Open or not?

May 14, 2008 at 12:00 am

Q: I'm a 31-year-old man and my girlfriend is 28. We've been in a monogamous relationship for four years. Recently we've been doing the long-distance thing, and we're going to be doing it for a while until I can move from Canada to the United States. This is our problem: She brought up the idea of an open relationship until I get down there. I said OK — trying to be GGG — and 24 hours later called her back and reneged.

Dan, I can't stand the idea of another guy with her. I can't. I trust her and, as much as anyone in this situation can say this, I believe that she would only be after the sex if she slept with another guy — but the idea of another guy doing anything to her drives me nuts. I've read that open relationships just don't work for some people. But I also believe in being able to improve yourself. Is my jealousy a negative trait that I can get over?

Help me be modern! —Confused In Canada

A: Help you be modern, CIC? But there's nothing premodern about your feelings, no area where you require "improvement," nothing you need to get over.

Look, kiddo, there's a difference between being a jealous asshole and being a self-aware sex partner. Asking your girlfriend to remain monogamous until you get your ass down to the U.S.? That's just stating a sexual preference, if I may repurpose that phrase. A sincere desire to be your girlfriend's one and only sex partner should not be confused with something as base as jealousy. Jealousy is not trusting your girlfriend when she's out of your sight; it's flipping out when other men notice her; it's making furious and baseless accusations of cheating. Jealousy is controlling, manipulative, abusive behavior masquerading as insecurity. Jealousy is a poison. And you're not jealous, just monogamous.

Open relationships are great — ahem — but they're not for everyone. Some folks aren't built to share a sex partner, don't want to share, and consequently shouldn't share. We're talking sex partners here, CIC, not large pizzas or pot stashes — a reluctance to share is not evidence of a character flaw. It's an alternate lifestyle choice, CIC, one that, while I don't fully understand it, I do fully support.

Q: My boyfriend has recently confessed an interest in gaining weight and has asked me to explore this kink with him. He wants me to feed him during sex, and generally encourage him to gain weight. I love the man too much to care if he gains a little weight, but I don't think he's interested in gaining just a little. As much as I would love to indulge his kink, I also don't want him to bite the dust at age 40 from some obesity-related disease. Before I turn down his request, I wanted to ask you if you might have any ideas as to how this kink could be played out in a way that keeps us both happy and healthy. Thanks. —Don't Want To Kill Husband Material

A: Feed him carrots.

Q: I am a 25-year-old straight woman who recently got out of a monogamous relationship with a man with herpes. He developed symptoms for the first time a year into our relationship and I believe him when he said he hadn't cheated on me. Presumably it had been lying dormant or his first outbreak was so small he didn't notice. Either way, it was quite obviously an unpleasant situation, but we handled it pretty well, I think.

Unfortunately, that relationship has now ended and I find myself not knowing how to deal with the thought of future partners. I've never had any symptoms and we were pretty careful (condom use, no sex during his outbreak) once we discovered the issue, but we had been having unprotected sex for about a year before the outbreak and I know that condoms are not 100 percent effective anyway. So here's the issue: Do I tell future partners in advance that I've been exposed and risk scaring them off over a disease I don't seem to have? I have been having nightmares about having terrible outbreaks and about spreading the infection, but I don't know if that's an overactive guilt complex or what.

I really have no idea how to handle this situation. I want to be responsible, but also not cause myself a huge amount of extra stress and possibly heartbreak. Help, please? I'm tired of crying all the time. —So Sad Always

A: First, SSA, you might want to get tested — you do know you can get tested for herpes, right? — and find out, for sure, if you even have herpes. For info about tests and where to get 'em, go to

If you do have herpes, SSA, I would encourage you to be open about it — all of it, SSA. Not just your exposure and the fact that you haven't had a single outbreak, but also the odds that the person with whom you're sharing this info has herpes himself. One out of every four adults has herpes and most of us — because we've never had an outbreak or didn't notice the one mild outbreak we may have had — aren't even aware we've got it.

But here's the best reason to disclose, SSA: for your own peace of mind. You're going to want to make this a nonissue as you head into a new relationship, and the only way to accomplish that is through disclosure. If you don't disclose, you're not going to enjoy your new relationship because you're going to be stressing out the whole time about whether or when your new partner is going to have an outbreak.

Bottom line, SSA? You don't want to date guys who are hysterical about herpes — you don't need that kind of stress, either — and, averages being what they are, sooner or later you'll find yourself having the talk with a cool guy who already knows he's been exposed.

Q: I've been married for eight years to, and have two kids by my wife — she thinks I'm a great guy. But she has a tremendously low sex drive (once a month is good for her) and mine is fairly high (three times a day would be perfect). At the end of the proverbial day, though, I used my wife's low sex drive as an excuse for fucking around.

This isn't a sex question, but a relationship question: I finally had that moment of clarity that made me realize what a tool I am, and how I was jeopardizing a great family life for some extra pussy (or manpussy, depending on the hookup). I decided I was done and I've stuck by that decision. Problem is, this last woman I slept with e-mails me a few weeks ago and tells me she's pregnant.

I need to tell my wife, obviously. Is there any way to tell her this without completely losing her? —Dumb Tool

A: I don't have any magic words for you, DT, as there's just no way to say, "Honey, I knocked someone else up" without at least risking the end of your marriage. Drop the bomb, get your asses into couple's counseling, try to stay together for your kids' sakes, and when the new kid arrives, get a paternity test — and a vasectomy too, DT, just in case you're ever tempted to stray again.

And please don't ever call it "manpussy," DT, unless you're trying to wreck my love life too.

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