Savage Love | Opinion | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Savage Love

“Remind yourself that good and decent people sometimes do shitty, indecent things.

I’m a straight female in my mid 20s. I’ve been dating a wonderful guy for two years — but I recently found something that has put me on edge. Before we met, he was in a relationship with a terrible, alcoholic and mentally unstable woman. They got pregnant early in the relationship and stayed together for about five years. We met a year after they broke up. I felt like I’d come to terms with the ugliness of his past, with his trying to stay in a bad relationship for the sake of his child and the rest of it. But recently, thanks to the vastness of the Internet, I came across a suggestive photo of my boyfriend with his ex’s sister. I asked him about it, and he admitted to sleeping with her while he was with his ex. He says it was during a particularly bad period, he was very drunk, she made the first move, etc., but I’m just so grossed out. Cheating is one thing, but fucking your girlfriend’s sister? And it’s not like this was a 19-year-old’s mistake; he was near 30 and the father of a child. He also fudged a little about whether it was just one time or a few times. I feel like now I’m questioning his integrity. This is something that I wouldn’t have thought him capable of doing. What do I do?

All Twisted Up

What do you do? You ask yourself if you believe your boyfriend when he says fucking his then-girlfriend’s sister was a mistake, ATU, one he deeply regrets, and one he never intends to repeat. If you can’t be romantically involved with someone capable of doing such a terrible sister-fucking thing, the question is a rhetorical one. You’ll have to end the relationship regardless of the answer. But if you could stay with someone capable of doing such a terrible sister-fucking thing, and if you believe your boyfriend when he says it was a mistake, one he regrets, and won’t happen again, then you stay in the relationship.

And when you find yourself feeling squicked out by the knowledge that your boyfriend fucked around on his previous girlfriend with her own sister, you remind yourself that good and decent people sometimes do shitty, indecent, sister-fucking-ish things — and then you pause to consider all the shitty and/or indecent things you’ve done in your life, ATU, some, most, or all of which your boyfriend presumably remains blissfully unaware.

It’s too bad that suggestive/incriminating photo is rattling around out there in the vastness of the internet, ATU, but I’m curious about how exactly you “came across” it in the first place. If you went looking for dirt — if you were snooping — you found it. Congrats. I’m not against snooping in all instances. People often find out shit they had both a right and an urgent need to know: The BF/GF/ fiancé/spouse is cheating in a way that puts you at risk, they’re running up ruinous debts, they’re hiding a secret second family, they’re attending Donald Trump rallies, etc. But just as often, we find out shit we didn’t need to know — something in the BF/GF/NBF’s past, something they regret, something they’ll never do again (do you even have a sister?) — and can never unknow.

You learned that your boyfriend did something pretty fucked up. Whether you decide to stay or go, ATU, remember that you snoop at your own risk — sorry, remember that you explore “the vastness of the Internet” at your own risk.

How bad is chlamydia? My gynecologist left me a voice mail, and I am absolutely terrified. A quick Google search told me that it can cause infertility if left untreated — what it didn’t tell me is how long when left untreated before it causes infertility? I told my boyfriend of 10 months, and he seems very sane about it. But I am terrified that he’ll leave me. HELP!

Seriously Terrified Damsel

Some time has passed between your letter arriving and my response appearing in print — so here’s hoping you called your gynecologist back, STD, and got the download and the treatment you needed.

Quickly: Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI), men and women are equally at risk, and it can be contracted through vaginal, anal or oral intercourse. Your Google search was accurate: Left untreated, chlamydia can cause infertility in women. But you’re not going to leave it untreated, right? Fortunately, chlamydia is easily cured. Unfortunately, most people who have chlamydia aren’t aware they’re infected, as most infected people have no symptoms. That’s why it’s extremely important for all sexually active people — adults and adolescents — to get regular STI screenings.

Is your reproductive system already harmed? You’ll have to discuss that with your gynecologist, STD, who is in a far better position than I am to have a look inside you. As for your boyfriend: He needs to get tested and treated too, and if his last STI screening was more than a year ago, it’s possible he infected you and not the other way around. If your boyfriend leaves you over this — if he blames you for something he may be responsible for — then he’s not someone you want in your life or in your twat.

My younger brother outed me to our parents, our siblings and our only living grandparent. I’m a straight woman and into bondage, SM and kinky swinging — nothing outrageous — and I tried to keep this aspect of my sexuality (and my marriage) hidden. Things are fine now: Mom and Dad are mad at my brother, not me, and my siblings (save the fundamentalist) are over it. But I wanted to share my grandmother’s reaction: She called to tell me that my late grandfather liked to be tied up and spanked too and that their marriage (47 years!) was more fun for it.

Kink Isn’t New, Kiddo

That’s wonderful — and so true! Thanks for sharing.

On the Lovecast, Dan chats with writer Parker Molloy about relationships with trans folks:

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