How can I explain to my wife that I am a heterosexual but enjoy cross-dressing? I am sick of suffering with my secret in silence. I love my wife and don’t want to end up divorced, but I would like to be able to go home after work and get comfortable by changing into women’s clothing.—H.C., Jacksonville, Florida
Being in the closet, so to speak, about cross-dressing is a profound struggle for straight men who like to wear women’s clothes. The question of whether to come out (and if so, how) doesn’t have an easy answer. Luckily there are numerous support groups for both cross-dressers and their spouses. Lauras-Playground.com has an extensive list of online resources, and CrossdressersWife.com is a blog that can give you insight into one wife’s side of the experience.
I recently broke up with my boyfriend of six months. We are in our 20s and are both active on social media. He routinely posted pictures of us on Instagram when we were together, as did I. After we broke up, I noticed he had deleted the pictures of us from all his accounts—not just Instagram but also Facebook and Twitter. It pisses me off, but should I be upset? I’ve decided not to delete any pictures of him from my accounts, because while he may no longer be a part of my life, he will always be a part of my history. But the pain of literally being deleted from someone’s life still stings. What does the Advisor have to say about post-breakup social-media etiquette? Is there even such a thing?—T.T., Chicago, Illinois
Your story makes us pine for the days when the exorcism of an ex was limited to comparatively private rituals such as burning old love letters and removing framed photos from your desk at work. Being scrubbed from someone’s virtual time line is like having your existence publicly disavowed, so it’s understandable you would feel insulted and hurt. Kudos to you for keeping evidence of your ex in your various online accounts. Such transparency is sadly lacking in the world of personal social media, where people tend to edit their lives to present a rosy, idealized picture of what’s actually going on. We all know people who share only their sunniest and beachiest moments, posting flattering selfies that show only their good side and well-composed photos of perfectly plated restaurant dishes. To go back and revise what was already an essentially revisionist record of a life seems doubly deceptive and petty. You’re right. Your ex is wrong.
There are a great number of supplements on the market that are designed to increase ejaculate volume. Can you recommend any of them as safe and effective?—A.L., New York, New York
You’ll find vigorous debates in internet chat rooms about which supplement works best, with men measuring loads and listing volume and distance to an obsessive degree. This strikes us as a coldly clinical version of onanism and lacking in anything approaching sexual pleasure. Unless you’re a budding porn star whose career could benefit from a consistently impressive amount of ejaculate, we’re not sure what the point is. But if that’s your thing, go nuts. We’re old-fashioned when it comes to increasing ejaculate. Sexual fitness is like physical fitness, and a balanced diet, plenty of fluids, sleep and stress management do wonders on all fronts.
My doctor told me to drink a glass of red wine every day because my cholesterol was a bit high at my last physical. However, I really do not like red wine; I am more of a white zinfandel guy. I have tried several reds and even asked the rep at our wine and spirits store (such stores are state-controlled in Pennsylvania) for suggestions, but I have still not found a red wine I enjoy. I am getting frustrated. Would you suggest something that might work for me?—R.H., Eagleville, Pennsylvania
We assume your doctor has recommended red wine because it contains a chemical compound called resveratrol, which some studies have linked to reduced risk of heart disease. Nevertheless, other studies dispute this claim, and still others say tannin is the potentially beneficial compound in wine. Whatever the case may be, white wine lacks both resveratrol and tannin, which is likely the reason your doctor said you should drink red. We’re big fans of moderate drinking as a cure for many of life’s ills, so we’ll take the gamble that drinking a bit of red wine is good. As for what suits your palate, you’re just going to have to continue with the trial-and-error approach. White zinfandel is typically fruity and slightly sweet; unfortified red wines that fit that description are few and far between. You might want to try lambrusco, a slightly sweet Italian red, or Australian sparkling shiraz, which can be difficult to find and isn’t cheap. If neither of these suit you and it’s the sweetness you’re after, you could do as the Spanish do and make a tinto de verano—basically a red wine spritzer—by adding a splash of Sprite or some other sweet soda to your vino tinto. But then you’d be drinking soda, which we all know is bad for you in other ways. If you can’t find a red wine that does the trick, your other option is to eat unsweetened dark chocolate, which contains resveratrol, and drink tea, which contains tannins. There’s no guarantee this will help your heart, but there are worse regimens to endure.
I just started a new job that requires me to wear a white collared shirt the majority of the time. Normally I don’t have to wear a tie (only occasionally). My problem is that I have oily skin, and the inside of my shirt collar gets dirty very quickly; I generally see a yellowish-brown stain after wearing the shirt even for a short time. What is the best way to keep my shirts white? Should I shower in the morning or at night? Do I have them dry-cleaned or just put them in the regular wash? Should I put something protective on the inside of the collar? Is there anything else I can do?—Y.S., Newark, New Jersey
You should shower in the morning and take care to scrub the back of your neck with a washcloth to remove any dead skin cells and oils, which can darken a stain. Wash your shirts regularly, because dry cleaning can damage their fabric and shorten their life span. Before laundering your shirts, use an OxiClean stain-remover stick inside the collar; that should help keep the stains at bay.
My wife and I made a pact not to give each other presents this Christmas. Our decision was made partly to save money but also because we don’t need any extra crap in our lives. We have tried to do this before, but both of us end up breaking down at the last minute and buying the other a gift. Each year I scramble madly and usually end up buying her some really nice jewelry—which she seems happy to receive. She claims this year will be different. We’re seriously broke, and I’m thinking of keeping my word and holding her to hers.—S.C., Boise, Idaho
Don’t you dare show up empty-handed on Christmas morning. You’ve read the clues correctly in the past and haven’t let her down. While we’re all for doing away with ritualized conspicuous consumption, this is not the occasion to do it, and your wife is not the person to get coldly principled with. You don’t need to break the bank; get her a nice bath soap or a gift certificate to a movie theater where you can go together to relieve the stress of being broke. No matter what she says, she still wants something.
I was waiting in line at the supermarket when the woman in front of me dropped a bottle of malbec on the floor. It shattered and splashed all over my suede shoes. How do I get wine stains out of my favorite chukkas?—B.C., Seal Beach, California
The best way to remove a wine stain is to act swiftly in the moments after the crime has been committed, when the wine is still wet. Pour table salt over the wet wine; it will absorb much of the offending liquid. With a clean toothbrush, gently brush off the now pink salt, without pushing it back into the suede. Douse the area with soda water and then blot it off. The trick is to remove the stain, not push it in, so anything that blots it up and lifts it out will work. You probably didn’t have ready access to salt and soda water in the checkout line, but the soda-water technique can still be used effectively after the fact. If the stain is beyond the point of removal and your shoes are old, just keep spilling on them until they look perfectly destroyed. You could also take them to a good shoe repair shop and see if they can be dyed a darker color. If not, go back to the supermarket, buy a bottle of red, pour it over both shoes and call them burgundy.
I’m a big fan of Italian food and have noticed a lot of fancy restaurants are serving a variety of mozzarella called burrata, which seems to cost twice as much as normal mozzarella. I’ve asked the waiters if it’s imported, and they brag that it’s made in America. Wouldn’t that make it cheaper?—H.S., Libertyville, Illinois
Not necessarily. But before we get to the value proposition, let’s look at the evolution of mozzarella in the United States as a parallel history of our ability to tap into pleasure. For decades we were a nation content to eat dry, salty, somewhat funky but always safe shredded mozzarella, mirroring our ability to find pleasure only in the conventional. Reliable and not without its virtues, it remained the missionary position of cheeses. Then came the advent of readily available, water-packed fresh mozzarella, with a shorter shelf life, a softer consistency and a silkier mouthfeel. It was an improvement, for sure, but we hadn’t yet arrived at the pinnacle of cheesy bliss. And then, in 1993, the Di Stefano Cheese Co. in southern California introduced American foodies to a variation of mozzarella previously known only to those in the southern Italian region of Puglia: burrata. Inside that wonderfully stretchy mozzarella-like exterior was hidden a rich and creamy center, oozing, unctuous and satisfying like no other. So yeah, it’s worth the extra money.
Are the duty-free shops inside airports actually good places to find decent deals?—H.B., St. Louis, Missouri
It depends on what you’re buying and where you’re coming from. Duty-free means tax-free, so you’ll find the best bargains on heavily taxed goods such as alcohol and cigarettes. If you’re a New Yorker and typically spend upward of $12 on a heavily taxed pack of cigarettes, you’ll likely find the tax-free smokes at an airport are a deal. You’ll probably be able to find a bargain-priced bottle of liquor, but it may not be any cheaper than a bottle you can find discounted at a chain store. Don’t assume the deep discounts on spirits and cigarettes also apply to the other products you find at duty-free shops, such as electronics, handbags, cosmetics and perfume. As in all retail situations, know what you want, be a comparison shopper and don’t let the bargain booze and cigarettes seduce you into thinking everything else is a good deal.
My wife is 67 years old and postmenopausal. She has had multiple sclerosis for more than 35 years and is still able to walk, assisted with a walker. However, the MS has taken much from her sexuality, including her libido, vaginal lubrication and orgasmic capability. Her big fear is that she will someday completely lose her ability to have an orgasm. To prevent this, she has been on an aggressive course of strength and flexibility training since January 2012. She has reversed many of her problems in dramatic ways. Most surprising have been the sudden improvements in her near vision and sense of smell, and the striking return of her libido and orgasmic ability. Her libido had been at a three; it moved up the scale to a nine. Now we have sex once or twice a day, and she is multiorgasmic. We can’t prove this is the result of her fitness training, nor can we rule it out. Does the Advisor know of any instances of libido and orgasm returning after a long absence caused by disease?—D.P., Scottsdale, Arizona
We haven’t come across a case identical to yours, but your wife’s experience backs up a lot of research about the connection between sex drive and physical health. Vision and smell are connected to vascular health, which is improved by aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Increased blood flow to all parts of the body, including the genitals, would make arousal more likely. Vigorous and regular exercise can also alleviate depression, which is common in patients struggling with MS. Congratulations on your mutual commitment to keeping your sex life thriving and healthy. Too few couples in less challenging situations tackle physical intimacy in such a unified and impressive way.
I’m a monogamous man and have been in a faithful relationship for the past eight months with an openly bisexual woman. Recently she admitted that her fantasy was to have a threesome with a guy and a girl, and she wanted me to be the guy. I won’t lie—I was flattered. But I was also hesitant and didn’t think I could go through with it. She really wanted to and assured me it wouldn’t be cheating and I’d enjoy it, so I decided to go along with the threesome. She brought a very beautiful friend of hers into our bed for an evening. Now the problem is my girlfriend wants this woman to join our relationship, making it a ménage à trois. I don’t know if I’m ready for something like that. After the three of us had made love, my girlfriend complained that I’d gone down on the other woman twice and had fucked her one more time than I had my girlfriend. We both like the woman, but I’m afraid adding her to our relationship will drive a wedge between us. I think I love my girlfriend, but she’s already showing signs of jealousy. I worry that if the three of us commit to one another, things could get really complicated. I don’t want to lose either of them. What should I do?—J.T., Miami, Florida
Many men dream of having a three-way, but your story is one of the numerous cautionary tales we’ve heard about the fallout from an ongoing ménage à trois—particularly how it can negatively impact a long-term relationship. When you have a three-way, you get more than three-way sex; you also get three-way resentment, three-way jealousy, three-way differences of opinion, three-way split attention. You should share your concerns with your girlfriend. Tell her you don’t want to lose her because of the introduction of a third person. If she doesn’t mind risking that, you need to ask yourself what you’re willing to accept from this relationship and decide if it’s the right one (or two) for you.
For answers to reasonable questions relating to food and drink, fashion and taste, and sex and dating, write the Playboy Advisor, 9346 Civic Center Drive, Beverly Hills, California 90210, or email email@example.com. The most interesting and pertinent questions will be presented in these pages each month.