Savage Love

My husband gave me the go-ahead to get together with an old flame. What should I do?


By Dan Savage

I’m a happily married woman. I have a great sex life with my husband of many years. He’s helped me discover things I didn’t know about myself sexually. The problem: three years ago, my first love contacted me after twenty-three years. He was married at the time, although he didn’t want to be, and told me that he never stopped loving me. We have been having sexy e-chats ever since. My loving, GGG husband says that I can help my old flame out if I wish. What would you do in this situation?

— Chick With 2 Dicks

What would I do? Besides thank my lucky stars, kiss my loving, GGG husband, and fuck the shit out of the other guy?

A few things, CW2D.

I would think hard — brain-hard, not junk-hard — about the potential powderkegginess of the situation. Not the powderkegginess of the having-sex-with-someone-other-than-my-husband-with-my-husband’s-consent situation, but the possible-shitstorm-that-could-ensue-after-fucking-this-particular-someone-who-isn’t-my-husband situation.

This Particular Someone says he’s still in love with you, CW2D. That’s nice. Are you still in love with TPS? If not, what happens if fucking TPS reignites dormant feelings for TPS that, oh, three years (!) of texting and sexting haven’t? Even if you don’t feel any more strongly for TPS after fucking him, CW2D, what if TPS decides that you really are the one-and-only love of his life and that he absolutely, positively has to have you all to himself?

TPS isn’t some rando, as the kids say. You two share a history, CW2D, and TPS could present — or become — a threat to the stability of your happy, GGG marriage. So could a complete stranger you met on the street or online, of course, but the emotional stakes and potential for complications are much, much higher with TPS than they would be with some other dude.

So before you do TPS, CW2D, you need to think brain-hard about these issues and discuss them at length with your husband. And if you decide to go ahead with it after hashing this shit out with your husband, CW2D, be clear with TPS about what it is you want. If all you’re interested in is a friendship, some affection, and a little non-cyber sex for old time’s sake — if leaving your husband, or being poly, is out of the question — TPS needs to know that before you “help him out.”

(A note to everyone already composing angry e-mails about the qualified “go for it” I gave to CW2D: yes, yes: every couple you know who’s ever had a three-way or okayed a fling wound up divorced. And that may be true — of the couples whose three-ways and flings you know about. You know lots of couples who’ve had three-ways and flings who aren’t divorced, but you don’t know you know them. Most married couples want to be perceived as monogamous even — especially! — when they’re not. So your friends who aren’t divorcing as the result of a disastrous fling, affair, swinging experience, three-way, etc., aren’t going to tell you about all the successful flings, affairs, etc., they’ve enjoyed.)

 

I am twenty-two, standing in a bookstore on Castro Street — this is many years ago, just after I dropped out of bible college and hitchhiked to San Francisco — looking at a gay BDSM magazine for the first time in my life, trying to hide my erection, reading a story about a Master who makes his naked slave carry to his Master’s friends a six-pack of beer that’s hanging from a rope that’s tied to his nuts. To my horror, I shoot a load in my pants without touching myself.

My problem: A bit older now, I’m still very much that boy in the bookstore. The things that turn me on are what my own mind — still brainwashed by Southern Baptists — deems “bad.” I tell myself it’s okay to embrace my “kinks.” I tell myself to stop analyzing why I’m turned on by forced-exhibitionistic-sex-slave fantasies and just accept them. The problem is that I perceive my fantasies as reactionary: they exist by definition in reaction to my upbringing. What is my hard-on but a big “fuck you” to the preachers, prudes, and family members who made me miserable?

What would turn me on if I could get free of the whole fucked-up system? Am I asking questions that shouldn’t be asked? Should I just enjoy the fact that I’m turned on by humiliation and seek safe and sane situations to act out my fantasies?

— Having A Rough Day

There are people who do not share your craycrayfundy/biblestudy life experiences, HARD, who are nevertheless turned on by the exact same things you are. Human beings are primates, our cultures and societies involve all sorts of overt and covert power dynamics, and almost all humans wind up eroticizing those power dynamics to greater or lesser extents. Some of us eroticize them in subtle ways (pleasure taken in “servicing” a partner, a desire to be held down, a mild foot fetish), others more baroquely (elaborate D/s scenarios complete with props, costumes, and clearly defined roles), but power, as a gross old man once observed, is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

Even if we could determine that your kinks were shaped by your upbringing, HARD, the shit that turns you on is still going to turn you on. And if your kinks are a “fuck you” to the preachers, prudes, and family members who made you miserable — that’s a “fuck you” they earned. Let them have it. (I mean it: take pictures. Mail ’em to that preacher.)

And remember: there are people out there having vanilla, hetero, missionary intercourse in unhealthy, abusive relationships, HARD. You can explore your sexuality in healthy or unhealthy ways, just like vanilla breeders can explore their sexualities in healthy or unhealthy ways, but you can’t escape who you are and what turns you on. So stop beating yourself up, HARD, and go find a nice, kinky guy who takes that responsibility off your hands. (Here’s some great advice for gay guys just beginning to explore BDSM: tinyurl.com/bensten.)

 

Reading your column made me a supporter of the LGBT community. I get your back in formal political debates and drunken bar discussions. The LGBT community deserves equal rights, just like any other group of citizens. Period. However, I must protest Kate Bornstein’s comments in a recent column. She said that sex-positive heterosexuals who support the LBGT community — guys like me and FRAUD — are not “straight” men, but “queer heterosexual” men.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to get people who are not gay to support LGBT equality because they’re afraid that someone will call their straightness into question. Don’t make it harder.

— Liberal And Straight

Being a big ol’ queer myself, LAS, I viewed Kate’s suggestion as a compliment. But your point is well taken, everyone gets to choose his or her own label, and you’re straight in my book.

 

DID YOU MAKE AN “IT GETS BETTER” VIDEO? If you identify as LGBT, you’re eighteen years of age or older, and you made or appeared in an “It Gets Better” video, science — science! — wants to hear from you about your perspectives and experiences. If you have fifteen–twenty minutes to spare, please take this survey: http://z.umn.edu/itgetsbetter.

ARE YOU MARRIED? Have you had successful flings, affairs, swinging experiences, and three-ways that your friends and family members will never know about? Send me an e-mail, share your story, and I’ll publish it in an upcoming column.

Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.

mail@savagelove.net

@fakedansavage on Twitter

Commentarium (22 Comments)

Dec 07 11 - 8:30am
Hrrrrmm

It shocks me that there are no comments on this yet. I completely agree with the reply to CW2D. My first love is currently married and he tells me he is still in love with me. I care about him, but am so happy in my relationship and would never risk that on someone for a one time thing that in the end probably wouldn’t be worth it at all. As for CW2D, (in my personal opinion!) the biggest issue is that she spent 3 years building up her own feelings once again for an old flame. He may not have been happily married but she is, and I don’t think she should compromise that for a one time thing. Now that she has grown sexually, I feel that she is trying to show him all that she has learned. It might work, but I feel with so much emotion they both have in it, it probably won’t work out that well. I think that the GGG husband has agreed to this, but as GGG as he may be, I wonder if there is a part of him that worries because of the connection that his wife and TPS have, but being reluctant to give up his GGG status, agreed regardless. Personally, if it were me and my Husband agreed to that, I’d be flabbergasted at just how GGG he really is and give him the best fucking of his lifetime just for saying it was okay.

Dec 07 11 - 1:19pm
fkj

Agreed. (Note the capital A). Couldn't agree more.

Dec 08 11 - 8:56pm
RCFD

Excellent points Hrrrrmm. Your husband is a lucky guy.

Dec 07 11 - 11:28am
Admiral Akbar

Dear Chick With 2 Dicks: IT'S A TRAP!

Dec 07 11 - 11:43am
Lilu

HAHAHAHA.

Dec 07 11 - 1:25pm
One day ...

Chick w/2 Dicks, you will look back on this and realize who the real prize was in this scenario.

Personally, I'm for non-monogamy as anyone else, but I just can't help but wonder how even a "tolerated" fling will affect your admittedly GGG marriage. Is it worth it? Only you can say for sure, but think about it.

Dec 07 11 - 1:48pm
nope

Totally agreed. The best thing she could get out of this scenario isn't a messy fling that you know through text messages and a half-century old memory; it's the knowledge that she has the best husband in the fucking universe, and she has to lock that shit down.

Dec 07 11 - 5:07pm
sd

We've been married for over 20 years and swinging for at least 15. It works great for us. With the exception on 2 of our friends, everyone else in our family and friends have no clue. However, there's a huge difference in what CW2D wants to do and normal swinging. That difference is love and that’s super dangerous. The people that we choose to be with, are our friends but we don’t love them. We like them and are attracted to them but the only love involved is between me and my wife. It’s a 100% unbreakable rule that we have that we will not attempt to hook up with anyone that we had a relationship with in the past. Possible outcomes…. I can easily see TPS thinking he’s won her over and when she goes back to GGG, he won’t be able to accept that. Another possibility is that CW2D could also have old feelings reignited and want to leave GGG. Then again, it all could work out and everyone has fun but I’m not putting my money on that option.

Dec 09 11 - 4:56pm
First Time Caller

My money is that CW2D has been sexting this guy and is entertaining banging him because she kind of wants him instead of Mr. GGG Hubby.

Dec 07 11 - 5:42pm
Bob in Tampa

Regarding Chicks with 2 Dicks, I actually wish she had expanded a bit more on how the discussion with her husband went. Did she tell him 3 years ago about the fact that she and her old flame had re-connected online or did she have to explain to him 3 years of sex-ting? Did he OK the sexting? How did he take the disclosure of the 3 years of sexting? Next, how did the subject of her "helping out an old flame" come about? I mean, i know there are many couples who have open and candid discussions about "opening" their marriage - but i didn't get the feeling that CW2D and her hubby ARE or WERE PLANNING to start swinging? Again, the fact that CW2D's hubby didn't blow a gasket when he found out his wife was exchanging sexy emails with an ex is one thing but giving CW2D the green light to f#ck an ex with no string, worries, or guidelines does strike me as a bit unbelievable! Is there a quid-pro-quo? Hmmm

Lastly, no matter how hot the sexting is, its VERY VERY RARE when the fantasy of having sex with someone else ever matches reality. Sometimes its better to revel in the fantasy and let it be just that!

Dec 07 11 - 7:12pm
BS

GGG is a wuss and a worthless cuckold chump for letting his wife convince him it is ok to fuck a another person. CW2Ds is just another greedy slut, that will never be happy. Their births are the exact reason I am firmly for abortion.

Dec 08 11 - 5:31pm
Sigh

Trololol.

Dec 11 11 - 3:44pm
@BS

Wow, being so pro-choice, one would think that you would at least not call women "Sluts" that will, apparently, never be happy. Also, does not sounds like your too happy yourself.

Dec 11 11 - 11:58pm
Johnson

What makes you accuse him/her of unhappiness except for the cretinous need to "win" with a gotcha? You're both kind of douchey.

Dec 10 11 - 4:20pm
Brune Hilda

So CW2D, once you fuck the ex, and discover that your GGG hubby interpreted that as a release for him to fuck another chick, how are you gonna react?

Dec 10 11 - 10:47pm
Ricochet

CW2D, as others and Michael have said, this is a pretty risky proposition. Obviously, you feel a need to explore this thing with a long lost love. Giving you advice based on anecdotal evidence is hardly helpful. But you better know WHAT would be the worst case scenario for YOU, should you go ahead with this. I of course have no idea what that would be for you. But you better know. Because you have to toss that into the mix when making your decision, and it better have a lot more weight in the decision than anything else.

The only thing I would add is your husband's a fool and you don't deserve him.

Dec 11 11 - 8:54am
Simon1234

Hahaha
Wanna find a casual encounter, ___CasualLoving dot com__ is a good place. Best wishes.

Dec 11 11 - 4:54pm
jparkes

Don't. Just...don't.

Dec 11 11 - 5:49pm
jamie

yo husband is a dum fuck

Dec 12 11 - 10:26am
Cake For Everyone

cw2d: How would you be with it if your husband was in the same situation? If he's let you go through with it, it's not unreasonable for him to have someone he also wants to play with. Are you up for that? If not, don't do it.

Dec 12 11 - 5:57pm
in Bed With Married

"Help him out?" Is it possible that the Husband sort of wasn't listening and just nodding, "Right, dear, uh-huh, you do that..."

jill
http://inbedwithmarriedwomen.blogspot.com

Dec 17 11 - 11:26pm
Fancy Face

It will cone back and bite you in the behind. If you want to experience other guys, its called get a divorce first. Good luck in the future of your marriage.