I'm still on vacation—week two—but the "Savage Love Letter of the Day" must go on. Subbing for me this week...
Daniel Bergner writes for the New York Times Magazine and is the award-winning author of four books of non-fiction, including The Other Side of Desire, a terrific book about kinks, kinksters, and the kinks in being human. His latest book is What Do Women Want?, which Salon said "should be read by every woman on earth" and called "a must-read for any person with even a remote erotic interest in the female gender," and which the Atlantic said "shatters many of our most cherished myths about sexuality." Check out Daniel's new TEDxEast talk about women and desire. Daniel will be answering your questions all week. And while Daniel has been a guest on the "Savage Lovecast," he's new so… take it easy on him in the comments, okay? –Dan
My husband and I have been together for 8 years. We have a great relationship and he's awesome in bed. But... I quit the pill 6 months ago, and it unleashed a torrential libido that I can't seem to rein in. The problem is two-fold; we'd gotten used to our once-a-week routine, and since Mister hasn't quit the artificial hormones, he's still quite happy with that status quo. Me, on the other hand... I'm just about ready to go down on the street and hump trees.
The other thing is that all my old fantasies are bubbling back up. I've always had mild exhib/submissive streaks, and while sex with hubby is really great, he's very vanilla. I've tried everything from talking about it, asking if I could indulge his own kinks, to initiating more "play" - but clearly, he's not that interested, and constantly initiating isn't really doing it for my "I'm being ravaged by a viking" fantasy . He's also a bit on the lightweight side and there's no way he could manhandle me the way I want.
Fast forward a couple of months - I started having insane erotic dreams about a friend of mine who's on the big and manly side. I told him about it... and OF COURSE, what else was going to happen? We've now been having an online affair for a few weeks. (I am not playing innocent. My telling him wasn't fortuitous.) We're so in tune with each other's fantasies, and it's been a truckload of fun. There is no risk we'll take this into the real world. I love my husband and would never let someone else touch me. I will not, for example, go out for a drink with this guy - or see him in person until this is way way over. He is the perfect viking, in a sense, because he's burly + discreet + respectful. I'm afraid that stopping this now will just open the door to fantasizing about someone else who may not be as safe.
I am not torn apart by guilt, but I know what I'm doing is not cool. It would hurt my husband a lot to find out, probably spell the end of us. Am I being a total asshole? Should I stop, or can I indulge a bit longer, as I'm thinking there's no way this flood of hormones won't go dry AT SOME POINT? I'll abide by your ruling.
I'm Drowning Here
My response after the jump...
Oh, those once-a-week routines of predictable sex—and oh, those Vikings, or those poets or lady lead singers or other archetypes of our erotic fancies who, now and then in life, if we’re lucky, become available to us. You’re not alone, that’s for certain. In bedrooms all around you unfulfilling things are happening, while minds float toward the burlier or leggier, the richer or more creative, the more assertive or submissive, the one who can deliver, as you put it, in language that fits your big-forearmed dream, “a truckload” of satisfaction.
Is there a way out of such entirely human torment? Without destroying your marriage and likely drowning in torment of another kind? In your case, Vikette, maybe. Is your husband actually “awesome,” as you say, in bed? Or at least adept? And is he indeed taking some sort of powder or pill that diminishes libido? If the answer is yes to both questions, there’s hope. Without mentioning the modern-day Viking in your life, without saying that you are presently having an affair with a man twice your husband’s size (for an affair or something close to it is what you’re having, or anyway what I would feel my partner was having if she suddenly told me she was pleasuring herself while trading fantasies with a giant Norseman), make it extremely clear to your husband how crucial it is to that he apply his spectacular skills as a lover to pleasing you in new ways and on multiple nights or mornings each week, that he put his imagination to use, that he take the initiative, that he take some risks and step over the lines that define his narrow comfort zone (but don’t say narrow; avoid all insult), and that he jettison—immediately—the dietary supplements that are stifling his sex drive and pushing your marriage to the edge of a sea cliff. In other words, stroke his ego but be candid: the situation is dire. You might also massage his ego and then propose some form of Savage’s monogamish—only, of course, don't note that you’ve already got a specific Viking in mind.
But you asked for a ruling. And already you know in your heart what it is. The Viking must vanish from your in-box. (You needn’t banish him from your thoughts, nor could or should you, though you may have to attempt such mental exiling for a while, so you don’t tumble into writing him again.) Go to your husband with a reasonably clear conscience (reasonably clear may be the best any of us can hope for). And pray to the god Thor that, when confronted with crisis, your husband has a bit of Viking in him after all.
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