The Truth That Would Devastate My Husband

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S1: This podcast contains graphic, explicit and even sometimes a little bit vulgar discussions of sexuality. Hi, I’m Stoya. I’m a writer and pornographer,

S2: and I’m Rich Juzwiak, I’m a writer,

S1: we’re the authors of How to Do It. Slate’s sex advice column. This is our new podcast, where we answer brand new letters about all your sex and relationship issues twice a week. You can ask us anything about sex or trying to have sex or not wanting to have sex. We are here to help.

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S2: Like, firstly, like when I get the questions, I’ll read them and I’ll be like, I have no idea. One or two, I’ll be like, OK, I have like a sentence, but then I hate that feeling of like, see a therapist. You know, sometimes that is the answer, but I want to provide more and I want to give people something to take away or like a different way to think about it or something that might be happening.

S1: You know, we are pretty aware that therapy isn’t always a financial option. Totally. And like, it must feel awful. No, it does feel awful when someone’s like, just do this thing, you actually can’t

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S2: do have no access to so many things that you have said throughout our chats and just knowing each other have really stuck with me. And I think like one of the real sticking points that makes me a little bit apprehensive to always recommend therapy is the fact that like, it might not be right for somebody at some time. I think that like, you know, there’s a certain way of thinking that’s like, Got something wrong? Go get it fixed. And it’s like, well, for reasons beyond financial therapy just might not work for you right now. Yeah.

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S1: And also the specific kind of therapy and the specific therapies exactly have such an effect. And so like, it’s not so much like the dentist, it’s like the dentist. It’s pretty straightforward. You got a thing with my tooth. You’re going to do the thing. Yeah, that dental sciences fixes the tooth. But psychiatry and psychology is so much more nuanced and still not very well understood, and you have to be able to withstand the frustration of a therapeutic relationship not working out or even the additional issues caused by a therapy that really isn’t the right fit. Yeah, like sometimes it can make things worse.

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S2: Yeah, for sure. All right, let’s go to our first question.

S3: Dear, how to do it, my husband had an affair almost three years ago, I decided to stay initially for the kids, but he’s worked extra hard and done all the right things to make our life better than it was before the affair. That includes our sex life. We do it maybe three to five times a week. It’s always satisfying. There is a problem, however, I can’t orgasm unless I’m thinking about his boss. Let me explain. I’ve never met his boss, but my husband open up to him at work a few months after everything went down, his boss often asks about me and tells my husband how good I am to him. I have no desire to meet the man or sleep with him. But the first time this happened, I was having a flashback during sex of the woman my husband cheated with. And I tried to distract myself by thinking about something the boss had said that had made me feel good. It led to me imagining him having sex with me and a very powerful orgasm. I feel guilty about this, and I know if I ever tell my blissfully unaware husband it would devastate him, especially since his boss has a different body type. And my husband has always been insecure about his height and build. Am I doing something really wrong here? Do I need to come clean? We’ve almost completely rebuilt trust. And I don’t want to mess that up after everything we’ve already been through signed mentally unfaithful.

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S1: Who so are they doing something really wrong here? No, this is their thoughts, right?

S2: You know, it deviates from the ideal script of we’re sharing a moment. We’re both completely entranced with each other and like, the truth is not always like that. You know, sometimes other thoughts creep in. I had a similar question to this actually, a few months ago, it was like a taboo fantasy. Actually, someone felt really bad. They similarly needed to think of these taboo fantasies in order to climax. And I talked to Justin Lehmiller works at Kinsey. He’s a psychologist. He wrote this book. Tell me what you want the science of sexual desire and how it can help you improve your sex life. Based on this really extensive survey of over 4000 Americans, about fantasies what people fantasize about when they fantasize, et cetera. And I presented this question, not this particular one, but the other one that was very similar to this about incest fantasies. And he did not seem disturbed at all that these were not just like a masturbatory aid, but it actually in aid during sex, he told me. It’s something people do often to increase sexual arousal, to maintain sexual arousal or to facilitate orgasm. It’s adaptive in that way because it can enhance the sexual experience. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to fantasize during sex. Another way to think about it is to the extent that this facilitates sex and allows people to experience more pleasure. That’s a positive outcome. Mm-Hmm. I think it’s a pretty good way to look at it.

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S1: You know, we we spend so much time trying to help women be orgasmic, right? And she’s figured it out. She’s figured out what works for her really, really well. You know, she says she has no desire to meet the man, much less anything else with him. So I think she’s fine. However, if her reliance on the fantasies disturbs her, regardless of the content. Now, I can’t orgasm without blank. You might not want that right? So she can. Much as she distracted herself from the negative flashbacks by thinking of this guy, she can build something else that is more in line with where she wants to be putting her mental energy while she’s having sex that she thinks of.

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S2: Yeah, exactly. Another intervention? Yeah. I don’t know. I mean, the more I kind of like think about these things and hear about them, it seems like a fairly high number of the population’s sexual tastes kind of shifts over time. Probably not to any great extent, although that can happen, too. But it’s just kind of like that thing that gets you off at this moment in time. Yeah. May not be the same in six months, and it might have something to do with like porn that you saw where you said that was really hot and it just happened to, like, really connect with your receptors at the time and you want to experience that again. And now that’s what you’re into

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S1: or a partner or iPod who’s into something and introduces it and you enjoy it. And then whether that thing on its own would ever have aroused you? Yeah. Now you have this pleasant erotic memory associated with it. It’s really interesting how our sexuality is shift and really expand.

S2: Totally. And also, you know, the sex that’s being had with the husband is described as always satisfying. They’re having sex three to five times a week, which is way above average per just about any poll that’s ever asked that question. And so to me, this doesn’t seem like a situation where the writer is completely dissociated the entire time and then, you know, the sex happens, it seems like an enjoyable sexual experience that in order for the writer to achieve orgasm needs that extra push from this fantasy. I don’t see that as a huge, huge issue.

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S1: I don’t see it as a problem. I wouldn’t tell the husband. I don’t see that being fruitful or productive or useful in any way. And I do see it having a pretty high chance of hurting his feelings, maybe making him feel like dejected, insecure. The last line, I don’t want to mess that up after everything we’ve already been through. Right. Like, I do think it’s better to keep quiet about it for the sake of some peace and quiet time till they rebuild normalcy.

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S2: I mean, that’s just tact. Yeah, that’s just like figuring out how to communicate with that person that you’re, you know, attached to so that you don’t disturb further communication. Right? I mean, like, you have your own existence, you have your own life. You’re not going to be telling somebody every single thing that’s in your head. Again, it’s kind of this unrealistic ideal that people have of like, you know, yes, the sexual experience. We must be completely wrapped up in each other the entire time. We must also tell each other every single thing about our sexual existences. If my boyfriend is whistling, I don’t like whistling at all. I it’s like my number one thing that I hate to hear. If I tell him about it, I know it’s going to cause an argument and make him feel bad, and he stops whistling after a few minutes. I just don’t say anything about it. Yeah. He doesn’t need to know that part of my life I’m managing, you know? So to your earlier point about, you know, hearing from people who are having a hard time getting to orgasm, it seems to me like our writer is managing.

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S1: Yeah, they’re having satisfying sex. They are happy with how their husband is behaving and how their life is post affair. I think they’re doing great.

S2: Yeah. And just wait for this to pass. Basically, it’s unlikely that you will be fantasizing about this boss forever.

S1: Yeah. And another thing that they can do in the moment when they experience that fantasy is connect with their husband. Yeah, right. Exactly. Hi, engage with me verbally. That’s a thing that they enjoy and that their husbands are happy to do or like whatever it is.

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S2: Look into his eyes.

S1: Yeah, yeah. Let’s hear our next question, dear.

S4: How to do it. I’m a 30 something straight man who’s been with my wife for five years. For the past few years, my wife has been struggling with a health issue which has caused our sex life to dwindle to nothing. I do love her and I want to be with her for all the other aspects of happiness she brings me. But the absence of sex has been a weight on our relationship. After much discussion and with some tears, we recently came to an agreement that I can seek sex with other people. This feels both exciting and terrifying at the same time. Like I said, I love my wife and I’m not looking for new relationships. But how, as a straight man can I respectfully put out there that I well put out and put out only? And how do I do this in the least creepy way possible? Can I be a boy who just wants to fuck without actually being a fuck boy signed? Good boy.

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S1: So the thing about the caricature that we mock, yeah, is they can be that way in a relationship, right? They can be that way out of a relationship. They can be that way as a virgin. Yes. Like, there’s just a certain kind of attitude that is terrible that then gets like flattened into this cartoon that we vent about with laughter.

S2: So do you have a definition of a fuck boy? Because I’ve seen people talk about this, it kind of confuses me when people call people, fuck boys. I just think, Oh, you’re meet a man like, that’s kind of synonymous. I don’t I don’t know what the difference is between a fuck boy and a man. So please.

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S1: So like many brilliant nonce phrases, the term fuck boy comes from American black vernacular. Mm hmm. There’s a Jezebel piece from 2015

S2: by Kara Brown, a friend of mine.

S1: Yeah, that says, Fuck Boy is a term that most will agree was first introduced publicly by the rapper Cam’ron and later became of the larger hip hop lexicon.

S2: To call someone to fuck boy is to insult them. It falls. In a similar category of terms like bitch ass or scrub, fuck boy, as a man who is lame, who sucks, who ain’t shit, insults don’t need to have some deeper meaning they’re meant to cut someone down quickly and decisively. It is precisely because they’re so uncomplicated that they are difficult to respond to,

S1: and that is the closest thing to a definition they found in that piece. Yes, but it is a whole bunch of behaviors that we don’t like. Yeah. And you can be a person with a penis who identifies as male and just wants to have sex.

S2: Absolutely without being a fuck boy, you’re saying, right?

S1: Yeah.

S2: Yeah, so so the fuck boy thing. What I envision is a kind of selfishness, a disregard, a kind of I’m going to get what I want, and I’m not going to necessarily be honest or ethical about it, per se. So obviously, if this were somebody who wanted to have sex with men, enter a gay space and you’ll find it, it’s pretty clear how to coordinate that. I do think that sports sex for heterosexual men is a bit more of a logistical challenge, but I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong.

S1: So the thing is, even when you meet someone at a nightclub, have sex in the bathroom and then never speak again or see each other after that night. You’ve still had a relationship, right, a very short boundary like tiny, miniature, but still a relationship and partially because of things like the Delta variant, genital based, sexually transmittable infections and also you don’t want to burn through the entire possible dating pool. So you will probably be seeing people more than once. Yeah. And even though no one’s ever going to expect flowers and they might not ever feel that they can call you in the middle of the night when they’re having a crisis, and in fact, that may be a stated boundary. But you will have small conversations. You will get to know each other, you will be engaged in an intimate act and there will be some kind of relationship and that that doesn’t have to threaten what he has with his wife in any way or even be similar to what he has with his wife.

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S2: Right? I think it’s important here to keep in mind that just because you can doesn’t mean you should always, you know, if your wife is having a bad day or something like that and you have a sex date that afternoon,

S1: not the time.

S2: Maybe you just call it off, postpone it. So also, there’s a kind of urgency to this question. I feel where it’s like, OK, I can do this, how do I do this? And it’s like, you know, sex just happens like cheating often happens with people that the person knows. Because as you move through life and interact with people, you decide, Hey, I’m attracted to you. What this agreement gives you is the opportunity to take advantage of those situations.

S1: Yeah. And when you’re talking to someone in person, you eventually, through trial and error, start to get a feel for when the appropriate time to mention your sexual quirk. Yes. You know, for me, it’s my career and also my non-monogamy. For this person, it’s their narrow non-monogamy. But you start to develop kind of a sense of like, OK, this person is interested, and now is when I should mention my wife and I have an agreement where I’m allowed to flirt with other people. Right, right. Because you might not want to jump straight to like, Hey, I can have sex with

S2: you, right? Because then that’s so presumptuous and it turns people off, even if they have been feeling that as well.

S1: Sometimes, yeah, but that gives them the opportunity to then say like, Oh right, and what else can you do?

S2: And then so if he’s actually going to do the hunting for its field, OkCupid? Yes, like non-monogamy oriented, I would

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S1: say field an OkCupid. And what I would suggest to this guy for his profile is to be succinctly clear about what he’s looking for. Really use his own language. Don’t say friends with benefits, say 30 minutes of coffee and 90 minutes in a hotel room like you really clear. Because like the term fuck boy, what is friends with benefits exactly

S2: like friend is the first word. So then it’s like, OK, we’re friends. Yeah, so now I’m confiding in you. I’m trusting you. You can. You’re going to walk my dog when I’m out of town. Yeah, you’re not going to be doing that.

S1: So like, don’t rely on cliché search terms. Yes. And you know, a lot a lot of the people who want a not romantic, not super emotionally involved sexual relationship are pretty businesslike, right? Yes. So I was like, be prepared to like, show up clean and on time. Don’t waste half an hour once the hotel room door closes, like dithering. Like be like, Hello, how can I engage in foreplay with you? Totally. But that said, you know, if the person is vulnerable with you and you have the bandwidth for it, sure, that’s OK. And that doesn’t have to mean that your relationship is now nonstop sharing and support. Right? So just, you know, act like an adult. Be responsible. Be clear about what you want and what you can provide.

S2: And if you get frustrated, leave things open to circumstance. Because I guarantee you in your travels you will have that kind of connection attraction with somebody. And the difference between you and that next guy is you have the permission to make good on that attraction that you find manifests as you walk through the. World, and that’s a wonderful thing that’s like more than half of it, that’s just a burden lifted, I think, for a lot of people who feel non-monogamous, so.

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S1: Oh, that’s beautiful. OK, that’s all for now. But we’re not done this week on this week’s second episode exclusively for Slate Plus members. A woman writes in about her new boyfriend. She really likes him. But a shocking revelation about his past and we do mean shocking is changing everything.

S2: When you get with somebody who’s in their early 20s, for example, you kind of realize, OK, this is kind of a crapshoot. You know,

S1: you’ll want to hear this one. Joined now at Slate.com slash HDI Plus,

S2: if you’re in need of sex advice from Stoya and me. You can write to how to do it at Slate.com, slash how to do it, or you can leave us a voicemail at three four seven six four zero four zero two five and we may use it on the show. That’s three four seven six four zero four zero two five and Slate.com. Slash h o w t o d o it. Remember, this is anonymous and nothing is too small or embarrassing.

S1: Our show is produced by Channel two. How to do its editors Jeffrey Blumer Our letter readers are Shasha Leonard and Benjamin Frisch. Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you next time.