Dan Savage is on a book tour for his new book American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics. Please enjoy this Savage Love letter from the archives, originally published October 6, 2005:
I adore my smart, affectionate, sexy husband—but he's impotent. We don't really need medical advice—we know why. (It started out physiological, side effects from anti-depressants, now it's psychological.) He's currently—and willingly—seeing a psychiatrist.
I need some advice on how we can get back in the saddle. Direct discussions about the problem make him feel worse and more inadequate. He's even admitted he avoids situations where we might fool around, because if he doesn't try, he can't fail. I want to be understanding, but I also really need to get some. Asking him to use a strap-on is just plain insensitive, right?
Help One Really Neglected Young Woman
My response after the jump...
Your husband avoids "fool around situations," or FAS, because he feels like he won't be able to satisfy you, his theory being, "no bone, no satisfaction." That seems to be your theory too, HORNYW, and embracing it is making your problem worse. It's perfectly understandable that he would avoid FAS—and the humiliation of failure—until he's absolutely positive he can keep it up. That's why the best approach in a situation like this is to take the focus—and the pressure—off the guy's dick. Tell him he can't fail to satisfy you with oral sex, masturbation, and toys (perhaps working your way up to strap-ons), and he'll begin to think of sex as something he's good at again, boned or boneless.
And guess what, HORNYW? You may find that once your husband is not expected to produce an erection during FAS, his dick starts getting hard. However, resist the urge to jump on his cock the first time—the first few dozen times—if he gets hard while he's eating your pussy or using his hand to get you off. If you selfishly jump on one of those early hard-ons and he loses his erection, well, you might as well take a belt sander to his balls.
So those first erections? They're not for you, HORNYW, they're for him. You should both agree in advance that if he gets hard and wants to get off, he's going to beat off while he eats you out, or fingers you, or watches you get yourself off. Before you can reconnect with his dick, your husband has to reconnect with it, i.e., he needs to get back to a time when his dick was something that gave him pleasure, not something that failed to satisfy you. Trust me, HORNYW, when that happens he'll fuck you senseless so often that you'll long for the days of FAS avoidance.