"Your husband is a brave man": What people really think about a sex writer's marriage

I'm a feminist sex writer who's married to either the boldest guy or the biggest wimp, depending on who you ask

By Tracy Clark-Flory
April 24, 2015 2:59AM (UTC)
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(LoloStock via Shutterstock)

For some time now, one of the top Google search suggestions for my name has been, “Tracy Clark-Flory husband.” At first, I chalked it up to the simple fact that I’ve written about my husband a bunch in personal essays and even the odd sex toy review. Maybe people just wanted to see who this guy was who was willing to have his intimate life written about so candidly, I thought. Indeed, he’s tried out everything from “Siri for sex” to a “blow job robot,” all in the name of journalism -- or at least my journalism career.

Increasingly, though, I’ve started to suspect that there is more to it. That’s because I’ve noticed a theme in commentary from strangers about this aforementioned man, “Tracy Clark-Flory husband.” That theme is the sentiment that my husband must have balls of steel to be married to a lady sex writer like myself. The most commonly occurring remark, in emails and online comments, is some variation on: “Your husband is a brave man.” In fact, Jezebel christened him a “BRAVE HERO MAN” -- granted it was for his willingness to stick his penis into that terrifying blow job contraption, but still. Even a family member offered some variation on the theme during a toast at our wedding.

The message is decidedly not, “You are a brave woman.” It’s that my husband is a brave man, essentially for putting up with me. To be sure, there is some bravery involved in marrying someone who you know writes publicly about the intimate details of her life, but that's rarely what these commenters are referring to. The reasons are rarely very clearly spelled out, but they are apparent enough: I've written extensively about my past sexual exploits. I am highly familiar with pornography. I have written about male desire. And as if that weren't bad enough, I am also an outspoken feminist. All of that seems to upend the traditional married-couple power dynamic in such a way that my husband is conside...

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