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Savage Love: Clueless

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I am a straight male, 30, in a long-term monogamous relationship. I love my wife, we have good sex, and often. When we first got together, I had a mild foot fetish, and she has gorgeous pedis. We have done and still do foot play on occasion. But my fetish has grown stronger as time has passed, and I have grown thirstier for her appendages. They are all I can think about. I am still willing to do everything with my partner and make sure she is satisfied. I don’t want anyone else, and the relationship is wonderful other than this issue. It’s just that she is not much into foot play and is rarely willing to partake. When she does partake, it is brief, and then we are on to the next. How can I relate to her my insatiable desire for her lovely appendages without sounding like an absolute freak? Is it fair for me to ask for this after being together so long without the same need?
—Fighting Extreme Erotic Tension

I didn’t run your letter the first ten thousand times you sent it, FEET, because any regular reader of my column—and someone who e-mails me on a daily basis for three years is presumed to be a regular reader—would know what my advice would be in a case like yours: Level with your fucking wife about your boring fucking foot fetish already, you fucking coward.

You downplayed your kink at the start of your relationship, and you haven’t opened up to your wife about how your kink has grown in intensity over the years. So she may think those brief-and-on-to-the-next foot sessions are enough to satisfy what you’ve allowed her to believe is a mild foot fetish. Would those sessions be longer, more intense, and freakier if she knew how central this was to your sexuality? There’s only one way to find out, FEET: Stop worrying about sounding like an “absolute freak” and come out to your partner as the absolute freak that you are. (“My darling, for years I’ve pretended that my thing for feet is mild, but it’s actually an all-consuming passion, and I need to spend more time licking, kissing, and whatever-the-fucking your lovely appendages or I shall go mad blah blah blah.”)

While your dilemma is stupid and your spamming is annoying (and your wife potentially fictitious), FEET, I chose to run your letter because this is actually a pretty good hypothetical: “Is it fair for me to ask for this after being together so long without the same need?”

Sexual boredom is a huge problem in many long-term monogamous relationships. We humans are wired—male, female and everything in between; gay, straight and ditto—to seek some degree of novelty and variety in everything we do. Two people who agree not to seek sexual novelty or variety outside of their relationship have to work at creating some of both inside the relationship or risk watching their sexual connection wither and die. (That’s not always fatal—there are plenty of happy and sexless marriages out there—but a dead sexual connection can go gangrenous and poison a relationship.) So one partner asking another to explore a newfound sexual interest—or one partner coming clean about a suppressed or downplayed kink—can be a very good thing.

There is risk in disclosing: What if one partner’s “new need” is another partner’s libido killer, i.e., something that makes it difficult or impossible for the disclosee to connect sexually with the discloser ever again? But I would argue, based on the mail I receive (a skewed sample, yes, but a pretty massive sample), that sexual boredom poses a much bigger threat to a relationship or marriage than coming clean about an old or new kink ever could.

On the Savage Lovecast, Dan and fashionista Simon Doonan talk fashion and real get bitchy at savagelovecast.com.

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