CVIndependent

Tue07142020

Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

I’m a 42-year-old single, straight female who recently started dating a 36-year-old man in a somewhat exclusive, long-distance relationship. We have known each other for a short time, but have clocked hours upon hours on the phone.

I have specifically stated many times I don’t want kids of my own (he does), am extremely safety conscious (only when I see someone’s STI results and know we’re 100 percent monogamous will I go “bareback”), and am against hormonal contraception. Therefore, I’ve insisted on the use of condoms since our very first encounter, which he at first reluctantly agreed to, but has since obliged without incident. He is expressively into me and treats me better than any guy I’ve dated; he cooks for me, gives me massages, buys me gifts, showers me with compliments, listens to me at any hour of the night, and has shown nothing but respect toward me since Day 1.

Until our last sexual encounter. He woke me up in the morning clearly aroused and ready for sexy time. He asked if he could enter me, and after I said yes, I grabbed a condom for him, and he put it on. We were spooning at the time, so he entered me from behind. At one point early in the encounter, I reached back to grab his hand, and all of a sudden, I felt the condom he had been wearing laid out on the bed. Shocked and outraged, I immediately stopped and turned to him, asking, “Why did you take this off?” To which he replied, “Because I wanted to cum faster.” All I could muster back was, “Do you have any idea how bad that is? I can’t even look at you.” I covered my eyes and cried uncontrollably for a few minutes.

After getting dressed, showering and exiting without a word, I started to process the atrocity of his actions. It’s clear that he does not respect me, my body, my health or my reproductive choices, and made his physical pleasure his top priority. He has apologized profusely, has been emotional about his actions, and has definite remorse. After sending him several articles on how it’s criminal (including the one about the German man who got eight months in jail for stealthing), he now seems to grasp the severity.

It’s hard to reconcile his consistent respect for me with a bold and disrespectful act like this. The best case is that he’s a dumbass; the worst is that his respect and care for me is all a façade, and I’ve been a fool. Is there any reason I should consider continuing to see this guy? Is it remotely forgivable?

Stealthed On Suddenly

Nope.

Someone is probably gonna jump into the comments thread to make the obvious (and objectively true) point that anything is forgivable. People have forgiven worse—I mean, there are mothers out there who’ve forgiven the people that murdered their children. But moms who’ve found it within themselves to forgive their children’s murderers … yeah, they don’t have to live with, take meals with or sleep with their children’s murderers. I’m not saying that forgiving the person who murdered your kid is easy (I wouldn’t be able to do it), but most people who’ve “forgiven worse” never have to lay eyes on the person they forgave again.

So while it may be true that people have forgiven worse, SOS, I don’t think you should forgive this. And here’s why: You only just started dating this guy, and all the good qualities you listed—everything that made him seem like a good, decent, lovely and possibly loving guy (the cooking, the massages, the compliments, etc.)—make up the kind of best-foot-forward fronting a person does at the start of a new relationship. Not only is there nothing wrong with that, SOS; you wouldn’t want to date someone who didn’t do that at the start … because the kind of person who doesn’t make the effort to impress early in a relationship is the kind of person who can’t be bothered to make any effort later in the relationship. We all erect those façades, SOS, but some people are slapping those façades on slums you wouldn’t wanna live in, while others are slapping them on what turns out to be pretty decent housing. And if I may continue to torture this metaphor: When the first cracks appear in the façade, which they inevitably do, and you get a peek behind it, you aren’t a fool if it turns out there’s a slum there. You’re only a fool if you move in instead of moving on.

Anyway, SOS, everybody fronts, but eventually those façades fall away, and you get to see people for who and what they really are. And the collapse of your new boyfriend’s façade revealed him to be a selfish and uncaring asshole with no respect for your body or your boundaries. He was on his best behavior until he sensed your guard was down, at which point he violated and sexually assaulted you. Those aren’t flaws you can learn to live with or actions you can excuse. Move on.


I am a 27-year-old man in an open marriage with a wonderful partner. They’re my best friend; I smile whenever they walk into the room; and we have a ton in common. We don’t, however, have that much sex.

I’m currently seeing someone else, and our sex is great. We’ve explored some light BDSM and pegging, and I’m finding myself really enjoying being a sub. I’m kind of terrified that, as a man, I might accidentally violate someone’s boundaries. I’m also autistic, which makes navigating cues from partners rather difficult. Completely submitting to someone else weirdly makes me feel totally safe and free for kind of the first time.

The problem is: My spouse is also pretty subby. When they do try to initiate sex, it’s often so subtle that I totally miss the signals. In the past month, I’ve had sex with my spouse maybe once, compared to four or five times with my other partner.

My question is this: Have you seen examples of people in open marriages who essentially fulfill their sexual needs with secondary partners, while still maintaining a happy companionable partnership with their primary?

Sexually Understanding Butt-Boy

I’ve personally known people in loving, happy, sexless marriages who aren’t leading sexless lives; their marriages are companionate—some can even be described as passionate—but both halves seek sexual fulfillment with secondary, tertiary, quaternary, etc., partners. But companionate open marriages only work when it’s what both partners want … and your partner’s feelings are conspicuously absent from your letter.

How do they feel about being in a sexless or nearly sexless marriage? Your spouse would seem to be interested in having sex with you—they occasionally try to initiate—but perhaps your spouse is just going through the motions, because they think it’s what you want. So … you’re gonna need to have a conversation with your spouse about your sex lives. If you’ve found being told what to do in unsubtle ways by your Dominant second partner to be sexually liberating, SUBB, you could ask your spouse to be a little less subtle when they want initiate—or, better yet, ask them not to be subtle at all. Nowhere is it written that subs like you and your spouse need to be subtle or sly or stand there waiting for others to initiate. “I am feeling horny and I’d really like to have sex tonight” is something submissives can and do say.

Hey, Everybody: The deadline is right around the corner to submit short films—five minutes or less—to HUMP!, my dirty little film festival! Your HUMP! film can be hardcore, softcore, live-action, animated, kinky, vanilla, gay, straight, lesbian, trans, enby: Everyone and everything is welcome in HUMP! And HUMP! films are only screened in theaters—we don’t release anything online—so you can be a porn star in a movie theater for a weekend without having to be a porn star for eternity on the internet! The deadline to submit your film is Sept. 13! Go to humpfilmfest.com to find out more about entering HUMP!

On the Lovecast—Some medical causes for excessive horniness: savagelovecast.com.

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I’m a woman who married young (21), and I’ve been with my husband for seven years. Within the last year, I’ve realized that my falling libido probably comes from the fact that I am not turned-on by our boring vanilla sex routine. I get so little fulfillment that I’d rather not even do it. I’ve tried talking to him, but he says he prefers sex without foreplay or a lot of “complicated stuff.”

I had some great casual sex before we met, but it turns out I’m into BDSM, which I found out when I recently had a short affair. I’ve kept the secret and guilt to myself, but I have told my husband I’m into BDSM. He wants to make me happy, but I can tell he isn’t turned on doing these things. He denies it, because he’s just happy to have sex at all—but a butt plug and a slap on the ass do not a Dom make. I’ve tried to ask him if we can open up our relationship so that I can live out my fantasies. I would like to go to a BDSM club, and he isn’t interested at all. He was very upset and said he’s afraid of losing me if we go. He also felt like I was giving him an ultimatum. I told him he was allowed to say no, and that I wouldn’t leave if he did.

When I was younger, I thought there was something wrong with me, because everyone else wanted monogamy, but it never seemed important to me. I’m not a jealous person, and I wouldn’t mind if he had sex with other people. In fact, the thought of it turns me on, but he says he isn’t interested.

I know he loves me, and I love him. At this point, my only solution has been to suppress this urge to have BDSM sex, but I don’t know if it is a good long-term solution. What should I do? Keep my fantasies to myself? Have another affair or ask him to have an open relationship again? We have a 3-year-old daughter, so I have to make our relationship work.

Want The Hard Truth

Two quick points before I bring out the big guns: First, marrying young is a bad idea. The younger two people are when they marry, according to a veritable mountain of research, the likelier they are to divorce. It makes intuitive sense: The rational part of the brain—the prefrontal cortex—isn’t fully formed until age 25. We shouldn’t be picking out wallpaper in our early 20s, WTHT, much less life partners. And second, basic sexual compatibility (BSC) is crucial to the success of sexually exclusive relationships, and it’s a bad idea to scramble your DNA together with someone else’s before BSC has been established.

And with that out of the way …

“WTHT might be surprised to hear she is just a normal woman being a normal woman,” said Wednesday Martin, New York Times best-selling author, cultural critic and researcher. “Like a normal human woman, she is bored after seven years of monogamous sex that isn’t even her kind of sex.”

You mentioned that you used to feel like there was something wrong with you, WTHT, but just in case you have any lingering “what’s wrong with me!” feelings, you’re gonna want to read Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust and Infidelity Is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free, Martin’s most recent book.

“We know from recent longitudinal studies from Germany, Finland, the U.S., the United Kingdom and Canada that among women only, relationship duration and living together predict lower desire/boredom,” said Martin. “In fact, the Finnish study found that even when they had more/better orgasms, women in monogamous relationships of several years’ duration reported low desire.” A straight man’s desire for his long-term, live-in female partner also decreases over time, but nowhere near as drastically as a woman’s does. “Contrary to what we’ve been taught, monogamy kills it for women, in the aggregate, more than it does for men,” said Martin.

So that’s what we know now—that’s what the research shows—but very few people in the sex-advice-industrial complex have wrestled with the implications. Most advice professionals, from the lowliest advice columnist to the most exalted daytime TV star, have chosen to ignore the research. They continue to tell unhappily sexless couples that they’re either doing something wrong or that they’re broken. If he would just do his fair share of the housework or if she would just have a glass of wine—or pop a “female Viagra,” if big pharma could come up with one that works, which (spoiler alert) they never will—they’d be fucking like they did the night they met. Not only isn’t this advice helpful; it’s harmful: He does more housework; she drinks more wine; nothing changes; and the couple feels like there’s something wrong with them. In reality, nothing’s wrong. It’s not about a more equitable division of housework (always good!) or drinking more wine (also but not always good!); it’s about the desire for novelty, variety and adventure.

Zooming in for a second: The big issue here is that you got bored. No foreplay? Nothing complicated? Even if you were 100 percent vanilla, that shit would get tedious after a few years. Or minutes. After risking your marriage to treat your boredom (the affair), you asked your husband to shake things up—to fight sexual boredom with you—by incorporating BDSM into your sex life, by going to BDSM clubs, and by at least considering the possibility of opening up your marriage. (Ethically this time.) And while he’s made a small effort where BDSM is concerned (butt plugs, slapping your ass), your husband ruled out BDSM clubs and openness. But since he’s only going through the BDSM motions because he’s just “happy to have sex at all,” what he is doing isn’t working for you. And it’s probably not working for him, either.

At bottom, WTHT, what you’re saying—to me, if not to your husband—is that you’re gonna need to do BDSM with other people if your husband doesn’t get better at it, which is something he might learn to do at the BDSM club he refuses to go to. Which means he has it backwards: He risks losing you if he doesn’t go.

“She once put her marriage at risk to get BDSM,” said Martin. “WTHT’s husband doesn’t need to know about the affair, in my view, and he doesn’t need to become the world’s best Dom. But he owes her acknowledgment that her desires matter. Get to that baseline, and other things tend to fall into place more easily. The discussion about monogamy becomes easier. The discussion about needing to be topped becomes easier. Working out a solution becomes easier.”

I’m not suggesting that an open relationship is the solution for every bored couple, and neither is Martin. There are lots of legitimate reasons why two people might prefer for their relationship to be or remain monogamous. But two people who commit to being sexually exclusive for the rest of their lives and at the same time wanna maintain a satisfying sex life—and, open or closed, couples with satisfying sex lives are likelier to stay together—need to recognize that boredom is their mortal enemy. And while the decision should be mutual, and while “ultimatum” is a scary word, in some instances, bringing in reinforcements isn’t just the best way to fight boredom; it’s the only way to save the relationship.

A couple of weeks back, I told a frustrated husband that his cuckolding kink may have to be put on the back burner while his children are young. The same goes for you, WTHT. But at the very least, your husband has to recognize the validity of your desires and put more effort into pleasing you.

“In straight culture, people tend to define sex as intercourse, because intercourse is what gets men off, and we still privilege male pleasure,” said Martin. “But seen through a lens of parity, what WTHT wants is not ‘foreplay’ or ‘complicated stuff.’ It’s sex, and the sooner her husband lets go of this intercourse = sex fetish of his, and acknowledges that her pleasure matters as much as his does, the sooner he’ll be a real partner to his wife.”

For the record: A relationship doesn’t have to be open to be exciting; BDSM doesn’t have to be crazy complicated to be satisfying; and date night doesn’t have to mean dinner and a movie. Date night can mean a visit to a BDSM club where your husband can learn, through observation alone (at least for now), how to be a better Dom.

You can find Wednesday Martin on Twitter @WednesdayMartin. You can find her books, blog posts, videos, and more at wednesdaymartin.com.

On the Lovecast—All Hail Satan! with Satanic Temple founder Lucien Greaves: savagelovecast.com.

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I’m an early-30s hetero woman in a monogamous relationship with my mid-30s hetero guy. We’ve been together 10 years, married seven, no kids. We have a lot of fun—traveling, shared hobbies, mutual friends, etc. We have sex fairly regularly, and it’s not bad.

However, his primary sexual fetish and main turn-on is furry porn—namely, cartoon images. He doesn’t self-identify as a furry; he doesn’t have a fursuit or fursona. To his credit, he was up front about this with me once we started getting serious. However, I think at that younger age, I conflated the emotional openness and acceptance of his sexuality with actually being satisfied with the sexual component of our relationship. He seems only marginally attracted to me, and it bums me out that his more-intense sexual drives are funneled into furry porn. I feel somewhat helpless, as his fetish doesn’t allow me to meet him halfway. Real-life furry action (fursuits and the like) does not interest him. (I’ve offered.) We have sex regularly, but I always initiate, and his enthusiasm is middling until we get going, at which point I think we both enjoy ourselves. But I’ve found that this turns into a negative feedback loop, where his lack of initial interest leads to me being less attracted to him, and so on.

I consider myself a fairly sexual person, and I get a lot of pleasure out of being desired. We’re talking about starting a family, and I’m scared that the pressures that come with parenthood would only make this worse.

Fretting Under Relationship Shortcomings

Nothing I write is going to fix this—and nothing I write is going to fix him, FURS, not that your husband is broken. He is who he is, and he had the decency to let you know who he was before you married him. But nothing I write is going to put you at the center of your husband’s erotic inner life. Nothing I write is going to inspire him to initiate more (or at all) or cause him to be more enthusiastic about sex. Nothing I write is going to make your husband want you the way you want to be wanted, desire you the way you want to be desired, and fuck you the way you want to be fucked.

So the question you need to ask yourself before you make babies with this man—the question I would have urged you to ask yourself before you married this man—is whether you can live without the pleasure you get from being desired. Is that the price of admission you’re willing to pay to be with this man? Maybe it once was, but is it still? Because if monogamy is what you want or what he wants or what you both want, FURS, then choosing to be with this man—choosing to be with someone you enjoy spending time with, who’s “not bad” at sex, whose most passionate erotic interests direct him away from you—means going without the pleasure of being wanted the way you want to be wanted, desired the way you want to be desired, and fucked the way you want to be fucked.

Your husband was up front with you about his sexuality before you got married. Everyone should be, of course, but so few people are—particularly people who have been made to feel ashamed of their sexuality or their fetishes or both—that we’re inclined to heap praise on people who manage to clear what should be a low bar. At the time, you mistook “emotional openness” and your willingness to accept his sexuality for both sexual compatibility and sexual satisfaction. I think you owe it to yourself to be up front with your husband before you have kids. He’s getting a good deal here—decent sex with the wife and the freedom to take care of needs his wife can’t meet. And you’re free to ask for a similar deal—decent sex with your husband and the freedom to take care of needs your husband can’t meet.

There’s a far greater degree of risk involved in you going outside the relationship to feel desired, of course; you seeing another man or men comes bundled with emotional and physical risks that wanking to furry porn does not. This isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison. But if your shared goal as a couple is mutual sexual fulfillment—and that should be every couple’s goal—and if you want to avoid becoming so frustrated that you make a conscious decision to end your marriage (or a subconscious decision to sabotage it), FURS, then opening up the relationship needs to be a part of the discussion.


Please discuss cuckolding in all its forms, and also all of the emotional risks and potential sexual rewards.

A Potential Cuckoldress

It would take two years’ worth of columns—even more—to discuss cuckolding in all its forms, unpack all the risks, and game out all the potential rewards. Since I can’t possibly do that, APC, I’m going to send you to Keys and Anklets (keysandanklets.com), a terrific podcast dedicated to “the cuckold and hotwife lifestyle.” The host, Michael C., is engaging, funny and wise, and his interviews with cuck couples and bulls are incredibly illuminating. If you’re considering entering into a cuckold relationship, you’ll definitely want to start listening to Keys and Anklets.


I’m a 20-something woman engaged to a wonderful 20-something man. I’m the kinky one. I’ve dabbled in BDSM and definitely have a taste for pain and degradation. My boyfriend, meanwhile, considers himself a feminist and struggles with degrading me. I’ve been very patient and settled for very vanilla sex for a couple of years now. However, every now and then, he’ll joke about peeing on me when we shower together. I’m curious about watersports and would totally give it a try! I’ve tried to get more information from him on where these jokes are coming from, but he always changes the subject. And recently when I tried to make a joke back, I said the absolute wrong thing: “OK, R. Kelly, settle down.” This was right before we watched Surviving R. Kelly. I’m afraid that joke may have sent any potential watersports play down the toilet. (Pun intended!)

Any advice on how to get him to open up the next time he makes one of these jokes?

Wants A Totally Exciting Relationship

You might want to reread the first letter in this week’s column, WATER, and then dig into the Savage Love archives and check out the thousands of letters I’ve responded to from people who failed to establish basic sexual compatibility before marrying their partners. Settling down requires some settling for, of course, and everyone winds up paying the price of admission. But sexual compatibility is something you want to establish before the wedding, not after.

At the very least, WATER, don’t marry a man to whom you can’t make simple observations about sex and ask simple questions about sex. Like this statement/question/statement combo: “You joke about peeing on me, and I want to know if you would actually like to pee on me, because I would like to be peed on.”

Pissing on you doesn’t make him R. Kelly, a man who has been credibly accused of raping underage girls, and sexually and emotionally abusing—even imprisoning—adult women. If R. Kelly had raped numerous women and girls in the missionary position, WATER, all the other men out there who enjoy sex in the missionary position don’t become rapists by default. Where there is consent—enthusiastic consent—then it, whatever it is (missionary position sex, peeing on a partner), isn’t abusive. Sex play involving pain or degradation often requires more detailed conversations about consent, of course, but jokes and hints are a shitty way to negotiate consent for any kind of sex. Always go with unambiguous statements (“I would like to be peed on”) and direct questions (“Would you like to pee on me?”).

On the Lovecast, a case against Grindr for online harassment: 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

Savage Love Live at Denver’s Oriental Theater last week was epic. I fielded sex questions in front of a sold-out crowd; singer-songwriter Rachel Lark performed amazing news songs; comedian Elise Kerns absolutely killed it; and Tye—a token straight guy plucked at random from the audience—joined us onstage and gave some pretty great sex advice!

We couldn’t get to all the audience questions during the show, so I’m going to race through as many unanswered questions as I can in this week’s column …

You’ve famously said, “Oral comes standard.” How long before anal comes standard?

How does a week from next Tuesday grab you?


I enjoyed a great sex life with many kinky adventures until my husband died suddenly two years ago. I have insurance money and a house to sell and a dream of using the proceeds to become a sex-positive therapist. Crazy idea? Or something the world needs more of?

Judging by how many people tell me they’re having a hard time finding sex-positive, kink-positive, open-positive and poly-positive therapists, I would definitely file “sex-positive therapist” under “world needs more of.” Chase that dream!


How do you introduce your inexperienced-but-willing-to-try partner to BDSM?

By starting a two-person book club. Order Playing Well With Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring, and Navigating the Kink, Leather, and BDSM Communities by Lee Harington and Mollena Williams; The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play, and the Erotic Edge edited by Tristan Taormino; and SM 101: A Realistic Introduction by Jay Wiseman. Read and discuss, and discuss some more—and when you’re ready to start playing, take it slow!


What resources are available—which do you recommend—to share with my male partner so he can improve (learn) oral sex? (Girl oral sex!)

Two more book recommendations: The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus: How to Go Down on a Woman and Give Her Exquisite Pleasure by Violet Blue; and She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman by Ian Kerner.


My boyfriend told me that women orgasm only 60 percent of the time compared to men. I said I want orgasm equity. How do I navigate his pansy-assed male ego to find a solution?

The orgasm gap—91 percent of men reported climaxing in their last opposite-sex sexual encounter, compared to 64 percent of women (so says the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior)—doesn’t exist for lesbians and bi women in same-sex relationships. So the problem isn’t women and their elusive orgasms; it’s men and their lazy-ass bullshit. A contributing factor is that women often have a hard time advocating for their own pleasure, because they’ve been socialized to defer to men. There’s evidence of that in your question: You want to navigate this problem—the problem being a selfish boyfriend who doesn’t care enough about you to prioritize your pleasure, who has taken cover behind the orgasm gap—but you want to spare his ego in the process. Well, fuck his precious ego. Tell him what you want, and show him what it takes to get you off. If he refuses to do his part to close the orgasm gap in your apartment, show him the door.


How do you prioritize sex with your partner when life gets so busy, and masturbation is so much easier? My fiancé is down for quickies sometimes but not always.

Forgive my tautology, but you prioritize sex by prioritizing sex. Scheduled sex can be awesome sex—and when you’re truly pressed for time, you can always masturbate together.


How do I come out to my family as a stripper? I’ve been dancing for more than two years and don’t plan to stop. Some of my family members are biased against sex workers, but I’m tired of keeping up the façade. (I told them I’m a bartender.)

It’s a catch-22: People are afraid to come out to their closed-minded families as queer or poly or sex workers or atheists, but closed-minded families typically don’t open their minds until after their queer or poly or sex working or nonbelieving kids come out to them. To open their minds, you’ll have to risk blowing their minds first. Tell them your truth, and stand your ground.


I keep having sex dreams about Kanye West. What does that mean?

You’re Mike Pence.


Am I doing society a disservice by dating an international drug dealer?

A sexually frustrated international drug dealer is arguably more dangerous than a sexually satisfied international drug dealer—so you may be doing society a service.


Can I want to be monogamous without any reasoning? My boyfriend would prefer to be in an open relationship, but I’m not interested for no reason in particular.

Speaking with a low-information voter is frustrating, because they can’t tell you why they voted for someone; speaking with a low-information fucker—someone who can’t tell you why they’re doing/screwing what they’re doing/screwing—is just as frustrating. It’s even more frustrating when the low-information/low-self-awareness fucker happens to be the person you’re fucking. It’s fine to want what you want—because of course it is—but you need to be able to share your reasons.


I dated a guy who said he was in an open relationship. We started working together on a podcast. I got irritated because after two months, he never did any preliminary research. When I pointed that out, he deleted all our work and blocked me on FB. Now he’s asking for some stuff he left at my place. Do I give it back?

Yep. As tempting as it might be to hold on to his stuff or trash it, that just keeps this drama alive. If you keep his stuff, he’ll keep after you for it. If you trash his stuff, you’ll have to worry about the situation escalating. If you want him out of your life and out of your head, put his crap in a bag; set it on your porch or leave it with a neutral third party; and tell him when he can swing by and get it.


How clean should a bottom be? A little bit of shit is kinda expected, isn’t it? I mean, you are fucking an ass, right?

My expectations for sterling silver, crystal stemware and fuckable ass are the same: I want it sparkling.

Zooming out: One doesn’t have anal sex with an ass full of shit for the same reason one doesn’t have oral sex with a mouth full of food—it’s going to make a mess. Making sure your mouth is empty is easy, of course, but it’s not that difficult to empty or clean out an ass. Also, a good, fiber-rich diet empties and cleans out the ass naturally. Yes, you are fucking an ass, and shit sometimes happens. The top shouldn’t poop-shame the bottom when it does happen, and the bottom doesn’t need to have a meltdown. It just means you need to pivot to some other sexual activity—after a quick cleanup restores the sparkle.

On the Lovecast: A study of asphyxiation. Spoiler: Don’t do it. Listen at savagelovecast.com.

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I’m an 18-year-old female. I’m cisgender and bisexual. I’ve been in a monogamous relationship with my cisgender bisexual boyfriend for about a year.

I’m currently struggling with a lot of internalized biphobia and other hang-ups about my boyfriend’s sexuality. I don’t know if I’m projecting my own issues onto him or if I’m just being bigoted towards bi men, but either way, I feel truly awful about it. But when I think about the fact that he’s bi and is attracted to men, I become jealous and fearful that he will leave me for a man, or that he would rather be with a man. (I’ve been with men and women in the past; he’s never been with a man.) I know it is unfair of me to feel this way, and he’s never given me any real reason to fear this. We have a very engaged, kinky and rewarding sex life! But I worry I’m not what he really wants.

This situation is complicated by the near certainty that my boyfriend has some sort of hormonal disorder. He has a very young face for an 18-year-old, a feminine figure, and not a lot of body hair. He orgasms but he does not ejaculate; and although he has a sizable penis, his testicles are more like the size of grapes than eggs. He struggles a lot with feeling abnormal and un-masculine. I try to be as supportive as possible and tell him how attracted to him I am, and how he’ll get through whatever this is. But he can tell his bi-ness makes me nervous and uncomfortable. I think that because he appears more feminine than most men and is more often hit on by men than women, I worry that he would feel more comfortable or “normal” with a man.

I don’t want to contribute to him feeling abnormal or bad about himself. How do I stop worrying that he’s gay or would be happier with a man? I feel horrible about myself for these anxieties considering that I’m bi, too, and should know better.

Anonymous Nervous Girlfriend Seeks Tranquility

“Many people who encounter us Bi+ folk in the wild just project their insecurities onto us with impunity and then blame us for it,” said RJ Aguiar, a bisexual activist and content creator whose work has been featured on Buzzfeed, HuffPo, Queerty and other sites. “As someone who’s bi herself, I’m sure ANGST knows this all too well.”

So if you’ve been on the receiving end of biphobia—as almost all bisexual people have—why are you doing it to your bisexual boyfriend?

“This hypothetical so-and-so-is-going-to-leave-me-for-someone-hotter scenario could happen to anyone of any orientation,” said Aguiar. “But maybe because the potential ‘pool of applicants’ is over twice as big for us Bi+ folk, we get stuck with twice as much of this irrational fear? I don’t know. But here’s what I do know: Most Biphobia (and jealousy for that matter) is projected insecurity. Built into the fear that someone will leave you because they ‘like x or y better’ is the assumption that you yourself aren’t good enough.”

And while feelings of insecurity and jealousy can undermine a relationship, ANGST, they don’t have to. It all depends on how you address them when they arise.

“We all have our moments!” said Aguiar. “But we can turn these moments into opportunities for open communication and intimacy rather than moments of isolation and shame. That way, they end up bringing you closer, rather than driving this invisible wedge between you. The key is to understand that feelings aren’t always rational. But if we can share those feelings with the person we love without fear of judgment or reprisal, it can help create a space of comfort and intimacy that no piece of ass will ever be able to compete with—no matter how hot they are or what they may or may not have between their legs.”

As for the reasons you’re feeling insecure—your boyfriend might be gay and/or happier with a man—I’m not going to lie to you, ANGST: Your boyfriend could be gay (some people who aren’t bisexual identify as bi before coming out as gay or lesbian), and/or he could one day realize that he’d be happier with a man (just as you could one day realize that you’d be happier with a woman). But your wonderful sex life—your engaging, kinky, rewarding sex life—is pretty good evidence that your boyfriend isn’t gay. (I was one of those guys who identified as bi before coming out as gay, ANGST, and I had girlfriends—and the sex we had was far from wonderful.)

And now I’m going tell you something you no doubt already know: Very few people wind up spending their lives with the person they were dating at 18. You and your boyfriend are both in the process of figuring out who you are and what you want. It’s possible he’ll realize you’re not the person he wants to be with, ANGST, but it’s also possible you’ll realize he’s not the person you want to be with. Stop worrying about the next six or seven decades of your life—stop worrying about forever—and enjoy this time and this boy and this relationship for however long it lasts.

Finally, ANGST, on the off chance your boyfriend hasn’t spoken to a doctor about his symptoms—because he’s an uninsured/underinsured/unlucky American, or because he’s been too embarrassed to bring up the size of his balls and quality of ejaculations with his parents and/or doctor—I shared your letter with Dr. John Amory, professor of medicine at the University of Washington.

“An 18-year-old male with testicles the ‘size of grapes’ indicates an issue with testicular development,” said Dr. Amory. “The reduced testicular volume, in combination with the other features such as his feminine face and sparse body hair, also suggest an issue with testicular function.”

It could simply be delayed puberty—some people suddenly grow six inches when they get to college—or it could be something called Klinefelter syndrome.

“Klinefelter syndrome occurs in one out of every 500 males and is associated with small testicular volume and decreased testosterone,” said Dr. Amory. “This diagnosis is frequently missed because the penis is normal in size and the men are normal in most other ways, although about half of the men with Klinefelter syndrome (KS) can have breast enlargement (gynecomastia) that can be seen as feminizing. Bottom line: Small testes at age 18 means it’s time for a doctor’s visit—probably an endocrinologist or urologist—to take a family history, do an examination, and consider measurement of testosterone and some other hormones. This should help him understand if he ‘just needs to wait’ or if he has a diagnosis that could be treated. There is a real possibility that he has KS, which is usually treated with testosterone to improve muscle mass, bone density and sexual function.”

Follow RJ Aguiar on Twitter @rj4gui4r.


I’m a 27-year-old woman whose boyfriend recently broke up with her. Along with the usual feelings of grief and heartbreak, I’m feeling a lot of guilt about how I handled our sex life, which was one of the main issues in our breakup. My now ex-boyfriend was interested in BDSM and a kink-oriented lifestyle, and I experimented with that for him. I attended several play parties, went to a five-day-long kink camp with him, and tried out many of his BDSM fantasies. The problem became that, hard as I tried, I just wasn’t very interested in that lifestyle, and parts of it made me very uncomfortable. I was game to do the lighter stuff (spanking, bondage), but just couldn’t get behind the more extreme things. I disappointed him because I “went along with it” only to decide I wasn’t into it, and I unfairly represented my interest in his lifestyle.

Did I do something wrong? What should I have done?

Basically A Little Kinky

All you’re guilty of doing, BALK, is exactly what kinksters everywhere hope their vanilla partners will do. You gave it a try—you were good, giving and game enough to explore BDSM with and for him—and sometimes that works, e.g. someone who always thought of themselves as vanilla goes to a play party or a five-day-long kink camp and suddenly realizes, hey, I’m pretty kinky, too! But it doesn’t always work. Since the alternative to “went along with it” was “never gave it a chance,” BALK, your ex-boyfriend should be giving you credit for trying, not grief for supposedly misleading him.

On the Lovecast: Dan chats with rival advice columnist Roxane Gay: savagelovecast.com.

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How does one get into the gay BDSM bottoming and leather scene?

Seeking Answers Concerning Kink

One shows up, SACK.

“Eighty percent of success is just showing up,” someone or other once said. The adage applies to romantic/sexual success as well as professional success, SACK, but showing up easily accounts for 90 percent of success in the BDSM/leather/fetish scene. (Being a decent human being accounts for the other 110 percent*.) Because if you aren’t showing up in kink spaces—online or IRL—your fellow kinksters won’t be able to find or bind you. But you don’t have to take my word for it.

“The leather scene is a diverse place with tons of outlets and avenues, depending on how you navigate your life and learn,” said Amp from Watts the Safeword (wattsthesafeword.com), a kink and sex-ed website and YouTube channel. “When I was first getting started, I found a local leather contingent that held monthly bar nights and discussion groups that taught classes for kinksters at any level. It provided an easy way into the community, and it helped me meet new people, make new friends, and find trustworthy play partners. If you’re a tad shy and work better online, these contingents have Facebook groups or FetLife pages you can join. And YouTube has a channel for everyone in the kink spectrum, from gay to straight to trans to nonbinary and beyond!”

More advice: “Recon.com is a great option for gay men,” said Metal from the gay male bondage website MetalbondNYC.com. “It’s a site where you can create a profile, window-shop for a play buddy, and ‘check his references.’ Even better, if you can, go to a public event like IML, MAL or CLAW, or to a play party like the New York Bondage Club, where you can participate in a monitored space with other people around, or just watch the action. Don’t forget the motto ‘safe, sane and consensual,’ and be sure to have a safe word! And if you do want to explore bondage, take precautions. Never get tied up in your own home by someone you don’t know. If you go to his or her place, always tell a trusted friend where you are going. And when hooking up online, never use Craigslist.”

Yet more advice: “Be cautious,” said Ruff of Ruff’s Stuff blog. “There are people out there who view ‘kink newbies’ as prey. Anytime anyone—top or bottom—wants to rush into a power-exchange scene, that’s a red flag. Always get to know a person first. A good-quality connection with any potential playmate is achieved only through communication. If they are not interested in doing the legwork, they’re not the right person for you.”

Follow Metal on Twitter @MetalbondNYC; follow Amp @Pup_Amp; and follow Ruff @RuffsStuffBlog.


I’m a 28-year-old bi-curious female, and I ended a three-year straight LTR a month ago. It’s been tough—my ex is a great guy, and causing him pain has been a loss on top of my own loss, but I know I did the right thing. Among other things, our sex life was bland, and we had infrequent sex, at best. Now I want to experiment, explore nonmonogamy, and have crazy and fulfilling sex with whoever tickles my fancy.

I met a new guy two weeks ago, and the sex is incredible. We also immediately clicked and became friends. The problem? I suspect he wants a romantic relationship. He says he’s open to my terms—open/fuck-buddy situation—but things have quickly become relationship-ish. I like him, but I can’t realistically picture us being a good LTR match. I’m hoping we can figure out something in between—something like a sexual friendship where we enjoy and support each other and experiment together without tying ourselves down—but I have found very little evidence of such undefined relationships working without someone getting hurt. I am sick of hurting people! Any advice?

Hoping Open Peaceful Experiences Feel Unlike Loss

If “someone might get hurt” is the standard you’re going to apply to all future relationships—if it’s a deal-breaker—then you shouldn’t date or fuck anyone else ever again, HOPEFUL, because there’s always a chance someone is going to get hurt. The fact that hurt is always a possibility is no excuse for hurting others needlessly or maliciously; we should be thoughtful and conscientious about other people’s feelings. We should also remember that no one is clairvoyant, and that someone can hurt us without intending to. But there’s no intimate human connection, sexual or otherwise, that doesn’t leave us open to hurting or being hurt.

So fuck this guy, HOPEFUL, on your own terms—but don’t be too quick to dismiss the possibility of an LTR. Great sex and a good friendship make up a solid foundation. You’re aware that nonmonogamous relationships are an option—and couples can explore nonmonogamy together. If you can have this guy and have your sexual adventures, too—this could be the start of something big.


I’m a mid-20s, above-average-looking gay dude into spanking guys. The weird thing is, the only guys I can find to spank are straight. It’s not that they’re closeted—most of them go on to have girlfriends, and that’s when we stop—and they make it clear they don’t want anything sexual to happen. No complaints on my end! But why don’t they want a woman spanking them?

Seriously Perplexed And Needing Knowledge

How do you know their new girlfriends don’t start spanking them when you stop? And how do you know they aren’t closing their eyes and imagining that you’re a woman when you’re spanking them? And how do you know they’re not bi—at least where spankings are concerned? (Also: There are tons of gay guys out there into spanking, SPANK. So if you aren’t finding any, I can only conclude that you aren’t looking.)


I’m wondering about the application of the term “bear” to a straight man, such as myself. I’m a bigger guy with a lot of body hair and a beard. I love that in the gay community, there is a cute term for guys like me reflecting body positivity. For us straight dudes, however, being big and hairy means getting thought of as an ape—big, dumb, smelly oafs. While I can be dumb, smelly and oafish at times (like anyone), I’d also like to have a way to describe myself that is masculine yet attractive. Bear is a great term, but I’m concerned about being insensitive in appropriating it.

I haven’t asked my gay/bear friends about it (though they’ve referred to me as a bear on occasion), because I’m afraid I won’t get a straight answer (no pun intended). Would it be OK for me to refer to myself as a bear, or—as a highly privileged straight cis male—do I need to accept the fact that I can’t have everything and maybe leave something alone for fucking once?

Hetero Ape Inquiring Respectfully, Yup

“If you want to be a bear, BE A BEAR!” said Brendan Mack, an organizing member of XL Bears (xlbears.org), a social group for bears and their admirers. “DO YOU! There isn’t anything appropriative about a straight guy using the term ‘bear’ to describe himself—it’s a body type; it’s a lifestyle; and it’s celebrating yourself. Gay, straight, hairy, smooth, fat, muscled—bear is a state of mind. It’s body acceptance. It’s acceptance of who you are. So if you want to be a bear, WELCOME TO THE WOODS!”

Matt Bee, the promoter behind Bearracuda Worldwide (bearracuda.com), seconded Mack. “The term ‘bear,’ like any other animal descriptor, is a pretty playful one to begin with. Please, by all means, use it and any other well-meaning word to describe yourself!”

On the Lovecast, the robots are making your porn!: savagelovecast.com.

* Math is hard.

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I married my high-school sweetheart at 17; we had a baby and were together a few years; mental illness and subsequent infidelity led to things ending. My ex-husband remarried, divorced again, and is now in another LTR. I’m in an LTR for a decade with my current partner (CP); we have a few kids, and I’m so in love with him that it terrifies me.

My ex frequently makes sexual remarks to me—low-key flirts. I feel an animal attraction in the moment. Whatever. I don’t want to be with him; my relationship with CP is solid AF, and I get amazing fucking at home from a man far more skilled. CP knows about ex-husband’s remarks and one actual physical advance. CP has offered to talk to my ex. I told him nah, I’ll deal with it and make it stop. I talked to my ex-husband today, and he said: “I’m sorry; it’s just teasing, I won’t make an actual move ever again, but you’re the only woman I ever just look at and get immediately hard for, and it’s only a few more years before our kid is fully grown and we don’t see each other anymore. So humor me, because you know we both enjoy it.” And it’s true that I do enjoy it. But how harmful is it to engage in flirty banter without any touching, nudity or worse?

I hate having secrets, as I feel they are barriers to intimacy, but I’m a 30-something mom and it is so fucking unbearably sexy to be made to feel so desirable even after all that shit between us, and it’ll never, ever happen because hell no am I sleeping with my ex-hubby, but knowing this man will never get a whiff of my pussy again but can’t help but beg for it with his eyes gives me a sense of power like I’ve never fucking felt before—but even so, I don’t want to be a terrible person for hiding this from my CP, because I don’t like having secrets from him, but this is just one that turns me on to no end, but I should nip this in the bud and put a stop to it yesterday because it’s wrong, right?

Secret Longings Utterly Titillating

I love a good run-on sentence—grammar fetishists are going to get off on diagramming that doozy you closed with—so I’m going to give it a shot, too: I don’t see the harm in enjoying your ex-husband’s flirtations so long as you’re certain you’ll never, ever take him up on his standing offer, but you are playing with fire here, SLUT, so pull on a pair of asbestos panties when you know you’ll be seeing your ex-hubby, and I don’t think you should feel bad about this secret, because while honesty is great generally, and while the keeping of secrets is frowned upon by advice professionals reflexively, SLUT, a little mystery, a little distance, a little erotic autonomy keeps our sex lives with long-term partners hot—even monogamous relationships—so instead of seeing this secret as a barrier to intimacy, SLUT, remind yourself that the erotic charge you get from your ex-hubby—the way he makes you feel desirable—benefits your CP, because he’s the one who will be getting a big, fat whiff of your pussy when you get home, and there’s nothing wrong with that, right?


I’ve been with my girlfriend “J” for two years. Her best friend “M” is a gay man she’s known since high school. M and I have hung out many times. He seems cool, but lately, I’ve been wondering if he and J are fucking behind my back. For starters, J and I rarely have sex anymore. Even a kiss on the cheek happens less than once a week. Meanwhile, J’s Facebook feed has pictures of M grabbing her tits outside of a gay club in front of her sister. She told me he’s spent the night in her room, even though he lives only a few miles away. I’ve also recently found out that although M has a strong preference for men, he considers himself bisexual.

I understand that everyone loves tits, even if they’re not turned on by them, and gay men can sleep with a girl and actually just … sleep. I also know that her antidepressants can kill sex drive. All three things at once feel like more than just coincidence, though. At the very least, the PDAs seem disrespectful. At worst, I’m a blind fool who’s been replaced. Am I insecure, or is there something to these worries?

You Pick The Acronym I Gotta Get To Work

Your girlfriend’s best friend isn’t gay, YPTAIGGTW; he’s bisexual—so, yeah, it’s entirely possible M is fucking your girlfriend, since fucking girls is something bisexual guys do, and, according to one study, they’re better at it. (Australian women who had been with both bi and straight guys ranked their bi male partners as more attentive lovers, more emotionally available, and better dads, according to the results of a study published in 2016.)

While we can’t know for sure whether M is fucking J, YPTAIGGTW, we do know who she isn’t fucking: you. If the sex is rare, and a kiss—on the cheek—is a once-a-week occurrence, it’s time to pull the plug. Yes, antidepressants can be a libido-killer. They can also be a dodge. If your girlfriend doesn’t regard the lack of sex as a problem and isn’t working on a fix—if she’s prioritizing partying with her bisexual bestie over talking to her doc and adjusting her meds, if she hasn’t offered you some sort of accommodation/outlet/work-around for the lack of sex—trust your gut, and get out.


I’m a recently divorced woman with a high libido. Now that I’m single, I’ve come out as a kinkster. I quickly met someone who swept me off my feet—smart, funny, sexy, proudly pervy and experienced in the BDSM scene—and soon, he declared himself as my Dom, and I assumed the sub role. This was hot as hell at first. I loved taking his orders, knowing how much my subservience pleased him, and surprising myself with just how much pain and humiliation I could take.

However, his fantasies quickly took a darker turn. When I say I’m uncomfortable with the extremely transgressive territory he wants to explore, he says, “I’m your master, and you take my orders.” I think this is shitty form—the bottom should always set the limits. When we’re in play, he says that I chose him as my top precisely because I wanted to see how far I could go, and that it’s his job to push me out of my comfort zone. I think he’s twisting my words. Arguing over limits mid-scene makes us both frustrated and angry. I’m not in any physical danger, but his requests (if carried out) could ruin some of my existing relationships.

Did I blow it by not giving him a list of my hard limits in advance of becoming his sub? Or is he just a shitty, inconsiderate top trying to take advantage of a novice? After play, he checks in to see if I’m OK, which on the surface looks like great form—aftercare and all—but this also feels manipulative.

How can I pull things back to where I’m comfortable? Do I run from the scene—or just this guy?

Tired Of Overreaching From A Shitty Top

A top who reopens negotiations about limits and what’s on the BDSM menu during a scene—a time when the sub will feel tremendous pressure to, well, submit—is not a top you can trust. The same goes for a top who makes demands that, if obeyed, could ruin their sub’s relationships with family, friends, other partners, etc.

Run from this guy, TOOFAST, but not from the scene. There are better tops out there. Go find one.

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