Friday, June 3, 2016

Savage Love: Bad advice?

Joyless doesn't equal non-consensual

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2016 at 9:23 AM

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I despised your advice to LIBIDOS, the poly married woman who you counseled to have sex with her husband even though she has zero desire to do so. You came close to telling her to throw away her consent. Somewhere between a third and half of women have been sexually assaulted. Would it be possible for most of them to suck it up and sleep with someone they had no desire for without ending up resenting or hating that person? Even if LIBIDOS won life’s coin toss on sexual assault, she would most likely come to resent her husband if she had passionless sex with him. From the husband’s perspective — assuming he’s not a piece of shit who thinks he’s entitled to sex but rather just wants a sexual connection with his wife — wouldn’t being lied to in this way ruin him? I also don’t think you would’ve given this advice to a gay man — to let his husband fuck him the ass, even if he didn’t want to get fucked. The truth is really the only solution here. The road you set this woman down leads only to bitterness and divorce.

Seriously Horrified About That

LIBIDOS, a poly woman with a boyfriend (who she’s fucking) and a husband (who no one is fucking), asked me if she should “force” herself to fuck her husband. She also mentioned having a kid and not wanting to get divorced. And it was my opinion — an opinion she sought out—that she might wanna fuck her husband once in a while. Advice isn’t binding arbitration, SHAT, and if fucking her husband is a traumatizing ordeal, as opposed to a dispiriting chore, she should ignore my advice and keep not fucking her husband. And seeing as LIBIDOS asked me if she should fuck her husband, it seemed safe to assume that she was open to the idea.
You weren’t the only reader to take me to task for my advice to LIBIDOS. Apparently, there are lots of people out there who don’t realize how many long-marrieds — men and women, gay and straight, poly and mono—fuck their spouses out of a grim sense of duty. It seems a bit extreme to describe that kind of sex as a consent-free/sexual-assault-adjacent trauma. Choosing in the absence of coercion to go through the marital motions to keep your spouse happy is rarely great sex — for either party — but slapping the nonconsensual label on joyless-but-trauma-free marital sex is neither helpful nor accurate.

On the Lovecast, Emily Bazelon and Mistress Matisse on decriminalizing prostitution:
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Dan Savage

Dan Savage

In addition to being a nationally syndicated sex advice columnist and author of books, Savage can also lay claim to being the only person at his home paper to have actually converted his sexuality into a profession. He has a boyfriend and a child. He is also wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice and cheats at racketball... more

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