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Dear John: The Thought Of Sex With Him Makes Her Shudder

Tuesday, August 05, 2014


What’s your problem? Write to John at [email protected].

Dear John,

I’m getting more and more anxious about sleeping with my boyfriend for the first time for one reason, and I know it’s kind of a sensitive subject, but I have to be honest. And the more I think about this, the more anxious I’m becoming. On our second date a couple of months ago, he revealed that he has a prosthetic lower leg due to being in a bad car accident a long time ago. I was totally shocked because he gave no sign of this that I noticed when we first met. I expressed how difficult that must have been for him and the conversation quickly moved on and we haven’t talked about it since. But now that things are becoming more serious, I have been thinking about it again because to be completely, completely honest, the thought of being in bed with him like that is the cause of the anxiety I’m feeling. For as long as I can remember, I’ve found any kind of amputation or deformity very disturbing. I realize that no one actually likes such things, but I mean I find them more disturbing than most people. To be blunt, the thought of brushing against the end of his leg makes me shudder. I hate saying this because he’s such a great guy! So sweet and thoughtful and with such a positive attitude and so grounded. If not for this, everything would be perfect, but I don’t know how to take our relationship to the next level physically speaking and I know he very much wants to. I would too if not for this problem. Please help!


Can’t Put Him Off Forever

Dear Can’t Put Him Off,

I think you should do a couple of things. First, tell your boyfriend what you’ve said in your letter. Maybe not that the thought of contact with his leg makes you shudder, but that you’ve never had sex with someone who’s undergone an amputation, and you’re a little apprehensive about it. People tiptoe around such things so frequently; he may well welcome the opportunity to have a grown-up discussion about it with you.

Second, it seems like too much to grapple with this and your first sexual experience together all at the same time. You should have an opportunity to get used to seeing him with his prosthesis off but with his clothes on. And you should have an opportunity to get used to touching it before doing so in bed, too. By the time the two of you are helping each other get undressed, his leg should be the last thing you’re thinking about.

Which leads me to my third point: take your time. You’re not under any deadline, right? I know your boyfriend “very much wants” to be intimate with you, but I guarantee he’d rather wait a little while if that’s what it takes for you to be completely comfortable.


Dear John,

A few weeks ago, my husband and I took our young boys (6 and 8) to a minor league ball game, something they had been after us to do for some time. My husband hardly ever drinks to excess, but this night, probably owing to the setting, he did indulge in one or two too many beers. He wasn’t plastered, but he got loud enough to annoy a man in front of us, they exchanged words, and before I knew what was happening, they were wrestling around on the cement stairs between the sections of seats. All while my traumatized boys looked on in horror. At least until security escorted my husband out of the park, with the three of us trailing behind them. I was embarrassed, angry, stunned, you name it, but mostly I felt absolutely terrible for our boys. Their big outing to the ballpark turned into a trauma they’ll never forget.

My husband was very sorry for what happened, but he has managed to avoid accepting unconditional responsibility, saying what he was doing (as far as yelling at the players) was par for the course at baseball games and putting at least part of the blame on the guy he had the altercation with. Even worse, yesterday he brought up the possibility of exploring some kind of legal action against the ballpark and/or the other guy for, among other things, over serving him. Needless to say, I am still angry as all get out at him, but I can handle that part. My question is, what do we say to our sons about their father’s behavior? We’ve talked about that night, obviously, but we still haven’t sat down with all four of us to talk about what happened, why it happened, and what lesson there is in all this.


Strike Three

Dear Strike Three,

Your husband is only compounding the problem by refusing to take responsibility for it. And I can’t imagine a lamer excuse to justify boorish ballpark behavior than, “That’s what people do at baseball games!” Yeah – drunk people like him. Some standard.

It’s still not too late for him to set a good example, but from what you’ve written, I don’t have a lot of confidence that he will. At any rate, of course the four of you should talk about this ASAP, and he should make the following points to your boys: He drank too much, and that is his responsibility and his alone. No one forced him to do that in any way whatsoever. What happened after he had too much to drink is typical of what happens when people are drunk: he acted stupidly, recklessly and dangerously with his family right nearby – rolling around on the ground is probably the BEST thing that could have happened in this scenario. He could easily have been badly hurt or worse, or he could have badly hurt the other guy. He is so very lucky – his entire life could have been ruined that night. Then he should sincerely apologize to you and to them without any qualifications whatsoever. And if he hasn’t been banned from the park, he should offer to take your family there again for the outing he owes all of you. Needless to say, he should promise not to drink anything but water or soda this time – in fact, after a debacle like this one, that’s a promise he should think about making for good.


Dear John,

Hope you can help with this – my girlfriend and I have dinner at her mother’s house most Sundays. In her culture, this is an important thing and it’s expected. It’s considered disrespectful not to do it. Honestly, this is not the way I want us to spend our Sunday afternoons, but I love her and intend to propose to her someday, so these kind of expectations are something I’m going to have to get used to, and I’m fine with that. But here’s the thing I’m NOT fine with: her mother’s cooking. It’s partly because she just isn’t good at it but also partly because I just really don’t like the kind of food she cooks. I mean I hate it. Sundays have become a ritual of really struggling to eat the bare minimum I can so as not to be rude and that’s it. But come on – I don’t mind going to her house on the weekend, but I’m not going to go AND be tortured with meals that are like punishments for something. The problem is I have no idea how to get out of this, at least not for good. We’re going to go and she’s going to cook. That’s their culture. Maybe once in a while we can be “busy” and cancel, but not every or even most weekends. And I just can’t see myself saying to this sweet old lady, “Sorry! Not doing it!” There’s got to be some way out of this…but what?? Any ideas?


No Appetite For This

Dear No Appetite,

You’re right: it’s easy to think of ways to get out of this for the occasional Sunday, but for a permanent solution, I think you’re going to have to collaborate with your girlfriend. First, if you haven’t already, explain the problem to her in no uncertain terms. Tell her you don’t want the visits to end – at least up to the point when you all sit down for dinner. Then try to come up with a solution that will protect her mother’s feelings (and I don’t think it’s wrong to lie when we’re simply trying to avoid hurting someone unnecessarily). So maybe the two of you tell her that you’re mildly allergic to an ingredient that’s common in the cuisine of her culture, but that you value the time the three of you spend together, so you’d both like to help her with the cooking too, not just the eating. Then you’ll be better positioned to guide the meals in a direction you would find more enjoyable. Whatever the details, I think you have to work with your girlfriend to find a way to: 1) stop her mother from doing all the cooking and 2) give the two of you a little more input into the menu.

John is a middle-aged family man from Providence. If you learn from your mistakes, he’s brilliant. Write to him at [email protected].


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