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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

88

Befriending Your Best Friend's Girlfriend and Resisting the "One True Sex Act"

I'm polyamorous, and live with my partner, and have a long distance relationship with someone I love dearly. I've been with my partner for almost three years, and we are in a very solid, happy place. My long-distance sweetie and I have had an intense Thing happening since this past April—so about five months, all of it online (we lived in the same town years ago, but have lived in different parts of the country for the last few years.)

Until this week, my sweetie had a primary relationship of their own. The breakup is, well, a breakup—messy, drama-ful, and rife with the mind-boggling emotional calculus of "had I only brought in the last bag of groceries last Tuesday, she'd still be with me." It's a roller coaster, and I'm somewhat insulated from it because of the distance, but it's still hard to see them in so much pain, knowing there isn't much I can do about it.

We've all been working hard on keeping good boundaries and communication open. But I'm wondering if you've got any of your patently good advice for supporting my sweetie from afar without getting burned out and exhausted?

I'll open with a caveat: Poly issues are something with which I have zero first-hand experience, and some of the emotional subtleties here may be difficult for me to grasp fully. If you think I've missed something that should be obvious, jump down to the comments and let me know. I'm happy to learn!

That said, I think the question you're struggling with is something many of us, poly or otherwise, have had to deal with in one way or another: How do you support someone you love through a life-altering loss?

For starters, try to be forgiving and understanding about a certain amount of what you might otherwise consider irritating behavior from your sweetie. People coping with loss (of a significant other, a job, a pet, etc.) can often be—there's no other way to say it—astonishingly boring. You've already noticed the attention to obsessively revisiting minutiae from the past; there will probably also be whiplash-inducing mood swings (“She was the worst. I'm so much better off now. I want her back so bad!” over and over for an hour). You're likely to find yourself having the same conversation on repeat, as the words of wisdom you dispensed yesterday are completely forgotten in the midst of today's heartache. After the first eight or so times you listen to the same monologue about the ex's flaws, you may be tempted to request that your sweetie kindly snap out of it already.

Instead, take a break—go for a walk, have dinner with your partner, read a chapter or two of your favorite book—and re-engage when you feel up to listening and being patient again. No one in the history of the world has ever gotten over a breakup because someone suggested that it might be a good idea. It just takes as long as it takes, and if you're committed to riding this out with your sweetie you'll need to be on board with having no control over how long that might be. 

Second, if at all possible, don't be the only person your sweetie is talking to about this. In fact, if you can arrange it, try to assemble a team of trusted family, friends, and loved ones to help them get through it. When you can't be there in person, it's nice to know there's someone else you can call up and say, “Hey, they're having a rough time today. Any chance you could swing by with a six-pack and a silly movie and help take their mind off things?” Being in communication with the rest of your sweetie's team can also help to alleviate the feeling that you're the one person responsible for their emotional well-being, and you need to come up with a solution right now.

Because the fact is, there is no solution. Nothing but time, some inconveniently timed crying jags, and maybe a few gallons of alcohol can make your sweetie feel better about this situation—so don't put pressure on yourself to fix it. Be there for them as much as your own emotional resources allow, but understand that all you can really do is listen. Take a break when the strain starts to get to you; your sweetie will understand, especially if you can tag someone else in. You have two good relationships here. Don't jeopardize either by putting too much of your energy into one that's already gone bad.

I am a straight, attached, late-20-something lady with a lovely group of lady friends that, in the last few years, has added members due to new friendships and lost members (not really lost, just in the physical sense) due to moves to other places/ greener pastures. The core part of the group has been friends for around five years and for a while were all single and did the standard lady friend things (dinners, drunk brunch, hiking, getting the nails did, etc). Then, I started dating my SO. I abide by the lady code and was always careful to respect the difference between lady friend events and events to which the man-friend was welcome. He did the same, and we were generally (in my humble opinion) pretty awesome at managing the whole be friends with the SOs friends but don't forget to hang out sans-SO with your friends thing.

A few months into my relationship, one of the group started dating a lady (heretofore known as LadySO). No one had any issue with her dating a lady—you do you, and all that. It was sort of a surprise, given her previous romantic interludes, but whatever. Once they started to get serious, the new ladySO would ALWAYS ATTEND lady friend events. Even when it was obvious that it was a lady friend thing, she would come. The friend would always invite her, even though I am generally certain that no one in the group (especially that friend) would tolerate my bringing my man-date around to these types of things.

Flashforward a yearish, the friend and her LadySO are still together, and going strong and doing the long-distance thing. We are coming up on our annual holiday lady friend event, and myself and another core lady friend are trying to decide if and how to specifically NOT have the ladySO in attendance. A few complicating factors: 1) the host of the party is now close friends with (and will invite) someone she met through the ladySO originally. 2) they are now long-distance so I feel slightly more sympathetic to the "we need to be together always" thing. We do, however, invite all SOs to the party after a certain time, so we're not banning her forever—just until like 9 p.m.

Overall, this has sort of been a festering thing in the group, and it's mostly not come to a head because the ladySO is sort of boring so it's not like she breaks things and causes a scene or gets us kicked out of bars. It's the principle—significant others are significant others, and it shouldn't matter that hers is a lady.

Is this a problem for others? Am I being insensitive? I just want to have time with my lady friends.

It sounds like in all the time this has been a “festering thing,” no one has even attempted to broach the subject to your friend—am I wrong about that? If that's the case, I'm you and all of your crew are partially responsible for this uncomfortable situation in which you find yourselves.

On principle, you're absolutely correct: same-gender partners are not invited to friend-only gatherings. The point of a “lady's night” is not to surround yourself with an indiscriminate conglomeration of ladies. It is to relax into a cozy cocoon of people you've known for ages, speak a language composed entirely of inside jokes, swap lipstick and/ or motorcycle maintenance tips, and not have to see anyone else holding hands. Gender is not the issue here, and frankly, your friend should have known better than to assume her partner gets a pass for being a lady.

However, she didn't know better, and—here's where this gets complicated—no one bothered to correct her. If, the first time she tried to smuggle a girlfriend into a friend event, someone had pulled her aside and said, “Yo, we like your partner but we want to spend some quality time with you alone. Next time, please don't bring a date unless you know other folks are too,” it probably wouldn't have been a big deal. But since that didn't happen, she probably figured it was cool: you all loved her significant other so much, she just immediately became one of the girls! Correcting that misconception a year or more later is likely to be awkward and lead to more hurt feelings than if the issue had been addressed right off the bat, because she (and her girlfriend) are going to feel like LadySO is being kicked out of the group, rather than not invited in the first place.

There's not much you can do about this now, but keep it in mind for the future: The longer you wait to confront a problem, the worse it will be when you finally get around to it. For now, if you want to re-zone your friend gatherings as Platonic Only, No Smooching Permitted, you're going to have to be direct with your friend: “We really like [LadySO], but we want to have some friends-only time before everyone's dates show up. Can you tell her to meet up with us at 9 when [DudeSOs] are arriving? We promise to save the good wine for when she gets here! Some of it, anyway.”

I'm a lady in my mid-twenties with loving family, good friends, and an amazing boyfriend I've been dating just short of a year. Our relationship is solid and supportive on both sides. Things are great for us, except for one not-insignificant piece. Six months ago we decided together that it would be best to let my parents know that the boyfriend is trans. I was anticipating some worries and questions and weirdness for a while but my parents are caring and compassionate people and I thought it would all blow over soon. But it still hasn't at all. They remain hyper critical of boyfriend and our relationship, but quietly so, so that I've felt uncomfortable talking about our relationship in general, especially when everything I say about it gets filtered through a panicky "Oh no, my daughter has become a lesbian" lens. Talking to them about bringing him to family Thanksgiving festivities ended with me in tears and them talking about my "alternative lifestyle," insinuating that my boyfriend isn't really a man and certainly not good enough for me and more or less forbidding me from ever introducing him to my extended family. They seem more concerned about what other family members and friends will say about them behind their back.

This has been insanely hurtful and confusing for me and incredibly hard (but necessary) to talk about with my dude. The only glimmer of hope for me—and I have to take them at their word on this—is that they say that they want to do better. I know that acceptance takes time and that I'll have to let them go at their own pace to a certain extent, but I also refuse to put my life on hold while I wait for them to get comfortable with things. Boyfriend and I are planning to move in together eventually and I know this will throw them for a loop. I want to help them, if I can, but I'm at a bit of a loss. Are there any resources out there for them? Any ways to say "y'all need to get your act together" while still maintaining a relationship?

Why would you take them at their word about wanting to do better when they've shown no actual signs of doing better? “Better” is not banning your boyfriend from Thanksgiving. “Better” is not panicking about what their friends and family will think – and, as an aside, how do they think their friends and family are going to find out about your boyfriend's gender history? Because outing your boyfriend is definitely 300 percent not doing better.

Listen, I understand that family is complicated and things take time, but they've had six months. If six months isn't long enough to find the acceptance in their hearts, it's at least long enough to figure out how to fake it in polite society. They know they're causing you and your boyfriend pain, and they know (or claim to know) that they're in the wrong, so the appropriate thing for them to do is shut up about it already, and fake basic decency until they make it. If they haven't done so, it's because they either don't care how much they're upsetting you, or they haven't quite given up on the idea that they can harangue you into breaking up with your partner and finding a nice cis guy to settle down with. Either way, it's time to lay it on the line for them: This relationship is not going anywhere, and you will no longer be giving out As for effort. If they want you to believe that they mean well, they need to start acting right.

This means they can look for their own goddamn trans* resources, because Google exists and even parents know how to use it. It means they can make an effort to get to know your boyfriend and include him in family events. It means they recognize that acceptance isn't something you sit around and wait for, something that comes unbidden and suffuses your soul like enlightenment and meanwhile everyone sits around waiting patiently while you continue to be a dick because, well, what can you do, acceptance just takes time! Girl, no. Acceptance is something you get up and do. You accept people by treating them like they are acceptable.

Frankly, I'm not sure you maintaining a relationship with your parents is actually for the best right now, because it tells them that you're willing to put up with their transphobia and misgendering of your partner, and thus that their hurtful words and actions have no real consequences. Despite everything, though, they are your family, and if staying in touch with them is worth the hurt it causes you, feel free to continue ushering them down the path toward not being such juiceboxes. Just don't inflict their presence on your boyfriend until they've proved that they're ready to sit at the big kids' table. You have the right to put up with as much as you want to from your parents, but it's not fair to insist that he do the same.

So, for most of my adult life I identified as a lesbian, and only ever dated and sexed up women. Then about two years ago my attractions went through a pretty jarring seismic shift. I lost interest in women and developed an alarming interest in men. Judging by other letters you've gotten, this is familiar territory. After a lot of processing and some fooling around with a male friend which confirmed that my interest wasn't just confined to the realm of fantasy, I decided I'd like to fuck men for the foreseeable future. I've been working through my angst and dissonance about this, and I've reached a place where I'm comfortable with myself. So, cool.

Except for one niggling issue. I really don't like penis-in-vagina sex. My libido may be aimed at men for the time being, but I still see myself as more of a top than a bottom in bed, and I still have the same taste in sex acts—I think oral and manual sex are aMAZing and I get basically nothing out of being vaginally penetrated, though I'm happy to penetrate my partner if that's what they're into. This was perfectly acceptable as a lesbian, but I suspect the straight world is going to be a whole different ballgame.

For background, I have only had penis-in-vagina sex with one partner (not my dude friend.) She was trans, and even though I was already starting to develop an interest in cock at the time, I did not enjoy PIV with her. When I was first dating women, I didn't like being penetrated at all because it hurt too much. After a long time, I've reached a place where I can enjoy being fingered, but it's still only a pale shadow of the pleasure I get from clitoral stimulation. Having my vagina pounded by a cock just feels intrusive, weird, mildly painful, and boring.

Also it tends to leave me with painful menstrual-type cramps the next day. This has happened even when I've tried masturbating with dildos, so I'm pretty sure it's not the fault of my partner. Finally, I'm terrified of pregnancy, and I suspect that will make me even more tense during PIV, even with birth control. At least with my trans friend I didn't have to worry about getting pregnant.

So, I guess my question boils down to: how ridiculous are my preferences? Do I need to just suck it up and learn to tolerate penis-in-vagina because that's what you sign up for when you're a woman who wants to sex up men?

But assuming I'm not being unreasonable, how should I approach future relationships? Are my preferences so offbeat that I need to pack it up and move to the kinkster scene? Or should I just meet guys I like in real life, and, if things progress, casually mention my preference for oral/manual (and pegging-if-he-feels-like-it) sex like it ain't no thang? Even though I know in the straight world, that's very much NOT what comes standard?

And isn't it grossly unfair that a sex act that a majority of women can't even orgasm from gets treated like the One True Sex Act?

First of all, this wasn't really the point of your letter but I thought I should mention that some trans women can (and do!) knock people up. The chances get lower the longer she's been on hormones, but if you don't know for sure (and you don't want to get pregnant), err on the side of using protection.

It is, indeed, ridiculous that we as a society have come to define “sex” as penis-in-vagina, while all other sex acts are relegated to foreplay—and the number one thing we can do about this insidious misinformation is simply ignore it. If you don't like to be penetrated, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to have a happy, healthy, and satisfying sex life enjoying all of the numerous exciting things naked people can do to and with one another.

That said, you are unfortunately correct that straight men tend to be especially inundated with the “sex = penetration” message, and that most of them will expect it out of a romantic relationship. You should probably be prepared to discuss it more than casually when you're starting to get serious with a dude. Bring up your preferences when you can tell that things are heading in that direction, but before the pants come off, and be ready to explain. Watch carefully for people who try to circumvent your boundaries—any guy who tries to talk you into something after you've clearly stated your disinterest is not someone on whom you should waste another date. It may take some trial and error, but you'll eventually find someone who either shares your predilections, or is so into you that foregoing P-in-V seems like no sacrifice at all. If you want to explore the kink community as a way of broadening your potential dating pool, go for it – the guys you meet there are no less “real” than the ones you'd encounter in any other social circle!

Finally, although you should in no way feel obligated to partake of any sex act that doesn't sound like fun, it strikes me that there could be a medical explanation for why you find penetrative sex so uncomfortable. Plenty of people don't care for P-in-V—I'm one of them—but for most of us the feeling is more, “yawn, let's do something else” than, “OW OW FUCK OW.” The fact that it leaves you with painful cramps the next day could be indicative of a problem, not just a preference. Most medical advice dealing with pain during vaginal penetration carries an irritating undertone of “let's get you fixed up so you can have normal sex like a normal person,” so it's understandable if you'd rather steer clear and keep having awesome, enjoyable, stress-free sex the way you like. However, if you ever do decide you want P-in-V to be on the table again (be sure to clean the table before and afterward), talking to your gyno is probably a good place to start.

 

Previously: The Glittery Fountain In the Sky, Staying Closeted For Your Career, and Lesbian FOMO

Lindsay King-Miller is also on Twitter. Do you have a question for her?

88 Comments / Post A Comment

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

LW2: I'm the only one in a certain friend group of mine that has a LadySO, and I can tell you that it's kind of just as awkward from this side of things. We'll both get invited to all the primary "lady" activities: baby showers, bachelorette parties, etc. and sometimes I just want to go by myself because nobody else's SO is going to be there. Part of what I've done is had the convo with my SO about it, because some things - like my book club, which is ladies only - are just mine. I'm sure your pal will appreciate what you've got to say, and she might be all about it.

Lily Rowan

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Yeah, I think there's a difference between "activities for women" like baby showers, which, sure, invite both female partners, and "ladyfriend group activities" which are no-SO-zones. Right? You still might have stuff to work out with your actual partner about the first category of things, but it doesn't seem that hard to invite just one partner to the second kind.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Lily Rowan Yes, that's what I was trying to say. I'm the kind of person who likes to go to ladyfriend social gatherings with just my lady friends, and I don't automatically assume my SO's been invited because she happens to own a vagina. There's a definite difference.

RNL
RNL

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose This is an interesting conundrum!

I have taken to inviting men to all the traditionally "lady-only" things I throw, because 1) men should go to baby showers because of course they should 2) if you don't invite men to lesbian wedding-related parties, there will be no men involved ever, which feels mean to the male friends and brothers and also icky 3) I feel so weird at straight bachelorettes when I'm closer to the dude than the lady but I have to party with her instead of him.

But if you don't employ arbitrary gender binaries, then it's hard to draw lines around social gatherings. Is it socially ok to just say "only these people are invited and no more"? I guess it depends on your group. I do have a group of four friends who bonded at a professional training thing - I'm the lone female. We sometimes have "bring your SO" events, and I bring my male partner and they bring their female partners (who are now my friends). Sometimes it's just us.

But the REAL reason it's just us is that one of the lady partners is not our favourite. She's a downer, basically. So the "No SO" rules is basically a "No Her" rule disguised. As it seems that the LW kind of wants that too. I wonder if this lady SO was super awesome, she would be having this problem.

And so then the question is: do you get to make social rules that are just ways of excluding people you don't really like? I guess so, maybe, but I wouldn't.

RNL
RNL

@RNL I mean I guess I do, or at least participate. But I'm not sure we should. My philosophy is generally "invite everyone" because hurt feelings are awful.

klemay

LW4, your preferences are NOT ridiculous. What's ridiculous is the "PIV = Sex" messages we all get shoved in our faces every day, when many women do not even orgasm from PIV. And being terrified of pregnancy? Totally valid! (Although A Queer Chick is totally right, pleasepleaseplease always use contraception even when hooking up with trans women because even a tiny chance is still a chance.)

I am literally begging you not to resign to "suck it up and learn to tolerate penis-in-vagina," because anyone who doesn't want to respect your preferences is not a worthy partner. And honestly, I don't think we can really consent to something if there's no real option to say no, so the whole concept is rapey and gross (not a criticism of you, but a criticism of our culture).

ponymalta

I second that the last LW should think about talking to an OB/GYN about their pain after penetrative intercourse. Not so that you can get a green light to have a kind of sex you're not into, but because it might indicate a health problem, like a cyst or polyp. Hetero women have a health advantage in that they are likelier to get regular screenings like Paps, STI tests, and vaginal exams, just because the health system tends to assume that women-sexing-women are low-risk, and those are often the exams that turn up other issues like polyps or give patients a chance to talk about what's going on in their body with a health professional. It's important to get your parts checked no matter who is putting their parts in or around it!

cunfyoozion

@ponymalta I third the recommendation, for one more reason. It is an unfortunate part of being a vagina-having person that sometimes it's medically necessary to have things go in that vagina (most often pap smears). I know a physiotherapist who specializes in pelvic floor therapy, and one of the major goals of the physio she provides is giving her patients the ability to undergo a gynecological exam without pain or distress. So, LW4, if you never ever have penetrative sex again, that's totally fine (and there are definitely penis-having people who will think it's just fine too), but if for unrelated reasons you want to medically investigate the pain you're feeling, there are ways to do that, and there are healthcare practitioners who aren't going to be heteronormative jerkwads about it.

Jen@twitter

Interesting about the last letter writer talking about feeling like they have menstrual cramps after sex. The next day I feel like that too. Kind of nauseous, periody grossness. No bleeding or anything but just....not great. It never hurts during sex though, that feels great! I never even considered talking to my doctor about it but I guess maybe I should?

klemay

@Jen@twitter Not going to lie, that actually prompted me to make an appointment with my doctor. I've been having pain regardless of the type of sex I have, and I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me that that's not "normal"...

Mariajoseh

@Jen@twitter It happens to me sometimes, period-like cramps RIGHT AFTER having an orgasm, even if it's clitoral. It really sucks and yeah, I'm gonna talk to my dr. about it. End of the TMI!

daisicles

@Mariajoseh I get those immediately before the start of my period. My cycle is irregular, so that is my absolute best tell. Cramps then, period'll be showing up in the next day or two. It's rather handy, though really badly timed.

Glasses

Ask a Queer Chick is my faaaaaaaaaaavorite and I wish it happened every week, nay, every day!

LW3: I'm a cis lady and my partner is a cis guy. We have sex all the time, and only rarely is it p-in-v! Granted, as you alluded to in your letter...we met due to a shared kink. *shrugs* I think because we met specifically talking about sex (are you in Seattle or Portland? try the stranger's lustlab profiles!) it made it easier to have it out on front street as it were and to discuss what we like. Due to medical reasons, my partner rarely ejaculates/experiences orgasm and one of the first things he told me when we started out was that he appreciated that I didn't place pressure on him to orgasm. We've really gotten in to tantric massage (don't laugh! it feels great!) and more often than not it's digital penetration that gets me off. Sure, lots of guys do associate p-in-v as the be all end all, but not everyone does. My last partner (and current bestie/roomie) was also much more confident using his hands, and we had great sex.

So they exist! really! Just be open and up front about it and your chances of finding a compatible partner expands. Good luck!

digsapony

@Glasses I like this comment a lot! My boyfriend and I are both cisgendered, unkinky and without medical issues, but PIV is a rarity for us too. It's absolutely not the be-all and end-all, and some people simply aren't that interested in it!

hotdog

I don't take issue with anything in the actual answer, but this: "It is, indeed, ridiculous that we as a society have come to define “sex” as penis-in-vagina" " It's less about 'we as a society defining' as it is about that kind of sex being the only kind that leads to procreation. Which is the absolute reason that sex exists, biologically. At all. The others stuff is a wonderful incentive for the continuance of the human race. So while I agree that we have moved past that as "THE ONLY SEX THAT MATTERS", I'm not entirely sure that our current society had anything to do with defining it at all.

And yes, of course, I'm not an idiot and I believe the other sex is still sex. No need to set me on fire.

klemay

@hotdog OK fine, "It is, indeed, ridiculous that we as a society have not gotten past the idea of 'sex' as 'penis-in-vagina'". The sentiment is still the same.

I'm not sure why you're so worried about defending Society that you needed to point that out...

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@hotdog "I'm not entirely sure that our current society had anything to do with defining it at all."
What? It's our current society that is so obsessed with defining it that we make laws about it.

up cubed

@hotdog Some animals masturbate or have sex for non-procreation reasons (like monkeys have MSM). It helps with reducing anxiety and bonding!

hotdog

@klemay HA. You're funny. I'm not defending society, but I'm pointing out that we didn't exactly come up with this concept.

klemay

@hotdog The point of which could only be to derail the conversation from A Queer Chick's point.

Virginia Smith@twitter

@hotdog Not really. To say that procreation is the "reason" that sex exists, biologically, is to infer that biology has intentions, reasons, goals, etc. It does not. Mutations happen because they happen. And then the evolved organisms survive for multiple reasons. If sex was not pleasurable, then sex probably would not have persisted as a mutation, and asexual procreation would be how the various forms of life persisted. So the "reason" for sex's existence today could just as easily be said to be, "because it's pleasurable."

Our society has influenced the way we think about sex because, in our society, it's common to personify biological processes and ascribe purpose to them. And also, our society elevates the importance of some functions of sex (procreation) above the importance of others (bonding, recreation, stress-reduction), in part because of the influence of religion. Many cultures before ours valued sex primarily for the good feelings it caused.

DaneDane

@hotdog I agree 100%. I thought the exact same thing when I read the letter. While piv doesn't need to be the end all be all preferentially, it really goes with the biological drive that most people have that isn't based in culture/society.

Sea Ermine

Your preferences are totally normal!! so, for background, I'm a cis straight lady who has only ever had sex with cis straight guys. and for the first 5-6 years of my sex having life I didn't have p-in-v sex (well, once, somewhere around the 2 year mark just to see, but then never again). it didn't seem that interesting to me so I didn't see the point in trying it out, since there were so many other things to do that I did like. And then after I did try it I found out that I had vaginismus (fun suprise!!) so then I stopped doing it for a few years while I sorted that out.

Anyway, I love it now and it's one of my favorite things to do but it definitely did not negatively affect my sex life while I wasn't doing it. I would just casually let guys know that you don't really like penetrative sex and then give suggestions for things you do like! Also, I'd recommend going to a doctor, pain during sex is not good and even if you aren't planning to try p-in-v you should get checked out in case it points to a bigger health issue (like a cyst or something).

Sea Ermine

@Sea Ermine Also, I don't do anything kinky so if you were concerned that you'd have to find someone through kink meetups don't worry, lots of vanilla straight guys are fine with skipping p in v if they aren't boring. Although if you do want to attend a kink meetup that's great too.

Sea Ermine

@Sea Ermine Also even though I have tons of penetrative sex now/prefer it to non penetrative sex I still do a lot of manual/oral sex so even if you do decide to try it out, don't feel like you need to do it all of the time.

SmartCookie

LW3: If you want to maintain a relationship with your parents (and that's a big if) I think you need to lay down the law. Have a conversation with your them where you tell them flat out "I am straight. Boyfriend is a man. We have a healthy relationship that makes us both happy. We would like your support but we don't require it." Then lay out rules and consequences. For example: "You must refer to Boyfriend by his correct name and pronoun. You must not call our relationship alternative. If you do so I will immediately leave/hang up/ etc." Then you actually have to follow through. This is hard! We're not supposed to give our parents rules! It will feel super rude to hang up on them! But if they really want to do better this gives them concrete things to do. And if they don't really want to do better it's completely on them and you will have tried your best.

Less Lee Moore@facebook

@SmartCookie totally awesome advice, that can apply to a lot of things parents feel uncomfortable about.

Briony Fields

FYI, LW4: My ex was your pretty average straight dude, and he was not really into PIV. He mostly did it because I liked it. He much preferred other ways of stimulation, like handjobs or just rubbing together. Soooo....that's just one man in many, but if it helps, there are at least some dudes who are less enthused about PIV. And we didn't meet via any kink venues either.

hedgehogerie

Woah-ho there, part of the answer to LW3 is kind of harsh: "Frankly, I'm not sure you maintaining a relationship with your parents is actually for the best right now, because it tells them that you're willing to put up with their transphobia and misgendering of your partner, and thus that their hurtful words and actions have no real consequences."

Why not recommend that LW3 send over some articles and have some open conversations with them? The parents are clearly uncomfortable and need a lot of guidance. I'm assuming they would even be too uncomfortable to Google this topic, and to be honest, I doubt they'd know what to look for.

I wholeheartedly disagree with forfeiting (even temporarily) one's relationship with their parents. It's not like one day they'll wake up and say "okay okay we love you both, come back!" Instead they'll think the worst, and it'll fester, they'll blame your S.O. and hate them MORE, and your negative energy will fester, and it'll be 10x worse in a year. I'm obvs not a therapist, but I would think the best thing to do would be to be honest, and say things like "your words and actions are hurtful because it makes me feel X; here is how you should refer to X" etc.

Even by trying to hash it out with them, it should at least show that you are an adult capable of caring for yourself and having responsible relationships, which will in turn allow them to trust you and trust your choice in people.

purefog

@hedgehogerie Seconded.

Sgt. Exposition

@hedgehogerie I'm going to disagree (somewhat) with your disagreement. While I think such conversations can be helpful and are important, they are premised (at a certain level) on the person who initiates them to be infinitely giving, patient, and understanding--which can then just encourage LW3's parents to up the pressure. As a trans person with parents who use some of the behaviors described on me, not laying out boundaries and limiting contact instead encouraged people (my mother in particular) to use me as a dumping ground for her feelings about my transition. Without clear boundaries, including not talking about certain things, she felt is was okay to wrap me up in a blanket of guilt and acrimony and hope (in vain) that it would smother my desire to transition.

Like I said, I don't disagree entirely, but I do think in some cases action up to ceasing/limiting contact can be called for when it seems like nothing else works.

ThatWench

@Sgt. Exposition @hedgehogerie

I think everyone has some good points, but I'm on the side of completely cutting off the relationship as being too harsh. I think there's a middle ground of limit-setting that has to come before the complete shut-down, lest the afore-mentioned festering. That said, it's not up to me to determine what the timeline for all of this is.

And I think Queer Chick's advice about how acceptance doesn't come magically out of the clouds, it has to be worked towards is very, very good.

Mariajoseh

@hedgehogerie I agree with you that maybe this particular set of parents need a little more guidance but "I wholeheartedly disagree with forfeiting (even temporarily) one's relationship with their parents."is one harsh sentence. The sad truth is that some parents are horrible and you need to know when to cut ties.

Less Lee Moore@facebook

@hedgehogerie Would we hold parents any less accountable to educate themselves than we would someone who exhibits racist/sexist/homophobic behavior that we engage with in an online forum? This is an honest question

chickpeas akimbo

@hedgehogerie I mean, if someone can't get their shit together enough to google "resources for parents of transgendered kids" or "what is transgendered" or "transgender etiquette" or fucking "PFLAG," which may not be a perfect match but could probably point them in the right direction, I just don't think that LW3 is obligated to do all the heavy lifting for them. QC is right; acceptance doesn't just arrive in the mail. You have to do the work for it. An occasional misgendering (honest mistake) or clueless question is one thing, but they're being deliberately obtuse and hurtful, and that's not okay.

Mariajoseh

@chickpeas akimbo Yeah, I think you are right. And if they really said "we want to do better" but don't know what to do, then their next comment should have been "HOW can we do better?"

supernintendochalmers

@hedgehogerie I think you make some very good points, but I disagree with you about never cutting ties with one's parents. Sometimes it's not about using the relationship as a bargaining chip as much as it is protecting yourself and your partner from harm.

Q
Q

Re: pain after PIV sex - this chart might help: http://drjengunter.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/causes-of-painful-sex-dyspareunia-simplified-in-one-image/

I very occasionally get cramps after sex, but they're mild and settle down after a few minutes - they're just my uterus going back to normal after being, um, poked a little bit (I didn't know uteruses *move around* when we're aroused until I googled this. The wonders of the interweb).
Any actual pain, though, is probably not normal and worth checking out if you're in a position to - even if you never have PIV sex again.

Mariajoseh

@Q I googled it and found nothing! thank you so much for the info :)

SarahP

LW1, this is sort of just brekaup common sense, so sorry if it sounds elementary, but one other piece of advice: do not bad mouth the ex. It may be tempting to agree with any vitriol your sweetie needs to get over the rbeakup, but if that comes up, just be a listening ear. Agreeing with negative things about the ex could backfire.

Urwelt

Welp, I had a comment mostly typed up, but then I came back from lunch and the site had logged me out. I can never seem to stay logged in for more than a day or two (not a problem I have with any other site), but this is a newly aggressive level of not being able to maintain a session.

I think the crux of my comment for LW4 was: imagine you have a partner who finds a sexual act you really enjoy (say, oral sex) "intrusive, weird, mildly painful, and boring" and approach your feelings on PIV like you'd like them to approach that. I can't say what that will look like for you, or how your male partners will feel, but if it were me I'd be looking for someone who was willing to explore and address any medical issues, keep and open mind, and maintain a willingness to at least consider spending three to seven minutes doing something they find a little boring if I'm really into it. I think those things will take you a long way, even if you end up still not wanting to ever have PIV.

evil_echidna

@Urwelt I have to disagree with you here. I wouldn't expect my partner to ignore their own boundaries and do something they really didn't like sexually purely for my benefit. My last boyfriend didn't want to go down on me, so I didn't make him. But it was a deal-breaker for me and we broke up. I think it's just better to be open from the get-go about the kind of things you will and won't do, so you'll know if this person is compatible with you, rather than having one partner do things that feel gross and invasive for the other's benefit.

Urwelt

@evil_echidna
Where did I suggest that anyone ignore their own boundaries? Nowhere that I can see. If you read to the end of my comment, you'll see that everything I suggest is compatible with still never having PIV if she decides not to.

She can do whatever she wants, and she can tell her partners whatever she wants, but I maintain that being open minded is always a good thing. If anyone knows that sexual preferences can change over time, it's this woman.

maxine of arc

@evil_echidna And presumably if that's how LW4 feels, too, she'll say "well, if my partner found that sex act I like as offputting as I find PIV, I would NOT want them to feel like they had to change to accommodate me--I'd rather break up." Which is fine! She's still taking Urwelt's advice and looking at it from another point of view.

It is also fine to expect some level of compromise in the bedroom. I mean, every other aspect of being close to other humans inevitably involves some compromise. I think the real answer lies somewhere between "you should always do everything in your power to accommodate any partner's sexual interests" and "people who don't love all the exact same sex acts in equal amounts should never be together." Boning! It's complicated.

Jaya

@maxine of arc I think this is where there's a difference between "boring" and "dealbreaker." There are some things that aren't my favorite to do, but that I have no real problem with doing, and then there are things that make me uncomfortable and I don't want to do. I can't really tell where LW4 lies because she says it's both intrusive and boring, but I'll err on the side of being a dealbreaker. It's up to her whether this is something she's interested in experimenting with or if it's an absolute no. But there is nothing wrong with experimenting with something you're unsure/apathetic about if the circumstances are right (no pressure, full consent, etc)

evil_echidna

@Urwelt What Jaya said, basically. And no, you didn't say, "ignore your partner's boundaries", that was my phrasing. You encouraged lW4 to maybe "maintain a willingness to at least consider spending three to seven minutes doing something they find a little boring if I'm really into it."--which is fine, if they're fine with that! I guess it depends on whether LW4 feels more "bored" than "intruded upon." If it's the former, then giving piv a shot will be no sweat. But if it's the latter, then for a particular type of person (ie me) it can feel like you're disregarding your boundaries in an uncomfortable way if you go along with something you really dislike for the sake of pleasing your partner. But who knows, maybe I'm projecting and she might not feel that way at all. That's cool too. I'm just saying, I've been in this situation previously (both as the one who has foregone something I liked and as the reluctant participant) and I just think it's better to establish open, honest communication where both parties are clear about what they will and won't do from the start so finding out later down the track and having a situation where one partner is disappointed with a particular sex act not being on the table won't be an issue. Also: "If anyone knows that sexual preferences can change over time.." Well, for some. :)

@maxine of arc "It is also fine to expect some level of compromise in the bedroom. I mean, every other aspect of being close to other humans inevitably involves some compromise." That's certainly true. In many cases, people can work around the discrepancies in their kinks/drives whatever. But other times, they really can't, and it's perfectly okay to walk away from a relationship if the compromise involves something (values, sexuality-wise, money-wise) you just aren't willing to compromise on. Even if Lw4 might not need to hear that, perhaps other readers on the thread might.

15872090@twitter

For the lady who has recently taken an interest in the cock, I have this to say. After many years of happy, married sex (and I do love the cock), PIV isn't the whole cookie. It actually took me a year of masturbating to figure this all out (he was in Iraq, so I had to take care of myself. I learned a great deal about myself in that year).

Your clitoris is an essential sex organ. He, or you, or a vibrator, or whatever, needs to take care of this. Maybe he needs to go down on you until you can't stand it any longer and you need him to enter you. Being really turned on triggers your vagina to elongate. If you're not quite there, yet, it'll be too short and his penis will bump into your cervix. Not pleasant.

Speaking from my own perspective, clitoral stimulation is an important factor in good orgasms. Also, knowing the location of your own G spot is key. I learned this from masturbation. I have more control over stimulating my G spot with his dick when I'm on top, so you go on ahead and ride him like you own him. No matter what you do, it's probably going to feel pretty good to him. When you do what you really like, he might just lose it. Just sayin'

Regina Phalange

So, this is a bit off topic, but LW4 reminds me of my current dilemma: dating while celibate-until-marriage.
I like to think I'm a good hang! But, damn, am I better than getting laid? (Reading Lindsay's quote about how "you're so awesome it's no sacrifice at all.") I can't speak from experience, but my recent dating partners have suggested....not so much. (sad trombone noise)

ThatWench

@Regina Phalange
Can I ask why you're doing the celibate-until-marriage path? Among my college friends, it usually meant that there were a lot of values and attitudes towards what sex is and what it means that go with that choice, and finding even a not-celibate partner with similar values might help. (Of course, we all have such values but it seems like only the have-lots-of-sex-ers and the wait-for-the-sex-ers ever get pressed to articulate them. As a lots-of-sex-haver, I'd actually be really interested to have a friendly, respectful conversation about this, although I don't know that the internet will be a friend.)

The other question is how old are you? Maturing peers really do get better about weighing the "awesome you-ness" versus sexy times equation more compassionately.

ThatWench

@ThatWench
ETA: So sorry if you weren't actually looking for advice, just a chance to commiserate!

I'm sorry your partners' lameness. :\

Regina Phalange

@ThatWench Hello! Thanks for your message - definitely looking both for advice/commiseration/conversation.

I...have a hard time articulating why I'm waiting. Which only really complicates things! (I'm in my mid-twenties, by the way.)

I come from a strong Irish Catholic background, and while the stereotypical shame-y messages about sex were definitely part of my upbringing, I also heard a lot of really beautiful messages about sexuality (think Theology of the Body), which have led me to feel that sex is something I only want to share with a husband. I can't even fully articulate why - an expression of reverence for sex, a respect for its procreative properties, the ability to follow through on a goal I've set for myself -

I completely understand why people choose differently.

I'm in a bit of an awkward place, dating-wise, because I'm a pretty liberal, not-overly-devout girl. I tend to date men with pretty similar values, and it's just a constant struggle, in the sense that they respect my choice, and many of them have said they also believe there's something beautiful about waiting until marriage.

BUT. They don't want to choose it for themselves. And if they date me...they're making that choice.

Frankly, I don't blame them. I'm upfront about the no-sex thing, and let them know that I understand if it's a deal breaker, though I hope it won't be.

I don't know if any of that makes sense - it doesn't even make sense to me, some days! And I'm open to the fact that I might change my mind someday (though I worry that decision could be made to please a partner, which is one reason why having firm boundaries can be quite useful for someone like me, who doesn't tend to have them in many areas of my life).*

Always happy to hear thoughts! May I ask your thoughts on the subject?

*I maaaay have just said a mouthful there.

RNL
RNL

@Regina Phalange Can I ask if you abstain from all sex acts and activity?

This is so interesting to me. I'm in a sexual relationship. I'm wondering what I would do if I met someone who had your boundaries who was wonderful. It would be hard for me, because sex is so important to me and my sexual self is SUCH an important part of who I am and I love expressing and exploring that in a loving relationship. I don't think I could marry someone without knowing a bit about their sexual self and vice versa, like I couldn't marry someone without knowing their thoughts and feelings about family.

None of which is helpful to you - I really don't mean to be hurtful. I'm just thinking.

megmurray

@Regina Phalange Hey! I'm speaking as a recently married lady who was celibate (as was my husband) until our wedding night. First, I want to say that I love what you said about sexuality -- about wanting to wait out of reverence, and respect for procreation.

Second, I would say we have some similarities. While I would call myself devout (I'm a pastor, so...yeah) both my husband and I are pretty liberal. When he asked me out, I had pretty much given up on finding someone who would share my values, understand why I was making the decisions I was about my life (not just about sex, but simple living, generosity, etc), respect and not be freaked out/offended by my vocation, and also be funny and cool to hang out with. And also be someone I liked and liked me back. Also tall. :)

I was 34 and had done a lot of dating and had a couple relationships. I thought, I have dated everyone who is out there to date! There are no more liberal Christian men in my city! But then there he was.

This may not be helpful, but all I'm trying to say is that it's possible there is a man or two (hopefully more) who will think hanging out with you is so great getting laid is not necessary! And maybe you'll find someone who is in the same place as you! Hopeful for you :)

Regina Phalange

@RNL I'm not a bit offended, I like to hear people's thoughts on these topics. And, yes, abstinence from all sexual activity. The "everything but" idea is something I go back and forth with - I feel like that's doing something that obeys the letter, but not the spirit, of a decision to remain celibate. But - perhaps because I have a really heteronormative mental block that gives too much weight to penetrative sex - I also understand it. (And, of course, there's the whole safer-sex/no-pregnancy thing.)

It's not an easy path to choose, that's for sure. I'm an unusually tactile person, and physical affection - even if it's kept PG-13 - is really important to me. I've quoted this before, but there was a great interview on The Hairpin a while back where a virgin said, "My sexuality and my virginity are both important to me." Not to sound like a Catholic cheerleader, but I grew up with a parish priest who gave really good talks about that to my youth group - the idea that sexuality is an intrinsic part of who we are, and it's something that we have to navigate with all of the people in our lives, not just sexual partners. The way I dress, the way I talk, all of that can be an expression of my sexuality - so thinking about it more holistically has helped me, because I don't think that part of me is dead or buried, by any means.

Regina Phalange

@megmurray What a lovely story! Thanks for sharing :) I'm so glad y'all are happy!

279th District Court

LW3:
Your letter sounds a lot like my experience coming out (bisexual) to my mother -- including the hint of "here's hoping it goes away!" with her not acknowledging my comments about potentially ending up with a woman instead of a man or rolling her eyes at my use of gender neutral words like "future spouse". She knew she was supposed to say she was okay with it, so she did, but we both knew it wasn't true.

We even had the "telling the extended family" fight/cry when I wanted to come out to my father's extended family (my father died a few years back) and she didn't want me to. There was a lot of "if you come out, you're stuck with this, and you can't ever take it back when you realize you're just straight!" mixed up in it which I'm guessing is related to what you're dealing with -- "When this relationship finally ENDS she will be stuck in this ALTERNATIVE LIFESTYLE BOX!" panic.

The good news!

My mother proceeded to get her act together and do all of the things that A Queer Chick lists. We had endless talks about it, she stopped blanching at gender neutral pronouns (although she still forgets to use them), and she basically faked being okay with it long and hard enough that she is deeply ashamed of her early reactions. But we've talked that through too!

So, yes, all the people saying you may have to cut them out may be right, no two situations (and especially not ours) are the same, but it CAN have a happy ending. The tough part is that the next step is on THEM, not YOU. I couldn't help my mom through the transition to bi-supporting parent until she wanted to do so. I had to make her see that it hurt me, I had to insist again and again that this wasn't going away, and I had to make it clear that this was putting distance between us.

I agree with some of the above comments -- set distinct, immediate consequences because they are not realizing (or caring) what the long-term consequences of their actions would be.

I hope this doesn't come out condescending, but I am a middle school teacher, and that's the way we stress discipline - we're providing immediate consequences for people who don't yet realize what the potential long-term consequences of their actions will be.

279th District Court

So, I thought about this a little more, and I want to amend what I said worked for my mom and me.

I didn't so much enact consequences and threaten to or actually cut her off -- I just used an old trick she once told me she used on her mother-in-law: I refused to respond in any way to her words when I found them offensive. I came out to the extended family as if she hadn't objected. I just gave her a blank look when she said hurtful/ignorant things. I didn't feed the negative conversation.

Won't work on everyone, but I felt compelled to correct myself.

Gilgongo

LW4: For the record, I'm straight & married and my husband & I don't have P-in-V sex. We don't want another kid, and we're terrified of my getting pregnant. I don't want to be on the pill/hormones. He hates condoms. He's terrified of getting a vasectomy. I don't orgasm from it. My husband is (kind of irrationally) convinced that if there's a .1111% chance of my getting pregnant, I will, and he doesn't trust any contraceptive.
So, for now, it's oral. I do miss some of the intimacy of P/V sex, but it's not that big of a deal. You'll find someone. A lot of guys (and women) are worried about pregnancy & AIDS.

naners

@Gilgongo: You need an IUD! I just got the Paraguard, which is non-hormonal and as effective as sterilization. You'll see a lot of horror stories about it on the internets but don't forget those are extremely rare. I've never had kids and while my insertion was mighty uncomfortable it wasn't anything I couldn't take. Check out Planned Parenthood if you're interested, they do a lot of insertions.

Miel

So the convo coming out of LW3 is basically awesome and also hyper-relevant to my life, but question to the 'lay down the law' advice: What if you sorta didn't? Like the tantrums were just too much emotional effort to get your own voice heard in and you skipped straight to serious distancing? Is there a good time in the uneasy peace of your shambles of a parent-child relationship to be like 'byyyyy the way, this lingering bitterness is bullshit', even if you've put up with it for months?
Also re: PinV and shifting towards liking dudes--can I just say that labels suck? And... yep that sums it up. As a lady dating a lady who identifies with lady-lovers but has had several lovely gentlemen relationships but didn't particularly enjoy the sexytimes... labels just suck.

MaggieMagpie

Just want to put it out there that getting help for the painful PIV sex problem (if one does want to go the PIV route and does consider it to be a problem, of course) might be more difficult than just going to your usual gyno. I struggled for nine years with painful PIV sex (miserrryyyy), and went to more doctors than I can count, only to end up feeling like a weirdo whose legitimate concerns were dismissed. So, you might have to look around until you find someone who specializes in vaginal pain disorders. They do exist, and they can help, but they certainly aren't the majority of gynos. It often seems like once your labs for STIs and yeast infections come back negative, any pain concerns are chalked up to being 'emotional' or psychosomatic (I once even had a doctor suggest I leave my partner, because obviously that was the problem!). Frustrating.

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catalina

I don't mean to threadjack here, but I need some advice along the lines of LW3. Ok, my issue isn't about sexual identity, but it IS about disapproving parental figures. I met the love of my life in January. By March we were engaged. I moved in "officially" in June. I have introduced him to my family. My sisters like him, my brothers do too. My mom, well, all she is concerned about is that we get married in a Catholic ceremony. I am lapsed Catholic, he is professed atheist (but he was baptized Catholic, which is the part I emphasize with mom.) He is very respectful, and would not protest getting married in Church if it will make my mom happy. But, I kind of DO protest that. I have lived 35 years under my her super Catholic shadow and I am tired of having to make decisions based on whether or not it will upset Mom. In our heart of hearts, we are already married. A simple ceremony at city hall would be ideal. The thought of planning a wedding makes me super anxious, and beyond that we are broke (and would never dream of accepting financial assistance to fund a wedding). I have talked about this with my siblings, and I keep getting the same answer: "Mom will be crushed if you don't get married in the church." But a church wedding means both of us will be lying about our faith. And while my love is respectful, above all else he is honest, and he would never pretend to be catholic just to get the OK by the priest. Furthermore, mom doesn't even know we live together. (We are 400 miles apart) I know her feelings on cohabitation all to well (she tends to lecture) and I haven't been able to break the news to her. What makes this worse is that Mom is 78 and not in optimal health. I do honestly worry about upsetting her, but at the same time I need live my life the way I see fit. I can't make decisions just to pacify her. Ugh.

Again, I apologize for the threadjack. This has been weighing so heavily on me. I love my love! I just want my mom to be happy that we have found each other and are committed to each other. I don't want this issue to affect how she views our relationship or how she treats him. But knowing my mom like I do, somehow her religious fervor always gets in the way.

Aiani

@catalina I don't know that I have any useful advice but I have a lot of sympathy. My parents are Jehovah's Witnesses and I used to be one and it is a constant source of family stress between us. Before my husband and I were married we were living together and my family was basically shunning us. When we got married I don't think they cared that it was a court house wedding because they were just relieved that we were getting married. I'm really glad we had the court house wedding though, so stress free. The thought of wedding planning makes me really anxious too. Anyway I'm really sorry you have to deal with this. Families are so complicated.

OhMarie

@catalina My parents are super Catholic as well (like, they refuse to visit my sister even for a party because she lives with her boyfriend, and she's 27 years old).

Are any of your siblings married? Did any of them get married outside of church or talk about getting married outside of a church? I didn't get married in a church and my mom was actually ok with it (I mean, I know she's sad generally that I'm not religious, but that cat was already out of the bag at that point--she didn't give me extra grief about the wedding). I think she was just so glad I wasn't living in sin anymore that she was fine with it. I would definitely have expected more pushback.

SmartCookie

@catalina From what you've written it doesn't sound like getting married in the Catholic Church is really an option. I don't think a lot of priests are going to agree to perform a ceremony for folks outside the faith and your fiance won't lie to the priest (not that I recommend that!). Is there a third option between the full-out Catholic mass and the city hall ceremony? Like having it at a Unitarian church? Or having a civil ceremony but including some Bible verses and other Catholic traditions? But if anything other than a city hall ceremony fills you with dread, do the city hall ceremony! Don't go into debt! It's super thoughtful of you to consider your mom's feelings but you can't control how she feels.

bureaucrab

@catalina So, I think I have a compromise solution that may work for you. This is basically what my parents did. Only, they eloped and told people after, and my dad's parents objected that they didn't marry in a Catholic church. So they went ahead and had a Catholic ceremony in my grandparents' hometown to appease them. But they did NOT have a wedding and that whole shebang. They also insisted that my grandparents honor their original, real wedding date for anniversary purposes. Now, my grandparents did do that; they seemed to care more that my parents were married in the eyes of the church at all, and weren't concerned about secular weddings not being real or anything like that. So its application for you works best if your mom takes a similar stance to my grandparents.

Basically, you just do what my parents did, just with advance notice. Get married where and when you want, then have a ceremony - but NOT a "wedding" - in your mom's church on a random Tuesday or whenever the priest will take you (or find a church near her with a more flexible priest if hers is rigid). And insist that the first date is the real one. That way, your *real* marriage wouldn't have any trace of a sham feeling to it, your mom would (hopefully) be happy that your marriage "passes" under her beliefs, and you don't have to deal with the whole throwing-a-wedding expense/hassle.

catalina

@Aiani Good for you for following your heart. It sounds like your family came around eventually? How is your relationship with them now?

catalina

@OhMarie All my siblings were married in the church. The only slight deviance from form was that my sister married an Episcopalian. (But since he was adopted, my grandma always held out hope that he was born Catholic. An especially bitter pill for her to swallow, being a Catholic from Northern Ireland. He eventually converted to catholicism, as did his parents. Go figure). I'm hoping my mom will react similarly to your parents. My sister honestly thinks it would be easier for my her to accept us eloping than to accept us living in sin. Sheesh.

catalina

@SmartCookie I think it's all or nothing with my mom. A ceremony at the Unitarian church would be just as disappointing as a courthouse wedding. And I agree, I can't control how she feels or reacts. I also think that my brothers and sisters have been stuck in this pattern of hiding things or moving across the country or just opting for the mom-pleasing decision. And I wonder how long we're meant to appease our parents at the risk of full expression of self? Certainly not 35 years.

279th District Court

@catalina Hello! Cradle Catholic here with a Mom who's not as intense as yours but in the same vein of faith. She and my sister once had a long fight when my sister (a sophomore in high school talking basic girl talk about what she wanted in a wedding someday long in the future) said she wanted my father (a judge) to marry her because she thought that would be amazing. My mom freaked that she would even CONSIDER being married outside the faith.

So that's just to let you know I'm in the club. For the record (not sure if it matters), I am an actively practicing Catholic at the moment.

But here's my suggestion after all that (probably unnecessary set-up): what about having the marriage blessed? It's the official procedure for people who have been married outside of the Church for whatever reason (couldn't get first marriage annulled, were a different or no faith when they got married, etc.) but want a marriage blessed by the Catholic Church. The rules are much less strict, however, and most priests will do it without a lot of prep and cross-examining about faith because you're already married/living like you are but not religiously married (depending on their level of fundamentalism).

You could have the city hall wedding, let the first wave of panic subside, and then tell her that, upon consideration, you want to have the marriage blessed in her hometown church. To her, it looks like you've realized the error of your ways.

You can also execute this plan without the deception of pretending it's a plan you had later if you're less devious than I am.

279th District Court

@catalina
But - for the record - you do you. Yes, at some point, you are allowed to stop pretending to be the child they intended to raise. I agree with your statement.

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catfoodandhairnets

Creating an arbitrary separation between friends and friends' SOs seems so strange to me. Are your friends allowed to bring friends but not allowed to bring SOs? Are male friends allowed to be in this group? Has anyone specifically articulated these rules or are they mainly in your head?

It's possible your friend just never realized that is the specific expectation. I may be this person (i mean, not anymore because one of us has to watch the kid), but my thought has always been "Yay! going out!" I will bring friends, husband, go alone, why would anyone care?

MarianTheLibrarian

@catfoodandhairnets I think it depends hugely on group dynamics. Most of the people in my circle of friends have been friends for over 10 years. We have history and inside jokes and all sorts of stuff that comes into play when we're together. When someone new comes in, everything gets jostled a bit, and the more I try to limit the number of stories from way back when, the more it's all I can think about. There are certainly times and activities for bringing in extra people and/or SOs, but sometimes, I just want to be with my old friends and feel 100% relaxed and accepted and able to be me and say whatever and know that the people around me are going to go with it. When someone's new BF or GF comes in, suddenly I'm trying to be inclusive and trying to gauge whether or not they think my sarcasm is amusing or snobby, etc.

supernintendochalmers

Personally, I love being able to go out with just my friends and no partners so that we can dish about our relationships. I think that can be really cathartic and important and makes me a better partner. If your friend and her SO are long distance, though, and your friend is hosting her SO for the holidays and probably in charge of driving her around, I wouldn't push the issue. It's hard when you're long distance and only get a limited amount of time to spend together. It's just kind of the rule that you tag along to everything they're doing, because it can get too complicated if you're supposed to hang out at home (possibly with their parents??) while they go out with friends, and then... what, come back to pick you up later?

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Andreas Bengter@facebook

Is it just me or are gay people without limits? Would you make out with a someone at a party without thinking that would affect your other relationships? That is not how we work as humans our phsyci is dependent on trust and long term loyalty all other things are destructive for you.. you will find out..

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woodnote

Regarding LW4 and alternatives to PIV sex - I hope I'm not committing a giant taboo faux-pas here as a brand new reader to the column (which I'm loving every minute of as I pore through the archives, so as a sidebar, thanks for being so great and insightful, Queer Chick and all of you in the comments), but I don't think the idea of penis-to-ass penetration came up anywhere in this discussion, and unless, as I said, I've missed the memo where buttsex is a big no-go, I feel compelled to raise my modest little straight girl flag in support of anal penetration as what I've come to consider an absolutely far-and-away superior alternative to PIV, at least where pleasurable sensation for me (and my SO too, as he tells it) is concerned. I have no idea if LW4's personal squicks are such that anal is out of the question, or if any of the pain associated with PIV sex carries over, but if you're even a little interested in having some kind of penetrative option on the table when starting out with a new partner, or just to give it a whirl and see how it suits you, please please don't preemptively dismiss it sight-unseen! While I enjoy PIV sex fine, my partner and I would never miss it if it wasn't an option anymore, and I'm willing to bet that with an empathetic, patient and mildly adventurous partner willing to go slow, communicate and learn with you (and with lots more lube than you think you need), you might be pleasurably surprised at the results. Of course, if the dealbreaking part of the issue is the invasiveness of penetrative vaginal sex, well, this might all be moot because I've not found a sex act short of bondage that makes the recipient more vulnerable than anal penetration, but I have found that sharing that vulnerability with my SO and building up the level of trust with him that I needed to have to feel safe has resulted in a depth of intimacy which I'd not experienced with prior partners. I know this is all wildly anecdotal and I could be the complete polar opposite of everyone else, but in case I'm not such an oddity, I figured it was worth suggesting at the very least. No matter what, though, I hope you find a great partner who doesn't need convincing that sex is whatever the two of you want, and that it's all equally awesome!

Sandra Diamond@facebook

i am hear to give testimony of how i got back my husband, we got married for more than 9 years and have gotten two kids. thing were going well with us and we are always happy. until one day my husband started to behave in a way i could not understand, i was very confused by the way he treat me and the kids. later that month he did not come home again and he called me that he want a divorce, i asked him what have i done wrong to deserve this from him, all he was saying is that he want a divorce that he hate me and do not want to see me again in his life, i was mad and also frustrated do not know what to do,i was sick for more than 2 weeks because of the divorce. i love him so much he was everything to me without him my life is incomplete. i told my sister and she told me to contact a spell caster, i never believe in all this spell casting of a thing. i just want to try if something will come out of it. i contacted traditional spell hospital for the return of my husband to me, he told me that my husband have been taken by another woman, that she cast a spell on him that is why he hate me and also want us to divorce. then they told me that they have to cast a spell on him that will make him return to me and the kids, they casted the spell and after 1 week my husband called me and he told me that i should forgive him, he started to apologize on phone and said that he still live me that he did not know what happen to him that he left me. it was the spell that he traditional spell hospital casted on him that make him comeback to me today,me and my family are now happy again today. thank you traditional spell hospital for what you have done for me i would have been nothing today if not for your great spell. i want you my friends who are passing through all this kind of love problem of getting back their husband, wife , or ex boyfriend and girlfriend to contact traditionalspellhospital@gmail.com. and you will see that your problem will be solved without any delay.

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