few weeks without an orgasm it would be motivated enough to cum even while you 'clenched' to not poop during it. Honestly, I'd guess this only works for males because they ejaculate semen, but maybe a bit of a break could still somewhat facilitate retraining a female orgasm?)

25

Count me in the NO SMOKERS camp, that’s instant disqualification and your husband knew it. I’ll cut him a TINY bit of slack, though because it is a powerful addiction that never goes away, so he’s backsliding, but is he willing to quit again or is he a selfish asshole who is going to keep doing something you can’t stand? Selfish assholes get The DTMFA treatment. In the meantime, if he’s working on it, showers, brushed teeth and mouthwash should be a no-negotiation price for a poke in the whiskers.

27

I would also suggest that there is an unwritten social contract between a columnist/publisher and the readers of said column that basic courtesy says a one-line explanation of changes (temporary or not) to a feature of that column be proffered. We are the eyes your advertisers are paying for, it’s just good business to say, “SLLOTD have been temporarily suspended while Dan recovers from a bleeding rectum (no offense...I’m referencing a recent episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”)“ or, “Due to scheduling demands and a scarcity of electronic ink, LOTDs have been discontinued. We regret the enormous disruption to the lives of the people who have developed an overwhelming fondness for these letters”.

28

Smokers smell bitterly sour, and taste extremely so.

29

@27 Donny
I don't disagree; during this period of social-distancing to avert pandemic, such a virtual community becomes even more valuable.

But I can also understand why one might not. Our expectations could feel burdening to the powers that be; perhaps we are being trained to be less demanding. Or maybe the people who would interact to decide upon, or to implement, such an explanation are off work at home to avert pandemic. Or maybe Dan's got other things on his mind like air travel in big aluminum cans where everyone's breathing is re-circulated, increasing infection risk. At least he won't be hugging people.

/Break/
A couple weeks ago I had a chat with a really nice stranger; then she wanted to shake hands. It went well as I explained profusely...but honestly I wasn't impressed with her judgement.

30

BDF @ 22
I suspect that bottle and attached hose have something to do with enema.

31

Hi NOSHIT... Want to say I hear you... This happens to me sometimes too. If I'm on top, being penetrated vaginally and have a really intense orgasam sometimes I poop. My vagina is shaped bit weird and sometimes the penis pushes poop around inside me in a funny way. It sometimes gets pushed out and sometimes I end up constipated because it's been pushed in..I also have a neurological condition that makes me a bit numb in those areas and I can't always feel what's going on but like you I have no trouble any other time.. Just when I'm orgasming in certain positions. My current partner I pooped on him the first time we had sex. Yikes!!! I was horrified!! He took it in his stride. I knew right then and there he was a guy I needed to take notice of. We are still together and have amazing sex. As horrible as it was it very quickly showed me a good man..... My very practical way of dealing with this is this and partly what the Dr advised too... I do an anal douche about 2 to 3hrs before I think I'll be having sex. It was a bit awkward at first but now I find I can conveniently combine it with my getting ready for sex shower routine... I also got some good weighted sex beads... Even if that's not the issue they are a great way to tighten things up and I'm sure that helps. (fabulous advice from my midwife after my second baby)...I've had one tiny incident since I started doing all this and I was able to deal with it quick enough my partner didn't even notice... BTW it was awesome to read your letter. Its nice not to feel alone in that one. Take care and good luck.

32

I’d like to add my voice to DK’s @ 27 call for “social contract.”
In addition to that I should also mention the gatherings and other human interaction challenges we’re all facing nowadays.

Dan- we need online love more than ever nowadays, especially the Savage one. Thanks!

33

Gay men have a term for bottoms who soil the bed: "dirty guy I used to bang". You need to get this under control. Maybe even douche your ass before sex. I don't care about the cause, it's just too much.

34

@33 tim browne
"You need to get this under control... don't care about the cause"

Good idea, tim! Maybe she should write to a sex advice columnist now.

35

Wow, check out the "We need your help..." webpage header.

36

I would advise divorcing before stopping sex with your spouse, especially if you are continuing to have sex with others.

It sounds confusing to want to be married without lust, or even a sign of love for your partner.

This might be the case of, if you dump the honest smoker, you'll get stuck with the secretly obsessed child predator or heroin addict. But if she can't keep herself from calling him an asshole and speaking sarcastically and disrespectfully about him then she should do him the favor of leaving.

I think it looks better to try some things to improve the situation before giving up because of addiction. It seems like everyone condones divorce if marriage gets hard, anymore, like marriages are just another loosely committed relationship. I guess addiction, abuse and adultery are tough problems to deal with, but I think it's worth a shot if it seems like a risk you can handle. Heck sometimes Savage Love seems primarily focused on getting marriages through adultery or even using adultery to get through marriage!

Hopefully she can find some way to calm herself down and focus less on angry outbursts and more on making herself happy and supporting her husband quitting smoking. Anti-anxiety meds? Therapy, meditation, relaxing routines?

"I can't see enjoying sex with one's husband -- with anyone -- without kissing."
I can enjoy sex without kissing. I can even get into it. Everyone's different.

37

Yes, Dan is right LW. If you want the marriage/ family, then having sex with your husband is part of the deal.
You had a good rant writing to Dan, blah blah blah, he’s a bad husband, but you won’t leave. Then you compromise, first up is to let go of all the anger you feel. Either give your husband a few good blasts of how this change of desire in him feels to you after x yrs where he ignored your needs, except for once a month, or punch pillows. Get it out and let it go.

38

@33 try being supportive rather than shaming. This poor woman is probably already distressed without comments like yours.

39

Tim @33, it’s hardly crime of the century. Though your advice is good. If LW knows this is an issue, as she does, then why not douche before sex. Not something I have first hand experience of, and hope you can sort things LW1.

40

Mr Curious @35 - It stands to reason if live events are being shut down. I'll have a bit more time for the rest of this month, as two of my bridge games in assisted living facilities are on hiatus. This is a really sad thing for the residents, as for several it's a highlight of the week (much as playing once a week in a club game was for me about fifty years ago at age ten or eleven). Remarkably, I still have 66 players signed up for Friday, with only a handful of regulars giving up for now, but one never knows which game may be one's last.

41

@40 venn
I hope this period of cautious isolating can be effective and brief. Residents of such facilities have a number of heightened risks; IIRC the first place affected near Seattle was one of them.

42

CMD @30, yes, I figured it out.

Philo @36, you say, "It seems like everyone condones divorce if marriage gets hard, anymore, like marriages are just another loosely committed relationship," but that's exactly what you yourself advised SHAM to do in your first three paragraphs. Dan didn't say divorce him. Victorian @9 jumped to divorce him, but other than that, you're the only commenter to suggest divorce. The rest of us are just talking about whether to bang him or not bang him while he continues to smoke.

Anemone @38, indeed. Tim, you win the least helpful comment award.

43

People: if your doctor shrugs, find another doctor. Doctors are supposed to order tests, or refer you to more specialized doctors who can order tests.

44

cure @ 35
Life in greater Seattle is rapidly changing, people stay at home and local businesses are hurting big time. The Stranger’s call for help is aimed at the local crowd, though strangers from Bellingham, Brisbane, London, Berkeley and beyond may still make a contribution if they’re so inclined.
It is a local icon that started as a free print publication sometimes in the early 90’s, an alternative to the 75c and beyond often-elitist Seattle Weekly, founded by mostly young gay men who proved to be talented writers. Mudede is straight as far as I know and it should not be held against him.
I was a reluctant new reader when the youngsters in the break room introduced me to this suspicious free thing. Yet the paper covered events no one else would, tackled issues like no others, their mostly on the mark fun to read election endorsements cheat sheet was in my pocket back in the days when we actually went to the polls (we vote exclusively by mail nowadays,) and had the audacity to have an openly gay man sex advice columnist whom I intuitively suspected of being capable of providing any meaningful help for the general public.

45

Having been with a woman with the same problem as NOSHIT it's not really a problem. You loose control of your muscles during sex; it has nothing to do with the butt at all.

As the guy you just keep a wet wash rag on the table so afterwards you can clean up. Ensure it's a large towel and not some small one for the times when you make her orgasm more than once.

Exercises on her pelvic floor muscles maybe helpful in stopping her from poo poo'ing all over his dick. Otherwise find a guy who has a fetish that matches your problem they exist. Hell I'm a guy who learned to live with it; wouldn't have a problem with NOSHIT in my bed at all.

46

Thanks BDF, maybe I'm seeing dtmfa ghosts in the anti smoking crusade. I think it's weird to consider name calling as less of a character flaw than smoking. If she speaks to her husband that way and wants to fuck other people and not her husband, I feel much worse for her husband.

47

BDF, I think in the beard column, Dan was more advising to refrain from kissing or cuddling while husband was bearded, and not refraining from sex altogether..

48

Yes CMD, save the Stranger is up to the world, not only Seattle.
Shit eh. I’m staying put mostly, being in the red zone. The get rid of boomers virus, so say some.

49

Philo @46, she doesn't want to fuck other people and not her husband. She wanted to fuck her husband, but he wasn't interested. The timeline is interesting. After nine years of inadequate sex, she takes him up on his offer to go get sex elsewhere. The following year he decides to break her dealbreaker. This is sounding more to me like he also went out and got a girlfriend, but unlike SHAM he hasn't been honest with his spouse about this. He's acting like an asshole so I don't see why it's a "character flaw" for SHAM to call him one.

Philo @47, Dan wrote: "Your body is yours, and what you do with your body is your choice. And you can choose not to press your body against his—or press your face against his—while he's got a beard." He advised SHAVE that he didn't have to have sex with or kiss his husband. Possibly the difference between the two letters is the presence of children in SHAM's marriage but not (to our knowledge) in SHAVE's. I still think it's bad advice to tell SHAM that she should have sex that disgusts her in order to prevent her asshole husband from leaving her. But unfortunately, since she is having sex with another man, she runs the risk that Mr SHAM could file for divorce and claim adultery even though he encouraged her to seek outside sex. She's in a tricky spot. I still think her first move should be using sex as a carrot to encourage him to quit. If this truly is a dealbreaker for her, she may want to reconsider having ruled out divorce. Plenty of divorced parents around and it doesn't seem like there is much love left in this marriage.

50

Philophile @46. I don't think you understand just how revolting cigarette stench can be. Especially considering how scent is tied to arousal, it really can be an instant libido-killer. And if your spouse does something to kill your libido, well... what can you do?

51

BDF: I think the difference between the two letter is that this LW wrote: "Also, we have kids. Hence the marriage and why I'm not going to leave." If someone writes "I'm determined to keep my marriage," it's reasonable to be like "well, you might want to have the occasional sex with your spouse then."

52

SHAM should demand meeting with a sex positive couples counselor - someone who won't be negative about her having a boyfriend now.
But the reason for the couples counselor is for her husband to understand he needs to get his shit back together. Addicts relapse and getting them back on track is tricky. SHAM's husband may need his "sad" regarding his relapse, but then for the sake of his marriage he needs to return to honoring his commitment to stop smoking.
Then the question of sex needs to be brought up. Why does SHAM having a boyfriend rekindle his sex drive? Did he know about this turn on before? Can he make a commitment to meeting her needs sexually now? Does SHAM like the thought of having two people eager to fuck her?

54

Good plan @52, unknown_entity. The last question, I think she’s already answered by her letter. I’m guessing she’s not that happy. Suited her with the bf, if husband stayed where he was. Once a month man. And didn’t smoke. Also kids take up most of the time so any available time for pleasure is guarded. Husband is the one to back off here, not demanding anything.

55

Traffic @51, yes, good call. I'm with Philo, I'd prioritise not having sex that disgusts me over staying married, but if SHAM's priority is indeed otherwise she may have to literally hold her nose and take one for Team To Have And To Hold. Though I'm sure Mr SHAM will sense her reluctance and, unless he's some sort of monster, find such grudging sex unpleasant enough to try to quit smoking so she'll be attracted to him again.

Unknown @52, leaving the smoking issue aside, it seemed to me like Mr SHAM wanted to bang SHAM immediately after she got home from a session with the boyfriend, when she had had her fill sexually. I doubt she is seeing her boyfriend every day, so I reckon the husband should be a bit more understanding as far as timing is concerned and not pressure his wife to "perform" when she's had a date.

57

Ms Spiral @51 - I quite agree, though I suspect the general response would be considerable different if something else were being smoked.

58

News for those who found Mr Savage's recent choice of Ms Scarcella as a Guest Expert perplexing or worse:

If Mr Savage is paying attention, she may not be making any future appearances. I have just noticed among the various offerings of the YouTube algorithm the following upload of hers from two days ago:

'Steven Crowder Changed My Mind... (Lesbian Leaves "Progressive Left" Interview)'

The title seems a bit of clickbait, as I can't recall her ever coming across as particularly progressive except to those right-wingers who would apply that label as an insult to anyone an inch left of Pres Reagan. I've no idea whether she's gone Full Trumpie or will just be trying to crowd the Radical Centrist lane, but deliberately fraternizing with Mr Crowder, who is among the worst of the worst, suggests some deliberate bridge-burning.

59

Venn @ 58
Something like the bridge on the river Kwai?

60

@8 BiDanFan: "I can't see enjoying sex with one's husband -- with anyone -- without kissing."
I very much enjoy sex without kissing. I've never been a big fan of open-mouths tongue-on-tongue kissing. There have been a handful of people over the years who were the exceptions and I usally enjoyed it with them, and even so sometimes it was offputting.

61

Mr Venn, yes, she was supposed to talk at Sydney MG, and there was a fuss from one page I follow. Didn’t catch the follow up. Let’s not revisit though, please. I’ve just had to pull back from family for a bit over my mother’s estate issues.. I’m out of drama juice at the moment.
And anyway, trying to keep the troops entertained during this time. Also here, it’s Friday13th.

62

See Dadddy @56, has got into the swing of it. More jokes. If a man only desires his wife because another man does, then he is a hollow one.
/ kissing, couldn’t go without. Though I’m fussy with it, too much saliva and darting tongue movements are a turn off.

64

@43 fubar: You are absolutely right about the importance of changing doctors when one's illnesses, aches & pains are shrugged off. As a single working woman doing everything possible to find sustainable healthcare along with a good paying job (I don't mean $1 million + a year, but what could cover my living expenses, household, automotive, and medical needs. $35k / year works for me). I was stuck for a long time with Basic Health, going to the appointed community clinic where it was a game of musical doctors (whoever was in there that day), and co-pays for everything. I had to keep proving my eligibility (that I was truly poor enough to qualify) every month. And Basic Health haggled over every penny I had coming in----down to a lousy penny!
Thankfully, I am fortunate, over the past six years of much improved healthcare and providers, to finally be blessed with good doctors who truly care about my health. I am feeling muscle soreness in my right shoulder after my second shingles vaccination, and antsy about what could be a hysterectomy soon. I have concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. A lot of schools and businesses have closed, concert venues cancelled.

@61 LavaGirl: Sending you big hugs, positrons, and VW beeps from my beloved Love Beetle and me to you. I can certainly empathize about family estate settlements---and the exhausting melodramas that often ensue. Maybe tonight's a good night for Rain Man. I love Dustin Hoffman.
I am healing from a recent shingles vaccine, am unsure if my forecasted surgery (possibly a hysterectomy) will be scheduled (soon there is a lot of medical worries over the coronavirus).
Take care--much love, hugs, and VW beeps.
XO,
Griz

By the way---who's up for this week's Lucky @69 Award? Tick...tick...tick...

65

Everybody wash your hands, stay healthy and safe.
And give to The Stranger----Seattle's only trustworthy source of free news.

66

Hunter @ 63
And I thought The Discreet Charm of the Burgeonic Cuckiness is an old Luis Bunuel film.

67

v platypus.. @9, called it, unless these two can sort out the resentment, and work things out together.
You are still young SHAM, and if you have no love for your husband, why put your children and yourself thru family disharmony? Sort this shit out with Him, see if you can find desire and love again for your husband.
Could you live together and be flat mates/ co parents
only? Both go your own ways sexually.

68

BDF, I don't think that anyone wants SHAM to have sex that disgusts her, but if she finds sex with her husband too disgusting to work on anymore then I don't understand why staying married is better even if they have kids. Maybe he didn't take her dealbreakers seriously, maybe he is sabotaging the relationship, maybe he is depressed and reaching for desperate coping mechanisms, but if it's a dealbreakers then why doesn't she want to break the deal..

"He's acting like an asshole"
I wish that more people could find joy in their assholes. Everyone has one.

I interpreted "press your body against his" as cuddling.. that he could avoid the beard, but avoiding the genitals is effectively ending the sexual relationship. Or that Dan approved of dumping someone for growing a beard. If SHAM avoided sex in general as well as the smoking odor, I think her husband would not be unreasonable to choose divorce over constant sexual rejection, whereas if she demanded that he take steps to eliminate the odor so she can enjoy sex again, he may be encouraged to smoke less to make sex easier for them.

69

GRIZ!!!

70

I couldn't help myself, folks. I just did some major laundry (including bedding); miraculously my back is feeling better, and my right shoulder isn't as sore (from a shingles vaccine earlier this week). WA-HOOOOOO!!!!!
Griz will make it another movie night featuring Dustin Hoffman.

71

@68 Thank you, Philophile, for a lead-in I could not refuse. :)

72

LavaGirl, I hope I didn't piss you or anyone else here off. My deeply felt apologies to those I have annoyed or offended if I did.

73

Grizelda, Never piss me off. OK.
Congrats on scoring much much luck over the coming little while.
Geez, they have cancelled the Ist leg of World Surfing Contest, supposed to take place on the Gold Coast, Qld, Australia in about three weeks. Serious when the surfers notice something happening on dry land.

74

Ankyl @60, I wasn't asserting that any kissing must be open-mouthed, or making a judgment that one sort of kissing is preferable to another. But I stand educated that some people can, indeed, leave lip-locking out of it and jump straight to genitals. I'd be dry as a desert without kissing, personally. What's y'all's substitute foreplay, if you're not making out?

Lava @61, good luck with dealing with the challenging issue of your mother's estate.

Lava @62, certainly, a bad kisser can be as much of a turn-off as a good one is a turn-on.

Hunter @63, trollolol. As a cuck yourself, why are you alleging that someone with probable cuck tendencies is gay? Is there something you'd like to tell us? SHE should start having discreet affairs with men. If being honest about where she's been and what/whom she's done is turning him into a smoke-reeking horndog, she should convert this relationship to a DADT and make her extracurricular activities none of his business. As he seems to be doing.

Philo @68, Dan literally advised SHAM to have sex with her husband even though smoking disgusts her.
So, now it is not only possible to have sex without kissing, it's possible to have sex without pressing one's body against another's. Philo, SHAVE's question was whether he should have sex with his husband now that husband has grown a dealbreaking beard. Why would Dan dodge that question? Don't be so literal. He meant you don't need to either kiss or fuck the dude if his beard turns you off.
Yes, Mr SHAM might choose divorce if SHAM withheld sex over the smoking dealbreaker. So she has to prepare for this possibility if she stands her ground. A compromise might be that she has sex with him once a month (after showering and thorough toothbrushing) and allows him to seek sex elsewhere, which he found reasonable for nine years. He might still leave her, though, just as she had the option to leave him during any of those nine years when she was unsatisfied. It depends on whether staying in the marriage is as important to him as it is to her, which we don't know. She can take a page from Mrs CAST and stand her ground until he threatens to leave, then have sex she doesn't want to have "to save the marriage." Sounds like a shitty way to live, personally. I'd be inclined to DTMFA and take my chances with the new guy.

75

Mx Wanna - It's not uncommon for those making this particular realignment (especially under circumstances such as canceled speaking engagements) to give a parting gesture of a huge middle finger to one's entire former team or those perceived to be such. I suppose that's better than the incremental approach, though. Almost everyone I can think of who three years was saying, "I'll be the first to hold Trump's feet to the fire," and trying to stake out a centrist position is now a full-on Trumpologist.

77

If people want something calming and contemplative to watch for about an hour, I can recommend a short (running time 47:23) work titled Miss Pym's Day Out on YouTube, starring the talented and versatile Dame Patricia Routledge. It's set in 1977, when novelist Barbara Pym was short-listed for the Booker Prize.

78

Venn@ 75
I agree. I brought up that movie because there was some debate among the British POW's whether the bridge should be blown up or not. I saw it while a teenager few years after its release I couldn't figure out why they wouldn't.

Hunter @ 76
The Fucking Hudsucker Proxy is a Coen brothers film.

80

"he's very into fucking me after I've fucked another dude"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_sperm_competition

I thought this was so obvious it didn't need to be said.

81

Oh, and more than ever we need this contagion-free virtual space, please give what you can to https://www.thestranger.com/contribute

82

vennominon @57: who knows? It's not the letter we have, so it's sorta pointless to speculate. Although considering that what with vapes and edibles etc. you can get a stoned as you like and not smell like Ye Olde Dank Skunk, I'm willing to bet it'd be a non-issue for any relationship.

83

Ms Spiral - It's the sort of thing that tends to make my list of interesting possibilities were I ever to take up fake-letter writing.

Non-issue? Having been around smokers, drinkers and potheads and not caring for any of their habits, its not producing a noticeably altered consciousness was the biggest plus for Team Tobacco. I've never had sex with anyone drunk or stoned, and can only recall seeing one person I loved in such a condition.

It just seems in order to push back on occasion against the general tone that cigarettes are Deadly Sin Number Eight, while Not Indulging Regularly in Pot is Deadly Sin Number Nine.

84

Curious @80, obvious to everyone but our perennial Mr Oblivious.

86

True Dadddy, I agree with you there. Another issue with this man then, he lets his sperm determine his true feelings for his wife, and that’s in response to another man’s, nothing to do with his wife.
These two have to talk, because she shouldn’t have to put up with his demands. He gave her permission to satisfy herself elsewhere.. and she did. Now he wants in and has started smoking, a dealbreaker for her.

87

@73 LavaGirl: All the best with dealing with your mother's estate. I'm glad not to have pissed you off. I haven't had many responses from you or other commenters lately, and was concerned. I know there's a lot of shit currently hitting the fan locally, regionally, nationally and globally. I'm sorry to hear that your surfing event in Queensland was cancelled.

Everyone stay healthy and safe.

88

@81 curious2: Thank you for the reminder and helpful link. I just did.

89

And thank you, Dan and Dr. Debby Herbenick for your helpful advice, particularly to NOSHIT.
I had similar concerns when I was sexually active.

90

I can also empathize with SHAM. I certainly wouldn't want to kiss, much less have sex with a smoker.

91

Hunter, it has not even been three months since the commentariat schooled you in why lobbing the "closet case" epithet willy and nilly is homophobic and insulting. Please refresh your memory and cut it out with this particular trolling device.
https://www.thestranger.com/savage-love/2019/12/17/42302058/savage-love/comments/

92

@84 BiDanFan
"obvious to everyone but our perennial Mr Oblivious"

Yes I got trolled.

@74 BiDanFan
"Hunter...As a cuck yourself"

Oops I missed that. Hunter told us that?

Anyway, I guess he also misses the distinction between cuckolding and hotwifing? Anyway, I guess one really doesn't need logical consistency or nuance to troll.

93

BDF, "Dan literally advised SHAM to have sex with her husband even though smoking disgusts her."
He actually said "So while you don't have to fuck this ash-hole, you might want to fuck this ash-hole." He doesn't want her to have sex that she doesn't want, and if it is only smoking and not the smoker that disgusts her, maybe trying to eliminate the odor will restore her enjoyment of sex. If he disgusts her because he is a smoker then it's weird that she's been having sex with him. She certainly should not have sex with someone she finds disgusting, and she should work on her reactions because expressing disgust of her children's father is harmful to them. Disagreement is ok, personal attacks are not. It's not ok to hear mom call dad an asshole.

And SHAVE did not ask Dan for permission to stop having sex with his boyfriend, he asked Dan's opinion about the power dynamics of their conflict. They were also not just agreeing to disagree, Mr SHAVE's choice made SHAVE repulsed, and that wasn't enough motivation for Mr SHAVE to want to shave at least for sex, and they couldn't drop it, so they will fight about it until one gives in or leaves. I think it's rude to express disgust about your lover or their choices, it's kinder to leave if you can't disagree without the judgement. But it's also important to be honest, and if the beard made cuddling or kissing or sex uncomfortable or impossible to enjoy, it's important to be honest about that. If you hear that your choices made your lover repulsed, maybe you can tweak your choices to satisfy your lover, but if your lover is disgusted by you as a person that seems to be incongruent with love, I think it's evidence of falling out of love. But it's also evidence of falling out of love if you stop trying to accommodate your partner. I liked Dan's general idea that it's pointless to keep fighting about it, just decide what you're going to do about it, try different ways to live with it or just leave if you've given up.

In SHAM's case, it's not just about a disgusting odor, but also her husband's health. The odor is aesthetic like SHAVE, it's really not moral even if most people may shun smokers (or bearded or bald people etc). But the health concern can be addressed a little more reasonably, SHAM can just say that it's hard for her to see Mr SHAM smoking because she loves him and doesn't want him to increase his chances of lung cancer or catching coronavirus, and offer her husband help to address his medical issues. Addictions, abuse and adultery seem like mental medical issues at heart, that's why I have hope they can be worked through if the partner still has compassion.

I do not understand the use of deal breakers to pressure someone to change. I thought the use of deal breakers was to warn someone of the circumstances under which they will leave the relationship. It's a rule of thumb that addiction, abuse and adultery are common deal breakers or reasons to leave, but staying in the relationship and fighting about the deal breaker makes things worse. It seems like it's time for SHAM to decide if smoking is still a deal breaker for her or not.

The health issue is reasonable to address compassionately as both of their concern. The aesthetic issue of attraction is amoral, they will either try to figure out ways to work on their sex life or give up and talk about whether they want a new sexless marriage or not.

94

There is a cliche "If you loved me you'd do what I want" that almost sounds loving but is really manipulative. If you love someone, you try to promote their happiness and save them pain, but because you are also trying to promote your own happiness and save yourself pain, you may disagree with what your partner wants. It's normal to agree to disagree. It's normal for relationships to end when you can't agree to disagree, when you disagree about someone's deal breaker.

95

vennominon @83: Ok, so you're letting your personal feelings about pot vs cigarettes color your views, because being under the influence is a completely different issue from stench - and we're talking about stench.

96

Philo @93: "He actually said "So while you don't have to fuck this ash-hole, you might want to fuck this ash-hole." He doesn't want her to have sex that she doesn't want."

Except that she literally said, "I don't want to fuck a smoker." And he's now a smoker. So she doesn't want to fuck him. And Dan said perhaps she should anyway. So he DID say she should consider having sex she doesn't want. I'm not sure what you're disagreeing with?

"If he disgusts her because he is a smoker then it's weird that she's been having sex with him." She's been having sex with him for the nine years he was an ex-smoker. Now that he's once again an active smoker, she doesn't want to.

"It's not ok to hear mom call dad an asshole." There's no evidence this word has been used in front of anyone but Dan and his readers, where she is anonymous and can speak her mind without reprisals.

May I ask if you have ever been married? You're once again doing that thing, re SHAVE, that you bemoaned other people doing: jumping to divorce rather than address the problem. "I think it's rude to express disgust about your lover or their choices, it's kinder to leave if you can't disagree without the judgement." Both these LWs had told their spouses up front that smoking/beards were dealbreakers for them. And the spouses chose to go ahead and do something they knew disgusts their spouses. This is different from someone telling a spouse, "You disgust me," which I agree is rude. Do you not agree, though, that it is rude to engage in a -behaviour- that you know disgusts your spouse and expect them to grit their teeth through their disgust? SHAM and SHAVE didn't say "You disgust me," they said "Smoking/beards disgust me," to partners who at the time were an ex-smoker and clean-shaven respectively. If you tell me you hate the colour pink and you come home and I've painted the living room pink, you absolutely have the right to object, because I've disregarded your comfort and preferences. You have the right to call me an asshole, because that's an asshole move.

"I do not understand the use of deal breakers to pressure someone to change." In both cases, the dealbreakers were pressure NOT to change.

And again, it's easy to say "well I said smoking was a dealbreaker, you started smoking, therefore I'll leave," but harder when you have made a legal commitment and had children. "Just leave" isn't as easy as it sounds, even without her stated caveat that she wanted to stay married. Besides, wouldn't helping him to quit, even via the medium of sex withholding and ultimatums, be better for his health than simply walking out?

Traffic @95, I agree with you, but SHAM does not specify that the reason cigarettes are a dealbreaker for her is because of the stench. We're assuming that plays at least a role, because cigarettes DO stink like crazy to the noses of most non-smokers. Perhaps they're a dealbreaker because a parent died of lung cancer; she doesn't say. I agree entirely that Venn is only revealing his bias against pot by bringing it up and pretending the two smokable plants carry the same negatives, which they don't.

97

I think the two smokable plants have the same negatives to the lungs, Fan. Right about now I wished I’d never smoked any plants.

98

So, has Dan addressed the lack of LOTD? I can well imagine he's otherwise occupied, but a word or two on the subject would be welcome.

99

The Stranger management have had to lay off staff, slomo, and stopped the print edition. Think Dan has his mind on other things.

100

Dan and everyone: please stay healthy, warm, and safe (we have a high wind warning and low temperatures in the 20s in Bellingham). My beloved and I are thinking of all of you.
Big hugs, positrons, and VW beeps,
XO,
Griz
p.s. Since I snagged the Lucky @69 Award this week, the Big Hunsky goes to the next commenter.

101

Lava @99, that's a shame. I'm glad now that I made a donation as the Stranger requested. The least I can do for all these years of edu-tainment from Dan and this community.
Hmm, I wonder if the suggestion of having us dedicated regulars reply to letters would be well received now? They could pick, say, ten of us and have us each answer one letter a fortnight. I'd be happy to volunteer, to keep this community going.

102

@99 LavaGirl
Thanks for the heads up. I just went to the homepage and saw
https://www.thestranger.com/slog/2020/03/13/43143769/the-stranger-temporarily-lays-off-18-employees

@101 BiDanFan
Hear hear.

/Break/
I'm all the more alarmed because I'm having a very rough time.

103

Yes Fan.. we could help. Congratulations... you scored the lucky prize from Griz.
What’s up, curious?( non contact) hugs to you.
It is a rough time, a lot are feeling it.

104

Sorry to hear that you are having a rough time, Curious. Not surprised though, things were alarming enough before this virus decided to come along and destroy all the glimmers of fun in our lives. Sending hugs, hang in there!

105

Ms Spiral - In my first post about it in this thread, I said I personally found the pot odor more sickening than cigarette odor. I have consistently marked points off for both cannabis and tobacco use through my time of being socially active. This thread has had the feel for me of being the asexual virgin in church listening to an anti-gay sermon and hearing all the adulterers giving hearty approval of each statement of condemnation.

106

BDF
"Except that she literally said, "I don't want to fuck a smoker." "
But if she has been fucking this smoker, it's reasonable to conclude that she somewhat does want to fuck this smoker. The question is, what does she want more, to keep fucking him or to stop, to keep working on the marriage or leave. Like I said, time to decide if this still is a deal breaker for her or not. If it is still a deal breaker, she can show that by breaking their deal, either stopping the sex life or their marriage. It might be that it's no longer a deal breaker since she says she wants to stay married, but I agree with Dan that a sexless marriage will be a tough sell. I don't think it's jumping to divorce to say that she should start to plan to divorce if smoking is still a deal breaker. It would be nice to offer him some time, a chance to change back since she's been tolerating the smoking for a year, but it works better to accept people as they are then to plan for them to change.

"In both cases, the dealbreakers were pressure NOT to change"
The use of a deal breaker is not to tell someone else what they are allowed to do or not. It's rude to demand rather than ask, and illegal to enforce your demands. "If you start smoking then I'll leave you" is a threat. "I'm glad you don't smoke because I wouldn't date a smoker", is stating a deal breaker. The use of a deal breaker is to tell someone the circumstances under which you will end the relationship, or what sort of people you are wiling to date.

How would I know that you painted the living room pink in order to hurt me unless you told me that? Maybe you painted it pink because someone offered us lots of money if we'd paint our house that way and you were really building our income instead of trying to hurt me. I would prefer not to call you an asshole even if you said you didn't care about my feelings or wanted to hurt me, I would simply try to protect myself by moving out, and encourage you to seek therapy for wanting to hurt me.

My marital status and history informs my opinion but I'm not using it to support my opinion here, so it's irrelevant. I don't give out many personal details here, it was years before I talked about the central tragic event of my life, getting my face bashed and slashed up in a motorcycle accident in my 20s. It's been nearly a decade since I disclosed my approximate age, so maybe it's time for a refresh, I'm in my early 40s. It's not you, it's the forum.

107

I guess we're lucky to have it legal here, as the open market now offers vapors and edibles that don't leave much smell if any, easier on the lungs and throat, and also prove to be more economically sound.

108

Mr Curious - Same here. The 66 people I had signed up for Friday when I went to bed Wednesday turned into 28 by bedtime Thursday, and in the next week or two I am likely to have a large net negative income for the indefinite future.