Q: I am a 30-year-old woman, married for five years to a man eight years my senior. Lately I have become more aware that I am turned on by the idea of bondage, specifically men locked up in chastity devices. I am ashamed of myself because it seems, well, pretty perverse and disturbed.
My husband is a pretty dominant alpha-male type. I am a relatively dominant personality, but I'm a bit submissive around him in order to keep the peace, as he will not tolerate any disagreement in certain situations. So I am wondering: Is this new fetish springing from my frustration at being dominated by the man in my life, or am I just becoming more aware of my proclivities as I get older? Is this a sign of a psychological problem? Should I discuss this at all with my husband? —Turning The Tables
A: The emotional dynamics in your marriage — he won't tolerate disagreement in "certain situations," you bite your tongue to avoid conflict — sound a hell of a lot more perverse and disturbed to me than your growing awareness and acceptance of your interest in bondage and chastity. Your interest in consensual power exchange is as sexy as it is common, TTT, and your kinks don't require his constant submission, e.g., he's not tied up once you untie him, his dick isn't locked up once you unlock it. His inability to "tolerate any disagreement in certain situations," on the other hand, requires your constant submission.
No relationship lasts unless both partners are willing to bite their tongues from time to time in the interests of keeping the peace. But when someone says her husband "will not tolerate any disagreement in certain situations," that worries me. Maybe the list of situations in which your husband won't tolerate disagreement is relatively short now, TTT, and maybe it's something you can live with. But if your husband realizes that he can successfully control you with this anger, the list is likely to grow. Be careful.
On to your fetish: It sounds like you were always turned on by the idea of controlling a man; you write that you've become "more aware" of this fetish, which leads me to believe that you've had some awareness all along. Why is it coming to the forefront now? It could have something to do with hitting your sexual peak, which women do around 30, and it could be because your kinks go so strongly against the grain of the established emotional dynamics of your marriage.
I would encourage you to discuss your kinks with your husband. They're not anything out of the ordinary (or the extraordinary, I should say), and lots of dominant dick-swingers — guys like your husband — secretly fantasize about submission. The cliché about the high-powered CEO who goes crawling to a professional dominant to get his ass beaten is a cliché because it's frequently true. Your husband could be one of those guys — but you'll never know until you ask.
Q: I won't bore you with the story of my 19 years in a sexless marriage. God knows that must be one of the most common complaints you get, and you've given plenty of good advice on the topic, some of which I'll be taking any minute now to keep me from blowing my head off. What I want to know is, am I ... is everyone entitled to an active sex life? —He Only Really Needs Your Okay
A: I don't need the whole story, HORNYO, but you could've bored me with a few relevant details. For instance, has your marriage been sexless for all 19 years of its existence? Or did your sex life collapse at some point during those 19 years? Did the sex end a year ago? Five years ago? Ten years ago? Fifteen?
But to answer your question: No one is entitled to an active sex life. We are all entitled to freedom of sexual expression — consensual sexual expression — but to express your sexuality with others, you have to find or marry or rent a willing sex partner. And while each has the right to seek sexual fulfillment*, HORNYO, sadly not all who seek shall find. Some folks are unlucky or unfuckable or wind up trapped in marriages that always were or have become sexless —which is where compassionate, understanding sex workers or the Ashley Madison Agency (ashleymadison.com) come in handy.
Back to your marriage: If you were doing something wrong, HORNYO, if you destroyed your wife's attraction to you through neglect (or something worse), then you are obligated to make a good-faith effort to undo the damage and, perhaps, restore the sexual aspect of your marriage. But if the wife cut you off because she simply isn't interested in sex anymore — or if she never was interested in sex — then you are entitled to seek what sexual fulfillment you can find outside your marriage.
* Offer not good in Saudi Arabia or Jamaica.
Q: My boyfriend and his best friend are close. Last summer, I noticed that when my boyfriend gets drunk he tries to grab his friend's ass, throws his arm around him, and sits close to him. Then one day I found a pair of underwear in our bedroom that belonged to my boyfriend's best friend. My boyfriend said he didn't know how they got there. I figured he and his pal messed around and he didn't know how to talk about it honestly because he's pretty macho. I was jealous, but I asked myself if I could accept a bi boyfriend and decided that I could.
So a few days ago, my boyfriend's best friend asks me if I tell my boyfriend everything he, the best friend, tells me. I say no, not necessarily. So he asks me to promise not to tell my boyfriend what he's about to tell me. I say that depends. He brings up the underwear incident and says that he called a prostitute that night and fucked her in my bed, and that's why his underwear was in my room. He tells me that my boyfriend let me think they were gay for each other rather than tell me that they called a hooker. And he tells me my boyfriend didn't touch the hooker — to which I say, "Yeah, right."
Why did he tell me this? And what do I do with it now? Do I just forget about it? Please give me some advice. I feel like I can't trust either of them right now. —Secrets And Deceit
A: Why would your boyfriend's best friend come to you now, SAD, so many months after the Underwear Incident, and tell you this involved, incriminating, improbable story and then swear you to secrecy? Either he's gone rogue on your boyfriend and made up all of this crap about the hooker in an effort to sabotage your relationship, SAD, or he and your boyfriend are concerned that you're onto them and this is some bizarre effort to cover their tracks, i.e., to offer some excuse for the sole piece of incriminating evidence that indicates they may be something more than best friends.
Fucking each other or not, your boyfriend's best friend is fucking with your head, and you're under no obligation to keep this conversation secret from your boyfriend — and your ass is more than covered by that "that depends." Talk it out with your boyfriend, SAD, and tell him you want the truth. Is he bisexual — emphasizing that you can live with bi — or is he gay? Or is he really such a scumbag that he'd tag-team a hooker in your bed with his best friend? Give him a chance to come clean or come out (or both). And if your gut tells you he's lying, SAD, end it.Download the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org