Q: We’re an adventurous, bisexual, nonmonogamous, opposite-sex couple with a teenage kid living in Europe. We don’t really struggle with finding and trying new and interesting stuff in bed. However, we do have a problem and it’s getting worse. Having sex is, well, weird when the kid is at home. We can’t be loud, we can’t watch porn, we can’t webcam with other people, we can’t do anything involved or time-consuming, like ropes or pegging or foursomes or whatever. We can’t even fuck in the shower. When he was little we had some plausible deniability, but teenagers know exactly what mom and dad do when they shower together. And it’s weird and makes us both not want to. And we’re not imagining it. Our son frequently reminds us that he can hear everything that happens in the house. Before we took a lot of it outside or to clubs or other people’s places. And he had sports clubs and sleepovers and vacations at grandparents and we could do our thing at home when he was gone. All of that is over now and has been for almost a year. We really like having sex with each other but it has been just very quiet quickies during the day while he’s doing school online or waiting for those rare nights when he is more tired than we are and goes to bed first. It’s been almost a year of this. Way less people want to meet up now, clubs are closed, and traveling is irresponsible. So before we plunge into another year, which as far as I can tell does not look that different circumstance-wise, any tips? —Cabin Fever
A: While a lot of teenagers are performatively disgusted about their parents fucking around, CF, a little tangible/audible evidence that mom and dad—or dad and dad or mom and mom or nonbinary parent #1 and nonbinary parent #2—are still into each other is, on some other level, reassuring. Because if your parents are still fucking each other that means your parents still like each other. And if your parents still like each other that means you don’t have to worry about your parents leaving each other and throwing your world into chaos. So while overhearing your parents fuck may not be comfortable, it can be comforting.
But if you can’t power through your son’s disgust a la Diane and Elliott Birch on Big Mouth—if knowing your son might overhear dad getting pegged or mom getting railed on cam is a boner killer for you and a dehumidifier for the wife—then you’ll just have to resign yourself to quickies for the duration of the pandemic. That means no fucking around in sex clubs for you and no sleepovers at grandma’s house for him for at least the next six months, CF, if not longer.
Zooming out . . .
We talk a lot about parents who blow up when their children masturbate and parents who melt down when their teenagers ask for contraception and parents who shame their kids for being gay or kinky or sexually active or just sexual. While these asshole parents can’t make their gay kids straight of their kinky kids vanilla or somehow deactivate their sexually active kids, they can do real and lasting damage. The exaggerated disgust of a sex-negative teenager is lot less likely to do any permanent harm to you or your wife—your son’s disgust is merely and temporarily inhibiting—and you aren’t going to need therapy to solve this problem. You just need him to grow the fuck up and move the fuck out.
In the meantime, CF, go ahead and take those long showers together. And if your son objects—if he shames you—just remind him that the front door isn’t nailed shut and he won’t hear anything if he takes a fucking walk.
Q: My boyfriend and I have been together for four years. I am 25 years old and he is 33 years old. I’m thinking about ending our relationship. I love him but I don’t see it working out. Our sex life is almost nonexistent. I have a low sex drive and can go long stretches without the need for sex. His sex drive, on the other hand, is very high. I’ve brought up opening the relationship but he is very opposed to the idea. The reason I brought up outside partners besides the sex-drive thing is that we both have different kinks. Some overlap, but a majority of our interests aren’t shared.
I will be moving to Belgium soon to advance my career. When I told my boyfriend he said he wanted to go with me because he wanted to be wherever I was. He didn’t say anything about his own goals for the future. He has mentioned to me on several instances that he would like to write a book but he has not written a word in all the time we’ve been dating. He doesn’t seem to have any drive or passion which kind of scares me. Another big issue is that my boyfriend is having serious financial difficulties and declared bankruptcy a few months ago. I was blindsided by this since we don’t have combined finances or live together and he never indicated that he was having financial trouble. As I mentioned earlier, I am thinking of ending our relationship. I love him but I just don’t know if staying with him is the right thing. I don’t want to hurt him and I don’t see things going down well if I break up with him. Should I stay? Should I go? —Concerned About Relationship Enduring Economic Repercussions
A: You haven’t moved in together, you haven’t mingled your finances, you haven’t adopted a houseplant or a dog or a child. Which makes going—leaving your boyfriend when you leave for Belgium—pretty painless and uncomplicated logistically, CAREER, even if it’s still going to be painful emotionally.
You say you love your boyfriend, CAREER, and I believe you. And if everything was working except your boyfriend’s financial issues, I would urge you to give him a little more time—not infinite time—to get his shit together. And not everyone is ambitious for professional success; some people’s ambitions are harder to recognize because they don’t revolve around making money. Two people with no professional ambitions might find it hard to make their way in the world—someone’s gotta pay the rent—but a supportive non-striver often makes a great partner for a striver. And I don’t know if you’ve been following the news, CAREER, but there’s a pandemic on and a lot of people are struggling financially right now. Your boyfriend isn’t the only person who had to declare bankruptcy in 2020.
But I nevertheless think you should end this relationship. You obviously aren’t sexually compatible, CAREER, and you’re definitely going to wanna explore your kinks—without guilt or encumbrance—once you get to Belgium. Openness is the only way to make it work when two people have a lot of kinks but not a lot of kink overlap. Kinks can’t be wished away or waved off, as much as people like to pretend they can be (and not just vanilla people); kinks are hardwired and some outlet—some way to express and enjoy them—is necessary for a kinky person to feel fulfilled and content. You might’ve been able to make the relationship work if your boyfriend was willing to open it up but he’s not; and you’re not comfortable, at least at this stage of life, with a partner who isn’t a striver. Getting dumped is going to suck for your boyfriend, of course, but he’ll be better off in the long run with someone who comes closer to matching his libido and who doesn’t care that his ambitions, whatever they might be, don’t revolve around his career. And who knows? Maybe he’ll wind up writing a book about your breakup.
Enjoy Belgium, CAREER, it’s a good place for a young gay man to explore his kinks. v
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