Oh Modern Love, what-the-everliving-fuck? A bazillion of you sent me Sunday’s New York Time’s ML column — a look at relationships from the point of view of a 49-year-old woman who screws married men. Because… well, you know how it goes after divorce, when you create Tinder profiles for no-strings-attached sex, and lonely, tragically misunderstood, sexless men reply by the dozens, and you fuck a few, and it confers relationship expert status upon you. Yeah that.
I always enjoy being condescended to about how my relationships need honesty and intimacy from someone who prefers clandestine NSA hook-ups with guys named SpankyBoy57.
I’m not sure it’s possible to justify my liaisons with married men, but what I learned from having them warrants discussion. Not between the wives and me, though I would be interested to hear their side. No, this discussion should happen between wives and husbands, annually, the way we inspect the tire tread on the family car to avoid accidents.
Don’t mind little ol’ me fucking yer husband there. You two just discuss my Learned Insights amongst yourselves. They warrant discussion. Unlike your feelings about it, which warrant no mention at all. #fuckingURhusbandmakes meanexpert #gravitas
Yes, Karin Jones would like to hear from those wives on “the other side” but alas, the NYT has conveniently disabled comments, so she’ll just have to imagine all your hearts and kisses.
The important takeaway here is that keeping your husband faithful is much like inspecting your tire treads on the family car… that is, if your Goodyear radials were missing and hiding on someone else’s Buick.
Anyway… Karin has written an essay entitled “What Sleeping With Married Men Taught Me About Infidelity.” Let’s guess.
That “sleep” is a euphemism? (Unless you pay for the girlfriend experience.)
That everything you “learned about infidelity” you learned from a liar?
A few years ago, while living in London, I dated married men for companionship while I processed the grief of being newly divorced. I hadn’t sought out married men specifically. When I created a profile on Tinder and OkCupid, saying I was looking for no-strings-attached encounters, plenty of single men messaged me and I got together with several of them. But many married men messaged me too.
Imagine that. Many men — married and unmarried — replied to an online profile offering no-strings-attached sexual encounters. Wow. Way to gain a following, Karin. Russian Twitterbots have nothing on you.
And I totally get where you’re coming from on the sex-only thing, which is why you date married men for “companionship.”
After being married for 23 years, I wanted sex but not a relationship. This is dicey because you can’t always control emotional attachments when body chemicals mix, but with the married men I guessed that the fact that they had wives, children and mortgages would keep them from going overboard with their affections. And I was right. They didn’t get overly attached, and neither did I. We were safe bets for each other.
I blame the body chemicals, Drak Noir and Fancy Feast. I also blame the mortgages. The men would go overboard with their affections, were it not for those mortgages. Wives and children can be replaced, but a 3.25% fixed rate?
I asked him: “What if you said to your wife, ‘Look, I love you and the kids but I need sex in my life. Can I just have the occasional fling or a casual affair?’”
He sighed. “I don’t want to hurt her,” he said. “She’s been out of the work force for 10 years, raising our kids and trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. If I asked her that kind of question, it would kill her.”
I asked him: “What if you left your wife for me, then we could companion all the time! And you and me and Fluffy and Snowball could be a family! And sit on my sofa and watch Father Brown reruns! And you could take me to that wedding and introduce me as your cousin!”
He sighed: “You’re just an orifice to me, Karin. My wife has been out of the workforce for 10 years, raising our children. Her economic vulnerability gives me carte blanche to fuck around on her. Why would I trade alimony and child support for your cat hair-covered ass?”
But sex is basic. Physical intimacy with other human beings is essential to our health and well-being. So how do we deny such a need to the one we care about most? If our primary relationship nourishes and stabilizes us but lacks intimacy, we shouldn’t have to destroy our marriage to get that intimacy somewhere else. Should we?
Karin had to do it because those men WEREN’T GETTING SEX!! Not a smidgeon! Not even a fleeting glimpse at wifely ankle! And how does Karin know? Because cheating men who created anonymous dating profiles on the Interwebs told her so. They were also misunderstood and please don’t call them on the weekends because Bible study.
These men shouldn’t have to destroy their marriages because you won’t put out, Wifey! Have a conversation! Kick the tire threads! Suck a dick occasionally! Karin Jones is now an authority with a voice in the New York Times because you’re frigid! And that’s tragic. She doesn’t want this kind of attention, but she must Share What She Learned so preventable bald tire/bald man-slut accidents don’t happen.
And just to be fair, it’s not the women who are all frigid, causing their men to cheat. Men, some of you are a little less than adventurous. Put down that stamp collection and listen to Karin.
If you read the work of Esther Perel, the author of the recently published book “State of Affairs,” you’ll learn that, for many wives, sex outside of marriage is their way of breaking free from being the responsible spouses and mothers they have to be at home. Married sex, for them, often feels obligatory. An affair is adventure.
If you read the work of Esther Perel, you might want to boil your head like a Christmas pudding and stick a spike of holly through your cranium.
Men, fucking you feels obligatory. Your wives need adventure. You don’t get adventure, you have stamps.
She needs the kind of positive affirmation and adventure that can only come from antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea. Fucking strange is never obligatory, unless you’re Karin Jones, in which case it is. (THE SEXLESS MEN NEED SAVING!)
And antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea cannot be cured, unless you’re Esther Perel, in which case it’s invisible. Unlike Esther Perel who is all too visible and inspiring stupid articles like this one in the New York Times.
I am not saying the answer is non-monogamy, which can be rife with risks and unintended entanglements. I believe the answer is honesty and dialogue, no matter how frightening. Lack of sex in marriage is common, and it shouldn’t lead to shame and silence. By the same token, an affair doesn’t have to lead to the end of a marriage. What if an affair — or, ideally, simply the urge to have one — can be the beginning of a necessary conversation about sex and intimacy?
What these husbands couldn’t do was have the difficult discussion with their wives that would force them to tackle the issues at the root of their cheating. They tried to convince me they were being kind by keeping their affairs secret. They seemed to have convinced themselves. But deception and lying are ultimately corrosive, not kind.
Gee, I wonder why these men and women won’t have this conversation? Isn’t it amazing that they can craft dating profiles, and get naked with strangers, and yet lack the courage to TALK honestly? Mind. BLOWN. It’s almost like… like… they don’t want to be honest.
Tut, tut. Deception and lying are corrosive and unkind. Fucking your husband? Not so much.