Q I’m a 42-year-old single, straight female who recently started dating a 36-year-old man in a somewhat exclusive, long-distance relationship. We have known each other for a short time, but have clocked hours upon hours on the phone. I have specifically stated many times I don’t want kids of my own (he does), am extremely safety conscious (only when I see someone’s STI results and know we’re 100 percent monogamous will I go “bareback”) and am against hormonal contraception. Therefore, I’ve insisted on the use of condoms since our very first encounter, which he at first reluctantly agreed to, but has since obliged without incident. He is expressively into me and treats me better than any guy I’ve dated; cooks for me, gives me massages, buys me gifts, showers me with compliments, listens to me at any hour of the night and has shown nothing but respect towards me since Day 1.
Until our last sexual encounter. He woke me up in the morning clearly aroused and ready for sexy time. He asked if he could enter me, and after I said yes, I grabbed a condom for him and he put it on. We were spooning at the time so he entered me from behind. At one point early in the encounter, I reached back to grab his hand, and all of a sudden, felt the condom he had been wearing laid out on the bed. Shocked and outraged, I immediately stopped and turned to him asking, “Why did you take this off?” To which he replied, “Because I wanted to cum faster.” All I could muster back was, “Do you have any idea how bad that is? I can’t even look at you.” I covered my eyes and cried uncontrollably for a few minutes.
—Stealthed On Suddenly A Nope. Someone is probably gonna jump into the comments thread to make the obvious (and objectively true) point that anything is forgivable. People have forgiven worse—I mean, there are mothers out there who’ve forgiven the people that murdered their children. But moms who’ve found it within themselves to forgive their children’s murderers… yeah, they don’t have to live with, take meals with or sleep with their children’s murderers. I’m not saying that forgiving the person who murdered your kid is easy (I wouldn’t be able to do it), but most people who’ve “forgiven worse” never have to lay eyes on the person they forgave again. So while it may be true that people have forgiven worse, SOS, I don’t think you should forgive this. And here’s why: You only just started dating this guy and all the good qualities you listed—everything that made him seem like a good, decent, lovely and possibly loving guy (the cooking, the massages, the compliments, etc.)—is the kind of best-foot-forward fronting a person does at the start of a new relationship. Not only is there nothing wrong with that, SOS, but you wouldn’t want to date someone who didn’t do that at the start, because the kind of person who doesn’t make the effort to impress early in a relationship is the kind of person who can’t be bothered to make any effort later in the relationship.
We all erect those facades, SOS, but some people are slapping those facades on slums you wouldn’t wanna live in, while others are slapping them on what turns out to be pretty decent housing. And if I may continue to torture this metaphor: When the first cracks appear in the facade, which they inevitably do, and you get a peek behind it, you aren’t a fool if it turns out there’s a slum there. You’re only a fool if you move in instead of moving on.
Anyway, SOS, everybody fronts, but eventually, those facades fall away and you get to see people for who and what they really are. And the collapse of your new boyfriend’s facade revealed him to be a selfish and uncaring asshole with no respect for your body or your boundaries. He was on his best behaviour until he sensed your guard was down, at which point he violated and sexually assaulted you. Those aren’t flaws you can learn to live with or actions you can excuse. Move on.
Q I am a 27-year-old man in an open marriage with a wonderful partner. They’re my best friend, I smile whenever they walk into the room, and we have a ton in common. We don’t, however, have that much sex. I’m currently seeing someone else and our sex is great. We’ve explored some light BDSM and pegging, and I’m finding myself really enjoying being a sub. I’m kind of terrified that, as a man, I might accidentally violate someone’s boundaries. I’m also autistic, which makes navigating cues from partners rather difficult. Completely submitting to someone else weirdly makes me feel totally safe and free for kind of the first time. The problem is, my spouse is also pretty subby. When they do try to initiate sex, it’s often so subtle that I totally miss the signals. In the past month, I’ve had sex with my spouse maybe once, compared to four or five times with my other partner. My question is this: Have you seen examples of people in open marriages who essentially fulfill their sexual needs with secondary partners, while still maintaining a happy companionable partnership with their primary?
—Sexually Understanding Butt-Boy
A I’ve personally known people in loving, happy, sexless marriages who aren’t leading sexless lives; their marriages are companionate—some can even be described as passionate—but both halves seek sexual fulfillment with secondary, tertiary, quaternary, etc., partners. But companionate open marriages only work when it’s what both partners want, and your partner’s feelings are conspicuously absent from your letter. How do they feel about being in a sexless or nearly sexless marriage? Your spouse would seem to be interested in having sex with you—they occasionally try to initiate—but perhaps your spouse is just going through the motions because they think it’s what you want. So… you’re gonna need to have a conversation with your spouse about your sex lives. If you’ve found being told what to do in unsubtle ways by your Dominant second partner to be sexually liberating, SUBB, you could ask your spouse to be a little less subtle when they want initiate—or, better yet, ask them not to be subtle at all. Nowhere is it written that subs like you and your spouse have to be subtle or sly or stand there waiting for others to initiate. “I am feeling horny and I’d really like to have sex tonight” is something submissives can and do say.
H ey, everybody: The deadline is right around the corner to submit short films—five minutes or less—to HUMP!, my dirty little film festival! Your HUMP! film can be hardcore, softcore, live-action, animated, kinky, vanilla, gay, straight, lesbian, trans, enby: everyone and everything is welcome in HUMP! And HUMP! films are only screened in theatres—we don't release anything online—so you can be a porn star in a movie theatre for a weekend without having to be a porn star for eternity on the internet! The deadline to submit your film is September 13! Go to humpfilmfest.com to find out more about entering HUMP!.
Have a question about sex, sexuality or relationships? Email it to Dan Savage, it could get answered in the column some week soon.