My husband and I are both in our mid-40s and have two teenage kids. My husband has a healthy sex drive, and I enjoy sex too, but far less frequently than he does. I work a high-stress job that takes me out of town a lot, and I'm also a part-time student and have to spend most of my free time studying. So my husband has to cover for me a lot at home. As a reward, he thinks he should have frequent sex. Quite a while ago we tried to compromise by reducing the frequency to once a week. But that is still more often than I want it. I have this intense anger because I can't have sex on my terms. Every weekend he gets angry, and I feel guilty and resentful. I've suggested separation, but he doesn't want that. I've suggested separate bedrooms, so I could have more space, but he thinks I already have enough. Am I too selfish? I would like an honest opinion.
--Sad & Demoralized
Unasked-for opinion: Unless you're having sex alone, no one gets to have sex exclusively on her own terms. Sex is something two (or more) folks do together, and like anything involving more than one person, frequent compromise is required. That you can't have everything your own way is not evidence that you've been abused.
An honest opinion: Your husband may not want a separation, but he'll have to reconcile himself to one--and an eventual divorce--if for no other reason than his wife wants a divorce. The longer you stick around, the more anger, guilt, and resentment will build up, until the pressure becomes intolerable and your marriage explodes. If you part now--even if you have to force the issue--you might be able to salvage a friendship. If you wait much longer, that won't be possible.
A final opinion: If you enjoy living together, raising your kids, and doing things socially as a couple, perhaps you could reconceptualize your marriage--a marriage is what the folks in the marriage decide it is. Well, there are plenty of couples in perfectly loving, perfectly healthy, perfectly sexless marriages. If your husband is willing, he could stay married to you and get himself a girlfriend. He would get laid more frequently, and you two could do it every once in a while for old times' sake.
I have a problem: I was painting my kitchen wall while simultaneously preparing my lover's dinner. I slipped and fell on a food processor set on high. To cut a long story short, I lost most of what Mother Nature had given me! I haven't been able to tell my loved one about the accident due to its embarrassing nature! This is causing tension between us. What should I do?
I have a problem: I get about three billion letters like this one every week. For the life of me, I fail to see what motivates young men and boys to put pen to paper, paper in envelope, and envelope in mailbox in order to send me questions like this. It's not as if I ever answer these sorts of questions, so what's the payoff? What's the thrill? Boys, your pointless, bullshit questions--all three billion per week--do not blow me away, or make my day, or upset me. They do confuse me, however, so if that's your intention, well, good work.
Again, I usually wouldn't run a question like DW's, but I do have some pointless bullshit to get off my chest, and his letter seems to be a serviceable setup. I have something to say about bagels (ring-shaped rolls with a tough, chewy texture, made from plain yeast dough that is dropped briefly into nearly boiling water and baked). I recently spent three days in a hospital in Portland, Oregon; what I was doing there doesn't matter (it does matter, actually, just not to this column). After watching heart-attack victims roll into the emergency room for three days, I was naturally in a health-conscious frame of mind when I strolled down to the cafeteria one day. So I ignored the doughnuts and bellied up to the bagel bins. Initially I was saddened to note that such a thing as a butter-pecan bagel existed. Why is it that we North Americans invariably turn good-for-you foods into heart-attack snacks? Granola long ago became candy bars, yogurt is now pudding, and bagels are morphing into Jewish doughnuts.
While I was trying to decide between a chocolate-chip bagel or a cinnamon-sugar bagel, one of the cafeteria workers came out and filled an empty bin with...bacon bagels. Butter-pecan bagels saddened me, but bacon bagels gave me fits. First, while bacon is delicious, this was a hospital cafeteria. It seems to me that hospitals should take a hard line on bacon, similar to the line they take on cigarettes. All hospitals are smoke-free these days, and why? Because smoking is bad for you--really, really bad for you. Well, bacon is really, really bad for you too--more people die of heart disease than lung cancer--so why the double standard? If you're gonna serve bacon in the cafeteria, why not let people chain-smoke in the maternity ward?
But what really blew me away about bacon bagels--I was so distraught I had to stay for 24 more hours of "observation"--was the adding-insult-to-injuryness of it all. This time in our rush to appropriate and transform another basically good-for-you food into yet another grease 'n' gristle delivery system we may have finally gone too far. Does the inventor of the bacon bagel even know that our Jewish friends gave us the bagel? Is this how we intend to repay them? By stuffing bagels with food products that--however delicious--God specifically instructed his chosen people to refrain from eating?
I just read your response to Venturesome in Philly, the guy who wanted to see a masseuse for a hand or blow job. I am a professional massage therapist, educator, and member of the American Massage Therapy Association. The massage therapy community has struggled for years to take our legitimate place in the larger health-care community and overcome the misconception that massage means prostitution in a clinical setting. The terms "licensed massage practitioner" (LMP) or "licensed massage therapist" (LMT) replaced the old masseuse/masseur years ago, and in most states you can only claim these titles after meeting requirements for licensure that include several hundred hours of rigorous training in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and so on. Professional ethics is also part of most curriculums, and professional ethics codes forbid sex with clients.
"Go to a massage parlor" is not the right advice to give someone looking for sexual contact. If you want to pay someone for sex, go to an escort service.
Frankly, LMT, I find your comments shocking. While extremely protective of your own reputation, you seem quite anxious to disseminate harmful stereotypes about another group of oft-slandered professionals: escorts. The professional escort community--men and women who will, for a fee, show you around Las Vegas's better hotel rooms--have struggled for years to take their legitimate place in the larger entertainment community. You have done them a disservice.
Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.