DEAR SUGAR, The Rumpus Advice Column #20

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Dear Sugar,

My best friend asked me the other day if my husband and I still make out. I had to think about that for a minute because I couldn’t really remember the last time we actually made out. We got to talking and she said that it really bothers her that sometimes her and her husband make love and afterwards she’ll realize they never kissed once.

My husband and I kiss, but not as passionately as we did when we first started dating. This made me sad so I decided I wanted to spend time just kissing the way we used to, but he just wasn’t into it. Either he wanted to just make love, finish watching his show, go to bed or whatever else he was doing when I initiated the make out session. After a week of constantly trying to get my husband to kiss me for more than a minute, I finally asked him what his problem was, whether or not he still found me attractive, and why we no longer kiss the way we use to. He told me that we aren’t in the honeymoon stage anymore! I’m so upset, Sugar. I didn’t realize what we had lost until it was pointed out to me by my friend. Do you think that kissing is something that fades over time and is just the normal course in relationships? I don’t want to kiss those kissing days goodbye. Any advice Sugar?

Thanks,
Missing Kissing

 

Dear Miss Kiss,

I wish I could wave my magic wand and turn your hubby into a romantic fool whose central desire is to suck face until his lips go numb. Then again, if I had such a wand, I would have exhausted its powers over the course of my various marriages.

Alas, you’re up against one of the unfortunate truths of long-term commitment. Men (and some women) have trouble with the deeper forms of physical intimacy. And kissing – particularly passionate kissing – is far more intimate than any other sex act. Fucking and sucking and all the rest of it invokes the body. But it doesn’t require the kind of emotional acknowledgement that kissing does. The mouth, the tongue, the teeth – these are the parts by which we nourish ourselves and speak to the world. They are the epicenter of our sensual consciousness. (If you don’t believe me, just watch any pornographic film. The most shockingly intimate moments are always when the actors kiss.)
But as we get older, more habituated to our partner, we tend to see kissing as a preliminary activity, something we can skip past on the way to actual “sex.” To put it in schoolyard terms: why bother with first base when you’re going to make it home anyway?

What I’m saying here, MK, is that you’re far from alone. I’d warrant that nine of out ten women in long-term relationships feel this way when they bother to think about it, and probably a good chunk of the men. Again, I wish I had some pithy advice. Cosmo would probably tell you to brush your teeth with Horny Girl Whitening Gel and apply cherry red lipstick from Maybelline’s new Pimp Me Out™ Collection.

I’m going to advise that you do this the old-fashioned way. Tell your man, in as non-accusatory a manner as you can, what you have told me. Not that you’re angry and you blame him, but that you feel you’ve lost something that you want back for both of you. This is a far better approach than badgering the guy to make out with you. You can’t make someone want to kiss you, especially a stubborn and well-defended husband. Don’t turn necking into a loyalty test.

Also worth pondering: how much of this is driven by pure desire and how much by some more narcissistic need to feel your marriage is still passionate? My guess is that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The same is true of the remedy. You’re not likely to recapture the tongue-rasslin days of your honeymoon. But you should be able to rekindle them from time to time.

 

Dear Sugar,

My friend tried to sleep with my boyfriend while I was out of town for a few months.

When I came back home I knew something was up and asked. They were both highly defensive, which should have tipped me off, but I apologized nonetheless. Over the next year my boyfriend continually asked me if there’s anything he should know about our summer apart, and was condescending and short-tempered when I asked him to answer the same.

He finally told me, and out of nowhere. I’m upset that he made me feel paranoid instead of perceptive this whole time. How should I handle the situation with my friend and my boyfriend? They didn’t sleep together, they just… got too close for comfort, I guess? Please help.

Signed,
I’ve Been Cheated

 

Dear IBC,

I’m not sure I have enough information here. What does “my friend tried to sleep with my boyfriend” mean? That she initiated? How so? Have you gotten her version of events? How serious is the relationship with your boyfriend? Is it understood to be monogamous by both parties? What does “too close for comfort” mean? Did his hand get too close to her breasts, or did his cock get “too close” to her G-spot? Why would your boyfriend project his betrayal onto you for a full year? Why did he finally tell you? Was he contrite? Did you omit these facts because you don’t know or because you don’t believe your guy or because it’s too humiliating to reveal them?

In the absence of such specifics, it would be foolish of me to recommend a course of action. I can tell you, with no hesitation, that your boyfriend sounds like what we in the advice column biz call an “asshole.” And your “friend” isn’t much better.

Here’s what I’d like to know, more than anything: if what you’ve told me is the stone-cold truth, why would you put up with this sort of behavior in the first place? Think about that question before you even bother with the others.