Can you please explain chronic infidelity?
I was involved with a man for eight years, and for the last two he was constantly on the sneak. He had one "steady" and several casuals. I knew about the steady but didn't find out about the casuals until after I bailed. His reasons for cheating ranged from the grossly immature, "I'm bored by you," to the cruel, "You don't turn me on anymore," to the banal, "We've become different people." (Yeah, you became a big, fucking creep.) We went to couples counseling together to try and patch things up, all the while he continued to see Miss Fascinating Turn-On and others. What I'm trying to understand is why a person would behave in such a cruel manner. If indeed I was such a boring, sexless, "different" creature, why continue our relationship? Why make the effort to go to therapy, and still continue to cheat?
If a person wants to play the field, why commit in the first place? Why live with a person, buy furniture, cars, and all the accessories that go along with making a future together, and then just blow it all?
I shan't be able to explain away "chronic infidelity" in so small a space, but I do have some theories about what was probably going on with your ex that will fit in this column.
Two years before you dumped him, he realized he wanted out of this relationship: he was bored, he wasn't into you sexually anymore, he was different, you were different--whatever the reason, he wants out. But he can't quite face it--the reality of breaking it off, that is, the moment of looking you in the eye and saying, "Honey, it's over. Can I keep the car?" Maybe, perversely, he couldn't face that moment because he didn't want to hurt you. Or maybe he just didn't want to have to start doing his own laundry again. But he nevertheless began to think of himself as single, since for him the relationship was over and dead, despite the fact that you were still living together--and still "officially" seeing each other.
So he starts playing the field, messing around, and not being too friggin' careful about it, perhaps in a clumsy, passive-aggressive effort to force you to break up with him. You didn't--you said, "Let's go to couples counseling." And so he went. Why did he "make the effort" to go to therapy, if he'd already decided that the relationship was over? People are weird about breaking up. They do things like go to couples counseling with someone they damn well know they don't want to be with anymore because they feel, or are made to feel, that they owe their soon-to-be ex-lover at least the appearance of having attempted to salvage the relationship. And thus a lot of time is wasted, and a lot of couples counselors are enriched.
Mine are fantasies I believe many women have--to be a stripper, skin-mag model, prostitute, porn star, truck-stop waitress in lingerie, you name it. I guess they stem from a need to be desired and admired by men. I've dreamed of being a Playboy model since the age of six. I'm often tempted to buy a Playboy just to look at, and maybe masturbate to. But for years, I've just been too embarrassed to buy it in public. I'm not a lesbian, although I would fool around with a woman once if given the opportunity, I think.
The real issue is a desire to vicariously be one of those porno women--that's what turns me on. Yet I'm too shy to even wear a bikini. I enjoy going crazy alone: dressing in kinky clothes and playthings (nothing store-bought) and masturbating in wild positions. Even so, I remain unsatisfied. I'm worried there must be some better way to take advantage of my youthful sexuality while my breasts are still perky. I fear I'll be a perverted old woman coming on to teenage boys if I don't come to terms with these frustrated fantasies now.
Trouble is, I'm not sure I could live with myself if someone found out about my desires. I'm afraid to own a dildo or porn magazine because what if I become ill or die and my family members look through my stuff and find traces of my intimate thoughts? Maybe I'm a frustrated closet nymphomaniac. I just want to learn how to temper/satisfy these fantasies and still maintain my dignity.
Thanks for your help. --Fantasy Crazed
Let's say you go crazy and get yourself a subscription to Playboy magazine (oooh), and not only that, but you also run out and buy yourself something intensely naughty, like say, a...vibrator (aaah). And three months later, you drop dead, struck down by a vengeful God who casts your everlasting soul into a lake of fire, etc, etc. While your perky breasts are roasting in hell, your mom sorts through your personal belongings, finds your mags and your sticky, still-damp vibrator, and...so what? You're dead! Once you're dead, who cares what anyone thinks about your sex life?
What you need to do is find yourself a nice, respectable, sexually adventurous boyfriend (or girlfriend) who can help you explore your run-of-the-mill truck-stop fantasies, all the while role modeling a slightly healthier attitude about sex and fantasies than the one you've been saddled with. Buy the lingerie, buy the dildos, have the sex, and, if you're really worried about it, store the goods at your lover's apartment. That way, should you be struck down, mom will never come across your dirty secrets.
And you know what, FC? Last weekend I was going through some boxes when I came across a diary I kept for a few months several years ago. There was stuff in there--threeways and rope burns and saturated fats--that I had completely forgotten about. It shocked me! And I did it! And what did I do with that incriminating diary? Burn it, for fear my mom or my boyfriend or my as-yet-unborn grandkids should find it and discover the shocking truth about what went on in the Calberer Hotel Supply Building? Not on your life. I put it back in the box, with a bookmark in the passage: Roger's rubber shorts and the two straight boys from Australia. See, when I die, struck down by a vengeful God or choked to death by my boyfriend's prostate gland, I want whoever has the odious, backbreaking job of sorting through my piles of crap to find that diary and know that I lived, dammit, I lived! And so should you.
Where can I get a copy of Bitches With Whips, which you recently mentioned in your column? --Tracey
If you can't find Bitches With Whips at your local dirty bookstore, you can subscribe to the nation's premier professional Domina contact magazine by sending a check to DM International, P.O. Box 16188, Seattle, WA 98116-0188. Indicate on the check that you want a subscription to BWW. One year will run ya 40 American dollars in the U.S. and Canada, 60 American dollars everywhere else in the world.
Confidential to Todd, Amy, and Eileen:
They're for real, you goddamn geek-ass FOB's. Contact me in the future, and I'll have you arrested. Got it?
Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.