SL Letters of the Day: Two Satisfied Customers
by Dan Savage
on Tue, Jan 7, 2014 at 5:40 PM
I have read your column on and off for most of my teenage and adult life; so long, in fact, that I cannot remember when I began to read it. In addition to being a deeply informed source of information about sexuality and how to be safe, informed, and GGG, your column has helped me be better prepared for unexpected situations that I have encountered in my life. Thank you.
What prompted me to write this was a topic that I came across in your column time and again. In brief: "Everything is great—except for the sex". When I realized that I was in a loving, long-term, committed relationship where I also was saying this phrase in my head, Dan, it was like ice water was suddenly pumped through my veins. So powerful was my rejection of this truth that I remained in the relationship for three more years, during which the relationship grew stronger, more loving, and more committed.
But the subsequent relationship milestones, commitments, personal and professional accomplishments, and shared experiences didn't produce the change I hoped, nor did the ice water in the veins go away when I would privately confront the truth. We talked about our issue, promises were made, effort invested, coping strategies tried, but nothing changed for the better and it only got worse. For the last year of our relationship we didn't once make love, nor were we sexuality intimate in any manner more than a handful of times.
My flawed instincts were to keep going, hoping for some miraculous change to come along and make that one part of our relationship work as well as all the rest. I wanted to get married, to have kids, to buy a home, but I also recalled time and again the "Savage Love" columns I read about people in situations just like mine, and those who found themselves in far more complicated circumstances precisely because they got married, had kids, and bought a home while in an sexually unsatisfying relationship.
In the last number of months I realized that the pain of years of sexual rejection—always done in a loving, and often apologetic manner—within an otherwise fantastic relationship was beginning to metastasize in ways that I could not easily control. I was finding myself feeling bitter, I began to withdraw into work and personal hobbies, and my appetite to try and initiate sex evaporated since I didn't want any more rejection. All the while, I had this cognitive dissonance of being in love and having an otherwise-great relationship but being miserable with unfailing regularity about something so basic as sexual needs.
So what happened? She ended the relationship. Out of the blue. With love. And for a several reasons, the most important of which was her acceptance that she didn't want to have sex and had virtually no sex drive and she didn't see how that would change. She couldn't continue our relationship after having come to this conclusion and she knew that I shared serious doubt about how we would resolve the issue in the long run.
I was shocked, hurt, and very sad that our relationship of 6.5 years had ended, and I felt rather ashamed that it was sex that was the underlying factor behind the breakup. But your columns on the subject, and the advice that one should leave a sexless relationship—and certainly not get married hoping that will fix it—ran through my head. It helped. She made the decision—not me—but the outcome is the same and despite being sad I already feel like a weight has been lifted. As part of the process of working my way through the breakup, I took strength in the knowledge that I was not being unreasonable in my need for, and expectation of, sex in a committed, loving, long-term relationship.
So thank you, Dan. I really appreciate the part you indirectly played in helping me get through this time in my life. Sign me...
You're welcome, V, and I'm sorry you're hurting. Here's hoping your letter inspires others trapped in EGETS relationships—"everything great except the sex"—to pull the plug sooner rather than later. A letter from another satisfied customer... after the jump.
My boyfriend of two months told me last night that he has a foot fetish. Because of reading your column, listening to your podcast, reading your new book, etc., I knew to smile at my boyfriend and say, "Oh really? Lets explore this together, shall we?"
Turns out listening to you for years made his fetish exciting and very normal for me. Turns out that's not the response he's gotten in the past and he was ashamed of his fetish. We had a great convo and then great sex. I'm excited to explore this and I've already googled your advice to foot lovers. So...
THANK YOU!! Seriously thank you for allowing me to know exactly what to say and do in that situation. Without your advice, I might have fucked this up and thus made this amazing human (who I love) feel undesirable or ashamed. Thank you so much!
Off On The Right Foot
Thanks for the nice note, OOTRF, and please share this column with your boyfriend—not because he's an ingrate and/or a dick, like the adult baby I slapped around in that column. But he needs to keep in mind that being GGG and cheerfully meeting a partner's needs isn't just something that vanilla folks do for their kinky partners. You have a right to expect the same loving, indulgent treatment from him. A foot fetishist who takes his indulgent vanilla girlfriend for granted—a foot fetishist who fails to come through with the foot-free vanilla sex on a regular basis—isn't going to have a girlfriend for very long.