When my husband and I were dating, our sexual connection was amazing. He was tender and romantic, and it was probably the first time I felt really loved and cherished during sex. My previous relationships were with men who offered what you once described in this column as “porn sex”—mechanical and intense but without any emotional connection. Until my husband and your column, I never really knew the difference. The problem is that after five years of marriage, he is changing. He unexpectedly launched into a role-play during sex recently. I froze and couldn’t respond. We haven’t talked about it. But yesterday, a package of sex toys arrived in the mail, a gift from him to me. I hid the box and lied when he asked if I received a delivery. I feel weird about this but find that I can’t confront it at all, even though I am usually so open with him. What is wrong with me?
You are suffering a smidgen of fear. After a string of ex-boyfriends who could ignite your body but not your heart, you found a man capable of fully expressing his passion. But your husband’s sudden interest in sex play leads you to worry that you have been duped. So is he really a clone of the men you left in the past? Of course not! He trusts himself—and you—enough to be adventurous. Allow yourself to be confident of your heart’s safety so you can let go and have fun with your man.
Your husband’s launch into role-play without even a hint beforehand means the idea may have risen spontaneously. Or perhaps he is a little shy about his curiosity. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Here’s what does: He knows he can be himself with you. Be grateful for the deep connection you share. Remember too, he desires you. You are the one with whom he yearns to explore his fantasies. So indulge him or initiate a role-play sexual experience yourself. Don’t feel like you have to continue the act for the entire time if it begins to feel false or becomes inhibiting. Think of sexual role-playing as improv, not Shakespeare. Forget rigid scripts and let your imagination go.
My 34-year-old stepson has made poor financial choices his entire life, frittering his time as an artist, musician and a massage therapist. He barely scrapes together enough income each month to pay his rent, has no health insurance and is always asking to borrow money that he can’t afford to pay back. My wife and I plan to retire next year, and she wants to invest in a rental home where our stepson could live for an affordable rent. She thinks that homeownership will make him responsible. I am worried about my stepson but think that my wife coddles him and that’s why he lives as he does. What do you think?
If you purchase a home for your stepson, he will pay rent less often, or never. After all, you and his mamacita are so loaded you can afford to give him a house. He will have no emotional investment in the property (it wasn’t his dream, he never had to budget to save cash to make it happen) and no reason to take care of it. The gift just fuels his sense of entitlement, turning him into an eternal dependent for you. Instead of trying to remake your stepson into who you think he should be (a traditionally employed homeowner like you), try accepting him as is (a guy choosing a nonlinear life path). You and your wife should also investigate why you feel compelled to rescue your adult stepson instead of treating him like an equal.