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Dear John: When The Only Sex Is Drunk Sex

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


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

Dear John,

I have a problem with a guy I’ve been dating for about six months. It took me a while to notice what was happening, but now I definitely see a pattern. The only time he’s interested in having sex is after he’s had a few to several drinks. He never initiates sex, and the only time he’s responsive to my advances is after drinking. A couple of times recently just to see how he would react I have tried to get him interested when he’s completely sober and he said he was tired, had some things to do, etc. So I am starting to feel really bad about this, like there’s something wrong with me that he can only get past when he’s buzzed. In the non-sexual ways, I think our relationship is really good and he usually doesn’t make me feel bad about myself. What should I do?


Sobering Thought

Dear Sobering Thought,

The first thing you should do is stop feeling bad about yourself. This involves you, but it probably doesn’t have anything to do with you. Your boyfriend would need the same psychological boost regardless of whom he was with. The second thing you should do is talk to him about it if you haven’t already. Sex apparently makes him feel a little anxious (hence the need for some self-medication beforehand), and sometimes just talking about a mild anxiety can rob it of its power. If not, though, or if the problem seems to be getting worse, a session with a couples therapist may be helpful. He or she may also give you some insight as to why you were so quick to attribute your boyfriend’s need to drink before sex to some shortcoming of yours.

Dear John,

My husband and I both were married before and had kids from those relationships when we met. My first husband died and left me with a six-year-old boy and my husband is divorced with twin girls who were nine when me met. We all live together (he has joint custody of the girls with his ex, and they get along very well on issues regarding the children) and everyone gets along great – we hear stories from friends with blended families and we know how rare our situation is. We feel very, very fortunate. But there is one issue that has come up that I need some advice on. My son is twelve now, so it’s time for us to discuss teenage things with him, and we’re not on the same page. I am a devout Catholic and take the teachings of the Church very seriously. One of these teachings is that masturbation is wrong. My husband, while raised Catholic, disagrees with virtually all the Church’s views on sexuality, including, and maybe especially, this one. He says it’s perfectly normal for boys to do this and he remembers how conflicted he felt when he was my son’s age. According to him, being taught that masturbation is a sin never prevented him from doing it; it just made him feel guilty all the time, and he doesn’t want our son to go through the same thing. And he says as a woman, I can’t understand what it’s like when you’re made to feel guilty and sinful just for having normal teenage hormones. So we are at an impasse. My Church’s beliefs vs. my husband’s. I honestly don’t want to ignore either one, but I don’t know what to do! Most of all, I want to do what’s right for our son.



Dear Conflicted,

As in my answer to the letter below, I think a lot of times we underestimate the capacity of kids to understand that in many situations, there’s no easy, black-and-white answer. And that’s certainly the case here. I think you should both sit down with your son and acknowledge that boys frequently start to masturbate at his age. (If the prospect of doing that is embarrassing to you, you just have to resign yourself to being embarrassed. It gets easier the more you do it.) Some people’s religion teaches this is sinful, and some people scoff at such beliefs. You’re in the former camp; your husband is in the latter. (Placing this conversation in the context of a longer discussion of sexuality would be a good idea if you haven’t had that talk with your son yet.) Presenting the issue this way will tell your son everything he needs to know: that virtually all boys do this; some people think it’s wrong and some don’t; and adults can have opinions that differ drastically while still respecting each other’s points of view.

Dear John,

My son wants to join the Boy Scouts, but I am not in favor of this because I’m trying to raise him to be caring and non-judgmental and I disagree with the Boy Scouts about their position on homosexuality. I am a single mother and one of the reasons his father is not in the picture is because he is just an angry, hate-filled person who we are much better off not having in our lives. But to my son, Boy Scouts is just about camping and having fun in the woods, and he has some friends who are scouts and he’s feeling left out. And I know a lot of things they teach boys are good, but I have a brother who is gay and prejudice toward gay people is not something I take lightly or want to condone on any level. Should I consider letting him join or follow my conscience in this?


Teaching Tolerance

Dear Teaching Tolerance,

I don’t think those two things are mutually exclusive. Contact the scoutmaster of the troop your son wants to join and talk to him about your concerns. See what he has to say. Like any large organization, the Boy Scouts undoubtedly includes adult leaders with a wide range of attitudes about this particular policy. It’s quite possible that the scoutmaster of the local troop shares your values. In a lot of troops, Boy Scouts really ARE “just about camping and having fun in the woods,” not pushing a retrograde social agenda.

I think the best thing you could do here is talk with your son about it, frankly and openly. If he’s old enough for Boy Scouts, he’s old enough to learn about issues like this and the way that the things we want can sometimes conflict with the things we believe. At the very least, even if you decide not to let him join, he’ll understand that this is not an easy decision for you and there’s an important principle that underlies your answer.

Personally, I would be inclined to let him join if you get a favorable impression of the scoutmaster. I think the chances of an organization like the Boy Scouts evolving are greatly enhanced if parents like you are involved.

John is a middle-aged family man from Providence, Rhode Island. If you learn from your mistakes, he’s brilliant. Write to him at [email protected] . He's away from the advice desk this week, so he's chosen some of his favorite letters from previous columns to share.


Related Slideshow: 25 Movies Filmed in Rhode Island

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Moonrise Kingdom


Director: Wes Anderson

Cast: Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray Frances McDormand

This Oscar nominated film features many local landmarks including Fort Wetherill State Park, Bayfield Farm, and the Conanicut Lighthouse.

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Mr. North


Director: Danny Huston

Cast: Anthony Edwards, Robert Mitchum, Lauren Bacall

Shot in Newport, this comedy-drama features Anthony Edwards as a con man attempting to break into the 1920s Newport social scene. 

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There's Something About Mary


Directors: Peter and Bobby Farrelly

Cast: Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon, Ben Stiller

Filmed partly in Providence, this movie was the highest-grossing comedy in 1998. 

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Federal Hill


Director: Michael Corrente

Cast: Nicholas Turturro, Anthony DeSando, Libby Langdon

Set in Providence's Federal Hill neighborhood, the movie marks the directorial debut of Pawtucket native Michael Corrente.

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Age of Innocence


Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder

This Oscar winning drama was partly filmed in Portsmouth.  

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True Lies


Director: James Cameron

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Arnold

The ballroom scenes in the movie were filmed at the Rosecliff Mansion in Newport.

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High Society


Director: Charles Walters

Cast: Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra

Nominated for two Academy Awards, the movie's opening shot features a flyover of Newport’s oceanfront mansions. 

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Thirteen Days


Director: Roger Donaldson

Cast: Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Steven Culp

This docudrama about the Cuban Missile Crisis was partly shot in Newport. 

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Little Children


Director: Todd Field

Cast: Kate Winslet, Patrick Wilson, Jennifer Connelly, Jackie Earle Haley

Shot partly in Providence, this critically acclaimed drama received three Academy Award nominations, including a Best Lead Actress nod for Kate Winslet.

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Director: Peter M. Lenkov

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon

A car chase for this action-comedy was filmed in downtown Providence.

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Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Morgan Freeman, Anthony Hopkins, Dijimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey

Shot at the Rosecliff Mansion in Newport and the State House in Providence, this drama received four Academy Award nominations in 1998. 

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Outside Providence


Director: Michael Corrente

Cast: Shawn Hatosy, Amy Smart, Alec Baldwin

Filmed in multiple locations throughout Rhode Island, this movie is an adaptation of Peter Farrelly's 1988 novel of the same name.

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Me, Myself & Irene


Directors: Peter and Bobby Farrelly

Cast: Jim Carrey, Renée Zellweger. Chris Cooper, Robert Forster, Richard Jenkins

Filmed in Newport, Narragansett, Jamestown, and Galilee, this comedy centers on a Rhode Island State Trooper played by Jim Carrey. 

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Director: Lajos Koltai

Cast: Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes, Toni Collette, Meryl Streep

The film was primarily set in Newport and included large portions shot at Gooseberry Beach.

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The Great Gatsby


Director: Jack Clayton

Cast: Robert Redford, Mia Farrow, Sam Waterston, Bruce Dern

This Academy Award-winning drama was filmed in Newport at the Rosecliff Mansion on Bellevue Ave.

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Self Storage


Director: Tom DeNucci

Cast: Eric Roberts, Jonathan Silverman, Michael Berryman, Tom DeNucci

Filmed in a self storage facility in East Greenwich, this horror-comedy marks the directorial debut of Cranston native Tom DeNucci. 

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27 Dresses


Director: Anne Fletcher

Cast: Katherine Heigl, James Marsden, Malin Åkerman, Ed Burns

Shot throughout Rhode Island, locations included the Rosecliff and Marble House mansions in Newport and a beach in Charlestown. 

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Dan in Real Life


Director: Anne Fletcher

Cast: Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, Dane Cook, Alison Pill

Filmed primarily in Jamestown, the movie also features the Point Judith Lighthouse in Narragansett.

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Hachi: A Dog's Tale


Director: Lasse Hallström

Cast: Richard Gere, Joan Allen, Jason Alexander

Filmed primarily in Bristol and Woonsocket, other locations included the Columbus Theater in Providence and the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. 

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The Education of Charlie Banks


Director: Fred Durst

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Ritter, Eva Amurri

Shot partially in Brown University in Providence, the movie marks the directorial debut of Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst.

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Meet Joe Black


Director: Martin Brest

Cast: Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Claire Forlani

Warwick's Aldrich Mansion served as the residence of Anthony Hopkins' character in the film. 

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Reversal of Fortune


Director: Barbet Schroeder

Cast: Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Ron Silver

Jeremy Irons took home the Oscar for Best Actor for this drama, which was partly shot in Newport.

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Director: Frederik Du Chau

Cast: Jason Lee, Peter Dinklage, Patrick Warburton, Amy Adams

Shot entirely in Rhode Island, filming locations included Hope High School on the East Side of Providence.

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Tanner Hall


Directors: Francesca Gregorini, Tatiana von Furstenberg

Cast: Rooney Mara, Georgia King, Brie Larson

Shot in Providence and Newport, the film marks the the directorial debut of Brown University graduates Francesca Gregorini and Tatiana von Furstenberg.

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Dumb and Dumber


Directors: Peter and Bobby Farrelly

Cast: Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly

Scenes from the beginning of this comedy were filmed on location in Providence, including a shot of the Big Blue Bug.


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