My husband and I have been married for one year, but we had been dating for 10 years prior to that. I thought we had a very understanding relationship. In the last couple of days, I have found out that he has a serious obsession with females wearing running shoes. He had in the past hinted at the fact that it turns him on, but I had no idea the scope of this obsession. I've discovered that he spends a large number of hours a week devoted to this fetish. (He was sloppy in covering his tracks one day, and I found evidence on his computer.)
When he told me he thought running shoes are hot, I thought he meant on me, not on all females. I believed that he could trust me enough to be open with me, but he has been hiding this for 11 years! Why did he not bring this up before we got married? I had a right to know what I was getting into. I don't know if I can live with knowing that he gets a hard-on for every running-shoe-wearing woman who goes by. I feel physically sick to my stomach knowing that I didn't really know who he was all this time. I am beginning to think our marriage won't survive. Am I being too sensitive? How can I fix my marriage?
Dumbfounded In Brooklyn
Does your husband like your tits only, or can he get a hard-on for every tits-wearing woman who goes by? Does he like your pussy only, or can he get a hard-on for every pussy-having woman who goes by?
If your marriage can survive the husband being attracted to tits and pussy generally, but attracted to your tits and pussy particularly, your marriage should be able to survive the awareness that your husband is into women in running shoes generally but into you in running shoes particularly.
Why did he keep it from you? Because guys with fetishes are told -- hey there, Prudie -- that they're disturbed and unlovable, and because no one informs straight women that fetishes are to male sexuality what lies are to a Fox News broadcast: likelier to be present than not. So he dropped hints but didn't tell you during year one -- or year two or three, year four, etc. -- because he was afraid you would have the reaction you're having.
So what do you do now? You forgive him -- if you give a shit about your marriage, and you do a little reading about male sexuality. Daniel Bergner's The Other Side of Desire is a good place to start.
And ladies? If your boyfriend or husband has "hinted at the fact that [something or other] turns him on," you can safely assume that [something or other] really turns him on.
A good friend of mine is engaged to a woman with an extremely low sex drive. He'd like to have sex every day; she barely responds to his touch. I advised him to work up the nerve to suggest an "understanding" or to disengage. If he's this frustrated as a 27-year-old fiancé, how is he going to feel after five years in a monogamous marriage?
Either your buddy won't be married in five years or he won't be monogamously married. Either way, you spoke up, and that's all a friend is required to do. Now you have to stand back and let your buddy make the biggest mistake of his life.
I assume you've heard of Chatroulette by now. I discovered it about four weeks ago, and I am strangely turned on by all the dudes on there jerking off. I have started to show my tits to some of these dudes because it is such a massive turn-on for me. My husband doesn't know about any of this. However, all sexual arousal is redirected his way in the form of really hot, passionate fucking!
I feel bad about not telling my husband. Do you think this is cheating?
I don't want to call what you're doing cheating: Cheating is such an ugly word. But odds are good that your husband would call it that.
Even so, I'm reluctant to tell you to stop. Spend a few weeks reading my e-mails, and you will come to regard anything -- anything at all -- that lights a fire under the marital bed as a universal good. So talk to your husband. Tell him that -- like everyone else on earth -- you "discovered" Chatroulette about four weeks ago. Then tell him you were surprised by (1) how many dudes are jerking off in front of their computers and (2) how turned on you were by their exhibitionism. Confess that the site is why you've been so horny lately, and invite him to join you for a session. If he seems into the idea, or gets into it once you're online, confess that you've been flashing a little skin yourself.
Then fuck the husband's brains out.
CONFIDENTIAL TO SAVAGE LOVERS: I need to ask you to do something for a teen-age lesbian who lives in a small town. Constance McMillen is a senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Miss. When she asked the school if she could attend prom with her girlfriend, she was told no. When Constance pressed her case, the Itawamba County School Board canceled prom rather than allow Constance to attend with her girlfriend. The school board had to know what would happen next: The other students at Itawamba Agricultural blamed Constance for getting prom canceled and "ruining senior year." Constance is now being harassed and bullied.
The school board claims it canceled prom to avoid "distractions." Now it's up to us to make sure that bigotry and discrimination are bigger distractions than inclusion and tolerance ever could've been.
E-mail, call, and fax Itawamba Schools superintendent Teresa McNeece (firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 662-862-2159 ext. 14, fax 662-862-4713) and Itawamba Agricultural principal Trae Wiygul (email@example.com, 662-862-3104). Then join the Facebook page "Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to Prom." Finally, make donations to the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition (www.mssafeschools.org), which is organizing an alternate prom that will welcome all students, and make a larger donation to the ACLU LGBT Project (www.tinyurl.com/yl9mvkb), which defends Constance and other gay teen-agers.
Constance needs to know that there are people all over the world who are on her side. And Itawamba County Schools needs to know that we're not going to let them get away with this. Be respectful, but be relentless. Let's show these bigots what a real distraction looks like.
Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.