Sex, Cash and the Cure for Matrimonial Misery
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
OZY’s Eugene S. Robinson addresses queries from the love-weary in “Sex With Eugene.”
By Eugene S. Robinson
Escort Me Where?
EUGENE, SIR: I separated from my wife earlier this year. This is my third failed marriage. It’s extra rough, but I’ve been looking at fancy escort sites and I have no clue. Should I be doing this? Too soon? Grief/hot sex? It’s a sad time/new fun time as I’m also unemployed. So is $50 about what I could get away with paying? Will they judge me? — Nick
Dear St. Nick: It’s kind of charming that you’re considering the moral ramifications of acts and activities that many and maybe most would consider immoral — from the right because of the whoremongering; from the left because of the exploitation issue. And you’re straight in the middle wondering if you can be a customer in this kind of exchange without feeling worse than you do now that whatever went wrong in your first marriage, and your second marriage, and your third marriage is maybe suggesting that it is indeed you and not them.
But first things first: $50 is ridiculous. For just about anything. I mean, you can’t even get a gardener to work for $50, and the kind of gardener you could get for $50 is not the kind of gardener you would necessarily want to get. Similarly, while you can find almost anyone to do anything for any amount of money, if you only have $50 to spend on this, you might be better off spending it on rent. Or food.
According to my sex worker analyst, for a guy in your position, $150 to $300 is reasonable. NOTE: I’m not advising you to sleep with prostitutes as that is still illegal in lots of places — not Nevada — but presuming you’re in one of those places where it’s not illegal, that amount of money, my analyst suggests, is likely to show that you take the entire enterprise seriously. As you may discover, so does your sex worker.
”We come from the planet Earth and so the same rules apply: Don’t be an ass, shower before showing up, talk less, tip more,” she, my sex worker analyst, advised.
Lastly, should you be doing this? I don’t know that I can answer that for you. It seems to me to be a reactive grief response, and those tend not to be that well thought out. I mean, you want to dedicate as much energy to this as you would, say, to skydiving or free-climbing since, as you well know, the downsides of failing here are gloriously final.
I’d recommend instead doing what everyone else does who finds themselves where you’ve found yourself: go to the gym, lose some weight, get a new haircut and try not to drink alone. And in your case, an extra proviso: try to not get married again before 2023. Good luck!
EUGENE, SIR: We’ve talked for a while about having another woman in. I like women and we had someone picked out. Out eating one night, we dropped some gentle hints, and the woman we had picked out picked up on it and came back to our place. As things went, it seemed she sort of liked me a little bit more than my guy. I think he sensed this but instead of taking a back seat, he started sulking. So we went off to the guest bedroom since he had been complaining about needing to be up early for work the next day. This was the wrong move, I guess, and we’ve been arguing about it since. I think that’s ridiculous and — just like some people will like the movie more than others — he’s being a baby about this. Thoughts? — Name withheld by request
Dear Ms. Perry: On a macro level, like in full consideration of the fact that in 100 years we’ll all be dead, of course he’s being ridiculous. No one will care. This will not be part of any historical record — no movies or books, no one talking about The Night Jim + June’s Threesome Went Awry. But that’s not terribly helpful here, so we’ll stick to the micro, and in micro, it seems some mid-course correction was in order, and of course, this should have been previously discussed because it comes up in these situations all the time.
But you didn’t discuss it beforehand, so if the question is, did you all handle it the best way possible? I think you know the answer to that question. I mean, no one finds themselves in my waiting room if they do things the right way, and so here we are. I think I can say that here, no one is more right than the other. It could have just as easily gone the other way and maybe he’d be writing me about you. The truth is, contingencies must be planned for and if they’re not, then you’re not ready. He felt left out, then got pushy, then got pushed out. Because? Your bisexuality makes him paranoid? Him getting downgraded from a participant to a spectator makes him paranoid? To use your movie analogy: If WE are going to the movies, that usually means WE are going to see the same movie by agreement. Things could always change, but sensitivity to that change is why we’d stay together versus not.
Hope this helps.
EUGENE, SIR: Is there a couples-friendly place people go to get better at sex that’s also not creepy? Sex therapy seems sterile. I love my fiancé to death but our sex is not the greatest, and dumping him because he makes love badly seems like dumping someone because they mispronounced a word. He wants to get better too, so we’ve talked about it. — Mary
Dear Quite Contrary: Well, they do have these things called “sex retreats” that are staffed by sex therapists, but you said “not creepy,” and while I know those self-same sex therapists are now getting ready to comment and tell me how full of shit I am, I will explain as quickly as I can before they hit “send.” In choosing to get married to someone, you have to make a handful of decisions that sit at the nexus of information, understanding and intuition. Some things you can know to a great degree of certainty: Are they clean, nice to animals, likely to be able to hold a job? Some things you have to intuit: Will he gain 50 pounds and have an interest in televised golf?
But sex? This is the big X-factor because while it might get better, it could also get worse, so what you need to gamble on is where the baseline falls and with what kind of frequency. There’s a sweet spot for sure and I don’t know where it is, but it depends on where “not the greatest” is now and what you’re willing to trade for. Sex is much more important than we’re encouraged to give it credit for, and if a sex retreat is your last hope, maybe don’t put yourself in a place where it’s your only hope.
Which is my way of saying: Long engagements are a GOOD thing.