Birth control is ruining my sex life!
Three months ago, I met a woman who I'm really into physically, emotionally, and mentally. She's someone I could see myself with. Problem is, when we started having sex, she insisted on a condom for birth control. I haven't worn one in probably eight or nine years. (I'm thirty-three now.) I would be hard, then put on the condom and start having sex, and go limp because of the feel. This happened many times over the first couple months, leading to frustration on both our parts. She went on the pill a couple weeks ago to deal with the issue, but now I've got a mental issue going on and still go limp once we start having sex. As soon as I get inside her, it's all I think about and things turn to shit. I feel like it's not a physical problem, as it hasn't happened before, so I'm not sure that drugs would even work. I don't know what to do. It's at the point of ruining this relationship.
— Futile Limp-Ass Cock Is Dreadful
Before I get to your question, FLACID, I wanna pull rank — it's my column, people — and briefly mention the staggeringly amazing thing that happened two weekends ago while I was in New York: the 8:00 p.m. performance of The Book of Mormon at the Eugene O'Neill Theater on the Saturday of Pride weekend. I didn't think it was possible, but Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone's brilliant new musical about well-intentioned Mormons on a mission exceeds the hype. It's the funniest, dirtiest, smartest thing that this showqueen has ever seen on Broadway.
Yeah, yeah, something else happened in New York while I was in town: a bill legalizing same-sex marriage was approved by the state legislature, and signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the night before we saw The Book of Mormon. And, hey, being in New York for the marriage-equality victory was nice. It was great. But The Book of Mormon — holy shit!
Okay, FLACID, if your dick goes limp once you put it inside her, stop putting it inside her. Just for now. Have oral sex, masturbate together, have lots of imaginative, nonpenetrative sex, all the while paying careful attention to her vulva, clit, orgasms, etc. A few dozen successful, low-stress sexual encounters with your girlfriend should help break the association your dick has made with her and failure. Good luck.
Yay, we won gay marriage in New York. I'm so happy, I could cry. But not tears of joy. Here's the deal: I support gay marriage. I'm a freakin' lesbian. I've been with my partner for ten years. We live together. We're the proud parents of the two cutest dogs ever. We suffer through each other's families and we're treated as a married couple for all intents and purposes by everyone in our lives. I've made passionate speeches to friends and family members about the importance of gay marriage. So in thirty days, we can get married in New York. Everyone will expect us to get married. But I don't want to. I'm happy in my relationship, I have no plans to leave, but I don't want to be married. I think part of the strength of our relationship comes from being together because we want to in the moment, not because we promised to in a moment that has long passed. How do I tell my partner and everyone else that I love her with all my heart but don't want to marry her? Or anyone else, ever?
— Defense Of Marriagephobic Asshole
Same-sex marriage is legal in New York, DOMA, not compulsory. But instead of telling your partner that you don't want to marry her, or anyone else, ever, tell her you need time. This freedom is new, hard won, and not going anywhere. There's no rush to commit to committing, DOMA, and no rush to commit to never committing. And you might want to ask your girlfriend how she feels. If she hasn't been dropping hints, picking out china, or proposing, it's possible that she feels just as conflicted or ambivalent about marriage as you do.
I've just ended a four-year relationship with a great man who didn't lay his kink cards on the table until way too late. He's your typical straight guy with a she-male fetish. Apparently, the dom pegging I provided wasn't enough, because I found a secret e-mail account where he was soliciting she-male escorts. I'm genuinely more pissed that he didn't tell me he wanted to explore this — real cock — and didn't give me the opportunity to make his fantasy fit into our life together. I can't tell if any of these escorts ever met with him, and in usual hetero-male fashion, he is mortified that I know about his darkest cock-fetish secret at all. So my question is this: as a GGG girlfriend who would honor just about any fantasy, is this secret search for a stranger the betrayal I think it is? I get it that our play isn't the same as the real thing, but isn't cheating cheating?
— Willing But Not Enough
The snooping-is-wrong absolutists will shit themselves if "snooping is wrong" doesn't appear somewhere in this response. So here it is, gang, right at the top. Heck, I'll toss it out again — "snooping is wrong" — even though I disagree. No long-term relationship is snoop-free, just as no long-term relationship is lie-free, porn-free, or thinking-about-fucking-someone-else-while-I'm-fucking-you free. And when a little snooping uncovers something like this, well, it's retroactively self-justifying.
On to your question, WBNE: your ex's secret search is the betrayal that you think it is. No question. Cheating is cheating, and the kind of cheating your ex was engaged in or contemplating amounts to a Very Serious Betrayal. He put you at risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection*, assuming he saw a sex worker, or he was thinking about putting you at risk, assuming he was about to. And it was all so unnecessary: he had a GGG girlfriend who he could've opened up to about his secret kink. He could've negotiated a deal that allowed him to explore this without betraying you or putting you at risk. But he didn't ask for permission because he was deeply ashamed, first, and terrified of losing you, second. And now he's really got something to be ashamed of — the lying and sneaking around — and he's lost you. Unless…
Unless you can find it in your heart to forgive him.
His kink cards are faceup on the table now; you know his deepest, darkest sexual fantasies, and, more importantly, he knows you know. Yes, he betrayed you, but forgiveness is meaningless if it's limited to trifles and never comes after a Very Serious Betrayal. If his kink is something you would've signed off on had he gone about things differently, perhaps you could take him back on the condition that he go about things — finding things, sucking things, getting fucked by things** — very, very differently from now on.
*I'm not saying that a man who visits a sex worker is automatically going to get a sexually transmitted infection; a good sex worker is typically more thoughtful about sexual safety than your average freebie slut. But outside sexual contact is outside sexual contact. Whomever it involves, it involves risk for the insider back at home, and it should be disclosed and discussed in advance.
**I'm not calling MTF sex workers "things." I'm calling their things things.
Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.