I am a 19-year-old female student at UGA. I am just your average girl, not super weird but easy to get along with, or so I think. I have a very close friend (let’s call her Zoey) whom I have been extremely close with for nearly four years. We hang out really often and usually have a great time together. Sometimes, though, Zoey can be cranky or in a mood that causes her to treat me like her punching bag (not physically, just insults and being rude, etc.)
I have always been the quiet and more polite one out of our group of friends and I feel like Zoey thinks that because I won’t fight back she can push me around. It has kind of been treated as the cute and harmless game she plays, but I don’t feel the same way. I have tried to tell her previously to cut it out, but she has a “unique” sense of humor and thinks that it is funny to make fun of me, etc.
I know that what she is doing is wrong, but we really have a lot of fun for the most part. I really feel uncomfortable doing the whole “playing mean” thing myself, so I can’t really fight back and make her back down. What should I do?!
The Punching Bag
Your “extremely close friend” is an asshole, PB. She treats you like shit on a whim and makes fun of you if you complain about it. I would say to just tell her to fuck off and lose her number, but based on the tone of your letter I’m guessing you aren’t quite ready for that yet. Do you need permission to stand up for yourself? If so, I hereby grant it. Sit her down and tell her, one more time, that you need her to stop lashing out at you whenever she feels like it. And tell her that if she doesn’t, you aren’t going to continue the friendship. Her behavior probably stems from something else—insecurity, depression or perhaps some kind of disorder—but that doesn’t excuse it. It seems like everyone is willing to indulge her “cute and harmless” games, and as long as they continue to, she has no incentive to stop. Maybe you can be the one to help her, PB, and maybe not. But either way you’ve got to stop letting her get away with it.
I feel nuts asking this of a stranger, but I really do not know what to do. Hubs and I have been married almost 20 years, and for the most part it is happy. My problem is… well, my husband is medically impotent. He takes meds that make it extremely difficult, if not impossible to get any kind of erection. He cannot take Viagra or Cialis, either. I’m only in my 40s and think about sex all the time. I masturbate constantly, almost daily, sometimes more than once. I’m going nuts, and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to spend the rest of my long life celibate. I’ll go insane.
He is unwilling to explore any alternate kind of intimacy, he barely even kisses me. He is good to me, brings me flowers and gifts, calls me all the time, treats me like a queen and, even after all these years, he wants to be with me all the time. He’s a real sweetheart, and if it were not for the little sex problem, I’d be convinced that this is my last marriage. How do I get over this excruciating need?
Squirming in My Chair, Again
Your husband is obviously a nice guy, and on many levels, a good husband. All well and good. But you have needs, SIMCA, and if he won’t at least acknowledge and try to meet your needs (or maybe give you permission to meet them elsewhere), then I fear that your marriage is doomed. You need to have an honest discussion about this right away. Obviously, the situation is awkward and frustrating, and wrought with all kinds of pressure and discomfort. But you two are married. Better or worse, sickness and health—blah, blah, blah.
He has to understand that his illness is not a deal-breaker, but his refusal to try to work with you on this could be. Just because you can’t have traditional, penis-in-vagina sex doesn’t mean the two of you can’t be intimate. Without getting too graphic, let’s just say that hands and mouths and toys can be employed and you can still get off with your husband, but only if he is willing. If he isn’t, then you are going to be increasingly frustrated and unhappy, and your otherwise pretty great sounding marriage could be over.
If he doesn’t want to consider other avenues of physical intimacy, then ask his permission to seek it elsewhere. I’m sure there are plenty of guys out there who would be willing to have some good old-fashioned, no-strings-attached sex. Then you could come home and be the wife your husband wants, without the needs that he doesn’t.
A Note on Steubenville: By now we have all read the stories and seen the news coverage. A horrible situation, some disgusting behavior, and a whole lot of victim-blaming. I have been avoiding writing this week because I didn’t know how to get through this without mentioning it, and thinking about it at all is making me physically ill. What’s worse is that we all know that this is only one case in a million, probably literally. The one we happened to hear about because these kids didn’t bother to cover their tracks.
All I can say is: We need to do better. All of us need to not only teach girls and women to be careful, but to teach men and boys that this is not how it works. I don’t know how we got here but I know we need to do an immediate u-turn. Take responsibility for your boys, people. Your sons and brothers and fathers and male friends. They need to know that it shouldn’t be a woman’s responsibility not to get assaulted. It’s their responsibility to know better in the first place. Be careful and be good. That’s all.
Like what you just read? Support Flagpole by making a donation today. Every dollar you give helps fund our ongoing mission to provide Athens with quality, independent journalism.