I am a happily married woman with two beautiful children, and I have a deep, dark secret. When I was 17 I ran away from home. With nowhere to go and nobody to rely upon, I ran into a man who referred me to an escort agency. I performed sexual acts for rich men who paid me large sums of money. It helped me survive for the year I was in LA. My husband doesn't know, and I am afraid he would leave me if he knew. Then again, he said I could tell him anything and that we shouldn't hide anything from each other.
It was a secret I planned on taking to my grave. Every time I look at my husband I can't help but feel guilty for not telling him. Am I entitled to take my secret to the grave?
Take it to the grave. Just because you can tell each other everything doesn't mean you should. We each have a right to our secrets, even after we're coupled, and most everyone has at least one secret that they shouldn't share with their partner. As I've said before, a relationship is a myth two people create together, and when it comes to mythmaking, the occasional omission is an absolute necessity.
Too much honesty--like too much anything--is harmful to children and other living things. There are lots of divorced and dumped people out there whose perfectly decent, perfectly functional, perfectly healthy relationships were destroyed because someone couldn't keep her big yap shut. Look at it this way: You're not keeping something from your husband, you're protecting him from something that might hurt him. There's nothing to feel guilty about. You're sparing your partner pain, and if you're making a little sacrifice to do so--if keeping this secret pains you--that's a beautiful thing, isn't it?
I'm a 15-year-old male in need of advice. I have been going out with a 17-year-old girl for two years. We have had sex many times, but I don't know if I am attracted to her. In fact, I don't think I am attracted to any girl sexually. I masturbate in front of pictures of half-naked men. All I can think about are guys. Girls don't get me hard at all. My questions: 1. Am I gay? 2. How did you know you were gay? 3. Is there a place where I can get triple-X gay porn movies? 4. What should I tell my girlfriend? This is a dead serious plea for advice. --Confused Male
2. I knew I was gay when: every time I masturbated I was looking at pictures of half-naked men, I admitted to myself that girls didn't get me hard at all, and I realized that when I had sex with my girlfriend I was thinking about fully naked men.
3. Video stores, porn shops, and mail order. Unfortunately, you have to be 21 to buy or rent triple-X porn, and you can't do mail order without a credit card. Resist the urge to steal your parents' credit card: even if you beat them to the mail every day and they don't intercept your porn, eventually the bill will arrive, they'll find the charge, and they'll find you out--and, at 15, you're probably not ready for your parents to know. Until you're old enough to buy porn legally and with your own money, you'll have to use your imagination. Or shoplift.
4. Only as much as you need to. Teenagers break up for all sorts of silly reasons, so there's no need to spill the beans. Just tell your girlfriend you don't like her anymore, don't tell her why, and go home and jerk off to whatever little porn loop you can create in your head.
I'm a single 36-year-old woman. I enjoy giving blow jobs, and it seems reasonable that the men I'm with should give me head too, but the last two men I've been with were unwilling! There's nothing wrong with my genitalia, and it is incredibly insulting to me when a man treats my body like it's disgusting or dirty. Plus, I can't come through intercourse alone (never have) and find digits dry and rough. The tongue is perfect for the job. I would like to have a relationship, but I can't be with someone who deprives me of oral satisfaction--something I would not deny him! How can I bring this up in the early stages of a new relationship without seeming--indelicate? There must be men out there who are as enthusiastic about cunnilingus as I am about fellatio. How do I find them? --Orally Fixated
Straight men spend more time worrying about being or seeming "normal" than straight women, gay men, lesbians, or bisexuals. If all the other straight guys on earth are doing something, they'll want to do it too in order to be "normal." You can turn straight-male insecurity to your advantage, OF. When you meet a new guy, don't initiate a conversation about oral sex or present your preference for oral stimulation as a problem. Instead, the first time you go to bed, give him a little oral lovin', then bring your puss up to his face for some of the same. If he balks, say, "Jesus, all my other boyfriends loved eatin' my pussy. What's wrong with you? Are you gay or something?"
Either he'll eat your pussy to prove he's "normal," or he'll put his pants on and flee your apartment. Either way, you win.
I think I figured out why you stopped using your famous "Hey, Faggot" salutation: Could it be because you stopped giving advice like a faggot? What the hell is up with your answer to Desperate? Her husband wanted to be a she-male and get himself a pair of double Ds. You told her to stop him and sounded like some Defense of Marriage Act zealot! Keep the heterosexual couple together! Deny your sexuality! Choose the straight lifestyle at all costs! Substitute the word "gay" for "she-male" and your column would make Jerry Falwell cream: "If he wanted to be gay, the time to take that step was before he had a wife, a child, and easily spooked in-laws." I forgot that easily spooked relatives and a wedding band were reasons to stay in the closet.
--Radical Is More Than a Name
The advice you would have me give--get those titties!--might work if the couple in question lived in San Francisco, where there's a lot of support for married men with big tits. They don't, unfortunately. The woman who wrote, the man she loves, and the children they're raising live in a small town in Iowa. Fantasizing about being a she-male is not the same thing as being gay or lesbian, and there is no need for the husband in question to "choose" being a she-male or being married with kids. His desire for double Ds sounded more like fantasy than identity, at least to me, and for the sake of his family--call me Dr. Laura--I think this is one fantasy that should remain fantasy, at least so long as they're all living in Iowa. Radical is nice, but sometimes radical has to bow to practical.
Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611 or to email@example.com.