I’d Never Cheat, but I Love Getting Attention From Other Guys

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for just a little over two years. I love him so much, and our relationship is good, and so is our sex life. I know I would never cheat on him, but I lust after different men all the time. I’ve Snapchatted different men selfies and had inappropriate conversations. I don’t want to cheat on my boyfriend, I just like the attention. What’s wrong with me?

What’s wrong with you? Well, there’s nothing wrong with lusting after different guys. Libidos don’t come with on/off switches. Unless you are truly unusual, you will continue to notice hot guys, get turned on by hot guys, and even, occasionally, think about having sex with them. That’s normal. That’s not the kind of thing we love to admit but, hey, it happens. It’s usually just a harmless fact of life — until you start Snapchatting selfies to other dudes. Acting on those desires is wrong.

To repeat: Snapchatting suggestive selfies to other men and talking dirty to other guys is not cool. You know what you’re doing — and you know you’re playing your boyfriend. So I also agree your self-diagnosis: You want the attention. And you want these men to give it to you.

Here’s the thing: I understand that it feels good. I understand that it can make you feel sexier, less insecure, and also maybe more powerful and less dependent because their attention is a reminder that you are desirable and that you have options. But here’s the other thing: Sometimes reasons don’t matter. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how something makes you feel in the moment. Sometimes, privileging how you feel over the commitment you’ve made is selfish and disrespectful.

The little rush you get from these flirtations is real and even understandable — no matter how loving and wonderful and hot your boyfriend may be. (Does anyone ever not want a little extra attention?) But if your boyfriend would be absolutely pissed off to discover these conversations and selfies, then you’re fucking up and you need to stop, now.

I’m talking about the reasonable whys because I don’t want you to confuse explanations with excuses. Repeat after me: An explanation is not an excuse. People do hurtful things for understandable reasons all the time; it doesn’t mean they’re right.

If you want to keep this relationship going, then it honestly doesn’t matter why you’re doing this. It just matters that you’re doing it. Part of getting real about a serious relationship is learning to walk the walk. You say you love him so act like it.

Are you being respectful of that love? Doesn’t sound like it to me. When given the opportunity to cheat or cross a line, you just have to throw away all your rationalizations and reasons, and decide not to cross that line.

My boyfriend says he has a low sex drive, but he is very into all types of porn (which I am fine with) and he masturbates every day. He says this is to reduce random erections, but I thought a low sex drive meant a low desire for all sexual activities. I know he is very attracted to me, and when he’s drunk, he talks about us having lots of sex and being more adventurous. However, that all disappears the next day. We currently have sex about once a week, because he says any more and he can have issues keeping it up. I have mentioned low testosterone might be the issue but he doesn’t want to explore that. The sex we have is amazing but he can be very insecure about his body. He’s also had a few women tell him he’s bad at sex and I think he can’t get past that, no matter how many times I tell him the opposite. Is his low sex drive just him trying to avoid embarrassment and rejection? Will helping build his confidence with positive reinforcement make a difference in the amount of sex we have?

It sounds like you’re doing a whole lot of things right: You’re talking openly about a tough issue. You’re letting your boyfriend know that you support him and that he turns you on. You’re clearly trying to see things from his point of view. And you’re not blaming yourself for his trouble getting it up. That’s all very healthy so I’m immediately optimistic that you’re going to work this out. Often, the best cure for insecurity — and impotence — is just the comfort that comes with patience and time.

Sorry to say, but you’re handling this so well that I don’t have world-changing advice for you. The general rules of thumb for any guy who’s having trouble getting it up is always the same: Eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep. Talk to your doctor, in case the impotence might be related to a health condition or a medical side effect, or in case a drug like Cialis or Viagra might be an easy fix. (And, yes, a doctor could check testosterone levels, as well.) If depression and anxiety are an issue, they can affect your sex drive as well, so consider talking to a professional. Make sure you’re using condoms that fit; consider a cock ring (which constricts blood flow and helps you keep it up); keep talking about what turns you both on because good communication always makes sex hotter.

You ask if his low sex drive is rooted in his negative past experiences and my definitive answer is: Maybe? That seems reasonable, since sometimes the slightest little sexual complaint can lodge like a splinter in someone’s mind. There’s no quick fix for that underlying issue, if so. So keep talking, stay patient, and don’t settle: Keep working toward the sex life you crave.

So, my boyfriend and I have been dating for a while now, and I know we are going to be heading into sleepover territory soon, but there’s just one thing holding me back: my night guard. I grind my teeth at night and wear it every single night, but it’s this big, bulky thing that makes me look like a hockey player when I have it on. I don’t want to chance messing up my teeth by not wearing it, but, um, hello, a nightguard is totally not sexy. Is there really any way of getting around the awkwardness/fear of him waking up first to see this nasty mouthguard jutting out from my lips?

Don’t underestimate how psyched your man will be the first time you sleep over. Did Neil Armstrong step foot on the moon and complain about the dust? Did Lebron cut short his first NBA championship celebration because somebody was frowning in the corner? The first night your boyfriend sleeps over, he’s going to be blissed-out, thrilled, and just as nervous as you. He will barely notice your mouthpiece. On first night with you, it will be an insignificant detail.

Yes, a mouthguard is a little goofy. The more you play it off like it’s nothing, the more it will be nothing.

Before you put the mouthguard on, tell him simply, “I’m a little embarrassed by this, but I have to wear a mouthguard because I grind my teeth.” Then, instead of cracking a tooth, crack a joke: “So if you ever dreamed of sleeping with a hockey player, this is your lucky night…” Play it off.

When we sleep over, we expose more of ourselves — our bodies, yes, and our little habits: your morning rituals; the odd way you floss your teeth; the way you’ve just got to sleep on your back with two pillows. We all have little tics and routines; yours just happens to be necessary and dentist-prescribed.

This is not a big deal. So don’t make it into one. The last thing you need is another reason to grind your teeth.

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