Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
Feb. 6 2003 12:39 PM

A Brand-Spanking-New Proposal

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Get "Dear Prudence" delivered to your inbox each week; click hereto sign up.Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com. (Questions may be edited.)

Dear Prudence,

I have been dating the most wonderful woman for the past 14 months. Things could not be better, so this is not a "how do I tell her I'm cheating" question. We have a totally open relationship and tell each other everything. There is just one subject I have not been able to open up about. It's a fetish thing. A spanking fetish thing. It was a regular part of an old relationship (not someone I want to have anything to do with again) but an aspect that I enjoyed and still think about. I just haven't been able to find the words to tell a grown woman that I would like to spank her, and if she so desires to return the favor, that would be fine—in the most NONviolent way, of course. I love this woman. It just seems like a wicked, taboo subject in today's society, and I am having trouble broaching the subject.

—Over the Knee in Washington

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Dear Ove,

Oh, my, not long ago there was the guy with the feet, now you with the spanking. But here's a suggestion. Because you say you tell each other everything, give it a go and tell her spanking's your thing. She can always just say no. In the same way that women are encouraged to tell their men what they like in the boudoir, so should men have the same prerogative. Your love might say she's never tried it and it sounds like fun ... she might say, "Over my dead body ..." or maybe she'll say she's up for giving you a wallop, but no backsies—pardon the pun. In any case, bringing up the subject should not cause a problem. But don't mention the old girlfriend part.

—Prudie, individually

Dear Prudence,

I am a female in my mid-20s who is in a relationship with a man in his mid-30s. We have been together for over a year now and are totally in love. Recently he's chosen not to be sexually active. He tells people that he wants our relationship to be more than just sex, which it has been for quite some time, but isn't sex part of a healthy relationship?  I try talking to him about it, but he just seems to think that sex is all I want. It has been almost four months since our last sexual encounter, and I'm getting to the point of giving up. I love him and everything about him but just think that he needs to find out what he wants out of this relationship. What are your thoughts?

—Sexless in the South

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Dear Sex,

Why is he telling people ANYTHING? That is an entirely private matter ... and the first clue that a screw is loose, pardon the expression. As to what he wants, Prudie thinks it is a girlfriend who can live without sex. This could be a function of his either being a repressed homosexual or having a sex drive that registers 5 on the libidometer. You are correct, of course, about sex being part of a healthy relationship. Prudie would therefore deem this relationship unhealthy and urge you to look closely at a future with this man.

—Prudie, sexually

Dear Prudence,

I don't know how to react to my fiance's career problems. He is a good man, and I love him very much, but he does have a flaw that I find troubling and hard to deal with. He cannot commit himself to work. I don't believe in being a workaholic, but he hardly ever works a full eight-hour day, he frequently calls in sick, is dishonest about overtime, takes excessive time off work, and when he IS at work, he spends an awful lot of time on the Internet. He very frequently gives me a hard time about not wanting to take time off. We recently took a two-week vacation (this Christmas), and now he is taking time off for another two-day trip, and he has been making me feel guilty because I don't feel I can take more time off this month. His job is very relaxed, but my fiance takes advantage of everything he can. Currently, he is in a temporary position with his organization and has been applying for full-time jobs for over two years. He is more than qualified, but he has been turned down every time. I believe it is because of his work ethic, but if I mentioned this, it would really hurt him. Do you have any advice for dealing with this issue?

—Troubled

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Dear Troub,

This may not be the question you asked, but your fiance is a very poor candidate for marriage ... unless you want to support him. To put it charitably, the two of you have a different work ethic. It is odd that you're afraid to "hurt him" by leveling with him about what is holding him back. Added to which, the guy is not honest and wants you to play hooky with him, in the bargain. You have many things to think about and some decisions to make. Prudie wishes you well.

—Prudie, honestly

Dear Prudence,

I am in love with two men. One is my ex-boyfriend (we were together for five years and have been apart for almost a year), whom I still love very much. The other is a new love of seven months. This new love is everything I have ever wanted in a man ... he's beautiful, charming, intelligent, and kind. The problem is that I cannot let go of my past love. My ex is still in my life and is still trying to reconcile. I feel very confused right now, not knowing whom to love and whom to let go. If I decide to seriously pursue a relationship with this new man, I know I will have trouble giving him all of my heart because it still belongs to another and vice versa. Both are asking me to marry them, and both of these men own my heart. Please Prudie, help me make the right decision.

—Torn Heart

Dear Torn,

Alas, Prudie does not choose husbands for her readers. You will have to find your own way on this one. It would be a good idea, however, if you didn't make any decisions until you feel wholeheartedly committed to one or the other. Perhaps something to think about is why you broke up with Bachelor No. 1 in the first place. Worst case scenario: You may have to find a third gentleman to break the tie.

—Prudie, choosily