Tender Buttons received feedback from last week’s column re: gay virgins and passive aggressive manipulations. One commenter accused Tender Buttons of trivializing “a person’s right to ask their potential sexual partner to get tested,” citing other, non-needle ways a virgin may contract a STD. True, a person may contract herpes through kissing. However, one must consider the risk levels of contracting certain STDs when instigating a new sexual relationship. The point of the advice was to show how getting tested would not solve the issue of intimacy. If you are worried about getting a “scorching case of herpes” through lip contact with another virgin at the 5C’s, perhaps it would serve you—and your partner with a higher sex drive—well to remove yourself from the dating pool. Tender Buttons urges all readers to practice safe sex and to be tested regularly. Let’s discuss “exes,” and the various ways in which they piss us off. Happy bashing!
Dear Tender Buttons,
My ex asked to stay in my room for a few days while he preps for a grad school interview. I agreed, and I was obsessing over his intentions, losing hours of sleep wondering if we would have sex or discuss the messy way our relationship ended. I grew increasingly frustrated and anxious as he seemed to regard the visit like he was CouchSurfing at a stranger’s place. No intimacy. Two days in, he casually let slip into the conversation that he has been dating a freshman for three weeks. I was livid, but I felt like I couldn’t say anything to him. Am I wrong to feel purposefully misled and used for free housing? Shouldn’t he have told me about his relationship before he asked to stay in my room? I don’t know if I should call him out on this or not.
Dear Exes Suck,
Nobody should ever feel consigned, coerced, or manipulated into having sex with you. Exchanging sex for a service is a form of commerce that should be de-stigmatized, but your implicit understanding of quid pro coitus denies your ex agency in this situation. He was in no way obligated to warn you about his new relationship, because you should never have presumed a sexual encounter with him in the first place.
With that said: oh my sweet Oprah, your ex is the worst!
To put it harshly, Exes Suck, your ex-BF4eva walked all over you like the doormat he knows you are. Let’s break it down: he did withhold vital (and potentially humiliating) information from you that would have completely changed the flavor of his request. The inclusion of a new body changes everything. He knew this. He knew you, still thinking about the “messy” breakup, might harbor some hope of an intimate night at the very least, reconciliation in your wildest fantasies. He hates hotels, and he’s low on cash. You do the math.
So your ex preyed on your conflicting feelings with a clever misdirection and scored some free housing in the process. What to do?
Might I suggest something therapeutic, Exes Suck? You had a messy breakup—why not have a clean breakup this time ‘round? Sure, you’re not technically dating him, but you’re in a special place called the “moral high ground,” and it might do you some good to capitalize on your strategic and metaphorical spatial location. Exorcise your regret and leftover anger by (calmly) telling him to go ahead and eff off. If he wants to ignore the history of your intimacy and to treat you like a convenient hostel, make like the violent furniture in Beauty and the Beast and burn him with the scalding hot tea of your rhetorical righteousness. Y’know, in a nice and respectful way.
You oughta know,
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