Dear Ms. Behavior:
I’m in a monogamous relationship with a woman I love, but I’m in a predicament. I want to make out with someone else—or, I’d settle for touching her body a bit. If I were to ask my friends for advice, most of them would say, “End the relationship you’re in first.”
But isn’t it stupid to jump to that conclusion when it may not be necessary? Couldn’t making out with someone else be just an experience, maybe even a one-time thing?
My friend, Emily, just died, and she was only 40. I know she and her partner weren’t getting along. So, now I’m thinking, if Emily had had the chance to have someone take her breath away for five minutes, to make her wet, to make her words quiver, don’t you think she would have (maybe even should have) enjoyed the moment?
What’s with all this morality crap anyway? Where does it get us?
No one among my immediate friends wouldn’t judge me, so I’m asking you, Ms. Behavior: Would it really be so bad just to kiss someone, or hold her for a few minutes?
Dear Desperate Woman:
Ah, the classic dilemma.
If only you could kiss another woman’s lips, or perhaps touch her boobies, all would be well with the world, right?
The problem is that you’re standing at the top of the very mountain for which the term “slippery slope” was created. You’re in a monogamous relationship, but you meet someone you like and want to kiss. At first, it all seems very innocent and sweet.
How could anything be wrong with pressing your lips against hers? Couldn’t this be totally compartmentalized from your relationship?
Pretty soon, kissing the new woman opens an unexpected doorway, and then—uh-oh—kissing just isn’t enough. So, next you touch her breasts under the bra. Soon, you realize that really you’re very tired, and need to lie down…together. You slip one of your legs between her thighs, because, well, it just fits perfectly. As you snuggle, her breast slips into your mouth so easily. When she grabs your butt, and writhes against you, it becomes clear that you need to take off your jeans, because they’re chafing you.
Nothing’s wrong with hugging while you’re in your underwear, right?
Your hugs are so wholesome and sweet that a thin cotton barrier is really all it takes to keep your chastity intact. Her slight gasps and hard breathing only indicate that she hasn’t been hugged in a long time. And then, that thin cotton barrier is somehow in the way, and suddenly, you’re both naked.
What a surprise!
Depending on your personality, it can take anywhere from 10 minutes to a whole year to go through all these steps, but Ms. Behavior predicts that if you kiss this woman, your damp underwear eventually will end up on the floor, entwined with hers, as you lie on the bed, basting in each other’s juices.
Soon, you wonder: How did all this happen?
Poor dead Emily has caused a crisis, hasn’t she?
If only she’d gotten to make out with someone before she died, she would have died a happier woman. Or maybe not. But that’s what you’re imagining in this moment, coinciding with the awakening of your libido—which feels like the opposite of being dead.
The message you’re getting from your psyche (or maybe your clit) is one of longing. Maybe you’re longing for another woman because you and your partner aren’t connecting well right now, or because you’re in a fallow phase of your relationship. Or maybe it’s just that you’re human, and it’s totally normal to experience an occasional intense attraction to someone else, even if you’re monogamous.
Your feelings, of course, aren’t the problem. The problem is that you want to have your attraction, and eat her, too.
Mainly, you have a commitment to your partner, which you’ll be breaking if you act on this attraction without letting her know that you intend to do it. No one likes a liar or a cheat.
So, you either can be honest with your partner, or decide not to act on the attraction. It may help to talk it through with a friend or a therapist. Whatever you do, don’t hide your lustful feelings in a dark closet, where they only will grow large and strange.
Of course, you may decide to kiss or touch this woman anyway—and it doesn’t mean that you’re a terrible person—but it’s not likely to lead to a healthy outcome or a happy wife.
© 2009 Meryl Cohn. Address questions and correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org. She is the author of Do What I Say: Ms. Behavior’s Guide to Gay and Lesbian Etiquette (Houghton Mifflin). Signed copies are available directly from the author.