When Boyfriends Find the Hidden Videos

Why you should care

OZY’s Eugene S. Robinson addresses queries from the love-weary in “Sex With Eugene.”

Pandora’s Boxes

EUGENE, SIR: I was looking for some tape and dug into a box marked “tape,” but instead of the adhesive kind there were some mini-DVs in there. We’ve lived together about three years, and I was in a hurry but the tape on the mini-DV itself said skateboarders. My partner has no interest in skateboarding so, red flag. But I actually do [skate . board]. So I popped it in.

I read you enough to know you won’t believe that I found this honestly or decided to watch it because I thought it was really skateboarding but bear with me. It’s a sex video. So she’s having sex with a guy who I recognize from the news (?!?!) and two other men, one with a skateboard. They are having sex with her all at the same time. It’s as hardcore as anything you find online. Lots of fluids. The men are laughing. At one point they pour a pitcher of water on her head, something I can see she didn’t expect. To clean her, I guess, but also to humiliate her. More laughter. I had to stop there. I don’t want to judge or shame, but I’m disturbed. We haven’t talked about this yet, and I know I have acted weird since I found it (this past weekend) but I know you won’t bullshit me: Say something or not? – Can’t Un-See

Dear Next Time Use Glue: I’m not going to give you a hard time for looking. IF I was going to give you a hard time at all, it would be for not telling the TRUTH about why you looked, but in this instance it really doesn’t matter what motivated the looking. No, you’ve got bigger fish to fry, and in an age of increasing ability and willingness to document our moments, both low and high, something that needs to be more widely considered. By all and sundry.

So what to do? I’m a firm believer in uncomfortable disclosure. Anything kept hidden exerts a certain power. Now, don’t go nuts with this. No need to start telling everyone everything, but unless you’re going to leave your relationship, something I don’t get the sense you’re considering, sitting on this makes no sense. The way you’ve been acting since you found it (weird) is probably enough to make this not make sense.

No. Bring it up to your partner like you brought it up here. “Was looking for tape … blah blah blah …” There might be a move to deflect along the lines you sketch here: “When you started putting tapes in you were no longer looking for TAPE, you LIAR …” But make it clear that you come not to condemn but to be handheld through the upsetting viewing of something you should have only had to experience in abstract.

Your partner also saved this video, so don’t assume you know anything about how she felt about it outside of this. In other words, create plenty of room to get as much of the story as it’s going to take to de-signify for you that which can’t be undone no matter how vigorous the efforts. If it helps? I understand that this might bother you. I also understand that in short order, it really shouldn’t. Unless she was a virgin, there’s probably lots of stuff that you need never have seen on video to understand that between humans all is possible.

And the Question That Never Stops…

EUGENE, SIR: If Viagra works, what makes you so sure penis pills don’t work? – Issac

Dear Mr. Newton: If toilet paper works, what makes me so sure sandpaper also doesn’t work? If latex condoms work, what makes me so sure nylon stockings won’t? And finally, if spearmint works, what makes me so sure spackle won’t? Thanks, folks, I’m here all week!

And Mr. Newton, let me say this: If you prefer off-market/off-brand gas station mini-mart penis pills like “Sexy Monkey” or “Stree Overlord” [sic] that either promise to lengthen your penis or make your already lengthened penis stay lengthened for hours, please be my guest.

For all I know, you could be the spearpoint of a new medical discovery that bests all of the multimillion dollar research and development that went into something like Viagra. But, on the outside chance that something does go wrong, are the companies that make the off-brand pills going to pay out like the makers of Viagra will? Just something for you to think about.

Old Dogs. No Tricks

EUGENE, SIR: I’m 60, and after a long divorce I date men who are not too much older than me, but a regular feature even in the age of Viagra? Men who can’t keep an erection. I used to think it was me, but it’s happened so much that it can’t always be me. I know it’s age-related, but is there a medical thing happening here? – Sasha

Dear Sasha the Party Crasher: According to authorities with medical degrees, and this is their medical opinion I am guessing: “It’s not them, it’s you!” Backed quickly with, “This has never happened to me before!”

I kid.

Though this is no joking matter. Real medical authorities with letters after their names describe a process that is inevitable as it is natural and it seems to adhere very closely to what we call life. Which is to say men’s erections change after the age of 50. They, supposedly, come more slowly and are, in total, less firm. The presence of the change is what causes the cascading panic that leads to everyone throwing around the words “erectile dysfunction” and has made the makers of Viagra rich beyond belief.

So while an erection is less something that will magically happen, born by an errant fantasy or something, it will happen with more direct stimulation. Direct stimulation? A friend of an erection. An enemy of erections? Anxiety, depression, relationship troubles, fatigue, alcohol and drug use, poor health, job problems. The aforementioned: life.

Are there ways to beat life?

No. But a man who’s not visibly affected by any of the above issues has, in all likelihood, been hunted to extinction, so good luck finding one of those. Of course, younger men are always an option. Until they use the word “cougar” to describe you and then you have to kill them. And yes, murder, is usually a pretty major downer. So patience, I guess, is the best answer. Or women. Or celibacy. But beating Father Time? No one’s done it yet.

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