I adore my husband of 12 years. We have two kids, a great house, and are very close. The big catch: When we met I was very inexperienced and he failed to disclose a lot of information about his own sexual history, which included a boatload of gay sex and orgies and humiliation play.
He lied to me for years before finally telling me he was bi. Over the last two years, we have tried a lot of new things to make him happy: We had an open marriage, used toys on each other, watched gay porn, and talked a lot about his fantasies. He stopped talking to his extended family during this time frame and told me one night that he probably would have identified as gay rather than bi if he had a more accepting family.
He insists that he only loves me and doesn’t want to end our relationship, but he also calls me vanilla all the time and insists I find him disgusting. He gets extremely upset if I express concern that he is going to opt out of our relationship, which I feel is a legit concern.
Now he says he is just going to repress that side of himself. I don’t want him to lie to himself, or me, and I don’t care if he is bisexual. I don’t even care if he has someone on the side as long as he is super careful with protection. I love my husband and I don’t want to break up our life, but I don’t know how to move past the unhealthy sexual dynamic in our relationship.
Sexually, he has made me feel like I will always be second best. I don’t think that I should have to feel bad for enjoying heterosexual sex and not needing a lot of the extra bells and whistles, especially since I am ready and willing to play along with the things that interest him. What should I do?
Dear Unapologetic Vanilla,
Firstly, if a man calls you vanilla, don’t beat yourself up… take it out on him, instead. Then when he’s lying there with a cracked skull and his blood slowly leaking onto the rug: bend over, flick the end of your cigarette about an inch from his face, lean in, and ask: “kinky enough for ya, Barry?”
Besides, being called “vanilla” is just a pervert’s way of making their own perturbed fantasies seem more normal. It’s a school tactic, like that girl who eats gherkin and banana sandwiches and calls your ham sarnie boring. Or that friend who gave you your first smoke, and is addicted to meth now, with no teeth or future… so just do you.
But isn’t it funny how a man can make you feel like the weird one for enjoying the missionary position, when he’s wearing clothes pegs on his nipples and licking his master’s military boots? Just because you like to feel the weight of a man on top of you, and your husband likes to feel the weight of six or seven, there’s certainly no need for prude-shaming.
So I think you’re right to be unapologetic; especially when you’ve been subjected to the ridiculousness of gay porn scripts, and the hassle of probably wearing a strap-on. It sounds like you’ve done a lot for him – but not much for you. So feel free to highlight that the next time he’s belittling you. I’d suggest casually bringing up his kinks at your next dinner party to keep him in line, but the public humiliation would probably just give him a stiffy.
I think you’re right to query the outcome of relationship, when your man’s basically said that if his family weren’t homophobes, he’d be kicking it at the YMCA and you’d be kicked to the kerb. As unfortunately, he has a hole that your hole cannot fill.
But as you’ve mentioned that you love your
house husband, don’t want to pay for a divorce, and seem content with him getting a little man action on the side – I’d suggest an open marriage as the most suitable solution for now. Although that doesn’t just mean you let him out once a week to go wandering round the bathhouses, but rather go get your needs met too, sister!
Original problem letter from Slate.