Swap Screwups + Strippernomics
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because your private parts are not nearly as private as you’d like, on account of, well, you know, people talking and all.
By Eugene S. Robinson
You have sexy questions? Eugene has sexy answers. Write. Now: Eugene@ozy.com
Kidding Me Porn
EUGENE, SIR: I am at the proverbial rope’s end. My husband and I are in our early 50s, healthy and active. Our sex life has frequently been strained by the usual life events, as well as the dreaded early ejaculation issue. I’ve been feeling I can’t have frustrating sex for the second half of my life, so I started trying to spice things up. Well, now I find my husband is watching porn on his phone, which as I understand it, EVERYBODY is doing, but I feel repulsed by it. I’ve tried looking at the same things he’s watching and not only don’t feel turned on, but I’m grossed out. I’ve told him how I feel about it, but obviously you can’t tell people what they can look at. So now he lies or hides it. Not too well, though. The other day he was going through teen videos and I freaked out. I felt like I was having a panic attack. We have teen daughters, and now I almost can’t even look at him, much less imagine touching him. I went from really wanting to improve things to finding him repulsive. Help. —Distressed
Dear Ms. Dis: First of, this is as serious as serious can be and, much like trilevel chess, it’s working on all kinds of levels outside of the easily apparent ones. The first and biggest obvious pitfall: that this is about porno. It’s not at all. You were, by way of addressing shit sex, seeking to spice things up, which means you were open to all things possibly sexy. Well, you wouldn’t want to watch a Tom Cruise movie on a phone, and porn, which might suffer from the same reduction of screen ratio, is probably no exception. BUT you were open to SPICE. However, even if self-made porn can be much more interesting than commercial-grade stuff and would have filled your definition of spice, I am guessing, he was watching the commercial stuff. Like choosing McDonald’s over home-cooked, I get it, but I also understand that him not getting it sets up the second much more serious pratfall.
Teen porn. Midlife crisis or no midlife crisis, it might help him to understand that this doesn’t feel remarkably different on a certain level than if you had developed a deeply held interest in porn with men with large penises withOUT early ejaculation issues. Which is to say if it feels like a critique of your early-50s place in space, it is. Some might argue against this and say the porn you like is no more significant than the candy you like, but the fact that what he finds fundamentally sexy has nothing to do with adult women — it has to do with TEENagers — is, to quote an old punk-rock band name, a killing joke. Because what this says about how he sees himself, how he sees you and how he understands himself as a father of daughters with teenage friends is wanting. Like, with extreme prejudice. Sure, it might be fantasy, and that should be a nonaligned zone, but it’s a fantasy he’s invested in and is probably a pretty accurate window into his headspace. And I bet dollars to donuts he has never had fantasies about Martha Stewart.
So now he’s hiding. He’s telling lies. And everything sexy has gone so badly sideways that you’re writing me. OK. Your one and only hope is completely contingent on whether you want to save this thing. If so? Get to therapy. BOTH of you. If not, send him packing. (Not my first choice. My first choice? Get yourself a lover who finds YOU sexy and try to ride it out until the kids fly the coop.)
Anyway, getting over this is not something you’re likely to do alone. Good luck. You’re going to need it.
EUGENE, SIR: We are two couples. One night drinking, though drinking did not have anything to do with it, we got intimate when our partners disappeared to the store to get some supplies for a party we were having. We all really like each other, and this was a surprise. Not one that we feel that bad about, but that’s not the issue. The issue is: Confess or not? —Ode
Dear Oopsy Daisy: While confession is good for the soul, it’s probably not good for much else. I say this because if you believe for even one second that this will be greeted warmly and praises will be sung concerning your honesty and your inability to live a lie, you have, maybe honestly, lost your mind. In rare instances this might be something everyone can/will get over, but it will still be a thing to get over. And while, in general, I believe honesty to be the best policy, I’m also a realist. But how real you want to be depends on a few things. Mostly: Will you do it again?
If you do it again, it’s an affair and you’re not only flirting with discovery — you’re inviting destruction. Meaning you’re on your own and neither I, nor anyone with good sense and an aversion to head wounds, can help you. If you don’t do it again? Maybe now would be a time to dummy up and make believe it never, ever happened. BOTH of you. Since if one person breaks and confesses, the one who has kept the confidence looks very, very bad. And by using the word looks, I’m trying to be nice.
A Grand Ol’ Time
EUGENE, SIR: Would a man be spending almost $1,000 at a strip club for something other than sex? A credit card bill just fell into my hands and … —Amanda
Dear A Man Da: Depending how stupid your man is: yes. He could have gone for overpriced “champagne.” He could have had too much of said “champagne” and lost track of his credit card. He could have retreated to a private room minus his credit card. But I imagine he’s told you all of this, and I have confirmed it and since you haven’t asked me if I’d believe these excuses/reasons, I might not have to act like I did. Which is good, because I don’t. And while strippers are NOT hookers, some hookers are strippers. Do some hookers take credit cards? Yes. Was his stripper a hooker who took a credit card? Well, he says no, right? So he must be telling the truth. Right?