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Another blogger commented recent on my post about feeling sexually deprived while still being surrounded by sexuality.  Because it was left as a public comment, I feel no compulsion to maintain the anonymity of chely5150, but it was lengthy enough that I decided to go ahead and respond publicly, as I have before.

I classify this correspondence as more misplaced rage, and I invite chely5150 to read that post, as it applies here. In summary, chely5150 suggests that Ashley’s lack of interest in sex is likely my fault. She cites her own experiences with an unfaithful husband and a lack of love and respect in their marriage as a reason for her own disinterest, and says that such could contribute to our situation. (It is worth noting that my and Ashley’s sex life has improved substantially from what it was in the roughly two years since writing the post eliciting her comment.)  Snippets and responses are as follows, and you can read the full comment on the original post.

I was, AM the wife who wants to explore and discover all things sexually together with my husband and we did, until the emotional covert emotional abuse began. After years of abuse, so perfectly concealed behind the facade of our perfect little family… I became Ashley. I no longer found that much pleasure [in the man] who adored and loved my body but NEVER could find the need to adore and love ALL OF ME!

I can certainly see how emotional abuse could make you lose sexual interest in your partner.  But let me be perfectly clear–that has never happened in our relationship.  For whatever problems Ashley and I may have had, we have never been abusive toward one another, and she has always insisted that I am the most loving, compassionate person she has ever known, and that I am an excellent care giver and provider for her.  One could arguably define my infidelities as “covert abuse”, to use your phrasing, but frankly, I wouldn’t. Sure, it’s scummy, but I would not go so far as to call cheating “abusive behavior”. (But I invite psychologists/counselors to provide evidence to the contrary.)

So, right out the gate, your experiences do not apply to us.  But let’s continue.

And I began to loathe the man who could treat everyone (pretty much) with such love and care and respect that I HATED evry thing about him.

If I understand you correctly, you’re suggesting that you hated him for loving and respecting everyone around him, but not yourself? I can also see how that might be painful. But it also strikes me as slightly selfish and demanding of you. I obviously can’t speak to your personal situation, and I have no desire to belittle or demean you, so I will simply let that comment stand as is.

And yet I loved him, I tried to leave him a couple of times but could never fully escape. After many years of depression I decided if we were going to stay together dammit I was going to make it better for us. And we did (yeah ah huh) and others thought too until the day I discovered his affair. And then weeks later when I discovered so much so- it has been excruiciating to say the least.

Ahh, and now we come to the point of this message.  Your husband cheated on you, and you see much of him in me and what I write.  Fair enough, I suppose.  Lord knows I’m a cheater.  But if I may ask, have you determined *why* your husband cheated on you?  Have you given any thought as to whether you may have done something, or a series of somethings, that might make him want to fuck someone else?  Or is it genuinely that he is simply a cheater?  Note that both are plausible, but given the resentment you display toward him, the evidence would suggest that unhappiness on his part might have caused his behavior.  Again, I don’t have the complete picture, so I can’t say definitively.  But have you considered that the fault may not lie solely with him?

They say I have PTSD, but I just go forward…..

May I encourage you to seek counseling for that?  PTSD following such an event is, to my understanding, a common reaction, and you may very well be suffering from depression.  Please, dear reader, see someone.  I suspect my close friend Hyacinth might be able to offer guidance here.

So while I fucking hate you with all my being…

I bet you’d love me if we met.

…I respect the fact that you are being honest…

Oh. Well, thanks.

…as much as one could expect honesty from a LIAR…

My, that’s awfully manic of you.

…being on the other side of those sheets and knowing but not knowing is probably the hardest thing to live with.

This is something that, again, doesn’t really apply to me.  If Ashley were to find out about my infidelities, I would own them.  Once caught, you’re done for.  Best to fess up to it and hope to salvage something from the wreckage than to pretend the boat didn’t crash.  But, in your case, you have my condolences.  Knowing but never receiving a confession is a good way to breed resentment and often prevents any sort of closure.

Maybe just maybe You had something to do with your wifes sex needs diminishing. If it went away there is a reason.

By Ashley’s own admission, her lack of sexual interest stemmed from three things: 1) experiencing physical pain from having sex with me due to my girth (which, thankfully, has resolved since we have begun fucking more regularly); 2) insecurity due to gaining weight post-marriage; and 3) a lack of sexual experience sufficient to keep up with my own interests.  She has since come out of her shell, remarkably so, and our sex life and marriage have never been better.

Who the fuck died and made you GOD? What makes you think you deserve to have your every desire fulfilled?

I never claimed to be God, or that I deserved to have my every desire fulfilled.  To suggest otherwise would imply you haven’t read all of my work.  (Not that I expect you to.  Hence, my response.)  I have long struggled with controlling my sexual urges, balancing them against my desire for a fulfilling and loving marriage.  But when you go months at a time without having sex, the ability to resist–hell, the *desire* to resist–disappears.

No man “deserves” to get laid, regardless of marital status.  A woman’s body is her own, and she gets to decide what she does with it, and when.  Period.  But, relationships are partnerships, and if one partner is not sexually fulfilled, well, don’t be surprised if he/she seeks that fulfillment elsewhere.

Maybe if YOU put as much effort into your marriage-not just sexually either, you wouldn’t have put yourself and Ashley (although unbeknown to her) into such a lose/lose marriage.

No one who knows me can accuse me of not putting effort into my marriage.  I haven’t written about it much, but Ashley and I have been to several counselors, alone and together, in pursuit of a “fixed” marriage.  We have spoken at length about it over coffee, breakfast, drinks.  We have cried together because we thought we were failing.  And we have celebrated our not-so-recent upswing.  And, from a domestic standpoint, she and I are true partners, sharing evenly the housework and financial burdens.  Not to brag, but she calls me “the perfect husband”.  (I am far from it, mind, but it makes me smile when she says it.)

Do yourself a favor decide which you want. Can’t have both little boy, don’t work like that! You should show Ashley the respect she deserves and let her choose for herself- No one gave you that privilege. It’s not right -if you love her as much as you say you do GIVE HER THAT RESPECT.

I don’t love and respect anyone enough to give them that, because I am selfish.

Please don’t let my differing opinion affect the fact that I enjoyed your writing, I find it brutally honest and appreciate knowing the thoughts of a sex addict as I am discovering that I have been married to one for a long time.

Well, I do appreciate that, though I would not classify myself as a sex addict.  I once wrote about that possibility, but I don’t think I am so deep into my compulsions to be considered a nymphomaniac.

I am in the deciding process in my marriage, is this what I want for the rest of my life? The jury is still out on that one.

I wish you the best of luck in that.  Choosing whether to continue or end a marriage is not a pleasant endeavor, and I truly hope it works out well for you, chely5150.

Pro tip: You have to take the venom out of your words and be less accusatory if you want me to refrain from responding with so much snark and sarcasm.  Though, admittedly, I use much less of both herein, maybe because I truly sympathize with what you’re experiencing.  Before I was the hopeless cheater I am today, I was cuckolded by the woman I loved, and it left a lasting impression, and I can tell you are hurting.  I don’t want to contribute to that.

Or maybe I’m just going soft in my old age.

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There is something that has been wiggling around in the back of my mind for a while now. It’s relevant to the spirit of this blog, if not the usual content, so I’m putting it here. Please indulge me as I wax philosophical.

You may have picked up from reading my work that I am a taaaaad bit narcissistic, but not in the traditional sense. I do not think I am beautiful to behold. Hell, I don’t think I’m even remotely close to attractive. I find myself to be decidedly bland, probably because I likely have a very skewed definition of what it means to be a handsome man. No matter how many people tell me I am handsome or athletic or insert compliment here, all I see are flaws. Ask anyone who’s seen me–I’m nowhere close to what Men’s Health would have you believe a man is supposed to look like, no matter how much I wish I were. Maybe that’s why I sympathize so deeply with the body positivity movement.

But those flaws drive me to constantly strive to better myself. They are the reason I spend hours powerlifting, wailing on the heavy bag, flipping those tires. I am never satisfied, so I work harder. I don’t care what trainers and doctors tell me–I am not where I need to be. There is a handsome man in there somewhere. I just have to chisel away the body fat to find him.

Man. That’s a hard thing to admit.

I describe myself differently here than in my prose, because I acknowledge that my perception is deeply flawed. It’s not a healthy outlook, but there it is. I know I am strong, and fit, and active. But I hold myself to an unrealistic ideal that I don’t hold for any other human being, anywhere in the world. I want more from myself. I want that beach body, damn it.

That said, I really, really hate body shaming.

Look, I know that no normal person is going to say, “Body shaming? Why, that’s just keen!” I would like to believe that the majority of us are going to hear that phrase and respond with appropriate levels of disgust and sympathy. No one should ever be made to feel uncomfortable in their own skin by another person. Ever. That shit isn’t cool. And hopefully, on some level, most of us believe that.

None of the women in my life–that is to say, Tina and Ashley–are slender. But they are *fit*. Tina is a runner and outdoor enthusiast. Ashley is an all-around athlete and yogini. They have curvature, and softness to them, but they are hard where their hobbies require them to be. They do not go out of their way in pursuit of the elusive beach body, but still they are beautiful women. I’m not sure they would be considered “plus-size”, but even if they would, that would not be a bad thing, because they are both fucking *hot*, just in very different ways.

Point is, it doesn’t much matter to me what a person weighs. It shouldn’t really matter to anyone except ourselves. I feel bad for people who see themselves the way I do, because it’s a pretty unhappy way to live sometimes. I wish more people would find comfort in themselves rather than the ridiculous expectations set by Western media and marketing. But at the same time, I suspect that even those who are active in the body positivity movement still have moments of discomfort, when they look in the mirror and think, “If I could just shed another five pounds…” We are driven to outperform other people. It’s what all animals do. We compete, we mate, we produce offspring that will compete with our competitors’ offspring. Civilization may permit us to overcome some of that nature, but I doubt it will ever be fully removed from the human condition.

Hmm. I didn’t so much share my thoughts as I did ejaculate words into a formless puddle on my keyboard. But this was never intended to go anywhere. It’s just something I’ve been chewing on lately. So many women I’ve talked to have told me how unhappy they are with their appearance, how self-conscious they are about their image, when, damn it, there is *no reason* for them to feel that way. Tina and Ashley included. Then they tell me, “I wish I looked like you,” and I am dumbstruck, because I legitimately don’t see it.

Anyhow, enough of this meandering little monologue. To all the ladies and gentlemen that read this blog–you are beautiful/handsome exactly as you are. Should we ever meet in person, I’ll be happy to prove it.

Working on another memory now. It’s one I’ve been holding onto for a while, so I’m not sure if or when I’ll be putting it up. Maybe soon. Until then, friends.

I tried taking nude selfies today for the first time in… six years maybe?

Dick pics don’t count here. Those are easy. There’s a reason dick pics are what flood the dating and hookup sites, because they’re easy to take. But let’s face it, unless you have a really charismatic penis, they’re not all that fun to look at most of the time. (And really, what the hell qualifies as “charismatic” in this case?) At least in my case, though I would certainly be interested in the guy’s package, I want to see a lot more than that. I don’t need a six-pack, but I’d like to be able to see that he takes care of himself. I understand keeping your face hidden, but give me a glimpse of whether you have a beard or not, or any interesting tattoos. Unless yours is the cock of a true hero (whatever that means), I highly doubt a dick pic will allow you to stand out in the sea of schlongs that is the internet.

Put that on the burner, I’ll get back to it in a second.

Since my return from my lengthy hiatus, I have resumed regular conversation with a couple of people who were around from the beginning of this little endeavor. They frequently remind me why I like this community so much. And this morning, as I got out of bed and threw on my gym shorts, I was struck by a sudden urge to show them what I look like. Unusual for me, since my first impulse here is to remain hidden and maintain anonymity. But I feel remarkably comfortable and safe talking to them, so I figured, why not?

So, I busted out the smart phone and set to taking pictures. Here’s what I learned.

1) Touch screens are a real pain in the ass for taking selfies. Especially if your phone has a flip cover. Seriously, how the hell do kids do it?

2) I really need to buy a full length body mirror.

3) I really hate my body.

Now, back to my earlier point.

For a lot of guys, dick pics are a way to hide the unpleasant truths of their bodies that they would like to conceal from others–love handles, stretch marks, scars, excessive body hair, and what have you–while still showing off their masculinity. It’s terribly unfair, and I could spend hours waxing philosophic on body shaming and loving yourself exactly as you are, but I won’t do that here. Suffice to say that we, and by we I mean both men and women, have been conditioned to believe that we are naturally unattractive. I try to coach people on this all the time, Ashley and Tina most often because neither has a very positive self-image, but I admit that I am particularly guilty of hating my body. At 32, I am not the svelte young gazelle I used to be.

Sure, I’m still fit. I lift regularly, I eat a primarily whole-foods vegetarian diet bordering on vegan, and I’m quite active. But my six pack is long gone and has been since I got married because who the hell has the time to maintain a six-pack in grad school. The excessive traveling I did prior to my return here caused me to gain between 5 and 10 pounds, which is now stubbornly sitting right below my navel and above my hips. A recent surgery has left me temporarily without hair while the wound heals, and the bald pate doesn’t jive with my beard. I have scarring in sensitive places. And to top it off, the winter was long and hard, so I am a much lighter shade of Caucasian than I would like to be, which makes stretch marks more noticeable. My body has been through a lot over the years, and I feel like it shows, and not in a good way.

I told you before, I only seem confident and put-together. Deep down, I am an absolute wreck.

So, I took about ten pictures. Only three of them are anything close to good. But I can’t bring myself to send them along because dear lord, I wouldn’t fuck me. I am surprised at my inability to take my own advice. I know that the flaws I see are incredibly superficial. Ashley insists I see them only because I know what I’m looking for, and Tina’s reaction to my appearance is always one of envy (“I wish I looked that fit.”). But I just don’t see it.

I would say that we need to be less concerned about what our bodies look like, and more concerned with what we can do with them. But that would be disingenuous of me. I’m a vain human being, and I want to look my best, not just for my wife and lover, and the few people I want to reveal myself to, but for myself. And I’m just not there anymore. I look at my body in the pictures, gym shorts pulled low, shirtless, tattoos showing, and I think, at one point, I looked a lot better than that.

I should really work on that.

Think I’ll hit the gym early.

I recently received a message from a reader asking me for any insight I could provide on the nature of our shared sexual compulsions.  Unfortunately, I was unable to provide anything more than the usual directionless rants I often place here (I am, after all, not the greatest source of wisdom), but it got me thinking a bit about the choices I make regarding my extramarital affairs.

I seem to have two distinct “types” of women I pursue.  I use the term “type” loosely (hence the quoties), as I find the notion of shoehorning anyone into a category distasteful, but there seems to be a distinct dichotomy in the personalities of the women I find attractive  I describe the differences between them as follows:

  1. The Rebel.  This woman typically captures my interest by first displaying a complete disregard for social niceties.  She doesn’t worry about what people think.  We all do this, but she takes it to extremes of which most people are incapable.  She has her own thing, and if you don’t like it, you can fuck off.  Or not, because she couldn’t care less either way.
  2. The Good Girl.  This woman intrigues me by being genuinely kind.  She worries about what others think and feel, maybe too much at times.  She may judge other people, but not openly, and not to other people–it’s her own internal monologue, and she doesn’t let it stop her from being kind to the people she dislikes.  She tries to be considerate and understanding of the rights of others to choose and do as they wish.

These may sound like common personality types, but I assure you, they’re not.  I find that people that think of themselves as “rebels” tend to do so out of a strong urge to be different, which, in so doing, makes them just like every other rebel.  They often claim to not care what you think, but only because they want you to believe they’re unique and/or misunderstood.  And the “good girls”, well, I’m sure most of you can think of any number of high school stereotypes to refute that one.

I realize that this probably makes me sound like a biased prick.  Well, perhaps I am, but that’s not my intent.  My point is, most people have a personal agenda, especially when it comes to being perceived by others.  Truly having no concern for others’ negative opinions is a rare quality, as is the type of kindness that you can immediately sense is born of a sincere interest in you and your happiness.  And it is the genuine nature of these two personality extremes that suck me in.

Actually, you know what?  I’m going to retract that previous statement.  It’s not the genuine nature I find so appealing.  It’s the rarity.

Hell, let’s go back a bit more.  I suddenly wonder if my “types” are actually a byproduct of selecting for rarity.  Because, now that I truly consider it, I can remember a single thing about each woman I have ever loved–hell, every woman I have ever fucked–that first caught my attention.  A shaved head.  A laugh that moves in musical scales.  An exceptionally petite frame.  Characteristics that by most standards are uncommon.  That’s what piques my interest.  The intellect, the capacity to maintain a conversation, is what usually keeps it and defines whether I will pursue a relationship with a person.

Well, that just completely dashed my thesis statement.  My type is not defined by social consideration.  It’s defined by intellect combined with rarity.

See, this is why I don’t like shoehorning people into categories, because upon inspection, such categories inevitably fail.  I feel like I should go back and delete everything I just wrote.  But damn, that’s a lot of writing.

This post has become my blog’s Leaning Tower.  It’s the Challenger.  A perfect example of what can happen as a result of poor planning and implementation, even in writing.

Perhaps there’s a way to salvage this shipwreck.

…………………………………nope, nothing comes to mind.

My original goal was to end at this point:  Maintaining clandestine relationships is exciting.  Can you see how I was going to get there?

That’s okay, neither do I.

I apologize, dear readers, for unintentionally dragging you through the disorganized clutter that is my thought process.  As recompense, I will have another post up tomorrow afternoon.  But you deserve some immediate reward for your patience.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Conway Twitty.