Q My husband and I have been married for just a year, but we dated for ten years prior to that. I thought we had a very understanding, open relationship, but in the last couple of days I found out that he has a serious obsession with females wearing running shoes. He had in the past hinted at the fact that it turns him on, but I had no idea of the scope of this obsession. Now I've discovered that he spends many hours a week devoted to this fetish. He was sloppy in covering his tracks one day, and I found evidence on his computer.
I should also mention that when he told me he thought running shoes were hot, I thought he meant on me, not on all living and breathing females.
I believed that he could trust me enough to be open with me, but he's been hiding this from me for 11 years! I'm still in shock and not quite sure how to deal with it. He obviously feels ashamed, otherwise he would have told me years ago. But why didn't he at least bring this up before we got married? I had a right to know what I was getting into. I don't know if I can live with knowing that he gets a hard-on for every running-shoe-wearing woman who goes by. I feel betrayed and creeped out.
He says that he didn't want to hurt me, but he has done just that. I feel physically sick to my stomach knowing that I didn't really know who he was all this time. We still have to work it out and really talk about our new situation. But I'm beginning to think our marriage isn't going to survive this. Am I being too sensitive? How can I fix my marriage? —Dumbfounded in Brooklyn
A Does your husband like your tits only, DIB, or can he get a hard-on for every tits-wearing woman who goes by? Does he like your pussy only, DIB, or can he get a hard-on for every pussy-having woman who goes by?
If your marriage can survive your husband's being attracted to tits and pussy generally but attracted to your tits and pussy particularly, your marriage should be able to survive your awareness that your husband is into women in running shoes generally but into you in running shoes particularly.
Why did he keep it from you? Because he was ashamed, DIB, because guys with fetishes are told—hey there, Prudie—that they're disturbed and unlovable, and because no one bothers to inform straight women that fetishes are to male sexuality what lies are to a Fox News broadcast: likelier to be present than not. So he dropped hints but didn't tell you during year one—or year two, three, or four, etc—because he was afraid you'd have the reaction you're having at year 11.
So what do you do now? You forgive him, if you give a shit about your marriage, and you do a little reading about male sexuality. Daniel Bergner's The Other Side of Desire is a good place to start.
And ladies? If your boyfriend or husband has "hinted" at the fact that something or other turns him on, you can safely assume that this something or other really does turn him on.
Q A good friend of mine is engaged to a woman with an extremely low sex drive. He'd like to have sex every day; she barely responds to his touch. I advised him to work up the nerve to suggest an "understanding" or to disengage. If he's this frustrated as a 27-year-old fiance, how's he going to feel after five years in a monogamous marriage? —Concerned Buddy
A Either your buddy won't be married in five years, or he won't be monogamously married. Either way, CB, you spoke up, and that's all a friend is required to do under the circumstances. Now you have to stand back and let your buddy make the biggest mistake of his life.
Q I assume you've heard of Chatroulette by now. I discovered it about four weeks ago, and I'm strangely turned on by all the dudes on there jerking off. I've started to show my tits to some of these dudes because it's such a massive turn-on for me (who knew I had this exhibitionist streak in me?). My husband doesn't know about any of this. However, all this sexual arousal is redirected his way in the form of really hot, passionate fucking!
I feel bad about not telling my husband. Do you think this is cheating? If you say it is, Dan, I'll stop. —Clever Acronym
A I don't want to call what you're doing—flashing random Chatroulette pervs—cheating, as cheating is such an ugly word, but odds are good that your husband would call it that.
Even so, CA, I'm reluctant to tell you to stop. Spend a few weeks reading my e-mails, and you'll come to regard anything—anything at all—that lights a fire under the marital bed as a universal good. So talk to your husband. Tell him that—like everyone else on earth—you "discovered" Chatroulette about four weeks ago. Then tell him you were surprised by (1) just how many dudes are jerking off in front of their computers at any given moment and (2) just how turned on you were by their exhibitionism. Confess that you've been a bit obsessed with the site, add that it's why you've been so horny lately, and then invite him to join you for a session. If he seems into the idea, or gets into it once you're online, sheepishly confess that you've been flashing a little skin yourself.
Then fuck the husband's brains out.
Confidential to Savage Lovers: I need to ask you to do something. Not for me, but for a teenage lesbian who lives in a small town. Constance McMillen is a senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi. When she asked the school if she could attend prom with her girlfriend, she was told no. When McMillen pressed her case, the Itawamba County School Board canceled prom rather than allow her to attend with her girlfriend. The school board had to know what would happen next: other students at Itawamba Agricultural blamed Constance for getting prom canceled and "ruining senior year." Constance is now being harassed and bullied.
Last week the ACLU filed a lawsuit on McMillen's behalf in U.S. District Court in Oxford, seeking a court order forcing the school board to reinstate the prom and to allow McMillen to attend with her girlfriend, a fellow student, and to wear a tuxedo, something the board also claimed was against school policy.
But more can be done. The school board claims it canceled prom to avoid "distractions." Now it's up to us—to decent people everywhere—to make sure that bigotry and discrimination are a much bigger distraction for the Itawamba County School District than inclusion and tolerance ever could've been.
E-mail, call, and fax Itawamba Schools superintendent Teresa McNeece (email@example.com, phone 662-862-2159 ext. 14, fax 662-862-4713) and Itawamba Agricultural principal Trae Wiygul (firstname.lastname@example.org, 662-862-3104). Then join the Facebook page "Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to Prom." And finally, make donations to the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition (mssafeschools.org), which is organizing an alternate prom that will welcome all students, and make a larger donation to the ACLU LGBT Project (tinyurl.com/yl9mvkb), which is defending not just McMillen but other gay and lesbian teenagers across the country.
Call, write, fax, donate. Constance McMillen needs to know that there are people all over the world who are on her side. And, more important, Itawamba County Schools need to know that we're not going to let them get away with this. Be respectful, but be relentless. Let's show these bigots what distraction looks like. Get 'em.