A gay man has appealed to the wisdom of gay sex therapist Dan Savage for advice on a most unusual situation. His bisexual boyfriend admitted to having a threesome with the gay man’s parents.
“I’m a 24-year-old gay man with a 31-year-old bi boyfriend,” the man, identified as I Knew He Was Into Blondes writes. “I’ve known since we got together that he’s a lot more sexually experienced than I am, but it’s never been a big deal before now. This weekend, he met my parents for what we thought would be the first time. But it turns out that 10 years ago, during his ‘big bi slut phase’ (his words), they had a threesome. I recognize that no one did anything wrong — they were three consenting adults — and it’s not like anyone could’ve known that he and I would get together in the future. But also, my boyfriend fucked my parents! I’m mortified, he’s mortified, they’re mortified, and I may never be able to look at my parents again.”
“Please help us find a way to move past this,” he pleads.
Savage responds by pointing out he’s written his syndicated column, Savage Love, for almost 30 years. Just when he thought he’d heard everything, IKHWIB actually surprised him.
“I can still be surprised. Thank you for that,” Savage begins. “If couples in their 40s with teenage children at home are gonna have threesomes with guys in their 20s — and some are — there will always be a hard-to-quantify-but-nevertheless-ineliminable risk that their children, once grown, could wind up meeting and f*cking and even falling in love one of the guys their parents had a threesome with back in the day.”
Savage then shares that he actually shared IKHWIB’s query on Twitter, where it attracted some advice from an unlikely source: former Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.
“If they’ve been able to laugh about this, that’s a good sign,” Hodges suggested. “It might be a while before he can look at his boyfriend and not think about his parents having sex. That’s a tough thing to navigate, but laughter helps.”
“He has to ask himself if the boyfriend is worth it,” Hodges continued. “Everything really depends on the strength of their connection — which will have to be weighed against whatever tension now exists between IKHWIB, his boyfriend, and his parents. Can they navigate that tension? If any of them feel bad (as opposed to mortified) about what happened and they aren’t motivated to work through this and don’t have the tools for doing so, this will go sideways.”
“Having that conversation,” Hodges concluded, “which I know sounds dreadful — could actually help them think about this less, especially if they get to a point where they can laugh about the insanity and awkwardness of the situation they’ve all found themselves in.”
Savage then comes to the point.
“You can laugh about this until you pass out, IKHWIB, but if you can’t suck your boyfriend’s c*ck without thinking about your dad sucking your boyfriend’s c*ck, you may not be able to get past this,” he offers. “If you can’t look at your mom without thinking about her sitting on your boyfriend’s face, you might not be able to get past this. If you can’t take your boyfriend’s load without thinking about the load he dropped in your mom or your dad or both (21-year-olds have great stamina and such short refractory periods), you might not be able to get past this. You might be able to, like Hodges says, think about this less.”
“While I’m doubtful there’s a memory hole out there big enough to stuff this in and tight enough to prevent it from falling right back out, IKHWIB, perhaps your parents have already shown you how it’s done,” Savage then points out. He goes on to recall the double standard his mother had after he came out: his mom could handle meeting his brother’s girlfriends, but not Dan’s boyfriends, as she couldn’t help but picture them having sex. Savage suggests that time might help everyone move past the awkwardness.
“If the parents of gay and straight kids can pretend not to know what they damn well do know, i.e., that their grown children are sexually active adults now,” Savage concludes, “and if they can learn not to torture themselves with unwelcome mental images of our partners f*cking the sh*t out of us, IKHWIB, it seems to me that we should be able to do the same for them: recognize that our parents are sexual beings and at the same time expunge all unwelcome mental images from our minds. Yours is a much heavier lift than most, I realize, but if your boyfriend is worth it, IKHWIB, you at least gotta try.”
“You’re not the first person whose parents…well, let’s not say your parents fucked you up,” Savage then adds. “Instead, let’s say you’re not the first person whose parents were a little extra. Good luck.”
We think IKHWIB will need it.