I am a 23-year-old man who has been in a relationship with a great woman for four years now. She is an amazing person, and we oftentimes talk about marriage. The issue is this: I have a foot fetish and she is fully aware of it. She doesn't like the idea of me kissing her feet or indulging my fetish in any way. We have sex quite often, and I've always let it slide that she doesn't want any part of my fetish. I don't know what to do, because I'm at a stage in my sexual growth where I need to experience my fetish. I'm getting mixed advice from different people and I just want a straight answer. The sex we have is amazing, but I would enjoy it so much more if I could act on my desires once in a while.
Sexually Frustrated Fetishist
Here's a straight answer: Your amazing girlfriend is an amazingly selfish lover, and I'm amazed that you've put up with her bullshit for as long as you have. A foot fetish is not uncommon or outrageous; as fetishes go, SFF, yours is the least taxing for a nonkinky partner. It's not like you're into shit or choking or Christian side hugs. Any amazing woman who truly loved you would regard indulging you as a no-brainer.
Share time: I have a good friend who's not kinky at all — unless you count being gay — and he's a runner who goes for long runs every Saturday morning. When he gets home, he handcuffs his boyfriend to a chair in his kitchen, duct-tapes one of his sweaty sneakers over the boyfriend's face and leaves him there while he has breakfast. My friend — who came to me for advice when his boyfriend confessed his fetish — isn't really into guys with sneakers duct-taped to their faces. But it gets his lover off, and isn't that what lovers are for?
Your lover has had things — she's had you — on her terms for four years, SFF, which means you're going to have to play the breakup card. It's the only leverage you have. Tell her that if she can indulge your fetish — happily and regularly — and take some pleasure in giving you pleasure, she might be "the one." If she can't or won't, she obviously isn't. (Not that "the one" is anything other than a destructive myth, but for the sake of winning this argument, go ahead and use it.)
Finally, SFF, don't let the girlfriend — or anyone else — tell you that you're threatening to end this relationship over something trivial. Sexual fulfillment is important, particularly if your relationship is exclusive. And the "triviality" of your kink cuts both ways: If your kink is so trivial, why not just indulge you then? In a long-term relationship — or a marriage — one partner's sexual selfishness and another's sexual frustration rarely prove trivial over the long haul. They're more often grounds for divorce.
I'm a straight guy in my late 20s. I have a girlfriend of several years whom I live with and I love very much. I just read your most recent column, in which you used the acronyms HND (honest nonmonogamous dude) and CPOS (cheating piece of shit), and it struck a nerve. I have never been an HND; I have in the past been a CPOS (though not in this relationship). My girlfriend is lovely, supportive and generally GGG, and though the sex is good, I have a significantly higher libido than she does and I would like to have a little more variety in my sex life. I want to be an HND, but I don't know how to broach the subject with the girlfriend without ruining our relationship. We are very open about our sex life and our relationship in general, but I think this is probably a "next level" topic that may not go over very well. How do I bring this up without screwing up our relationship beyond repair?
Aspiring Honest Nonmonogamous Dude
Based on what you've learned about yourself in past relationships, AHND, i.e., that you're a CPOS waiting to happen, I would encourage you to err on the side of screwing up your current relationship with an honest conversation about your mismatched libidos and your natural and normal desire for a little variety. Lies, damn lies, and statistics all demonstrate that, in time, one or the other or both of you will cheat. Better to toss that out there now, even at the risk of calmly winding down this relationship before you revert to CPOS form, than to see the relationship explode after someone, most likely you, winds up cheating.
And while we're on the subject of cheating …
I suppose I'm obligated to say a few words about Tiger Woods. First, let's pretend that Elin Nordegren cheated on Tiger and that Tiger went after Elin with a golf club. Would Elin be viewed as the sole transgressor in the marriage then? Probably not. And second, daily papers and cable-news outfits reacted to Tiger's "transgressions" by changing the names in the same "Why do powerful men cheat?" stories they've been pimping since Bill Clinton blew a load on a White House intern.
For the millionth time: Men cheat for the same reasons women cheat, i.e., because they're bored or horny or unfulfilled or desperate to see someone else naked for a change. People cheat because monogamy isn't natural and we are wired to cheat. That doesn't make cheating right, of course; people should honor their commitments and blah-de-nine-iron-blah. But we shouldn't encourage people to make commitments we all know they're unlikely to keep. The end.keep. The end.
Find the Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at firstname.lastname@example.org
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