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Savage Love

A guy who knows that you're hiding him from your husband is a guy with too much power over you.

I have a terminal disease and don't have more than five or six years left. I haven't told my wife, which brings me to my problem. We'd lived together for seven years when she cheated on me the first time. We worked things out, but continued to live separately. Then I cheated on her. We got back together again but continued living apart. After a year of therapy, we got married, but kept our households separate. Fast-forward one eviction and three years of living in a studio driving each other crazy, and she cheated on me again — this time in our house. I moved out instantly. A few months and a terminal diagnosis later, I don't have the will to file the divorce paperwork. We've talked about trying to fix us, but I don't know if I can ride this messed-up roller coaster anymore. On the other hand, I don't want to waste the rest of my life being a divorced fortysomething. She reads your column, so if you publish this, I'll have to talk to her about my illness, so at least that won't be an issue. What should I do about us?

Doubting The Marital Future Again

You and the wife have a resilient connection, DTMFA. Some intangible something or other has pulled you toward each other despite infidelities on both sides. And reading between the lines — and ignoring the acronym your sign-off creates — it doesn't sound like being alone or your terminal illness are the only reasons you're hesitating to file divorce papers. It sounds to me like you love your wife, and she loves you. Imperfectly. And maybe your semi-imminent death is putting those infidelities in their semi-proper perspective. I'm thinking the real reason you haven't filed those papers yet is this: On some level, you now recognize that your actual loving-but-flawed marital relationship should be given more weight than the marital ideal that you've both fallen short of, i.e., a flawlessly executed monogamous commitment.

I'm sorry about your diagnosis. I hope your remaining years are rich and rewarding, and it would be a shame if you had to face them alone. Maybe if you changed your expectations of each other — if perfect sexual exclusivity wasn't one of them — you would be less disappointed in each other. Good luck.

I'm an early-40s gal in a decent-to-great marriage. But my husband is not kinky at all. I feel like I've done all I can to get him comfortable with rough sex, power play, etc., but aside from some very reluctant spanking, hair pulling, and a few humiliating (not in a good way) attempts at bondage, our sex life is almost totally vanilla. I enjoy the sex we have, but not being all of who I am sexually is making me miserable. At this point, I'm not even interested in trying to get my husband on board, and I think he's just been hoping my desires would go away. They have not, of course. But I can't see breaking up my marriage over this! Is it worth trying to find people to play with who would be OK with no sex? I think I could be happy staying monogamous if I could get some of my needs met elsewhere. Is there any hope?

Sincerely Longing In Midwest

There are lots of people involved in the organized kink scene who do BDSM without the sex. For some, the BDSM is the sex. You'll also find plenty of folks like you in the organized kink scene — men and women who wanna do BDSM while remaining vanilla/technically faithful to their non-kinky partners.

Here's the hard part, SLIM: Getting involved in the kink scene without your husband's knowledge is going to be impossible. You don't mention having your husband's OK to outsource your kinks, and I can only assume that you haven't talked about it with him. You need to. Because the more involved you get in the organized kink scene, the more potential play partners you'll have to choose from. The more play partners you have to choose from, the safer you're going to be — and the less likely you are to be manipulated into going further than you want to. A guy who knows that (1) he's your only outlet for BDSM play, (2) you had a hard time finding him and (3) you're hiding him from your husband is a guy with too much power over you. That's a guy who could make upgrading to full sex a condition of your continuing to see him.

I have a fantastic relationship with my girlfriend. We've recently been talking about fantasies we'd like to try in real life. One in particular is posing a bit of difficulty. She really enjoys receiving facials, and she's even more turned on by the idea of multiple men coming on her face. The idea also turns me on. But finding a man (or men) to aid in this kink is tricky. Assuming there was no intercourse or oral sex — the only contact with other men would be their come on her face — what are the risks of contracting something? No matter how good the aim, there's the possibility of her eyes and mouth inadvertently becoming part of the show.

Imperfect Come Is No Good

Gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia — you can get all three in your eyes. A person can contract all three orally as well, but the mucous membranes in the eyes are more delicate, and the risk is both greater and grosser. As your girlfriend probably doesn't want to wear swimming goggles and keep her mouth tightly closed during her big fantasy — it's hard to get swept up in the moment wearing goggles — you're gonna want to do this with strangers who are willing to test or with guys you know and trust. Neither option is 100 percent risk-free, ICING, but nothing worth doing is.

On the Lovecast, Dan speaks with Irish drag queen Panti Bliss. Don't miss this one:

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