This is from an advice column that sex columnist/podcast host Dan Savage writes. The reader writes in about his partner’s intimacy issues because, well, you can read it for yourself. We think Savage’s response is straight-up outrageous. Is he always like this?
I have a problem with my happiness; he is a wonderful man who has a beauty that overwhelms me; we have a beautiful home; I am monogamous for the first time in a decade. But I just learned that I am the spitting image of a man in jail for raping my boyfriend.
He says he is not in a place to dig up his emotions about the subject and wants to hold off on sex—fine by me. I admire him and his courage to be with me despite my appearance. I still love him, but I feel like there is something I could do to help him, to help us. So I guess I am asking for suggestions.
Asking Not Begging
First suggestion: Verify his story.
If you have a stunt double out there rotting in jail somewhere for raping your Wonder Boyfriend, ANB [Asking Not Begging], then there are police reports and trial transcripts and a mug shot that looks just like you. Go find ’em.
I’m an asshole, of course, for casting doubt on your beautiful boyfriend’s dramatic explanation for why his wonderfulness can’t have sex with you right now—or ever, potentially, since he’s “not in a place to dig up his emotions” and wants to “hold off” on sex. But cast I must, ANB, because one of two things is going on: Either your boyfriend is making this rape story up or he failed to share hugely pertinent info with you before moving in. Whichever it is, ANB, your boyfriend is at fault.
Why would he make it up? Well, it could be that he’s not attracted to you, ANB, and manipulating you with a victim story allows him to reap the rewards of being with you while earning him a “Get Out of Fucking You Free” card.
If the story checks out—if you find that mug shot—then your boyfriend has my sympathies. But if he wasn’t ready to resume his romantic and sexual life, ANB, he had no right to be out there dating anyone, least of all a man who looks exactly like his rapist. When we date, ANB, we’re telling people that we’re in a place where we’re ready for love, romance, and sex. If we’re not, we have no business dating anyone seriously. Period. At the very least, the onus was on him to disclose this information—his rape, your resemblance to his rapist—before moving in, not after.
And finally: If you’re not having sex with your boyfriend, or anyone else, and there’s no sex in your foreseeable future, ANB, that’s not monogamy—that’s celibacy.