Longtime Reader In Sexually Unfulfilling Relationship Knows What She Has To Do



He doesn’t care about anal sex, blow jobs, and porn?

This is a healthy, adult, human male we’re talking about, right?

‘Cause every healthy, adult, human male that I know—gay and str8–thinks about anal sex, blow jobs, and porn about 60 times a minute. Could just be my sample group, tho.


No No No that’s all he says.. Dump this man already.
Or you know while in isolation tell him to mind his own bees wax and you’ll watch what you want, check out fetlife, maybe even join, and he can shut it. Jesus fucking christ, what is wrong with some of you young women?


Didn’t we have this question last week? I love every bit of our relationship except for the sex bit!
These men are damaged goods. Yeah go for it, LW, years of trying to change them. Take it from me, don’t bother. Deeply damaged people only change if they want to. And why should this man look to changing, LW, you indulge his damage so he doesn’t need to confront it.


He doesn’t care about anal sex, blow jobs, and porn and you're still single and in the dating phase? Oh boy... I don't even want to think what is going to be like it some years, a couple more pounds and two kids down the line. Prepare yourself for a lust-less life with this man. If you're ok and ready for that go head and marry him.


He doesn't care about anal, blowjobs, porn or BDSM because he doesn't have to. You've been giving him everything he wants without getting any of that in return. If you want him to accommodate your needs you have to stop letting this be such a one-sided relationship.


Sorry LW, I was a bit harsh. How can you believe your relationship is great when this man denies you your physical pleasures, as well as his own?
I’d stand up to him, because your private erotic time is none of his business, unless your porn watching interferes with the sex life, which it doesn’t because the sex life seems dead. If there are separate rooms, then have one each.
You can’t make someone want what you want, you can only work out a way to coexist or look to ending it. You denying yourself, is not the answer. Nor is cheating, which was Dan’s first thought.


"I don’t get letters from people in your situation whose partners eventually opened up to them sexually or who reconciled themselves to a sexless or sexually unfulfilling relationship and are blissfully happy. Happy people don't send letters to advice columnists to let us know everything's going great."

Could you request some of these, Dan? Now might be a great time for a bunch of "everything sucked (or refused to suck) until..." letters.


I've spoken up about this before, and now I'm disgusted.

Dan tells us in his initial response that, unlike PHSUML who has integrity, he "would’ve done a whole lot more than consider [cheating]"?

Of course I know that there are hypotheticals in which circumstances make it right to cheat. But nothing in PHSUML's letter suggests any of those circumstances. Her situation doesn't involve children or a partner she's caring for let alone who's in a coma, etc etc.

In short there's no good reason she couldn't leave, or that she couldn't (as Dan effing scripts in his followup) attempt negotiation for her needs before leaving.

And that's what honor and integrity demand. (Not secretly breaking a promise to get everything you want including not leaving. That's what a person who deserves no trust would do.)

Does that take too much guts? (Oh, and asking for what one needs is not coercion; a relationship is like a contract both parties are free [absent circumstances non-existent in this letter] to renegotiate.)

Maybe six months ago when I last had a mini-rant about this, I said something like that it seems to me Dan started with lying to a partner being Ok under certain circumstances, to leaping to that absent such circumstances it's not Ok. And Dan makes that kind of unethical leap in other circumstances too. I'm saying this not as a hater, Dan; I'm hoping you'll make an effort to ground your statements ethically not just for those in your life, but for your important role in society.

We already have a President who models their word meaning nothing, do we really need the world's greatest relationship advice columnist modelling that to society too?


good god. just break up. don't draw the suffering out with an ultimatum of openness. if they accept, it'll just make your spouse as miserable as possible before you call it quits. just be a fucking adult, acknowledge your mistake, and move on.

also, if you spend another 20 years listening to a sex advice columnist, try to listen extra hard when they talk about the importance of sexual compatibility. you appear to have missed the number 1 lesson during your first 20 years.


Jeez, Dan, you've got cheating on the brain. Just leave outright, don't bother with the slow cheating breakup route.


correction @8
"absent such circumstances it's not Ok"
should be
"absent such circumstances it's STILL Ok"


I could totally get not wanting to be flogged. Or receive anal. But unwilling to flog you? Do anal in you? Jeez.

Is he willing to swat a spider? Will he use a plunger on a clogged toilet? Those are just decent roommate behaviors. You're only asking for a similar level of effort but which yields ORGASMS for and gratitude from the partner he supposedly loves.

Dan speaks of PUDs (poly under duress) who later come around. This is more extreme - anything other than missionary PIV with the lights off is too much for him? Too much for him to handle due to deep, deep sexual negativity? Or too much for him to bother with, if it's only your pleasure? Either way, he's damaged goods.
Leave him. Tell him why. You can leave open the possibility of getting together again if he deals with his issues (a score of receipts from a therapist's office are required) and decides your pleasure has some importance to him but in meantime, date other men, 92.3% of which will be happy to find such a sex-positive partner.


I'm quietly groaning in the corner - and it has nothing to do with sex. But as long as I keep hitting my head against the wall I don't have to focus on this LW who comes across as a doormat, a sexually adventurous one, but still a doormat.

Even if he's not interested in any aspects of BDSM or anal, a partner who doesn't perk up when someone initiates a blowjob is being rude. She claims she doesn't want to hurt him - but he hurts her every time he ignores her efforts.

He's not a nice guy and the LW deserves much better.


Curious, I think one has to make allowances for Dan Not being a heterosexual man. He must get perplexed by these constant tales of sexual woes and people, mainly women, saying yes but I Love Him, and I don’t want to leave. Also being a Libra, the tendency can be to step around the problem. That’s why we’re here, to steady the ship, if need be.


Andrew @1, just your sample group.

"blowjobs are met with silence" -- this is ambiguous to me. I've known men who simply don't make any noise until they are actually coming, and don't seem to realise that a bit of verbal encouragement in the form of moaning or words would greatly improve the giver's experience. My ex-husband met blowjobs with silence until I asked him, are you enjoying this? are you even awake? Once I asked him to give some indication that he was enjoying himself, he did. Yay! It strikes me, though, that this may not be PHSUML's solution, that either she's asked him to make some noise and he won't, or that "met with silence" means he isn't enjoying himself. What a tragedy. Mr PHSUML has a 0 GGG score. I can't imagine getting to month three with someone like that, let alone year three. PHSUML, you can't change him. There are other men out there with all your guy's good qualities plus a sense of sexual adventure. Dump him and go find one, or several.

LouChe @7, Dan actually did run an "I stuck with bad sex and it got better" column at one point. I think the difference is that the partners in these letters were more willing to work at it. I wonder if PHSUML has asked her partner about the source of his hangups? Some of the improved partners, I recall, had religious-based hangups that they were able to work through, thus solving their problems.

Curious @8, yes, I agree that cheating is not justified in this situation. Leaving is, yes. Demanding a BDSM hall pass, yes. But cheating? She is not stuck in this relationship for any of the reasons you cite. If the sex life is intolerable, don't tolerate it. Boring sex with someone you're not even married to does not confer the right to cheat.

Lava @14, I disagree. I think it's bold and realistic to say that sometimes cheating is the least worst option. But there are far better options here. She is not stuck and nobody, gay or straight or otherwise, gets a pass for cheating when the only issue is that the sex is boring. Sure, gay male culture is generally more accepting of monogamish relationships, but cheating is not monogamishamy. Dan should maintain a higher standard of ethics, that's what advice should be about.


Curious @8, we could be charitable and assume Dan was employing hyperbole when he said he'd have done more than think about cheating, as he did not go on to advise PHSUML to cheat.


No anal, flogging, or porn? WTF? You know that studies into the impact porn has on men are limited because of the difficulty finding guys who don't consume porn to act as a control group?

Anyway, from what you say, other than the sexual part you find him to be a lovely person. However, your sexual desires are so mismatched that this is going to, at best, blow up. The alternative is long term misery on your part. You are on the adventurous side and have found about the most vanilla guy I've ever heard of. Move on when you can and while you can, and become friends if you can.


Mike @17, perhaps Mr PHSUML should offer himself as a subject for these studies.

It's also possible that he watches porn on his own but has no interest in watching it with PHSUML, which I find more likely. But while uncommon, men who don't watch porn do exist. It does seem a sad irony that a woman who's into porn found herself with one of the very few men who's not. They seem like they'd both be better matched with other partners.


Aha! https://www.thestranger.com/savage-love/2018/07/03/28590948/savage-love


Seeing that 2018 column makes me wonder about how long Dan (and everybody else) was insisting that sex history was an entirely irrelevant bit of detail, and that anybody who cared about it was a garbage person. Turns out that the best predictor of someone being sexually forwards and adventurous is someone who's been sexually forwards and adventurous in the past, and that this is useful compatibility information to get out of the way early on.

Specific to Mr. PHSUML, I'll be charitable and assume that he's ace, or more likely has been shamed for his desires to the point that he's repressed them. The former will require some concessions on his end (read: some amount of openness) if he also considers this relationship great in all other ways and worth working hard for. The latter might require similar concessions, and will definitely require him to put in some work to untangle his issues. (Yes, coronavirus. Therapists still do telemedicine, and nothing except his own issues prevents him from talking to you, trying to prioritize your pleasure, and broadening his own horizons.) The lockdown means that he has time to decide what option for changing the status quo is most palatable for him. If the answer is "none", that says worrying things about how much he'll compromise in future conflicts and could mean splitting as soon as the pandemic lockdown lets up.


ChiTodd @20, finding sexual history relevant does not make one a garbage person. Pressing for a "number" or shaming someone for having a sexual history makes one a garbage person, since, as you say, it can only be a positive predictor of a good sex life in future. (Age would seem to be a factor here; to flip things round, lack of sexual history might not necessarily mean the person will be a repressed or a boring shag.) As someone with an adventurous history myself, I will indeed be up front about that with a new partner, so I can weed out slut shamers who don't deserve my time and expertise. ;)


@10 Mtn. Beaver
Wow that was pithy. Yes, "the slow cheating breakup route" is a theme of Dan's.

@14 LavaGirl
That was a wise observation. Yes, I can relate to thinking that a gay man might feel it wasn't his place to disagree with

"mainly women, saying yes but I Love Him, and I don’t want to leave"

(In that I can imagine thinking it wasn't my place to comment on relationship dynamics not in my own sphere of experience. Though I can't think of any examples of /that/ actually having stopped me.)

(Whereas I think it's near the top of his job description.)

@16 BiDanFan
Yes I could be charitable, but I take everything too literally, and this is a theme of Dan's that brought me to a boil.


I take Mr Curious' point. Except for the two-word "Not now." we find "cheat", "cheating" or "it" referring to cheating in every sentence of the first response. The second was much better.

As for Ms Lava, while gays are not immune from, "But I love him and don't want to leave," (whether that is to our credit or to our shame is open to interpretation) it seems safe enough to say that historically cheating has been presented from our perspective not as a sure way to be kicked out of Paradise but more as being hung for a sheep instead of a lamb.


Surely that ought to be "hanged".


Venn @24, I love you for that.


@23 venn
That "Not now" doesn't change what Dan said he would have done, which was what I focused upon. But you're right, it does specify that he's not telling the LW "I'm not saying you should cheat" yet, which is good.


@26 p.s.
Oh geez I'm not editing my Comments very well. Here I write "not telling" when I meant "telling".

And I see I made various grammatical errors @8 like ending sentence two with a question mark for no reason.

I got no excuse. It's not like I have a lot of appointments to show up to.


@curious: I don't think any of us are operating on all of our cylinders right now. No worries.


Curious @22, you're right that Dan's immediate and first thought was "cheat." Now perhaps that's because she said she didn't want to leave, but still. "Reconsider leaving" or "reconsider pressing for non-monogamy" should have been the go-to, rather than "consider cheating." Anyone else, I'd be inclined to continue being charitable and proffer that perhaps he meant, if it's so bad she's considered cheating she should leave him before she succumbs to that temptation, but I think we do know Dan better than that. (After all, he was the one who even brought up cheating; LW did not state that she was thinking about it.)
And agree with ciods about all of our minds being on more pressing matters than grammar.


This isn't a "cheat or not to cheat" question. You are sexually mismatched & your partner doesn't want to "fix" that. "He doesn't like anal, blowjobs are met with silence, and porn is out of the question." UGH! MOVE ON! FIND A BETTER MATCH! Youre only 34. Don't prolong this for another 66 years and have the candles on your 100th birthday cake be the only thing you've blown in the last half-century.


I suppose his "settling" for what she wants is a lesser ask than her "settling" for what he wants, but I don't think that's why Mr Savage chose that as his second(?) solution. Not that a punitive element might not be in order (on the limited evidence available, I doubt I'd want to take the brief to argue that BF doesn't deserve to be cheated on), but, for both of them to be happy with one of them "settling", given her current misery in the position, surely he'd have to love her more.

Mr Savage is reminding me of Mr Shaitana from Cards on the Table, whose appreciation for successful murderers resulted in his dinner party for four presumed murderers and four sleuths of various stripes. To adapt Poirot's argument, it's not that some people don't deserve a cheating partner, but rather that cheating has deleterious effects on the character of the cheater.


See? There's a comment from an anouymous respondent whose relationship got better!


@ 6. Lava. I agree that cheating probably shouldn't be the lw's first thought.

I never know how to take 'I love him very much and I'm content in the other aspects of our relationship'. It's not a swinging eulogy--'he's brilliant, funny, charismatic, successful, good-looking and has only this one vexatious blind spot'. My sense is that women, much more than men, have been schooled into saying the glass is half-full. 'Content' and the guy is not giving in bed ...--you want that to be your next forty years? I'd ask the lw why she hasn't insisted on her sexual fulfilment before with this guy. Because it's not that important to her? Because it's an effort to her not to think of porn and anal as wrong or dirty? Because that's how her bf thinks of them, and she doesn't want to get in a battle trying to convince him? Because she fears losing him if she makes a stand on her own sexual pleasure?


@15 DavidinKenai. I agree and think this well and straightforwardly out.

@18. Bi. I would guess he's embarrassed of the porn he watches.

There should really be more information in PHSUML's letter. She says she's been a reader of Dan's for years ... the impression I got was that Dan has helped her in not finding stuff she's into shameful or flat-out wrong on the basis of religious aversion. And my supposition, too, was that he was from the same sort of Christian background and had the conservative views of sexuality he was raised with.... In a sense, this is too much supposition; and what would be more helpful, and clearer, is the advice that she should make a stand on what she wants in bed. Say, first of all, to him that it's a big deal. It's not just what goes on in the dark; it's one of the pillars of their relationship, maybe the main one. And I think that many people, even sex-negative people, would accept the idea that what goes on in bed is a litmus test of how the wider relationship is going. Getting her partner to address this thought could force more of a definitive answer from him as to whether he's willing to experiment sexually or grant her a pass or not.


Dan's saying, in effect, 'in your place, I wouldn't just have considered cheating, I would have cheated' isn't exactly condoning cheating for someone in the situation of the lw. He's saying something more like, 'sorely tested as your are, I would possibly have suffered a lapse and cheated--before I had fully worked out what I was, and was not, entitled to do'. What a person thinks, in full lucidity of mind, as an older person and honored, reflective expert, that PHSUML can do, ethically, and what impulsive actions can be condoned on PHSUML's part aren't the same thing. I don't think anyone supposes that the optimal answer in this young woman's case is 'cheat'.

If PHSUML was fishing for that answer--and I don't think she was--the fishing would have been slightly dishonorable, since there are much better alternative courses of action.