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Savage Love: Thrills and Spills

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I’m an old guy, fast approaching geezerdom. After 45 years of marriage to the same woman, the sex has fallen off to zero. We otherwise have a great and comfortable relationship. If I want any at all these days, the only options are masturbation or professional service providers. I was very nervous the first time I paid for sex. Curiously and surprisingly, considering my Christian upbringing, I didn’t feel at all guilty. I now find the urge gets stronger as the body gets weaker. It seems as geezerdom takes a full hold, all I think about is pussy, and paid sex has become a regular thing. You stress honesty and communication for a long-term relationship to work. In our case, honesty would mean the end to what is now just a great friendship that provides us both with deeply satisfying companionship. I don’t want to hurt her, but revealing my outside activities would certainly do so, as she thinks men using prostitutes is disgusting. Thoughts? —Sin Or Salvation

Honesty and communication are important, SOS, but there are limits. No long-term relationship would survive a strict regime of full disclosure enforced with depositions taken under oath, regularly scheduled lie detector tests, truth serums disguised as artificial coffee creamers, etc. Knowing what to omit and avoid—identifying here-there-be-monsters spots on the map and sailing around those topics/incidents/persons—is just as important as honesty and communication. And married people, even long-married people, get to have their own inner lives, a few secrets they take to the grave and some zones of privacy and autonomy.

But there are limits to privacy, autonomy and topic/honesty avoidance, as well. If your inner life amounts to a double life, that’s a problem. If your secrets place your spouse at risk of grave physical or emotional harm, that’s a problem. If your zones of privacy and autonomy grow so large that your spouse doesn’t know who you are anymore, that’s a problem.

But I don’t think what you’re doing is necessarily a problem, SOS. If your wife is truly content—if she isn’t interested in sex anymore, if you’re not cheating her out of anything she values, if you’re not taking risks with her health, if you’re not depleting your retirement savings to finance your activities, if all of the above is true—then your visits to sex workers are covered by my standard advice to people in sexless but otherwise solid, loving and fulfilling marriages: Do what you gotta do to stay sane and stay married.

One of the boys at the restaurant where I work met up with a gay couple in a bar during happy hour. They told him to go to the bathroom and strip in a stall. Then one of the guys came in and took his clothing from him. He didn’t know when they would be back or even if they would be back. While he was trapped there naked (and hard), other men were coming in and out. Knowing that other people didn’t know he was in his stall gave my coworker a big thrill. My problem: This couple and my friend involved other people—without their knowledge or consent. I say, “Not OK!” We got into a heated argument about it and decided to ask you for a ruling. —Coworker’s Recent Escapade Entirely Perverted

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