Why you should care
Because bad sex is worse than no sex at all.
A Harrowing Hand Job
EUGENE, SIR: Fidelity is a very big thing for me. It has been for the past 12 years of my marriage. My husband and I went through some rough patches but nothing out of the ordinary. I started a new job, and maybe it was the excitement of newness or our kids being in high school and not around so much, but I found myself attracted to one of the men at work. We went for coffee a couple of times. One day the coffee shop was closed, and he said there was one close by that we could drive to. On the way back, though, we parked, and while trying to get our seat belts off, things happened. I hate the idea that it happened, but it seems to me beyond stupid to tell my husband that I gave a co-worker a hand job in his car. But I don’t want to lie. Suggestions? — Name withheld by request
Dear Rosy Palm: Easy. Quit the job. Men have been doing this forever. That is, covering up minor transgressions with a completely diverting major screwup. Like in a Three Stooges movie or I Love Lucy, but for real. It’s a scorched-earth solution that may be your best bet since quitting will give you something to talk about other than the hand job you’re not confessing to.
But good of you to have correctly guessed that your options are stark. And also dangerous, since we know how the thinking goes vis-à-vis the whole “hanged for a sheep as well as a lamb” thing that says you are going to confess and there’s going to be agita and disbelief regarding your extended MOMENTS of weakness — because we’re quite sure it was more than one that led up to the hand job — so you might as well just have sex with him. Which you would do and then confess to doing. Maybe even compounding it by selling it as “just” a hand job. But this is what being a crazy human can do to crazy humans.
My morally suspect advice? Say nothing about nothing if and only if you fully intend to stop stuff in its tracks. Grief over an errant hand job? Pointless.
My morally superior but possibly totally ineffective advice? Take it on the chin, confess all and let the chips fall where they may.
But let’s be clear about what chips falling means: It means your husband exercises his out-of-the-house options. It means work events suck if they are couple events, because, well, there’s that. It means working late is problematic. It means mentioning the guy’s name will rankle. It means sex between you and your husband will be, um, not normal for a while. It possibly means marriage counseling. It means in-house belief in your ability to handle stress without dispensing handys to anyone with a penis will be at an all-time market low.
Who knew a hand job could be so expensive?
EUGENE, SIR: As an older woman, I have just barely gotten used to being looked at less often by men, but that’s not the issue, which happens to be the past 10 years of not being looked at by my husband. I want to have an affair, but Tinder? I can’t imagine I’m going to compete well. Going on some site like CougarLife, well, I’m not even going to go there. So where? And I have no time for bars. — N.A.
Dear Yep: Zoosk and Match.com are, by their own accounting, the undisputed leaders in terms of raw numbers. While I hate to be a party pooper, I’m going to poop on the party by asking why you don’t fix what’s broken before you break it beyond repair? Then I remember that you said 10. As in years. Dude’s not paying attention, and people who don’t pay attention? Stumble, not sprint. Do what you gotta do. If I were responsible, I’d suggest counseling, but realistically speaking, if someone stopped feeding you and they still expected you to be alive 10 years later? There’d be something wrong with them, belief in miracles aside. And while no one expects 20 years in to be like 20 months in, recognizing that which arouses us is something we do several times a day, and it wouldn’t kill him to feel that way about his partner every now and again. Old age or no old age.
On the other hand, if he’s not feeling it, he’s not feeling it. And if you want to feel it, you’re going to have to go to a place where you can. Good luck.
EUGENE, SIR: Being choked while having sex was almost otherworldly, but waking up on the floor with bruises from the fall was not so great. (We were having sex up against a door.) I’m a big girl, and my man couldn’t hold me, choke me, fuck me and keep me from falling. Are there straps that we could throw over the door or something to keep me up? I haven’t heard of such a thing. — After the Fall
Dear Autumn: Yeah, there’s this pretty cool thing I’ve heard about called a bed. It’s so cool that it has existed for, like, hundreds of years relatively unchanged. It’s pretty soft, so any choking that occurs on it — you can stand on it too, providing it’s not a loft — will offer a nice landing for those on that pro-level choke-screw thing. I don’t know if these “beds” are commercially available where you live, but it bears being looked into.
And yes, I am, on occasion, an ass.