Why you should care
Because no one knows you like Eugene knows you.
EUGENE, SIR: I’m really excited when my boyfriend is a little rough in bed sometimes. I like when he’s slapping me, choking me, forcing me to do things, pulling my hair. Is this normal? —KAT
DEAR Not in Kansas Anymore: If you were going to fundamentally realign your life along the lines of what was some sort of objective understanding of what “normal” was, you’d be pretty busy. While in the course of any given day most people who are normal can reliably be counted on to breathe, on their own, consume some variety of foodstuffs and take stock of their life in a way that relates to commerce and/or comfort, this version of normal is nearly so commonplace as to make calling it normal, kind of strange. Or abnormal.
What do I mean? I mean if someone asks you how you are today and you say “breathing, eating and thinking about going to work” they might find this … slightly off-kilter.
So it goes with your query. In the history of human sexual involvement, if you two were the first ones to discover the complex psychosignificant joys of aggressive sexual activity, we’d all be very surprised. You know this, and I know this. But based on the presumption of a certain naivete and the fact that you wouldn’t have written if you didn’t have some kind of need for validation, I’ll say categorically: This does not mean you’re abnormal.
All I’d call abnormal is that which doesn’t feel good. For example. I hate the Red Hot Chili Peppers. If I were forced to have sex whilst listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I’d christen this the most sick and twisted sexual expression ever — even if my partner liked it.
Interestingly, fun-fact-wise and according to OkCupid, older men are more into rough sex than older women are, so I’d advise you and your old-ass man to knock yourselves out and relax, since rough sex — if it’s giving you pleasure and not breaking any laws — is exceedingly normal.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers? Not so much.
EUGENE, SIR: I always knew my boyfriend was bisexual (and he told me before we started dating), but we’re arguing over whether since he likes men for sex and not for relationships, if these should count in our sort-of-open relationship. I have had one other lover in the two years we’ve been together (which I told him about). —Snails vs. Oysters
DEAR Bi-Lack-of-Curiosity: Equity is a bitch. For the simple reason that there is no such thing as real equity when it comes to extracurricular sexy times, since the factored variables — looks, likes, cash, car, real estate holdings, bra size, penile length, and actual desire for strange — makes it damned near impossible to do the math here. Or to put it another way, if he extended to you coupons that matched 1:1 his outside output in just sheer number of partners, you may find this at base level much less satisfying than he would, and in the end this is probably the problem in micro of men with women and women with men.
Him sleeping with 20 men or women probably leaves him feeling very different about himself than you sleeping with 20 men or women has you feeling about yourself. Just a guess. Which accounts for how my friend Tony ended up living in Louisiana in a house full of transgendered individuals. Tony, who claims to be ardently heterosexual, said: “I like sex with women but I prefer the male sex drive.”
“Are your roommates pre- or post-op trans folks?”
And that’s really the point, and despite your partner’s clever politicking around the issue of his straying penis, the male-female divide here is a red herring, and the real issue is: open vs. closed relationship? With bisexuality as footnote. (That footnote might look like this, however: Stats on bisexuality tend toward the grim in terms of both hetero and homosexual ideas on sexual code switching.) Still, I really do think that after two years, you’re thinking you should be in a place to be talking about fewer outside dalliances and not more.
So my suggestion? Let him run and be free and you find yourself someone a little closer to your tastes and appetites.
EUGENE, SIR: Is sex addiction a real thing? I love my husband, but I also have been caught cheating and feel guilty — but not for cheating. Just for getting caught. I will cheat again, I know. But I may not get caught again. But this is a risk I am willing to take. Thoughts, please. —Stop Me Before I Cheat Again
DEAR You Go Girl: A woman was once telling me how sad she was that she had cheated on her husband. How it caused her multiple problems in her relationship. How her husband was very understanding and she felt terrible making him suffer for her “stumbles.”
“Well, how MANY stumbles?”
This could be the ghost of your Christmas Future. Married to a man who’s clearly bad at math and on a certain level probably enjoys that he has “an adventurous wife” … his words, not mine … they are still married, and apparently happy so. He goes boating and fishing a lot. She stumbles often and everyone is OK.
While I am not too big on the addiction-ification of American habits I will say that the earmarks of addiction are usually:
1] they’re screwing up your life; and
2] you no longer enjoy them.
Seems to me like while you might be screwing up your marriage, this is clearly only a portion of your life, and even more clearly than that? You DO enjoy this.
So, yes, sex addiction is quite real. Just not for YOU.
Though there are moral quandaries regarding what kind of deal you signed on for, after a certain point it should probably be assumed that this is good for your mental health and therefore good for your relationship. And if your husband is down with boating and fishing or whatever constitutes a good time for him? Who’s to judge? Outside of his attorney. And the judge. Your lovers’ spouses. Their kids. And the friends who may subsequently abandon you.
I mean that’s what addictions are for. They have a wonderful way of clearing the deck of the clutter that most people call “lives.”
Cover image by Kasia Meow