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Running on empty 

A decade-old running shoe fetish is not the worst thing in the world. Plus: help a teen lesbian take her girlfriend to prom.

Q My husband and I have been married for one year, but we dated for 10 years prior to that. I thought we had a very understanding relationship. In the last couple of days, I have found out that he has a serious obsession with females wearing running shoes. He had in the past hinted at the fact that it turns him on, but I had no idea the scope of this obsession. I've discovered that he spends a large number of hours a week devoted to this fetish. He was sloppy in covering his tracks one day, and I found evidence on his computer.

I should also mention that when he told me he thought running shoes are hot, I thought he meant on me, not on all living and breathing females.

I believed that he could trust me enough to be open with me, but he has been hiding this from me for 11 years! I am still in shock and not quite sure how to deal with it. He obviously feels ashamed, otherwise he would have told me years ago. Why did he not bring this up before we got married? I had a right to know what I was getting into. I don't know if I can live with knowing that he gets a hard-on for every running-shoe-wearing woman who goes by. I feel betrayed and creeped out. He says that he didn't want to hurt me, but he has done just that. I feel physically sick to my stomach knowing that I didn't really know who he was all this time. We still have to work it out and really talk about our new situation. But I am beginning to think our marriage isn't going to survive this. Am I being too sensitive? How can I fix my marriage? —Dumbfounded In Brooklyn

By Dan Savage

A Does your husband like your tits only, DIB, or can he get a hard-on for every tits-wearing woman who goes by? Does he like your pussy only, DIB, or can he get a hard-on for every pussy-having woman who goes by?

If your marriage can survive the husband being attracted to tits and pussy generally, DIB, but attracted to your tits and pussy particularly, your marriage should be able to survive the awareness that your husband is into women in running shoes generally, but also into you in running shoes particularly.

Why did he keep it from you? Because he was ashamed, DIB, because guys with fetishes are told---hey there, Prudie---that they're disturbed and unlovable, and because no one bothers to inform straight women that fetishes are to male sexuality what lies are to a Fox News broadcast: likelier to be present than not. So he dropped hints but didn't tell you during year one---or year two or three, year four, etc.---because he was afraid you would have the reaction you're having at year 11.

So what do you do now? You forgive him, if you give a shit about your marriage, if you actually ever loved him, and you do a little reading about male sexuality. Daniel Bergner's The Other Side of Desire is a good place to start.

And ladies? If your boyfriend or husband has "hinted at the fact that [something or other] turns him on," you can safely assume that [something or other] really turns him on.

Q I assume you've heard of Chatroulette by now. I discovered it about four weeks ago, and I am strangely turned on by all the dudes on there jerking off. I have started to show my tits to some of these dudes because it is such a massive turn-on for me. (Who knew I had this exhibitionist streak in me?) My husband doesn't know about any of this. However, all sexual arousal is redirected his way in the form of really hot, passionate fucking! I feel bad about not telling my husband. Do you think this is cheating? If you say it is, Dan, I will stop. —Clever Acronym

A I don't want to call what you're doingcheating, as cheating is such an ugly word, but odds are good that your husband would call it that. Even so, CA, I'm reluctant to tell you to stop. Spend a few weeks reading my emails, and you will come to regard anything---anything at all---that lights a fire under the marital bed as a universal good. So talk to your husband. Tell him that---like everyone else on earth---you "discovered" Chatroulette about four weeks ago. Then tell him you were surprised by just how many dudes are jerking off in front of their computers at any given moment and just how turned on you were by their exhibitionism. Confess that you've been a bit obsessed with the site, add that it's why you've been so horny lately, and then invite him to join you for a session. If he seems into the idea, or gets into it once you're online, sheepishly confess that you've been flashing a little skin yourself. Then fuck the husband's brains out.

CONFIDENTIAL TO SAVAGE LOVERS: I need to ask you to do something. Constance McMillen is a senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Fulton, Mississippi. When she asked the school if she could attend prom with her girlfriend, she was told no. When Constance pressed her case, the Itawamba County School Board cancelled prom rather than allow Constance to attend with her girlfriend. The school board had to know what would happen next: The other students at Itawamba Agricultural blamed Constance for getting prom cancelled and "ruining senior year." Constance is now being harassed and bullied.

The school board claims it canceled prom to avoid "distractions." Now it's up to us---to decent people everywhere---to make sure that bigotry and discrimination are a much bigger distraction for the Itawamba County School District than inclusion and tolerance ever could've been.

Email, call and fax Itawamba Schools superintendent Teresa McNeece (tmcneece@itawamba.k12.ms.us, phone 662-862-2159 ext. 14, fax 662-862-4713) and Itawamba Agricultural principal Trae Wiygul (twiygul@itawamba.k12.ms.us, 662-862-3104). Then join the Facebook page "Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to Prom." And, finally, make donations to the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition (mssafeschools.org), which is organizing an alternate prom that will welcome all students, and make a larger donation to the ACLU LGBT Project (tinyurl.com/yl9mvkb), which is defending Constance and other gay teenagers.

Call, write, fax, donate. Constance needs to know that there are people all over the world who are on her side. And, more importantly, Itawamba County Schools needs to know that we're not going to let them get away with this. Be respectful, but be relentless. Let's show these bigots what a real distraction looks like. Get 'em.

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