The Ethics of Having Bedded the Bride - OZY | A Modern Media Company

The Ethics of Having Bedded the Bride

The Ethics of Having Bedded the Bride

By Eugene S. Robinson


Because if these questions concern you, this should concern you.

By Eugene S. Robinson

Who Did Whom, and When?

EUGENE, SIR: Am I under any kind of ethical obligation to tell a friend of mine that I slept with his fiancée a year before they met? I should have said something sooner, but I had no idea that they’d end up here. Now it feels almost too late. I may have missed my window, so can I just make believe it never happened? — Speechless

Dear In Seattle: Are you under any kind of ethical obligation to tell your friend that his zipper is down? That the clams have gone bad? That there’s a tiger behind the door and not a lady? I don’t know, you tell me. “Friend” implies a kind of relationship where empathy drives concern for the person’s health and well-being. Whether or not he knows it’s raining because you have told him is probably insignificant and could be dismissed as an oversight. But socializing with a “friend” over the course of him meeting, mating with and eventually deciding to marry someone whom you’ve previously bedded without mentioning it seems like a gross dereliction of friendship duty. I mean, you would have had many opportunities to tell him but chose not to.

Which, like Columbo, keeps pulling me back to wondering why you wouldn’t have told him, and none of those reasons even come close to allaying a suspicion that you, to some special certain degree, are still into her. At the very least because you’re keeping a confidence with her that she also has not shared with him. At most because you suspect that what’s officially a “secret” will be damaging in your favor — if getting her is what you want — if it ever gets out.

Nah. The truth will set you free, and while it might cost you a friendship, that friendship is on questionably thin ice if you’ve chosen to make this a “thing” versus divulging immediately. I recall the blues song that states “Don’t start me talking, I’ll tell you everything I know” as the way to go, also known as “honesty is the best policy.” 

Now that I’ve got all of that chest-heaving rectitude out of the way, however, I can also add an alternative viewpoint by way of an end note: Go to the grave with this secret like that cat in “Long Black Veil” since honesty, if history is any indicator, is very definitely not always the best policy. To go this way, though, requires you to publicly proclaim her a liar and a lunatic if she breaks down and confesses. Which will also lose you friends. But, at the very least, you will have succeeded in wrestling reality to the floor of a desire to preserve some fictional sense of high ground.

Paradoxical, right? Well, welcome to life. Good luck.


Orgy Exceptions 

EUGENE, SIR: We’re swingers, married seven years. During a party I had to use the bathroom, and when I left my wife she was playing with a few people. When I got to the bathroom, there were people gathered outside the door. I go in, urinate and then wash my hands, but as I’m leaving, a woman pushes past me and drags me back into the bathroom, where she starts kissing me and then gives me a hand job. No idea how long it took, but when we came out, my wife was with the group gathered outside the door. This was three weekends ago, and she’s still angry with me. We have a play agreement: For safety and peace of mind, we both need to be there when we play, so I guess I broke that, but it was unavoidable. Shouldn’t there be an exceptions clause or something? — Not My Fault

Dear Yes It Is: There was a guy named Bob Allen. He was an anti-gay Republican in the Florida House of Representatives who was arrested in a men’s room trying to pay an undercover cop for a blow job. Allen claimed he was innocent and that the only reason he offered oral sex to the cop was because he was intimidated by the cop’s large, um, muscles. You see, he felt blameless, innocent even. He was a victim of CIRCUMSTANCE, even if according to testimony he had been going in and out and in and out of that restroom in the park all afternoon. 

Similarly, as a grown adult male when face-to-face with a woman you were probably stronger than, claims of innocence seem suspect. You had an agreement, you violated the agreement and I’d venture a guess you know you violated the agreement but are trying to have me validate your freebie. Your wife’s pique makes sense to me. As does getting handies from random strangers, but we’re talking about your partner being peeved, and I believe she’s got a right to be. 

This may pass with time and I don’t say apologize — unless you really understand that if the tables were turned, you might be a skosh irked. In any case, you both might have some time to think about things before your next sex party as I feel like it’s going to be awhile … before your next sex party.

Oral Angles

EUGENE, SIR: Read your column last week and have no problem with my man having an orgasm first, as long as he goes down on me afterward. I find men are less enthusiastic about having their own semen in their mouth than they expect me to be about the same semen. Why so touchy? It’s not likely having semen in your mouth makes you gay. — SP 

Dear Special Patrol: Having semen in your mouth doesn’t make you gay, but hetero men are not in the habit of having mouthfuls of semen. It’s not good or bad, it just is as it is. A much better solution seems to be what I suggested in the column you’re referencing and that’s that you insist on him orally pleasuring you until you orgasm. Or he can take it on the arches. And you can tell him I said so.

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