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I don’t listen to your podcast religiously, but as soon as I told my best friend this story, she said, “That’s a question for Dan Savage!”

Backstory: I have a monogamous partner I live with. It’s a heterosexual relationship, but we are both bisexual. That little inkling of homosexuality really drew me to him when we first met. He also told me early on about his previous girlfriend, who looked like a “suicide girl” (tattoos, short skirts, dyed black hair, heavy eye makeup) but had serious issues. (They had sex only 10 times in three years.)

I’m by no means a suicide girl. I’m pretty average-looking with natural hair and no tattoos. I don’t wear makeup, and I have an affinity for baggy T-shirts and jeans. I love having sex, but rarely do I present myself as “sexy.”

Recently, I learned that my boyfriend follows hundreds of women on Instagram, and 95 percent of them look absolutely nothing like me. (Remember the hot suicide-girl girlfriend? They mostly look like her.) It made me really upset. I felt insecure about myself. I felt distrustful of his positive comments about how I look, like he doesn’t actually think I’m sexy. It certainly doesn’t help that I want to have sex way more often than he does. He’s always “tired.” I was angry at him and instantly craving to go back to a sexual relationship with past partners who thought I were the bee’s knees. He has no idea why I would be upset. He says he feels like he’s supporting these women and that they feel “empowered” by all the men leaving comments like, “Show me your boobs,” and, “I wanna shove my cock in you.” He says he deleted his Instagram just to make me happy, but I still feel shitty about the whole thing.

Am I being oversensitive? Is he being insensitive? Could we be sexually incompatible? At this point, I’m ready to look outside of our relationship for sexual interactions.

Your Very Ordinary Instagram Girl

I don’t listen to your podcast, either, YVOIG, so that makes us even. (I assume you have a podcast. Everyone does these days.)

Zooming out: If we’re going to tell people they shouldn’t be so shallow as to date only their “ideal” physical types, and we’re going to tell people they can learn to find a broader array of people attractive, and we’re going to tell people they can find a person’s insides so attractive that they warm to their outside—and it’s mostly men people we tell these things, as women people seem less hung up on/entitled to their physical ideals—then we also need to tell people not to freak the fuck out when they stumble over evidence that they aren’t their partner’s ideal physical type. Additionally, we need to tell people that just because their partner has a particular type, that doesn’t mean their partner isn’t also attracted to him/her if he/she isn’t that particular type.

Zooming in: You don’t have a great sex life with your boyfriend, YVOIG, as you seem to have mismatched libidos—and one partner “always” being tired isn’t a problem that gets better over time. These are both signs that you probably need to end this relationship. (Already looking outside your monogamous relationship for sexual interactions? Another sign.) But you can end things without having a meltdown about the fact that your soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend was also or usually or, hell, even exclusively with one notable exception (YOU!) attracted to “suicide girl” types. Instead of telling yourself that every compliment your soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend ever gave you was a lie, you could tell yourself that while your soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend definitely has a type, he also found you attractive. Because you are attractive. You’re so attractive that you caught his eye despite not being his usual type.

In other words, YVOIG, you don’t have to feed your self-esteem into a shredder as you end this relationship.

By the way: Your soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend may have deleted his old Instagram account, but I promise you he quickly created another one. And here’s hoping your soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend only directs “empowering” comments like, “I wanna shove my cock in you,” at the kind of people on Instagram who regard those types of comments as “supportive.” They’re out there—men and women—but there are fewer of them out there than too many men, gay and straight, seem to believe there are.


I’m a 28-year-old straight guy with one kink: I want to be collared and on a leash. That’s it. In private. Basically, I just want to curl up at my girlfriend’s feet with the leash in her hand. Just me on the floor next to the couch while she watches television, or me on the floor next to the bed while she reads.

I’ve had three serious girlfriends, and all three laughed in my face when I told them about this. I’m dating a girl now that I like a lot, and she actually asked me if I had any kinks, and I couldn’t bring myself to tell her. I’m worried about her laughing in my face, too.

Laughter Erases All Sexual Hopes

People often have knee-jerk, sex-negative reactions to kinky requests—not because they necessarily think peeing on someone or leashing someone is hopelessly perverted or disqualifying, LEASH, but because they’ve never imagined themselves peeing on someone or keeping a boyfriend on a leash. The request conjures up a mental image that conflicts with a person’s self-conception—they never thought of themselves as the peeing-on-other-people or keeping-the-boyfriend-on-a-leash type—and nervous laughter is a common response to that particular brand of cognitive dissonance. It would be better if people didn’t have this reaction, of course, but you should brace yourself for it, laugh/shrug it off, and then proceed to explain why this is such a turn-on for you and what’s in it for her. (It sounds like a pretty easy way for her to crank you up when she’s feeling horny.)

If the reactions of the last three girlfriends left you scared and scarred, LEASH, tell your current girlfriend via text. (“Hey, remember when you asked if I had a kink? I do: being on a leash.”) Then, if her first reaction is to laugh, you won’t be there to hear it. You might get a “LOL, what?” in response, but don’t let it shut you down. Keep texting; keep it light and playful; show her that you have a sense of humor about it … and you could finally end up on that leash.


I’m a 43-year-old woman who has been enjoying the company of a much-younger man. (He’s 24.) His energy, enthusiasm and straight-up bravery in the face of the current horrors of the world are giving me a renewed sense of purpose. Plus, the sex is phenomenal.

What’s giving me pause is that my generally sex-positive friends are deeply creeped out by this relationship due to our age difference. He lives on his own; he has a degree and a career; and he supports himself—so this isn’t a “sugar mama” situation. I have no authority over him in any capacity. I also have no delusions of this lasting forever.

Am I really so wrong for enjoying this while I can? My friend circle includes all manner of kinky and queer folks, so their reaction is really throwing me for a loop.

This Older Woman Needs Youth

My hunch is that your sex-positive friends have made two assumptions. First, they’ve assumed you have more power in this relationship, because you’re older (as if youth and maleness don’t confer their own powers!). And, second, they seem to have assumed you have to be abusing your power somehow. It’s a legitimate concern—power is so often abused, and we should all be thoughtful about it. But “often abused” does not equal “always abused,” TOWNY, and in no way are you abusing this grown-ass 24-year-old man. If your sex-positive friends give you any more grief about the age difference, give them grief about their ageism and misogyny.

On the Lovecast, we take on money AND vaginas: savagelovecast.com.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; @fakedansavage on Twitter; ITMFA.org.

Published in Savage Love

I wish I had a better question, but this is all I have: My friends and I were discussing the nuances of a straight orgy (a roughly equal number of male and female participants) versus a gang bang (one woman, many men), and we observed that there is no proper name for a one man, many women situation. The Internet tells me it’s just a “reverse gang bang,” which is a very disappointing name.

Can we please establish a new one?

Curious Nonparticipant

How does “pussy riot” grab you?

And while we’re on the subject of flipping gendered expressions: A number of years ago, I was asked to come up with a female version of “sausage fest.” Sticking with the food theme, I proposed “clam bake.” Still mystified as to why it didn’t catch on.


I was married from 28 to 36, single the last three years, and celibate most of the last couple of years. The last two years of my marriage were sexless, and I saw professionals until I was priced out. I could probably earn twice what I’m making now if I moved away, but my current job gives me the flexibility to spend afternoons with my young kids.

Last year, I had a brief relationship (that included the best sex of my life), but I ended it because I needed more “me” time. So I lack the willingness or the confidence to be in a relationship, and I don’t have the cash to see pros.

I’m not fussed by this. Should I be concerned about my celibacy?

Absolutely Not Getting Sex Today

Seeing as your celibacy is intermittent and by your own choice (You walked away from the best sex of your life for me time? What kind of mid-’90s Oprah bullshit is that?), ANGST, you’re unlikely to wind up hanging out on an “incel” forum filled with angry, violent, socially maladapted men who blame the fact that they can’t get laid on women and feminism. So long as you continue to take personal responsibility for all the sex you’re not having, there’s nothing to be concerned about.


My boyfriend and I have been together for two years. When we first got together, we had sex every day. Then it dwindled. We had major problems along the way and separated this winter. During that time, he went to another state. We got back together long-distance, and I received many letters from him saying how much he wanted to have sex with me.

He moved back two weeks ago, and we’ve had sex only twice. He used to say he wanted me to make the first move. But if he really wanted me, wouldn’t he make a move? I feel so neglected, yet he claims he loves me. Please give me some insight.

No Sex For Weeks

He says he wants sex (with you), but he doesn’t make a move. You say you want sex (with him), but you don’t make a move. So how about this: The next few times you want sex, NSFW, make a move. If he fucks you two out of three times, maybe he was telling you the truth when he said he’d like you to make the first move. If he rebuffs you every time, then he doesn’t want to have sex with you—and you’ll have to make a move to end this relationship.


I’m a youngish man who’s been in a loving relationship with an older woman for a year. The only area where the age difference comes into play is largely unspoken between us—she wants kids. All of her friends are having kids, and she’s nearing the end of her childbearing years. I’m nowhere near ready, and I sometimes question whether I want to be monogamous to any one person for life. We never discuss it, but I can tell how deeply this bothers her, and that in her ideal world, I’d be ready to start planning a future with her. I’m racked with guilt at the possibility that by the time I’m ready for that level of commitment (or, worse, by the time I realize I never will be), she’ll be biologically incapable of having kids, which is really important to her. This is all complicated by the fact that this is easily the most loving, trusting, respectful relationship I’ve ever been in.

Bond Afflicted By Years

Speak, BABY: “Look, you want kids. I’m not ready, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready. Also, I’m not sure about lifelong monogamy. If we need to part ways so you can find someone who wants the same things you do and wants them now, I’ll be devastated, but I’ll understand.”


I’m a 22-year-old woman living in Central Asia doing development work. There are 14 other expats within an hour or two of me, but eight of them are in relationships. I’ve always been the “single friend,” and normally I don’t mind. But being surrounded by couples right now has been a tax on my mental health.

I know I’m young and should be focusing on this amazing opportunity and my career, but I can’t help but feel lonely at times, especially since I can’t speak the local language well, and these 14 other people are the only ones near me who speak English. What should I do?

Single Anonymous Dame

Math. Eight of the 14 nearby English-speaking expats are in relationships. That means six nearby expats are single like you, SAD. It’s not a lot of people to choose from in real numbers, I realize, but as a percentage—40 percent of nearby expats are single—it’s statistically significant, as the social scientists say. Focus on this opportunity; focus on your career; and focus on that statistically significant number of nearby singles.


My husband and I listen to your podcast, and we’ve become a little more open about our wants and needs as a result. Anyway, on two recent occasions, he shaved his pubes. Both times, I told him it was a turnoff. Like, I literally dried up when I saw it. He said he understood, yet now he’s about to take a trip with friends, and he’s done it again—and his chest, too, this time. Assuming he’s telling the truth, and this manscaping effort is not about other women (eye roll), is it fair to me? Can I ask him to stop? Shouldn’t he want to stop if it’s a turnoff for me? Do I have to be GGG on this too?

Not Into Bald Balls

I feel your pain—but it’s not hair removal that’s an issue in my relationship, but hair growth. My husband would like to have a mustache. It’s his face (those are your husband’s balls), and he can do what he wants with his face (your husband can do what he wants with his balls). But I can do what I want with my face, and my face doesn’t touch his when there’s a mustache on it. Similarly, NIBB, you’re not obligated to touch your husband and/or his junk when he’s pubeless.

When I’m out of town, my husband will grow a mustache, and I don’t complain or temporarily unfollow him on Instagram. So long as your husband’s balls/crotch/chest are smooth only when they’re far from you, it shouldn’t be an issue in your marriage—unlike the fact that you think he might be fucking another woman (maybe one who’s into bald balls?) or thinking about fucking other women. That’s an issue you’re going to want to address.

CONFIDENTIAL TO EVERYONE IN TORONTO: You’re in my thoughts, aka atheist prayers.

On the Lovecast, a sociological study of male escorting: savagelovecast.com.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; @fakedansavage on Twitter; ITMFA.org.

Published in Savage Love

I’m an 18-year-old cis hetero girl from Australia, and I’ve been listening to your podcast and reading your column since I was 13. Thanks to you, I’m pretty open-minded about my sexuality and body. Having said that, I do have a few questions. I started watching porn from a youngish age with no real shame attached, but I have some concerns.

1. I get off really quickly to lesbian porn, but it never feels like a “good” orgasm. My guess is that subconsciously, I think it’s inauthentic and therefore degrading.

2. I really enjoy and have the best orgasms to vintage gay male porn and trans FTM porn, which seems odd to me, because I’m so far removed from the sexual acts that these kinds of porn movies portray, but I always feel satisfied after getting off to them.

3. I get off to tit-slapping videos, but it screws with me morally. I understand why I like these kinds of videos: I have quite large breasts, and I feel resentment toward them. It seems both morally wrong toward the progress I’ve made toward accepting my body and also to the message being sent about violence toward women.

Care to weigh in?

Concerned About Porn Preferences

1. There are gay men who watch straight porn, lesbians who watch gay porn, and 18-year-old hetero girls in Australia who watch lesbian porn and vintage gay porn and trans FTM porn. So many people get off watching porn that isn’t supposed to be for them—so many people fantasize about, watch and sometimes do things that aren’t supposed to be for them—that we have to view these quote/unquote transgressions as a feature of human sexuality, not a bug.

2. Lesbian porn gets you off, and vintage gay porn and trans FTM gets you off, but you feel conflicted after watching lesbian porn because it seems inauthentic. That’s understandable—a lot of so-called lesbian porn is inauthentic, in that it’s made by and for straight men and features non-lesbian women going through the lesbian motions (often with long and triggering-for-actual-lesbian fingernails). Some gay porn features gay-for-pay straight male actors, of course, but most gay porn features gay actors doing what they love; the same goes for most trans FTM porn, which is a small and mostly indie niche. I suspect your orgasms are just as good when you watch lesbian porn, CAPP, but the sense—suppressed when you were turned on, surfacing once you’re not—that the performers weren’t really enjoying themselves taints your lesbian-porn-enhanced orgasms in retrospect. The solution? Seek out lesbian porn featuring actual lesbians—authentic lesbian porn is out there. (I found a bunch with a quick Google search.)

3. We sometimes overcome the negative messaging our culture sends us about our identities or bodies only after our erotic imaginations have seized on the fears or self-loathing induced by those messages, and turned them into kinks. Take small-penis humiliation (SPH). Before a guy can ask a partner to indulge him in SPH, CAPP, he has to accept (and kind of dig) his small cock. So the acceptance is there, but the kink—a turn-on rooted in a resolved conflict—remains. It can be freeing to regard a kink like SPH or your thing for tit-slapping as a reward—as the only good thing to come out of the shitty zap the culture put on the head of a guy with a small cock or, in your case, a young woman with large breasts.

So long as we seek out other consenting adults who respect us and our bodies, we can have our kinks—even those that took root in the manure of negative cultural messaging—and our self-acceptance and self-esteem, too.


I have a deep-throating fetish. All the porn I watch is nothing but rough, sloppy blowjobs. I would love nothing more than to watch this kind of porn with my boyfriend, so we can add it the bedroom excitement, but I’m embarrassed to share this as a straight female.

How do I go about sharing a fetish I have? Do I tell him over a candlelit dinner? Do I just turn some deep-throating porn on and see what happens? Help!

Deepthroat Queen

There’s never really a bad time to tell someone they won the lottery, DQ. Over a candlelit dinner; pop in some porn; send him a singing telegram—however you decide to tell him, DQ, the odds that he’ll react negatively are pretty low. Of course, watching someone deep throat and doing it yourself are two different things, DQ. You won’t be able to go from disclosing your kink to realizing it during that candlelit dinner. Take it slow; maybe watch a few how-to videos in addition to the porn; find the positions and angles that work for you, etc., and work your way up to taking him all the way down.


I’m a 32-year-old male. I recently met a hot older woman, age 46, who has told me she finds me equally hot. I’ve always preferred older women. I just love their confidence and their comfort in their own skin. They’re just so much sexier than my age cohorts. The problem is that I take a serious interest in feminism. I think I do pretty well with the overt stuff: I don’t mansplain; I call out peers who ignore sexism; and I don’t objectify women, even when I do find them attractive. (Small steps, but steps nonetheless.) But when I see this woman, and we flirt like mad, my brain just shuts off, and all I can think about is her hot bod and the many hours I want to spend with it. However, I worry that she’s spent her whole life relying on her looks to gain validation from men, and that my brain-dead, loins-alive attraction is only perpetuating her objectification.

Is that so? Or am I just overthinking things?

Man, I Love Feminism

At the risk of dansplaining …

There’s nothing feminist about slagging off younger women to justify your attraction to older women. You like what you like, and you can own that without implying that younger women lack confidence and aren’t comfortable in their own skins. The same culture that put the zap on CAPP’s head for having large breasts—her breasts attracted unwanted attention, and she resented her breasts and now gets off on erotic images of breasts being punished (even though she now knows her breasts weren’t the problem)—put the zap on your head. Men, young and old, are supposed to be attracted to younger women. You’re not attracted to younger women; you’re attracted to older women, Instead of accepting that, you feel compelled to justify it by comparing younger women to older women and declaring—again, by implication—that there’s something wrong with younger women. You sound like one of those gay men who can’t tell you why he’s attracted to dudes without also (or only) telling you what he dislikes about women.

As for objectification, MILF: The problem with objectification is when the person doing the objectifying isn’t capable of simultaneously seeing the object of their affections as a three-dimensional human being with desires, fears and agency of their own. Technically, MILF, we are all objects—“a material thing that can be seen and touched”—but unlike, say, Fleshlights or vibrators, we feel joy and pain and have wants and needs. You can’t help being drawn to this woman’s externals; there’s a huge visual component to human attraction, and as your thing for older women demonstrates, there isn’t one universal standard of beauty.

So long as you’re can objectify someone while at the same time appreciating their full humanity—so long as you can walk that walk and chew that gum—you don’t have to feel like a bad feminist for objectifying someone. (Particularly when that someone is clearly objectifying you!)

On the Lovecast—Finally! Porn that makes consent SEXY: savagelovecast.com.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; @FakeDanSavage on Twitter; ITMFA.org.

Published in Savage Love

The French have always enjoyed a reputation for being much more blasé about matters of amour than Americans, yet the election of new French President Emmanuel Macron, 39, has been accompanied by publicity on his wife, Brigitte—and the fact that she’s 64 and his former high school teacher.

Older men with younger women, too often called “trophy wives,” have long been socially accepted with a wink and a nod, while older women with younger men are derogatorily called “cougars,” with varying degrees of disapproval. Celebrities like Cher, Demi Moore and Madonna have brought these relationships to the forefront, all too often with tongue-in-cheek negativity—but the presumption of sex as the key attraction is particularly demeaning to older women in serious relationships with younger men.

Social acceptance can be a big factor. Cindy Gallop, a web entrepreneur, points to sexism. “It makes people very uncomfortable … to see the gender equation reversed,” she recently told The New York Times. “Out there in the world are many, many younger men who would love to date older women, but would never do anything about it because there’s this appalling societal double standard.”

When such couples do come together, what challenges, beyond social acceptance, do they face?

June Pariano, a La Quinta resident, is married to Chuck, 6 1/2 years her junior. “We’ve been married 23 years this July,” she says, “and we were together about four years before that. I was divorced when Chuck came to work in the same company. I never dated people I worked with, but he was a very good salesman!

“Men’s roles are different now than they were when I was growing up,” says June. “When I was a teenager, I would never have thought of dating a man six years younger, but as you get older, it doesn’t make that much difference.”

Pam, also a resident of La Quinta (who asked not to use her last name), was married to a man 15 years younger. “I was divorced with grown kids when we met; I was 42, and he was ‘almost 30,’” she says. “I never noticed any problems about acceptance by any of our friends, but his family had some trouble with the fact that I was divorced with children.

“Things that mattered to me culturally were not the norm for him, because he grew up in a different era. He had come up during the ’70s, when men came to believe they shouldn’t do anything for women, even like holding doors open. Also, he had no experience with having children, and that was a big difference in our world view. On ordinary things, we were compatible, but our differences went beyond choices in music or what television shows to watch. For example, I often had difficulty relating to his friends, because they had such limited experience compared to me. We didn’t have much in common.

“I must admit our age difference mattered to me more than it did to him in the beginning. It bothered me sometimes that he was so young-looking!” she laughs.

For June, the awareness of her 6-year age difference with Chuck became apparent when they were dating. “I didn’t really know he was that much younger,” she says, “but we were at a baseball game, and they were playing music on the loudspeakers. I asked him to guess the year that song was a big hit, and when I told him, he replied with, ‘I was only 12 years old then.’ I couldn’t believe it!”

I’ve been dating a man six years younger for almost six years. Our age disparity hits me when we discuss our different music tastes and cultural references. My younger brother is my guy’s age. While I was into anti-war protests, my brother was in the Air Force in Vietnam; my music was ’70s rock, folk and jazz, while my brother was into Elvis. With my guy and me, it’s often the choice of Bob Dylan and the Stones versus Paul McCartney and Diane Schuur, or Toy Story versus Trainspotting.

June notes: “Sometimes people kiddingly say I’m ‘robbing the cradle,’ and yet they take for granted that for men, it’s often the case that when their wives reach a certain age, it’s time to get rid of them and get a younger one. There’s still a double standard.”

Pam sums it up thusly: “The differences go beyond whether our choices of music or TV are compatible. Our values were based on different eras. There were no ‘cougars’ back then, but I’m not sure society has changed all that much about what is considered ‘normal.’”

The French president’s marriage was dissected in The Daily Mail, with a newspaper column portraying Macron as a “mummy’s boy” who needs his wife to wipe his mouth and smack him for misbehaving. Ms. Macron was called a “menopausal Barbie,” and he was referred to as “teacher’s pet.”

Here in the U.S., Match.com funded a survey of more than 5,000 U.S. singles and found that 26 percent of women were open to dating men at least 10 years younger. According to Match’s Helen Fisher, “Men want a companion, and we are seeing the rise of women as intellectual partners, as sexual partners, as soul partners.”

If even the French haven’t evolved to the point where ridicule is not an appropriate response to an older woman-younger man relationship, is there hope that in the United States, we are beyond such stereotyping? Alas, not yet.

Anita Rufus is also known as “The Lovable Liberal,” and her radio show airs Sundays at noon on KNews Radio 94.3 FM. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Know Your Neighbors appears every other Wednesday.

Published in Know Your Neighbors