CVIndependent

Fri09252020

Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

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.

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Published in Savage Love

My best friend’s father is an avid user of social media. He’s retired and spends most of his day posting memes on Facebook and Instagram. Recently, I realized he might not know how Instagram works: I noticed over the past week or so that he has been following, liking and commenting on a lot of Instagram pictures of young gay men. I don’t think he realizes that anyone who follows him can see that activity.

At first, I was worried—not because he might be gay or bisexual, but because he may still be “in the closet.” He’s married, with a son (my friend), and to my knowledge, if he is bisexual or gay, nobody knows. I thought about warning him that his activity is public, but then I saw more. Not only has he been liking pictures of younger-looking men; he’s also been liking and following accounts of very young boy models. Underage boys.

I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but the evidence is there. So now I’ve gone from wanting to warn this guy that he may be accidentally outing himself by not knowing how apps work to feeling morally obligated to tell my friend that his dad is into dudes and might be a pedophile. I can only imagine the ramifications this news would have on him and his family.

Best Friend’s Dad

“I’m sympathetic to BFD’s concerns,” said Michael Seto, director of forensic rehabilitation research at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group and an expert on pedophilia and sexual offending. “I know many people wonder what to do if they suspect someone is sexually attracted to children. And I understand how much of a burden it can feel like to keep a big secret, especially from a best friend.”

But before we discuss your options and responsibilities here, BFD, let’s get our terms straight: If by “young boy models” you mean teenage boys past puberty but under the age of consent, then your friend’s father’s behavior is icky and inappropriate—but it is not, by itself, evidence that he’s a pedophile.

“Clinically, pedophilia refers to attraction to prepubescent children,” said Dr. Seto, “though I know it’s still commonly used in public to refer to attraction to anyone underage.”

Actually, the term “pedophile” gets tossed around so indiscriminately these days that some of my own readers have used it to describe (or condemn) people in their 40s or 50s who are attracted to (or fucking) grown men and women in their 20s and 30s. For the record: An attraction to younger/youngish adults does not make someone a pedophile. If that were the case, almost everyone on Earth could be described (and condemned) as a pedophile. Dr. Seto estimates that just 1 percent of men are, in fact, attracted to prepubescent children. So depending on your point of view—depending on whether you’re a glass 99 percent empty or 1 percent full kind of guy—pedophilia is either exceedingly rare or alarmingly common.

“Attraction to underage teens—boys or girls—is more common,” said Dr. Seto, “though it’s hard to estimate how common, because it’s a taboo subject. We get hints from the popularity of certain porn genres like ‘schoolgirl,’ ‘twink,’ ‘barely legal’ and so on. We also have a hint from how so many fashion models begin working in their teens.”

But Dr. Seto emphasizes that sexual attraction does not equal sexual behavior.

“The Instagram follows and likes may indeed suggest an attraction to underage boys,” said Dr. Seto. “And it may even be pedophilia if the models are that young. But that doesn’t mean his friend’s father is going to do anything beyond following or liking.”

Understanding what separates pedophiles who’ve offended against children (read: pedophiles who’ve sexually abused children) from pedophiles who’ve never inappropriately touched a child is an important focus of Dr. Seto’s research, BFD, and his insights could inform your course of action.

“One thing we know is that people who are low in self-control are more likely to act on sexual as well as nonsexual impulses,” said Dr. Seto. “That low self-control shows up in other ways, including addictions, problems holding down a job, problems in adult relationships, unreliability and criminal behavior. My hypothesis is that someone who doesn’t show these signs is unlikely to offend against a child. They might look at child pornography, though, which is illegal and problematic, or they might look at legal images of children—like on social media—as a sexual outlet.”

Viewing child pornography is hugely problematic, because it creates demand for more child pornography, which leads to more children being abused. But even if no new child porn were ever created, sharing images of the rape of a child is itself a violation of that child. And while it may not be pleasant to contemplate what might be going through a pedophile’s mind when they look at innocent images of children, it’s not against the law for someone with a sexual interest in children to dink around on Instagram.

“Returning to BFD’s question about whether to disclose, I don’t think it’s an easy yes-or-no answer,” said Dr. Seto. “It depends on what else BFD knows about the father. I’m required by law and professional ethics to report (someone) if I believe an identifiable child is at imminent risk. This mandatory reporting requirement is NOT triggered simply by knowing whether someone is sexually attracted to children. Instead, I have to consider information like whether the person has ever expressed fantasies or urges about a specific child, whether they work with children regularly, whether they live with children who are in their attraction category, or whether they have ever engaged in suspicious behavior, like direct messaging with a child.”

Does your friend’s dad work with underage boys? Does he sometimes look after underage boys—say, grandsons? Do they have sleepovers with friends at grandpa’s house? Has he ever behaved in an inappropriate manner around underage boys—e.g., inventing reasons to be alone with them, offering them booze or drugs, or making suggestive comments offline or online?

“In the absence of these kinds of red flags, what we have here is someone who might be sexually attracted to underage boys but who might not pose a serious risk to children,” explained Dr. Seto. “So while not disclosing might mean some risk of a child being harmed, disclosing could definitely cause harm to the best friend, to the father, and to their relationship.”

You’re in an agonizing position, BFD. You essentially have to weigh the chance—most likely very remote—that your friend’s dad would harm a child against the near certainty that telling your friend about his father’s behavior would do irrevocable harm to their relationship. Your relationship with your friend would also be at risk; this is definitely one of those circumstances where the messenger risks being shot. Figuratively speaking. I hope.

Personally, BFD, in your shoes, I would err on the side of protecting even a hypothetical child. I would say something to the dad, perhaps via direct message (you could create a throwaway account and reach out anonymously), and I would also say something to my friend. But I would emphasize what the best available research tells us about pedophilia: It’s not something a person chooses, and most pedophiles never sexually abuse children. (And not everyone who sexually abuses a child is a pedophile.) So even if your best friend’s father is attracted to prepubescent boys—if he’s looking at prepubescent children and not teenagers who happen to be just under the age of consent—that doesn’t mean he’s harmed a child or would ever harm a child. He may need help to avoid offending—if, worst-case scenario, he actually is attracted to children—and being held accountable by loved ones is one way pedophiles avoid offending.

Seto is the author of Pedophilia and Sexual Offending Against Children: Theory, Assessment, and Intervention and more. Follow him on Twitter @MCSeto.

Listen to the Savage Lovecast every week at savagelovecast.com.

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Published in Savage Love

I recently stumbled on an Instagram account of a young woman who’s a “knife play” enthusiast. I consider myself sex-positive, but I must say I was disturbed by the images. I was also shocked that I didn’t know this was a thing! But of course it’s a thing, cuz everything is a thing, right?

I don’t want to outlaw it, and everyone has a right to their kinks, I guess, but I’m so wigged out! I guess I don’t have a question here besides wondering what you think about it. Ick!

Can’t Understand This

Everything is, indeed, a thing, CUT, and intimidating things like knives—objects that symbolize power, danger and control—are far likelier to become things (fetishized objects) than nonthreatening things like waffle irons or useless things like moderate Republicans.

As for what I think about knife play: Well, it’s definitely not for me. But if someone wants to incorporate knife play into their sex life safely, responsibly and consensually, and package it in a manner that doesn’t violate Instagram’s terms of service, I don’t have a problem with it.


I’m a first-time dog owner. I LOVE my dog, but here’s the thing: He sleeps in my bed with me, and would probably whine and bark at this point and wake up my roommates if I kicked him out of the room.

Is it wrong to masturbate when my dog is on my bed? He’s not always sleeping. Could this damage my pup in some way?

Conundrums Are Tacky

Dogs have been watching humans fuck for 30,000 years. So long as your pup is a passive observer and not (ick) an active participant, he’ll be fine, and you won’t go to jail.


About three years ago, my wife declared an end to sex. (We are in our late 60s.) However, she insists on “taking one for the team” once a month. She makes it clear she derives no enjoyment from sex, but I cannot refuse to participate without a huge fight.

I find that I have developed a sexual attraction to other men my age. Every man I encounter in gay bathhouses considers oral sex safe, and no one wants to use a condom. Most of these guys seem very experienced and are not worried about STDs from oral sex. Should I be worried?

Concerned Older Man Enquires

You can get all sorts of things from giving and receiving oral sex: gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, herpes, etc. My advice: Stop having sex with your wife so long as you’re seeking out men in bathhouses. I suspect your wife is only fucking you once a month to keep you from straying (which you’re already doing) because she believes—incorrectly—that if you aren’t getting sex at home, COME, you’ll leave her to go get sex. That’s obviously not the case—you’re getting sex elsewhere without her knowledge (or her consent and putting her at risk in the process), and you aren’t leaving.

Tell her you’re also done with straight sex (the “straight” can be silent); have one last huge fight; and then go suck some dick.


Gay and married here. My dad got on Instagram, followed me and some of my friends, and then requested to follow a friend whose account is private. My friend stupidly approved my dad’s request without realizing it was my dad. There were some R-rated photographs of my husband and me having some pretty kinky (and pretty great) sex with our friend on his account. My dad called me screaming about how he and my late mom were faithful to each other for 42 years, and that’s what marriage means, and my husband and I shouldn’t have gotten married at all if we were going to be having sex with other people.

Just before my mother died, she confided in me about an affair she’d had and asked me to retrieve and destroy some letters and cards, which I did. I’ve had three screaming fights with my dad about monogamy in the last two weeks. Can I tell him his marriage wasn’t monogamous?

Son Blows Friend, Dad Blows Gasket

No, SBFDBG, you can’t. Your mom isn’t around to defend herself, and absent proof of the affair, your dad will think it’s a spiteful (and incredibly) hurtful lie. And even if you had proof, SBFDBG, telling your father about your mother’s affair would be an act of grotesque cruelty.

You have every right to be angry—your dad is being an asshole—but poisoning his memories of his marriage isn’t a proportionate response to his assholery. Instead, tell your dad your sex life is none of his business and that you refuse to discuss it with him any further. If he brings it up, hang up. Repeat as necessary.

Your mom wanted to take this to the grave, and you promised her—on her deathbed—that you would help her do just that. Don’t betray her.


I’m a 52-year-old woman who has been in an open relationship with my partner for 2.5 years. Great sex, intense connection, best friends! Early on, he expressed a desire for me to play with his ass. At first, I did, but I was never comfortable with it. I’m not into anal myself, and doing anal with him turns me off. Over the course of the 2.5 years, he’s become very frustrated. I tell him to go find a woman or a man who enjoys ass as much as he does and play with them. We are in an open relationship, after all. He claims he has no time to date anyone else.

We are at a crossroad in our relationship. He’s suggesting that I play with his ass or we go our separate ways. It’s ludicrous to me that it has come to this. Any words of wisdom?

Ass Play Or Else

Your “best friend” is a petulant, manipulative asshole. DTMFA.


The idea of spanking my wife really captures my sexual imagination. I don’t want to inflict a lot of pain, but seeing her over my lap with a bit of pink on her ass is the hottest thing in the world to me. My wife indulged me once—it was incredibly hot for me, but she found it degrading and refuses to do it again. By her own admission, I treat her with respect in our day-to-day lives. I would be ecstatic even if we only did this rarely, say, once a month. Again, no dice from the wife—it’s degrading; end of discussion. Otherwise, our sex life is fantastic. I believe that Dear Prudence would side with my wife: if you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. My view is that it’s a small inconvenience that brings your husband an incredible amount of joy, so of course you should do it! What are your thoughts?

Wife Is So Hot Over The Knee

If I were your wife, WISHOTK, your argument would carry the day—but I’m not your wife. Your wife is your wife, and she gave spanking a try, found it degrading in a non-sexy way, and doesn’t want to do it again. And that’s the not-the-least-bit-pink end of it. Being treated with respect by our romantic partners—literally the bare-ass minimum—doesn’t obligate us to indulge our partners in sex acts we find unpleasant, degrading, or disgusting. So you’ll have to settle for that otherwise fantastic sex life.

On the Lovecast, Dan chats with Robby Soave on the dangers of teen sexting: 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