This week, Dear John advises on oral sex, nut allergies, and accidental assault.
This article originally appeared at GoLocalProv.com.
I’m in a relationship that is going well. We’re both in our early thirties and neither one of us has a very extensive history of relationships. Definitely less than most people our age. We’re both very shy and uncomfortable around other people but we get along with each other really well, I guess because we’re so similar. My question is one that I would be really, really embarrassed to talk to anyone about. To make a long story short, neither one of us had any experience with oral sex and we wanted to give it a try so we did. He really enjoyed receiving it and I liked how much he enjoyed it, so that made it enjoyable for me, too. But when the roles were reversed, he gave it a minimal effort before deciding that he just couldn’t do it. He found as thoughtful a way as he could to express that he thought it was really gross. But now he still expects it from me. He’s under the impression that I enjoy doing it (which I don’t – I don’t mind, but I could take it or leave it – it’s something I’m doing for him) but now I feel like when I do that without any attempt at reciprocation, I’m being taken advantage of. I hate to feel like I’m keeping score or something, but I am hurt and annoyed that he expects this to be all taking and no giving and that’s fine with him. The worst part of all this is now that it’s become something of an issue, we’ve ended up having sex a little less often, but I just feel like he’s being really selfish about this. How should we resolve it?
Give And Take
Dear Give And Take,
There are two different aspects of this I’d like to comment on. First, you’re right, basing what you’ll give each other on what you’ll get in return is unhelpful in a relationship, both in bed and out. If your boyfriend is enjoying oral sex and you kind of enjoy doing it (or you enjoy his enjoyment of it, at least), I think that’s sufficient reason to give it a place in your sexual repertoire. But that brings me to my second, slightly contradictory point: I think it’s the height of hypocrisy for your boyfriend to suggest doing it to you is gross, but your doing it to him is just fun. If anything is repulsive here, it’s that misogynistic double standard. I think you should call him on it. It may not be as simple as “he’s selfish,” but at the very least, I think he should really try to get past his initial immature reaction. If he does give it a sincere effort and just can’t for some reason, that’s one thing. But if he won’t even try, then yes, you have a selfish boyfriend. What you decide to do with that realization is up to you.
My husband and I have a toddler with serious food allergies, including nuts. At home, it’s no problem. The food she is allergic to is easy to avoid and we’ve gotten used to the steps we have to take to make sure she never eats anything that poses a threat. The problem is my husband’s parents. They have never really seemed to understand or take seriously my daughter’s condition. (One time they justified something they were serving while we were visiting by saying there was only a “tiny, tiny” amount of butter in it, which she is allergic to.) This situation was easy to monitor and control when she was a baby, but now that she’s a little older, they want her to come for longer visits, including overnight sleepovers. The thought of her being there without us to make sure everything’s okay is terrifying to me. My husband is less concerned, feels like his parents can manage the food issues, and is not the type to disappoint his parents or turn down their requests. We have argued quite a bit about it, but we can’t get beyond thinking the other is being completely unreasonable. Is there a compromise here I can’t see – one that won’t compromise my daughter’s health or safety, of course?
Mom And Daughter-In-Law
Dear Mom And Daughter-In-Law,
You’re right to put your daughter’s safety above your husband’s reluctance to be firm with his parents. And from what you’ve written, it doesn’t sound as if your concerns are unfounded. I think everyone – you and your husband, your daughter, and your in-laws – would benefit from extended visits, so I would take a few steps to ensure that they can happen with a minimum amount of anxiety for you. Tell them you and your husband want to stay over, too, for the first visit. Treat this visit as a crash course in all the things they have to consider when they’re taking care of an allergic child. Make sure the house is free of foods she’s allergic to. Ensure they know the symptoms of an allergic response and how to treat mild and severe reactions. If your child has been prescribed an Epipen, show them how to use it. Basically, by the time this visit is over, you should feel confident that your in-laws understand the gravity of allergies and know how to respond to any situations that might arise. If they scoff at this plan, let them know it’s a condition that has to be met before your daughter can sleep over. It’s that important. Overnight visits with her grandparents (and with friends in the future) will be good for your daughter’s social development, so you have to make sure your fear doesn’t prevent her from experiencing these things. The fact of the matter is it will undoubtedly be nerve-wracking when your daughter is out of your care. Such worry is just part of being a parent.
Recently my husband and I were walking through a mall and we saw a young woman (around fifteen I guess) really struggling to get her backpack on. It had somehow become entangled with the jacket she was wearing and she was having a hard time of it. My husband went over and, without saying anything to warn her of what he was about to do, attempted to help, or tried to. As soon as he had one hand on the backpack and one hand on the jacket, the girl flipped out. She yelled not to touch her, spun around so she could pull away, and made a general scene. Then her mother (I assume) came running out of a nearby store asking what was going on! People began to turn to look and my husband and I just got out of there as quickly as we could. I asked my husband what the hell he was thinking and he insisted (and insists) he did nothing wrong, he was just trying to help, and the girl overreacted. I think what he did showed terrible judgment, though. What do you think? Is he just being stubborn?
Assisting Or Assault?
Dear Assisting Or Assault?,
Ah, thanks. I love the black and white questions. Your husband was clearly wrong. Why on earth wouldn’t he have simply asked the girl if she needed help before putting his hands on her? Who knows what may have happened to her in the past that might explain her “overreaction”? He sounds like one of those guys who has a hard time simply admitting he did something stupid. His heart was in the right place, but his hands certainly weren’t.
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