Dear Dan: I’m an early-30s hetero woman in a monogamous relationship with my mid-30s hetero guy. We’ve been together 10 years, married seven, no kids. We have a lot of fun — traveling, shared hobbies, mutual friends, etc. We have sex fairly regularly, and it’s not bad. However, his primary sexual fetish and main turn-on is furry porn — namely, cartoon images. He doesn’t self-identify as a furry; he doesn’t have a fursuit or fursona. To his credit, he was up front about this with me once we started getting serious. However, I think at that younger age, I conflated the emotional openness and acceptance of his sexuality with actually being satisfied with the sexual component of our relationship. He seems only marginally attracted to me, and it bums me out that his more intense sexual drives are funneled into furry porn. I feel somewhat helpless, as his fetish doesn’t allow me to meet him halfway. Real-life furry action (fursuits and the like) does not interest him (I’ve offered). We have sex regularly, but I always initiate, and his enthusiasm is middling until we get going, at which point I think we both enjoy ourselves. But I’ve found that this turns into a negative feedback loop, where his lack of initial interest leads to me being less attracted to him, and so on. I consider myself a fairly sexual person and I get a lot of pleasure out of being desired. We’re talking about starting a family, and I’m scared that the pressures that come with parenthood would only make this worse.
—Fretting Under Relationship Shortcomings
Dear FURS: Nothing I write is going to fix this — and nothing I write is going to fix him, FURS, not that your husband is broken. He is who he is, and he had the decency to let you know who he was before you married him. But nothing I write is going to put you at the center of your husband’s erotic inner life. Nothing I write is going to inspire him to initiate more (or at all) or cause him to be more enthusiastic about sex. Nothing I write is going to make your husband want you the way you want to be wanted, desire you the way you want to be desired, and fuck you the way you want to be fucked.
So the question you need to ask yourself before you make babies with this man — the question I would have urged you to ask yourself before you married this man — is whether you can live without the pleasure you get from being desired. Is that the price of admission you’re willing to pay to be with this man? Maybe it once was, but is it still? Because if monogamy is what you want or what he wants or what you both want, FURS, then choosing to be with this man — choosing to be with someone you enjoy spending time with, who’s “not bad” at sex, whose most passionate erotic interests direct him away from you — means going without the pleasure of being wanted the way you want to be wanted, desired the way you want to be desired, and fucked the way you want to be fucked.
Your husband was up-front with you about his sexuality before you got married. Everyone should be, of course, but so few people are — particularly people who have been made to feel ashamed of their sexuality or their fetishes or both — that we’re inclined to heap praise on people who manage to clear what should be a low bar. At the time, you mistook “emotional openness” and your willingness to accept his sexuality for both sexual compatibility and sexual satisfaction. I think you owe it to yourself to be up front with your husband before you have kids. He’s getting a good deal here — decent sex with the wife and the freedom to take care of needs his wife can’t meet. And you’re free to ask for a similar deal — decent sex with your husband and the freedom to take care of needs your husband can’t meet.
There’s a far greater degree of risk involved in you going outside the relationship to feel desired, of course; you seeing another man or men comes bundled with emotional and physical risks that wanking to furry porn does not. This isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. But if your shared goal as a couple is mutual sexual fulfillment — and that should be every couple’s goal — and if you want to avoid becoming so frustrated that you make a conscious decision to end your marriage (or a subconscious decision to sabotage it), FURS, then opening up the relationship needs to be a part of the discussion.
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