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Iím a 25 year-old student living with my wife at my dadís place. My parents got divorced a couple of years ago (dad had an affair), and my wife lost her job about four months ago. My dad graciously offered to let us stay with him for a few months.

The other day, I had the house to myself. I went to put a movie in the VCR. There was already a tape in there, so I started it up and couldnít believe what I saw: My wife emerging from the shower. The image repeated itself several times. Then there was more footage of my wife changing her clothes in our bedroom, looped over and over. There was even footage of my wife and I screwing in our bedroom!

I freaked out, grabbed the tape and broke it into a thousand pieces. When my dad got home from work, I walked out before he got out of the car and threw the pieces in his face. He was shocked and insisted we talk about it in the car. He got really upset and apologized over and over, saying he was lonely, and he begged me not to leave or tell my wife. I didnít leaveóhow could I? I was in school, my wife wasnít working, and we had no money for rent. So we just agreed never to speak about it again and left it at that. I never told my wife, but I kept a very close eye on my father. Four months and two new jobs later, weíre finally moving out.

The problem is this: This whole thing has really freaked me out. When I try to get intimate with my wife, I think of that goddamn tape, the hidden cameras, and my father getting off on all of this. It just leaves me completely limp. I am ashamed of my father for doing it and Iím even more ashamed of myself for not preventing it. My wife has noticed my ďperformanceĒ problem and canít figure out whatís going on; she thinks I may be having an affair!

I donít see the point in telling my wife now, and I donít really want to discuss it again with my father, so what do I do? Oh, and my wifeís parents are dead and she loves my father like her own. Sorry about the length of this letter.

óLimp & Shamed

Tell your wife what happened. You canít go on letting your wife think youíre cheating on her to protect your father from your wifeís bad opinion. Of course your wife wonít be lookiní up to your dad as a substitute father-figure once she hears the news. But think about it, L&S: If you were your wife, what would your rather think? That your husband canít get it up because heís having an affair? Or that he canít get it up because his dad did something creepy?

Before I get to the meat of my advice, I want to say this: Your dad is one sick fuck. There you were, feeling grateful and indebted to him, and all the while heís violating your privacy and beating off to this videotape. Eesh. Worse yet, once you discovered what he was up to, your economic situation required you to pretend that nothing had happened and remain in your fatherís house. Ugh. Your father put you in an awful position. What an asshole.

Having said that, I am now going to go out on a very long, very brittle limb. Brace yourself, L&S . . . OK, is what your dad did really so bad? Donít get me wrong: itís bad-really, really bad. Badminton. But is it so bad? By which I mean, is it so bad that you have no choice but to let it destroy your relationship with your father and your wife?

Letís break it down: There are two issues in playóor, I should say, two transgressions. First and foremost, your dad made That Damn Videotape. Second, he was jerking off to That Damn Videotape. Letís begin with the lesser transgression: Your dad was beating off to images of your wife and, nauseatingly enough, to images of you and your wife together. I hope Iím not shattering any illusions, L&S, but men and women are constantly masturbating about people they canít or shouldnít or wonít ever have. Iím sure youíve jerked off thinking about women you canít or shouldnít or wonít ever have, just as Iíve jerked off about men I canít or shouldnít or wonít ever have. Are you still with me? Good.

Assuming that your wife is hot, itís a simple fact that men are masturbating about her constantly. All of the time, and all kinds of menóstrangers, coworkers, and, yes, even relatives. Youíve jerked off about hot women you canít/shouldnít/wonít ever have yourself, right? So in the back of your mind, L&S, you knew it was possible that your dad was beating off about your wife. Of course there are things we know because they can be assumed or inferred and things we know because weíve witnessed them or stumbled over irrefutable evidence. Thanks to That Damn Videotape, what once lurked in your subconscious is now banging around your head 24/7.

But come on, L&S, knowing for a fact that your dad was getting off to images of your wife (and of you) might be highly creepy but it shouldnít be completely debilitating. Had your dad been a decent person and stuck to mental images of your wife, you would never have found out for sure that he was beating off about her. But he didnít stick to mental images, which brings us to the larger of his two transgressions: That Damn Videotape.

What did you really find out when you found the tape, L&S? Something you kinda already kinda knew. Your wife is hot, your dad is straight, and like a lot of other straight men, your dad was beating off thinking about your wife. Letís give dad the benefit of the doubt and assume that he wasnít into your wife because sheís your wife, but merely because sheís hot. And letís give dad the benefit of the doubt and assume that he didnít want to fuck you, but was only living vicariously through your performance on That Damn Videotape.

If all of this sounds like a massive rationalizationóor a series of massive rationalizationsóthatís because it is/they are. These rationalizations and assumptions are in your own best interests, L&S, because theyíll help you get to place, as Dr. Phil might say, where you can forgive your dad and successfully fuck your wife again.

To review . . .

Step one, tell your wife. She needs to know what happened, so that she can stop worrying about the affair youíre not having.

Step two, MOVE. I have every confidence that your performance problems will clear up once youíre no longer living in your fatherís house. Every time youíve attempted to be intimate with your wife since you found That Damn Videotape youíve been making love at the scene of the crime, with a little voice in your head was no doubt worrying about hidden cameras and drooling dads watching the instant replay. Itís no wonder you had a hard time keeping it up.

Step three . . . after a good, long chunk of time has passed, after youíve fertilized the above rationalizations with a little denial, you should be able to forgive your dad and pretend that nothing ever happened.

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