Advice

Miss Information

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As always, you can email your questions to erin@nerve.com. Letters may be edited for length, content and clarity.



Dear Miss Information,
I’m shacking up with a guy who’s in an open relationship with his girlfriend in Korea. He himself will be leaving for Japan within a year. I’m okay with the fact that this relationship isn’t meant to last.

The only part I can’t accept is that during every sex session he says the words "I love you." It’s not as awkward as an orgasm-induced love proclamation, but coupled with all the affection he lavishes on me, it makes me uneasy. I’m worried it’s going to mess with my head and ruin this good thing between us. How do I tell him to not say that, while not making him feel awkward? — Deaf Lover

Dear Deaf Lover,
Not to stereotype swingers, open-relationshippers and polys, but my experience has been that an "I love you" from them often has a different meaning.
There’s a Sting-type sub-genus for whom "I love you" translates not only to "I love you" but also to "I love my close friends, my distant acquaintances, marijuana, a blue-eyed baby I saw in K-Mart (so beautiful, man! so sage beyond her years!), marijuana and French monarchs."
Still others are hedonists, with "I love you" being another way of saying "I love this experience." Them touching you. You touching them. The whole pink enchilada — from railing to snuggling. They get all hopped up on endorphins and the verbal hyperbole just follows.
A third kind of open-relationship "I love you" is used to communicate to the third party that he or she is valued. Even though they have a regular partner, and the two of you have a sexual relationship, they really dig you as a person. You are not just a random hookup or a side dish.
There are many more interpretations, but I’ll stop here. The point is: think about what could be motivating him, before you issue your cease-and-desist. It’ll help you communicate in a way that’s less stilted/one-sided and more empathetic/understanding. Start by complimenting him on all the things you enjoy about the relationship. Play up the honesty and communication, and use specific examples — issues that were worked out, fights that were resolved, little conflicts that could have evolved into something bigger but didn’t.

Then, make the transition into what’s bothering you. Tell him why it bothers you — whether it’s because you fear him saying it will make you fall for him, or you think it’s cheesy, or you don’t feel comfortable hearing those words because you associate them with a deeper commitment — one that’s not possible right now, given the current situation.

Close on a positive. You enjoy being with him, you appreciate the affection, and you want him to feel free to tell you you’re hot, awesome and the cat-bee’s knee pajamas. Just leave the I-love-yous out of it.
It’s a small request. I’m sure he’ll understand. The only reason he might not is if he really does love you and is feeling torn between you and his long-distance girlfriend. Then you’ve got a bigger problem than three little words. How do you feel about Korea?


Dear Miss Information,
After my husband and I have sex, I always have a towel nearby to wipe up the excess fluid. This really bothers him. He says it’s unnecessary and (this is a direct quote) "impersonal." He wants to clean up by giving each other oral right after. We don’t use condoms, and my — umm — area gets sloppy and sticky. I don’t mind doing that to him, although it’s not the first activity on my wish list. I just can’t see him wanting to do that to me. Am I being uptight? Do other people do actually do this, outside of porn stars?
— What’s Wrong with Terry Cloth

Dear What’s Wrong With Terry Cloth,
Uh, yeah. People do that. Do a Google search for "creampie" or "felching" and check out some discussion boards. It’s not the safest practice, particularly if he’s going down on you after visiting the rear port. But if you’re monogamous, all tested-up and know about the health implications, there’s nothing wrong with letting your tongues bat clean-up.
I find it kind of odd that he’s so interested. Most of us are in a fugue state after sex — somewhere between passed out and counting the minutes until it’s no longer insensitive to turn on the television set. This is the behavior of someone who is, one, over-sensitive, two, over-controlling, or three, over-eager to venture into new sexual waters. My money’s on #3.
Your norms are your own and they’re one-hundred percent valid. Although I will say that on the sex continuum, with one extreme being a politician fisting a monkey while wearing a Baltimore Orioles uniform, and the other being two Latter-Day Saints going at it through a hole in the sheet, your hubby eating you out after sex is barely good enough to get you out of the mid-1950s. The taste and odor issue? Not your problem. He’s the one who wants to go there, he’s doing all the initiating. If he gets there and smells/tastes something unsavory, he’ll stop. OMG! End of the world. Why should you be embarrassed? Your vag didn’t get that way on its own. His cock sweat is half the reason.
My advice? Provided doesn’t completely turn you off , let him have at your messy bits on occasion. Meanwhile, work on your timing. Are you rolling off him and then immediately toweling yourself off like one of those crazed chamois salesman you see on infomercials? Calm the fuck down, then. Power through those first five to ten minutes, snuggling and cooing and making goo-goo eyes at him, then set about your cleanup routine. He’ll probably be asleep by then, anyway. A second solution is to do your cleaning in the bathroom on the pretext of another bedtime procedure — taking out your contacts or brushing your teeth. Yeah, it’s a little dishonest, but if it makes him feel better and you feel better, then fuck it. He gets input, but not complete control over every facet of your post-sex behavior.


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©2008 Erin Bradley and Nerve.com