Savage Love: Defining Decency Down

Dear Dan,

My wife and I have a decent sex life. Pretty vanilla, but we're busy with work, chores, and life in general with two small kids, so I can't complain too much. About a year after having our second kid, I went down on my wife. As usual, we both enjoyed it greatly. Unfortunately, about a week later she got a yeast infection. She attributed the YI to the oral, and since then I am strictly forbidden from putting my mouth anywhere near her pussy. I understand her reluctance. But I've never heard of oral sex causing YI. How do I win back her trust to let me go down on her?

— Dirty Mouth Guy

"Yeast is not an STI," said Dr. Anika Denali Luengo, an ob-gyn in Portland, Oregon. "Yeast (candida) is a normal denizen of the vagina, and an infection simply means there is an overgrowth of it on the vulva or in the vagina."

People are likelier to get a yeast infection when they're on antibiotics, they have diabetes, or their immune system has taken a hit.

"Oral sex can be a slight risk factor in transmission of candida," said Dr. Denali Luengo, "but the frequency of candidiasis is not increased by the frequency of sex, so it may not happen next time. Also, if her symptoms developed one week later, it could have been pure coincidence."

A coincidence — that was my hunch when I read your letter, DMG.

"Luckily, they are easy to treat —over the counter miconazole or the single-dose pill fluconazole — and are basically just a nuisance and present no major health risks," said Dr. Denali Luengo.

Dear Dan,

I got divorced five years ago after a 15-year marriage that produced two children who are now 13 and 6. When their mother moved out, she left pretty much everything. I took the wedding mementos — dress, video, photo albums — and threw them in a trunk. I have not looked at them since. Last night, my girlfriend told me she thinks it is "really fucked up" that I still have this stuff. Is it?

— Box Of Mementos Bothers

It's not, BOMB. Your marriage is a part of your past — it shaped the man you are today, the man your current girlfriend claims to love — and your children are a product of that marriage. Even if you never looked at those items again, even if they held no sentimental value for you (and it's fine if they do), one day your children might want to see those pictures or watch that video or handle that dress. And any attempt to erase your first marriage could be interpreted by your children as evidence that you would have erased them too, if you could have.

Your girlfriend is free to think it's fucked up that you still have those wedding mementos, of course, but it's ultimately none of her business and she needs to STFU about it.

Dear Dan,

I'm a 31-year-old gay man. I grew up in a conservative town and got a late start exploring my sexuality. I lost my virginity at 26, but lacked the confidence to enjoy sex until I learned how to enjoy the present moment. I really hit my stride a couple of months ago, and now the floodgates have opened. I get on Grindr and have sex up to three times a week. I feel in my gut that this isn't a compulsion so much as an exploration, and something I need to get out of my system while I search for a monogamous relationship. As long as I'm safe, do you see any problem with me fucking around for a while?

— Please Don't Use My Name

You're on your cumspringa, PDUMN. Most gay men have at least one. Be safe, get on PrEP, remember that HIV isn't the only sexually transmitted infection (use condoms), enjoy yourself, and be kind to the guys you meet on your cumspringa (even those you don't expect to see again). And if a monogamous relationship is what you ultimately want — and monogamy is a fine choice — telling yourself that sexual adventures are something you have to get out of your system first is a mistake. People who convince themselves that serious commitment means the death of sexual adventures — particularly people who enjoy sexual adventures — will either avoid commitment entirely or murder the ones they make so they can have sexual adventures again.

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