Dysfunction Junction


I enjoy your column; it's often helpful and almost always funny. That said, I've been a bit depressed lately by the letters you've been getting. Are people really that stupid?

A Fan

Hi Fan,

Hey, what do you mean—almost always funny? As for being depressed about the quality of the mail I've been getting lately—you and me both, bub! Sadly, I must inform you that yes, people really are that stupid. Especially in the summertime. But worse than stupid (because let's face it, morons can be pretty damn entertaining), the majority of the missives I've been getting are dull, dull, dull. That's why I was so perversely excited when I received this next letter.

Hi Dategirl,

My husband was sexually molested by his brother when he was small. They had a very dysfunctional family—his mother was mentally ill, his younger sister later became a prostitute, and the brother, well, obviously has problems. My husband is obsessively jealous of both women and men, and is aggressively sexual—sexual jokes and innuendo all the time, with me, with my friends, doesn't matter. We've had to do a lot of work on an ongoing basis to get to a point where we both enjoy and are satisfied by sex. He used to terrify me with his sexual appetite and demands, but now he seems to understand, usually, that it's a two-way street. Still, I'm always afraid I am somehow not satisfying him. Does he need therapy? Do I?


Hi Confused,

Before I get to your question, my friend Fan (above) and I would like to commend you for sharing such an interesting and Jerry Springer-esque dilemma. I would hope that other readers might take this as a challenge and come up with something more intriguing than the where-can-I-meet-a-girlfriend/boyfriend or tattoos-suck dreck I've been receiving of late. Work with me, people!

Now to the issue at hand. The short answer to your queries is hell yes and yes. You should both (especially him) get thee into shrinkage immediately. He used to "terrify" you and "usually" understands that sex should be a mutually satisfying experience—ack! Sex should always make both peeps involved happy—really, really happy. Nobody should ever be terrified (unless that's part of your sexual schtick). Reality check: Your husband is a pretty fucked-up guy.

That's not to say he doesn't have his charms—he must, or you wouldn't be with him. Right? Sure, he's sexually inappropriate, brutish, and possessive to the point of being psychotic—um, why exactly are you with him?

And oh, the jealousy—I learned (the hard way) that irrational jealousy often leads to violence. I thought my first boyfriend was just a tad insecure when he freaked out about me having guy friends, so I put a little distance between me and them. When he started calling my after-school job every hour on the hour to check up on me, I took it as a sign that he cared and tried to be more considerate. By the time he beat the shit out of me because I stayed after school to meet with my elderly (and openly gay!) art teacher, I didn't have any friends left and was completely alienated from my family. It may not happen this way for you, but research backs me up on this one—that sort of behavior is a big fat warning sign that black eyes and bruises may be in your future.

Loads of people who were sexually abused as kids grow up to be fine, upstanding adults, but they usually get a little help somewhere along the way. If his brother did it to him, then there's a good chance that Daddy or Mommy or Grandpa was sticking it to the brother along with the rest of the brood. Left undealt with, this kind of behavior can stay in the family, which should doubly freak you out if you're thinking along the lines of procreation. Get counseling. If he won't go with you, go solo. Good luck.

Jerry Springer-esque dilemma? Write Dategirl at dategirl@seattleweekly.com or c/o Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste. 300, Seattle, WA 98104.

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