WHAT A PICKLE! A troubled wife stuggles with her white husband using racial slurs in the bedroom. She doesn't think it's sexy, but he thinks she's being sensitive and refers to himself jokingly as a "nigger lover". She writes in to Essence Magazine for some advice, and "Ask Abiola" gives her some sister-to-sister words of wisdom. Read the letter below. What would you do in a situation like this? Interracial relationships are hard enough, but this is BEYOND. Check it out and let us know in the comments how you would handle this in your love life.
My man keeps calling me a “nigger bitch” during sex and I hate it.
I have been married for a year and I am at my wit’s end. My investment banker husband is from a White old money family. I am a first generation Black-American woman whose family is from the island of Jamaica. We met at a reunion for the ivy league school we both attended, and he proposed in six months.
We have the picture perfect fantasy life. He wines and dines me and we travel and shop the globe. Unlike all of the Black men I dated in the past, my husband is generous, loyal, committed and considerate. He courted me and I never have to pay for anything. He said I could quit my job and I did. He makes me feel like a woman.
I am a little embarrassed to share our problem. The first time he let the n-word drop was during sex on our honeymoon. When I reacted negatively, he explained that a Black woman he dated in the past enjoyed being called racial slurs. Another time he joked that he had purchased my freedom. He also speculated about whether his family could have owned mine because I have “good hair.” Then he made jokes about my pubic hair. He called it my “negro bush” and referred to himself as a “nigger lover.” He says I am being overly sensitive because he loves me to death and should get a “Black pass” for marrying me.
I told him that I don’t appreciate these comments and he says that my friends and family probably use the n-word all the time. He also asked why Black people can use the word and he cannot. I don’t use the word or believe in the nigga/nigger differentiation. Neither does my family. I am too embarrassed to tell anyone about this because I know they might say: “That’s what she gets for marrying a White man.”
Every time we try having sex again, the slurs fly. Our sex life is pretty much over right now because I pretend to be asleep every time my sexy, handsome man wants to be with me. I feel completely turned off. I love my husband deeply so please don’t tell me to leave him because that’s not what I want to do.
My husband was my first interracial relationship. Please tell me racial slurs aren’t normal between interracial couples? I would like to figure this out before we have kids but I can’t afford to leave him and still maintain my lifestyle.
How can I regain my sexual attraction for my husband?
Black and Proud
My Dearest B.A.P.,
There is nothing about this situation that is okay. Of course you’re turned off. The biggest sex organ for us as women is between our ears. Unlike men, if we’re turned off outside the bedroom we will usually be turned off in the boudoir as well.
So, you’re worried about maintaining your lifestyle?! Sis, let’s talk about maintaining your sense of self.
First of all, you are not being overly sensitive and it is condescending for your husband to say that while he’s calling you racist names. There is nothing normal about being called out of your name in any relationship.
Second of all, queen, your husband needs a history lesson and you need counseling. His comments are verbally abusive and emotionally harmful. I agree that this issue needs to be addressed before you bring children into the picture.
There are no “Black passes.” When our White friends ask why they can’t use the n-word, I always wonder why they would even want to. Even though your husband’s ”last Black girlfriend loved it,” he should respect your choices. Black people are not a monolith. In addition, no one should ever compare a partner to an ex.
This man is betraying you and you are not honoring yourself. This is not a judgment of his ex-girlfriend. Anything that two consenting adults agree to sexually is their business. Bold African-American sex educator Mollena Williams, who describes herself as “the perverted negress” and a “slave” on her Twitter page, is an expert on “race play.” She teaches that “for those who are drawn to explore deeper and deeper crevasses of our psyche, the desire to explore that taboo can be compelling.” However, this is not what you signed up for or something you sound even remotely interested in.
Your husband’s behavior and your acceptance of it have eroded the intimacy between you. The foundation of love is trust and a feeling of security. There is no way to feel safe while being reminded of the subjugation of your ancestors during vulnerable moments when you have clearly asked him to stop. The fact that you have expressed your dislike and that your husband persists is hateful and troubling.
Don’t let his hate speech drown out your inner wisdom. I understand that you feel ashamed but keeping this secret is only deepening your trauma. Confide in someone. Shine a healing light on this situation so that you are not isolated and feeling trapped and alone.
Reality check: I know that you don’t want to leave your husband. It’s a beautiful thing that you are taking your vows seriously. He, however, is not. He is not loving, honoring nor cherishing you. If traveling the globe playing “Real Housewife of the Big House” while he drops n-bombs is not your idea of fun then you need to ask yourself some serious questions.
Your sex life will not improve unless your man changes his behavior and you feel heard. So, can his behavior be changed? Write this down: The only man you can change is one wearing diapers. Abusers have to want to change themselves. Hubbie has to first realize the depths of what he is doing wrong. It doesn’t sound like he does.
In addition, you may want to examine your own racial attitudes. I am sorry that you had challenging experiences with your previous partners. However, when we lump all Black men together as cheap or disloyal we may as well be calling them the n-word ourselves.
If you stay with your man for money while he is speaking down to you, then I’m afraid you have personally sold yourself at an auction to the highest bidder. It’s time for a self-esteem check, doll face. You deserve better. Counseling will give you tools to determine your relationship’s future. For your friends and family, the problem is not that you are in an interracial relationship. The issue is that your husband is a cold and classless bigot, bully and boor. Jerks come in all colors.