CVIndependent

Mon10142019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

I’m a 62-year-old woman. I was married for 33 years and left five years ago. We hadn’t gotten along for years, but he never stopped wanting or valuing me for sex—in spite of treating me like a household appliance and cheating on me regularly. Not long after the marriage ended, I met a guy online (my same age) who ticked nearly every box on my partner checklist—one of which was an ongoing interest in maintaining sexual relations. In the beginning, things were hot and crazy—but they cooled after a few months (going from once or twice a day to maybe once a month). Other than that, the relationship continued to grow, and we enjoyed being together.

I tried to carefully broach the subject, but he was not forthcoming. I’m not proud of it, but I checked his internet history. Big surprise: LOTS OF PORN. No animals or children, but pretty much everything else, with an accent on trans. Eventually, I admitted my sleuthing and asked if his viewing habits were an indicator of his interests or the reason he had turned away from me. After the anger subsided, he explained that he had been single most of his life and had more or less gotten used to taking care of business solo. Also, he said that the women he had been with who floated his boat sexually had been bad (crazy/unstable) in the partner department, and the good partners (me) had been less than satisfying for him in bed.

The bottom line is that we are compatible in most every other area and have built a comfortable life together. We have intercourse every four to six weeks, and maybe once in between, he will pleasure me. I enjoy both, and also take care of myself once a week. The struggle for me is more ego-driven. I’m no raving beauty, but I am reasonably fit and attractive for my age, and (used to) enjoy feeling desired and valued sexually. Can I get to the place of letting go of that and enjoying the rare occasions of physical congress?

Sex Advice Please

“Good for her for getting out of a marriage where she was treated like a ‘household appliance’ and getting back in the dating game,” said Joan Price, author of the books Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud About Senior Sex and The Ultimate Guide to Sex After 50. “But her new relationship, while it sounds comfortable and affectionate, doesn’t sound sexually fulfilling.”

This relationship doesn’t just sound unfulfilling sexually, SAP; it sounds infuriating generally. You entered into this relationship under false pretenses. You let your partner know that “an ongoing interest in maintaining sexual relations” was a priority for you, and he allowed you to believe it was a priority for him. In fairness to him, SAP, he may not have known himself to be incapable of sustaining a strong sexual connection, seeing as he’s been single for most of his life. But even if he wasn’t aware he couldn’t meet your needs then, that doesn’t change the fact that you aren’t valued/fucked the way you want to be valued/fucked now.

“I think her best option is to stay friends with this guy but start dating and having sex with others,” said Price. “She could continue to have occasional sex with this man if they both agree to a nonexclusive, friends-with-benefits arrangement. Or they could become platonic pals, if that’s better for them. But it’s imperative that she talk candidly with him.”

You write that you tried to “carefully broach the subject, but he was not forthcoming,” but Price wonders whether you were forthcoming yourself. “‘Carefully broach’ usually means ‘I was vague,’” said Price. “Suppose, instead, she said, ‘I really value you, but I don’t think we’re well-matched sexually. How can we adjust our relationship so we’re not putting sexual pressure on each other, and we’re both free to find other sexual outlets?’”

Your partner has an outlet that works for him and pretty much meets all his needs—porn and his own hand—but you don’t have an outlet that provides you with the feeling of being desired and valued sexually. Watching porn and/or “taking care of yourself” isn’t going to meet your needs. So the question is this: Do you have to exit this loving relationship to get your needs met, or can you stay with your current partner, a man who meets your emotional and social needs, while getting your sexual needs met elsewhere?

“SAP deserves a partner who matches her sexually,” said Price. And I agree.

If you’re telling yourself that you’ll have to settle for someone who claims he can’t perform for you because you’re not unstable enough to turn him on—you do realize that compliment he paid you (you’re so good!) was actually a dishonest bit of blame-shifting/responsibility-dodging, right?—then you’re selling yourself short.

“I know from personal experience and from the swelling of my inbox that many of us find hot, fabulous sexual partners in our 60s, 70s and beyond,” said Price. “It’s never too late. She shouldn’t settle for sex that’s less than satisfying, and neither should he. If that means she looks for new partners and he returns to his solo pleasure with the porn he prefers and the hand that knows him best, they might both be happier.”

Follow Joan Price on Twitter @JoanPrice. She blogs about sex and aging at NakedAtOurAge.com.


I’m a transgender woman married to a cis woman. Is cuckolding strictly a male-being-humiliated-by-his-woman-partner thing? Or does it apply to all couples?

Cuckolding Holds Erotic Allure That Satisfies

A man can cuckold a woman, CHEATS, and a man can cuckold a man, and a woman can cuckold a woman, and an enby can cuckold an enby. But women who are into being subs in a cuckold relationship—women who get off on being cheated on and erotically humiliated by their partners—are called cuckqueans, not cuckolds.


When I was younger and more stupid, I let my husband have intercourse with me or have me blow him or jack him off while I was on the phone with my sister. It was not something that I wanted to do, but I wasn’t strong enough then to resist his pressure.

For the last five years, I’ve asked him to respect me and not do this. He was good about it for a while, and I thought that we were on the same page. Now he has resumed pressuring me to do this. When I am on the phone with my sister, he will come in and harass me, grope me and attempt to remove my clothes. So I get off the phone. This makes him mad. If I say no, he emotionally withdraws, stops conversation about it, and tells me, “No sex, no marriage.” We do have a sex life that does include some of his kinks.

What is your opinion about using unwitting people on the other end of the phone for sexual satisfaction?

Persistent Husband’s Obnoxious Needs Enrage Spouse

The imperfect, doesn’t-always-apply adage, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you,” applies where your unwitting sister is concerned. So long as she doesn’t know you’re multitasking during your phone conversation, PHONES, no harm is done to your sister. But you know it’s happening, and you don’t like it, and your husband knows you don’t like it, but insists on doing it anyway. And when you shut him down—which is your absolute right—he gets angry, engages in emotional blackmail, and threatens to leave you (“No sex, no marriage”). But you are having sex with your husband—sex that includes some of his other kinks—so what he’s really saying is, “All the sex I want, however I want it, whenever I want it, regardless of how you feel about it, or I’ll divorce you.”

My advice: Divorce him yourself.

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I am newly divorced and have started a relationship with a man I’ve known and deeply cared about for decades. The sex is amazing—from start to finish, I feel better than I ever did, even in the best moments with my ex. And in the most intense moments? He makes me see stars. He is a very generous lover—he turns me on like crazy, and I regularly come while sexting with him. But I have yet to have an orgasm with him.

In the past, I have had an orgasm with a partner only from oral—or very occasionally from digital clit stim. My ex-husband was not skilled at oral, so I always had to fantasize pretty hard to get there (and regularly chose not to bother). My new partner has amazing moves and amazing oral skills, and he is willing to keep at it for as long as it takes—but regardless of how amazing I feel when he’s going down on me, every single time, I eventually hit a wall where I am just done. I haven’t had a single session with him where I’m left feeling unfulfilled, despite the lack of orgasm. In contrast, any sex with my ex that didn’t end in an orgasm left me feeling frustrated or, worse yet, bored. (There were also times when I’d ask my ex to leave the room so I could masturbate after sex.)

Do you have any ideas as to why I can’t get over that hump? I wonder if I just need him to be more boring and repetitive so that I can focus. But if that’s the case, is it even worth it? Why would I want to make the sex worse to make it “better”? Or should I just be satisfied with the mind-blowing sex I am having, even if it means I don’t have an orgasm? Is it OK to give myself permission to give up on partner-based climaxing?

No Orgasm Possibly Ever

Beware of those self-fulfilling prophecies! If you sit there—or lie there—telling yourself that being with Mr. AmazingMoves means giving up on “partner-based climaxing,” NOPE, you’re increasing the odds that you’ll never have an orgasm with this guy or any other guy ever again.

Here’s what I think the problem is: You had tons of shitty sex with your ex, but you could climax so long as you focused, i.e., so long as you were able to “fantasize pretty hard.” Your ex provided you with some half-assed oral and/or uninspiring digital clit stim that didn’t interfere with your ability to focus/fantasize. In other words, NOPE, with your ex, you were able to—you had no other choice but to—retreat into your own head and rely on your own erotic imagination to get you there. You may have been physically present during sex, but you were not emotionally or erotically present.

Because Mr. AmazingMoves’ moves are so amazing—because he turns you on like crazy, because whatever he’s doing feels great, because sometimes you see stars—you aren’t able to retreat into your own head. For years, you had to figuratively leave the room so you could focus/concentrate on whatever it was you needed to focus/concentrate on in order to come; sometimes you even asked your ex to literally leave the room. You created a powerful association between going to a private, safe, sexy place—pulling away from your partner emotionally, erotically and sometimes even physically—and climaxing.

You aren’t able to pull away from your current partner in the same way. Nor do you want to. And, hey, wanna know why you come when you sext with him? Because sexting is assisted fantasizing. You’re alone when you’re swapping those dirty messages with Mr. AmazingMoves, NOPE, kind of like you were alone when you were having sex with your ex.

It’s going to take some time to carve a new groove, i.e., you’re going to need to create a new association—one that allows you to be fully present (emotionally, erotically, physically) during partner-based sex and able to climax during it. The trick is not to rush it and, again, not to box yourself into negative self-fulfilling prophecies like the one you ended your letter with. So instead of telling yourself you’re never going to come again during partnered sex, tell yourself that your orgasms will come again. It may take some time, sure, but trust that your body and your brain are already hard at work carving that new groove.

One practical suggestion: The next time you have sex with Mr. AmazingMoves—the next 10 times you have sex with him—tell him in advance that you’re going to ask him to stop eating you out long before you hit that wall. Then stimulate yourself, either digitally or with a vibrator, while he holds you. If you need to lean back and close your eyes, lean back and close your eyes—but do not retreat into your own head. Maintain physical contact and ask him to say dirty/sexy things to you while you get yourself the rest of the way there, so you’re always aware of his presence. A couple of dozen self-administered orgasms with both of you in the room—in the room emotionally, erotically and physically—will speed that new-groove-carving process along.


I’m a straight man, and I recently got out of a relationship with a woman who would monitor my internet use to make sure I wasn’t “masturbating to the wrong things.” (My kinks are nothing too outrageous: feet and mild FemDom.) I’ve been dating a new woman for three months, and it’s time to lay my kink cards on the table. But I’m really afraid to open up, thanks to my kink-shaming ex.

My new girlfriend and I read your column together—so if you publish my letter, I’ll be able to gauge her likely response if I decide to disclose.

Help A Guy Out?

My pleasure, HAGO, but be careful: Sometimes people react negatively to any mention of a kink, not because they’re necessarily turned off or grossed out, but because they assume their partner is. So don’t panic if your new girlfriend’s first reaction is negative (“Ew, gross! Feet and FemDom!”), because it may not represent her true feelings and/or openness to your kinks. To learn how she really feels, you’re probably going to have to make the disclosure you’re trying to sidestep.


I’m a 24-year-old woman, and three weeks ago, I got out of a long-term relationship with a guy in his mid-30s. Over the last few months of the relationship, I started falling for someone else and began dating the new guy pretty much immediately after the breakup.

When should I tell my old boyfriend? We agreed to stay friends, and we still talk and see each other at least once a week. I want him to hear it from me, but I’m not sure how much time is appropriate/respectful.

Don’t Wanna Be An Asshole

Meeting up too soon after a breakup has a way of keeping emotional wounds open and fresh, DWBAA, particularly for the person who was dumped. (I’m assuming you did the dumping here.) And once-a-week meetings definitely qualify as too much, too soon. That said, if you think your ex-boyfriend is likely to hear about your new boyfriend from mutual friends, telling him yourself (and soon) is obviously the right (and difficult) thing to do. But if your ex is going to find out about your new boyfriend from, say, your Instagram account, encouraging him to unfollow you and letting some time pass—enough so you can fudge the start date of your new relationship—would be the right (and ego-sparing) thing to do.

On the Lovecast: Dan can’t do it alone this week! Hola, Papi! savagelovecast.com.

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I am a gay man in my late 50s and have never been in a relationship. I am so lonely, and the painful emptiness I feel is becoming absolutely unbearable.

In my early 20s, I hooked up off and on, but it never developed into anything. I have always told myself that’s OK; I’m not a people person or a relationship kind of guy. I have a few lesbian friends but no male friends. I have social anxiety and can’t go to bars or clubs.

When hookup apps were introduced, I used them infrequently. Now I go totally unnoticed or am quickly ghosted once I reveal my age. Most nonwork days, my only interactions are with people in the service industry.

I am well-groomed, employed, a homeowner and always nice to people. I go to a therapist and take antidepressants. However, this painful loneliness, depression, aging and feeling unnoticed seem to be getting the best of me. I cry often and would really like it all to end. Any advice?

Lonely Aging Gay

“In the very short term, LAG needs to tell his therapist about the suicidal ideation,” said Michael Hobbes. “In the longer term, well, that’s going to take a bit more to unpack.”

Hobbes is a reporter for HuffPost and recently wrote a mini-book-length piece titled “Together Alone: The Epidemic of Gay Loneliness.” During his research, Hobbes found that, despite growing legal and social acceptance, a worrying percentage of gay men still struggle with depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.

Loneliness, Hobbes explained to me, is an evolutionary adaptation, a mechanism that prompts us humans—members of a highly social species—to seek contact and connection with others: the kind of connections that improve our odds of survival.

“But there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely,” said Hobbes. “Being alone is an objective, measurable phenomenon: You don’t have very many social contacts. Being lonely, on the other hand, is subjective: You feel alone, even when you’re with other people. This is why advice like, ‘Join a club!’ or, ‘Chat with your waitress!’ doesn’t help lonely people.”

The most effective way to address loneliness, according to Hobbes’ research, is to confront it directly.

“LAG may just need to get more out of the relationships he already has,” said Hobbes. “He has a job, friends, a therapist, a life. This doesn’t mean that his perceptions are unfounded—our society is terrible to its elders in general and its LGBTQ elders in particular—but there may be opportunities in his life for intimacy that he’s not tapping into. Acquaintances LAG hasn’t checked in on for a while. Random cool cousins LAG never got to know. Volunteering gigs you fell out of. It’s easier to reanimate old friendships than to start from scratch.”

Another recommendation: Seek out other lonely guys—and there are lots of them out there.

“LAG isn’t the only gay guy who has aged out of the bar scene—so have I—and struggles to find sex and companionship away from alcohol and right swipes,” said Hobbes. “His therapist should know of some good support groups.”

And if your therapist doesn’t know of any good support groups—or if you don’t feel comfortable telling your therapist how miserable you are, or if you’ve told your therapist everything and they haven’t been able to help—find a new therapist.


I’m a 40-something gay male. I’m single and cannot get a date or even a hookup. I’m short, overweight, average-looking and bald. I see others, gay and straight, having long-term relationships, getting engaged, getting married, and it makes me sad and jealous. Some of them are jerks—and if them, why not me?

Here’s the part that’s hard to admit: I know something is wrong with me, but I don’t know what it is or how to fix it. I’m alone and I’m lonely. I know your advice can be brutal, Dan, but what do I have to lose?

Alone And Fading

“AAF said to be brutal, so I’m going to start there: You might not ever meet anyone,” said Hobbes. “At every age, in every study, gay men are less likely to be partnered, cohabiting or married than our straight and lesbian counterparts. Maybe we’re damaged; maybe we’re all saving ourselves for a Hemsworth, but spending our adult lives and twilight years without a romantic partner is a real possibility. It just is.”

And it’s not just gay men. In Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, sociologist Eric Klinenberg unpacked this remarkable statistic: More than 50 percent of adult Americans are single and live alone, up from 22 percent in 1950. Some are unhappy about living alone, but it seemed that most—at least according to Klinenberg’s research—are content.

“Maybe there is something wrong with AAF, but maybe he’s just on the unlucky side of the statistics,” said Hobbes. “Finding a soul mate is largely out of our control. Whether you allow your lack of a soul mate to make you bitter, desperate or contemptuous is not. So be happy for the young jerks coupling up and settling down. Learn to take rejection gracefully—the way you want it from the dudes you’re turning down—and when you go on a date, start with the specificity of the person sitting across from you, not what you need from him. He could be your Disney prince, sure. But he could also be your museum buddy or your podcast cohost or your afternoon 69er or something you haven’t even thought of yet.”


I am a 55-year-old gay male. I am hugely overweight and have not had much experience with men. I go on a variety of websites trying to make contact with people. However, if anyone says anything remotely complimentary about me, I panic and run. A compliment about my physical appearance? I shut down the profile.

I don’t like being like this. I just believe in being honest. And if I’m honest, I’m ugly. The face, even behind a big-ass beard, is just not acceptable. I have tried therapy, and it does nothing. How do I get past being ugly and go out and get laid?

Unappealing Giant Loser Yearns

You say you’re ugly, UGLY, but there are some people who disagree with you—the people who compliment you on your appearance, for instance.

“I’m not sure I even believe in the word ‘ugly’ anymore,” said Hobbes. “No matter what you look like, some percentage of the population will be attracted to you. Maybe it’s 95 percent, or maybe it’s 5 percent, but they are out there. When you find them, do two things: First, believe them. Second, shut up about it.”

In other words: Just because you wouldn’t want to sleep with you, UGLY, that doesn’t mean no one wants to sleep with you.

“I remember reading an interview with Stephen Fry, where he said that when he first started out as an actor, people would come up to him and say, ‘You were so great in that play!’ and his first response would be, ‘No, I was terrible,’” said Hobbes. “He thought he was being modest, but what he was really doing, he realized later, was being argumentative. Eventually, he started to just say, ‘Thank you.’”

Hobbes thinks you should try to be like Fry, a big dude with a cute husband: “The next time someone tells him they’re into big dudes with beards, don’t argue; don’t panic; and don’t hesitate. Just say, ‘Thank you,’ and let the conversation move on.”

Follow Michael Hobbes on Twitter @RottenInDenmark and listen to his podcast You’re Wrong About ... on iTunes.

On the Lovecast: Wait—why can’t gay men donate blood? savagelovecast.com.

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I’m a cis woman in my mid-40s, and my significant other has a cuckolding fetish. My first response was, “Oh, hell no!” But if I’m willing to have a threesome, how much further of a stretch is it, really? He does have some experience with this varsity-level kink, so he knows what to expect. I’ve asked him some questions, but some things, I prefer to research on my own.

My questions for you: (1) I don’t get cuckolding. I’ve read all about it, but nothing about it resonates with me. My SO really wants me to be into his fetish if I am going to act on it, but what if I’m just into being GGG? Can’t that be enough? (2) How should I go about finding appropriate candidates who would be into sharing this experience with us? I’m not really sure that I’d want someone with experience as a bull, because I don’t feel good about this playing out the way I’ve seen it in porn. (3) We enjoy cross-dressing and chastity play. How do I find someone who will be cool about my SO sitting in the room in a cock lock and lingerie? (4) I kind of have a “type” (don’t we all), and I’m not certain my type plays into this kink. I prefer someone who is very dominant in public but submissive to me in the bedroom. This doesn’t seem to align with your typical bull behavior. However, I do not enjoy being dominated. Do you think this matters?

Can’t Understand Cuckold Kink

1. Cuckolding isn’t that hard to understand: A cuckold gets off on their partner fucking other people and being humiliated or degraded by their partner and/or their partner’s playmates. Seeing as you already enjoy dominating guys and threesomes, CUCK, what’s not to enjoy about a cuckolding scenario?

2. Intercourse rarely plays out in real life the way it does in porn. So whether you go with an experienced bull or find someone who’s unfamiliar with cuckold play but game, you don’t have to re-enact whatever cuckold porn you’ve watched or read. Write your own script!

3. By using your words, CUCK. Tell any guy who’s interested in being your very special guest star (VSGS) that your SO is a cuckold, and he’ll be there in lingerie with his cock locked up. If that turns a VSGS candidate off, then he’s not the right VSGS for you.

4. In most cuckold porn, the bull—the man who fucks the cuck’s wife or girlfriend (or boyfriend or husband) in front of him—is the dominant partner. But, again, you get to write your own script, and if you want your bull to be submissive, make that clear to your potential bulls.


I’m a 54-year-old gay guy living in New York City. I’m into bondage, and I have a profile on Recon with plenty of pictures showing what I’m into. A guy visiting from San Francisco cruised me. He asked me to send a face pic, and I did. He invited me to his hotel. He didn’t have any gear with him, so I stopped at a hardware store and picked up $40 worth of rope and duct tape on my way to meet him. But after 30 seconds of small talk, he said he just wasn’t feeling it. I said OK, that happens, and I left.

I’m totally confused. I’m a decent-looking guy, and the photo I sent is recent. I was freshly showered, so no hygiene or BO issues. Obviously, you can’t force yourself to be into someone, but could he have handled it better? Should he have followed up with a message apologizing? Should I reach out and ask him what happened, or is that just pathetic?

Bondage Offer Not Delivered After Getting Evicted

Typically when this happens—photos exchanged, hookup arranged, mind changed—it’s because the photos were out of date or were not representative. Since we aren’t always the best judge of our own photos, BONDAGE, you should ask a friend who won’t bullshit you to look at your photos and give it to you straight.

If your no-bullshit friend clears your photos, then reach out to Mr. San Francisco. He had to make a snap decision when you arrived with that bag of rope and duct tape: Did he feel comfortable letting this stranger render him helpless? In a vanilla hookup, he could give it a little time and back out after some foreplay—but it’s a lot harder to back out when the foreplay involves rope and duct tape. So send him a message via Recon. Open by telling him you aren’t buttsore or angry, and he had every right to change his mind, even at the last minute—which means he has nothing to apologize for, so you aren’t owed an apology, and you shouldn’t message him if you’re seeking one.

Then ask if you said or did something that made him feel unsafe. If you did, BONDAGE, accept his feedback graciously—don’t argue with him or attempt to litigate what went down. Just listen. It may not have been your intention to freak him out by making, say, a few serial-killer jokes, but his impression is what matters, not your intention. And who knows? A sincere effort to get a little constructive feedback may leave him feeling better about you and up for playing the next time he’s in town.


My wife has a fantasy where she’s blindfolded and restrained on our bed. She hears the front door open, followed by footsteps coming up the stairs, and then she’s ravished by … who? She won’t know, presumably, until it’s over.

My question: In fulfilling this fantasy for her, where anonymity and surprise are part of the appeal, what do I tell her in advance? Do I discuss the entire scenario with her, so she knows exactly what’s going to happen, minus the identity of the very special guest star (who would be a semi-regular we’ve played with before, but she wouldn’t necessarily know that at first)? That seems to eliminate the surprise element of the fantasy. Is it enough to tell her, without mentioning the specific scenario, that I’d like to make one of her fantasies come true, and ask her to trust me?

Ethical Thinking In Quite Unusual, Elaborate Tied Tight Enactment

Presumably? There’s no room for “presumablies” when you’re arranging to fulfill a varsity-level fantasy. I’m guessing she’d rather not know who’s ravishing her before or during the big event, ETIQUETTE, and she may not want to know after. But you need to ask her what she wants—no presumptions—before you start making arrangements.

She might want to know everything in advance—including the identity of that stranger—or she might want you to decide everything. But you need to check in with her first: “Honey, I want to help you realize that fantasy—you’re tied to the bed; a stranger arrives; you’re ravished by said stranger—but I need to know how involved you want to be in the planning. Clear everything with you—where, when, who, how—or just make it happen?”

You may find that she wants to be surprised by who but not by when, ETIQUETTE, or by when but not by who—or by who but not by when, how, or where. Or she may want the whole thing to be a surprise. But you have to find out exactly what she wants before you make any plans.

And here’s a bonus pro tip for you: Don’t reveal the identity of your VSGS immediately afterward. Because if it goes well, and your wife wants a repeat, you may be able to get a few more encounters out of your first VSGS.

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This woman has gone down on me (I’m a man) more than a half-dozen times in the last three months. Each time seems to be better than the previous! She does not want reciprocation. She has also turned down all my offers for intercourse. As far as I know, she is heterosexual just like me.

What’s with that? I am getting a bit frustrated. Also, without going all the way, am I considered a friend with benefits?

Just Chilling

You’re benefiting here—think of all those blowjobs—and if she’s a friend, you can certainly regard yourself as a friend with benefits. As for why she won’t allow you to eat her pussy or put your dick in her pussy, JC, well, a few things spring to mind. She could be one of those women who love to give head, and that’s all she wants from a casual partner. Or she could have body-image issues. Or she could have a sexually transmitted infection, and she’d rather blow than disclose. Or she might be unwilling to risk pregnancy. Or she could be intersex or trans and not ready to open up.

If you enjoy those blowjobs—if you’re enjoying the benefits—focus on what you are getting instead of what you’re not.


My husband and I occasionally go to swingers clubs. I don’t want to inadvertently fuck any Trump supporters, but I hate the idea of bringing up politics and killing everyone’s collective boner. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Occasionally Swinging

At the risk of killing your boner forever, OS, the organized swinging scene “leans right,” as pollster Charlie Cook would put it if Charlie Cook polled swingers. Easily half of the couples I met at a big swingers convention I attended in Las Vegas told me they were Republicans. One man—a swinger from Texas—told me he was a “traditional values” type of guy, and that’s why he opposed same-sex marriage. Fun fact: His wife was off fucking someone else’s husband while we were chitchatting in the hotel bar. Good times.


I’m a happily married 35-year-old mom. I have a loving and devoted husband. Recently, I started a job to get out of the house more and interact with more people.

Well, it turns out my new boss is a real hottie. I have a crush on him and often find myself fantasizing about him. While I know these feelings can be normal, I tend to fixate/obsess. I’m basically looking for advice on how to move past this crush or maybe find a more productive outlet.

Newbie Fantasizing

Here’s a more productive outlet: Turn out the lights; climb on top of your husband; get him hard; then sink your pussy down on his cock and ride him while you fantasize about your boss. (Perhaps this is better described as a more productive inlet?) Bonus points if you and your husband are both secure enough in your marriage and cognizant enough of reality to regard crushes on others as normal and, so long as they remain crushes, not a threat to your marriage or commitment. Because then you can talk dirty with your husband about your boss—he can even pretend to be your boss—while you ride your husband’s cock.


The other night while my wife and I were watching porn and masturbating together, I suggested we masturbate in front of DirtyRoulette. I briefly explained what the site is about. She asked me if that’s what I do—if I get on DR when I masturbate. I replied yes, sometimes—and she was so taken aback that she ended our masturbation session to process it. We’re fine now, but do you think this is “cheating”?

Dirty Rouletting

I don’t think it’s cheating, DR, but you aren’t married to me. In other words, if your wife regards you masturbating with strangers on the internet as cheating, then it’s cheating. There are, of course, some people out there who regard too many things as cheating—fantasizing about others, looking at porn, even non-webcam-or-porn-enhanced masturbation. People who think this way usually regard cheating as unforgivable and, consequently, their relationships are doomed to failure.


I’m a gay woman in an open marriage. I have met some women I am interested in who are bi and have husbands or male lovers. While I’m into being with these women, I have a concern: I know that sperm can’t live outside of the body very long, but it can still be alive and kicking inside a woman for several days. If a woman fucks a man, and hours or days later, I fuck that woman with fingers or toys that are later inside of me, can I accidentally get pregnant?

Actively Looking

No.


I’m deep in the grips of a run-of-the-mill midlife crisis. My marriage is in a slump, and I’ve been sexless longer than at any time since I was a teenager. My wife has granted me the DADT “hall pass,” but I have no idea how to go about using it. My life is work, children, activities related to the children, and a few solo hobbies to keep myself fit and sane. I rarely meet new people, except at work, and I can’t start a relationship with anyone I meet there. In fact, my career means I am subject to a fair amount of social scrutiny, and discretion is paramount.

Do you have any suggestions?

Hall Passing

Remember Ashley Madison? The hookup site for married people looking for affair partners? The site that did a terrible job of protecting its user data? The site that got hacked? A hack that outed millions of adulterers and ruined lives? Well, according to a story at the Outline, Ashley Madison is back, baby, and lots of women—real women, not the bots that plagued the site pre-hack—are using it. “Once the dust had settled and other scandals entered the headlines, many people largely forgot about Ashley Madison,” Stephanie Russell-Kraft reports. “This might explain why Ashley Madison’s user numbers have shot up in recent years.”


Any etiquette tips or best practices for introducing my husband to my boyfriend?

Poly Processing

Keep it casual and keep it brief, PP. A quick drink before you and your husband head to a sold-out show for which you have only two tickets. If your husband has an unexpectedly emotional reaction to meeting your boyfriend in the flesh—if it dredges up jealousy issues—you won’t be putting him in a situation where he has to bottle that up for hours or, worse yet, for a weekend.


Hey, Dan, you missed an opportunity in your response to Afraid To Bleed. She wrote that she bleeds whenever she has sex, and she was concerned about her partner’s aversion to blood, which you did address. But women should not bleed after vaginal intercourse. There are many reasons why they might—so it needs to be investigated. Please encourage ATB to visit a doctor.

Concerned Reader

Big oversight on my part; thank you for writing in!

On the Lovecast: Finally! A sex-advice/rabbit-care podcast mash-up! savagelovecast.com.

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I’m in a pickle. All I want is to experience touch, intimacy and sexual pleasure—but without freaking out.

I grew up with a lot of negative messages from men due to developing early, as well as having some other physical/sexual trauma (no rape or abuse), but the combination has me seriously fucked up. Whenever I get close to physical intimacy with someone, I run away. I actually faked an emergency once and physically ran away because I knew sex was a possibility that night. I’m not a virgin—but in those instances, I’ve been really drunk (and experienced no emotional/physical pleasure).

This is not what I want for my life. I want a relationship and love, and to be open and comfortable with someone expressing their care for me in a physical way without panicked thoughts flooding my brain. I’ve done lots of therapy, which has helped, but not enough.

I recently heard of something called a sexual surrogate. From what I understand, it’s somebody who is trained to therapeutically provide physical touch and intimacy in a controlled and safe environment. Are they legit?

She Can’t Adequately Release Extreme Dread

Sexual surrogates are legit, SCARED, but please don’t call them sexual surrogates.

“We’d like to see the language shift back to ‘surrogate partner,’ which was the original term,” said Vena Blanchard, president of the International Professional Surrogates Association (IPSA). “Masters and Johnson originated the concept, and their treatment program was based on the theory that many people had problems that required the help of a cooperative partner, and some people didn’t have partners. So they trained people to work as ‘partner surrogates.’ The media took the term ‘partner surrogate’ and changed it to ‘sexual surrogate,’ because it sounded sexier. But ‘sexual surrogate’ implies that the work is all about sex.”

So if surrogate partner therapy is not about sex—or not all about sex—then what is it primarily about?

“Surrogate partner therapy is a therapeutic treatment that combines psychotherapy with experiential learning,” said Blanchard. “It’s a program designed for people like SCARED, for people who struggle with anxiety, panic and past trauma—things that can distort a person’s experience in the moment.”

Surrogate partner therapy happens in stages, with each progressive stage representing another “teeny, tiny baby step,” as Blanchard put it.

“The client first works with a legitimate therapist until the therapist thinks the client is ready to work with a surrogate partner,” said Blanchard. “You may start by sitting in opposite chairs and just talking. At some point, they might sit and hold hands, practice relaxation techniques and focus on simple sensations. In the next session, they might touch each other’s faces with their hands.”

Sex can and does sometimes occur in the later stages of surrogate partner therapy, SCARED, but it doesn’t always, and it’s not the goal—healing is.

“By having these repeated safe experiences, in a context where there’s no pressure, and consent is emphasized, and the patient is in control,” said Blanchard, “someone liked SCARED can learn to manage her anxiety, and her prior negative experiences are replaced with positive new experiences.”

While I had her on the phone, I asked Blanchard the first question many people have about surrogate partners: Are surrogate partners sex workers?

“A sex worker offers a sexual experience—that is the primary intention of what is a business transaction,” said Blanchard. “What a surrogate partner offers are healing and education. And while healing and education might also take place in a sex-work environment, and while some form of sexual contact might take place in surrogate-partner therapy, the primary intention is different. A patient working with a surrogate partner is there to heal old injuries or break out of bad patterns so they can have a relationship in the future. People go to sex workers for an immediate experience—the agenda is sexual and about right now, not therapeutic and about the future.”

Then I asked Blanchard the second question many people have about surrogate partner therapy: Is it legal?

“There’s no place that it’s illegal,” said Blanchard. “There’s never been a court case challenging it. In California, where surrogate-partner therapy is most common, no one has ever in 50 years challenged it.”

If you’re interested in working with a surrogate partner, SCARED, you can contact the referrals coordinator at IPSA’s website: surrogatetherapy.org.

Finally, SCARED, the number of trained and qualified surrogate partners is relatively small—IPSA has just 70 members—so you might need to go where most of those trained and qualified surrogate partners are in order to work with one. (The part of California that isn’t on fire is lovely this time of year.)

“Since there aren’t many qualified surrogate partners available,” said Blanchard, “people sometimes need to travel to another location and work intensively. People will come for two weeks and work every single day with a therapist and a surrogate partner.”


My partner and I have been together for 11 years and have always had a great sex life. I love his cock; we have similar appetites; and until recently, everything was great. But he has always had an aversion to blood. He is a pacifist, a vegetarian, and a recovering Muslim, so as much as I don’t understand his fear, I would never push him to have sex during my period.

The problem is now I bleed whenever we have sex—just a tiny bit, but that’s enough to kill it for him, and the sex is immediately over. We already have enough constraints with differing schedules, kids, lack of privacy, periods, etc. This is a big deal for me, and I don’t know how to deal with it. Any ideas?

Afraid To Bleed

Turn off the lights; draw the curtains; have sex in the dark; get him a blindfold—and insist he see a therapist who specializes in helping people overcome their irrational phobias.


I’m a 35-year-old gay man, and I’ve been single for 10 years. I’d kind of given up, but suddenly, I’ve got a real sweet guy in my life. He’s 24, so we’ll see how the age thing works out.

I used to be pretty adventurous with sex, but I feel extremely nervous now. I feel like a virgin all over again—except I’m not turned on. On our first date, we ended up in a public bathroom, where I gave him a handjob (his idea). Last night, we messed around at my place. We kissed and got naked, but I couldn’t get hard. We watched porn. That always works, but not this time. Finally, he played with my nipples and—presto chango—there was a happy ending at last! (Plus, it was a learning experience. I found out I like having my nipples licked, a lot!)

I’m worried this will continue to happen. It’s like I’m thinking too much. I deal with anxiety and depression every day, and this is part of why I’ve been single for so long. I’m not feeling the urge to end the relationship yet, but I’ve been a wreck since we started dating. I’m attracted to this guy, but I can’t get turned on. Is this like not having the urge to eat when you’re nervous? Do I just need to wait it out until I’m comfortable with this guy, and hope he sticks around long enough to stick it in me?

Lacking In My Pants

You’re attracted to this guy, LIMP, and you’re turned on by him, and you’re capable of getting hard. When he played with your tits—when he licked your nipples—it took the focus off your cock, and your cock instantly got hard. Do that more, LIMP: more dates with this guy, more rolling around with him, more exploring other erogenous zones. And it’ll help if you can tell him the truth: You’re a little nervous, because it’s been a while since you dated anyone. Once you’re more comfortable with him—once you’re more comfortable seeing someone—your boners will come.

On the Lovecast, better sex through mindfulness: savagelovecast.com.

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I’ve been enjoying consensual nonmonogamy for the past two years, in part thanks to your column and podcast. I have a delightful young lover, and our connection has evolved into a kind of Master/slave relationship. I “allow” her to fuck other men and women, and she delights in asking my permission and recounting the details of her other trysts to me.

We are curious how much of this she needs to disclose to her other lovers. They know she isn’t monogamous, and they are aware of her relationship with me, but so far, she has chosen not to tell them the extent to which I “own” her and have jurisdiction over her body and actions. Of course, it’s just an elaborate role-playing game—but is it wrong to be using these people as pawns in our game without their knowledge and consent? If so, when should she tell them? Before she sleeps with them even once? Or after she’s developed a more intimate rapport with them? There’s a perverse thrill in her other lovers being totally oblivious to it, but we want to be ethical in our polyamorous ways.

Masochists And Sadists Tackling Ethical Relations

This falls under the header of permissible secret perving (PSP), MASTER, and I will allow it—with one caveat.

My go-to example of PSP is the foot fetishist who works in a shoe store. So long as he’s good at his job and his secret perving is undetectable—no bulges, no heavy breathing, no creepy comments—no harm done. And if he goes home and jacks off about all the sexy, sexy feet he saw and, yes, handled during his shift, he’s not hurting anyone or doing anything unethical. It’s important, however, to note that the foot fetishist salesclerk’s perceptions aren’t the ones that matter. If he thinks he’s playing it cool—he thinks his perving is secret—but his customers or co-workers are creeped out by his behavior, demeanor, heavy breathing, etc., then his perving isn’t secret and is therefore impermissible.

The secret perving you’re doing—the girlfriend has to beg for your permission to fuck other people and report back to you afterward—is small, and it’s a bank shot. The other people she’s fucking provide mental fodder for your D/s role-playing games, MASTER; you aren’t directly involving them. Your role-playing games take place before she fucks someone else (when she asks your permission) and after she fucks someone else (when she recounts her experience). And what turns you on about your girlfriend sleeping with other people—and how you and your girlfriend talk to each other about it—is no one’s business but yours.

Now for the caveat: If one of your girlfriend’s lovers strongly objects to Dom/sub sex, relationships or role-playing games, and your girlfriend is aware they object, and you two want to be exquisitely ethical, MASTER, then either your girlfriend shouldn’t fuck that person, or she should disclose your Master/slave dynamics to that person and allow them to decide whether they want to fuck her anyway.

Zooming out for a second: Some people in open relationships don’t want to know what their partners get up to, and these couples usually have “don’t ask, don’t tell” agreements about sex outside the relationship. But many more people in open relationships do want to hear about their partners’ adventures because it turns them on. Someone who doesn’t want to risk being fodder for a couple’s dirty talk or even their D/s role-playing games shouldn’t be sleeping with people who are partnered and in open relationships. There are things we have a right to ask the people with whom we have casual sex—like whether they’re practicing ethical nonmonogamy, if they have an STI, what kind of birth control they’re using, whether they’re on PrEP, etc.—but a casual fuck isn’t entitled to details about your relationship.


My boyfriend of one year has refused to delete photos from his Instagram account that show him with his ex-girlfriend. They were together for three years and briefly engaged, and they broke up two years before we met. They aren’t in contact in any way, so I don’t have any worries there, but I think making photos of him with someone else available to his friends and family—and now my friends, too, as many are now following him—is incredibly disrespectful.

We’ve had numerous arguments about this, and his “solution” is for me to “stop thinking about it.” He also insists that no one is looking at 5-year-old pictures on his Instagram account. If that’s true, why not delete them? He refuses to discuss this issue, even as I lose sleep over it. I’ve tried calmly discussing this with him; I’ve tried crying; I’ve tried screaming my head off—nothing works.

Personal Insult Causing Stress

There’s definitely something your boyfriend should delete, PICS, but it’s not old photos of his ex.


The man I’m going to marry has a huge boot fetish. He has about 200 pairs of boots in his size. His size also happens to be my size—and I’m half convinced he wouldn’t have proposed if we didn’t have the same size feet and I couldn’t wear his boots.

I want to surprise him with a very special bachelor party (that we’ll both attend): It would be all guys with the same size feet as us, and everyone will be wearing different pairs of boots from his collection. I’m picturing a big group of guys doing for him what I do for him: stand on him, let him lick my (actually, his) boots, make him crawl and grovel.

His feet aren’t an uncommon size (11.5), and I’m guessing enough of our mutual friends would fit into his boots that I could actually make this happen. He’s the only fetishist I’ve ever been with—all my other boyfriends were vanilla—and I’m wondering how he would react if he walked into a room and found a bunch of his friends wearing his boots, and then I ordered him to start licking. I think it would be way better than going to a strip club or a drag show.

By the way: He’s not really “out” about his kink.

Boyfriend Obsesses Over Tall Shoes

Wow, BOOTS, you saved the most salient detail for the end: Your boyfriend isn’t out to his friends about his kink. So unless you’re talking about a small subset of his friends—only old friends that once had benefits—do not out your boyfriend as a boot fetishist to all his friends with size 11.5 feet.

If your fiancé has fantasized about some sort of group boot-worshipping session, and he’s shared that fantasy with you, and you want to help him realize it, that’s great. But he needs to be involved in determining where, when, how and with whom he’d like to make this fantasy a reality.


My bi girlfriend and I are getting married in a month. We’re in a cuckold relationship—she sleeps with other men and women, while I am completely monogamous to her—and “my” best man is one of her regular male sex partners, and her maid of honor is one her girlfriends-with-benefits.

No one else at our big traditional church wedding (that her mother is paying for) will know. But I wanted to let you know, Dan, since reading your column is what inspired me to be open about my kinks, and our relationship—the best I’ve ever been in—wouldn’t exist without you.

The Happy Couple

Permissible secret perving at its finest/hottest, THC. Thanks for sharing, and be sure to send me a photo of the wedding party for my records.

On the Lovecast, a sex toy expert’s husband’s favorite sex toy: savagelovecast.com.

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I’m a 27-year-old woman living on the East Coast. I’ve been sexually active and on birth control since I was 16—almost always on the pill. I recently switched to the NuvaRing, to which I had a bad reaction: I had no libido at all and extreme mood swings/bouts of depression I could not live with. My boyfriend and I decided it would be a good idea to go off hormonal birth control for a while, just to see what would happen. We’ve been together for almost four years, so we agreed condoms would be fine, and I would try the route of no more supplemental hormones.

I stopped a couple of months ago, and it’s been a mix of good and bad. The good is that my moods are more even. Another good thing is I feel like I’m having a sexual awakening: My libido came back! But the bad thing is … my libido came back in a way I wasn’t expecting. My sexual appetite is insane. I want to have sex with everyone—men, women, friends, colleagues, acquaintances! My boyfriend has been amazing through all of this. He’s agreed to let us open up our relationship under specific terms. I agree with the terms we placed, but I still feel like my urges are going to get me in trouble. I know not to have sex with friends and colleagues, but a lot of situations come up that make it hard to resist—especially when alcohol is involved. I’m very good with self-policing, and I don’t think I’ll actually act on my urges.

My question is one you get a lot: Is this normal? Can removing a cocktail of hormones from my life really change me this much? I used to want sex, but now I WANT SEX. I want a lot of it, and it’s overwhelming. I don’t want to blame it all on the birth control, but I can’t help but feel it to be true, since it was the only variable in my life that changed in the last couple of months.

I want to be faithful to my boyfriend, who has been great and understanding—allowing us to open our relationship to casual encounters with strangers. (Also: No friends, no one we both know, DADT, and no intimacy with anyone—it must be purely sexual/physical.) But I’m feeling sexual connections to so many more people now, and often to people I’ve known for a while. I see this all as mostly positive, but the adjustment to the new sexual hunger has been strange and difficult to wrap my head around.

Suddenly Horny And Going Gaga Isn’t Normal

“I’m so glad to hear this woman sees the increase in her libido as positive,” said Dr. Meredith Chivers, an associate professor of psychology at Queen’s University, a world-renowned sex researcher, and—I’m proud to say—a frequent guest expert around here. “At the same time, I understand how overwhelming these urges can feel, especially when they are new.”

Luckily for you, SHAGGIN, you’re with someone who’s secure enough to let you feel the fuck out these new feelings. Whether or not you act on them is one thing—DADT agreement or no DADT agreement—but not having to pretend you aren’t suddenly interested in fucking men, women, friends, colleagues and acquaintances is a real gift.

Another example of your good luck? Dr. Chivers is about to give you the Actual Science download on hormonal birth control—complete with qualifications about what we know, what we don’t know, and areas that require more research!

“It’s difficult to say what is and isn’t normal when it comes to the effects of hormonal contraception (HC) on women’s sexual interest,” said Dr. Chivers. “To my knowledge, researchers have not specifically examined the question of what happens to women’s sex drives after stopping HC.”

But lots of women have stopped using hormonal contraception for the exact same reason you did, SHAGGIN: worries about how it might be affecting their libido—and there is some indirect evidence that HC can negatively impact a woman’s desire for sex.

“The NuvaRing is a combined hormonal contraceptive containing synthetic estrogens and progestins (the same as many birth control pills),” said Dr. Chivers. “HC, like the NuvaRing works, in part, by raising and stabilizing progesterone levels throughout the menstrual cycle, which helps to prevent ovulation and implantation.”

And it’s those stabilized progesterone levels that could be the culprit.

“Progesterone is one of the hormones involved in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy; levels are highest in the week before menstruation (called the luteal phase) and are also high during pregnancy,” said Dr. Chivers. “A recent, large-scale study reported that women with higher progesterone—women who weren’t using HC—had lower sexual interest, on average. Because using HC is associated with reductions in sexual interest, we could predict that stopping HC, and thus progesterone levels returning to more typical lower levels, could be associated with increases in sexual motivation.”

Since you definitely experienced an increase in sexual desire after you removed your NuvaRing and started using condoms, SHAGGIN, Dr. Chivers was comfortable saying … that you definitely experienced an increase in sexual desire, and that might be related to going off HC.

“Given that she has been using some form of HC since she became sexually active, my guess is that she’s never had the chance to experience her sexuality while naturally cycling,” said Dr. Chivers. “Part of her process could be learning about her unmedicated hormonal cycle, her sexuality, and the variations in her sex drive. For example, does her sexual interest fluctuate over her cycle? She might want to consider collecting some data with a cycle-tracker app. Flo, Clue and Period Tracker are among those that my women sex-researcher/educator colleagues recommend. This might help her notice patterns in her libido, attractions, and sexual pleasure—and help her to develop strategies to manage, and perhaps even capitalize on her sexual desires.”

As for your boyfriend, SHAGGIN, and your desire to be faithful to him: So long as you honor the terms of your openness agreement, you are being faithful to him. But check in with him more than once before you fuck someone who isn’t him. Because when a partner agrees to open the relationship but then places a long list of restrictions on who you can fuck—a list that excludes most of the people you wanna fuck—that can be a sign your partner doesn’t actually want to open the relationship.

The last word goes to Dr. Chivers: Whether you’re having fun with others or you decide to remain sexually exclusive with your boyfriend, “Have fun!”

To learn more about Dr. Chivers’s research, visit the SageLab website (queensu.ca/psychology/sexuality-and-gender-lab) and follow her on Twitter @DrMLChivers.


I’m part of a nonhierarchical polycule. In a few months, one of my girlfriends will be marrying her fiancée. I’ll be attending as a guest with my other girlfriend.

What are the guidelines or expectations for purchasing a gift for your girlfriend’s wedding? Surprisingly, the other advice columnists don’t have guidance on this one.

Wedding Etiquette Dilemma

Get the couple something nice, something you can afford, maybe something from their gift registry. Or give them a card with a check in it so they can spend the money on whatever they might need for their household, or use it to cover the expense of the wedding itself.

In short, WED, wedding-gift guidelines are the same for people in nonhierarchical polycules as they are for love-muggle monocules. I’m not slamming the poly thing for overprocessing and overthinking—most people process (aka communicate) too little, and it’s often better to overthink than to under-think or not-think—but not everything needs to be dumped into the poly processor and pureed.

Congrats to your girlfriend (the one who’s getting married) and her fiancée!

On the Lovecast, the kink phenomenon of “sub drop”: savagelovecast.com.

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I’m gay and have been dating a guy for 10 months. He’s great overall, and I would say that for the most part, we both want it to work out. But I am having a problem with his friends and other lifestyle choices.

All of his friends are straight, and almost all of them are women. All of my friends have always been gay men, like me, so I find this strange. I don’t have any problem with women, but I don’t hang out with any women, and neither do most of my friends. He makes dinner plans for us with his straight friends almost every week, and I grin and bear it. They’re always old co-workers, so the whole conversation is them talking about old times or straighty talk about their children. It’s incredibly boring. He’s met my friends, and he likes some of them, but dislikes others.

It’s obvious that he is not comfortable relating to gay men, generally speaking. He does not seem knowledgeable about gay history or culture. For example, he strongly dislikes drag queens and never goes to gay bars. There is one woman in particular he makes dinner for every Friday night. It’s a standing date that he’s only occasionally been flexible about changing to accommodate plans for the two of us. Now he’s planning a weeklong vacation with her. When he first mentioned this trip, he asked if I would want to spend a week camping. I said no, because I don’t like camping. He immediately went forward with planning it with her. I’m pretty sure the two of them had already hatched this plan, and I don’t think he ever really wanted me to go. I think it’s WEIRD to want to go camping for an entire week with some old lady.

He does other weird things, too, like belonging to a strange new-age church, which is definitely at odds with my strongly held anti-religious views. He has asked me to attend; I went once, and it made me EXTREMELY uncomfortable. The fact that I didn’t like it just turned into a seemingly unsolvable problem between us. He says I’m not being “supportive.”

I need some advice on how to get past my intense feelings of aversion to the weirdness. How can I not let our differences completely destroy the relationship?

Hopelessly Odd Man Out

Differences don’t have to destroy a relationship. Differences can actually enhance and help sustain a relationship. But for differences to have that effect, HOMO, both partners need to appreciate each other for their differences. You don’t sound appreciative—you sound contemptuous. And that’s a problem.

According to Dr. John Gottman of the Gottman Institute (a research institution dedicated to studying and strengthening marriages and other interpersonal relationships)—who says he can accurately predict divorce in 90 percent of cases—contempt is the leading predictor of divorce. “When contempt begins to overwhelm your relationship, you tend to forget entirely your partner’s positive qualities,” he writes in Why Marriages Succeed or Fail. Contempt, Gottman argues, destroys whatever bonds hold a couple together.

You’ve been together only 10 months, HOMO, and you’re not married, but it sounds like contempt has already overwhelmed your relationship. It’s not just that you dislike his friends; you’re contemptuous of them. It’s not just that you don’t share his spiritual beliefs; you’re contemptuous of them. It’s not just that his gayness is expressed in a different-than-yours-but-still-perfectly-valid way; you’re contemptuous of him as a gay man. Because he doesn’t watch Drag Race or hang out in gay bars. Because he’s got a lot of female friends. Because he’s happy to sit and talk with his friends about their kids. (There’s nothing “straighty” about kid conversations. Gay parents take part in those conversations, too. And while we’re in this parenthesis: I can’t understand why anyone would waste their time actively disliking drag queens. However, being a gay male correlates more strongly with liking dick than it does with liking drag.)

This relationship might work if you were capable of appreciating the areas where you two overlap—your shared interests (including your shared interest in each other)—and content to let him go off and enjoy his friends, his new-age church, and his standing Friday-night dinner date. A growing body of research shows that divergent interests + some time away from each other + mutual respect = long-term relationship success. You’re missing the “mutual respect” part—and where this formula is concerned, HOMO, two out of three ain’t enough.

Here’s how it might look if you could appreciate your differences: You’d do the things you enjoy doing together—like, say, each other—but on Friday nights, he makes dinner for his bestie, and you hit the gay bars with your gay friends and catch a drag show. You would go on vacations together, but once in a while, he’d go on vacation with one of his “straighty” friends, and once in a while, you’d go on vacation with your gay friends. On Sundays, he’d go to woo-woo church, and you’d sleep in or binge-watch Pose. You’d be happy to let him be him, and he’d be happy to let you be you—and together, the two of you would add up to an interesting, harmonious, compelling “we.”

But I honestly don’t think you have it in you.

P.S. I have lots of straight friends, and I’m a parent, and sometimes I talk with other parents about our children, and I rarely go to gay bars, and I haven’t gotten around to watching Pose yet, or the most recent season of Drag Race, for that matter. It’s devastating to learn, after all these years and all those dicks, that I’m terrible at being gay.

P.P.S. If a straight person told you, “I don’t have any problem with gay men, but I don’t hang out with any gay men, and neither do most of my friends,” you’d think they had a problem with gay men, right?


I’ve been in an on-again, off-again relationship for the past four years. My girlfriend has an assortment of mental-health issues—anxiety, depersonalization episodes, depression, paranoia, among others—that make it very stressful and tiring to be with her.

Despite my best attempts at getting her to seek help, she refuses to take the plunge. Whether it’s a result of her illness or not, she refuses to believe that I actually want to be with her. I do care deeply about her, and the good days are wonderful. But nearly every time we go on a date or have sex, it ends in tears, and I have to endlessly reassure her that I do really want to be with her. I’m exhausted by having to defend my feelings for her multiple times per week, and I don’t know what to do.

He’s Exhausted And Lost

There’s only one thing you can do, HEAL: Put this relationship on hold—take it back to off-again status—and make getting back together contingent upon her seeking help for her mental-health issues. You’ve made it clear, again and again, that you want to be with her. By finally seeking help—by actually taking the plunge—she can make it clear that she wants to be with you.


I have a very sexy German boyfriend, and he is not circumcised. His otherwise beautiful dick is a problem. It smells—sometimes a little, and sometimes it really stinks. After he showers, the smell is still there. He says he uses only water. Is there a better way to wash an uncircumcised penis? Can he use some kind of soap?

Girl Asks Gay4 Grooming Intervention Near Genitals

Yes, GAGGING, there is a better way: He needs to wash that thing with motherfucking SOAP. If the soap he’s got is irritating the head of his penis or the inside of his foreskin, he needs to try other soaps until he finds one that cleans his dick without causing irritation. And you should make allowing that otherwise beautiful German dick anywhere near you contingent upon him learning how to clean it properly. There’s no excuse for stank-ass dick.

On the Lovecast, a biblical recipe for abortion: savagelovecast.com.

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I’ve been faithfully reading your column in the Chicago Reader for years, and now I’m reaching out to you about my own problem. I’ve been dating this guy for almost a year. Everything is great, except one thing: He wants me to kick him in the nuts. It really bothers me, and I’m not sure what to do. He’s very serious about it, and he brings it up every single day. It makes me really uncomfortable that this is some sort of fetish of his, and I need help taking steps forward.

By the way: I play soccer, and I kick hard.

To Kick Or Not To Kick

It’s a kink called “ball busting,” TKONTK, and as long as you don’t kick him full force—or even half force—you’re unlikely to do permanent damage. That said, childless guys who are into ball busting are often advised to freeze their sperm just in case. And while it’s not a hugely popular kink, it’s common enough that ball busting porn exists, and ball busting Tumblrs, ball busting blogs, etc. Take it slow at first, particularly if your guy has only fantasized about this and not experienced it.

By the way: A guy who brings up his kink every single day deserves to be kicked in the nuts—unless he’s into ball busting, in which case he doesn’t deserve to be kicked in the nuts.


My husband and I were married in Toronto, Canada, in 2005, before marriage equality came to the United States. Does the U.S. government recognize our Canadian marriage, or do we need to remarry in the U.S.? Can you find out from one of your legal friends?

Does Our Marriage Apply?

“The U.S. government does recognize your marriage,” said Robbie Kaplan, one of my legal friends—and the attorney who represented Edith Windsor before the U.S. Supreme Court and won. In United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government was required to recognize legal same-sex marriages, thereby gutting the Defense of Marriage Act. “We did the same thing,” Kaplan added. “We were married in Toronto in 2006, and the U.S. recognizes our marriage. No need to get married again here.”


Hi, Dan. I am getting in touch because I thought you might be interested in the following article: “Getting to the Bottom of Pegging.” For open-minded people who are open to butt play, pegging is a great way to spice things up in the bedroom. But what exactly is pegging and why is it a thing now? Sex and relationships expert, Tami Rose, knows how important it is to try new things in the bedroom. She would be able to provide an article explaining what pegging is and tips for your more adventurous readers who want to give it a go. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

(Redacted) PR Agency

Pegging? Never heard of it. Wait—what’s that, Wikipedia? “Pegging is a sexual practice in which a woman performs anal sex on a man by penetrating the man’s anus with a strap-on dildo. … The neologism ‘pegging’ was popularized when it became the winning entry in a contest in Dan Savage’s Savage Love sex advice column (in 2001).”


I’m in a six-year relationship with a guy you will probably deem DTMFA-worthy, but I deem round-up-able to The One. My kids already regarded him as their stepdad before we moved in together about eight months ago. That’s when I learned he’s an addict: He drinks, smokes weed and jerks off to porn for about two hours every day. He has been this way for more than 20 years, and I have zero delusions he will change for me. Recently, he told me he has very little sexual desire for me, that he knows my pussy in and out, and that it’s boring, but he loves my companionship.

How do I deal with this so we can move forward together as an incompatible couple?

Sex Addict Partner

A romantic partner who says something as cruel and negating as what this man has said to you, SAP, either wants out of the relationship or is grooming their partner for much worse treatment to come. If he wants out of the relationship, the verbal and emotional abuse will escalate until you finally leave him. If he doesn’t want out, the verbal and emotional abuse will escalate a bit more slowly, so that, like the proverbial frog in the pot of boiling water, you don’t realize exactly how bad it’s getting and how much damage it’s doing to you—and your kids.

I know it’s not what you wanted to hear, SAP, but I’m going to say it anyway: DTMFA.


I’m a competent in-person lover, but I’m the worst at Skype/FaceTime/WhatsApp sex. I can’t get the angle right; I don’t know what to wear; I feel shy; I don’t know what to say; I can’t get off; I giggle like a 15-year-old girl getting her first French kiss under the bleachers. I’m going to be away from my guy for most of the summer, and I need to figure this out. Any advice or tips?

Struggle Keeping Yonder Penis Entertained

A 15-year-old girl may giggle the first time she gets French-kissed under the bleachers—or she may not—but a girl who giggles the first time probably isn’t going to be giggling the 50th. So just keep at it; try to relax and enjoy yourself; and ask your partner to take the lead, i.e., if you don’t know what to do, ask him to tell you what he’d like you to do, SKYPE—but only follow the orders you’re comfortable following.


What’s the fairest way to determine who should get tied up?

Bondage Bottom Boyfriends

Whoever was tied up last time does the tying up this time, and vice versa.


Do you ever wear panties, Dan? Would you post a picture of yourself in panties online? I think you would look good in panties.

Panties Are Nice To You

While I have no particular aversion to wearing panties, PANTY, and while I will not deny the allure of the models at xdress.com, I’ve never worn panties and have no plans to start. As a consequence, I won’t be able to post a picture of myself in panties online to delight you and horrify everyone else.


How much sex is too much sex?

Numb Over Numbers

“Enough is as good as a feast.” —Mary Poppins.

On the Lovecast, Dan and the lesbian panel: savagelovecast.com.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; @fakedansavage on Twitter; read the Savage Love Letter of the Day on Slog: thestranger.com/slog.

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