I'm a smart, professional woman in my mid-30s who dates the same. I also happen to use a wheelchair; I was diagnosed shortly after my first birthday with a motor neuron disease. I have about as much physical strength as a quadriplegic but I have full sensation. (Boy howdy, do I!) I am careful about who I date because of my physical dependence on the people around me. I am also wary of folks who call themselves "devotees." These are individuals with disability-related fetishes. They gravitate toward amputees, but some are attracted to women in chairs. I'm not sure what about this bothers me so much; I suppose it feels reductionist, and I've spent my adult life becoming more than a girl in a chair.
I'm sure you can see where this is going. I started dating a lovely, successful, witty, beautiful woman a little more than a year ago. As time progressed, it became clear that we were sexually compatible. Things have been great. At the eight-month point, I told my BFF that this might be "the one." At the nine-month point, she confessed to being a devotee. I was crushed. But I trusted her, as I had gotten no icky feelings from her. Then she said that she wanted to try using my chair during sex — except with our roles reversed. Because I try to be GGG, I consented, as long as she agreed to couples therapy, which she did. In therapy, she said she had no idea I was in a chair before we met — which is plausible, as it was a blind date — and she just felt lucky when I showed up in a chair and then didn't know how to tell me. So... we've been working it out.
Until last night. We were out with friends, she asked me to take a picture on her phone, and I found pics of me, from the neck down (clothed, thank god), and pics of my chair. I quickly sent them to myself and then, later, checked them on Google Images. My fears were confirmed: She's been posting these photos, without my consent, to "devotee" websites. I feel sick and heartbroken. I haven't confronted her yet.
What do I do, Dan? In every other way, this woman's a catch, and I really care about her. At the same time, I feel like my trust has been horribly violated. Is it time to DTMFA? — Girl In Massive Pain
Yes, GIMP, it's time to DTMFA.
And you gotta dump the motherfucker like you mean it. You can't be a lesbian about this. No "taking a break," no "putting things on hold," no "scheduling an appointment" with your couples counselor. You're dumping her. The end.
Your soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend needs to understand that, as a direct result of her unbelievably selfish actions, she was promptly and unambiguously dumped. It's the only way this motherfucker will ever be able to wrap her head around just how thoroughly she violated you. (It doesn't help that she lies to you — I mean, excuse me, but who sets a friend up on a blind date with someone in a wheelchair without mentioning that fact?) And now, thanks to her, pictures of you are floating around fetish websites. Your soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend destroyed your sense of sexual safety and shat all over the trust that had been placed in her by her dream girl. (That would be you, GIMP.) And for what? A cheap thrill? Bragging rights?
Dump the motherfucker already.
And then, GIMP, after your ex has had some time to wallow in regret (you were the girl of her dreams!) and self-recrimination (how could she have been so fucking stupid!), give her a call. Depending on what you hear — and hopefully you'll hear an extended apology and that she's in therapy — you can make up your mind about whether you wanna TTMFB: "take the motherfucker back."
It sounds like your girlfriend has many good qualities, GIMP, and it sounds like you two clicked. Maybe your girlfriend can be salvaged. Maybe losing you will be the shock she needs to get help. If it was — if she went and got help of her own accord, not because she thought it would win you back (because that wasn't on the table) — then bizarro DTMFA ("date the motherfucker again") might be an option. But you two should start seeing a counselor together if you TTMFB, you should take things four times as slowly this time, and she should get a phone that doesn't have a camera.
I'm a straight 32-year-old woman who has been in a monogamous relationship with a guy for two years. Recently, we took the plunge and moved in. Before moving in, we had experimented with some kinky stuff. (I have never come so hard or fast as the first time I fucked him in the ass with a strap-on.) Then he told me, after moving in, that he had given some thought to poly relationships before committing to me. Now I am feeling insecure about the viability of this relationship. Although he claims no desire to be in a poly situation now, I can't help but feel that I alone will ultimately not be able to fulfill him entirely. He is a soul mate whom I can see growing with over time. But I worry this relationship is doomed. — Fem Fetish Frosh
This probably isn't what you want to hear, FFF, but here goes: You alone will ultimately never be able to fulfill your boyfriend entirely ... just as he alone will never be able to fulfill you entirely. One person simply can't be all things to another person — sexually or otherwise — and unmet needs, unfulfilled desires and unexplored possibilities are prices we pay to be in LTRs. Monogamous, polyamorous, Femdom or whatever: All coupled people walk around feeling a little unfulfilled. (Single people too.) Because no one gets everything they want.
So, FFF, while some aspects of the polyamorous lifestyle appeal to your boyfriend, he has decided that he prefers the kind of relationship he's in now, with its perks and drawbacks, to the hypothetical polyamorous scenarios he used to contemplate, which would've had their own perks and drawbacks. I'd say your relationship is only doomed if you can't bring yourself to take his "yes" — yes to you, yes to monoamory — for an answer.
My husband and I have been together for three years and we're not having as much sex as we used to. A big part of the problem: In the time we've been together, he's put on a lot of weight. I'm not looking to blame his weight gain for my libido issues. I just need to shut up and put out more, and I'm working on that. But I'm wondering if it's ethical to suggest incentivizing his weight loss with more sex. Sex every time he drops three pounds followed by sex once a week once he hits his target weight? I don't think losing the beer belly will make me want to drop my pants all the time, but it couldn't hurt, right? — Like Boys Slimmer
If you think your husband would respond positively to the challenge — if he's not weepily sensitive about his weight, if he likes set goals and specific rewards — then I think you should toss this proposal on the table right next to that bag of Doritos. Of course, I couldn't give you the same advice if the genders were reversed because ... well, it looks like we're out of room. So we'll have to leave the gendered politics of fat for a future column.
Find Dan Savage's weekly podcast every Tuesday at thestranger.com/savage. Send mail to [email protected] or @fakedansavage