Dear Dan: I am a fortysomething bi woman happily married to a newly transitioned 50ish trans woman. I have a history of putting myself about a bit (safely) before our relationship, but we have been monogamous since we met (except for a disastrous threesome). My wife hasn’t put herself about and has slept with only myself and one other to whom she was also married — and that threesome. She understands that I have a high libido and mostly she doesn’t. Our sex life is loving and good mostly, but I do want more. There have been discussions on opening up our relationship — but essentially I want to and she is resistant. I want to do this with transparency and with men (mostly), but I don’t feel this is realistic emotionally for her given some conflict we’ve had over this issue. Is cheating the only answer here?
— Never Overly Terrified
Dear NOT: I can see how it might be emotionally tricky for a recently transitioned trans woman — that would be your wife — to cheerfully sign off on her second wife sleeping with men (mostly) and with transparency (ethically). But if you absolutely, positively can’t commit to sleeping with only her for the rest of your life, NOT, and you can’t get her permission to sleep with others… then, yes, there’s cheating. There’s also fantasy, masturbation, repression, sublimation, self-sacrifice — and divorce.
Dear Dan: I’m a queer woman. When I entered my 30s, I realized that I was more queer/bi than I had previously allowed myself to be, and I started exploring my attraction to cis heterosexual men. Five years later, and I’m in an incredible GGG relationship with a cis het male. He’s everything I have ever wanted in a partner: sexy, funny, feminist and smart. We have full disclosure about sexuality and kinks, no complaints there. What I do have trouble with is navigating his family and friends, twin social circles composed of heterosexuals who fall into stereotypical gender roles. I spent my teens and 20s fully submersed in queer/trans circles with like-minded feminist hippies who are not hung up on the gender binary. My partner’s friends are fundamentally good people, but they see nothing wrong with “old fashioned” misogyny. I am often interrupted, talked over and “mansplained” by my partner’s male friends. And while I am a pretty friendly person, I can’t get a foot in the door with the women in his friend circle. My notions on feminism and equality are way too out there, so I tend to keep to myself in a corner during parties in order to avoid starting an argument. How do I navigate this weird heterosexual world that I don’t understand? I’ve tried to explain my feelings to my partner, but I think he has a hard time relating, as he is a heterosexual cis male and was raised as one. How do I keep from losing my cool when someone starts to mansplain to me? I may be in a heterosexual romantic partnership, but I am still a queer lady at heart.
— Bi Lefty Encounters Cis Hets
Dear BLECH: Some people “fall into stereotypical gender roles” because that’s who they are, BLECH, and what you perceive as the thoughtless embrace of the gender binary can in some cases be an authentic expression of gender identity. That doesn’t excuse misogyny and mansplaining, of course, but not everyone who embraces seemingly stereotypical gender roles is a dupe who needs a good talking to from the new queer girlfriend of an old straight friend.
That said, if going to parties with your cis het boyfriend’s gender-normative friends makes you miserable… don’t go to those parties. Or if you must go, drag along a leftist-hippie-queer friend who can sit in the corner with you and marvel at the mansplaining manmuggles and their clueless lady friends who aren’t interested in your thoughts on feminism and equality.
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