Q: I have a bit of a situation. I'm a 23-year-old heterosexual male, and I am married. My wife and I also happen to have a girlfriend now, making our arrangement a polyamorous triad. We all love each other very much, and we are getting to the point that we are thinking about how we are going to tell our parents about our relationship.
My parents have already been told. Their reactions were as expected: My mother was slightly bemused and amazed that I was able to pull it off, while my father gave me a high five. But my parents are divorced and remarried-to-other-people atheists, and by the time I was 12, my dad was teaching me how to eat pussy. So my situation is not exactly typical.
My wife's family is super Southern Baptist, while our girlfriend's mother is a big ol' bag of crazy: She was a physically abusive nut job who beat her children with a Bible attached to a rope.
Our question is this: Should we even bother disclosing to either of their sets of Bible-beating parents? To give you an even better idea about who my mother-in-law is: I'm a recovering addict (two years sober), and after I told her that in confidence, she used it against me the first chance she got (called me a thieving junkie). She's a hypocritical, judgmental bitch, but my wife feels like she needs her approval.
If we shouldn't disclose, then how do we deal with things like family holidays and other group events? Is not disclosing a sign that either my wife or girlfriend is ashamed of the life we lead? Your help would be appreciated. —Not Telling The Whole Truth
A: You don't mention how long you've been in this poly triad, NTTWT, but seeing as you're only 23 and were already married before you met the girlfriend, you can't have been in this poly triad for very long. And while it's nice that you have such an open and honest relationship with your parents — perhaps a little too open (I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my father for not teaching me how to eat pussy when I was 12) — your wife and your girlfriend aren't similarly blessed.
For that reason, I'm gonna advise against disclosing the true nature of your relationship(s) for the time being, NTTWT. Not because you have anything to be ashamed of — you most certainly do not — but because relationships with parents are best run on a need-to-know basis.
And it doesn't sound like your wife's parents need to know — not yet. This triad is new, and, like most romantic relationships, it may not stand the test of time. For the moment, introduce your girlfriend as a friend; if your MIL is curious about why you're all living together, say something vague about the economy. If it turns out that your triad is one for the ages, NTTWT, then you can come out to your MIL and weather the judgmental shitstorm.
As for the girlfriend's mother, NTTWT, it doesn't sound like that woman has a right to know anything about her daughter's life.
All that said, NTTWT, I do think loving, committed nonmonogamous couples should be open with their families, if only to prove to people that loving, committed nonmonogamous couples exist. I'm not encouraging you to be closeted, just strategic. Your wife's family is more likely to be accepting if they perceive your marriage as not just loving, but lasting. Give it a few years, NTTWT, and then, whether the current girlfriend is still in the picture or not, your wife can let her mother know — as matter-of-factly as possible — that you're poly.
Q: What do you know about orgasm denial for men? My husband is asking me to try all kinds of crazy things like locking him in a chastity device and denying him orgasms until he begs. Is that safe? Do many couples do it? I admit I find it kind of sexy, but how in the world do I figure out how to do it and make it fun for him? —Wants Info For Erotics
A: Except in the most extreme cases, WIFE, male chastity play isn't really about orgasm denial. It's more of an elaborate, extended kind of foreplay, a way of introducing elements of erotic power and control that usually result in the denied/chaste man having more orgasms, not fewer.
There's no way of knowing how many wives out there are locking up their husbands' dicks, WIFE, but there are enough couples doing it to keep male chastity device manufacturers in business (cb-6000.com) and enough couples interested in male chastity play for publishers to bring out books that explain how to do it and how to make it pleasurable (Male Chastity: A Guide for Keyholders by Lucy Fairbourne, Be Careful What You Wish For...: The Ultimate Guide to Male Chastity by Sarah Jameson).
As for safety: Make sure you get a male chastity device that fits properly, WIFE, as you don't want his dick to go numb, develop gangrene, and fall off — that would be nullification, not chastity. And don't deny your husband orgasms for weeks or months on end, as that could elevate his risk for developing prostate cancer (his orgasms flush carcinogens from his prostate).
Q: I'm a guy in my late 30s and have been married for 12 mostly happy years, with three kids. I've never cheated, despite a boring sex life that I've tried to spice up. My efforts were not received well. We've talked at length about the frequency and style of our sex life, but she's not interested in having sex very often, and when she is, it only happens one of two ways. I've thought about having sex with other women but have never acted on any of the opportunities that came my way. I've jerked off to plenty of porn in the meantime, though.
Anyway, I meet a girl, we're attracted to each other, and we decide to go for it. No, my wife does not know. Yes, I'm an asshole. And the problem is, suddenly I can't get it up — for either of them! Neither my hand nor porn work, either. WTF? I have never had this problem. It's been three attempts — patient girl, huh? — and so far nothing. I can't tell if this is guilt, performance anxiety or what. Has my wife, porn and my hand ruined me for having sex with other women? Do you have any suggestions? I doubt it's medical, since the onset occurred precisely when this girl and I decided to have sex, and that would be far too much of a coincidence. —No Catchy Sign-Off
A: I'm thinking either it's guilt plus performance anxiety — guilt-induced performance anxiety — or it's a huge and highly unlikely coincidence. A medical checkup can rule out the latter, NCSO, but only a thorough examination of your feelings, your motives and your circumstances can help the former.
You've taken a huge and potentially very consequential step: You're gonna cheat on the wife (three attempts? you're already cheating on the wife), NCSO, and if the wife finds out — and that's a pretty small if — that could mean divorce. (It shouldn't mean divorce, in my opinion, but it usually does.) Seeing as the potential consequences for you, your wife and your kids are so dire that you've been struck bonerless, I would advise you to stop seeing the patient girl ... for now.
You're going to have to — sorry! — talk to the wife about your frustrations and the possibility of opening up your marriage. Because the only way your dick is going to work with other women, NCSO, is if you're not risking everything with it.
Find the Savage Lovecast (Dan Savage's weekly podcast) every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage.